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Sing, heavenly Muse, that on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed,
In the beginning how the heavens and earth
Rose out of chaos: or if Sion hill
Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook, that flow'd
Fast by the oracle of God; I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above the Aonian mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.
And chiefly thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer
Before all temples the upright heart and pure,
Instruct me, for thou know'st; thou from the first
Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread
Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast abyss,
And madest it pregnant: what in me is dark
Illumine, what is low raise and support;
That to the highth of this great argument

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,
And justify the ways of God to men.

Say first, for heaven hides nothing from thy view,
Nor the deep tract of hell; say first, what cause
Moved our grand Parents in that happy state,
Favour'd of heaven so highly, to fall off
From their Creator, and transgress his will
For one restraint, lords of the world besides?
Who first seduced them to that foul revolt?
The infernal serpent: he it was, whose guile,
Stirr'd up with envy and revenge, deceived
The mother of mankind, what time his pride
Had cast him out from heaven, with all his host
Of rebel angels; by whose aid aspiring
To set himself in glory above his peers,
He trusted to have equal'd the Most High,
If he opposed; and with ambitious aim
Against the throne and monarchy of God,
Raised impious war in heaven and battel proud,
With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power
Hurl'd headlong flaming from the ethereal sky,
With hideous ruin and combustion, down
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
In adamantine chains and penal fire,
Who durst defy the Omnipotent to arms.
Nine times the space that measures day and night
To mortal men, he with his horrid crew
Lay vanquish’d, rolling in the fiery rulf, -
Confounded though immortal: but his doom
Reserved him to more wrath; for now the thought
Both of lost happiness and lasting pain
Torments him; round he throws his baleful eyes,
That witness'd huge affliction and dismay
Mix'd with obdurate pride and stedfast hate.
At once, as far as angels ken, he views
The dismal situation waste and wild:
A dungeon horrible on all sides round,
As one great furnace, flamed; yet from those flames
No light, but rather darkness visible
Served only to discover sights of woe,
Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
And rest can never dwell; hope never comes,
That comes to all; but torture without end

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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.

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Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed
With ever-burning sulphur unconsumed:
Such place eternal justice had prepared
For those rebellious; here their prison ordain'd
In utter darkness; and their portion set
As far removed from God and light of heaven,
As from the centre thrice to the utmost pole.
0, how unlike the place from whence they fell!
There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelm’d
With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire,
IIe soon discerns; and welt'ring by his side,
One next himself in power, and next in crime,
Long after known in Palestine, and nam'd
Beëlzebub: to whom the arch-enemy,
And thence in heav'n call's Satan, with bold words
Breaking the horrid silence, thus began:-

If thou beest he-But, 0, how fallen! how changed
From him, who in the happy realms of light,

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;

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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.

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That glory never shall his wrath or might
Extort from me: to bow and sue for grace
With suppliant knee, and deify his power,
Who from the terrour of this arm so late
Doubted his empire; that were low indeed;
That were an ignominy and shame beneath
This downfall; since, by fate, the strength of gods
And this empyreal substance cannot fail;
Since, through experience of this great event,
In arms not worse, in foresight much advanced,
We may with more successful hope resolve
To wage by force or guile eternal war,
Irreconcileable to our grand Foe,
Who now triumphs, and in the excess of joy
Sole reigning holds the tyranny of heaven.

So spake the apostate angel, though in pain,
Vaunting aloud, but rack'd with deep despair:
And him thus answer'd soon his bold compeer:

O prince, O chief of many throned powers,
That led th' embattell’d seraphim to war
Under thy conduct, and, in dreadful deeds
Fearless, endanger'd heaven's perpetual King;
And put to proof his high supremacy,
Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate:
Too well I see and rue the dire event,
That with sad overthrow and foul defeat
Hath lost us heaven, and all this mighty host
In horrible destruction laid thus low;
As far as gods and heavenly essences
Can perish: for the mind and spirit remains
Invincible, and vigour soon returns;
Though all our glory extinct, and happy state
Here swallow'd up in endless misery.
But what if he our Conquerour, whom I now
Of force believe almighty, since no less
Than such could have o'erpower'd such force as ours,
Have left us this our spirit and strength entire,
Strongly to suffer and support our pains,
That we may so suffice his vengeful ire;
Or do him mightier service, as his thralls
By right of war, whate'er his business be,
Here in the heart of hell to work in fire,
Or do his errands in the gloomy deep:

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What can it then avail, though yet we feel
Strength undiminish’d, or eternal being,
To undergo eternal punishment?
Whereto with speedy words the Arch-fiend replied:-

Fallen cherub, to be weak is miserable,
Doing or suffering: but of this be sure,
To do aught good never will be our task,
But ever to do ill our sole delight;
As being the contrary to his high will,
Whom we resist. If then his providence
Out of our evil seek to bring forth good,
Our labour must be to pervert that end,
And out of good still to find means of evil:
Which oft-times may succeed, so as perhaps
Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb
His inmost counsels from their destined aim.
But see! the angry Victor hath recall'd
His ministers of vengeance and pursuit
Back to the gates of heaven: the sulphurous hail,
Shot after us in storm, o'erblown hath laid
The fiery surge, that from the precipice
Of heaven received us falling; and the thunder,
Wing'd with red lightning and impetuous rage,
Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now
To bellow through the vast and boundless deep.
Let us not slip the occasion, whether scorn
Or satiate fury yield it from our foe.
Seest thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild,
The seat of desolation, void of light,
Save what the glimmering of these livid flames
Casts pale and dreadful? Thither let us tend
From off the tossing of these fiery waves;
There rest, if any rest can harbour there;
And, reassembling our afflicted powers,
Consult how we may henceforth most offend
Our enemy; our own loss how repair;
How overcome this dire calamity;
What reinforcement we may gain from hope;
If not, what resolution from despair.

Thus Satan, talking to his nearest mate,
With head uplift above the wave, and eyes
That sparkling blazed; his other parts besides
Prone on the food, extended long and large,
Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge
As whom the fables name of monstrous size,
Titanian, or Earth-born, that warr'd on Jove,
Briareos, or Typhon, whom the den
By ancient Tarsus held, or that sea-beast
Leviathan, which God of all his works

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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.

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