The Paradise lost, by John Milton. With notes, explanatory and critical. Ed. by Rev. James Robert Boyd. pandora till salu
The Paradise lost, by John Milton. With notes, explanatory and critical. Ed. by Rev. James Robert Boyd. Milton, John, 1608-1674., Boyd, James Robert, ed. 1804-1890, List of all pages | Add to bookbag
EXPLANATORY AND CRITICAL.
REV. JAMES ROBERT BOYD,
AUTHOR OF " ELEMENTS OF RHETORIC," AND " ECLECTIC MORAL PHILOSOPHY."
MILTON, whose genius had angelic wings
And fed on manna.-CowPeR.
BAKER AND SCRIBNER.
Entered accordlisg to Act of Congress, in the year" 1a50, by
BAKER AND SCRIBNER,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern
District of New York.
C. W. BENEDICT,
S t e r e o t 'y p e 7,
201 William st., N. Y.
FOR PREPARING THIS AMERICAN EDITION.
PARADISE LOST is, by common consent, pronounced to be a work of
transcendent genius and taste. It takes rank with the Iliad of 1Homer,
and with the IEneid of Virgil, as an Epic of incomparable merit. Dryden was by no means extravagant in the praise which he bestowed
upon it in his well-known lines:
" Three poets in three distant ages born,
GrAece, Italy, and England did adorn:
The first in loftiness of thought surpassed;
The next in majesty; in both the last.
The force of nature could no further go:
To make a third, she joined the other two."
Its praise is often on the lips of every man endowed with the most
moderate literary qualifications; but the work has been read by comparatively few persons. How few even of educated men can affirm
that they have so read and understood it, as to appreciate all its parts?
How does this happen Is the poem considered unworthy of their
most careful perusal? Is it not inviting to the intellect, the imagination, and the sensibilities? Is it not acknowledged to be superior to
any other poetic composition, the Hebrew writings only excepted, to
whose lofty strains of inspired song the blind bard of London was s
greatly indebted for his own subordinate inspiration?
If inquiry should extensively be made, it will be ascertained that
Paradise Lost, is but little read, less understood, and still less appreciated; though it may be found on the shelves of almost every library,
or upon the parlor table of almost every dwelling. Every school boy,
REASONS FOR PREPARING THIS EDITION.
and every school girl has read some beautiful extracts from it, and has
heard it extolled as an unrivalled production; and this is about all that
is usually learned in regard to it, or appreciated. The question returns,
and it is one of some literary interest, how is this treatment of the
Paradise Lost to be accounted for? To this inquiry the following observations will, it is hoped, be considered appropriate and satisfactory.
It is pre-eminently a learned work; and has been well denominated
" a book of universal knowledge." In its naked form, in its bare text,
it can be understood and appreciated by none but highly educated persons. The perusal of it cannot fail to be attended with a vivid impression of its great author's prodigious learning, and of the immense
stores which he brought into use in its preparation. As one of his
editors, (Sir Egerton Brydges,) remarks, " his great poems require
such a stretch of mind in the reader, as to be almost painful. The
most amazing copiousness of learning is sublimated into all his conceptions and descriptions. His learning never oppressed his imagination;
and his imagination never obliterated or dimmed his learning; but
even these would not have done without the addition of a great heart,
and a pure and lofty mind. The poem is one which could not have
been produced solely by the genius of Milton, without the addition of
an equal extent and depth of learning, and an equal labor of reflection.
It has always a great compression. Perhaps its perpetual allusion to
all past literature and history were sometimes carried a little too far
for the popular reader; and the latinised style requires to be read with
the attention due to an ancient classic." To read it, therefore, intelligently and advantageously, no small acquaintance is needed with
classical and various learning.
While large portions of the poem are sufficiently lucid for the comprehension of ordinary readers, there is frequently introduced an obscure paragraph, sentence, clause, or word; which serves to break up
the continuity of the poem in the reader's mind, to obstruct his progress, to apprise him of his own ignorance or obtuseness, and thus to
create no small degree of dissatisfaction. The obscurity arises, in
some cases, from the highly learned character of the allusions to ancieut history and mythology; in other cases, from great inversion of
REASONS FOR PREPARING THIS EDITION..7
style, from the use of Latin and Greek forms of expression; from!.e,culiar modes of spelling; from references to exploded and unphilosophical notions in astronomy, chemistry, geology, and philosophy, with
which but few persons are familiar.
Besides all this, it has been truly observed by the writer before
quoted, that " Milton has a language of his own; I may say invented
by himself. It is somewhat hard but it is all sincere: it is not vernacular, but has a latinised cast, which requires a little time to reconcile a reader to it. It is best fitted to convey his own magnificent
ideas; its very learnedness impresses us with respect. It moves with
a gigantic step: it does not flow like Shakspeare's style, nor dance
like Spenser's. Now and then there are transpositions somewhat
alien to the character of the English language, which is not well calculated for transposition; but in Milton this is perhaps a merit, because his lines are pregnant with deep thought and sublime imagery
which requires us to dwell upon them, and contemplate them over and
over. He ought never to be read rapidly."
Such being some of the characteristics of Paradise Lost, it is nol
difficult to account for its general neglect, and for the scanty satisfaction experienced by most persons in the attempt to read it. Much of
it, as we have remarked, cannot be understood; it abounds in too
many passages that convey to none but the learned any cleai idea:
thus the common reader is repelled, and the sublimities and beauties
of this incomparable poem are known only as echoes from the pages
of criticism, of course inadequately.
Not long since even a well-educated and popular preacher was
asked how he managed in reading Paradise Lost? His honest and
truthful answer was, that he skipped over the hard places, and read the
easier; that he did not pretend fully to understand, or to appreciall,
the entire poem; but admitted that not a few passages were not far
from being a dead letter to him, requiring for their just interpretation
more research and study than he was willing or able to bestow. The
fact undoubtedly is, that since a poem is addressed chiefly to the imagination and the sensibilities; since it is read with a view to pleasurable excitement, and not taken up as a production to be severely
6 REASONS FOR PREPARING THIS EDITION.
studied; since a demand for mental labor and research interferes with
the entertainment anticipated, in most cases the Paradise Lost is, on
this account, laid aside, though possessing the highest literary merit,
for poems of an inferior cast, but of easier interpretation.
It is possible also that the pious spirit which animates the entire
poem, and the theological descriptions which abound in several of the
Books, may, to the mass of readers, give it a repulsive aspect, and
cause them, though unwisely, to prefer other productions in which
these elements are not found.
To the causes now enumerated, rather than to those assigned by Dr.
Johnson may be referred the result which he thus describes:-" Paradise Lost is one of the books which the reader admires and lays down,
and forgets to take up again. None ever wished it longer than it is.
Its perusal is a duty rather than a pleasure. We read Milton for instruction, retire harrassed and overburdened, and look elsewhere for
recreation: we desert our master, and seek for companions."
But is there no remedy for this neglectful treatment of the finest poetical composition in our language? May not something be done to prepare American readers generally to appreciate it, and, in the perusal,
to gratify their intellects and regale their fancy, among its grandeurs
and beauties, and also among its learned allusions,')and s ientific informations 1
The attainment of this important end is the design of the present
edition: it is therefore furnished with a large body of notes; -with
notes sufficiently numerous and full, it is presumed, to clear up the obscurities to which we have referred; to place the unlearned reader, so
far as the possession of the information requisite to understand the
poem is concerned, on the same level with the learned; and to direct
attention to the pas.Kamos&t deserving of admiration, and to the grounds
upon which they should be admired. The editions hitherto published
in this country, it is believed, are either destitute of notes, or the no'es
are altogether too few and too brief to afford the aid which is generally
About half a century after the publication of the Paradise Lost,
its reputation was munch advanced by a series of papers which came
REASONS FOR PREPARING THIS EDITION.
out weekly in the celebrated Spectator, from the graceful pen of
Addison. " These," as Hallam justly remarks, "were perhaps
superior to any criticisms that had been written in our language, and
we must always acknowledge their good sense, their judiciousness,
and the vast service they did to our literature, in setting the Paradise
Lost on its proper level." But modern periodicals, and modern
essays are fast crowding out the once familiar volumes of that excellent British classic; and those once famous criticisms are now seldom
met with, so that modern readers, with rare exceptions, derive from
them no benefit in the reading of the Paradise Lost.
The Editor has evinced his own high sense of their value, and has,
moreover, rendered them far more available to the illustration of the
poem, than they are, as found in the Spectator, by selecting such criticisms as appeared to him to possess the highest merit, and distributing
them in the form of notes, to the several parts of the poem which they
serve to illustrate and adorn. After this labor had been performed,
however, and a principal part of the other notes had been prepared, it
was ascertained with some surprise, on procuring a London copy of
Bp. Newton's edition of Milton, now quite scarce, that the same course
had a century ago been pursued by him; though the same pains had
not been taken by Newton to distribute in detail to every part of the
poem the criticisms of Addison. Besides this, he introduced them
entire, and thus occupied his pages with much matter quite inferior to
that which has been provided, in this edition, from recent sources.
The notes of the present edition will be found to embrace, besides
much other matter, all that is excellent and worth preservation in
those of jNew.ton, Todd, Brydges, and Stebbing; comprehending also
some of the richest treasures of learned and ingenious criticism which
the Paradise Lost has called into existence, and which have hitherto
been scattered through the pages of many volumes of Reviews and
miscellaneous literature: and these have been so arranged as to illustrate the several parts of the poem to which they r ate.
It was not deemed important to occupy space in the discussion of
certain questions, more curious than useful or generally interesting,
relating to some earlier authors, to whom it has been alleged that Mil
REASONS FOR PREPARING THIS EDITION.
ton was greatly indebted for the plan and some prominent features of
the Paradise Lost. Yet it has been a pleasant, and more profitable
task, to discover by personal research, and by aid of the research of
others, those parts of classical authors a familiar acquaintance with
which has enabled the learned poet so wonderfully to enrich and adorn
his beautiful production. These classic gems of thought and expression have been introduced in the notes, only for the gratification of
those persons who are able to appreciate the language of the Roman
and Grecian poets; and who may have a taste for observing the coincidences between their language and that of the great master of English verse.
Not long before the composition of Paradise Lost, Milton thus
speaks of the qualifications which he regarded as requisite and which
he hoped to employ in preparing it: "A work not to be raised from
the heat of youth or the vapors of wine; nor to be obtained of dame
Memory and her siren daughters, but by devout prayer to that Eternal
Spirit, who can enrich with all utterance and knowledge, and sends out
his Seraphim with the hallowed fire of his altar, to touch and purify
the lips of whom he pleases. To this must be added industrious and
select reading, steady observation, insight into all seemly and generous
arts and affairs.",This, I am convinced,' says Sir E. B. already quoted,' is the true
origin, of Paradise Lost. Shakspeare's originality might be still more
impugned, if an anticipation of hints and similar stories were to be
taken as proof of plagiarism. In many of the dramatist's most beautiful plays the whole tale is borrowed; but Shakspeare and Milton
turn brass into gold. This sort of passage hunting has been carried a
great deal too far, and has disgusted and repelled the reader of feeling
and taste. The novelty is in the raciness, the life, the force, the jut
association, the probability, the truth; that which is striking because
it is extravagant is a false novelty. He who borrows to make patches
is a plagiarist; but what patch is there in Milton? All is interwoven and forms part of one web. No doubt the holy bard was always intent upon sacred poetry, and drew his principal inspirations
from Scripture. Thizs is,!tinsiishes his.syle and spirit from all other
REASONS FOR PREPARING THIS EDITION.
poets; and gives him a solemnity which has not been surpassed, save
in the book whence welled that inspiration.'
The Editor is fully aware of the boldness of the attempt to furnish
a full commentary on such a poem as this: he is also painfully sensible that much higher qualifications than he possesses could profitably
and honorably be laid out in the undertaking. He has long wondered,
and regretted, that such an edition of Paradise Lost, as the American
public needs, has not been furnished; and in the absence of a better,
he offers this edition, as adapted, in his humble opinion, to render a
most desirable and profitable service to the reading community, while
it may contribute, as he hopes, to bring this poem from the state of
unmerited neglect into which it has fallen, and cause it to be more
generally read and studied, for the cultivation of a literary taste and
for the expansion of the intellectual and moral powers.
Ours is an age in which the best writings of the seventeenth century
have been generally republished, and thus have been put upon a new
career of fame and usefulness. Shakspeare has had, for more than
half a century, his learned annotators, without whose aid large portions of his plays would be nearly unintelligible. He has been honored with public lectures also, to illustrate his genius, and to bring
to view his masterly sketches of the human heart and manners.
There have recently started up public readers also, by whose popular
exertions he has been brought ihto more general admiration. It seems
to be full time that a higher appreciation of the great epic of Milton
than has hitherto prevailed among us, and that a more extended usefulness also, should be secured to it, by the publication of critical and
explanatory notes, such as the circumstances of the reading class obviously require.
Ever valuable will it be, for its varied learning, for its exquisite
beauties of poetic diction and measure; for its classical, scientific and
scriptural allusions; for its graphic delineations of the domestic state
and its duties; for its adaptation, when duly explained and understood,
to enlarge the intellect, to entertain the imagination, to improve literary taste, and cultivate the social and the devout affections; for its
grand account of creation, providence, and redemption, embracing A
10 REASONS FOR PREPARING THIS EDITION.
most beautiful narrative and explanation of some of the most interest
ing events connected with the history of our race. Nor should mentiof TeYomitted, of those excellent counsels, and maxims of conduct
which it so frequently suggests, conveyed in language too appropriate
and beautiful to be easily erased from the memory, or carelessly disregarded.
In conclusion, we may confidently adopt the words of Brydges, who
has said, that to study Milton's poetry is not merely the delight of every
accomplished mind, but it is a duty. He who is not conversant with it,
cannot conceive how far the genius of the Muse can go. The bard,
whatever might have been his inborn genius, could never have attained this height of argument and execution but by a life of laborious
and holy preparation; a constant conversance with the ideas suggested by the sacred writings; the habitual resolve to lift his mind
and heart above earthly thoughts; the incessant exercise of all the
strongest faculties of the intellect; retirement, temperance, courage,
hope, faith. He had all the aids of learning; all the fruit of all the
wisdom of ages; all the effect of all that poetic genius, and all that
philosophy had achieved. His poetry is pure majesty; the sober
strength, the wisdom from above, that instructs and awes. It speaks
as an oracle; not with a mortal voice. And indeed, it will not be too
much to say, that of all uninspired writings, Milton's are the most
worthy of profound study by all minds which would know the creativeness, the splendor, the learning, the eloquence, the wisdom, to
which the human intellect can attain.
NOTE. The names of the authors most frequently quoted will be indicated simply by the initial letters: those authors are Addison, Newton, E.
Brydges, Todd, Hume, Kitto, Richardson, Thyer, Stebbing and Pearce. The
Introductory Remarks upon the several Books are, generally, those found in
Sir Egerton Brydges' edition, with the omission of such remarks as were
deemed either incorrect, or of little interest and importance.
Tins First Book proposes, first, in brief, the whole subject, Man's disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise, wherein he was placed: then
touches tht prime cause of his fall, the Serpent, or rather Satan in the serpent; who revolting from God, and drawing to his side many legions of
Angels, was, by the command of God, driven out of Heaven, with all his
crew, into the great deep. Which action passed over, the poem hastens into
the midst of things, presenting Satan with his Angels now fallen into Hell,
described here, not in the centre (for Heaven and Earth may be supposed as
yet not made, certainly not yet accursed) but in a place of utter darkness,
fitliest called Chaos: here Satan with his Angels lying on the burning lake,
thunderstruck and astonished, after a certain space recovers, as from confusion, calls up him who next in order and dignity lay by him; they confer of
their miserable fall. Satan awakens all his legions, who lay till then in the
same manner confounded: they rise; their numbers, array of battle, their
chief leaders named, according to the idols known afterward in Canaan and
the countries adjoining. To these Satan directs his speech, comforts them
with hope yet of regaining Heaven, but tells them lastly of a new world
and new kind of creature to be created, according to an ancient prophecy
or report in Heaven; for that Angels were long before this visible creation,
was the opinion of many ancient Fathers. To find out the truth of this
prophecy, and what to determine thereon, he refers to a full council. What
his associates thence attempt. Pandemonium, the palace of Satan, rises, suddenly built out of the deep: the infernal peers tihere sit in council.
THIS Book on the whole is so perfect from beginning to end, that it would
be difficult to find a single superfluous passage. The matter, the illustrations and the allusions, are historically, naturally, and philosophically true.
The learning is of every extent and diversity; recondite, classical, scientific,
antiquarian. But the most surprising thing is, the manner in which he vivifies every topic he touches: he gives life and picturesqueness to the driest
catalogue of buried names, personal or geographical. They who bring no
learning, yet feel themselves charmed by sounds and epithets which give a
vague pleasure, and stir up the imagination into an indistinct emotion.
Poetical imagination is the power, not only of conceiving, but of creating
embodied illustrations of abstract truths, which are sublime, or pathetic, or
beautiful; but those ideas, which Milton has embodied, no imagination but
his own would have dared to attempt; none else would have risen 'to the
height of this great argument.' Every one else would have fallen short of
it, and degraded it.
Among the miraculous acquirements of Milton, was his deep and familial
intimacy with all classical and all chivalrous literature; the amalgamation in
his mind of all the philosophy and all the sublime and ornamental literature of
the ancients, and all the abstruse, the laborious, the immature learning of
those who again drew off the mantle of time from the ancient treasures of,cnius, and mingled with them their own crude conceptions and fantastic
theories. He extracted from this mine all that would aid the imagination
without shocking the reason. He never rejected philosophy; but where it
was fabulous, only offered it as ornament.
In Milton's language though there is internal force and splendor, there is
outward plainness. Common readers think that it sounds and looks like
prose. This is one of its attractions; while all that is stilted, and decorated,
and affected, soon fatigues and satiates,'"
Johnson says that " an inconvenience of Milton's design is, that it requires
the description of what cannot be described,-the agency of spirits. He saw
that immateriality supplied no images, and that he could not q
acting but by instruments of action: he therefore invested the
and matter. This, being necessary, was therefore defensible,
have secured the consistency of his system by keeping immate
sight, and enticing his reader to drop it from his thoughts." Surely n was
quite impossible, for the reason which Johnson himself has given. The imagination, by its natural tendencies, always embodies spirit. Poetry deals
in pictures, though not exclusively in pictures. E. B.
Upon the interesting topic here thus summarily though satisfactorily disposed of, Macaulay has furnished the following, among other admirable
The most fatal error which a poet can possibly commit in the management of his machinery, is that of attempting to philosophise too much.
Milton has been often censured for ascribing to spirits many functions of
which spirits must be incapable. But these objections, though sanctioned by
eminent names, originate, we venture to say, in profound ignorance of the art
What is spirit? What are our own minds, the portion of spirit with
which we are best acquainted? We observe certain phenomena. We cannot explain them into material causes. We therefore infer that there exists
something which is not material, but of this something we have no idea.
We can define it only by negatives. We can reason about it only by symbols. We use the word but we have no image of the thing; and the business of poetry is with images, and not with words. (The poet uses words
indeed, but they are merely the instruments of his art, not its objects) They
are the materials which he is to dispose in such a manner as to present a
picture to the mental eye. And, if they are not so disposed, they are no
more entitled to be called poetry than a bale of canvas and a box of colors
are to be called a painting.
Logicians may reason about abstractions, but the great mass of mankind
can never feel an interest in them. They must have images. The strong
tendency of the multitude in all ages and nations to idolatry can be explained
on no other principles. The first inhabitants of Greece, there is every reason to believe, worshipped one invisible Deity; but the necessity of having, omething more definite to adore produced, in a few centuries, the innumeralIle crowd of gods and goddesses. In like manner the ancient Persians
1 lought it impious to exhibit the Creator under a human form. Yet even
they transferred to the sun the worship which, speculatively, they considered due only to the supreme mind. The history of the Jews is the record
of a continual struggle between pure Theism, supported by the most terrible
sanctions, and the strangely fascinating desire of having some visible and
tangible object of adoration. Perhaps none of the secondary causes which
Gibbon has assigned for the rapidity with which Christianity spread over
the world, while Judaism scarcely ever acquired a proselyte, operated more
powerfully than this feeling. God, the uncreated, the incomprehensible, the
tracted but few worshippers. A philosopher might admire so
eption; but the crowd turned away in disgust from words which
image to their minds. It was before Deity embodied in a huH alking among men, partaking of their infirmities, leaning on
tlntmR ims, weeping over their graves, slumbering in the manger, bleeding
on the cross, that the prejudices of the synagogue, and the doubts of the
Academy, and the pride of the Portico, and the forces of the lictor, and the
swords of thirty legions, were humbled in the dust.
Soon after Christianity had achieved its triumph, the principle which had
assisted it began to corrupt it. It became a new Paganism. Patron saints
assumed the offices of household gods. St. George took the place of Mars.
St. Elmo consoled the mariner for the loss of Castor and Pollux. The virgin Mary and Cecilia succeed to Venus and the Muses. The fascination of
sex and loveliness was again joined to that of celestial dignity; and the
homage of chivalry was blended with that of religion. Reformers have
often made a stand against these feelings; but never with more than apparent and partial success. The men who demolished the images in cathedrals
have not always been able to demolish those which were enshrined in their
minds. It would not be difficult to show that in politics the same rule holds
good. Doctrines, we are afraid, must generally be embodied before they
can excite strong public feeling. The multitude is more easily'interested for
the most unmeaning badge, or the most insignificant name, than for the most
From these considerations, we infer that no poet who should affect that
metaphysical accuracy for the want of which Milton has been blamed,
would escape a disgraceful failure, still, however, there was another extreme,
which, though one less dangerous, was also to be avoided. The imaginations of men are in a great measure under the control of their opinions. The
most exquisite art of a poetical coloring can produce no illusion when it is
employed to represent that which is at once perceived to be incongruous and
absurd. Milton wrote in an age of philosophers and theologians. It was
necessary therefore for him to abstain from giving such a shock to their understandings, as might break the charm which it was his object to throw
Sover their imaginations. This is the real explanation of the indistinctness
and inconsistency with which he has often been reproached. Dr. Johnson
acknowledges that it was absolutely necessary for him to clothe his spirits
with material forms. " But,"' says he, " he should have secured the consistency of his system, by keeping immateriality out of sight, and seducing the
reader to drop it from his thoughts." This is easily said; but what if he
could not seduce the reader to drop it from his thoughts? What if the contrary opinion had taken so full a possession of the minds of men, as to leave
no room even for the quasi-belief which poetry requires? Such we suspect
to have been the case. It was impossible for the poet to adopt altogether
the material or the immaterial system. He therefore took his stand on the
debateable ground. He left the whole in ambiguity. He has doubtless, by
BOOK I. 15
so doing, laid himself open to the charge of inconsistency. But, tl.F
losophically in the wrong, we cannot but believe that he was
the right. This task, which almost any other writer would havw e
practicable, was easy to him. The peculiar art which he possessed
municating his meaning circuitously, through a long succession of associated
ideas, and of intimating more than he expressed, enabled him to disguise
those incongruities which he could not avoid.
The spirits of Milton are unlike those of almost all other writers. His
fiends, in particular, are wonderful creations. They are not metaphysical
abstractions. They are not xwicked men. They are not ugly beasts. They
have no horns, no tails. They have just enough in common with human
nature to be intelligible to human beings. Their characters are. like their
forms, marked by a certain dim resemblance to those of men, but exaggerated to gigantic dimensions and veiled in mysterious gloom.
OF man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater man
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat, 5
Sing Heav'nly Muse, that on the secret top
1. As in the commencement of the Iliad, of the Odyssey, and of the
jEneid, so here the subject of the poem is the first announcement that is
made, and precedes the verb with which it stands connected, thus giving it
due prominence. Besides the plainness and simplicity of the exordium, there
is (as Newton has observed) a further beauty in the variety of the numbers,
which of themselves charm every reader without any sublimity of thought
or pomp of expression; and this variety of the numbers consists chiefly in
the pause being so artfully varied that it falls upon a different syllable in
almost every line. Thus, in the successive lines it occurs after the words
disobedience, tree, world, Eden, us, Muse. In Milton's verse the pause is continually varied according to the sense through all the ten syllables of which
it is composed; and to this peculiarity is to be ascribed the surpassing harmony of his numbers.
4. Eden: Here the whole is put for a part. It was the loss of Paradise
only, the garden, the most beautiful part of Eden; for after the expulsion of
our first parents from Paradise we read of their pursuing their solitary way
in Eden, which was an extensive region.
5. Regain, -'c.: Compare XII. 463, whence it appears that in the opinion
of Milton, after the general conflagration, the whole earth would be formed
into another, and more beautiful, Paradise than the one that was lost.
6. Muse: One of those nine imaginary heathen divinities, that were
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed
In the beginning, how the heav'ns and earth
Rose out of Chaos. Or if Sion hill 10
Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flow'd
Fast by the oracle of God; I thence *
Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above the Aonian Mount, while it pursues 16
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme,
And chiefly Thou, 0 Spirit, that dost prefer
thought to preside over certain arts and sciences, is here, in conformity to
classical custom, addressed. Secret top: set apart, interdicted. The Israelites, during the delivery of the law, were not allowed to ascend that mountain.
7. Horeb and Sinai were the names of two contiguous eminences of the
same chain of mountains. Compare Exod. iii. 1, with Acts vii. 30.
8. Shepherd: Moses. Exod. iii. 1.
12. Oracle: God's temple; so called from the divine communications
which were there granted to men.
15. The J.onian Mount; or Mount Helicon, the fabled residence of the
Muses, in Bceotia, the earlier'lame of which was Aonia. Virgil's Eclog. vi.
65: Georg. iii. 11. /
16. Things unattempted: There were but few circumstances upon which
Milton could raise his poem, and in everything which he added out of his
own invention he was obliged, from the nature of the subject, to proceed
with the greatest caution; yet he has filled his story with a surprising number of incidents, which bear so close an analogy with what is delivered in
holy writ that it is capable of pleasing the most delicate reader without
giving offence to the most scrupulous.-A.
17. Chiefly Thou, 0 Spirit: Invoking the Muse is commonly a matter of
mere form, wherein the (modern) poets neither mean, nor desire to be
thought to mean, anything seriously. But the Holy Spirit, here invoked, is
too solemn a name to be used insignificantly: and besides, our author, in the
i ing of his next work, 'Paradise Regained,' scruples not to say to the
sa Divine Person" Inspire
As Thou art wont, my prompted song, else mute."
his address therefore is no mere formality.-HEYLIN.
I is thought by Bp. Newton that the poet is liable to the charge of enthusism; having expected from the Divine Spirit a kind and degree of inspiratio similar to that which the writers of the sacred scriptures enjoyed. The
re all temples the upright heart and pure,
'uct me, for Thou know'st; Thou from the first
t present, and with mighty wings outspread 20
Dovelike sat'st brooding on the vast abyss,
And madest it pregnant: What in me is dark,
Illumine; what is low, raise and support;
That to the height of this great argument
p may assert eternal Providence, 25
And justify the ways of God to Men.
Say irst, for Heav'n hides nothing from thy view,
Nor 4he deep tract of Hell; say first what cause
Moved our grand parents, in that happy state,
Favor'd of Heav'n so highly, to fall off 30
widow of Milton was accustomed to affirm that he considered himself as inspired; and this report is confirmed by a passage in his Second Book on
Church Government, already quoted in our preliminary observations.
24. The height of the argument is precisely what distinguishes this poem
of Milton fot 1r--a'l others. In other works of imagination the difficulty lie(
in giving sufficient elevation to the subject; here it lies in raising the imagination up to the grandeur of the subject, in adequate conception of its mightiness, and in finding language of such majes'y as will not degrade it. A
genius less gigantic and less holy than Milton's would have shrunk from the
attempt. Milton not only does not lower; but he illumines the bright, and
enlarges the great: he expands his wings, and " sails with supreme dominion" up to the heavens, parts the clouds, and communes with angels and unembodied spirits.-E. B.
27. The poets attribute a kind of omniscience to the Muse, as it enables
them to speak of things which could not otherwise be supposed to come to
their knowledge. Thus Homer, Iliad ii. 485, and Virgil, JEn. vii. 645.
Milton's Muse, being the Holy Spirit, must of course be omniscient.-N.
30. Greatness, is an important requisite in the action or subject of an
epic poem; and Milton here surpasses both Homer and Virgil. The an.er
of Achilles embroiled the kings of Greece, destroyed the heroes of Troy,,nd
engaged all the gods in factions.,Eneas' settlement in Italy produced the
Caesars and gave birth to the Roman empire. Milton's subject do' determine the fate merely of single persons, or of a nation, but o- A.tire
species. The united powers of Hell are joined together for the d(:tion
of mankind, which they effected in part and would have completed, eI not
Omnipotence itself interposed. The principal actors are man in his gr:atest
perfection, and woman in her highest beauty. Their enemies are the fllen
angels; the Meslih their friend, and the Almighty their Protector. In
From their Creator, and trangress his will
For one restraint, lords of the world besides?
Who first seduced them to that foul revolt?
Th' infernal Sepent: he it was whose guile,
Stirr'd up with envy and revenge, deceived 35
The mother of mankind, what time his(pridel
Had cast him out from Heav'n, with all his host
Of rebel Angels; by whose aid asirng
To set himself in~glory 'bove his peers,
He trusted to have equall'd the Most High, 40
If he opposed; and with ambitious aim
Against the throne and monarchy of God,
Raised impious war in Heav'n, and battle proud
With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power
Hurl'd headlong flaming from th' ethereal sky, 45
With hideous ruin and combustion down
To bottomless perdition; there to dell
In adamantine chains and penal fire,
short, everything that is great in the whole circle of being, whether within
the range of nature or beyond it, finds a place in this admirable poem.-A.
SThe sublimest of all sujects (says Cowper) was reserved for Milton;
and, bringing to the contemplation of that subject, not only a genius equal to the
best of the ancients, but a heart also deeply impregnated with the divine
truths which lay before him, it Tio-7e~n nder that he has produced a composition, on the whole, superior, to any that we have received from former ages.
But he who addresses himself to the perusal of this work with a mind entirely unaccustome ious and spiritual contemplation, unacquainted
with the word of G prejudiced against it, is ill qualified to appreciate
the value of a poem bu t upon it, or to taste its beauties.
32. One restraint: one subject of restraint-the tree of knowledge of
good and evil.
34. Serpent. Compare Gen. iii. 1 Tim. ii. 14. John viii. 44.
38. Aspiring: 1 Tim. iii. 6.
39. In glory: a divine glory, such as God himself possessed. This
charge is brought against him, V. 725; it is also asserted in line 40; again in
VI. 88, VII. 140.
46. Ruin is derived from ruo, and includes the idea of falling with violence and precipitation: combustion is more than flaming in the foregoing
line; it is burning in a dreadful manner.-N.
48. Chains. Compare with Epistle of Jude v. 8. Also,.Eschylus
hbo durst defy th' Omnipotent to arms.
times.th-.spacc atmeasures day and night 20
Inmortal men, he with his horrid crew
faay vanquish'd, rolling in the fiery gulf,
Confounded though immortal: But his doom
Reserv d him to more wrath for now the thought
Both ol lost happiness and lasting pain 55
Tormen s him; round he throws his baleful eyes,
That w>* 'ss'd huge affliction and dismay,
Mix'd v n obdurate pride and steadfast hate:
At one, as far as angels' ken, he views
The dismal situation waste and wild: 60
A dungeon horrible on all sides round,
As one great furnace flamed; yet from those flames
No light; but rather darkness visible
Served only to discover sights ofwoe,
Regions of sorrow, dclful shades, where peace 65
And rest can never dwell: hope never comes,
That comes to all: but torture without end
Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed
With ever-burning sulphur unconsumed:
Such place eternal justice had preparld 70
50. Nine times the space, c. Propriety sometimes requires the use of
circumlocution, as in this case. To have said nine days and nights would not
have been proper when talking of a period before the crealion of the sun,
and consequently before time was portioned out-uy being in that manner.-CAMPBELL, Phil. Rhet.
52-3. The nine days' astonishment, in whic tie angels lay entranced
after their dreadful overthrow and fall from heaven, before they could recover
the use either of thought or speech, is a noble circumstance and very finely
imagined. The division of hell into seas of fire, and into firm ground
(227-8) impregnated with the same furious element, with that particular
circumstance of the exclusion of hope from those infernal regions, are instances of the same great and fruitful invention.-A.
63. Darkness visible: gloom. Absolute darkness is, strictly speaking, invisible; but where there is a gloom only, there is so much light remaining
as serves to show that there are objects, and yet those objects cannot be discanctly seen. Compare with the Penseroso, 79, 80:
' Where glowing embers through the room
Teach light to counterfeit a gloom.'" R
For those rebellious; here their pris'n ordained
Inrutter darkness, and their portion set
As fiurxeminved from God and light of heaven,
As Com the centre thrice to th' utmost pole.
0O how unlike the place from whence they fell! 75
There the corrnanions of his fall, o'erwhelmed
With floods aild whirlwinds of tempestuous fire,
He soon discerns, and welt'ring by his side
One next himself in power, and next in crime,
Long after known in Palestine, and named 80.Beelzebub. To whom th' Arch-Enemy,
And thence in Heav'n call'd Satan, with bold words
72. Utter, has the same meaning as the word outer, which is applied to
darkness in the Scriptures. Spenser uses utter in this sense.
74. Thrice as far as it is from the centre of the earth (which is the centre
of the world, (universe,) according to Miltons s stem, IX. 103, and X. 671,)
to the pole of the world; for it is the pole of the universe, far beyond the
pole of the earth, which is here called the utmost pole. It is observable that
Homer makes the seat of hell as far beneath the deepest pit of earth as the
heaven is above the earth, Iliad viii. 16; Virgil makes it twice as far,
AEneid vi. 577; and Milton thrice as far: as if these three great poets had
stretched their utmost genius,.and vied with each other, in extending his
idea of Hell farthest.-N
75. The language of the inspired writings (says Dugald Stewart) is on
this as on other occasions, beautifully accommodated to the irresistible impressions of nature; availing itself of such popular and familiar words as upwards and downwards, above and below, in condescension to the frailty of the
human mind, governed so much by sense and imagination, and so little by
the abstractions of philosophy. Hence the expression of fallen angels,
which, by recalling to us the eminence from which they fell, communicates,
in a single word, a character of sublimity to the bottomless abyss.-WORKS,
vol. iv. 288.
77. Fire. Compare with Mark ix. 45, 46.
81. Beelzebub. Compare with Mat. xii. 24. 2 Kings i. 2. The word
means god offlies. Here he is made second to Satan.
$2. Satan. Many other names are assigned, to this arch enemy of God and
man, in the sacred scriptures. He is called the Devil, the Dragon, the Evil One,
the Angel of the Bottomless Pit, the Prince of this World, the Prince of the
power of the air, the God of this World, Apollyon. Abaddon, Belial, Beelzebub.
Milton, it will be seen, applies some of these terms to other evil angels.
Breaking the horrid silence thus began:
li If thou beest he; but 0 how fallen! how changed
From him who, in the happy realms of light 85
Cloth'd with transcendent brightness didst outshine
Myriads though bright! If he whom mutual league,
United thoughts and counsels, equal hope
And hazard in the glorious enterprise,
Join'd with me once, now misery hath join'd 90
In equal ruin: into what pit thou seest
From what height fall'n, so much the stronger proved
He with his thunder: and till then who knew
The force of those dire arms? yet not for those
Nor what the potent victor in his rage 95
The term Satan denotes adversary; the term Devil denotes an accuser,
See Kitto's Bib. Cycl.
Upon the character of Satan as.described by Milton, Hazlitt has penned an
admirable criticism, which win be found at the end of Book I:
84. The confusion of mind felt by Satan is happily shown by the abrupt
and halting manner in which he commences this speech. Fallen; see Isaiah
xiv. 12. Changed: see Virg. /En. ii. 274:
"' Hei mihi qualis erat! Quantum mutatus ab illo!"
93. He with his thunder. There is an uncommon beauty in this expression. Satan disdains to utter the name of God, though he cannot but acknowledge his superiority. So again, line 257.-N.
94..Those: compare Azsch. Prometh. 991.
95-116. Amidst those impieties which this enraged spirit utters in various parts of the poem, the author has taken care to introduce none that is
not big with absurdity, and incapable of shocking a religious reader; his
words, as the poet himself describes them, bearing only a " semblance of
worth, not substance." He is likewise with great art described as owning
his adversary to be Almighty. Whatever perverse interpretation he puts
on the justice, mercy, and other attributes of the Supreme Being, he frequently confesses his omnipotence, that being the perfection he was forced
to allow, and the only consideration which could support his pride under the
shame of his defeat.-A.
Upon this important point Dr. Channing has made the following observations: " Some have doubted whether the moral effect of such delineations
(as Milton has given) of the stormy and terrible workings of the soul is
good; whether the interest felt in a spirit so transcendently evil as Satan
favors our sympathies with virtue. But our interest fastens, in this and like
cases, on what is not evil. We gaze on Satan with an awe not unmixed
Can else inflict, do I repent or change,
Though changed in outward lustre, that fix'd mind
And high disdain from sense of injured merit,
That with the Mightiest raised me to contend,
And to the fierce contention brought along
Innumerable force of Spirits arm'd,
That durst dislike his reign, and me preferring,
His utmost pow'r with adverse pow'r opposed
In dubious battle on th plains of Heav'n,
And shook his throne. What though the field be h
All is not lost; th' unconquerable will
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never t bubmit or yield:
And what is esenot'to be overcome;
That glly never shall his wrath or might
Extort from me/ To bow and sue for grace
With suppliant knee, and deify his powhr,
Who from the terror of this arm so late
Doubted his empire; that were low indeed!
That were an ignominy and shame beneath
This downfall: since by fate the strength of Gods
And this empyreal substance cannot fail,
with mysterious pleasure, as on a miraculous manifestation of the power of mInd.
What chains us, as with a resistless spell, in such a character, is spiritual
might (might of soul), made visible by the racking pains which it overpowers. There is something kindling and ennobling in the consciousness,
however awakened, of the energy which resides in mind; and many a virtuous man has borrowed new strength from the force, constancy, and dauntless courage of evil agents."
109. Overcome: in some editions an interrogation point is placed after
this word, but improperly; for, as Pearce remarks, the line means, 'and if
there be anything else (besides the particulars mentioned) which is not to be
overcome.' 110. That glory: referring to the possession of an unconquerable will, and the other particulars mentioned 107-9. 114. Doubted his empire:
that is, doubted the stability of it.
116. Fate. Satan supposes the angels to subsist by necessity, and repre.
Sthem of an empyreal, that is, fiery substance, as the Scripture does, Ps.
'Ieb. i. 7. Satan disdains to submit, since the angels (as he says) are
- immortal and cannot be destroyed, and since too they are now
Since through experience of this great event
In arms not worse, in foresight much advanced,
We may with more successful hope resolve 120
To wage by force or guile eternal war,
Irreconcileable to our grand foe,
Who now triumphs, and in th' excess of joy,
-ole reigning holds the tyranny of heav'n.
So spake th' apostate Angel, though in pain, 125
Vaunting aloud, but rack'd with deepgdespair:
And him thus answer'd soon his bold compeer.
// O Prince, 0 Chief of many hroned powers!
That led the embattled Seraphim to war
Under thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds 130
FAarless, endanger'd heav'n's perpetual King,
And put to proof his high supremacy,
Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or te;
Too well I see and rite the dire event,
That with sad overthrow and foul defeat 135
Hath lost us heav'n, and all this mighty host
In horrible destruction laid thus low,
As far as Gods and heav'nly essences
Can perish; for the mind and spirit remains
Invincible, and vigor soon returns, 140
Though all our glory extinct, and happy state
Here swallow'd up in endless misery
iiut what if he our conqu'ror (whom I now
Of force believe almighty, since no less
Than such could have overpower'd such force as ours)
SHave left us this our spirit and strength entire 146
Strongly to suffer and support our pains,
That we may so suffice his vengeful ire,
Or do him mightier service as his thralls
By right of war, whate'er his business be azujrspa. pandora på salg150
Here in the heart of Hell to work in fire,
Or do his errands in the gloomy deep;
What can it then avail, though yet we feel
129. Seraphim. Compare with Isaiah vi. 2-6. An order of ar
the throne of God.
Strength undiminish'd, or eternal being
To undergo eternal punishment? i53
Whereto with speedy words th' Arch-Fiend replied:
I Fall'n Cherub, to be weak is miserable
Doing or suffering: but of this be sure,
To do aught good neveLwill be our task,
But ever to do ill our sol delight, 1:)
As being the contrary to his high will
Whom we resist. If then his providence
Out of our evil seek to bring forth good,
Our labor must be to pervert that end,
And out of good still to find means of evil; 165
Which oft-times may succeed, so as perhaps
Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and distitrb
His inmost counsels fiom their destined aim.
But see, the angry victor hath recall'd
His ministers of vengeance and pursuit 170
Back to the gates of Heav'n; the sulph'rous hail
Shot after us in storm, o'erblown hath laid
The fiery surge, that from the precipice
Of Heav'n received us falling; and the thunder,
Wing'd with red lightning and impetuous rage, 175
Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now
To bellow through the vast and boundless deep,
Let us not slip th' occasion, whether scorn
157. Cherub. One of an order of angels next in rank to a seraph. Compare with Gen. iii. 24. Ezek. ch. x.
169. The account here given by Satan differs materially from that whib,
Raphael gives, book vi. 880, but this is satisfactorily explained by referrinl
to the circumstances of the two relators. RaphaePs account may be considered as the true one; but, as Newton remarks. in the other passages Sitan himself is the speaker, or some of his angels; and they were too pront
and obstinate to acknowledge the Messiah for their conqueror as their
rebellion was raised on his account, they would never own his superiority:
they would rather ascribe their defeat to the whole host of heaven than tI(
him alone. In book vi. 830 the noise of his chariot is compared to thisound of a numerous host; and perhaps their fears led them to think that they
were really pursued by a numerous army. And what a slublime idea does
it give us of the terrors of the Messiah, that he alone should be a- formidable, as if the whole host of Heaven were in pursuit of them.
Or satiate fury yield it from our foe.
Seest thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild, 180
The seat of desolation, void of light,
Save what the glimm'ring of these livid flames
Casts pale and dreadful? Thither let us tend
From off the tossing of these fiery waves,
There rest, if any rest can harbor there, 185
And reassembling our afflicted powers,
Consult how we may henceforth most offend
Our enemy, our own loss how repair,
How overcome this dire calamity,
What reinforcement we may gain from hope, 190
If not, what resolution from despair. \
Thuts Satan talking to his nearest mate
'With head uplift above the wave, and eyes
That sparkling blazed, his other parts besides
Prone on the flood, extended long and large, 195
Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge
As whom the fables name of monstrous size
Titanian, or Earth-born, that warr'd on Jove,
192. The incidents, in the passage that follows, to which Addison calls attention, are, Satan's being the first that wakens out of the general trance, his
posture on the burning lake, his rising from it. and the description of his
shield and spear; also his call to the fallen angels that lay plunged and stupifled in the sea of fire. (314--5.)
193. Prone on the flood, somewhat like those two monstrous serpents described by Virgil ii. 206:
Pectora quorum inter fluctus arrecta, jiu, que
Sanguinese exsuperant undas; pars cotera pontum
196. Rood, 4c.: a rood is the fourth part of an acre, so that the bulk of
Satan is expressed by the same sort of measure, as that of one of the giants.il Virgil, En. vi. 596:
Per tota novem cuijugera corpus
And also that of the old dragon in Spenser's Fairy Queen, book i.
'That with his largeness measured much land."
i98. Titanian, or Earth-born:
Genus antiquum terra, Titania pubes
2En. vi. 580
Briareos, or Typhon, whom the den
By ancient Tarsus held, or that sea-beast 2'0
Leviathan, which God of all his works
Created hugest that swim the ocean stream;
Him haply slumb'ring on the Norway foaml
The pilot of some small night-founder'd skiff
Deeming some island, oft, as seamen tell, 203
With fixed anchor in his scaly rind
Moors by his side under the lea, while night
Invests the sea and wish d morn delays:
Here Milton comme ces that tin of learntd allusions which was among
his peculiarities, and which he always makes poetical by some picturesque
epithet, or simile.-E. B.
199. Briareos, a fabled giant (one of the Titans) possessed of a hundred
hands. " Et centumgeminus Briareus." Virg. AEn. vi. 287.
201. Leviathan, a marine animal finely described in the book of Job, ch.
xli. It is supposed by some to be the whale; by others, the crocodile, with
less probability. See Brande's Cyc.
202. Swim the ocean-stream: What a force of imagination is there in this
last expression! What an idea it conveys of the size of that largest of
created beings, as if it shrunk up the ocean to a stream, and took up the sea
in its nostrils as a very little thing! Force of style is one of Milton's great
excellencies. Hence, perhaps, he stimulates us more in the reading, and less
afterwards. The way to defend Milton against all impugners is to take
down the book and read it.-HAZLITT.
This line is by some found fault with as inharmonious; but good taste approves its structure, as being on this account better suited to convey a just
idea of the size of this monster.
204. Night-foundered: overtaken by the night, and thus arrested in its
course. The metaphor, as Hume observes, is taken from a foundered horse
that can go no further.
207. Under the lee: in a place defended from the wind.
208. Invests the sea: an allusion to the figurative description of Night
given by Spenser:
" By this the drooping daylight 'gan to fate.
And yield his room to sad succeeding night,
Who with her sable mantle 'gan to shade
The face of Earth."
Milton also, in the same taste, speaking of the moon, IV. 609:
'And o'er the dark her silver mautle threw.'
So stretch'd out huge in length the Arch-Fiend lay
Chain'd on the burning lake, nor ever thence 210
Had ris'n or heaved his head, but that the will
And high permission of all-ruling Heav'n
Left him at large to his own dark designs,
That with reiterated crimes he might
Heap on himself damnation, while he sought 215
Evil to others, and enraged might see
How all his malice served but to bring forth
Infinite goodness, grace, and mercy shewn
On Man, by him seduced; bfft on himself
Treble eonfusion, wrath, and vengeance pour'd. 220
Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool
His mighty stature; on each hand the flames
Driv'n backward slope their pointin.g spires, and roll'd
In billows, leave i' th' midst a horrid vale.
Then with expanded wings he steers his flight 225
Aloft, incumbent on the dusky air,
209. There are many examples in Milton of musical expression, or of an
adaptation of the sound and movement of the verse to the meaning of the
passage. This line is an instance. By its great length, and pectliar structure, being composed of monosyllables, it is admirably adapted to convey the
idea of immense size.
210. Chained on the burning lake: There seems to be an allusion here to
the legend of Prometheus, one of the Titans, who was exposed to the wrath
of Jupiter on account of his having taught mortals the arts. and especially
the use of fire, which he was said to have stolen from heaven, concealed in a
reed. According to another story he was actually the creator of men, or at
least inspired them with thought and sense.
His punishment was to be chained to a rock on Caucasus, where a vulture
perpetually gnawed his liver from which he was finally rescued by Hercnles. This legend has formed the subject of the grandest of all the poetical
illustrations of Greek supernatural belief, the Prometheus Bound of,'schylus. Many have recognized in the indomitable resolution of this sa fuiring
Titan, and his stern endurance of the evils inflicted on him by a power with
which he had vainly warred for supremacy, the prototype of the arch-fiend
22G--7. That felt unusual weight: This conceit (as Thyer remarks) is
borrowed fromn Spenser, who thus describes the old dragon, book i.
' Thein wlf h1; w~v- hng wifns dis om thae wide
tm. elf p h; h ht lifret funm tle ground,
BOOK I. 29
That felt unusual weight; till on dry land
He lights, as if it were land that ever burn'd
With solid, as the lake with liquid fire;
And such appear'd in hue, as when the force 239
Of subterranean wind transports a hill
Torn from Pelorus, or the shatter'd side
Of thund'ring I.Etna, whose combustible
And fuel'd entrails thence conceiving fire,
And with strong flight did forcibly divide
The yielding air, which nigh too feeble found
Her flitting parts, and element unsound,
To bear so great a weight."
229. Liquid fire. Virg. Ec. vi. 33. 'Et liquidi simul ignis.-N.
230. There are several noble similies and allusions in the first book of
Paradise Lost. And here it must be observed that when Milton alludes
either to things or persons he never quits his simile until it rises to some
very great idea, which is often foreign to the occasion that gave birth to it.
The simile does not perhaps occupy above a line or two, but the poet runs
on with the hint until he has raised out of it some brilliant image or sentiment adapted to inflame the mind of the reader and to give it that sublime
kind of entertainment which is suitable to the nature of an heroic poem.
In short, if we look into the poems of Homer, Virgil, and Milton, we must
observe, that as the great fable is the soul of each poem, so, to give their
works the greater variety, the episodes employed by these authors may be
regarded as so many short fables, their similies as so many short episodes,
and their metaphors as so many short similies. If the comparisons in the
first book of Milton, of the sun in an eclipse, of the sleeping leviathan, of:
bees swarming about their hive, of the fairy dance, be regarded in this light
the great beauties existing in each of these passages will readily be discovered.-A.
231. Wind: this should be altered to winds, to agree with the reading in
line 235; or that should be altered to agree with this.
232. Pelorus: the eastern promontory of Sicily.
234. Thence conceiving fire: the combustible and fuelled entrails, or interior
contents, of the mountain, are here represented as takingfire, as the result of
the action of the subterranean wind, in removing the side of the mountain.
The fire thus kindled was sublimed with mineral fury, that is, was heightened
by the rapid combustion of mineral substances of a bituminous nature. The
poet seems to have in his mind the description of JEtna by Virgil (book iii
Sed horrificis juxta tonat JEtna ruinis,
Interdumque atram prorumpit ad athera nubem,
Turbine fumantem piceo, et candente favilla;
Attollitque globos flammarlum, et sidera lambit:
Sublimed with min'ral fury, aid the winds, 235
And leave a singed bottom all involved
With stench and smoke; such resting found the sole
Of unblest feet. Him follow'd his next mate,
Both glorying to have 'scap'd the Stygian flood
As Gods, and by their own recover'd strength, 240
Not by the sufPrance of Supernal Power.
ýiTIs this the region, this the soil, the clime,
Said then the lost Arch-A this the seat,That we must change for heav'n, this mournful gloom
For that celestial light? Be it so, since he 245
Who now is Sovran can dispose and bid
What shall be right: farthest from him is best,
Whom reason hath equall'd, force hath made supreme
Above his equals. Farewell happy fields,
Where joy forever dwells: Hail horrors, hail 250
Infernal world, and thou profoundest Hell
Receive thy new possessor; one who brings
A mind not to be changed by place or time.
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n. 255
Interdum scopulos avulsaque viscera montis
Erigit eructans. liquefactaque saxa sub auras
Cum gemitu glomerat, fundoque exestuat imo.
239. Stygian flood; an expression here of the same import with infernal
flood, alluding to the fabulous river Styx of the lower world, which the poets
represented as a broad, dull and sluggish stream.
246. Sovran: from the Italian word sovrano.
250. Dr. Channing, writing upon Satan's character as drawn by the po t
observes: " Hell yields to the spirit which it imprisons. The intensity of
its fires reveals the intense passion and more vehement will of Satan; and
the ruined archangel gathers into himself the sublimity of the scene which
surrounds him. This forms the tremendous interest of these wonderful
books. We see mind triumphant over the most terrible powers of natuire
We see unutterable agony subdued by energy of soul."
Addison remarks that Milton has attributed to Satan those sentiments
which are every way answerable to his character, and suited to a created
being of the most exalted and most depraved nature; as in this passage.
which describes him as taking possession of his place of torments, 250-263.
253-5. These are some of the extravagances of the Stoics, and could not
pandora charms à vendre
Lista efter ålder
Det är medlemmen själv som uppdaterar sina egna exporter och som ansvarar för att allt innehåll i publicerat material på denna sida är riktigt. Skogkattslingan svarar inte på något sätt för sakinnehållet och uppgifternas aktualitet.
Argentina | Australien | Brasilien | Chile | Colombia | Danmark | Finland | Frankrike | Holland | Hong Kong | Island | Italien | Japan | Kanada | Mexico | Norge | Polen | Portugal | Ryssland | Schweiz | Slovenien | Spanien | Storbritannien | Thailand | Tyskland | USA |