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80

85

Insulting, and pursued us through the deep,
With what compulsion and laborious flight
We sunk thus low? The ascent is easy, then.
The event is feared! Should we again provoke
Our stronger, some worse way

his wrath may find
To our destruction; if there be in hell
Fear to be worse destroyed! What can be worse
Than to dwell here, driven out from bliss, condemned
In this abhorrèd deep to utter woe;
Where pain of unextinguishable fire
Must exercise us without hope of end,
The vassals of his anger, when the scourge
Inexorably, and the torturing hour
Calls us to penance? More destroyed than thus,
We should be quite abolished, and expire.
What fear we then? what doubt we to incense
His utmost ire? which, to the highth enraged,
Will either quite consume us, and reduce
To nothing this essential - happier far
Than, miserable, to have eternal being -
Or, if our substance be indeed divine,
And cannot cease to be, we are at worst

90

95

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wrath burnt after them to the bottomless pit.” VI. 864, 865, 866. — 82–84. Should we destruction. Moloch puts this into the mouth of a second objector, and then answers it? Supply the implied words. — 85. Worse destroyed than now? — 87. Utter. Extreme ? or outer, j. e. outside of heaven ? I. 72. -- 89. Exercise (Lat. exercère, drive, plague), harass. -- 90. Vassals. Bentley would read vessels, quoting Rom. ix. 22 ; but ‘vassals' is better. See 252. (Welsh gwas, a youth, a page, a servant.) Milton uses the words, 'vassals of perdition,' in one of his earliest prose works. 91. Torturing hour is Shakespearian. Hamlet, I. 5 ; Mid. N. Dream, V. 1. Milton believed the punishment of the devils, like the remorse of bad men, to be more intense at some times than at others. We should look beneath the surface for these analogies. -- 92. More; i. e. if more. Thus. As we now are? - 93. Abolished, annihilated. --- 94. What doubt we. On account of what! why? (Lat. quid dubitamus, what, i. e., why, hesitate we?) So repeatedly in Shakes., as Jul. Cæs. II. 1. 123, “What need we any spur?" -97. Essential, essence. Adjective for subst., as often in Shakes. ; e. g. caviare to the general.' Ham. II. 11. 458. — 98. Miserable, etc. In misery

105

IIO

On this side nothing; and by proof we feel
Our power sufficient to disturb his heaven,
And with perpetual inroads to alarm,
Though inaccessible, his fatal throne :
Which, if not victory, is yet revenge!"

He ended frowning, and his look denounced
Desperate revenge, and battle dangerous
To less than gods. On the other side up rose
Belial, in act more graceful and humane.
A fairer person lost not heaven; he seemed
For dignity composed and high exploit.
But all was false and hollow; though his tongue
Dropt manna, and could make the worse appear
The better reason, to perplex and dash
Maturest counsels ; for his thoughts were low,
To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds
Timorous and slothful. Yet he pleased the ear,
And with persuasive accent thus began :-
" I should be much for open war,

O

peers, As not behind in hate, if what was urged,

115

I 20

to have eternal being?— 100. At worst, in the worst possible condition ?-104. Fatal, sustained by fate? Does Milton seemingly attribute to the devils the origin of the idea of fate as a power separate from Deity ? Fate (Lat. fatum, spoken, fr. fari, to speak) is that which is spoken or decreed by Deity ? Classical idea of fate ?- 105. Revenge. How much is compressed into this one ringing word! What passions and sentiments are uppermost in him? See the description of him in Book I.–106. Denounced (Lat. denuntiare, to announce threateningly), threatened. — 109. Belial, etc. The stormy Moloch is followed by Belial, as the wrathful Achilles (Iliad, 1, 247, etc.) was followed by the mild-voiced Nestor,' from whose lips 'flowed words sweeter than honey.' Act. Behavior? or deeds ? or gesture? Humane (Lat. humanus), polished, cultured. – 113. Dropt manna. “Drop anna in the way of starved people.' Shakes. Mer. Venice, V. 1. (Heb. manna, a gift. The taste was ‘like wafers made with honey.' (Exod. xvi. 31.) Make the worse, etc. This was the business of the sophists, according to Plato, who uses the exact original of these words. -- 114. Reason. Meaning ? To, so as to ? Dash, confound, strike down. -- 117. Pleased, etc. Contrast his speech with Moloch's. See description of Belial in Book I. Does he comply with the rhetoricians' rule that the exordium should conciliate the audience ? — 120. Hate. The key-note ? Which

125

130

Main reason to persuade immediate war,
Did not dissuade me most, and seem to cast
Ominous conjecture on the whole success;
When he who most excels in fact of arms,
In what he counsels and in what excels
Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair
And utter dissolution, as the scope
Of all his aim, after some dire revenge.
First, what revenge ? The towers of heaven are filled
With armèd watch, that render all access
Impregnable : oft on the bordering deep
Encamp their legions, or, with obscure wing,
Scout far and wide into the realm of Night,
Scorning surprise. Or, could we break our way
By force, and at our heels all hell should rise
With blackest insurrection to confound
Heaven's purest light, yet our great enemy,
All incorruptible, would on his throne
Sit unpolluted ; and the ethereal mould,
Incapable of stain, would soon expel
Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire,
Victorious. Thus repulsed, our final hope
Is flat despair : we must exasperate
The almighty victor to spend all his rage;

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of the seven deadly sins,' if any, does this speaker typify? — 123. Conjecture, uncertainty, doubt. Success, result, issue, as in 1. 9? — 124. In fact of arms, Fr. en fait d'armes. See I, 537. – 127. Scope, etc. This is an ingenious misstatement of the position of Moloch, whose great aim was not annihilation, but revenge. “Scope,' fr. Gr. okértOuai, skeptomai, to look; OKOTÓs, skopos, mark, target. – 130. All access, every way of approach. Accent 2d syl. of • access' as in I. 761. - 131. Deep. Chaos ? On the deep. Chaos is an ocean, 892. — 132. Obscure, accented repeatedly on first syl. in Shakes. — 133. Scout (Lat. auris, ear ; auscultare, to give ear to, listen ; Fr. écouter, to listen), go out swiftly to reconnoitre. — 135. By force. Observe how Belial grapples step by step with Moloch's arguments. To what is this passage, 134-137, responsive ? – 138. All, wholly. Incorruptible. Rom. i. 23. -– 139. Mould, substance, fiery essence (of the throne ? or of the bodies of angels ?). — 141. Her. As in Book I. 592, to avoid its. — 142. Hope is, etc. ; i. e. according to

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And that must end us; that must be our cure, 145
To be no more. Sad cure ! for who would lose,
Though full of pain, this intellectual being,
Those thoughts that wander through eternity,
To perish rather, swallowed up and lost
In the wide womb of uncreated Night,

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Devoid of sense and motion ? And who knows,
Let this be good, whether our angry Foe
Can give it, or will ever ? How he can,
Is doubtful : that he never will, is sure.
Will he, so wise, let loose at once his ire,

155
Belike through impotence, or unaware,
To give his enemies their wish, and end
Them in his

anger
whom his

anger saves
To punish endless ? “Wherefore cease we, then ?"
Say they who counsel war ; we are decreed,

160
Reserved, and destined to eternal woe;
Whatever doing, what can we suffer more ?
What can we suffer worse?' Is this, then, worst,
Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms?
What when we fled amain, pursued and strook 165
With heaven's afflicting thunder, and besought
The deep to shelter us? This hell then seemed
A refuge from those wounds. Or when we lay

Chained on the burning lake ? That sure was worse. Moloch, 1. 94-97. – 146. Who would lose. The reader will not fail to note the touching pathos of the next four lines. — 147. Thoughts that wander. Like πολλάς οδούς ελθόντα φροντίδος πλάνοις, travelling many paths in wanderings of thought (Sophocles Oedip. Rex, 67). See Claudio's, “ Aye, but to die and go we know not where,” etc. Shakes. Meas. for Meas. III. 1; also Gray's Elegy, st. 22, “For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey," etc. – 156. Belike, for, it may be like; i. e. perhaps, forsooth. Irony? Impotence, inability to control himself. Unaware of the consequences. -- 159. Endless. Modifies punish? or whom? Wherefore, etc. What does this part of Belial's speech answer in Moloch’s ? — 164. Note the climax. — 165. What (say you of our condition) when, etc. Or is 'what'a mere interjection? Amain (A. S. mågn, force), with all our might (or, possibly with all speed). Strook, old form of struck. — 166. Afflicting. See note, I. 186. — 170. Breath, etc.

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What if the breath that kindled those grim fires,
Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold rage,
And plunge us in the flames ? or, from above,
Should intermitted vengeance arm again
His red right hand to plague us? What if all
Her stores were opened, and this firmament
Of hell should spout her cataracts of fire,
Impendent horrors, threatening hideous fall
One day upon our heads; while we perhaps,
Designing or exhorting glorious war,
Caught in a fiery tempest, shall be hurled,
Each on his rock transfixed, the sport and prey
Of racking whirlwinds, or forever sunk
Under yon boiling ocean, wrapped in chains,
There to converse with everlasting groans,
Unrespited, unpitied, unreprieved,
Ages of hopeless end? This would be worse.
War, therefore, open or concealed, alike
My voice dissuades; for what can force or guile

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In Isaiah xxx. 33, “The breath of the Lord kindles" the fire of Tophet. 174. His. Whose? Red right hand. Like Horace's rubente dextera. Odes, I. II. Why 'red' ? - 175. Her; i. e. of hell ? — 176. The commentators have not mentioned the traces in this passage of Lear's tremendous ravings, “You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout,'' etc. King Lear, Act III. sc. II. 180, 181, 182. Very similar is the death of Ajax Oileus, 'caught up in tempest,' 'impaled on a sharp rock,' etc. Æn. I. 44, 45. — 182. Racking (Dutch racke, a frame to torture by stretching; akin to Lat. stringere ? Eng. stretch ?) tormenting ; as blown with restless violence, etc. Shakes. Meas. for Meas. III. 1 ; so Virg. Æn. VI. 740, 741, “Some souls, suspended, are spread out to the empty winds.” — 184. Converse (Lat. conversări, abide), live, dwell, commune ? - 185. Note the fine effect of repeating the prefix un. So,

‘Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified.' V. 899.
'Unkind, unmanly, and unprincely Ammon.' Peele.
"Unbodied, unheard, unsouled, unseen.' Spenser.
Unseen, unmarked, unpitied, unrewarded.' Fairfax's Tasso.
"Unwept, unhonored, and unsung.' Scott.

Unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.' Byron.
Unrespited differs how from unreprieved? - 186. Of hopeless end. Ages

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