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himself, is conformable to the pride and intrepidity of his character. Zephon's rebuke, with the influence it had on Satan, is exquisitely graceful and moral. Addison.
829.--there sitting where ye durst not soar :] As sitting is frequently used in the Scriptures, and in other ancient wrin ters, for a posture that implies a high rank of dignity and power; Satan by this expression intimates his great superiority over them, that he had the privilege to sit, as an angel of figúre and authority, in an eminent part of Heavels, where they durst not soar, where they did not presume even
Greenwood. 834. To wbom thus Zepkor,] Zephon is very properly made to answer him, and not Ithuriel, that each of them may ap. pear as actors upon this occasion. Ithuriel with his spear restored the Fiend to his own shape, and Zephon rebuket him. It would not have been so well, if the same person had done both.
845. Severe in youthful beauty, added grace] Virg. Æn. v. 344. Gratior et pulchro veniens in corpore virtus.
848. Virtue in ber shape bow lovely ; &c.] What is said here of seeing Virtue in her shafe how lovely is manifestly borrowed from Plato and C.c. de off. i. 5. as what follows, saw and pin'd bis loss, is an imitation of Persius, Sat. iii. 33.
to gioicie sleej,] Shakespear in Macbeth has a
I drag thee] The present tense used for the fu.
971. Proud limitary Cherub,] Thou proud prescribing Angel that presumest to limit me, and appoint my prison, according to Mr. Hume. Or rather limary, set to guard the bounds ; a taunt insulting the good Angel as one employed
in a little mean office, according to Mr. Richardson. For limitary (as Dr. Heylin remarks) is from limitaneus. Milites limitanei are soldiers in garrison upon the frontiers. So Dux limitaneus. Digest. And as Mr. Thyer farther observes, the word is intended as a scornful sneer upon what Gabriel had just said,
-if from this hour Within these hollowed limits thou appear.
974. Ride on thy wings, &c.] This seems to allude to Ezekiel's vision, where four Cherubims are appointed to the four wheels : See chap. i. and x. and xi. 22.
977. Wiile thus ke spake, &c.] The conference between Gabriel and Satan abounds with sentin,cnts proper for the occasion, and suitable to the persons of the two speakers. Satan clothing himself with terror, when he prepares for the combat, is truly sublime, and at least equal to Homer's description of Discord celebrated by Longinus, or to that of Fame in Virgil, who are both represented with their feet standing upon the earth, and their heads reaching above the clouds. Addison.
987. Like Teneriff or Atlas unremov'd:] Well may Satan be likened to the greatest mountains, and he said to stand as firm and immoveable as they, when Virgil has applied the same comparison to his hero, Æn. xii 701.
Like Eryx, or like Athos great he shows,
991.nor only Paradise &c.] This representation of what must have happened, if Gabriel and Satan had encountered, is imagined in these few lines with a nakleness suitable to the occasion, and is an improvement upon a thought in Ho. mer, where he represents the terrors which must have at. tended the conflicts of two such powers as jupiter and Neptune, Iliad. xv. 224.
And all the Gods that round old Saturn dwell, Had heard the thunders to the deeps of Hell. 996. Th° Eternal 10 privint such iorrid fray] Tlie breaking off the combat between Cabriel and Saian, hy the hanging out of the golden scales in Heaven, is a refinement upon
Hoiner's thought, who tells us that before the battle between Hector and Achilles, Jupiter weighed the event of it in a pair of scales. The reader may see the whole passage in the 22d Iliad. Virgil before the last decisive combat describes Jupiter in the same manner, as weighing the fates of Turnus and Æneas. Milton, though he fetched this beautiful circumstance from the Iliad and Æneid, does not only insert it as a poetical embellishment, like the authors above menti. oned; but makes an artful use of it for the proper carrying on of his fable, and for the breaking off the combat between the two warriors who were upon the point of engaging. To this we may further add, that Milton is the more justified in this passage, as we find the same noble allegory in holy Writ, where a wicked prince, some few hours before he was assaulted and slain, is said to have been weigbed in the scales and to bave been found wanting.
Addison. 998. Betwixt Astrea and the Scorpion sign,] Libra or the Scales is one of the twelve signs of the zodiac, as Astrea (or Virgo the Virgin) and Scorpio also are. This does as it were realize the fiction, and gives consequently a greater force to it.
999. Wberein all things created first he weigh’d, &c.] This of weighing the creation at first and of all events since gives us a sublime idea of Providence, and is conformable to the style of Scripture. Job. xxviii. 25.
1012. Where thou art weigh'd and shown low light, how weak,] He does not make the ascending scale the sign of victory as in Homer and Virgil, but of lightness and weakness accord. ing to that of Belshazzar, Dan. v. 27. Thoù art weigh’d in the balances, and art found wanting. So true it is, that Milton oftener imitates Scripture than Homer and Virgil, even where he is thought to imitate them most.
21.----we lose the frime,] THE prime of the day; as he calls it elsewhere ---that sweet hour of prime,
ver. 170. and ix. 200.
The season prime for sweetest scents and airs.
The word is used by Chaucer and Spenser, as in Faery Queen, book i. cant. 6. st. 13. They all, as glad as birds of joyous prime.
26. Such whispring wak'd her,] We were told in the foregoing book how the evil Spirit practised upon Eze as she lay asleep, in order to inspire her with thoughts of vanity, pride, and ambition. The author, who shows a wonderful art throughout his whole poem, in preparing the reader for the several occurrences that arise in it, founds upon the above-mentioned circumstance the first part of the fith book. Adam upon his awaking finds Eve still asleep, with an unnsual discomposure in her looks. The posture in which he regards her, is described with a tenderness not to be expressed, as the whisper with which he awakens her, is the sottest that ever was conveyed to a lover's ear. I cannot but take notice that Milton, in the conferences between Adam and Eve, had his eye very frequently upon the book of Canticles, in which there is a noble spirit of eastern poetry, and very often not unlike what we meet with in Homer, who is generally placed near the age of Solomon.
Close at mine ear, &c.] Eve's dream is full of those high conceits ingend'ring pride, which we are told the Devil endeayoured to instil into her. Of this kind is that part of it
where slie fancies herself awakened by Adam in the following beautiful lines,
Why sleep'st thou Eve? &C.
An injudicious poet would have made Adam talk through the whole work in such sentiments as these: but Aattery and falshcod are not the courtship of Milton's Adam, ard could not be heard by Eve in her state of innocence, excepte ing only in a dream produced on purpose to taint her ima, gination. Other vain sentiments of the saine kind in this relation of her dream will be obvious to every reader. Tho' the catastrophe of tive poem is finely presaged on this occasion, the particulars of it are so artfully shadowed, that they do not anticipate the story which follows in the ninth book. I shall only add, that though the vision itself is founded upon truth, the circumstances of it are full of that wildness and inconsistency, which are natural to a dream. Addison.
53. Much fairer to my fancy than by day:] As the sensations ar: of:en more pleasing, and the images more lively, when we are asleep than when we are avake. And what can be the cause of this? Our author plainly thinks it may be effected by the agency of some spiritual being upon the sensory while we are asleep. Great as was Milton's genius, he was not so far advanced in philosophy as to reject all hypotheses concerning efficient causes of phaenomena in either the natural or moral world.
94.-_and thus Aram] Adam, conformable to his superior character for wisdom, instructs and comforts Eve upon this occasion. Addison.
145.--malach morning duly paid
In various stile ;] As it is very well known that our author was no friend to set forms of prayer, it is no wonder that he ascribes extemporary effusions to our first parents ; but even while he attributes strains unmeditated to them, he him. self imitates the Psalmist.
153. These are thy glorious worki, &c.] The morning hymn is written in imitation of one of those Psalms, where in the overflowings of gratitude and praise the Psalmist calls not only upon the Angels, but upon the most conspicuous parts of the inanimate creation, to join with him in extolling their common Maker. Invocations of this nature fill the mind