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mentions this glass the oftener in honour of Galileo, whom lie means here by the astronomer.
593. Not all parts like, &c.] Ovid has given us a description of the palace of the Sun, but few have described the Sun himself; and I know not whether our author has shown more fancy or more judgment in the description. An ordi, nary poet would in all probability have insisted chiefly upon its excessive heat; but that was nothing to Satan who was come from the liotter region of Hell; and therefore Milton judiciously omits it, and enlarges upon the riches of the place, the gold and silver and precious stones which abounded therein, and by these means exhibits a pleasing picture instead of a disagreeable one.
602.---though by their powerful art they bind &c.] Though by their powerful art they bind and fix quicksilver, and change their matter, untound, unfixed, into as many vari. ous shapes as Proteus, till it be reduced at last to its first ori. ginal form. Hermes, another word for Mercury or quicksilvor, which is very fuid, and volatile, and hard to be fixed. Proteus, a Sea-God, who could transform himself into vari. ous shapes, till being closely pressed he returned to his own proper form. By this the Ancients understood the first principle of things and the subject matter of nature; and our poet therefore very fitly employs this metaphor or similitude to express the matter, which the chemists make experiments upon through all its mutations, and which they drain through their limbecs or stills, till it resume its native and original form.
606. What wonder then, &c ] And if chemists can do so much, what wonder then if in the sun itself is the true philosopher's stone, the grand elixir, and rivers of liquid gold: when the sun, the chief of chemists, though at so great a distance, can perform such wonders upon earth, and produce so many precious things ? The thought of making the sun the chief chemist or alchemist seems to be taken from Shakespear, King John, act iji.
To solemnize this day, the glorious sun
616.-.-as when bis beams at noon
as they now
628. -employ'd} Milton constantly spells this word imployd, but the French word from whence it is derived is employer.
634. But first be ca'ts &c.] He considers. The metaphor seems to be taken from casting the eye around every way. Spenser has the same expression, Faery Queen, b. i. cant. II, st. 40.
He cast at once him to avenge for all.
636.a stripling Cherub] The evil Spirit, the better to dis. guise his purpose, assumes the appearance of a stripling Cherub, not of one of those of the prime order and dignity, for such could not so well be supposed to be ignorant of wląt Satan wanted now to be informed. And a finer picture of a young Angel could not be drawn by the pencil of Raphael than is here by the pen of Milton.
643. His habit fit for speed succinct,] If the author meant that Satan had clothes on as well as wings, it is contrary to his usual manner of representing the Angels; but I rather understand it that the wings be wore were his habit, and they were certainly a habit fit for speed succinet; but succin&7 I understand with Dr. Pearce, not in its first and literal sense girdid or tucked up, but in the metaphorical sense, ready and prepared; as Fabius in Inst. Orat. ii. 2. says, Proni succinctique, &c,
644. His decent steps] The word decent in its common acceptation in our language will, I think, scarcely come up to what our poet is here describing, and therefore we ought in justice to him to recur to its Lacin original. Hor, Od. iii.
Antequam turpis macies decentes
650.-- and are his eyes &c.] An expression borrowed from Zech. iv. 10. “ Those seven, they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro throught the whole earth.” The Jews therefore believed there were seven principal Angels, who were the captains and leaders as it were of the heavenly host.
654. Uriel,] His name is derived from two Hebrew words which signify God is my light. He is mentioned as a good Angel m the second book of Esdras, chapters iv. and v. and the Jews and some Christians conceive him to be an Angel of light according to his name, and therefore he has properly his station in the sun.
678. that loss] This is Miton's own reading in both his éditions. Dr. Bentley and Mr. Fenton read not so well their loss.
683. Hypocrisy &c.] What is said here of hypocrisy is cen, şured as a digression, but it seems no more than is absolutely necessary; for otherwise it might be thought very strange, that the evil Spirit should pass undiscovered by the ArchAngel Uriel, the region of the sun, and the sharpest sighted Spirit in Heaven, and therefore the poet endeavours to ac, count for it by saying, that hypocrisy cannot be discerned by Man or Angel, it is invisible to all but God, &ç. But yet the evil Spirit did not pass wholly undiscovered, for though Uriel was not aware of him now, yet he found reason to, suspect him afterwards from his furious gestures in the mount.
686. And oft though wisdom wake, &c.] He must be very critically splenetic indeed, who will not pardon this little digressional observation. What great art has the poet shown in taking off the dryness of a mere moral sentence by throwing it into the form of a short and beautiful allegory!
694. Fair Angel, &c.] in the answer which this Angel returns to the disguised evil Spirit, there is such a becoming majesty as is altogether suitable to a superior being. The part of it, in which he represents himself as present at the creation, is very noble in itself, and not only proper where it is introduced, but requisite to prepare the reader for what follows in the seventh book. In the following part of the
speech he points out the earth with such circumstances, that the reader can scarce forbear fancying himselt en ployed on the same distant view of it. Addison.
715. The cumbrous clements,] Even air and fire are so in comparison of the ethereal quintessence, celestial fire, or pure spirit. Richardson.
716. And this ethere. I quintessence of Heaven] This notion our author borrowed from Aristotle and others of the ancient philosophers, who supposed that besides the four elements there was likewise an ethereal quintessence or fifth essence, out of which the stars and Heavens were formed, and its motion was orbicular.
730.------ber countenance riform] Increasing with horns towards the east, decreasing with horns towards the west, and at the full.
741.-in many an qery wheel,] This sportive motion is attributed to Satan for joy that he was now so near his journey's end: and it is very properly taken notice of here, as it is said to have been observed by the Angel Uriel, afterwards in iv. 567.
---I describ'd his way,
Bent on all speed, and mark’d his acry gate. So beautifully do not only the greater, but even the minuter parts of this poem hang together.
742. --on Niphates' cop he lights,] A mountain in the borders of Armenia, not far from the spring of Tigris, as Xe. nophon afiirms upon his own knowledge. The poet lands Satan on this mountain, because it borders on Mesopotamia, in which the most judicious describers of Paradise place it.
I must not conclude my reflections upon this thirchi:ook of Paradise Lost, without taking notice of that celebrated complaint of Milton with which it opens, and which certainly deserves all the praises that have been given it; though, as I have before hinted, it may rather be looked upon as an excrescence, than as an essential part of the poem. The same observation might be applied to that beautitul digression upsco hypocrisy in the same book. Addison.
32. Oibou &c.] SATAN being row within prospect of Eden, and looking round upon the glories of the creation, is filled with sentiments different from those which he disco. vered while he was in Hell. The place inspires him with thoughts more adapted to it. He reflects upon the happy condition from whence he fell, and breaks forth into a speech that is softened with several transient touches of remorse and self-accusation : but at length he confirms himself in impenitence, and in his design of drawing Man into his own state of guilt and misery. This conflict of passions is raised with a great deal of art, as the opening of his speech to the sun is very bold and noble. This speech is, think, the finest that is ascribed to Satan in the whole poem.
Addison. 114.---each passion dimm'd his face
Ibrice changʻd with pale, ire, envy, and despair ;] Each passion, ire, envy, and despair, dimmd his countenance which was thrice changed with pale through the successive agitations of these three passions. For that paleness is the proper hue of envy and despair every body knows, and we always reckon that sort of anger the most deadly and diabolical, which is accompanied with a pale livid countenance.
126.--- on the Assyrian mount] Dr. Bentley reads Arme-, nian mount : but Niphates is by Pliny reckoned between Armenia and Assyria, and therefore may be called Assyrian.
132.---where delicious Paradise, &c.] Satan is now come to the border of Eden, where he has a nearer prospect of Paradise, which the poet represents as situated in a champain country upon the top of a steep hill, called the Mount of Paradise. The sides of this hill were overgrown with thickets and bushes, so as not to be passable; and over-head above these, on the sides of the hill, likewise grew the lofti.