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Sonnet XVII. 1. J. In the Defensio Secunda, Milton says that he is unwillingly, and in one matter only, a dissembler-his eyes being as clear and cloudless as those of the most keen-sighted.
1.7. one jot. The usual reading is 'a jot.' One’ is the reading of the earliest printed ed. (1694).
1. 10. conscience ; — here = consciousness. In the work above quoted Milton relates that he was warned that the prosecution of his task (the answering Salmasius) would certainly cost him the sight of his remaining eye, but that he did not hesitate to incur the penalty.
Sonnet XVIII. 1. 3. Hercules was the rescuer of Alcestis. (Euripides, Alcestis, 1055).
1. 5. It is nowhere said in the Scriptures that the Hebrew women were washed or wore white at their purification after childbed. Perhaps, however, Milton does not make the latter assertion. (Keightley.)
Paradise Lost. The Verse. The first edition of Paradise Lost, in 1667, was without this preface. In 1668, when a new title-page was prefixed to the edition, it was added, with the following Address of the printer to the reader: • Courteous Reader, there was no Argument at first intended to the book; but for the satisfaction of many that have desired it, I have procured it, and withal that which stumbled many others, why the poem rimes not.' (Todd.)
Book I. 1. 1. Cf. with the opening of the Iliad, and with that of the Aeneid.
1. 2. mortalis, in its classical use, is generally =' human.' but in Cyprian and the later fathers it is equivalent to 'lethalis,' deadly. (Keightley.)
1. 4. Romans v. 19. Lines 4 and 5 are incumbrances and deadeners of the harmony, as are lines 14-16. (Landor.)
1. 6. Cf. Book vii. 1. secret is here used for separate,' apart.' (Aeneid, viii. 670.) As in Arcades 30; Circumcision 19.
1. 7. Horeb (not Oreb, Judges vii. 25) and Sinai are two peaks of the same mountain range, on which Moses had been a shepherd for forty years. The Law is said in Deuteronomy to have been given from Horeb, and in the other books of the Pentateuch Sinai is named as the mount' of its promulgation,
1. 10. Sion was the hill opposite to Moriah, on which latter the Temple was built. In the valley beside them was the Pool (not brook) of Siloaman intermitient well, ebbing and flowing at irregular intervals.
1. 12. fast by; — close to, frequently used by Milton (Paradise Lost. ii. 725, X. 333 ; The Passion 21).
1. 14. middle ;-middling, mediocre, mean. Tacitus has this us i. 49). Cf. Horace (Odes, ii, 20. 1).
1. 15. Aonia was the name of part of Boeotia, near Phocis, in which were the mountain Helicon and the fountain Aganippe, the favourite haunts of the Muses. The 'Aonian mount' is here used for the productions of the Greek poets.
pursues ;-like the Latin prosequor (Georgics, iii. 340). Southey (in Landor's Imaginary Conversations) remarks that Milton as early as the fifth line begins to give the learned and less obvious signification to English words, as ' seat,' secret,' 'middle.'
1. 16. Cf. Comus 44.
1. 17. spirit is here a monosyllable, as frequently in Milton. Cf. 1 Cor. ji. 16, 17.
1. 21. brooded is the strict translation of the Hebrew word rendered in our version by 'moved' (Gen. i. 3).
1. 24. argument ;— subject. Spenser, in the introductory lines of his poems, speaks of the argument of his afflicted stile' (pen), and the King asks Hamlet, . Have you heard the argument of the play ?' (Hamlet, iii. 2.) Cf. Paradise Lost, ix. 28.
1. 27. Cf. Iliad, ii. 485; Aeneid, vii. 645.
1. 38. Landor remarks that this is the first hendecasyllabic line in the poem. It is a very efficient line in drama, but hardly ever in Milton, who uses it much more in Paradise Regained than in Paradise Lost.
1. 40. Isaiah xiv. 13. 1. 45. Luke x. 18.
1. 46. Ruin and combustion is a phrase occuring in an order of the two Houses in 1642. Hence Keightley conjectures it may have been an ordinary phrase of the time.
1. 48. adamant is strictly. the unconquerable,' usually applied to the hardest metal. Here adamantine = not to be broken.
1. 50. Hesiod's description of the fall of the giants is here imitated.
1. 56. bale is misery, sorrow; baleful=either sorrowful' or (as here) • mischievous,' . causing sorrow.'
1. 57. witnessed ;-bore witness to. The word is used always in this sense in Shakespeare and in Milton, and not (as now) as merely equivalent to saw.' The affliction and dismay were Satan's own.
1. 60. situation ;-site. The word is used only here in Milton's poems, and only twice by Shakespeare.
1. 63. no light (came);—a zeugma. (Keightley.) Cf. Il Penseroso 80. *A sullen light intermingled with massy darkness. (De Quincey.)
1. 68. urges ;—in the Latin sense =- drives' as in Paradise Lost, vi. 864.
1. 72. utter router. Matt. xxi. 13. Ben Jonson speaks of the utter shell of knowledge.' Spenser (Faery Queene, IV. x. 11) of the bridge's utter gate. Cf. Paradise Lost, iii. 16; v. 614.
1. 73. Not very far for creatures who could have measured all that, and a much greater distance, by a single act of the will. (Landor.)
1. 74. Cf. Paradise Lost, ix. 103 ; x. 671. According to Milton's system the centre of the earth is also the centre of the world. The utmost pole
here meant is not the pole of the earth, but that of the universe. Homer makes hell as far below the deepest pit of earth as heaven is above the earth. Virgil makes it twice as far (Aeneid, vi. 577-579).
1. 78. weltering ;-See note on Nativity Ode 124.
1. 81. Matt. xii. 24. Beelzebub, Lord of Flies,' was worshipped in Ekron, a city of Palestine, on a moist soil in a hot climate and infested with flies, against which the protection of the idol was invoked.
1. 82. Satan signifies the enemy.
1. 84. beest is not to be confounded with the subjunctive "be. Our substantive verb, as it is called, is made up of fragments of several verbs, of which at least am,' was,' and 'be' are distinguished. beest is 2nd pers. sing. pres. indic. of beon, to be. It is now obsolete, but is used by Shakespeare in Julius Caesar, iv. 3. (Craik's English of Shakespeare.) Cf. Isaiah xiv. 12. Aeneid, ii. 274.
1. 86. Nausicaa thus surpassed her damsels, though they were lovely. (Odyssey vi. 108.)
1. 94. So Prometheus defies Zeus (Prometheus Vinctus 992-997).
1. 107. Cf. Paradise Lost, xi. 577. study here =Lat. studium, endeavour,' as in Hotspur's outburst against Bolingbroke (1 Henry IV. i. 3).
1. 114. empire ;—'imperium,' supreme authority.
1. 115. ignominy here shortened (as always in Shakespeare) to 'ignomy.' (1 Henry IV. v. 4. The Prince's speech over Hotspur's body.) So in Paradise Regained, iii. 136.
1. 117. empyreal substance ;—fiery essence, which is the expression in The Circumcision 7.
1. 123. triumpbs ;-Cf. (note) On Time, last line.
1. 124. Though tyranny in the classical sense only signifies usurped supreme power (without any reference to the manner in which that power is used), it is probable that Satan may here employ the word in its usual acceptation.
1. 125. Cf. Aeneid, i. 208.
1. 131. perpetual is supposed to be used here to avoid eternal,' and to signify that the King is only such by immemorial uninterrupted possession. But Milton uses “perpetual' for .eternal' in Nativity Ode 7.
I. 141. extinct ;-extinguished like a flame. Cf. verses 39, 115, for similar elision of final y, continually recurring in this poem.
1. 144. of force ;—perforce, like Bią. So in Shakespeare, •It must, of force' (i Henry IV. ii. 3).
1. 149. Thrall ;-0. Engl. word for “slave,' frequent in Spenser.
(Tempest, i. 2.)
1. 172. laid ;-Cf. Paradise Regained, iv. 429. Cf. Horace (Odes, i. 9. 10), and
• When all the winds are laid.'
(Tennyson's translation from Iliad.) 1. 176. bis ;—The A. S. personal pronoun was be, beo, bit. For beo we have substituted she,' (fem. of demonst se, seo, thaet.) The genitive was bis for masculine and neuter, and hire for feminine. The form its' is of late introduction. It does not occur in the authorised Bible, his' or whereof' is used instead. (Gen. i. 11, Matt. v. 13, Mark ix. 50, Acts xii. 10.) “It' was used were we now use its' as in Winter's Tale, ii. 3 original text, where Antigonus is enjoined to leave the infant child of Hermione to
it own protection;' and long before its' was generally received, we have it self, so written under the impression that it was a possessive. Milton does use . its' sometimes (Paradise Lost, i. 254; iv. 813), but generally avoids the word by feminine personification (as was done in early translations of the Bible, wherein `her' was used for his' in Numb. iv. 9). See Paradise Lost, i. 723; ii. 4, 175, 271, 584, &c. Mr. Craik, from whose English of Shakespeare the above note is abridged, says that Milton nowhere uses his' in z neuter sense. Cf. note on Comus 248.
1. 178. Keightley thinks that the more correct expression is let slip,' but Macduff says · I have almost slipt the hour' (Macbeth, ii. 3); and in Comus 743 the omission of . let' would make the line correct in metre.
1. 180. Cf. line 60.
Here let us rest, if this rebellious earth
Have any resting.' 1. 186. afflicted=' afflictus,' beaten down. Cf. Paradise Lost, iv. 939. Powers=forces, as
• The gentle Archbishop of York is up,
(2 Henry IV. i. 1.) 1. 191. Bentley suggested · if none,' i. e. what reinforcement.
1. 193. uplift;—for uplifted. (Cf. Ps. xxiv. 7.) Elsewhere Milton uses • lifted,' as does Shakespeare.
1. 198. Cf. Aeneid, vi. 580.
1. 199. Intending to name one of each class, Milton makes a mistake as to Briareus, who was one of the hundred-handed (not of the Titans), and helped the gods. (Keightley.) Milton added Tarsus from Nonnus, who (at the beginning of his enormous epic in forty-eight books) treats at great length of Typhon, the last son of earth. Pindar places his den in Cilicia.
1. 201. Job xli. Leviathan is considered by Bochart to be the crocodile, but Milton here uses the name to designate the whale.
I. 202. Ocean stream is an Homeric phrase (Iliad, xiv. 245, xx. 7). Cf. Various Readings, Comus, opening speech.
1. 204. night-foundered here = benighted,' as in Comus. Founder' (from Fr. fondre) is to sink from springing a leak, and is improperly used here. (Keightley.)
1. 205. The story rests on the authority of Olaus Magnus (whose History of the Northern Nations was translated into English in 1658), and Hakluyt.
1. 207. As the lee shore is that on which the wind blows, under the lee' =close under the weather shore, or under the wind.
1. 208. Invests; - clothes. Paradise Lost, iii. 10; xi. 233.
1. 210. We are not told how he loosed himself. The poet was led into the employment of this term by his servile adherence to the letter of Scripture. 2 Pet. ii. 4, Jude 6. (Keightley.)
1. 232.—Pelorus; the north-east point of Sicily. Ovid says that the right hand of Typhoeus (or Typhon) is buried in this spot. There is no account of this cape having been affected by the eruptions of Aetna. (Keightley.)
1. 233. thundering Aetna is a Virgilian epithet (Aeneid. iii. 371).
1. 235. To sublime' is a chemical term for an operation wherein by fire the subtier parts are separated and mounted, and receive greater force.
1. 241. Cf. Odyssey, iv. 504.
1. 244. The thing received is put first, in the Latin manner. (Horace, Odes, iii. 1. 47.
1. 250. So the dying Ajax calls on Darkness and Erebus to receive him (Sophocles, Ajax, 395).
1. 255. In Marlowe's Faustus, when Mephostophilis is asked how he has escaped from hell, he replies—
Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it!' 1. 266. astonisht ;-thunderstruck (Ital. attoniti). Cf. line 317 and Dan. viii. 27.
oblivious pool ;—pool that causes oblivion, like .forgetful lake' (Paradise Lost, ii. 74).
I. 276. Cf. Paradise Lost, vi. 108. edge of battle is by many commentators taken to be a translation of acies, which means both edge of a weapon' and 'an army in battle array.' Cf. the bridge of war' (Tennyson's translation of apoléoio yepúpal, Iliad, viii. 553).
1. 281. erewhile ;-aforetime, before.
1. 287. Galileo, the Tuscan artist, applied the telescope (which he greatly improved, if not invented) to the observation of the heavenly bodies, and by its use discovered the moon to be a body of uneven surface.
1. 289. Fesole or Fiesole, is the hill three miles to the north-east of Florence. On it are the remains of the ancient city of Faesulae.
1. 290. Valdarno; – Val d'Arno is the valley in which Florence is situated.
1. 294. ammiral ;-(Ital. ammiraglio) the principal vessel in a fleet. It is derived from the Arabic · Prince of Believers,' and the Spaniards understood by it simply commander,' as in their title • Admiral of Castile.' (Keightley.) Falstaff calls Bardolph our admiral,' meaning the vessel that led the fleet.
1. 303. Vallambrosa is eighteen miles from Florence. The trees planted near the convent are mostly pines, but the natural woods are deciduous, and spread to a great extent.' (Wordsworth.)
1. 305. Orion, the mighty Boeotian hunter, was at his death placed among the stars. where he appears as a giant with a girdle and lion's skin, and armed with a sword and club. His setting, at the beginning of November. was attended by storms. (Horace, Odes, i. 28. 21; iii. 27. 18; Aeneid, i.
1. 306. The Hebrew name of the Red Sea is Sea of Sedge, from the abundance of sea-weed therein. (Keightley.) But Bruce denied this, and supposed the name to refer to the large plants of white coral; one of which, with its branches, he asserted to have been twenty-six feet in circumference.
1. 307. Pharaoh being a mere title, Milton gives to the oppressor of the Israelites an individual name. The Busiris of Greek legend was an Egyptian