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And with my help thou may'ft; to me the
Much less my mind; though thou should'st add to tell
(For I have alfo heard, perhaps have read)
115. On citron tables or Atlantic Stone,] Tables made of citron wood were in fuch request among the Romans, that Pliny calls it menfarum infania. They were beautifully vein'd and spotted. See his account of them Lib. 13. Sect. 29. I do not find that the Atlantic ftone or marble was fo celebrated: the Numidicus lapis and Numidicum marmor are often mentioned in Roman Authors.
117. Their wines of Setia, Cales, and Falerne,
Chios and Crete,] The three former were Italian, and the two lat
ter were Greek wines, much admired and commended by the Ancients.
119. Crystal and myrrhine cups imbofs'd with gems
And ftuds of pearl,] Crystal and myrrhine cups are often join'd together by ancient authors. Murrhina et cryftallina ex eadem terra effodimus, quibus pretium faceret ipfa fragilitas. Hoc argumentum opum, hæc vera luxuriæ gloria exiftimata eft, habere quod poffet ftatim totum perire. Plin. Lib. 33. Sect. 2. We fee that Pliny reckons myrrhine cups among foffils; Sca
Their wines of Setia, Cales, and Falerne,
liger, Salmafius and others contend from this verfe of Propertius IV. V. 26.
ac temulentiæ caufa tenere Indiam juvat: et aurum jam acceffio eft. Or perhaps the words imbofs'd with
Murrheaque in Parthis pocula gems &c refer only to gold firft mention'd, which is no unufual conftruction. They quaff in gold imboss'd with gems and fiuds of pearl.
that they were like our porcelane: but if they were fo very fragil as they are reprefented to be, it is not eafy to conceive how they could be imboss'd with gems and ftuds of pearl. I fuppofe our author afferted it from the words immediately following in Pliny. Nec hoc fuit fatis turba gemmarum potamus, et fmaragdis teximus calices:
130. Let his tormenter confcience
find him out ;] Milton had in view what Tacitus and Suetonius have related. Tacitus Ann. VI. 6. Infigne vifum eft earum Cæfaris. literarum initium; nam his verbis exorfus eft: Quid fcribam vobis P. C. aut quomodo fcribam, aut quid omnino non fcribam hoc tempore? Dii
For him I was not fent, nor yet to free
That people victor once, now vile and base,
me Deæque pejus perdant quam perire quotidie fentio, fi fcio. Adeo facinora atque flagitia fua ipfi quoque in fupplicium verterant. Suetonius Tiber. 67. Poftremo femet ipfe pertæfus talis epiftolæ principio tantum non fummam malorum fuorum profeffus eft: Quid fcribam &c. where perhaps it fhould be, tali epiftolæ principio. Fortin.
140. Of fighting beafts, and men to beafts expos'd,] The fighting beafts are a poor inftance of the Roman cruelty in their fports, in comparifon of the gladiators; who might have been introduced fo naturally, and eafily here, only by putting the word gladiators in place of the other two, that one may very well be furpriz'd at the poet's omitting them. See Seneca's 7th Epiftle.
145. Or could of inward flaves
make outward free?] This noble fentiment Milton explains more fully, and expreffes more diffufively in his Paradise Loft. XII. 90.
Therefore fince he permits Within himself unworthy pow'rs to reign Over free reason, God in judgment juft
Subjects him from without to violent lords; . to ver. 101.
So alfo again in his 12th Sonnet, Licence they mean, when they cry Liberty;
For who loves that, must first be wife and good.
No one had ever more refin❜d notions of true liberty than Milton, and I have often thought that there
And from the daily fcene effeminate.
All monarchies befides throughout the world, 150
a tree &c; alluding to the parable of the muftard-feed grown into a tree, fo that the birds lodge in the branches thereof, Matt. XIII. 32. and to (what that parable also refpects) Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the great tree whofe hight reached unto heaven, and the fight thereof to the end of all the earth, Dan. IV. 11. Tertullian alfo compares the kingdom of Chrift to that of Nebuchadnezzar. See Grotius in Matt. Or as a ftone &c; alluding to the ftone in another of Nebuchadnezzar's dreams, which brake the image in pieces, and fo this kingdom fall break in pieces, and confume all thefe kingdoms, and it fhall ftand for ever. Dan. II. 44. And of my kingdom there fhall be no end: the very words of Luke I. 33. with only the neceffary change of
Is not for thee to know, nor me to tell.
the perfon; and of his kingdom there fhall be no end.
157. Nothing will pleafe the difficult and nice,] Mr. Jortin and Mr. Sympfon fay that perhaps we fhould read
thee difficult and nice : but I think the ictus falls better in the common reading, and the