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1. 1. Urania. Tasso begins his Jerusalem with a similar invocation.
1.7. old;—meaning renowned from old time. (Cf. Bks. i. 420, ii. 593.) Newton, referring to Bk. i. 516, supposes that cold' was Milton's word. •
1. 8. Prov. viii. 24, 25, 30. The phrase of Wisdom ‘rejoicing' before God is in the Vulgate ludens,' playing,' and so Milton gives the passage in his Tetrachordon. Cf. Bacon (Advancement of Learning i.) *as if, according to the innocent play of children, the Divine Majesty took delight to hide his works to the intent to have them found out.'
1. 17. Horace (Odes, iv. 11. 26) alludes to the fate of Bellerophon, who fell from his unreined steed Pegasus, when attempting to fly to Heaven. The Aleian field=the field of wandering. (Iliad vi. 201.)
1. 20. forlorn ;—utterly lost (A. Š. forleoran, Dutch verloren).
1. 23. rapt above the pole ;—possibly with a reference to 2 Cor. xii. 2. The phrase occurs in Sylvester's Du Bartas, where (p. 526) are also the lines
I am Urania, then aloud said she,
Who human kind above the poles transport.' 1. 29. visit'st my slumbers ;—as Dante was visited by Beatrice 'in sogno' (Purgatorio, xxx. 133).
1. 31. Horace, Satires, i. 10. 73. 1. 33. Cf. Aeneid, vi. 258; Horace, Odes, iii. 1. 1-4. 1. 34. Alluding to the fate of Orpheus. Cf. Lycidas 61. 1. 35. bad ears ;-cf. the auritas quercus' of Horace (Odes, i. 12. 11).
1. 38. fail not thou [him] who thee implores ;-a similar ellipse occurs in Virgil, Eclogues, ii. 23.
1. 50. Milton coins consorted since 'consort' is a neuter verb. (Keightley.) 1. 72. interpreter ;-So Mercury is interpres divôm' (Aeneid, iv. 378).
1. 88. yields or fills. Keightley would read and' for 'or’; for where is the opposition between yielding and filling ? and what is the meaning of yielding all space ?' But the meaning is rather that the air yields (to other bodies) or itself fills all space.
1. 94. absolv'd ;-finished (absolutus). 1. 97. Job xxxvi. 24.
1. 100. Cf. Virgil, Eclogues, viii. 69, and vi. 86. Keightley prefers a comma after each. voice and a third after hears.'
1. 103. unapparent ;-invisible. (Genesis i. 2.)
1. 116. infer;—prove, a similar use to that of argue’ in iv. 830. So in Shakespeare, 2 Henry IV. v. 5:
*This doth infer the zeal I had to see him.' 1. 121. Eccles. vii. 29; Deut. xxix. 29. Horace, Odes, iii. 29. 29 ; Aeneid, vi. 267.
1. 122. 1 Tim. i. 17. 1. 123. Eccles. iii. II.
1. 126. Keightley quotes Sir William Davenant's poem of Gondibert (1651), ii. 8. 22:
*For though books serve as diet for the mind,
If knowledge, early got, self-value breeds,
And what should nourish on the eater feeds.'
1. 154. Milton seems to favour the opinion of some divines, that God's creation was instantaneous, but the effects of it were made visible and appeared in six days, in condescension to the capacities of angels, and is so narrated by Moses, in condescension to the capacities of men.' (Newton.)
1. 162. inbabit lax ;-dwell at large, a classical expression. Habitare laxe .... voluit.' Cicero, Pro Domo Suâ 44.
1. 165. Luke i. 35.
1. 182. Luke ii. 14. These three ascriptions of Glory 'praise the goodness, power, and wisdom of God. (Keightley.) Cf. Hooker (Ecclesiastical Polity, v. 56): “The Father as Goodness, the Son as Wisdom, the Holy Ghost as Power, do all concur in every particular outwardly issuing from that one only glorious Deity which they all are. Bacon (Advancement of Learning, ii) does not follow this order, assigning to the Three Persons the special attributes' of Power, Wisdom, and Love.
1. 197. pour'd is equivalent to · fusi”; et fusa juventus' (Aeneid, i. 214, vii. 812).
1. 205. Psalm xxiv. 7.
1. 214. And surging. Newton corrected · And' to 'In.' Keightley approves, but keeps · And' in his text.
1. 216. "If we can imagine any thought or expression worthy of the Deity, we find it here.' (Landor.) Cf. Mark iv. 39.
1. 224. fervid wheels; -an expression translated from Horace (Odes, i. 1. 4).
1. 225. Prov. viii. 27. The marginal reading is 'a circle': quum staveret ambitum in superficie abyssi ?' (Junius.)
1. 235. brooding. Neither moved' nor brooded' is an exact translation of the Hebrew of Gen. i. 2. In Deut. xxii. 6 the same word is rendered 'fluttereth' (properly, fieth about'). Ancient Jewish commentators supposed that the spirit of God' here mentioned was a strong wind, for in the Old Testament the Spirit of God is never represented under a material form (as it must be if it move or brood), and the removal of the waters from the earth after the Flood was effected by a strong wind.' (Keightley.)
1. 239. Keightley thus interprets this difficult passage. By the rest' (1. 240) he understands what remained after the dregs had been purged out and separated, and he takes .founded and conglobed to be participles qualifying it. The rest after having been melted, fused, or run (i. 708) and conglobed, or formed into two spheres (a hollow one for heaven, a solid one for earth), similar substances having combined for the purpose, he disparted or separated the spheres, putting each into its several or separate place. He then spun out the air between them, and hung in the exact centre the Earth, which was self-balanced, because, from its globular form and equal distance from each point of the external sphere, it could not incline or move in any one direction more than another.'
1. 241. Ovid, Metamorphoses, i. 12.
1. 244 Milton does not describe the creation of Light, but only says that it now sprung from the Deep. Cf. iii. 716.
1. 245. Keightley points out the discrepancy between the account here, in which Light is said to journey through the interior of the great globe of the World, and that given in iii. 11, where World cannot be synonymous with Earth.
1. 250. by the hemisphere ;--- because the portion of space between the spheres of earth and heaven formed two hemispheres, of which (with respect to the earth) one must be in darkness while the other was in light. (Keightley.)
1. 256. Job xxxviii. 4, 7.
1. 264. In the cosmogony of Genesis, the firmament is the solid heaven, with a large body of waters on its upper surface. But Milton, by taking Gen. i. I as the work of the first day and not a summary of the whole creation, was obliged to adopt to some extent the opinion that the firmament was the air, and that the waters above it were the clouds suspended in it. (Keightley.)
expanse ; – The word translated · firmament' (Gen. i. 6) means ' expansion.' (Newton.) •Esto expansum inter aquas' is the translation of Tremellius and Junius.
1. 268. Psalm xxiv. 2, civ. 3, cxxxvi. 6. cxlviii. 4.
1. 269. As the earth is spoken of in Scripture as 'on the waters,' Milton (forgetting that he had made the earth globular) adopts this view. He then supposes the outer orb of the world to rest on a body of water, the waters above the firmament, and this body he seems to regard as the crystalline sphere of the Ptolemaic astronomy. He would appear to place it above the planets and the fixed stars (iii. 482). Altogether, his ideas seem inextricably confused. (Keightley.)
1. 272. Cf. ii. 895.