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81. “

next line, as being beneath the dignity of the epic: then passages somewhat analogous in the Iliad and the Psalms are liable to a similar objection. Homer, Il. i. 599, &c. says,

laughter inextinguishable rose among the happy gods," when they saw Vulcan's hobbling gait; and, as Newton quotes in Psalm ii. 4, it is said, “ He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh, the Lord shall have them in derision.See also Psalm xxxvii. 13; ix. 8.

62. “ Babel," in Hebrew, means confusion. Hence, to give effect to his description, he uses such words as “jangling noise" –"hideous gabble”—“strange hubbub."-(N.)

71. i.e. Left mankind in full possession of their liberty, free from human usurpation. See August. de Civit. Dei, xv. 119.-(H.)

73. To God his tower." This not being asserted in Scripture, but only supposed by some writers, is better put into the mouth of Adam, than of the angel. (N.)

Brought.” The past tense is here used because Michael is only making a reflection on what he had told Adam, ver. 27, and thus speaks of it as a thing past.—(P.)

83. By original lapse," which is another reading, makes hardly sense or syntax.

85. “ Twinned." As if twin-sisters.“ Dividual,” divided, separated, dividuus.

86. “Reason obscured." The absolute case.

101. Thyer here remarks, that Milton seems to have forgotten that there is no previous mention of Adam's having seen or heard of Cham having discovered to his brothers the nakedness of their father as he slept, Gen. ix. 22, &c. and says, “the urging it by way of example seems to infer its being known to Adam, which yet it could not be." It is true the cireumstance is not previously mentioned ; but then, be it recollected, Adam saw Noah's worship after quitting the ark, The fact is briefly and only in general terms stated. After this there was a pause, ver. 2, Adam, in the mean time, observing (as it is just to presume) various circumstances which are not narrated, and this among the rest.

It was not till after that vision that the angel perceived his mortal sight to fail.

105, 106. Almost a literal translation from Euripides, Hippol. 951:

Ει γαρ κατ' ανδρος βιοτον εξογκωσεται
“Οδ' υστερος του προσθεν εις υπερβολην
Πανουργος εσται.-(Τ.)

107. See Isaiah xliii. 24; Hosea v. 6; Habak, i. 13; Psalm v. 5.-(D.)

114. “ Him” is governed by “call," ver. 121. This history of Abraham and description of the Holy Land, is copied from Gen. xi. and xii. See also Joshua xxiv. 2; Numbers xxxiv.; Deut. iii. It appears that Terah, Abraham's father, was born 222 years after the flood, and that Noah did not die till 350 years after the flood, so that he witnessed idolatry for at least 128 years.-(N., H.)

126, 127. So Heb. xi. 8.—(N.)

128. The poet, sensible that this long historical description mightgrowirksome, has varied the manner of representing it as much as possible, beginning with supposing Adam to have a prospect of it; next by making the angel the relater of it; and, lastly, by uniting the two former methods, and making Michael see it as in a vision, and give a rapturous enlivened account of it to Adam. This gives great ease to the languishing attention of the reader.- ( Th.)

130. Chaldea lay west of the Tigris and east of the Euphrates. He crossed the Euphrates where it was fordable. It appears that Milton conceived Haran to lie west of the Euphrates ; and Basnage, in his Antiquities of the Jews, says it was in Syria of Shobah, outside Mesopotamia, in the way towards Canaan.—(N.) Dunster, on the contrary, says that it is clear, from ver. 153, where, describing the progressive journey of Abraham, he supposes him to have advanced considerably from Haran, when he says,

“ Canaan he now attains,” that Milton never meant to

suppose Haran or Charan to have been in Canaan. Milton seems to follow Bochart in his Geographia Sacra, published in 1651, in which it is laid down that Haran was in the direct way from Ur of the Chaldees, and on the western side of the river Chebar, which he forded ; whereas Basnage, he says, was not born till 1653. Now I think as Basnage must have consulted his predecessor, Bochart, and gives a different account of the position of Haran, there must have been established authority for his opinion, and that this authority could not have escaped Milton's almost universal scholarship; I am therefore rather disposed to believe, that Milton imagined Haran to have been outside of Mesopotamia, or to the west of the Euphrates, as Newton thinks :

sider it highly descriptive and poetic. As the water became more shallow it lost its long full roll, and became more rippled and curled. The Greek and Latin poets are very fond of personifying water. Milton, in imitation of them, does so twice within five lines - here and ver. 847; here, when the deluge, or collected body of water, is becoming powerless, still, and shallow, he compares it with its barely ruffled surface to a wrinkled old man ; thus he (x. 654,) called winter" decrepit ;" (in imitation of Spenser's inimitable personification of winter as a grey old man. -Fairy Queen, VII. vii. 31.) There, he compares the different currents retiring to their usual bed, to young persons stepping lightly upon the toes, “tripping,(from tripudiare, to dance,)“ with soft foot towards the deep," as Hor. Epod. xvi. 47

* Montibus altis Levis crepante lympha desilit pede."—(See R.)

849. See Gen. viii.
866. “ Three listed colours."

" Listed,” striped. He calls it (897) "the triple coloured bow," on account of the three principal colours.

884. The reader will easily observe how much of this speech is built upon Scripture,—Gen. vi. 6 - 12 ; viii. 22 ; ix. 11, 14, 16. 2 Pet. iii. 12, 13.-(N.)

895. “Beast," here, includes birds too. The poet (ver. 733 and 822) has spoken of the inhabitants of the ark under the title of man and beast. In Scripture, “man and beast" comprehend all living creatures. See Psalm xxxvi. 6; Jer. xxi. 6, and xxxii. 43.-(P.)

901. The phrase "heaven and earth," signifies the world. See iii. 335.-(P.)

BOOK XII.

come.

a

1. THESE five lines were inserted in the second edition.

5. “ Transition." Dunster remarks, that this word is here used in the classical sense of transitus, or transitio orationis, which was a high rhetorical beauty. In the Rhetorica ad Herennium, iv. 35, it is thus defined : “ Transition showeth briefly what hath been said, and proposeth likewise in brief what followeth. This embellishment contributes to two things, it reminds the reader of what hath been spoken, and prepares him for what is to

Quintillian often speaks of transition as

a graceful decoration to speech.

24. It is generally believed that Nim. rod was the first who laid the foundation of kingly government among mankind; the primitive government being by families and tribes. In Gen. x. 9 it is said, that “ he was a mighty hunter before the Lord.” Milton, on the authority of several learned commentators, understands this in the worst sense, of hunting men, not beasts, (ver. 30.) The words " before the Lord," openly in the face of God, St. Augustine translates against the Lord,” and Vatablus and others interpret them as meaning "under the Lord,''usurping all authority to himself next under

God, and claiming it jure divino, as was done in Milton's own time. Milton takes in both interpretations (ver. 34, 35), as he often does when quoting a scriptural passage of various meaning. So he adopts the most unfavourable derivation of “ Nimrod,” which some give, from the Hebrew marad, to rebel, ver. 36.-(N.)

40. This narration of the erection of Babel is closely borrowed from Gen. xi. What our translation calls slime is in the Latin bitumen, in the Greek, asphaltos. It boiled up in fountains out of the ground in large quantities in the plain of Babylon, and was the cement used for the brickwork. Newton says, the poet calls this pool “the mouth of hell," by the same poetic figure by which the ancient poets called Tænarus or Avernus, the jaws and gates of hell.—(N.)

51. So Gen. xi. 5. Scripture speaks here after the manner of men ; thus the heathen gods are often represented as coming down to observe the actions of men, as in the stories of Lycaon, Baucis and Philemon, &c.-(N.)

53. “A various spirit,” i.e. a spirit producing variety of language, and consequently confusion, and the eventual failure of the work.-(R.)

59. Some critics rail at this and the

next line, as being beneath the dignity of the epic : then passages somewhat analogous in the Iliad and the Psalms are liable to a similar objection. Homer, II. i. 599, &c. says, laughter inextinguishable rose among the happy gods," when they saw Vulcan's hobbling gait; and, as Newton quotes in Psalm ii. 4, it is said, “ He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh, the Lord shall have them in derision.See also Psalm xxxvii. 13; ix. 8.

62. “ Babel," in Hebrew, means confusion. Hence, to give effect to his description, he uses such words as “jang. ling noise" - "hideous gabble"-"strange hubbub."-(N.)

71. i.e. Left mankind in full possession of their liberty, free from human usurpation. See August. de Civit. Dei, xv. 119.-(H.)

73. “ To God his tower." This not being asserted in Scripture, but only supposed by some writers, is better put into the mouth of Adam, than of the angel.(N.)

81. “ Brought." The past tense is here used because Michael is only making a reflection on what he had told Adam, ver. 27, and thus speaks of it as a thing past.-(P.)

83. By original lapse," which is another reading, makes hardly sense or syntax.

85. “ Twinned.” As if twin-sisters.“ Dividual," divided, separated, dividuus.

86. “Reason obscured." The absolute

Ει γαρ κατ' ανδρος βιοτον εξογκωσεται
Οδ' υστερος του προσθεν εις υπερβολης
Πανουργος εσται.-(Τ.)

107. See Isaiah xliii. 24 ; Hosea v. 6 ; Habak. i. 13; Psalm v. 5.---( D.)

114. “ Him” is governed by “call," ver. 121. This history of Abraham and description of the Holy Land, is copied from Gen. xi. and xii. See also Joshua xxiv. 2; Numbers xxxiv.; Deut. ïïi. It appears that Terah, Abraham's father, was born 222 years after the flood, and that Noah did not die till 350 years after the flood, so that he witnessed idolatry for at least 128 years.-(N., H.)

126, 127. So Heb. xi. 8.-(N.)

128. The poet, sensible that this long historical description mightgrowirksome, has varied the manner of representing it as much as possible, beginning with supposing Adam to have a prospect of it; next by making the angel the relater of it; and, lastly, by uniting the two former methods, and making Michael see it as in a vision, and give a rapturous enlivened account of it to Adam. This gives great ease to the languishing attention of the reader.- ( Th.)

130. Chaldea lay west of the Tigris and east of the Euphrates. He crossed the Euphrates where it was fordable. It appears that Milton conceived Haran to lie west of the Euphrates ; and Basnage, in his Antiquities of the Jews, says it was in Syria of Shobah, outside Mesopotamia, in the way towards Canaan.-(N.) Dunster, on the contrary, says that it is clear, from ver. 153, where, describing the progressive journey of Abraham, he supposes him to have advanced considerably from Haran, when he says, “ Canaan he now attains," that Milton never meant to suppose Haran or Charan to have been in Canaan. Milton seems to follow Bochart in his Geographia Sacra, published in 1651, in which it is laid down that Haran was in the direct way from Ur of the Chaldees, and on the western side of the river Chebar, which he forded; whereas Basnage, he says, was not born till 1653. Now I think as Basnage must have consulted his predecessor, Bochart, and gives a different account of the position of Haran, there must have been established authority for his opinion, and that this authority could not have escaped Milton's almost universal scholarship; I am therefore rather disposed to believe, that Milton imagined Haran to have been outside of Mesopotamia, or to the west of the Euphrates, as Newton thinks:

case.

101. Thyer here remarks, that Milton seems to have forgotten that there is no previous mention of Adam's having seen or heard of Cham having discovered to his brothers the nakedness of their father as he slept, Gen. ix. 22, &c. and says, “the urging it by way of example seems to infer its being known to Adam, which yet it could not be.” It is true the circumstance is not previously mentioned ; but then, be it recollected, Adam saw Noah's worship after quitting the ark. The fact is briefly and only in general terms stated. After this there was a pause, ver. 2, Adam, in the mean time, observing (as it is just to presume) various circumstances which are not narrated, and this among the rest.

It was not till after that vision that the angel perceived his mortal sight to fail.

105, 106. Almost a literal translation from Euripides, Hippol. 951:-

besides, the passage, “Canaan he now attains," does not necessarily imply a progressive journey, neither has his train of servants and flocks any thing to do with it; it rather appears to mean,

that when in Haran he was in Canaan. As usual, he steers clear of conflicting opinions, and puts the statement in general terms. Sechem was in Samaria. Hamath, as Newton says, is set down as the northern boundary of the promised land, and the entering into Hamath,so often mentioned in Scripture, is the narrow pass leading from the land of Canaan to Syria, through the valley which lies between Libanus and Antilibanus. - The desert south" is the desert of Arabia, or the wilderness of Zin, or Sin.“Hermon;" a mountain beyond Jordan, on the north-east; “the great sea,” the Mediterranean, on the coast of which stands the famous Mount Carmel. Though, strictly speaking, Canaan was no more than the country west of the Jordan, yet it is sometimes mentioned as including the whole country occupied by the twelve tribes, and extending east of it.-—“Senir” is the same as Mount Hermon.

145, “ Jordan." This celebrated river is called from the junction of two streams, the Jor and Dan (as the Thames or Thamesis is called from the junction of the Thame and Isis), which rise at the foot of Mount Libanus. It then flows into the Sea of Tiberias or Galilee ; and, issuing thence, flows for about 70 miles, and is lost in the Lacus Asphaltites, the Dead Sea, or Sea of Sodom, having performed a course of about 130 miles.-(Calmet.)

147. “ This ponder.” This was the principal circumstance that concerned him, and that he was to ponder on. .-(N.)

152.“ Abraham.” “Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be called Abraham," Gen. xvii. 5. Abram signifies a great father ; but Abraham is of larger extent, and sig. nifies, a father of many nations.—(P., N.)

155. “ With twelve sons increased." A Latinism ; as Plautus Trucul. ii. vi. 34, “Cumque es aucta liberis." Tacitus, Agricola, vi. “ auctus filia."—(R.)

158. The ancient poets often mention the seven mouths of the Nile. Æn. vi. 800; Ov. Met. i. 422; ii. 256.-(N.)

165. “ Suspected to a sequent king." A Latinism, regi sequenti suspectus. Suspected, disliked by a subsequent king.

180.“ Emboss,” to fill with lumps. Shakspeare uses the word, Lear, iv. 2:-" A plague sore, an embossed carbuncle."-—(T.)

188. Palpable darkness." From palpare (Lat.), to feel with the hand; thick darkness, such as you could feel. This account of the plagues of Egypt is a faithful synopsis of the account in Scripture.

191. “The river dragon" is Pharaoh. See Ezekiel xxix. 3, in allusion to the crocodile.-(Ad.) See i. 307.

193. Ice, gently warmed into a thaw, is made more receptive of those saline and nitrous particles, which fill the freezing air, and, insinuating themselves into the water, already weakened, are the cause of a harder concretion.-(H.)

206. See Exod. xiv.—“Defends,” keeps off. See note on xi. 86.

210. “ Craze," from the French écraser, to break or bruise. Soi. 311, the wheels are said to have been broken, though in Exod. xvi. 25, it is only said they were taken off, so that the chariots were driven heavily. Milton, who knew the original thoroughly, has expounded this taking off to be breaking.–(R.)

214. These lines are remarkable, as giving an explanation of the politic cause of their forty years' wandering in the desert. The inoral causes, such as the mutiny on the return of the spies, as Warburton observes, he does not give, because it would annoy Adam, whereas Michael's object was to comfort him. The direct way from Egypt to Canaan was only a few days' journey.

227. “Gray top." A usual epithet of mountains, because the snow lies longer there than in the valleys.-(H.) Newton, I think, more correctly says, the epithet is applied, as the mountain was then covered with clouds. See Exod. xix.

238. Read a comma after “besought.”
241. See Heb. ix. 19, 24.-(H.)
242. See Acts iii. 22, 24.-(N.)

255. Milton probably borrowed this from Josephus, Antiq. b. iii. c. 6, 7, and de Bel. Jud. b. v. c. 5, who says that the seven lamps represented the seven planets, and that therefore the lamps stood slopewise, to express, as it were, the obliquity of the zodiac.-(N.)

258. See Exod. xl. 34; xiii. 21.-(R.)
274. Gen. iii. 5.—(H.)
277. John vii. 56.-(N.)

283. Newton shows that these lines are a condensation of many precepts and declarations in St. Paul's Epistles, especially those to Hebrews, Galatians, and Romans. He says, it is really wonderful how he could comprise so much divinity in so few words, and at the same

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time express it with so much strength and perspicuity. Compare Gal. iii. 11, 12, 19, 23; Gal. iv. 7; Rom. iii. 20; iv. 22–24 ; v. 1; vii. 7, 8; viii. 15; Heb. vii. 18, 19; x. 1, 4, 5; ix. 13, 14.

307. See Deut. xxxiv. Josh. i. Moses died on Mount Nebo, in the land of Moab, from whence he had the prospect of the promised land; but not the honour of leading the Israelites to possess it, which was reserved for Joshua.—(H.) The historical cause of his exclusion from it was, that when God suggested to him to strike the rock with his wand in order to open a fountain of water for the thirsting Israelites, he, as if doubting the efficacy of the divine injunction, repeated the stroke. Numb. xx. and xxvii. But Milton treating the history as typical, represents Moses as debarred by reason of the imperfection of his human nature, and not from any particular act, from the privilege of leading the chosen race to the happy promised land. Jesus is called Joshua, Acts vii. 45, and Heb. iv. 8. The names are the same in Hebrew and Greek.

316. “ But when," i.e. except (or unless) when.

322. Here and in the next eight lines the commentators say Milton has digested the substance of the following texts of Scripture, Gen. iii. 15; xxii. 18; 2 Sam. vii. 16; Psalm lxxxix. 34–36; Isaiah xi 10; Luke i. 32, 33. -(H., N.)

342. It is not stated that he saw them; he only heard a part of the angel's narration. He could not see Abraham, (128) though he saw places, (142, 158.) Abraham had not then existed, but those places had; whereas Babylon was not built for many years after. We must not therefore understand the expression literally ; for verbs of seeing are often extended beyond the bare act, and are applied to other senses and other faculties of the mind. (See N.)

346. Jer. xxxiii. 20; Psalm lxxxix. 29. -(T.)

349. See the first book of Esdras for an account of the restoration of the temple after the seventy years' Babylonish captivity.

355—357. It was chiefly through the contests of Jason and Menelaus, high priests, that the temple was polluted by Antiochus Epiphanes, (see 2 Maccab. v. and Prideaux.) “They seize the sceptre." Aristobulus, eldest son of Hyrcanus the high priest, was the first who assumed the

title of king after the Babylonish captivity; before Christ 107. “ Regard not David's sons.” None of that family having had the government since Zerubbabel. “ Then lose it to a stranger." To Herod, who was an Idumæan, in whose reign Christ was born. See Josephus and Prideaux.-(N.)

364. “ Solemn.” As if sent on a solemn embassy.-(R.)

370, 371. Æn. i. 287:-
Imperium oceano, famam qui terminet

astris.”—(H.) See Psalm ii. 8; Isaiah ix. 7.—(H., Upt.)

379. Luke i. 28.-(Gil.)

383. Capital bruise." “Capital" is here used in the Latin sense, from caput, the head.

390, 391. A comma placed after the word “disabled," in Todd's and other editions, renders the passage quite incomprehensible. But remove the comma, and the passage will be quite plain. “ Whose fall from heaven did not disable him from giving Adam his death's wound.”

393. “Recure." Remedy.
394. See 1 John iii. 8.-(N.)
401. “ Appaid.” Satisfied, repaid.
403. So Rom. xiii. 10.-(H.)

409, 410. “ His merits to save them." This passage has puzzled the commentators. Bentley proposes to read “ do save them.” Pearce says “ the only sense I can make of it is this, which redemption and obedience are his merits to save them, and not their own works, though legal ones, and conformable to the law." Newton says the verb “believe” governs the rest of the sentence, “proclaiming life to all who shall believe in his redemption; and shall believe that his obedience, imputed, becomes theirs by faith; and shall believe his merits to save them, not their own, though legal works." Another critic, of no small note, though anonymous, in the Gentleman's Magazine, vol. xlviii. p. 466, proposes to read “merits" with an elision. “Merit's," i.e. his merit is to (or must) save them. No doubt there are many instances of this elision and mode of writing in all poetry. But is it called for here?

415. Alluding to Col. ii. 14.--(N.) 420. Rom. vi. 9; Rev. i. 18.—(Gil., T.)

434. Sleep" implies that we shall awake, “death” that we shall rise again to life. In some late editions the compound“death-like" was improperly introduced.-(T.)

447. Gal. iii. 7; Rom. iv. 16.-(T.)

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