Page images
PDF
EPUB

66

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

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 worlds, Ov. Met. ii. 793:"Quacumque ingreditur, florentia proterit arva, Exuritque her bas, et summa cacumina car

pit ; Aflatuque 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 em

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 Selyinus 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

ulli
Dissimulant; et nube cava speculantur

amicti-
Vix ea fatus erat, quum circumfusa repente
Scindit se nubes, et in æthera pergat apertum.
Restitit Æneas, claraque in luce refulsit,
Os humerosque Deo similis."-(N., Pope.)

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.)

Uncouth," from the Saxon uncud, unknown. “To ride the untractable abyss." See ii. 540; ix. 63; Hor. iv. Od. iv. 44:

"Per Siculas cquitavit 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

at

475.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

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, aya, 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. Or. 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. 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 discoveSufficiunt; 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.” Linguis milky juice of a very acrid taste; but trisulcis.” Virg. Æn. ii.

when dry, it resembles a fungus in its 524, 525. * Hydrus," from uswp, contents, which are injurious to the eyes, water, is the water-snake. Dipsas, and very ignitable, and commonly used from diya, 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.—“ Am

" Et ora phisbæna,” from aupıs and Bauw, 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 repredelw and 04, 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 line does 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.)

unum

66

[ocr errors]

571, 572. “ Not as man, whom they would read proceeds, will go on, or contriumphed, once lapsed.” Whom they tinue. triumphed over, when once lapsed, lapsus, 641-645, &c. See Rev. xix. 6 ; xv. 3; fallen.—“Triumphed " here, and 186, is xvi. 7. They first sung to God the Father, used in the rare sense of triumpho taken which is the meaning of Jah, in Halleluactively. Aurel. Vict. de Ver. illust. 61. jah, praise God the Father.—(P., T.) _"Achæos bis prælio fudit ; triumphan- 647, &c. “ New heaven and earth." dos Mummio tradidit." Lactant. vi. 23, The Jewish phrase to express our world. “ Hic terram triumphabit."

" To the ages.” To the aurea sæcula, 580—584. “Ophion,” according to the millennium, or ages

of endless date,' the Greek etymology, signifies serpent ; as xii. 549. See iii. 334 ; xii. 547.and “ Eurynome,” wide ruling; and to “ Descend," Rev. xxi. 2, the new Jerusashow the similitude, Eve is called "wide lem is mentioned as coming down from encroaching,” as expressive of her extra- heaven.-(N.) vagant notions of ambition, after she 656. “The blanc moon," From the tasted the forbidden fruit. Jove is called French blanc, white; the candida luna of “ Dictæan," from Mount Dicte, in Crete, Virgil. See Virg. Georg. i. 335.-(N.) where he was fabled to have been educated. 659. If a planet, in one part of the This story is in Apollonius Rhodius, Ar- zodiac, be distant from another by a sirth gonaut. i. 503. See Newton.

part of twelve, i. e. by two signs, their 586. i. e. Sin was potentially in Para- aspect is called sextile ; if by a fourth, dise before Eve fell." Once," i. e. at the square ; if by a third, trine ; and if by Fall, actually there; and now bodily there. one-half, opposite ; which last is said to be See Ep. Rom. vi. 6.-(P.)

of noxious efficacy, because the planets so 589. This alludes to that passage in opposed are thought to strive, debilitate, Scripture (Rev. vi. 8) so wonderfully and overcome one another ; deemed of poetical and terrifying to the imagina- evil consequence to those born under or tion, “And I looked, and behold a pale subject to the influence of the distressed horse! and his name that sat on him was star.-(H.) Death, and Hell followed with him; and 665, &c. It was eternal spring before power was given unto them," &c. He the fall (iv. 268); and Milton now achas given a fine turn to this poetical counts for the change of seasons after the thought, by saying that Death had not fall, and mentions the two famous hypoyet commenced his all-conquering career.

theses. Some say it was occasioned by -(Ad., Gr.)

altering the position of the earth, by 601. “This vast unhidebound corpse." turning the poles of the earth above i.e. The skin not tight-braced, but hang- twenty degrees aside from the sun's orb; ing loose about him, as a lean famished and the poles of the earth are twenty-three monster, and capable of containing a great degrees and a half from those of the deal more without being distended. - ecliptic.—" Pushed oblique the centric (N.)

globe." It was erect before, but is oblique 606. It is certain that Milton had his now; the obliquity of a sphere is the eye on the passage of Sophocles, Electra, proper astronomical term, when the pole 1499 :

is raised any number of degrees less than Ιδεθ' όπου προνεμεται

ninety. As the globe rested on its centre, Το δυσεριστον αιμα φυσων Αρης,

centric, it required great labour to push it Βεβασι δ' αρτι δωματων υποστεγοι Μεταδρομοι κακων πανουργηματων

aside; or centric, as being the centre of the Αφυκτοι κυνες.

world, according to the Ptolemaic system. The dogs of hell is an expression of —" Some say," again this change was ocApollonius, Argon. iv. 1666 :

casioned by altering the course of the sun. θελγε δε κηρας

The constellation Taurus, with the seven θυμοβορους, αιοα ο θοας κυνας, αι περι πασαν stars in his neck, the Pleiades, daughters Ηερα δινευουσαι επι ζωοισιν αγονται.

of Atlas; and the Spartan twins, or GeDogs are thus metaphorically used in mini, Castor and Pollux ; up to the tropic several parts of Scripture.-(N., St.) of Cancer, or Crab; then down, by the

640. * Till then the curse on both pre- signs Leo, Virgo, aud Libra, to the tropic cedes." i.e. The curse pronounced on of Capricorn, which was as far to the south heaven and earth, implied in the word of the equator as Cancer was to the north “ renewed(638), precedes, or goes be- of it. This motion of the sun in the fore sin and death, to direct them.-(R.) ecliptic occasions the variety of seasons. Some commentators, following Bentley, -(N.)

[blocks in formation]

686, 687. “Estotiland." A tract of country towards Hudson's Bay in the extreme north of America." Magellan," the name of a strait that separates the southern point of America from the island of Terra del Fuego.

688. “Thyestean banquet.” The phrase was proverbial for a horrid scene, which was the subject of many tragic representations among the Greeks. King Atreus having ascertained that his brother Thyestes had clandestine connexion with his wife, invited him, hypocritically, to dinner; and, having seized his sons, had them slain and served up to their father. It is related, that the sun stopped its course in horror at the event. Compare the Electra of Euripides, 737:

Λεγεται (scil. Ζευς,)
Στρεψαι θερμα αελιου
Χρυσωπον εραν αλλαξαν-
Γα δυστυκια βρωτειν

Ovatas évekev dikas:-(R., T.) 696. “Norumbega," a province of North America. -"Samoieda," 'a province in the north-east of Muscovy, upon the frozen ocean.-(H.)

697, 698. So Claudian, De Rapt. Pro

serp. i. 69:

“ Una eurusque notusque ruunt creberque pro

cellis Africus, et vastos volvunt ad litora fluctus."

711. “ To graze the herb all leaving." This passage has been cavilled at. But Newton very properly replies that it is stated in Genesis i. 30, “ And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, I have given every green herb for meat;" and in regard to fish, Milton expressly says (vii. 401) that they “graze the sea-weed, their pasture.—“All" here does not mean all and every one in particular, but only all in general. All the three kinds, though not all of the three kinds devour each other.

736—741. The commentators censure these lines as not in keeping with the excellencies of this speech. Milton (ver. 740, 741) makes Adam speak according to the notions of the peripatetics, which were in vogue in his day, though now exploded, that elementary bodies do not gravitate in their natural places ; not air in air, not water in water. Water really does weigh in water as much as it does out of it.-(N., S.) Expunge the stop after “ light,” 740.

758. “Thou didst," &c. The change of persons, sometimes speaking of himself in the first person, and sometimes to himself in the second, is very remarkable in this speech; as well as the change of passions. So he sometimes speaks of God, and sometimes to God.-(N.) This change has been used by the best classic writers.

761. This and ver. 743 are taken from Isaiah xlv. 9, 10.-(T.)

773. “ Fixed on this day." But it may be questioned whether it was now this day; for the night of this day is mentioned before in ver, 342, and the sun's rising is taken notice of in ver. 329.(N.) He uses a poetic license.

778. There are some resemblances in this pathetic speech to the words of Job, ch. iii.—(T.)

783. “Lest all I cannot die.” A classical phrase—" Non omnis moriar," Hor. iii. Od. xxx. 6. “ Non toti morimur," Senec. Troad. die altogether.-(T.)

797. Expunge the comma after “end."

805. “ Beyond dust.” In reference to that part of the sentence, 208, “For dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return." So that Bentley's proposed substitution of just for dust is quite idle.—(P.)

806. An allusion to an axiom of the schoolmen, “omne efficiens agit secundum vires recipientis, non suas." All

" Ceu turbine rauco Cum gravis armatur Boreas, glacieque nivali."

(R.) “Stormy gust and flaw.”

Flaw" is a stronger word here than "gust," from the Greek Olaw, to break. So Shakspeare, Ven. and Adon.:" Like a red morn that ever yet betokened Gust and foul flaws to herdsmen and to

herds." Boreas," " the north wind; Cæcias,” the north-west ;

“ Argestes,” the northeast; “ Thracias,” blowing from Thrace, north of Greece; “ Notus,” the south ; “ Afer," the south-west, from Africa. "Levant" and “ Ponent," the eastern and western, the one blowing from the rising, the other from the setting sun ; “Sirocco," blowing from Syria ; “Libecchio, from Lybia; all four being Italian terms. “ Serra liona," mountains to the southwest of Africa, so called from the storms roaring there like lions.—(H., R.) Though in this account of the winds there is some ostentation of learning, yet the learned reader must admit that there is ncthing in the classics at all comparable to it. Among many other passages, the cl ssical reader cannot fail to recollect the following, Virg. Æn. i. 85:

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.--" Futúre." 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.

Te.--(N.) 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." -11

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 prætendere 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 bis 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 ανθρωποις κακον,
Γυναικας εις φως ήλιου κατώκισας ;
Ει γαρ βρoτειον ηθελες σπειραι γενος,

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 ουτω μονον Ερημον εν κακoισι τοισο' οίοις όραςΠεισθητιπροσπιτνω σε γόνασι, καιπερών Ακρατωρ 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 όητ' εμοι γενοιτ' αν αντι σου πατρις,
Τις πλουτος και εν σοι πας εγωγε σωζομαι
Αλλ' ισχε καμου μνηστιν.-(Τ.)
936. See note on iii. 236.

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, Il. viii. 485:

Εν δ' επεσ' ωκεανω λαμπρον φαος ηελιοιο “Ελκον νυκτα μελαναν επι ζειδωρον αρουραν.

(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 flam

mam.' “ Or by collision," &c. Milton here plainly alludes to Lucretius's aceount of the origin of fire, v. 1091.-(H.)

66

« PreviousContinue »