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Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool
His mighty stature ; on each hand the flames
Driv’n backward slope their pointing spires, and rolld
In billows, leave i'th' midst a horrid vale.
Then with expanded wings he steers his flight 225
Aloft, incumbent on the dusky air
That felt unusual weight, till on dry land
He lights, if it were land that ever burn'd
With solid, as the lake with liquid fire ;
And such appear'd in hue, as when the force
Of subterranean wind transports a hill

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221. Forthwith upright he rears, This conceit is borrowed from
&c.] The whole part of this Spenser, who speaking of the
great enemy of mankind is filled old dragon has these lines,

b. i.
with such incidents as are very cant. ii, st. 18.
apt to raise and terrify the
reader's imagination. Of this

Then with bis waving wings displayed

nature is his being the first that

Himself up high he lifted from the
awakens out of the general ground,
trance, with his posture on the And with strong flight did forcibly
burning lake, his rising from it,

and the description of his shield

The yielding air, which nigh too fee

ble fouad
and spear. To which we may

Her fitting parts, and element un.
add his call to the fallen angels, sound,
that lay plunged and stupified To bear so great a weight.
in the sea of fire.

He call'd so loud that all the hollow

229. _liquid fire ;] Virg. Ecl.
Of hell resounded.-

vi. 33,
But there is no single passage in Et liquidi simul ignis.
the whole poem worked up to
a greater sublimity, than that 231. Of subterranean wind]
wherein his person is described

Dr. Pearce conjectures that it
in those celebrated lines,

should be read subterranean winds, -He above the rest

because it is said aid the winds Io shape and gesture proudly eminent afterwards, and the conjecture Stood like a tow'r, &c.

seems probable and ingenious: Addison. the fuelled

entrails, sublim'd with 226. -incumbent on the dusky mineral fury, aid and increase the air

winds which first blew up the That fell unusual weight,] fire.



Torn from Pelorus, or the shatter'd side
Of thund'ring Ætna, whose combustible
And fuell’d entrails thence conceiving fire,
Sublim’d with mineral fury, aid the winds,
And leave a singed bottom all involv'd
With stench and smoke: such resting found the sole
Of unblest feet. Him follow'd his next mate,
Both glorying to have ’scap'd the Stygian flood
As Gods, and by their own recover'd strength,
Not by the sufferance of supernal Power.

Is this the region, this the soil, the clime,
Said then the lost Arch-Angel, this the seat
That we must change for heav'n, this mournful gloom
For that celestial light? Be' it so, since he
Who now is Sovran can dispose and bid
What shall be right : farthest from him is best,
Whom reas'on hath equali’d, force hath made supreme
Above his equals. Farewell happy fields,
Where joy for ever dwells : Hail horrors, hail



232. Pelorus,] A promontory 246. Sovran.) So Milton spells of Sicily, now Capo di Faro, it after the Italian Sovrano. It about a mile and a half from is not easy to account for the Italy, whence Virgil angusta à formation of our word Sovereign. sede Pelori, Æn. iji. 687. Hume. 247. -farthest from him is

238. Of unblest feet.] Dr. best,] This is expressed from Bentley to make the accent the Greek proverb toppa Asos Té smoother reads Of feet unblest ; Kab xsgavrou, Far from Jupiter, but Milton could have done the but far too from thunder. Bentsame thing, if he thought pro- ley. per: on the contrary he chooses 248. Whom reas'on hath equalld,] almost always to put the epithet Reason is to be pronounced here before the substantive (excepting

one syllable, or two short at the end of a verse) even ones, as it is likewise in viii. 591. though the verse be the rougher and ix. 559. See the note on for it. A plain sign that he ver. 39. thought it poetical to do so. 250. Hail horrors, hail Pearce.

&c.] His sentiments are every


Infernal world, and thou profoundest hell
Receive thy new possessor ; one who brings
A mind not to be chang'd by place or time.
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heav'n of hell, a hell of heaven.
What matter where, if I be still the same,
And what I should be, all but less than he


Ελεσθε με.

way answerable to his character, he had involved in the same and suitable to a created being guilt and ruin with himself. of the most exalted and most Addison. depraved nature. Such is that 252. Receive thy new possessor;] in which he takes possession of This passage seems to be an his place of torments,

improvement upon Sophocles, -Hail horrors, hail 8c.

Ajax 395, where Ajax, before

'he kills himself, cries out much And afterwards,

in the same manner. Here at least We shall be free ; $c.

Ιω σκοτος, εμον φαος, ερεμέος

Ω φαινον ως εμοί, Amidst those impieties which Ελεσε ελεσθ' οικήτορα, this enraged Spirit utters in

(Ed. Turneb.) other places of the poem, the 253. -by place or time.] author has taken care to intro. Milton is excellent in placing duce none that is not big with his words : invert them only, absurdity,and incapable of shock- and say by time or place, and if ing a religious reader; his words, the reader has any ear, he will as the poet himself describes perceive how much the alterathem, bearing only a semblance tion is for the worse. For the of worth, not substance. He is pause falling upon place in the likewise with great art described first line by time or place, and as owning his adversary to be again upon place in the next line almighty. Whatever perverse

The mind is its' own place, would interpretation he puts on the offend the ear, and therefore is justice, mercy, and other attri- artfully varied. butes of the Supreme Being, he 254. The mind is its own place,] frequently confesses his omni These are some of the extravapotence, that being the perfec- gancies of the Stoics, and could tion he was forced to allow him, not be better ridiculed than they and the only consideration which are here by being put in the could support his pride under mouth of Satan in his present the shame of his defeat. Nor situation. Thyer. must I omit that beautiful cir 257. all but] I bave heard cumstance of his bursting out it proposed to read albeit, that into tears, upon his survey of is although; but prefer the comthose innumerable Spirits whom mon reading.

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Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at least
We shall be free; th’Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence : 260
Here we may reign secure, and in my choice
To reign is worth ambition though in hell:
Better to reign in hell, than serve in heaven.
But wherefore let we then our faithful friends,
Th’ associates and copartners of our loss,
Lie thus astonish'd on th' oblivious pool,
And call them not to share with us their part
In this unhappy mansion, or once more
With rallied arms to try what may be yet
Regain’d in heav'n, or what more lost in hell ? 270

So Satan spake, and him Beëlzebub
Thus answer'd. Leader of those armies bright,
Which but th' Omnipotent none could have foil'd,
If once they hear that voice, their liveliest pledge

ix. 770.

259. —th' Almighty hath not My miseries, be assured, I would not built

change Here for his envy,]

For thy gay servitude, but rather

choose This is not a place that God To live a vassal to this dreary rock, should envy us, or think it too Than lackey tbe proud heels of Jove. good for us; and in this sense

(Potter.) the word envy is used in several It was a memorable saying of places of the poem, and parti- Julius Cæsar, that he had rather cularly in iv. 517. viii. 494. and be the first man in a country

village than the second at Rome. 263. Better to reign in hell, The reader will observe how than serve in heaven.] This is a properly the saying is here apwonderfully fine improvement plied and accommodated to the upon Prometheus's answer to speaker. It is here made a senMercury in Æschylus. Prom. timent worthy of Satan, and of

him only; Της σης λατρείας της εμην δυσπραξιαν, , --nam te nec sperent Tartara Σαφως επιστασ', ουκ αν αλλαξαιμ' εγω" Κρισσον γαρ οιμαι τηδε λατρευειν τετρα, , Nec tibi regnandi veniat tam dira Η πατρι φυναι Ζηνα σι στον αγγιλον. .

cupido. Virg. Georg. i. 36.

Vinct. 965.



Of hope in fears and dangers, heard so oft

275 In worst extremes, and on the perilous edge Of battle when it rag'd, in all assaults Their surest signal, they will soon resume New courage and revive, though now they lie Grovelling and prostrate on yon lake of fire, As we ere while, astounded and amaz’d, No wonder, fall’n such a pernicious height.

He scarce had ceas'd when the superior Fiend Was moving tow’ard the shore ; his pond'rous shield, Ethereal temper, massy, large and round, Behind him cast; the broad circumference Hung on his shoulders like the moon, whose orb


276. -on the perilous edge author himself would incline one Of battle]

to think so by his use of this Perhaps he had in mind Virgil, metaphor in another place, vi. Æn. ix. 528.

108. Et mecum ingentes oras evolvite On the rough edge of battle ere it belli,

join'd. Jortin.

276.] The expression was Shakespeare has an expression probably derived from the very very like this in 2 Hen. IV. act i. common Greek phrase smo ugov You knew, he walk'd o'er perils, on arrens. See Lucian, tom. ii. p. an edge

605. ed. Reitz. Dunster. More likely to fall in, than to get 282 -fall» such a pernicious o'er:

height.] Dr. Bentley reads fallon and something like it in i Hen. from such prodigious height: but IV. act i.

the epithet pernicious is much I'll read you matter, deep and dan. stronger, and as for the want of gerous;

a preposition, that is common As full of peril and advent'rous spirit, in this poem; for thus in i. 723. As to o'er-walk a current, roaring loud,

Stood fx'd her stately height.
On the unstedfast footing of a spear. And in ii. 409.
Or after all may not the edge of - ere he arrire
battle be expressed from the The happy isle ?
Latin acies, which signifies both

Pearce. the edge of a weapon, and also 287. - like the moon, whose an army in battle array? The orb, &c.] Homer compares the

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