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nothing." “On this side nothing," is life, or existence; as on the other side “nothing" means loss of existence, or annihilation. The meaning of this obscure phrase is—"We are at the worst pitch we can be in, at this side of annihisation ;' or,“ We are in the worst condition we can suffer in a state of existence." 104. Inaccessible"
agrees with “throne:” “fatal” does not here mean disastrous, or destructive; but is to be taken in the sense that fatalis sometimes is, i.e. appointed by fate ; so Cicero (Catal. iv. c. 1.) “Meus consulatus ad salutem reipublicæ prope fatalis fuit;" or upheld by fate, as he expresses it, i. 133. See 197.
113. So Homer says of Nestor in Il.
suggestion i. 646 :-" To work in close design by fraud or guile."
64, 66. Compare Æschyl. Prometheus Vinctus, 920 :
Τοιον παλαιστην νυν παρασκευαζεται
(T.) 66, 67. An emphasis is to be laid on infernal, to distinguish it from celestial thunder, implied in the words “ “almighty engine;" and on "black," as opposed to
69. "Mixed," in the Latin sense of misceor. (Æn. ii. 487) :" At domus interior gemitu miseroque tumultu Miscelur."-(P.)
70. Emphasis on own. The torments which he invented against us, we shall use as weapons against him. The next sentence is to be taken ironically.
75. Emphasis on proper and ascend.
77. “ Adverse.” In the sense of adversus, opposite or contrary to our nature, which is to ascend, not to fall.
78. “Instaret curru cristatus Achilles." n. i. 468.
82. This passage, as far as destruction,” which states an imagined objection, is to be taken as irony. Read a semicolon after “destruction," 84.
89. Exercise,” in the occasional sense of exercere, to vex, to torment, En. vi. 739:" Exercentur penis, veterumque malorum
Supplicia expendunt." Georg. iv. 453 :
* Non te nullius exercent numinis iræ."
92. “ Penance." The word here means “punishment," from pæna. So Shakspeare :-
" Mew her up, And let her bear the penance of her tongue."
(Johns.) It is said that Milton here had in view certain intermissions of infernal punishment, as Shakspeare, in Hamlet:
“My hour is almost come, When I to sulph'rous and tormenting tiames Must render up myself."-(H.)
94, &c. Il. xv. 509:“Ημιν δ' ουτις τoυδε νους και μητις αμεινων, Η αυτοσχεδιη μιξαι χειρας τε μένος τε. Βελτερον, η απολεσθαι ένα χρονον, ηε βιωναι, Η οηθα στρέυγεσθαι εν αινη οηιοτητι, ,
Ωδ' αύτως παρα νηνσιν, υπ' ανδρασι χειροτεροισι. - Stil.) See n. 329.
97. From“ happier," which agrees with “us,” down to “being,' inclusive, must be taken as a parenthesis.
101. “We are at worst on this side
Του και απο γλωσσης μελιτος γλυκιων ρεεν αυδη, , “could make the worse appear the better reason;" the literal translation of the profession of the ancient sophists, tov. λογον τον ηττώ κρειττω ποιειν.-(Β.)
115. Read a semicolon after “low." 123. “Conjecture” here means doubt; success means issue. See Note v. 9.
130, 131. “ Access” here means the place or way of approach, as accessus sometimes does. So also i. 761.
139. This refers to line 69. 142. Shakspeare (K. H. VI.)“Our hap is loss, our hope but sad despair.”
(Mal.) 146. Milton evidently alludes to Shakspeare's “Measure for Measure," iii. 1:“Aye, but to die, and go we know not where
To lye in cold obstruction, and to rot-
152. “Let this be good.” i. e. even admitting that this may be good; a strictly classical phrase, “Esto hoc bonum; εστω αγαθον. .
156. “ Belike through impotence." “ Belike," by all likelihood, probably.-
Impotence" here mcans, as impotentia and impotens do, a want of power of mind to control the passions; hence violence and unsteadiness. This is spoken ironically.
(P.) 165. This abrupt use of the participle for a substantive is sometimes met with in ssioned passages of ancient poetry and oratory. The succession of interrogations in this speech is also quite in the style of Demosthenes, who often puts whole pages in an interrogative form.
(See Æsch. Prometh. 307–329, and Hom. Il. ix. 337.)-(Stil.)
170. Isaiah xxx. : “ The breath of the Lord like a stream of brimstone doth kindle it."-(N.) 174. So Hor. i. Od. ï.:
.“ Pater, et rubente Dextera sacras jaculatus arces.” “ His” refers to the Almighty, who from the allusions so often made to him is very well understood here without being named.
176, 7. “Cataracts," katapaktns from katapnoow, to burst out violently. Read a comma after “fire,” and expunge the comma after “hideous."
180. See Note on i. 328.
181, 182. Æn. vi. 75:-“ Rapidis ludibria ventis." Milton on several occasions uses the substantive "wrack” to signify destruction : in this sense the verb here is to be taken, and not, as Dr. Johnson thinks, in the sense of rocking or shaking.
185. This practice of introducing several adjectives beginning with the same negative syllable, was often adopted by the Greek poets, and has been imitated by the best English poets. (See iii. 231.) lliad ix. 62:
Αφρητωρ, αθεμιστος, ανεστιος εστιν εκεινος. Shakspeare, (Ham.)
“Unhousella, unappointed, unaneled.” Fairy Queen, VII. vii. 46
“Unbodied, unsoul'd, unheard, unseen." Goldsmith, (Deserted Village)"Unenvied, unmolested, unconfined.”
(P., T., Th.) 191. See Psalm ii. 4.-(N.)
199. Livy (ii. 12.) Scævola says, " et facere et pati fortia Romanum est.”—(N.)
201--203. i. e. we should have determined, if we were prudent, to acquiesce in the justice of this law, which decreed our capability of suffering as well as of acting. Therefore we should at the outset have submitted, not resisted, especially when we must have been doubtful of the result of resistance.
220.“ Light" here is evidently an adjective, in the sense of easy or tolerable.
227. So Virgil (Georg. iv. 564), “studiis florentem ignobilis oti."
"-(N.) 233. “The strife," i. e. between us and the Almighty. Chaos, or Confusion, could never be arbiter between contending parties.
234, 235. “ Former” refers to “disenthrone"_" latter” to “regain" before.
244, 245. The following parallel line from Virgil will, I think, show how hypercritical has been the proposed substitution of "from" for "and" by Bentley. Æni 42:"Thure calent aræ, sertisque recention
halant." “Odours" means incense, the smell of gums and spices. Here “breathes ** means to exhale, or breathe forth, to emit the smell of. iv. 265.-(P.)
254. “Live to ourselves.” Hor. Epist. I. xviii. 107,“ Ut mihi vivam quod superest ævi."-(N.)
255, 256. Such is the indignant observation of Prometheus to Mercury, (Prom. Vinct. 974):
Της σης λατρείας την εμην δυσπραξιαν
265. Imitated from Psalm xviii. 1113 and xcvii. 2.-(N.)
278. “The sensible," i. e. sense ; a neuter adjective for a substantive.-H.)
281. “Compose," used in the occasional sense of componere, as componere bellum, lites, curas, &c. to put an end to, to lull.
283. It will be observed that the debate takes a different turn from the ori. ginal question proposed by Satan (line 41), as Belial and Mammon are opposed to war altogether.—(N.) 284. Æn. x. 96:
“ Cunctique fremebant Cælicolæ assensu vario, ceu flamina prima Cum deprensa fremunt sylvis, et cæca vols
Murmura, venturos nautis prodentia ventos." Here, as the object of Juno's speech was to rouse the assembly of the gods, Virgil very properly uses the rising wind: so, as Mammon's design was to quiet the infernal assembly, Milton very properly uses the falling wind. Claudian has a simile of the same kind in his description of the infernal council of Furies, after Alecto's speech, in Rufinum, i. 70:
" Ceu murmurat alti Impacata quies pelagi, cum flamine fracto Durat adhuc sævitque tumor, dubiumque per
Lassa recedentis fluitant vestigia venti." And in other particulars Milton seems to have had this council of Furies in his eye. The reader may compare Alecto's speech with Moloch's, and Megæra's with Belial's, or rather with Beelzebub's. -(N.) Milton in this simile did not forget Homer, whom he has, however, exceeded in beauty of description. II. ji. 144:
Κινηθη δ’ αγορη, ως κυματα μακρα θαλασσης, conceived by the arch-enemy (i. 650), of
going in quest of a new world ; the pro
ject on which the whole poem turns. 288. “Bark," a small ship. — “Pin There is also great beauty in giving us a nace,” generally a small vessel attending glimpse of mankind even before they are a larger one.—(Johns., R.)
in being, and referring to this tradition 295. “Desire,” nomin. to "wrought," which ran of them in heaven before their understood.
existence. Virgil (Æn. vi.), in compli302. Shakspeare, Hen. VI. pt. 2, act i. : ment to the Roman commonwealth, “ Brave peers of England, pillars of the makes the heroes of it appear in a state state."
of pre-existence. But Milton does a 305. It is strange how Bentley could
greater honour to all mankind.—( Ad.) have imagined “ majestic" to refer to 353. St. Paul, Heb. vi. 17: "he con“ counsel.”-(N.)
firmed it by an oath.” Homer and Virgil 306. “ Atlantean," vast as those of
make Jupiter shake all Olympus with his Atlas, who was supposed to have sup nod of assent. Il. i. 528:ported the heavens.
Η και κυανεησιν επ' οφρυσι νευσε Κρονιων 308, 309. Æn. i. 151:
Αμβροσιαι δ' αρα χαιται επερρωσαντο ανακτος
Κρατος απ' αθανατοιο μεγαν ελελιξεν “ Tum pietate gravem et meritis si forte virum
. Conspexere, silent, arrectisque auribus as Æn. ix. 104:tant."
Dixerat, idque ratum Stygii per flumina fraSee Milton's description of an ancient
tris orator rising to speak, ix. 671.-"Noon
Annuit, et totum nutu tremefecit Olympum." tide air,” the air at noon-time, when,
Milton omits the nod, as God is not in hot countries, there is hardly a breath giving his assent to any one's petition, as of wind stirring, and men and beasts, by
he is in Homer and Virgil.—(N.) reason of the heat, retire to shade and 360. It has been objected, that there rest. — (N.) Homer and Ovid have is a contradiction between this part of given elaborate descriptions of the ap his speech and what he says afterwards, pearance and manner of orators, (Il. iii. 410. How could the earth lie exposed, 216; Met. xiii.) but they are incom and yet be so well guarded? But it is parably inferior to this.
not said that the earth does lie exposed, 310. “ Or." See Note to line 12. but only that it may. Besides, he has a
327, 328. The iron sceptre is in allu different object in both speeches; here, sion to Psalm ii. 9, as the golden is to he wishes to encourage the expedition, Esther ii.-(H.)
and therefore lessens the dangers; there, 329. “ What," why; like quid, which when they are to select a proper person signifies what and why. When quid and to employ in it, he magnifies the difficulty, what signify why, they are elliptical ; in order to make them more cautious in propter quid, for what, cur, why.
their choice.—(N.) 330. * Determined." i.e. the unsuc 367. “ Puny,” either weak or little in cessful issue of the war hath ultimately comparison to the angels; or, perhaps, fixed our condition.
also including the sense of the French, 333, 336. The commentators have re from which it is derived, puis nè, born marked the unusual construction of the since, created long after us.—(N.) particle “but” in this sentence; it seems 376—378. The style and structure of to put "custody severe,” &c. and “hosti this sentence is purely classical; “ if," lity and hate," on the footing of "peace."
in the sense of either if, whether if, serves But,” here, is used like the Latin as the antecedent and corresponding nisi, in the rare sense of except, unless. disjunctive to “or.” In the first clause Plaut. Menæchm. Prolog. 59: “ Ei li the subjunctive mood is used, and in the berorum, nisi divitiæ, nihil erat.” Il. vi. second the infinitive, both depending 412: ου γαρ επ' αλλη εσται θαλπωρη.. on the preceding verb. This kind of
“ To our power.” A clas construction, though exhibiting elegance sical phrase: “ Pro viribus nostris;" by reason of its variety, is called by the kata duvaply; to the best of our power. grammarians anomalous. Every classical
341, A Latinism;“Nec deeritoccasio.” scholar must be familiar with examples.
346. There is great propriety here in Hatching vain empires” is a beaumaking Beelzebub, the next in dignity tiful sarcasm on the words of Mammon, to Satan, second the notion originally 254, &c.—(D.)
396. “Chance," by chance; taken adverbially, as fors in Latin sometimes is, “ Fors et vota facit ;' (Æn. ii. 50); or perhaps a verb, and “re-enter" in the infinitive mood, as Milton often omits the sign of this mood.
409. “Arrived,” reached. So Shaks. Hen. VI. pt. 3. act v.:
“ Those powers, that the queen Hath raised in Gallia, have arrived our coast."
(N.) 410. “ Isle.” The earth hanging like an island in the sea of air. So Cicero describes it, De Natur. Deor. ii. 66.(N.) “ Abrupt," before, is used substantively, the gulf or steep, as abruptum sometimes is. Æn. iii. 422: “ Sorbet in abruptum fluctus.” Stat. 10, Theb. 523: “Equi immane paventes abruptum."
420. Homer uses similar expressions when an affair of difficulty is proposed. Il. vij. 92:Ως εφαθ, οι δ' αρα παντες ακην εγένοντο
σιωπη, Αιδεσθεν μεν ανηνασθαι, δεισαν δ' υποδεχθαι.
(N.) 421. Compare the dismay expressed by the Romans after the death of the Scipios, when no one dared to proffer or accept the command in Spain, (Livy, b. xxvi. ch. xviii.); and also the gallant manner in which young Scipio offers himself, and addresses the assembly, “ Magno elatoque animo,” &c.—(D.)
431. See Homer, I). ï. 342, &c. ; Il. viii. 229; Odys. ii. 167; and the Scholiast on the last of these passages. (Stil.)
432. Æn. vi. 128:“ Sed revocare gradum superasque evadere ad
auras, Hoc opus, hic labor est." See Dante Inferno, xxxiv. 95.-(N., T.)
434. “Convex,” here, is put for concave: see 635. So convexus is used by the ancient poets for concavus.
Hence Virgil has cæli convexa, and supera convera.-(N.)
436. Æn. vi. 439 : “ Novies Styx interfusa coercet:” vi. 552: “ Porta adversa ingens, solidoque adamante columnæ."
(N.) 438, 439. “Void profound.” So Lucretius often uses profundum as a substantive; as,
“ immane profundum' "unessential night,” night void of being; darkness being the nearest and best resemblance of nonentity.-(H.)
443. Milton uses “remain," here and elsewhere, in the active sense of await, as maneo is sometimes used in Latin.
Livy b. iv. ch. lxvi. : « Hostium adventum mansit."
445. Thus Sarpedon, in Homer, Il. xii. 310, says that a king, being most honoured, should likewise expose himself most to danger. But Milton has so dressed up the sentiment with all the rhetorical artifice of Demosthenes, that Homer cannot be recognised in it. The whole speech from this line is wonderfully beautiful.- (Monb.)
452. “ Refusing;" if I refuse.
457. “ Intend;" in the sense of istendere, to pay attention to, to strain or stretch the mind to any thing. So, " intendere animum." Intend and attend, as derived from the same root, had originally the same meaning.- Monó.; Sler.)
477. This is more appropriate than if he said loud thunder; for “ thunder heard remote" has a sound, not loud or strong, but awful, and very like that produced by the movement of a great multitude.-( Monbod.)
477, 478, 488. So Hesiod, Theog. xci.:
Ερχομενον δ'ανα αστυ θεον ως ιλασκονται
Αιδοι μειλιχιη. .
(Stil) 483. “Lest," here, like un in Greek, and ne in Latin, implies an ellipsis : “ I make the remark, lest," &c. Ephes. ii. 8,9: “By grace are ye saved through faith, not of works, lest any man should boast."-(P., T.)
485. Close," designing, cunning, like πυκνος sometimes ; as μηδεα πυκνα, Homer, Il. iii. 202, 208.
489. The north wind generally elears
Αλλ' εμενον, νεφελησιν εoικoτες, ας τε Κρονεων
Here, the Greeks, standing firmly in one " Signa tamen luctus dant haud incerta futuri.
Arma ferunt nigras inter crepitantia nubes, compact menacing body, are compared
Terribilesque tubas, auditaque cornua cælo, to a mass of dark clouds overhanging
Præmonuisse nefas." the mountain-tops in a calm ; and, in
(See Tibullus II. v. 71.) So Virgil, the other comparison, after they have
Georg. i. 474: repulsed the furious onset of the Trojans,
“ Armorum sonitum toto Germania colo and saved their ships, their joy is com Audiit, insolitis tremuerunt motibus Alpes." pared to a burst of sunshine. Il. xvi.
536. “ Prick forth," i.e. forward with 297:
the spur, in full career. Fairy Queen, Ως δ' οτ' αφ' υψηλης κορυφης ορεος μεγαλοιο
Introduction : Κινήση πυκινην νεφελην στεροπηγερέτα Ζευς
"A goodly knight was pricking o'er the plain.” Εκ τ' εφανον πασαι σκοπιαι και Πρωονες ακροι Και ναπαι, ουρανοθεν δ' αρ υπερραγη ασπετος
“ Couch," i.e. fix them in their rests, αιθηρ,
which were receptacles made for the end “Ως Δαναοι νηων μεν απωσαμενοι δηϊον πυρ
of the spear in the breast of the armour. Τυτθον ανέπνευσαν. .
538. “ Welkin,” the vault of heaven. “ Bleating herds.” Both these words
542. The madness of Hercules was a are used in a general sense, herds to ex
frequent subject for tragedy among the press all sorts of cattle, and bleating to
ancients. Milton has been censured for express their different sounds or noises ;
this comparison, as sinking below the in this sense he uses “ bleating gods subject. The same objection, I think, (i. 489), when alluding to the Egyptian would apply to any illustration drawn idols under the forms of various animals. from the exercise of earthly power, as -(N., P.)
being inadequate; and he could not have 512. “ Globe," a body of persons selected a more appropriate one than the formed in a circle. Æn. X. 373: “ Qua last furious act of the most powerful being globus ille virum densissimus urget.”
recorded in history. See the Hercules of Milton uses the word also in an incom
Euripides; and Ovid. Met. ix. 136. parably beautiful passage ; ¡Par. Reg. iv.
548, 549. This passage will recall to 581:
the classical reader's recollection Achilles " And straight a fiery globe entertaining his hours of retirement in of angels on full sail of wing flew nigh,
the same way. Il. ix. 186:Who on their plumy vans received him soft From his uneasy station, and upbore
Τον δ' εύρον φρενα τερπομενον φορμιγγι λιγειη, , As on a floating couch through the blithe air; Τη όγε θυμον ετερπεν: αειδε δ' αρα κλεα ανThen in a flowery valley set him down."
550. This is taken from the famous 513. “Horrent arms." " Horrentia distich of Euripides, which Brutus quoted martis arma.” Æn. i. “Horrentia pilis when he slew himself:agmina." Hor. 2 Sat. i. 13. “Horrent,"
Ω τλημoν αρετη, λογος αρ' ησθ', εγω δε σε bristled, prickly, also includes the idea “Ως εργον ησκουον, συ δ' αρ εδουλευσας βια. of terrible. See note, b. i. 563.
In some editions, for Bıą force, is quoted 517. “ Alchymy” here means mixed
Milton has well commetal, used for trumpet. It properly prehended both: “ enthrall to force or means that part of chemistry which refers
chance."-(B.) to the transmutation of metals.—(R.) 552. “ Partial,” i.e. to themselves; it
528. Homer, Il. ii. 774, represents dwelt only on the sad consequences of the myrmidons during the absence of their conduct, not on its guilt.—( Cowper.) their chief Achilles from war, and Virgil,
554. So Virgil, Georg. iv. 481, describÆn. vi. 642, represents the departed ing the effect of the music of Orpheus :heroes in Elysium, as entertaining them
" Quin ipsæ stupuere domus, atque intima lethi selves with their former favourite pursuits Tartara, cæruleosque implexæ crinibus anand exercises.
gues 531. “Shun the goal.” Plainly taken
Eumenides, tenuitque inhians tria Cerberus from Horace i. Od. i. 4: “ Metaque fer
Atque Ixionii vento rota constitit orbis." vidis evitata rotis.” But, with great judgment, he says rapid, not fervid ; because,
Newton says the parenthesis, which here in these hell games, the wheels, from the
suspends the attention and event, gives
an additional beauty. fire under and all about them, were fervid even before the race.—(B.)
557. This mode of expression is Ho
meric. Il. xi. 80:533. The belief of these portentous signs was very ancient. Ovid. Met. xv.
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