Imágenes de páginas

Charles, and was more despotic. Georg. i. 464 :

"Sol tibi signa dabit, solem quis dicere falsum Audeat? ille etiam cæcos instare tumultus Sæpe monet, fraudemque et operta tumescere bella."

Milton had perhaps also in view the following beautiful simile in Shakspeare, (Rich. II. iii. 3,) where Richard is compared, in his discontent and indignation, to

"the blushing discontented sun From out the fiery portals of the east, When he perceives the envious clouds are bent

To dim his glory.

Yet looks he like a king."

Thus he embodies the two similes; indicating the prognostics by the one, and the dimmed lustre by the other. His judgment in these similes has been much admired. As he only meant to convey the ideas of loftiness and firmness, which are inseparable from a tower, he does not describe it; but, as the diminution of the sun's light is an occasional effect, he does give a description. Burke says, "These great images produce their powerful effect because they are crowded and confused." -"Disastrous," is here classically used in its original signification of an evil conjunction of stars-dus aσтpov.-(See N., Warb., D.)

601. "Intrenched," furrowed. So Shakspeare (All's Well),

"This very sword intrench'd it." 608. Read a semicolon after " pain." 609. "Amerced" here means, deprived, from the Greek αμερδω, αμερσω. Odys. viii. 64.

Οφθαλμων μεν αμερ σε, δίδου δ' ήδειαν αοιδην. (H.)

611. The construction depends on "behold," 605; yet to behold how they stood faithful.

612. There is a peculiar propriety in this splendid comparison, as "heaven's fire" and thunder produced the same effect on the angels, as on the oaks and pines, the stateliest of all trees." The blasted heath' corresponds with "the burning soil" on which the angels stood.-(N.)

618. Homer frequently represents his warriors as mute with silent attention, ακήν εγενοντο σιωπη.

620, 621. Ovid. Met. xi. 419:

"Ter conata loqui, ter fletibus ora rogavit." Homer represents his heroes, Achilles and Agamemnon, shedding tears, not from pusillanimity, but from grief mingled with indignation and rage. Il. ix. 13:

αν δ' Αγαμεμνων ίστατο δακρυχέων. Της Achilles in the first Iliad, 349: avras Αχιλλευς δακρυσας: Pope, "Such as angels weep;" i. e. of a different kind from the tears of mortals. So vi. 332, when Satan is wounded by Michael, from the wound

"A stream of nectarous humour issuing flowed Sanguine, such as celestial spirits may bleed.” So in Homer, Il. v. 340, the wounded divinity does not yield blood, but a thinner substance, called ixwp. When the soldier pierced the side of our crucified Saviour with a spear, "forthwith came thereout blood and water." John xix. 34.

622. The irregular structure of sentences in this speech represents Satan's perturbation of mind, is in accordance with his position, and resembles that in the speech, 315.

624. Ovid. Met. ix. 6 :—

"nec tam Turpe fuit vinci, quam contendisse decorum est."

One of the most beautiful passages in that most perfect of all ancient or modern orations, the speech of Demosthenes "On the Crown," is where he consoles the Athenians on their defeat; that they only obeyed the irresistible call of honour and duty in engaging in the war, leaving the issue to fortune. I may here observe, that the speeches in Milton, especially in the first and second books, are very much in the spirit, style, and manner of Demosthenes.

630. Hor. iii. Od. ii. 17 :—

"Virtus repulsæ nescia sordidæ." 633. Though, ii. 692, v. 710, and vi. 156, it is said that only one-third of the angels fell; and this is the number mentioned in the Apocalypse xii. 4-" And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven after it, and cast them to the earth;" yet Satan artfully, by way of vaunt, and to encourage his followers, speaks of having emptied heaven.—(N.)

636. "Different," i. e. different from those of his followers.

647. "No less." Nevertheless. He says the Almighty deceived them by concealing his strength at first, and so effected their fall. But, nevertheless, he will find himself matched by their artifice, though not by their might.-(R.)

651, 652. This is a very important part of the poem, as showing the design of man's creation to be antecedent to the revolt. See Note on ii. 346. Read a comma after "create."

662. "Understood," i. e. implied, though not expressed.—(P.)

664. Drawing the sword from the thigh is a phrase often used by Homer. Il. i. 194, et alibi:

Η όγε φασγανον οξύ ερυσσάμενος παρα μηρού.

668. Milton here alludes to the custom of the ancient soldiers signifying their approbation of their leader's address by shouting, and striking their spears or swords on their shields. (See my Note on Livy, i. 50.) Tacitus, Germania, c. 2: "Si placuit sententia frameas concutiunt: honoratissimum consensus genus armis laudari."

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I have often heard a pugnacious Irishman say, in his native language, "I strike the shield and call for battle; a phrase, no doubt, derived from the custom of the Celtic tribes. See Fairy Queen, i. 4, 40.


671. Æn. iii. 576:"Interdum scopulos eruptaque viscera montis Erigit eructans."

673. "His womb." Womb is here used, as uterus sometimes is in Virgil, to signify the belly of a male animal. See n. vii. 499, xi. 809.-(N.)

674. In Milton's time, metals were thought to consist of mercury as the basis, and sulphur as the binder.—(N.)

678. "Mammon," in Syriac, means "riches." Read a semicolon after "on." 682. Il. iv. 2: χρυσέω εν δαπεδω. Rev. xxi. 21.—(N.)

685. "By him and his suggestion." Bentley says there was but one cause, and that is improperly divided into two. Warburton defends the division by referring to a superstition among miners, that there are a sort of devils who are very busy in the various operations of mining, some digging, some cleansing, some smelting, &c. So the devils may be said to teach the art by example as well as by precept. But in all likelihood the

words are to be taken as a poetical amplification, (by the figure hendyad, év δια δυοιν,) of dividing a proposition into parts.

688. Hor. iii. Od. iii. 49:

"Aurum irrepertum et sic melius situm."

694. Diodorus Siculus, i. and Pliny, xxxvi. 12, say, that 360,000 men were employed for twenty years on one of the pyramids of Egypt, which were near Memphis, the capital.-(N.)

697. "And." Is outdone, must be supplied; thus, "And what they in an age scarce perform, is outdone in an hour."

702-704. "Sluiced," conveyed in sluices. "Founded," melted, from fundo. -"Severing," separating the sulphur, earth, &c. from the metal.-" Bullion" is an adjective, referring not to the metal in a purified state, but in a crude, while under the smelting process.-"Dross," what floated on the boiling metal.-(P., R.)

711. Some commentators imagine that Milton borrowed this conception from the stage machinery and scenes, which suddenly appeared as if they started out of the ground, designed by Inigo Jones for the masks of Charles I. But how did Inigo Jones himself get the thought? I think both may have borrowed from the magical creations so often described in the stories of romance.

712. Read a comma after "sweet." 713-717. "Pilasters," ornamental pillars set in a wall, with about one-fourth of their thickness outside. "Architrave," the lower division of an entablature, or that part which rests on the capital or upper part of the column.—

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Cornice," the uppermost member of the entablature, or the highest projection; it crowns the order.-"Frieze," that flat part between the architrave and cornice, generally ornamented with figures."Fretted," ornamented with fretwork or fillets interwoven at parallel distances.(N., Johnson.)

718. Milton has been censured by Bentley for substituting Cairo here, which was long subsequent to the existence of Memphis; but as it was built near the site of Memphis, and as it is said by some learned writers to signify "the City," by way of eminence, (see Calmet) Milton may be justified for using the word.

720. " Serapis," the same as Apis, or Osiris. The word was generally pronounced Serápis; but Milton has the authority of Prudentius and Capella, independently of the privilege of poetry, for writing it Serăpis.-(P.)

723. See Note on i. 282. 725, 726. Æn. ii. 483:

"Apparet domus intus et atria longa patescunt." n. i. 726:

'dependent lychni laquearibus aureis Incensi, et noctem flammis funalia vincunt." 728. " Cressets," any great light set on high, from the French croissette, because beacons had anciently crosses on their tops. (Johnson.) 729. Naphtha and Asphaltus," two

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737. It is said that Milton has followed the arrangement of the book περι ουραν. iepapx. c. vi. 7, ascribed to Dionysius the Areopagite, of dividing the angelic world into three orders: first, seraphim, cherubim, and thrones; secondly, dominations (duvaueis), princedoms (KupioTηTES), powers (egovσiai;) third, principalities (apxai), virtues, archangels, angels.-(Cal.)

738. Milton selects out of Vulcan's many titles, the epithet "Mulciber," from mulcere, to soften, as that which expresses the founder's or smelter's art.(N.)

740, &c. This follows closely Homer's description of his fall, as told by Vulcan himself. 11. i. 590:

Ριψε ποδος τεταγών απο βηλου θεσπεσίοιο, Παν δ' ημαρ φερομην, ἅμα δ' ηέλιῳ καταδυντι Καππεσον εν Λημνῳ-ολιγος δ' ετι θυμός ενηεν. Milton beautifully represents the protracted duration of his fall, by dividing the day into three periods, and emphatically calling it a summer's day. There is a similar division, and as it were prolongation of time, in the seventh book of the Odyssey, 288, where Ulysses sleeps all night long, and till the morning, and till the middle of the day, and till the setting of the sun :

Είδον παννύχιος, και επ' ηω, και μέσον ήμαρ, Δύσετο τ' ηέλιος, και με γλυκύς ύπνος ανηκεν. (See N., P.)

746. "Egean" is here a dissyllable, and the emphasis is on the first syllable in place of the second. So x. 688, he uses Thyestian for Thyestean. Il. v. 53— Αλλ' ου οἱ τοτε γε χραισμ' Αρρεμις ιοχέαιρα Ουδ' ἑκηβολιαι. (N.) 750. "Engines" here means devices. 752. He has given them wings not only as angels, but to express their speed. -(H.) See ii. 518. 11. ix. 10.


756. "Pandemonium," from wа and daioviov, the dwelling of all the devils. 760. "Trooping," EσTIXOWVTO. (See note on 769.)

763. "Covered field." Covered here means enclosed, i. e. for martial exercises or single combat.-See Tasso, Gier. Liber. iv. 3.-(R.)

764. "Soldan," the old English word for Sultan, as Paynim was for Pagan. See Note on 318. He alludes to the single combats between the Christians and Saracens, of which there were so many descriptions in the books of romance. He uses Paynim for infidel, for the Mahometans were considered not better than pagans, and were in fact more formidable enemies to the christian cause. Lord Byron, in his " Childe Harold," and other poems, applies Paynim to the Mahomet


766. "Career with lance," alludes to those combats which were only for amusement and to display address, in which the points of the weapons were blunted beforehand.-(Cal.) "Career," to run rapidly, to charge, or make an onset.

768. The hissing sound of this line, it is said, beautifully expresses the sense. 769. The following similes from Homer and Virgil resemble this. Il. ii. 87 :

Ηὔτε έθνεα εισι μελισσάων αδινάων

Πετρής εκ γλαφυρης αιει νέον ερχομεναών, Βοτρυδόν δε πέτονται επ' ανθεσιν ειαρινο σιν. Αἱ μεν τ' ενθα άλις πεποτήαται, αἱ δέ τε ενθα Ως των έθνεα πολλα νέων από και κλισιάων Ηίονος προπαροιθε βαθείης εστιχόωντο λαδον εις αγορην.

En. i. 430:

"Qualis apes æstate nova per florea rura Exercet sub sole labor, cum gentis adultos Educunt fœtus."

But Milton carries the similitude farther than either, by mentioning the bees as conferring on their state affairs, as he is going to give an account of the consultations of the devils.-(N.)

Ovid, throughout the Fasti, describes the rising and setting of the signs of the zodiac, and expressly mentions the rising of Taurus, v. 603. So Milton (x. 663) speaks of the rising and setting of the fixed stars.-(P.)

770. Geor. iv. 21:

-Quum prima novi ducent examina reges Vere suo, ludetque favis emissa juventus.” (N.)

774. "Expatiate," from the verb erspatiator, which means, to range at large. So Ov. Met. " equi exspatiantur;" and "Alumina exspatiantur." Spatior is used in the same sense.

777. Milton, in order as it were to obviate any objection that may be made to the various metamorphoses of his spirits in the progress of the poem, prepared the reader for a justification (423, &c.) When Satan harangued his spirits to sound their disposition, it was

in an ample field, where they appeared very properly in their natural dimensions; but now, when a deliberative council was to be held, the proper place was his own palace; and, from its necessarily limited space, they very properly exercised their power of self-contraction; but though the main body so contracted themselves, the chiefs are represented as still retaining all their gigantic proportions.-(Add. N.) So Milton represents the bees conferring about their state affairs, not in the open fields, but at their hive.

785. Hor. Ep. v. 49:-"O rebus meis non infideles arbitræ, nox, et Diana." "Nearer to the earth," is in allusion to the superstitious notion of witches and fairies having great power over the moon

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THE persons whom Milton introduces always discover such sentiments as are in a peculiar manner conformable to their respective characters. Every circumstance in their speeches and actions is adapted with great delicacy and judgment to the persons who speak and act. Thus the mock majesty and superior greatness of Satan, his opening and closing the debate, his taking on himself the great enterprise at which the whole assembly trembled, and his boldness and address in the several perilous adventures, are quite in unison with his character.Ad.

1. Spenser, Fairy Queen, I. iv. 8:"High above all a cloth of state was spread, And a rich throne, as bright as sunny day, On which there sat-"

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them, because the eastern kings had the greatest share of property; or is in allusion to the custom at the coronation of many Eastern kings, especially Persian, of throwing gold-dust and seed pearl on their heads. There is a similar allusion to the custom in Shakspeare, Ant.&Cleop. act ii.

"I'll set thee in a show'r of gold, and hail Rich pearls upon thee."

The pearl and gold are called barbaric, after the manner of the Greeks and Romans, who called all other nations barbarous. Æn. ii. 504:

"Barbarico postes auro spoliisque superbi." (N., P., Warb.)

9. "Success" is here used in its pure and original signification, as, simply," the issue, or termination." Johnson defines the word, "the termination of any affair, happy or unhappy. Success without any epithet is commonly taken for good success." Here it is used for bad success. The termination of the last war, though disastrous to Satan, could not teach him. So line 123.

12. "For" refers to the preceding words, and gives the reason why he calls them deities of heaven, not of hell. "Deities of heaven, for I give not heaven for lost," (it is your proper place, and will be yours,) "since," &c. The most

important point which Satan wishes to establish, is to impress on his followers the persuasion that they can recover heaven, of which they are deities; for on this all their approbation and cooperation would depend. He therefore artfully begins with giving them this assurance, and giving it as a justification for the title he bestows on them. This impassioned mode of commencing a speech, of which there are instances in the best ancient orators, is considered a great rhetorical excellence. Milton represents Satan as commencing in this style, b. i. 317, 318.

When he there wishes at once to rouse them up, he says, heaven is lost if they do not shake off their stupefaction; and then with sarcastic irony asks them, did they choose the burning pool as a pleasant resting place? So in the next address, 622, 3, when they were fully collected, and sensible of their terrible condition, he commences by flattering them with a compliment on their prowess, and on having gloriously done their duty; and here, when they are to deliberate on the plan of action, he commences by laying it down as a truth, that within hell they cannot be confined. In each of these speeches the closing part is in admirable accordance with the beginning.

Lord Monboddo, says from "for" down to "fate" must be taken as a parenthesis.

16. i. e. they will be more glorious and formidable by rising after such a fall as that, than if they had not fallen at all; and having once so risen, they will have such confidence in themselves as not to fear a second fate.

18. "Me," as being the emphatic word in the sentence, is placed first, and is governed by the following verbs, create and established. Lord Monboddo adduces this passage as a perfect pattern, hardly to be equalled in English, of artificial arrangement, and rhetorical composition, many excellent specimens of which are to be found in the ancient classics. There are two striking examples of it in Horace, iii. Od. iii. 1:

"Justum et tenacem propositi virum

Non civium ardor prava jubentium,
Non vultus instantis tyranni,

Mente quatit solida; neque Auster
Dux inquieti turbidus Adriæ,

Nec fulminantis magno Jovis manus."
See also Hor. i. Od. v. :-

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that he retained the leadership with unanimous approbation. The words allude to what follows them.

29. "Your bulwark." So Il. iv. 299: ερκος εμεν πολεμοιο.

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33. Some learned commentators imagine obscurity and difficulty in the syntax here. Dr. Bentley and Dr. Heylyn are for reading the passage with a comma the words "will covet more" interrogatively, changing "will" into he'll, after precedence," while they would have a period after "none;" and read thus, "he'll covet more?" Dunster, though justly saying that Milton never wrote the passage thus, does not appear to me to have cleared up the difficulty, by the following commentary :-" For there is none sure will claim precedence in hell; there is none whose portion is so small of present pain, that with ambitious mind he will court more." Is must, according to this, be understood grammatically as the verb to which none is the subject; then who must be understood as the nominative to will claim; and he must be understood as the nominative to will covet, while that is made a conjunction. In my judgment the sentence is very plain: the word none being, if not an emphatic repetition of the first none, the nom. to is understood, while the word that is the pronoun who,-" none will claim...there is none who will covet."

37. Because in heaven superiority of station carrying with it superiority of happiness, may create jealousy against the possessor, and consequently disunion; -not so in hell.

40, &c. Compare Jove's speech to the gods respecting the Titaness, Fairy Queen, VII. vi. 21:

"It now behoves us to advise What way is best to drive her to retire, Whether by open force, or counsel wise: Aread, ye sons of God! as best ye can devise.” (T.)

So also II. xi. 7:

"To assayle with open force or hidden guile.” 43. "Sceptered king." Homer σκηπτούχος βασιλευς.

47. Bentley would read he for "and," as by the present reading "trust" must be the nominative to "cared."

50. "Recked." Cared, or made account; much the same as reckoned."Thereafter," accordingly.

52. i. e. less experienced in wiles than in open war, I boast not of them. Moloch, in his furious zeal for open war, I think evidently glances at Satan's

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