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river divides Negroland into two parts- turf, as the first altars are represented tu “ Mount Atlas," the most western part be, and describes the sacrifice somewhat of Africa ; "the kingdoms of Almansor," in the manner of Homer. Cain makes namely, Fez, Sus, Morocco, Algiers, no selection in the choice of the things and Tremisen, all in Barbary. After offered; but Abel does; and in this some barely glancing at Europe, as it was well scriptural commentators say the guilt of known, the poet mentions the most im- Cain mainly consisted, which rendered portant empires in America. (“In spirit, his offering not acceptable, as being inperhaps, he also saw;" he could not see sincere or careless. The "midriff," or it otherwise, as it was on the opposite diaphragm, is a nervous muscle sepaside of the globe.) “ Rich Mexico," the rating the breast from the belly.—(See seat of Montezeume, the last emperor, N.) In the first editions the word was subdued by the Spanish general Cortes; written “sord," but Johnson says this is “Cusco," the capital of “ Peru,” the a corruption of “sward," turf. richer seat of “Atabalipa," its last em- 457. “ Acceptance," i. e. by fire coming peror, subdued by the Spanish general from heaven to consume his offering, as Pizarro ; “yet unspoiled Guiana,” an- Milton said before, and as the best Heother country of South America, not then brew and Christian commentators underinvaded and spoiled, whose great city, stand the passage.-(N.) Manhoa, the Spaniards, “ Geryon's sons," 482. “ All feverous kinds." Febrium (Geryon, an ancient king of Spain, and in cohors.-(Hor., T.) classic authors synonymous with powerful 485_487. These lines were introduced robber) called “El Dorado,” or the golden in the second edition, and Bentley would city, on account of its riches and extent. reject them. He objects to “phrensy, The poet having thus represented the melancholy, and lunacy” being made angel as showing Adam the chief places shapes of death, as they are often attended of the earth, makes him show him “nobler with long life ; but Pearce replies, that sights," i.e. the principal actions of men they are attended with misery, and so exto the consummation of all things. The plain line 476. Marasmus,” papaduos, angel "removed the film from Adam's consumption accompanied by fever graeyes," as Minerva removed the mist from dually wasting the body. Atrophy," Diomede's, (II. v. 127,) and Venus from atpopia, a disease in which food has no Æneas's, (Æn. ii. 604); and also as does power to sustain the body. the same angel from those of Godfrey 489. This is entirely in the picturesque (Gier. Lib. xviii. 93).
Tasso has, says
manner of Spenser, and seems particularly Thyer, employed (c. xv.) thirty or forty to allude to that beautiful passage, (Fairy stanzas in a digressive description of this Queen, II. vii. 21-24), when describing sort.
the passage to " Pluto's grisly reign,” he 414. ^ Rue" was used in exorcisms, represents Pain, Strife, Revenge, &c. as and is called by Shakspeare “herb of so many persons assembled; and over grace;" “euphrasy," or eye-bright, so them sat Horrour soaring with grim hue, named from its healing virtue.-(H., N.) and beating his iron wings, &c.-( Th.)
420. Newton says this is copied from 494. See Tibull. Eleg. I. i. 63, where Rev. i. 17, or from Dan. X. 8.
there is the combination of “heart of 427. “Nor sinned thy sin.” This rock” and “ dry eyed."-(D.) mode of expression is scriptural, Greck, 496, 497. Whalley and Dunster have and Latin. " Ye have sinned a great remarked that Milton's mind must have sin,” Εxod. Xxxii. 30; ηπαιλησε απειλην, been impressed with the following passervit servitutem, when a substantive of a sages from Shakspeare's Macbeth, kindred nature is used as the accusative
" And thou oppos'd be not of woman bornafter a verb generally neuter.-(N.)
For it hath cow'd my better part of man." 429–449. This scene represents the Hen. V. murder of Abel, a shepherd, by his brother Cain, an agriculturist. See Gen. iv. 2,
“ But all my mother came unto my eyes
And gave me up to tears." &c. “ Tilth," tilled. “Sord," the old word for sward, turf. The poet makes
499. “And" couples "renewed" here them offer both sacrifices on the same
wept" before.-(P.) altar, for the word brought in Scripture,
502. See Ædip. Colon. 1288:which he retains, is understood of their
Μη φίναι τον άπαντα νιbringing their offerings to the same place
κα λογον, το δ' επει φατη
Βηναι κειθεν όθεν περ ήκει of worship. This altar he makes of green Πολυ δευτερον, ως ταχιστα.-(Stil.)
518. “ His image.". The image of natural philosophy, especially of astroAppetite, the brutish vice, which is here nomy.-(N.) personified as a carnal demon.-(N.) 582. “A bevy." A company; a word 519. “ Inductive.” Leading to, from
often used by the old English poets. induco.
590, &c. The description of the shield 524. See Rom. i. 21, 24.-(Gil.) of Achilles is one of the finest and most
531. “Not too much.” Ne quid nimis ; admired pieces of poetry in the whole an old maxim of philosophy.
Iliad; and Milton has plainly shown his 538. How much more dignified and admiration and affection for it by intropoetic is this summary than the shocking ducing in this visionary part of his work details of the miseries of old age which so many analogous scenes and images ; Juvenal gives, Sat. X.
but they exceed the originals, and receive 544. “ Damp” here means depression this additional beauty, that they are most of spirits, dejection.
of them made representations of real his550. Job xiv. 14.-(Gil.)
tories and matters of fact. Thus, this 553. “What thou livest.” A Latinism,
passage, and ver. 583 and 584— quod vivis, whatever life you live. “Nor
“ To the harp they sung, love thy life, nor hate.” Martial, x.
Soft amorous ditties, and in dance came on;" "Summum nec metuas diem, nec optes."-(N.)
is a beautiful copy of Homer, Il. xviii. 554. “ Permit to heaven." Permitte Divis. Hor. i. Od. ix.-(N.)
Εν τη μεν ρα γαμοι τ' εσαν, ειλαπιναι τε, 563. A “fugue" is in music the cor- Νυμφας δ' εκ θαλαμων, δαιδων υπολαμπομεναων, respondency of parts, answering one an
Ηγινεον ανα αστυ" πολυς δ' υμεναιος ορωρει, other in the same notes either above or
Κουροι δ' ορχηστηρες εδινεον, εν δ' αρα τοισιν
Αυλοι φορμιγγες τε βοην εχον. below, therefore elegantly styled resonant, as sounding the same notes over again. (See also Hesiod, Scut. Hercul. 272.-(H.)
Stil.) So ver. 429-431 and 556—558, 565–568. From Lucretius, v. 1240:- before, are taken from Homer, ver. 550,
&c. : " Quod superest, æs atque aurum, ferrumque
Εν δ' ετιθει τεμενος βαθυ ληίον" ενθα δ' εριθοι repertum est,
“Ημων, οξειας δρεπανας εν χερσιν έχοντες Et simul argenti pondus, plumbique, potestas Δραγματα δ' αλλα μετ' ογμον επητριμα πιπτον Ignis ubi ingentes sylvas ardore cremarat Montibus in magnis."
Αλλα δ' αμαλλοδετηρες εν ελλεβανοισι δεοντο. Potestas ignis expresses the consuming And ver. 587, &c. :power of fire. So “potentia solis.” Virg.
Εν δε νομον ποιησε περικλυτος Αμφιγυηεις —(Jortin.) Gliding hot to some cave's
Εν καλη βησση μεγαν οιων αργενναων, mouth,” Boiling up from the recesses of Σταθμους τε, κλισιας τε, κατηρεφεας ιδε σηκους. the earth to the mouth of some cave, where the smith first found it; the heat
In like manner, the driving away of the of the burned wood above working into
sheep and oxen from pasture, and the
battle that ensues thereupon (ver. 646, the earth, and there melting the ore which boiled up:
&c.), may be compared with the following 574-580. The descendants of Cain
passage in Homer, ver. 527, &c. :are first mentioned; after these, the de- Οι μεν τα προϊδοντε επεδραμον, ωκα δ' επειτα scendants of the younger brother Seth,
Ταμνοντ’ αμφι βοων αγελας και πωεα καλα
Αργεννων οιων κτεινον δ' επι μηλοβοτηρας. who were righteous men, and therefore of
Οι δ' ως ουν επυθοντο πολυν κελαδον αμφι a different sort; these came from the hills
βουσιν, adjacent to Paradise, where their resi- Ιραων προπαροιθε καθημενοι, αυτικ’ εφ ίππων dence was, to the plain where the de
Βαντες αερσιποδων μετεκιαθν' αιφα δ' έκοντο.
Στησαμενοι δ' εμαχοντο μαχην ποταμοιο παρ scendants of Cain dwelt, (Cain having
οχθας. been banished far off into the low country,) Βαλλον δ' αλληλους χαλκηρεσιν εγχειησι. and there became corrupted by their in
The representation of the city besieged, tercourse with the female descendants of
in Milton, ver. 655, &c. is a great imCain. See Gen. iv. 20, &c. Though this account of the Sethites be in general
provement on that in Homer, ver. 509,
&c. :conformable to Scripture, yet these particulars Milton seems to have taken from Τηνδ' έτερην πολιν αμφι δυο στρατοι είατο λαων the oriental writers, particularly the annals
Τευχεσι λαμπoμενοι. of Eutychius. Josephus, Antiq. b? i. c. So the council, in Milton, ver. 660, &c 2, says they were addicted to the study of is much more elaborately described, and
642. “ Emprise." An old word, the same as enterprise.
660. "Sceptered heralds.” EknTTOUXOU
appears more important than that in
(See N.) 614. Bentley, in place of “for” would read ev'n. Pearce thinks “for” introduces a proof of their acknowledging none of their Maker's gifts, and that the construction of 616 is " yet were empty," &c. Newton says “ the construction is 'thou saw'st that fair female troop that seemed,' &c. which is a sufficient proof of the posterity of Cain begetting a beauteous offspring.” This explanation is adopted by Todd: but I cannot see its propriety. Does it mean that they would beget a beauteous offspring, because he saw them; or because he saw them to be fair ? (He does not explain the force or application of " for"); either sense is not satisfactory. According to the explanation of Pearce, we must take the preceding line parenthetically. In my opinion this is a specimen of Greek construction, where the subject of a clause is used elliptically, and is governed by a preposition understood, kata; thus here, “ for as to that fair female troop, whom thou saw'st, that seemed of goddesses so fair (in the style of goddesses)--to these,” &c. Sometimes, in Greek, the nominative is used without its verb, the structure of the sentence being changed, and the next clause referring to it and explaining it. Sometimes the accusative, in this way; however the peculiarity here and elsewhere in English poetry, can be accommodated to either Greek mode. Of this there is a striking example, 694, “ He, whom thou beheld'st-him the Most High did receive."
620. “ Troll the tongue.” Todd thinks the word " troll,” here, is used in a satirical sense, applicable to the voluble or affected tongue of these fair atheists. See note on iii. 463.
626. In allusion to the deluge.
638. Warburton observes, that “ cannot perceive the pertinence of this, without supposing that it hinted at the circumstances of the land army, at the time Cromwell and the royalists were so hotly engaged.” Every reader must perceive that these descriptions of the military preparation, of the scenery, of the encounter, of the siege, and of the council, are immeasurably superior to those of Homer.
661. “ To council in the city gates." For there assemblies were anciently held, and judges used to sit. Gen. xxxiv. 20; Deut. xvi. 18; xxi. 19; Zech. viii. 16.(N.)
665. Enoch, said to be of the middle age, because he was translated to heaven, when he was but 365 years old; a middle age at that time (Gen. v. 23). He re. monstrated against the wickedness of mankind, and denounced the heavy judgment of God against them, Jude 14. See ver. 704.-(R., N.) “ Who of themselves abhor to join," i. e. the good with the good; the bad with the bad.
687. As there are two interpretations of the word “giants,” (Gen. vi. 4,) some conceiving them to have been men of great stature; others, tyrants and robbers; Milton includes both.-(N.)
689. The poet here gives the original meaning of virtus, “virtue," before it came, in the progress of civilization, to be taken in a moral sense.
694, 695. “And for glory done of triumph." Newton says, “this is one of the most difficult passages.” Bentley proposes, “For glory won, or triumph." Pearce approves of changing “done" into but not of “of” into or. Newton thus explains the passage, "To overcome, to spoil, shall be the highest pitch of glory, and shall be done for glory of triumph, i.e. shall be achieved for that end and purpose, to be styled great conquerors,” &c. Stillingfleet observes, that the construction is, "to overcome in battle, &c. shall be held the highest pitch of glory, i. e. of glorious deeds, and of triumph, for that glory done, i. e. for those glorious deeds done." This, I think, the meaning of the passage. Let the passage be printed thus, and it will be quite clear :-
" Shall be held the highest pitch of human glory, and (for glory done)
Of triumph, to be held great conquerors.” “ For glory done,” means, on account of glory achieved.
711. The construction is remarkable ; " which" is not governed by the next verb, but by the last.-(N.) See note on y. 369.
Triumphs," here, means processions. Newton says that the account of Noah's preaching is founded chiefly
on 1 Pet. iii. 19, 20, and of his removing to a distant country, when he found his preaching ineffectual, on Josephus, Antiq. i. 3.
730. See Gen. vi. 14, &c. A cubit is a foot and a half.-(N.)
732. “ Laid in large,” largely; the adjective used adverbially, as he often does, in imitation of the Latins.
735. “Sevens of clean creatures, and pairs of unclean," Gen. vii.-(N.)
738. Addison and Newton have noticed the superiority of the English poet to Ovid, in the description of the Deluge, in condensation and chasteness of imagery. Homer, who is supposed by Eustathius to have alluded to the Mosaic account in the following fine verses, appears to have escaped their notice, Il. xyi. 384:“Ως δ' υπο λαιλαπι πασα κελαινη βε βριθε χθων Ηματ’ οπωρινω, ότε λαβροτατον χεει ύδωρ Ζευς, ότε δη ρ ανδρεσσι κοτεσσάμενος χαλεπήνη, Οι βιη ειν αγορη σκολιας κρινωσι θεμιστας, Εκ δε δικην ελασωσι, θεων όπιν ουκ αλεγοντες. Των δε τε παντες μεν ποταμοι πληθoυσι ρεοντες, Πολλας δε κλιτύς τοτ' αποτμητουσι χαραδροι Ες δ' άλα πορφυρέην μεγαλα στεναχουσι ρε ουσαι Εξ ορέων επι καρ' μινυθει δε τε εργ’ ανθρωπων.
(T.) 750—752. Lycophron, Cassandra, ver.
798. Aristotle, and other masters in politics, inculcate this sentiment, that the loss of liberty is soon followed by the loss of virtue and religion.—(N.)
824. Gen. vii. * The same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” Milton here follows the Syriac and Arabic, the Septuagint and vulgar Latin versions, in which the windows of heaven are translated cataracts. Those who have seen water-spouts descending in hot countries can best understand "cataracts " here.
The "great deep" is the vast abyss of waters contained within the bowels of the earth as well as in the sea.(N.)
831. The classic authors often compare rivers to bulls, whether because, when they meet with any obstruction to their passage, they divide themselves and become horned as it were; or from their roaring noise; or from their power, horns being used as symbols of power. So Hor. iv. Od. xiv. 25, “Sic tauriformis volvitur Aufidus." See Virg. Georg. iv. 371, Æn. viii. 77.
833. The Euphrates is particularly called in Scripture (Gen. xv. 18), “ the great river :"
“the opening gulf,” the Persian gulf. Thus the Grecian wall is described as dislodged by an inundation, 11. xii. 24:Των παντων ομοσε στοματ’ ετραπε Φοιβος Απολ.
λων, Eννημαρ δ' ες τειχος ιεει ροον· υε δ' αρα Ζευς Συνεχες, οφρ’ κε θασσον άλιπλοα τειχα θειι
(N.) 835. “ Orcs," a species of whale, with a round mouth, ab ore.-- -(T.) “Clang," Kların, and clangor, were generally used to express the rustling flight of large flocks of birds, and also their screams.
840. “Hull” is here a verb, to float to and fro without sail or rudder. See Johns.
841. The Scripture says only that God made a wind to pass over the earth; it is most probable that it was the north wind, as that is such a drying wind: but the poet follows Ovid in this as well as several other particulars. Met. i. 328 :" Nubila disjecit ; nimbisque Aquilone remotis,
Et cælo terras ostendit, et æthera terris.
842. “Wrinkled the face of deluge, as decayed.” Thyer censures this comparison as far-fetched and boyish. I con
Φαλαι τε, και δελφινες, αι τ' επ' αρσενων
Φερβοντο φωκαι λεκτρα θυμωσαι βρωτων. Compare Isaiah xiii. 22.-(T.)
760. Homer compares the grief of Achilles to that of a father, Il. xxiii. 222. Sce Jer. xxxi. 15, &c.—( Cal., D.)
763. As Tiresias exclaims, Sophocl. Ed. Tyran. 324:
Φεν φευ φρονειν ως δεινον, ενθα μη τελη
766. “Dispensed,” i.e. dealt out as it were in parcels, to be the load of many ages. This word is used here with great propriety, and in its true antique sense. To dispense is to distribute their tasks to every one. Pensum, from penso, to weigh, was the quantity of wool weighed out to the maids to spin. See iii. 579.—(R.)
773, 774. “Neither .... and." An elegant Latinism. “ Neither" is not always followed by nor, but sometimes by and, like neque in Latin.
“ Vide quid agas, ne neque illi prosis, et tu pereas." Ter. Eun. “ Homo neque meo judicio stultus, et suo valde sapiens.” Cic. de Or. -(N.)
778, 779. Ov. Met. i. 311 :“ Maxima pars unda rapitur; quibus unda pe
percit, Illos longa domant inopi jejunia victu."
sider it highly descriptive and poetic. As the water became more shallow it lost its long full roll, and became more rippled and curled. The Greek and Latin poets are very fond of personifying water. Milton, in imitation of them, does so twice within five lines - here and ver. 847; here, when the deluge, or collected body of water, is becoming powerless, still, and shallow, he compares it with its barely ruffled surface to a wrinkled old man; thus he (x. 654,) called winter “decrepit ;" (in imitation of Spenser's inimitable personification of winter as a grey old man. -Fairy Queen, VII. vii. 31.) There, he compares the different currents retiring to their usual bed, to young persons stepping lightly upon the toes, “tripping," (from tripudiare, to dance,)“ with soft foot towards the deep," as Hor. Epod. xvi. 47 :
** Montibus altis Levis crepante lympha desilit pede.”—(See R.)
849. See Gen. viii.
866. “ Three listed colours." Listed,” striped. He calls it (897) “the triple coloured bow," on account of the three principal colours.
884. The reader will easily observe how much of this speech is built upon Scripture,-Gen. vi. 6 - 12 ; viii. 22 ; ix. 11, 14, 16. 2 Pet. iii. 12, 13.-(N.)
895. Beast," here, includes birds too. The poet (ver. 733 and 822) has spoken of the inhabitants of the ark under the title of man and beast. In Scripture, "man and beast" comprehend all living creatures. See Psalm xxxvi. 6; Jer. xxi. 6, and xxxii. 43.-(P.)
901. The phrase "heaven and earth," signifies the world. See iii. 335.—(P.)
1. These five lines were inserted in the second edition.
5. “ Transition.” Dunster remarks, that this word is here used in the classical sense of transitus, or transitio orationis, which was a high rhetorical beauty. In the Rhetorica ad Herennium, iv. 35, it is thus defined :“ Transition showeth briefly what hath been said, and proposeth likewise in brief what followeth. This embellishment contributes to two things, it reminds the reader of what hath been spoken, and prepares him for what is to come.” Quintillian often speaks of transition as
a graceful decoration to a speech.
24. It is generally believed that Nimrod was the first who laid the foundation of kingly government among mankind ; the primitive government being by families and tribes. In Gen. x. 9 it is said, that “ he was a mighty hunter before the Lord.” Milton, on the authority of several learned commentators, understands this in the worst sense, of hunting men, not beasts, (ver. 30.) The words " before the Lord,” openly in the face of God, St. Augustine translates ' against the Lord," and Vatablus and others interpret them as meaning “under the Lord,''usurping all authority to himself next under
God, and claiming it jure divino, as was done in Milton's own time. Milton takes in both interpretations (ver. 34, 35), as he often does when quoting a scriptural passage of various meaning. So he adopts the most unfavourable derivation of “ Nimrod," which some give, from the Hebrew marad, to rebel, ver. 36.—(N.)
40. This narration of the erection of Babel is closely borrowed from Gen. xi. What our translation calls slime is in the Latin bitumen, in the Greek, asphaltos. It boiled up in fountains out of the ground in large quantities in the plain of Babylon, and was the cement used for the brickwork. Newton says, the poet calls this pool “the mouth of hell,” by the same poetic figure by which the ancient poets called Tænarus or Avernus, the jaws and gates of hell.-(N.)
51. So Gen. xi. 5. Scripture speaks here after the manner of men ; thus the heathen gods are often represented as coming down to observe the actions of men, as in the stories of Lycaon, Baucis and Philemon, &c.-(N.)
53. “ A various spirit,” i.e. a spirit producing variety of language, and consequently confusion, and the eventual failure of the work.-(R.)
59. Some critics rail at this and the