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Sing, heavenly Muse, that on the secret top
6. Secret top. There is some doubt in is about three miles long, is Mount Sinai what sense Milton here uses the word proper, now caled by the monks Jobel sceret. As the top of Sinai, when God Musa, or Moses' Mount. But, though it gare his laws to Morce, was covered with has this tra litionary name, its character
clouds” and “thick sjuoke,” it was se- and topography do not apply so well to ct ( at that time in a peculiar sense. But, the descrition given in Exodus as do as .cwton observes, Miiton might have those of the northern summit. Horeb. A further meaning in the epithet secret ; The name Sinai, however, is sometimes for as he often uses words in their pure applied to the whole ridre, and hence Latin sense. he may have used this in Milton's phrase " of Horeb or of Sinai." the sense of secretus, that is, pet apart, 15. Above the Annian mount. In Band separute: for while Moses talked with tia, anciently called Aonia, was Mount God on the mount in private, the people Helicon, so famed in antiquity as the were forbidden to approach, and after seat of Apollo and the Muses, and sung wards even to ascend it, upon pain of by poets of every age. Milton, there death.
fore, means to say that he intends to 7. of Oreh, or of Sinai. The mountain soar above" other poets, who have sung from which the law was given is called i of mere earthly scenes and interests. Horeb in Deut. i. 6; iv. 10, 15; v.2; xviii. 1 16. Rhyme, from the Latin rythmus, 16; but in other places in the Penta- (Gr. puguos ) here means rerse. "Blank teuch it is called Sinui. These names verse is apt to be loose, thin, and more are now applied to two opposite summits full of words than thought: the blank of an isolated, oblong, and central moun- verse of Milton is compressed, closetain in the midst of a confused group woven, and weighty in matter."-SIR E. of grand and rugged mountain-heights BRIDGES. at the southern extremity of the penin 17. And chiefly Thmi, O Spirit. In the fula, at the head of the Red Sea. Horeb beginning of his second book of “The is the steep. awful clill, frowning over Reason of Church Government,” speakthe plain Rahah, where the people of ing of his desire of writing a poem Israel were doubtless assembled. This in the English language, he says, It plain, Buys Dr. Robinson, is about two was not to be obt:uined by the inrocamiles long and from one-third to two tion of Dame Memory and her Siren thirds of a mile wide. “Our conviction daughters, but by devout prayer to was strengthened that here was the spot that eternal Spirit who can enrich with where the Lord 'descended in fire,' and all utterance and knowledke. and serds prxclaimed the law. Here lay the plain out his Seraphim with the hallow fire where the whole congregation might be of his Altar to touch and purifs the assembled: here was the mount that, lips of whom he pleases." See Picker. rising perpendicularly in frowning ma- ing's edition, London, 1831, vol.ii. p. 119, je ty, could be approacheri, if not fror Compendium of English Literature," Lidden; and here the mountain-brow, p. 265. where alone the lichtnings and the thick 21. That to the highth of this great argitcloud would be visible.” At the Fouth- ment. “The bighth of the argument is ern extremity of this central ridge, which precisely what distinguishes this poem
I may assert eternal Providence,
Say first, for heaven hides nothing from thy view,
tof Milton from all others. In other illumines the bright, and enlarges the yorks of imagination, the difficulty lied great: he expands his wings, and snils in giving sufficient elevation to the sul with supreme dominion' up to the bra jert: here it lies in raising the imagins-vens, parts the clouds. and communes tion up to the grandeur of the subject. with angels and unembodied spirits."in adequate conception of its mightines, SIR E. BRIDGES. and in fimling languaze of such majesty 40. The trusted, &c. Ina. xiv. 13.
will not degrade it. A genius les 03. Durkness risible. Not absolute darkgigantic and legs holy than Milton's nens for that is invisible; but gloom, would have shrunk from the attempt. which shows that there are olujects, Milton not only does not lower, but he i though they can not be distinctly seen.
Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed
If thou beest he-But, 0, how fallen! how changed
85 Clothed with transcendent brightness, didst outshine Myriads, though bright! If he, whom mutual league, United thoughts and counsels, equal hope And hazard in the glorious enterprize, Join'd with me once, now misery hath join'd In equal ruin: into what pit thou seest, From what highth fallen; so much the stronger proy'd He with his thunder; and till then who knew The force of those dire arms? yet not for those, Nor what the potent Victor in his rage Can else inflict, do I repent, or change, Though changed in outward lustre, that fix'd mind And high disdain from sense of injured merit, That with the Mightiest raised me to contend, And to the fierce contention brought along Innumerable force of spirits armid, That durst dislike his reign; and, me preferring, His utmost power with adverse power opposed In dubious battel on the plains of heaven, And shook his throne. What though the field be lost? 105 All is not lost; the unconquerable will, And study of revenge, immortal hate, And courage never to submit or yield, And what is else not to be overcome;
74. Utmost pole; that is, the pole of circumstance of the depth of it.”-NEW. the universe. "Homer (11. viii. 16) TON. makes the seat of Hell as far beneath 77. Tempestuous fire. Ps. xi. 6. the deepest pit of earth, as the heaven 82. Culled Satan. The wori Satan in Hois above the enrth. Virgil (Æn. vi. 578) | brew signifies an enemy: hence he is emimakes it twice as far, and Milton thrice nently the enemy, that is, of God and man. as far; as if these three great poets bad 109. And what is else not to be crer. stretched their utmost genius, and vied' some. Pickering's edition, following Mil. with each other, who should extend bis ton's own copy, reads this line with a idea of the depth of Hell farthest. But note of interrogation. Though one or Milton's whole description of Hell as two commentators prefer this, I agree much exceeds theirg as in this single decidedly with Drs. Pearce and Newton in preferring the semicolon, or, what is 117. Empyreal substance, that is, fiery still better, the colon. Satan tells Beel. substance. lle maketh his Angels epizebub what is not lost," and then says, rits, and his ministers a flame of fire." and if there be any thing else besides the Ps. civ. t. particulars mentioned which is not to be 131. Perpetual, not eternal, for then ho Orercome, That is not lost; and then he could not have boasted of endangering adds, that that glory, namely, to cherish his kingilom: but, for detraction, ho and preserve the unconqurible will, the calls God only perpetual King, that is, study of revenge, and any thing else which king from time immemorial, or without cannot be mercome, God shall nover ex- interruption.--NEWTON. tort from him.
That glory never shall his wrath or might
So spake the apostate angel, though in pain,
O prince, O chief of many throned powers,
What can it then avail, though yet we feel
Fallen cherub, to be weak is miserable,
Thus Satan, talking to his nearest mate,
199. Brureos and Tipboeus were two Milton here means the whale, though in famed giants of antiquity. By Leviathan Job it answers to the crocodile.