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Because the Father whom in Heav'n supreme
820 They measure all, of other excellence Not emulous, nor care who them excels; Nor other strife with them do I voutsafe.”
"So spake the Son, and into terror chang'd His count'nance too severe to be beheld,
825 And full of wrath bent on his enemies. At once the four spread out their starry wings With dreadful shade contiguous, and the orbs Of his fierce chariot roll'd, as with the sound Of torrent floods, or of a numerous host.
830 He on his impious foes right onward drove, Gloomy as night; under his burning wheels The steadfast empyrean shook throughout, All but the throne itself of God. Full soon Among them he arriv'd; in his right hand Grasping ten thousand thunders, which he sent Before him, such as in their souls infix'd Plagues; they astonisht, all resistance lost, All courage; down their idle weapons dropp'd : O’er shields and helms, and helmed heads he rode 840 Of Thrones and mighty seraphim prostrate, That wisht the mountains now might be again Thrown on them as a shelter from his ire. Nor less on either side tempestuous fell His arrows, from the fourfold-visag'd four, Distinct with eyes, and from the living wheels, Distinct alike with multitude of eyes, One spirit in them ruld, and every eye Glar'd lightning, and shot forth pernicious fire Among th' accurst, that wither'd all their strength, 850 And of their wonted vigour left them drain’d,
Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fall'n.
'Hell heard th' unsufferable noise, Hell saw
And temple of his mighty Father thron'd
890 On high: who into glory him receiv'd, Where now he sits at the right hand of bliss.
Thus measuring things in Heav'n by things on Earth At thy request, and that thou may'st beware By what is past, to thee I have reveal'd What might have else to human race been hid; The discord which befell, and war in Heav'n Among th' angelic powers, and the deep fall Of those too high aspiring, who rebellid With Satan, he who envies now thy state, Who now is plotting, how he may seduce Thee also from obedience, that with him Bereavd of happiness thou may'st partake His punishment, eternal misery; Which would be all his solace and revenge,
905 As a despite done against the Most High, Thee once to gain companion of his woe. But list'n not to his temptations, warn Thy weaker; let it profit thee to have heard By terrible example the reward Of disobedience; firm they might have stood, Yet fell; remember, and fear to transgress.'
Of the following Notes, the greater portion has been selected from those appended to the best editions of Milton, but illustrations have also been drawn from other sources. I have endeavoured to carry out the recommendation of Mr. Abbott in his Essay on the Teaching of English, and to set before the student condensed and suggestive information upon salient points, rather than a complete and detailed commentary. Those who require a fuller exposition should consult the notes on the Early Poems by Warton, valuable for their array of parallel passages, or those to the Poetical Works, by Mr. Keightley, from which latter the following pages have frequently been enriched. It is an agreeable duty to acknowledge the assistance which I, and all lovers of Milton's poetry, have received from the labours of the accomplished editor.
To the illustrative passages from the Bible, Homer, Virgil, Horace, Ovid's Metamorphoses, Shakespeare, and the First and Second Books of the Faery Queene (already published in this Series), references only, for the most part, are given in these Notes. Quotations from other classical writers, and from the later books of Spenser, are given (when necessary) in full.
R. C. B.