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Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool
221. Forthwith upright he rears, This conceit is borrowed from
Then with bis waving wings displayed
Himself up high he lifted from the
The yielding air, which nigh too fee
Her fitting parts, and element un.
229. _liquid fire ;] Virg. Ecl.
Dr. Pearce conjectures that it
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
Is this the region, this the soil, the clime,
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
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.
Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at least
So Satan spake, and him Beëlzebub
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.
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,
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.
Pearce. the edge of a weapon, and also 287. - like the moon, whose an army in battle array? The orb, &c.] Homer compares the