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books, the author changed into these vast number, numerous.-(R.) “Numfour lines. A sentiment similar to this bered.” “Numerous," as vii.621.-(N.) is to be found in many of the best ancient But as he could write “numerous" here authors. Jortin quoies Apollonius, i. as well as there, I think he meant some512, in which it is said, that the harp and thing more by “numbered" than “ nuvoice of Orpheus had such a fascinating merous,” and that it refers to that passage effect on the Argonauts, that after he had in the Psalın; if not, that it is to be taken ceased, they still, one and all, held out as numeratus sometimes is, as applied to their heads, and cocked their ears, cn- a great collection of valuable things, well tranced by his charming melody. Lord arranged, and carefully reckoned. Monboddo quotes the Protagoras of Plato, 20. “ Spaces incomprehensible,” i.e. when Socrates says that after Protagoras through spaces incomprehensible. When a (one of the greatest and most judicious body is at a vast distance, and performs its of all the old philosophers) had finished circuit in a day, both these circumstances his explanatory discourse, he was so trans- considered together, argue that it rolls ported that he thought him still speaking, through spaces incomprehensible.-(P.) and scarce at last collected himself. 23, 24. *" Punctual spot." A spot no Bowles quotes Dante, Infern. ii. 113, bigger than a point, punctum, compared where the song of Casela the musician, in with the firmament and fixed stars. the regions below, had a similar ravishing * One day and night," i. e. in the compacs effect on Dante. The θειη δε μιν αμφε- of one day and night.-(P.) χυτ’ ομφη in Iliad ii. 41, and the η φωνη
Of incorporeal speed." Not that ακουσθεντων εναυλη in Lucian's it was truly so; it significs only very “ Dream," must, I doubt not, occur to great speed, such as spirits might use ; every classical scholar.
speed almost spiritual," as he says, 110. 3. " Stood," i.e. continued in a fixed -(N.) attitude, even though he may have been 40. This is preserving the decorum of sitting at dinner still, as v. 433. So we character. So, Cephalus in Plato's Reuse the word commonly.-(R.)
public, and Scævola in Cicero's De Ora15. Milton, after having given so noble tore, are made to withdraw when the an idea of the creation of this new world, discourse takes a turn less suited to pertakes a proper occasion to show the two sons of their character.-(N.) great systems; namely, the Ptolemaic 43. " Who saw." Those who saw her. and Copernican, as they are usually called; 56. “ From his lip not words alone one making the earth, the other the sun, pleased her.” Ovid (Met. x. 559,) says to be the centre: and this he does by in- of Venus while relating a story to her betroducing Adam very judiciously pro- loved Adonisposing the difficulties that occur in the " Sic ait, ac mediis interserit oscula verbis.* first, which was the system most obvious
But how much more delicate is Milton's to him. The reply of the archangel touches on the expedients the Ptole
59–61. “ On her, as queen, a pomp maics invented to solve those difficulties, and patch up their system ; and then in
of winning graces waited." Tibullus says sinuates that, perhaps, the sun is the
in praise of Sulpicia, (IV. 2,7):centre, and so introduces that system,
“ Illam, quicquid agit, quoquo vestigia fectit, and withal the noble improvements in
Componit furtim, subsequiturque, decor." the new philosophy; not however deter
But how much farther does our poet carry mining for one or the other : on the con
the thought!-(N.) “ Pomp," TOUTH, trary, he rather exhorts our progenitor to
in its original sense of, a procession on apply his thoughts to what more nearly
solemn occasions, hence a train, or attendconcerns him, and is within his reach. ance, or company. Thyer says the turn -(R.)
of expression here somewhat resembles 19. “ Numbered stars." Numbered Homer's description of Helen proceeding by whom? by the Creator alone. Psalm
from her chamber not alone, but attended cxlvii. 4: "He telleth the number of the
by her domestics. Il. iii. 142:stars; he calleth them all by their Ωρματ’ εκ θαλαμου----names." Astronomers also tell their Ουκ οίη, άμα τηγ€ και αμφιπολοι. number, but it is of that small part 70. “This to attain," i.e. a knowledge only which they see and name. But of this hard question, whether it is heaven neither is this the "numbered" meant or earth that moves, as Hume, Richardhere. Ile would only say they are a son, and Dunster understand it--or a 128-140. “ In six thou seest," i.e. In the moon and five other planets, the five wandering fires as they are called, 5, 177. Their motions are evident; what if the earth should be a seventh, and “move three different motions," though to thee imperceptible? The three different motions which the Copernicans attribute to
knowledge of the seasons, hours, &c. as Newton understands it, who thus explains the passage: “It imports not, it matters not, whether heaven move, or earth, whether the Ptolemaic or Copernican system be true; a knowledge of the seasons man may still attain; the rest, or other more curious points of inquiry concerning the heavenly bodies God hath wisely concealed from man or angel." See 105.
80, 83, 84. “ Calculate," and form a judgment of the stars, by computing their motions, distance, situation, &c. : as, to
“ calculate” a nativity signifies to form a judgment of the events attending it, by computing what planets, in what motions, presided over that nativity : to “ calculate the stars," is to make a computation of every thing relating to them, the consequence of which is (in the old system especially) "centric and eccentric, cycle and epicycle,” and “orb in orb.” “Centric," or concentric, are such spheres whose centre is the same with, and "eccentric" such whose centres are driwn from, the earth. “Cycle” is a circle; “ epicycle" (both Greek words) is a circle upon another circle. These were expedients of the Ptolemaics to solve the apparent difficulties in their system.-(P., R.)
102. “ His line stretched out so far." A Scripture expression. Job xxxviii. 5: “ Who hath stretched out the line upon it;" as if God had measured the heavens and the earth with a line.--(N.)
103. A fine reflection, and confirmed by the authority of the greatest philosophers, who seem to attribute the first notion of religion in man to his observing the grandeur of the universe. See Cic. Tuscul. Disput. lib. i. sec. 28, and De Natur. Deor. lib. ii. sect. 6.---(Stil.)
107, 108. Cic. Somn. Scip. c. iii. : “Stellæ quæ et rotundæ circos suos orbesque conficiunt celeritate mirabili.”.
Numberless," Bentley would join to “ swiftness," as 38. Pearce joins it to “circles," and says the sense is—“ It is God's omniscience that gives to the circles, though so numberless, such a degree of swiftness."
the earth are the diurnal round her own axis, the annual round the sun, and the motion of libration, as it is called, whereby the earth so proceeds in her orbit, as that her axis is constantly parallel to the axis of the world." Which else to several spheres thou must ascribe ;' i. e. you must ascribe either these motions to several spheres crossing and thwarting one another with crooked and indirect windings and turnings; or you must attribute them to the earth, and so “save the sun his labour," and the primum mobile too, “that swift nocturnal and diurnal rhomb," or (as he translates the Greek word poußos, as is usual with him, see vii. 619,) “the wheel of day and night;" So he calls the primum mobile ; which in the ancient astronomy was an imaginary sphere above those of the planets and fixed stars, and therefore said to be “
supposed and invisible above all stars." This was supposed to be the first mover (as the words import) and to carry all the lower spheres round along with it; by its rapidity communicating to them a motion whereby they revulved in twenty-four hours : “ which needs not thy belief, if earth," &c. ; but there is no need to believe this, if the earth by revolving round on her own axis from west to east in twenty-four hours (“ travelling east") enjoys day in that half of her globe which is turned towards the sun, and is covered with night in the other half which is turned away from the sun.-(N.)
145. The spots in the moon cannot be clouds and vapours, because they are observed to be fixed. They are her seas and waters, which reflect only part of the sun's rays and absorb the rest.-(N.) See note on v. 415-419.
150. The suns communicate male, and the moons female light. And thus Pliny mentions it as a tradition, that the sun is a masculine star drying all things; on the contrary, that the moon is a soft and female star dissolving humours: and so the balance of nature is preserved, some of the stars binding the elements, and others loosing them, Plin. Nat. Hist. b. ii. c. 100. -(N.)
157. “ This habitable,” i.e. earth, an adjective used substantively. So “ this terrene," vi. 78. So in Greek, olkovuern, the inhabited, means the earth.—(R.)
158. Pearce agrees with Bentley in his objection
"light" here, " for if the fixed stars convey only a glimpse of light to our earth, it is too much to say that she returns back to them 'light' in general,
which implies more than a glimpse cf it.” Then as it is intimated (140,) that the earth does send out “light” from her, he would propose to read “like back to them,” i.e. only a glimpse of light, just as much and no more than she receives. No doubt “like back to them” would be very proper, if Milton wrote the words, and would be a good emendation, if " light back to them” were indefensible. But as Milton wrote " light,” the business of a commentator is to explain it. In my opinion, the reference to 140 is a complete answer to the objection. He speaks here, as he did there, in general terms of the emission of light from the earth, without specifying its quantity. Besides, he says the whole subject may be disputed.
159. After arguing on the supposition of the truth of the Ptolemaic sytem to v. 122, and then of the Copernican, he now recapitulates the whole. --(N.)
164-166. These lines, which convey metaphors from the spinning of a top (see Æn. vii. 378,) obviate the objection to the Copernican system, viz. that, if the earth moved on her axle in twentyfour hours, we should be sensible of the rapidity and violence of the motion. -(N)
167. “Solicit not thy thought." "Solicit" in the sense of solicitare, to disturb.
173. “ Be lowly wise." “ Noli altum sapere.” A proverb.- (H.) 183. See Sams. Agon. 300, 306.-(T.)
193. Juv. 13, xx.“ Hos quoque felices, qui ferre incommoda
(T.) 201—203. The poet had probably in view that passage, Ecl. v. 45 :“ Tale tuum carmen nobis, divine poeta, Quale sopor fessis in gramine; quale per
eristum Dulcis aquæ saliente sitim restinguere rivo." But the fine turn in the three last lines of Milton is entirely his own, and gives an exquisite beauty to this passage above Virgil's. (Essay on Milton.) Stillingfleet and Todd refer also to the address of Telemachus to Menelaus, Odyss. iv. 594:Ατρειδη, μη δη με πολυν χρονον ενθαδ' ερυκε, Και γαρ κ' εις ενιαυτον εγω παρα σοι γ' ανεχοι"Hμενος, ουδε κεμ’ οικου ελoι πoθυς, ουδε τoκηων" Αινως γαρ μυθοισιν επεσσι τε σοισιν ακουων Τερπομαι. .
212, &c. “ Fruits of palm-tree," i.e. dates, full of sweet and renovating juice.
One species, the Palma Ægyptiaca, was called, adijos, or, thirst banisher.-(H.) Psalm cxix. 103: “ How sweet are thy words to my taste: yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth.”-(Gil.) See Addison, sect. 3.
222. See note on 60, 61.
225. So the angel says to St. John, Rev. xxii. 9: “I am thy fellow-servant. -(N.)
229. Milton had good reason to make his angel absent on the sixth day, not only to vary the speaker, but because Adam could best, or only, tell some particulars not to be omitted.--(R.) As man was the principal work of God, and created to supply the place of the fallen angels, Milton says, as an honour to man, that the angels kept watch at the gates of hell to prevent any interruption thence. -(N.) See Addison, sect. 3.
242—244. An. vi. 557 : -“ Hinc exaudiri gemitus, et sæva sonare
Verbera; tum stridor ferri, tractæque catena: Constitit Æneas, strepitumque exterritus
hausit." Newton adds, that Astolfo is represented in like manner listening at the gates of hell. Orl. Fur. c. xxxiv. st. 4. Todd quotes Dante, Infer. iv. 7.
255. “ In balmy sweat.” This is an allusion taken from the exudations of the balsamum, the most agreeably odorous of all trees known.-( Stil.) Reeking,” steaming, smoking, from the Saxon rec, smoke.-(N.)
258. “ Gazed awhile the ample sky." Here "gazed" is classically used actively, as ayafouai (from which it is derived) sometimes is in Homer, to survey with wonder.
263. Liquid lapse of murmuring streams." From Ausonius: “At vada lene meant, liquidarum et lapsus aquarum."'-(D.) 265, 266. "
All things smiled.” Virg. Ecl. vii 55: "omnia nunc rident." In some of the best modern editions a stop has been made after “smiled," and grance" is connected with “joy." This reading is approved of by Newton, Richardson, Thyer, and Todd, because by it the imitation of Virgil is more conspicuous; but I do not think this a sufficient reason, if Milton himself furnishes a reason why “fragrance" should be joined to "smiled," so iv. 165:“ Pleased with the grateful smell old Ocean
smiles." There ocean smiles in consequence of the smell or fragrance. Here all things smile
in consequence of the fragrance-even things that emitted none, as many did not; and by reason of this smiling aspect of external nature and the fragrance, his heart rebounds.
272. There is a contradiction between this passage, and 352, &c. In this passage, Adam says he could name whatever he saw before he got into paradise ; in the second, he says that God gave him the ability when the beasts came to him in paradise ; for this last passage alludes to the rabbinical opinion that he gave names according to their natures (clearer expressed 438, &c.) and the knowledge of their natures, he says, God then suddenly endued him with. — (Warh.) This, I think, is incorrect. Here the names he uses are quite general ; the earth, hills, dales, wood, creatures, &c. without any allusion to particular qualities. All elevations he calls “hills;" all places covered with timber, “ woods;" all bodies of water, “rivers ;” all things that live and move, “ creatures ;” though each of these classes was afterwards divided into a number of distinct species, according to their natures; and it was particular names that, in the second passage, Adam gave to the several species, according to their separate nature, and particular attributes. I think there is no contradiction, although the other opinion has been adopted by the modern commentators. 287, &c.“ This passage," says Addison,
never be sufficiently admired." This, and the following lines, says Stillingfleet, resemble the description of the sleep which fell on Ulysses, Odyss. xiii. 79:Και TQ
νηδυμος ύπνος επι βλεφαροισιν επιπτ€, , Νηγρετος, ήδιστος, θανατω αγχιστα εοικως.
292. “ Stood at my head a dream." So dream stood over Agamemnon's head, the seat of fanc Il. ii. 20:
Στη δ' αρ υπερ κεφαλης.-(Η) 296. “Thy mansion wants thee." Rather waits thee, says Dr. Bentley ; but
wants" is right, as in 5, 365 :“ Those happy places thou hast deign'd a while
to want."-(P.) Though "wants" is a better and more poetical expression than waits, I do not think the passage quoted (though the modern commentators seem to agree with Pearce) is to the point; for there, “want” is in the sens of carere, or abesse, “to be without,” or absent from; but here it is in the sense of desiderare, “to long for;" as in Pliny xvii. 26, “desiderant
rigari arbores,” “the trees want, or long, to be watered.” Bare identity of phrase is not enough, unless there be identity of signification. The word “ want in this sense is now in constant use.
299–303. See note on vii. 535. The poet perhaps had in mind that passage in Virgil, Æn. i. 691, when Venus conveys through the air young Ascanius asleep from Carthage to mount Idalia, where he is laid on a bed of flowers; or he had scriptural authority for such a removal in Acts viii. 39, where it is said, “ The Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, and he was found at Azotus.” Milton seems here to agree with those commentators who thought man was not formed in Paradise, but placed there afterwards, to show that he had no title to it by nature, but only by grace.—(N.)
302. See note on vi. 71.
316. Greenwood imagines, and I think justly, that from the position of the words, “ I am," so emphatically at the end of the verse, Milton alluded to the name which God gave himself, Exod. iii. 14: “ God said unto Moses, I am that I am ; and he said, Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you."
320. “ To till and keep,” Gen. ii. 15 : “ to dress it and to keep it.” Hence Bentley objects to the word “ till” here. But Pearce has shown, by many authorities and proofs, that the Hebrew original, Ty, properly means, to labour, cultivate or till, (though the English translators chose to use “dress," as perhaps more applicable to a garden); the Greek and Latin versions so interpret it likewise. The same word is in the English translation, Gen. iii. 23, rendered "till.”
323. As this was the great hinge on which the whole poem turns, the poet has marked the passage with peculiar emphasis, and has strikingly dwelt upon it. -(R.)
330. Gen. ii, 17: i.e. From that day thou shalt become mortal.-(N.)
335. To this he alludes after his fall, x. 779.--( T.)
336, 337. See note on 5,710.
353. See note on 272. Gen. ii. 19, 20. Cicero agrees with Pythagoras that it was an instance of the highest wisdom to give things their right names in the beginning. Tuscul. Disput. i. 25.-(H.) What a noble episode! what a divine alogue has Milton spun out of only two verses of Gen. ii. 19, 20.-(N.)
357. The reason why Milton ascribes
to Adam an inspired knowledge of the natures of his fellow-creatures, before the nature of his Creator, seems to be, that in the ordinary way of acquiring knowledge we ascend from the creature to the Creator.-(Warb.) This dialogue, which is supported chiefly by the beauty of the thoughts, without other practical ornaments, is as fine a part as any other in the whole poem. The more the reader examines the justness and delicacy of its sentiments, the more will he be pleased with it.-(Ad.)
372. That brutes have a kind of language among themselves is evident and undeniable. There is a treatise in French on the language of brutes.--(N). The reader may derive much pleasure and information from the perusal of a treatise entitled “An Examination of Father Bougeant's Philosophical Amusement, concerning the Language of Birds and Beasts,&c. By John Hildrop, M.A. 1742. (N, T.)
379. “O let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak." Gen. xviii. 30.-(N.)
384. “Can sort." Can consort, unite, or fit.
386, 387. A musical metaphor from strings, of which the stretched and highest give a smart sharp sound, the slack a flat and heavy one; but in disparity, such as exists between creatures of different natures, man and the brute-man intense, kept on the stretch, anxiously attentive, strained up to the high pitch of understanding—the brute remiss, careless, slothful, grovelling in low perceptions, one cannot well suit with the other. -(H.)
395, &c. The brute cannot converse in rational delight with man (391, 392); still less can one irrational animal so converse with another, not only if they be of a different species, as bird and beast, fish and fowl are; but even if they be of the same species, as the ox and ape are, the most widely different creatures of any which are of the same species. But “ least of all” can man converse in a rational way with irrational creatures. Here there is a very proper gradation.(P.)
407. " Second or like." Hor. i. Od. xii. 18: " Nec viget quicquam simile aut secundum." Christ says, "the Father is greater an
and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"-(H.)
417. “ Cause of his desire." His inperfection (for he was perfect only to a certain degree) is the cause of his desire, as is afterwards more fully explained, 423, &c.
421. “Through all numbers absolute." Perfect in all parts, a Latin expression ; as Cicero says, “omnibus numeris absolutus."-(N.) Absolutus, finished off.
423. “ His single imperfection.” The imperfection of him single, a classical mode of speaking often adopted by Milton.—“ In unity defective." * Defective" agrees with "man;" man being defective in a state of singleness. This obliges him to multiply his race.
440. Milton supposes the very image of God, in which man was made, to consist in the freedom of the human mind. Clarius, in his remarks on this passage of Scripture, refers to St. Basil the Great for the same interpretation. The sentiment, though uncommon, is grand.(Th.)
444. See Gen. ii. 18.
453—490. The Scripture says only that “the Lord caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam," Gen. ii. 21 ; and Milton tells how it was effected. Adam's faculties were so strained by conversing with so superior a being that he sunk down exhausted, and Sleep, whom he poetically personifies, came and closed his eyes. So Daniel (x. 17), represented himself as overpowered by his colloquy with the angel : "straightway there remained no strength in me.” But "the deep sleep” was what the Greek interpreters render by trance or ecstasy, EKOTAOIS, in which the person is abstract (abstractus), withdrawn as it were from himself, yet sees things with the eye of the mind. In this sense, the passage (Numb. xxiv. 4),
falling into a trance, but having his eyes opened,” as applied to the prophet Balaam, before he prophesies the happiness of Israel, who “heard the words of God, and saw the vision of the Almighty," is explained by the old and learned commentators Vatablus and Fagius. This frequent recollection in Milton, not only of every applicable Scripture passage, but of every material comment on them, shows the wonderful extent of his reading and memory.
The Scripture only says, one of his rihs" was taken out; but Milton follows those interpreters who suppose this rib was taken from the left
413, 414. See Rom. xi. 33: “() the depth of the riches both of the wisdom