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selected to express the present character 136. Read a semicolon after “arms." of Satan.-( Th.)
137. See Matt. xxvi. 53.-(N.) 104. So Homer, Il. iii. 15:-
147. “Sect." The commentators ima- σχεδον ησαν επ' αλληλοισιν ιοντες.
gine that Milton here intended a sneer at See Gier. Liber. xx. 31.
the loyalists of his time, who branded all
the dissenters, of whom he was one, and 107. “ Th cloudy van." At first sight
who were the fewer in number, with the the idea conveyed by the word “cloudy'
name of sectaries. I do not think he had appears to contradict what was stated
any such petty design : but that he uses before (80,82, 102) of the “splendour" of
"sect” here (as he often uses words) in their appearance. But in fact there is
the signification of the Latin secta, which no contradiction. That “splendour" was
is opinion ; and hence means a party, as caused by the nature of the combatants
“ Cæsaris secta." See Facciolati. themselves, who were spirits of fire, and
150.“ Il for thee.” Unluckily for by their burnished arms; and the cloudi
thyself thou returnest. ness here is caused by the denseness of
160. “ To win from me some plume." the moving masses, that threw, as it were,
The meaning of this phrase is obvious— a shade about them. So Par. Reg. iii.
to gain some memorial of victory. But 32, 36:
the origin of it I cannot trace. Perhaps “ The field, all iron, cast a gleaming brown, it refers to a custom in Hungary, where Nor wanted clouds of foot."
a plume in the bonnet, the distinguishing There is a passage in Homer (II. iv. 274) mark of the nobles, was only to be worn which Milton, I think, must have recol. by him who slew, or at least defeated, his lected, and which illustrates this view: enemy; each additional victory giving a Τω δε κορυσσεσθην, άμα δε κνεφος είπετο πεζων
claim to wear an additional feather: hence Δημον εε πολεμον, πυκιναι κινυντο φαλαγγες, our phrase, “ It is a feather in his cap." Κυανέαι, σακέσιν τε και εγχεσι πεφρικνιαι.
161. “Success." See note on ii. 9. 108. See note on i. 276.
That thy ill success may point out de111. Æn. ii. 467 :
struction to the rest of thy fellows. “Non tulit hanc speciem furiata mente Choræ
167. “ Ministring spirits." This is bus."—(N.)
spoken in derision ; spirits who are sery113. Thus Homer represents Hector,
ants. Compare this passage with that of before his encounter with Achilles, Il. xxii.
Virgil, Æn. ix. 615:98, communing with his own courageous
“ Desidiæ cordi ; javat indulgere choreis ... soul
O vere Phrygia, neque enim Phryges! ite Οχθησας δ' αρα ειπε προς ον μεγαλητορα θυμο». Dindyma, nbi assuetis biforem dat tibia can
tum, Such soliloquies at the beginning, and sinite arma viris, et cedite ferro."--(N.) even in the midst of battles, are often
Read a comma after “serve" before. used by the ancient poets to describe the
172. Somewhat like Il. xix. 107 :workings of the mind; they fix the read
Ψευστησεις, ουδ' αυτε τελος μυθω επιθησεις. er's attention, make the action more
(Th.) solemn, and give variety. See N.
181. So Hor. ii. Sat. vii. 81:115. “Realty" here means loyalty ;
“ Tu mihi qui imperitas aliis servis miser reale. Italian, signifying loyal.-(P.) Quisnam igitur liber ? sapiens; sibi qui im118. “ Boldest." This word is to be
periosus." here taken in an ill sense, to signify an See Aristotle's Politics, b. i. c. 3 and 4.impudent, presumptuous display of cou (N.) rage. See Johnson's and Richardson's 183. This is said by way of anticipaDictionaries.
tion, or prolepsis. 127. So Menelaus, when he espies his 187. So Ascanius, in Virgil, retorts his great enemy Paris stalking in front of adversary's reproach, Æn. ix. 635, althe armed lines, steps forth to meet him. luding to 599:Il. iii. 21:
"Bis capti Phryges hæc Rutulis responsa remit
tunt "-(N.) Τον δ' ως ουν ενοησεν αρηϊφιλος Μενελαος
189. “Saying" is here a monosyllable. Ερχομενον προπαροιθεν όμιλου, μακρα βιβωντα.
He made the stroke while in the act of 135. “Fool.” An ejaculation used on
speaking.—(N.) a similar occasion in Homer, Il. ii. 38:
190. ^ Which hung not." "Hung"
here is used, as pendere sometimes is, to Νηπιος ! ουδε τα ηδη α ρα Ζευς μηδε το εργα.
signify remaining stationary overhead, as See Tasso, c. iv. st. 2.-(N.)
aves pendent, nubila pendent."
193. “Ruin.” In the primary sense a genitive case ; as Aristophanes, in Plut. of ruina, a swift and violent descent ac 268: Ω χρυσoν αγγειλας επων,
"O thou companied with injury.
who tellest me a gold of words," for golden 194, 195. Compare Homer, Il. v. 308 : words. So Sydney's Arcadia, p. 2,
-αυταρ όγ' ήρως “ opening the cherry of her lips,” for her Eστη γνυξ εριπων, και ερεισατο χειρι παχειη cherry lips. See T. Tains .
223—227. The syntax of this obscure Hesiod (Scut. Herc. 421,) compares sentence, which the commentators have Cygnus to an oak, or towering cliff, fall not noticed, I take to be, “ Of how much ing when struck by a thunderbolt. But
greater power (than an individual angel, Spenser's description of the fall of the old however mighty) to raise, &c. was army dragon, Fairy Queen, I. xi. 54, is more against army numberless (of such angels) to the point, though much inferior : warring: and they would have destroyed it, ** So down he fell, as an huge rocky clift, had not, &c."; such an ellipsis is necesWhose false foundation waves have washed sary to explain “had not the eternal
away, With dreadful poise is from the mainland
King overruled ;” and is warranted by rift."-(St., Th.)
670, 671. Milton, in imitation of the 203. “ The vast of heaven."
ancient classics, occasionally uses such This is
an ellipsis. an elegant Latinism, similar to opaca
232. Each single warrior, though led locorum, strata viarum," (Virg. Æn. ii. and 1.) Shakspeare uses the words, “ vast
in fight, was as expert as a commander
in-chief. So the angels are celebrated, of night,” Tempest, act i. sc. 2.
first for their numbers, then for their 209–211. What daring figures are
strength, and lastly for their expertness here! Every thing is animated. The
in war.-(N.) But what strikes me as very chariot-wheels are mad and raging ;
the main difficulty, the application of and how admirably do these rough verses
“though” before, I do not find noticed. bray the horrible discord they would de
Does it mean that God limited their scribe! “Bray" was applied to any loud
might, though so numerous, and indiviharsh noise. Fairy Queen, I. viii. 11 :
dually powerful and experienced; or that, “ He loudly bray'd with beastly yelling sound."
though so numerous, yet each individual Shakspeare, Hamlet, act i.:
was as powerful as a whole legion, and “The kettle drum and trumpet thus bray out
appeared as experienced as a leader ? The triumph of his pledge.”—(N., Johns.) 236. “ The ridges of grim war.” A 212–214. Bentley thinks that Milton
metaphor taken from a ploughed field;
the rows of men answer to the “ridges," was hurried away by poetic fury in this
which here mean the ranks and the files ; sublime passage to be regardless of pro
the ranks are the rows from flank to flank, priety and syntax, as it is incorrect to say, “ the hiss flew and vaulted,” and pro
or from left to right; the files are from
front to rear.-(R.) Homer often uses poses to read "with dismal hiss the fiery darts,” &c. But Pearce observes, that
the words πολεμοιο γεφυρας, the bridges there is a peculiar force sometimes in
of the war, or battle, which are applied to
the intervals between the lines.—"No ascribing, as here, that to a circumstance of a thing, which more properly belongs
thought of flight.” So Il. xxiv. 216 :to the thing itself; that to the “hiss," - ουτε φοβου μεμνημενον ουτ' αλεωρης. which belongs to the “darts.” “Hiss of
239. “ Moment." In the Latin sense darts" is a poetic way of speaking for
of momentum, that which gives a preponhissing darts. So ii. 654: "A cry of
derance to one scale. So x. 45. The hell hounds never ceasing barked," is the
thought, which is afterwards more fully same as crying hell hounds never ceasing
developed in the words, “in even scale barked. So vii. 66: “ As one whose
the baitle hung," is exemplified by a padrought still eyes the stream,” for “ one
rallel passage in Homer, ll. xii. 433:who droughty eyes.” So Virgil, Æn. iv. 132:
ωστε ταλαντα γυνη ....
Ως μεν των επι ισα μαχη τετατοπτολεμος τε. -"ruunt equites et odora canum vis,"
(N.) where what is proper to the dogs is said 242. Read a comma after “various;" of their scent. Upton, in his Critical for the syntax is, the war was sometimes Observations on Shakspeare, says, the a standing fight on the ground, and then substantive is sometimes to be classically again tormented all the air. In order to construed as an adjective, when governing comprehend the full force of the word
* tormented” here, we must, I think, look to the root of the word, which is tormentum, an engine used in ancient warfare for the projection of destructive missiles.
245. Ην δ αγων ισορροπος. urip. Supplic. 706.—(T.)
247. Though Abdiel foiled him before (190), yet Milton seems to think that Satan would have eventually proved an overmatch for him, had not the combat been broken off by the general engagement.-(N.)
250. See Samson Agon. 138.—(T.)
251. “ Two-handed sway.” In allusion to the two-handed sword used in the Gothic times.—(N.)
255. Tasso (vii. 82) mentions an ada
intine shield; but Milton says, “tenfold adamant."--(N.)
266. Read a comma after “adherents."
275. So in Tasso, ix. 64, Michael rebukes the infernal spirits who fought against the Christians.-(N.)
282. “ Satan" properly means adversary. Il. xx. 200:
Πηλείδη μη δημ’ επεεσσι γε, νηπντιον ώς,
285. Observe the peculiarity of construction here; the substantive “flight' is connected by the conjunction or with the infinitive “fall,” both depending on “turned." There are similar instances in Milton, in imitation of the classics. Expunge the comma after “me," 286.
298. i.e. Can relate that fight, or to what conspicuous things on earth which may lift, &c. can liken it.-(N.)
306. So Shakspeare, Hen. V.:“For now sits Expectation in the air.”—(7.)
313. The conjunction copulative is here omitted before "two planets," as is not unusual in rapid and impassioned descriptions. Some commentators think that the grandeur of this simile is tarnished by the introduction of the notion of the malignancy of the planets in a particular aspect. But I rather think that it is appropriately introduced to express the determined rancour of the combatants' hostility. The notion was ancient one, and made use of in poetry. Todd quotes Beaumont and Fletcher, Span. Curate, act i. sc. 1: “Now they begin to burn like opposed meteors."
316—319. The meaning and prosaic construction ofthis difficult passage which the commentators have overlooked, is, I think, this:-“ They both together, each
with an arm next in power to the Almighty one, lifted up and imminent, (like the Latin imminens, hanging overhead ready to fall) aimed one stroke which might determine (i.e. bring the matter to a terminus or end) and need not repeat (i.e. renew or try it again) as not of power at once (i.e. as if there was not sufficient power in it at once to decide the combat.)" If the stroke had not such sufficient power at once, they should repeat it. But they intended such a blow as had this power to end the matter at once, at the first touch, and required no repetition. Latinisms run through the whole sentence; “determine” and “repeat” are to be taken here as neuter verbs; repetere in Suetonius is applied to the repetition of a blow. Suet. in Caligul. c. 58 : " Cæteri vulneribus triginta confecerunt (scil. Caligulam), nam signum erat omnium, Repete." In Celsus it is the same as redire, b. iv. c. 14: “ Cum morbi repelunt."
320—330. Milton, notwithstanding the vastness of his genius, has drawn to his aid all the helps he could find in the most approved authors. Homer and Virgil give their heroes swords of divine temper; and in 2 Maccabees xv. the Jewish hero receives a sword from Jeremiah the prophet, as the gift of God. Jeremiah also mentions the armoury of God, i. 25. But this sword of Michael seems to be copied from Arthegal's in Spenser's Fairy Queen, V. i. 10. There is a beautiful passage in the Iliad, iji. 363, where the sword of Menelaus in his combat with Paris breaks in pieces; and the line is so contrived that, as Eustathius observes, we not only see the action as it were, but fancy we hear the sound of the breaking :Τριχθα τε και τετραχθα διατρυφεν εκπεσε χειρος, . As Virgil in his account of the combat between Æneas and Turnus could not equal this kind of beauty, he has, with great judgment, substituted another, by artfully making breaks in the beginning of the verse, to express the breaking short of the sword of Turnus, when it struck against armour tempered by a god :
Arrectæque amborum acies; at perfidus ensis Frangitur; in medioque ardentem deserit
ictu. - postquam arma dei ad Vulcania ventum est, Mortalis mucro, glacies ceu futilis, ictu
Dissiluit; fuiva resplendent fragmina arena." Satan's sword is not broken in fragments like those of Menelaus and Paris, but quite and clean in two; and the dividing
of the sword in two is very well expressed
362. Addison thinks Milton had his by half a verse. Milton carries on eye on Mars when wounded, Il. v. 860, beauties of the same kind to the descrip- raising a yell loud as ten thousand men tion of the wound, and the verses seem in battle, and retiring from the field. almost painful in describing Satan's pain. Thyer quotes Fairy Queen, I. xi. 20 :“ Shared,” divided; "griding," cutting; “The piercing steele then wrought a wound both used by Spenser in this sense.
full wide “Discontinuous," separating the conti
That with the uncouth paine the monster nuity of parts.-(Ad., N., T.)
loudly cry'd." 332. Bentley objects to “nectarous,"
363. As Adam did not know Raphael's because nectar was the drink of the gods; name, therefore he speaks of himself hisand proposes ichorous. Pearce replies, torically in the third person.—(B.) that this stream was not of nectarous hu. 365. “ Adramelech." “ And the Semour only, but of nectarous humour san pharvites burnt their children in the fire guine, i. e. ichor; besides, ichorous would to Adramelech,'' 2 Kings xvii. ; i. be a wrong substitute; for, from its de they were transplanted to Samaria by rivation, 'xwp, the middle syllable of it Shalmaneser.—(H.) “ Asmadai," Asshould be long. Homer, v. 339, where
modeus. See note on iv. 168. Diomede wounds Venus, represents a
368. “Plate” is the broad solid armour; pure thin kind of liquid, not blood, called
“ mail” is that composed of small pieces ichor, which was not produced from earthly
laid one over another like scales of fish food, issuing from the wound. And though
or the feathers of fowl. See v. 284.the pain was great, the wound soon closed. (R.) Il. v. 339:
371. “ The violence of Ramiel.” So
Æn. xi. 376 : “ violentia Turni," the vioρεε δ' αμβροτον αιμα θεοιο, Ιχωρ, οίος περ τε ρεει μακαρεσσι θεοισιν'
lent Turnus.-( Up.) Ου γαρ σιτον εδουσ', ου πινουσ' αιθοπα οινον, 386. “The battle swerved." So Hesiod, Τουνεκ' αναιμονες εισι, και αθανατοι καλεονται. Theog. 711: eKAlvon uaxn.-( Th.) 334. The following passage from
391. “ What stood” must be consi. Spenser, Fairy Queen, I. v. 9, is quoted dered in opposition to what “lay overby Church and Callender :
turned" in the preceding line ; and then “ The cruel steele so greedily doth bite
there is no impropriety in the words being In tender flesh, that streames of blood down the subject to "recoiled” and “fled.” — flow,
(N.) With which the armes that erst so bright did
399. “Cubic." Though, strictly, to show Into a pure vermillion now are dyde." have been cubic, it must have been as high 335. Thus the leaders of the Trojans
as it was broad; yet by poetic license it rescue their chief, Hector, when struck
here means four-square only, having that down by Ajax; and convey him to his
property of a cube to be equal in length
on all sides.-(P.) chariot which stood waiting for him be
407. Hor. i. Sat. v. 9:yond the range of the battle, Il. xiv.
" Jam nox inducere terris Umbras......parabat."
(Th.) τον δ' αρ' έταιροι Χερσιν αειραντες φερον εκ πονου, οφρ' ίκεθ' ιπ
410. “ Foughten field." Shakspeare,
“ As in this glorious and well foughten field.” (H.)
(T.) _“ Was run by angels," i. e. angels ran. 413. “ Cherubic waving fires," i.e. This is a pure Latinism, the neuter verb Cherubim like fires waving; these were being used impersonally passive.
the watches. The Cherubim were re348. The same comparison is in Shak markable for their love and fidelity; speare, Macbeth, act v.
hence, they are properly made here the “ As easy may'st thou the intrenchant air sentinels. With thy keen sword impress, as make me 415. So Agamemnon (Il. ix.) after bleed."-(N.)
his defeat summons a council by night. 350. This is expressed very much like -(N.) Pliny's account of God, Nat. Hist. b. i. 417. This speech is much admired. c. 7.-(N.)
While it artfully flatters the pride of his 355. See note on v. 371.
followers, and holds out to them hopes of 359. See 2 Kings xix. 22.-(Gil.) future success, it eminently marks his own
unbounded ambition and undaunted re-
432. So Prometheus, (Æsch. Prom.
440. “Worse," to worse, a very unusual verb.
442. “ None," no odds being, (case absol.)
447. “Nisroch," a god of the Ninevites, in whose temple Sennacherib was assassinated by his two sons, 2 Kings xix. His speaking afterwards of pain as the greatest of evils, the doctrine of Hieronymus and others, was suitable to the deity of the effeminate Assyrians.-(N.)
455. “ Against unpained, impassive." Against those who feel no pain, and cannot suffer from external causes.
468. i.e. Deserves as great a debt as we would owe for our entire deliverance.
472. “Which" is the nominative to “surveys,” 476; but as it is so many lines before the verb, he throws in another nominative expressing the same thing, " whose eye."-(N.) I rather think " which" is the nominative to is understood. Which of us is there who beholds, and whose eye so superficially surveys ? &c. I have noticed already the frequent suppression of the substantive verb in Milton, in imitation of the ancient classic poets.
Spume,” froth, foam. He uses “ foam," 512.
482. These" refers to “ materials," as does “ which,” 484. Ariosto, (Orl. Fur. ix. 28,) and Spenser, (Fairy Queen, I. vii. 13,) somewhat in the same way describe cannon, and attribute the invention to the devil.-" The deep,” though generally used for hell, is here only used in opposition to “surface,” 472, and is the same as deep under ground,” 478. -(N.)
514. “ Concocted and adusted," i.e. purified and made quite dry by heat, (adustus.) By mistake “
adjusted" has been printed in the text of this edition for “adusted;" and a comma has been placed after “part,” 516.
517. The stone may have been mentioned here as what they used for “balls;": or perhaps to express more distinctly that the metal of which the “engines” and " balls” were made, was enclosed in, and mixed with a stony substance in the mine.-(P.)
521. “Conscious night.” Ovid. Met. XV.:
“Quorum nox conscia sola est."-(H.) 526. Virg. Æn. v. 113:"Et tuba commissos medio canil æquore ludos.“
(N.) Panoply," (Frayonda,) complete armour, covering the body from head to foot.
528. “Dawning hills." A beautifully figurative expression, as the dawn first appears from above the hills, and they seem to bring the rising day. See väi. 520.-(N.)
533. Because they had a large train of artillery to draw, which they were anxious to conceal; hence "slow but firm."-(N.)
537. So Sil. Ital. Punic. Bell. v. 98:-
This metaphor is used in many languages to express a great multitude. Heb. xii. 1: "a cloud of witnesses." Hom. Il. iv. 274: νεφος πεξων. Virg. Æn. viii. 793 : “ nimbus peditum."-(N.)
541. “Sad,” (tristis,) grave, sullen, resolute.
542. Thus the leader in the Iliad, ii. 382, directs his warriors in the same way :Εν μεν τις δορυ θηξασθω, ευ δ' ασπιδα θεσθω, Ευ δε τις ίπποισι δειπνον δοτω ωκυποδεσσι, Ευ δε τις αρματος αμφις ιδων, πολεμοιο μεδεσθω" “Ως κε πανημεριοι στυγερή κρινωμεθ' Αρη, Ου γαρ πανσωληγε μετεσσεται, ουδ' ηβαιον Ει μη νυξ ελθουσα διακρινεει μενος ανδρων. “ Adamantine coat." Hor. i. Od. vi
" Martem turtica tectum adamantina." 548. “Impediment.” The Latin impedimentum, baggage, in reference to the enemies' artillery.-(N.)
553. “ Training," drawing in train, from the term train of artillery.-(N.)
568. Though this scoffing has been censured as below the dignity of the subject, yet Homer has instances of it. In the 16th book of the Niad, when Meriones, a Cretan, had nimbly stepped aside to evade the spear of Æneas, Æneas jokes on his dancing powers, the Cretans being famous dancers. So when Patroclus strikes down from the chariot Hector's charioteer, he scoffs at his exhibition as a diver. Here these insulting malignant sneers are quite suited to the character of the devils. -(N., Gil.)