« PreviousContinue »
world, from whence he had come down. It was evening when Messiah passed the sentence-92; after that Sin and Death made the bridge ; so that the sun might be rising in Aries, when they met Satan steering his zenith.--(P., N.)
344. Which being understood not to be immediate, but remote, he returned. In Milton's editions there was a full stop after “time." The present punctuation which is now adopted was proposed by Tickell.-(N.)
345.“ With joy and tidings," i.e. with joyful tidings. So Virgil, Æn. i. 636, "Munera lætitiamque Dei,” for “munera læta."'-(R.)
368.“ Our liberty confined,” i. e. the liberty of us confined; this is a classical mode of expression, in which the personal pronoun adjective is to be taken as the genitive pronoun substantive often used by Milton; see iv. 129; viii. 423; ix. 909.-(P.)
381." His quadrature.” He here follows Gassendus, and others, who say the empyreum was square, because (Rev. xxi. 16) the holy city is “ four-square," while he represents the world as “round." In ii. 1048 he says it was undetermined whether the world was square or round. But that applies to Satan, who viewed it at a great distance.-(N.)
412. Ovid's description of the journey of Envy to Athens, and Milton's of Sin and Death to Paradise, have a great resemblance. But whatever Milton imitates, he adds a greatness to it; as in this place he alters Ovid's flowers, herbs, people, and cities, to stars, planets, and worīds, Ov. Met. ii. 793:“Quacumque ingreditur, florentia proterit arva,
Exuritque herbas, et summa cacumina carAfflatuque suo populos, urbesque, domosque
Polluit. “ Planet-struck" is an epithet used to express a thing as blasted and withered; and what a sublime idea doth it give us of the devastations of Sin and Death !-(N., Essay on Milton.)
415. “Causey." Causeway, an elevated road, as the bridge was.
417. See note on 306.
426. “ Paragoned.” Equalled, from the French paragonner.-(H.)
432. “ Astracan," a considerable part of the Russian emperor's dominion, formerly a Tartarian kingdom, with a capital of the same name near the mouth of the Volga, at its fall into the Caspian sea. “ Or Bactrian Sophi," the Persian cm
peror, so named from Bactria, one of the richest provinces in Persia. “ From the horns of Turkish crescent," i. e. his Turkish enemies who bear the crescent, or figure of the half-moon, in their ensigns. “ Aladule," the greater Armenia, called from Aladules, its last king, slain by Selymus the First, in his retreat to Tauris, or Ecbatana, a chief city of Persia. “ Casbeen," one of the greatest cities of Persia towards the Caspian sea.—(H.) “ From the horns," i. e. retreating from the horns. “ From" is often used by Milton without expressing the participle which is yet to be supplied in the sense. See ii. 542; viii. 213; ix. 396.-(P.) For “ Taurus," 436, read “ Tauris."
441, &c. This entire description very much resembles in its outline that adventure of Æneas (Æneid, i. 439):“ Infert se septus nebula, mirabile dictu ! Per medios miscetque viris; neque cernitur
451. “ Divan," is properly the secret council of the Turkish emperors. Whether this is to be considered a reflection on the Turks, or a poetic use of foreign words, is of little consequence. See i. 348, 795.
458. So Lucan says of Cæsar before addressing his soldiers. Pharsal. i. 297:
"turba coeunte, tumultum Composuit vultu; dextrâque silentia jussit,
(T.) 460. Milton in imitation of Homer, who is wont to use the same verse several times, especially in the beginning of his speeches, here repeats this line which he has used before, (v. 600, 772, 839), and with great effect, as it was first used by God-v. 600.-(See N.)
471. “Unreal.” Because things, which are always changing, have no real existence; the doctrine of Plato, who called God to ov, and describes material things as scarcely in reality existing.-(St.)
475. “ Uncouth," from the Saxon uncud, unknown. “ To ride the untractable abyss." See ii. 540; ix. 63; Hor. iv. Od. iv. 44:
“ Per Siculas equitavit undas." But the toil was in riding an untractable abyss.—(N.)
480. See the account, ii. 1008, which does not agree with this. But Satan is here extolling his own virtues, and the
author did not, perhaps, intend that the the air over Africa, were said to have profather of lies should keep to the truth. - duced serpents. See Ovid, Met. iv. 616, (N.)
&c. ; Lucan, Pharsal. ix. 698 ; Apol. 494. “ True is." A Latinism, verum Rhod. Arg. iv. 1515; and Dante, Inferno, est.
c. xxiv. st. 85.-(N., St., T.) 499.“ When is not set." But the
528. “Ophinsa." A small island in time when is not specified.
the Mediterranean, so called by the 503. “ But up." But to rise up. A Greeks, from opis, a serpent; and by the Græcism, ava, is often thus used alone. Latins Colubraria, from Coluber, a snake.
513—515. Supplanted—reluctant." The inhabitants quitted it for fear of being We have here an instance of a singular devoured by serpents.—(R.) It is one beauty and elegance in Milton's language, of the Balearic islands, and is now called of which there are numerous examples in Fromentera, from its fertility in corn. other parts of this work, that is, his using 529. “ Now dragon grown.” Lucan, words in their strict and literal sense, (Pharsal. ix. 698,) in his description of which are commonly applied in a meta- the Lybian or African serpents, mentions phorical meaning; whereby he gives pe- the “ dragon” as the greatest of them all. culiar force to his expressions, and the In Rev. xii. 9, Satan is called “the great literal meaning appears more new and dragon;" and he is well said to be larger striking than the metaphor itself. “Sup- than the great
“ Python," of which planted" and "reluctant” are both terms monster, see Ov. Met. i. 438.-(N.) of the gymnasium-supplantare, a planta 546. “ Exploding." Explodens ; the pedis subtus emota, is properly to trip up, word, in its original, signifying to hiss or or upset one, and reluctans is struggling shout an actor off the stage (see 508); it against, in wrestling. Milton, in this being the opposite of applaud. description, had, no doubt, in view the 560. The curls in the hair of Megæra, transformation of Cadmus into a serpent, one of the Furies, was said to consist of to which he alluded, ix. 505; though he twisted snakes. Ov. Met. iv. 771. far exceeds Ovid, as he here represents 561. He here alludes to the celebrated the transformation of myriads of angels apples of Sodom, that grow near the lake into serpents.
The whole passage in Asphaltites, (or Dead Sea,) over the anOv. Met. iv. 575 is this :
cient Sodom; so called from the quantity “ Dixit; et ut serpens in longam tenditur al- of asphaltos found floating on it. These vum,
apples, which have been celebrated from In pectusque cadit pronus ; commissaque in
the time of Josephus downwards, as being Paulatim tereti sinuantur acumine crura. most alluring to the eye, but containing Ille quidem vult plura loqui; sed linqua re- only dust and ashes when tasted, are now
pente In partes est fissa duas ; nec verba volenti
found, according to the modern discoveSufliciunt; quotiesque aliquos parat edere ries of those great travellers, Seetzen and questus,
Burkhardt, to be a fruit of a reddish yelSibilat: hanc illi vocem natura relinquit.”
low colour, about three inches in diameCompare also Dante, Inferno, c. xxv. ter, which contains a white substance, st. 105, &c.—(N., D.) Read a comma resembling the finest silk; and, when the after “reluctant."
fruit is fresh, it yields, when squeezed, a 518. “ Forked tongue."
milky juice of a very acrid taste; but trisulcis.” Virg. Æn. ii.
when dry, it resembles a fungus in its 524, 525. * Hydrus,” from vowp, contents, which are injurious to the eyes, water, is the water-snake.
and very ignitable, and commonly used from 8iyu, thirst, so called because its by the Arabians for matches for their firesting tormented its victims with un- locks. See Calmet's Dictionary. quenchable thirst. “ Cerastes," from
569. So Virgil, Georg. ii. 246 :Kepas, horn, the horned serpent.--"Amphisbæna," from aupıs and Baivw, because
Tristia tentantum torquebit amaro." it went forward either way, having a head at both ends.—“Elops," Ellwy, from This passage of Virgil has been repreDELTW and oy, the dumb serpent that gives sented as expressing the sense by the no notice, by hissing, to avoid him.-- sound; but it will be conceded by every (H., R.)
judicious scholar, that Milton's lin oes 527. The drops of blood that fell from so more effectively.—“Drugged," a methe amputated head of the Gorgon Me- taphor from the general nauseousness of dusa, when borne by Perseus through drugs.-(N., P.)
" Et ora
571, 572. “ Not as man, whom they triumphed, once lapsed.” Whom they triumphed over, when once lapsed, lapsus, fallen.—“Triumphed” here, and 186, is used in the rare sense of triumpho taken actively. Aurel. Vict. de Ver. illust. 61. -"Achæos bis prælio fudit ; triumphandos Mummio tradidit.” Lactant. vi. 23, “ Hic terram triumphabit."
580—584. “Ophion,” according to the Greek etymology, signifies serpent ; and “Eurynome,” wide ruling; and to show the similitude, Eve is called "wide encroaching," as expressive of her extravagant notions of ambition, after she tasted the forbidden fruit. Jove is called “ Dictæan," from Mount Dicte, in Crete, where he was fabled to have been educated. This story is in Apollonius Rhodius, Argonaut. i. 503. See Newton.
586. i. e. Sin was potentially in Paradise before Eve fell. -"Once," i.e. at the Fall, actually there; and now bodily there. See Ep. Rom. vi. 6.-(P.)
589. This alludes to that passage in Scripture (Rev. vi. 8) 80 wonderfully poetical and terrifying to the imagination, “And I looked, and behold a pale horse! and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him; and power was given unto them," &c. He has given a fine turn to this poetical thought, by saying that Death had not yet commenced his all-conquering career. -(Ad., Gr.)
601. “This vast unhidebound corpse." i. e. The skin not tight-braced, but hanging loose about him, as a lean famished monster, and capable of containing a great deal more without being distended. (N.)
606. It is certain that Milton had his eye on the passage of Sophocles, Electra, 1499:
Ιδεθ' όπου προνέμεται
θελγε δε κηρας θυμοβορους, αιοα ο θοας κυνας, αι περι πασαν Ηερα δινευουσαι επι ζωοισιν αγονται. . Dogs are thus metaphorically used in several parts of Scripture.—(N., St.)
640. * Till then the curse on both precedes." i. e. The curse pronounced on heaven and earth, implied in the word " renewed” (638), precedes, or goes before sin and death, to direct them.-(R.) Some commentators, following Bentley,
would read proceeds, will go on, or continue.
641-645, &c. See Rev. xix. 6 ; xv. 3; xvi. 7. They first sung to God the Father, which is the meaning of Jah, in Hallelujah, praise God the Father.-(P., T.).
647, &c. “ New heaven and earth." The Jewish phrase to express our world. -" To the ages.” To the aurea sa
sæcula, the millennium, or "ages of endless date," as xii. 549. See iii. 334 ; xii. 547.“ Descend," Rev. xxi. 2, the new Jerusalem is mentioned as coming down from heaven.-(N.)
656. “The blanc moon," From the French blanc, white; the candida luna of Virgil. See Virg. Georg. i. 335.—(N.)
659. If a planet, in one part of the zodiac, be distant from another by a sirth part of twelve, i. e. by two signs, their aspect is called sextile ; if by a fourth, square ; if by a third, trine ; and if by one-half, opposite ; which last is said to be of noxious efficacy, because the planets so opposed are thought to strive, debilitate, and overcome one another ; deemed of evil consequence to those born under or subject to the influence of the distressed star.-—(H.)
665, &c. It was eternal spring before the fall (iv. 268); and Milton now accounts for the change of seasons after the fall, and mentions the two famous hypotheses. Some say it was occasioned by altering the position of the earth, by turning the poles of the earth above twenty degrees aside from the sun's orb; and the poles of the earth are twenty-three degrees and a half from those of the ecliptic.—“ Pushed oblique the centric globe." It was erect before, but is oblique now; the obliquity of a sphere is the proper astronomical term, when the pole is raised any number of degrees less than ninety. As the globe rested on its centre, centric, it required great labour to push it aside; or centric, as being the centre of the world, according to the Ptolemaic system.
-“Some say," again this change was occasioned by altering the course of the sun. The constellation Taurus, with the seven stars in his neck, the Pleiades, daughters of Atlas; and the Spartan twins, or Gemini, Castor and Pollux ; up to the tropic of Cancer, or Crab; then down, by the signs Leo, Virgo, aud Libra, to the tropic of Capricorn, which was as far to the south of the equator as Cancer was to the north of it. This motion of the sun in the ecliptic occasions the variety of seasons. -(N.)
679. For "verdant” read vernant, from “ Una eurusque notusque ruunt creberque pro
Africus, et vastos volvunt ad litora fluctus." 686, 687. “Estotiland." A tract of country towards Hudson's Bay in the 711. “ To graze the herb all leaving." extreme north of America. -—“Magellan," This passage has been cavilled at. But the name of a strait that separates the Newton very properly replies that it is southern point of America from the island stated in Genesis i. 30, “And to every of Terra del Fuego.
beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the 688." Thyestean banquet.” The phrase air, I have given every green herb for was proverbial for a horrid scene, which meat ;" and in regard to fish, Milton exwas the subject of many tragic represent- pressly says (vii. 404) that they “graze ations among the Greeks. King Atreus the sea-weed, their pasture.—" All" here having ascertained that his brother Thy- does not mean all and every one in partiestes had clandestine connexion with his cular, but only all in general. All the wife, invited him, hypocritically, to din- three kinds, though not all of the three ner; and, having seized his sons, had kinds devour each other. them slain and served up to their father. 736–741. The commentators censure It is related, that the sun stopped its these lines as not in keeping with the course in horror at the event. Compare excellencies of this speech. Milton (ver. the Electra of Euripides, 737:
740, 741) makes Adam speak according
to the notions of the peripatetics, which Λεγεται (scil. Ζευς,) Στρεψαι θερμα αελιου
were in vogue in his day, though now exΧρυσωπον εόρων αλλαξαν
ploded, that elementary bodies do not Γα δυστυκια βρωτεια
gravitate in their natural places : not air Θνατας ένεκεν δικας.-(R., Τ.)
in air, not water in water. Water really 696. “ Norumbega," a province of does weigh in water as much as it does North America. -"Samoieda,”a province out of it.-(N., Sl.) Expunge the stop in the north-east of Muscovy, upon the after “light,” 740. frozen ocean.-(H.)
758. “ Thou didst," &c. The change 697, 698. So Claudian, De Rapt. Pro- of persons, sometimes speaking of himself serp. i. 69:
in the first person, and sometimes to " Ceu turbine rauco
himself in the second, is very remarkable Cum gravis armatur Boreas, glacieque nivali."
in this speech; as well as the change of (R.)
passions. So he sometimes speaks of “Stormy gust and flaw.” “ Flaw" is a God, and sometimes to God.—(N.) This stronger word here than "gust," from the change has been used by the best classic Greek praw, to break. So Shakspeare, writers. Ven. and Adon.:
761. This and ver. 743 are taken from
Isaiah xlv. 9, 10.-(T.) " Like a red morn that ever yet betokened Gust and foul flaws to herdsmen and to 773. “ Fixed on this day." But it may herds."
be questioned whether it was now this Boreas," " the north wind; “Cæcias," day; for the night of this day is menthe north-west ;
Argestes,” the north- tioned before in ver. 342, and the sun's east; “Thracias," blowing from Thrace, rising is taken notice of in ver. 329.north of Greece; “Notus,” the south ; (N.) He uses a poetic license. “ Afer," the south-west, from Africa. 778. There are some resemblances in “Levant" and “ Ponent," the eastern and this pathetic speech to the words of Job, western, the one blowing from the rising,
ch. ii.-(T.) the other from the setting sun ;
783. “Lest all I cannot die." A clasco," blowing from Syria ; " Libecchio," sical phrase—“ Non omnis moriar," from Lybia; all four being Italian terms. Hor. iii. Od. xxx. 6. "Non toti mori“ Seira liona," mountains to the south- mur," Senec. Troad. die altogether.-(T.) west of Africa, so called from the storms 797. Expunge the comma after “end." roaring there like lions.—(H., R.) Though
Beyond dust." In reference to in this account of the winds there is some that part of the sentence, 208, “For dust ostentation of learning, yet the learned thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return." reader must admit that there is nothing So that Bentley's proposed substitution in the classics at all comparable to it. of just for dust is quite idle.-(P.) Among many other passages, the cli ssical 806. An allusion to an axiom of the reader cannot fail to recollect the fol- schoolmen, omne efficiens agit secunlowing, Virg. Æn. i. 85:
dum vires recipientis, non suas." All
causes or agents act in proportion to the reception, or capacity of the subject matter, and not to the extent of their own power.-(N.)
813, 814. The thought is as fine as it is natural. Let the sinner invent ever so many arguments for the annihilation of the soul, yet the fear of everlasting punishment will come thundering back upon him.-(N.)
828. “All disputes." All disputations and arguments with himself.
840. Adam here in his agony of mind aggravates his misery, and concludes it to be worse than that even of the fallen angels, or all future men, who had only their own misery to bear.-“ Future." The emphasis is here laid as in the Latin futúrum. He also compares himself to Satan, as being the first and chief transgressor.-(N.)
850, 851. Compare Homer Il. xviii. 26. 854. Sophocles, Philoct. 793 :-Ω θανατε, θανατε, πως αει καλουμενος Ούτω κατ' ημαρ ου δυνη μολειν ποτε.-(Ν.)
859. The slowness of retributive justice is not only a common poetic idea, but is become proverbial.
861. Alluding to part of Adam's hymn, v. 202, &c. So Virg. Ecl. i. 5 :“Formosam resonare doces Amaryllida sylvas." -(D.)
872. “That too heavenly form pretended to hellish falsehood." "Pretended” is used in the original sense of the Latin prætentus, held or placed before, like a fence. So Virg. Georg. i. 270,“ Segeti pratendere sepem.” Æn. vi. 60, “Prætentaque syrtibus arva.”—(P.)
886. “ More to the part sinister," or the left part, or side, from which the rib is supposed to have been taken. Hence it is stated the woman is placed, during the marriage-service, on the left of the man.--(Bo.)
887. Dr. Newton observes, that some writers were of opinion, that Adam had thirteen ribs on one side, one more than his just number; and that from this supernumerary rib God formed Eve, to which opinion Milton here alludes.
888. So Hippolytus expostulates with Jupiter for not creating man without women, Eurip. Hippol. 616:
Ω Ζευ, τι δη, κιβδηλον αιθρωποις κακον,
Θυκ εκ γυναικων χρην παρασχεσθαι τοδε. Jason talks in the same strain in the Medea, 573, &c. : and such sentiments, perhaps, procured for Euripides the name
of " woman hater." So Ariosto, Orl. Furios. c. 27, st. 120.-(N.)
910, &c. It is stated in Milton's Life that this is a picture of his wife, begging forgiveness for deserting and offending him. See 937.
914. See the Philoctetes of Sophocles where Philoctetes earnestly implores Neoptolemus not to leave him in the island :
Μη λιπης ούτω μονον Ερημον εν κακoισι τοισο' οίοις όραςΠεισθητι προσπιτνω σε γονάσι, καιπερ των Ακράτωρ ο τλημων χωλος" αλλα μη μ' αφης Ερημον ούτω χωρις ανθρωπων στιβου.-(St.)
921. Such is the pathetic language of Tecmessa to Ajax, Sophocl. Ajax, 520:
Τις δητ' εμοι γενοιτ' αν αντι σου πατρις,
972. In some good editions there is only a comma after “acceptance."
978. “ As in our evils." Considering the extent of our evils ; an elegant Latin use of the word as. Cic. Ep. Fam. iv. 9, “ Ut in tali re, etiam fortuna laudatur ;" xii. 2: “ Nonnihil ut in tantis malis, est profectum."--(R.) 1008, 1009. Virgil, Æn. iv. 644:
"Maculisque trementes Interfusa genas, et pallida morte futura."
(H.) 1024. “Forestalled." This word was formerly used, as here, in the sense of hindered, prevented. So Comus, 285,(Wart.)
1066. “ Locks of trees," Newton says, is a Latinism; “ arboribusque comæ," Hor. iv. Od. vii. 2; but Callender says it is a Homeric figure, δρυς υψικομους, Il. xxiii. 118.
1069. “ This diurnal star leave cold the night." The star of day, as in Lycidas : " So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed.” So that this was spoken as if it was now day, whereas it was night before, 844.—(N.) There is here an allusion, perhaps, to Homer, II. viii. 485:
Εν δ' επεσ' ωκεανω λαμπρον φαος ηλιοιο Ελκον νυκτα μελάιναν επι ζειδωρον αρουρα».
(Stil.) 1071, 1072. “ Sere." Dry, or withered, as in Lycidas, “ with ivy never sere." This description is according to Virgil's Æn. i. 175:"Suscepitque ignem foliis, atque arida circum
Nutrimenta dedit, rapuitque in fomite fam.
“Or by collision," &c. Milton here plainly alludes to Lucretius's aceount of the origin of fire, v. 1091.-(H.)