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Sine, heavenly Muse, that on the seeret top

Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire

That shepherd, who first taught the ehosen seed,

In the beginning how the heavens and earth

Hose out of ehaos: or if Sion hill

Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook, that flow'd

Fast by the oraelo of God; I thenee

Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song,

That with no middle flight intends to soar

Above the Aonian mount, while it pursues

Things unattempted vet in prose or rhyme.

And ehiefly thou, 0 Spirit, that dost prefer

Before all temples the upright heart and pure,

Instruet me, for thou know'st; thou from the first

Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread

Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast abyss,

And madest it pregnant: what in me is dark

Illumine, what is low raise and support;

That to the highth of this great argument

15

0. 8eeret top. There is some doubt in wMt sense Wiiton bere usee the word seeret. As the top of 8inai. when Ged gave his laws i s Mohw, was eovered with -,lnunV' and "thiek smoke," it was seer't at that time in a peeuiiar sense. But, Br Newton observes, Miiton ndght hare a, further meaning in the epithet seeret; for s." he often uses words in their pure Latin sense, he may have used this in the sensn of seeretut, that is. net apart, separate: for whiie Mom talked with God on the mount in private, the people w.-re forbidden to approaeh, and afterwards even to aseend it, upon pain of death.

7. Of Oreb, or of 8inai. The mountain from whieh the law was given is ealled JIoreb in Dent. i. )V, Lv. 10,10; v. 2: xviii. 10; bat in other plaees in tl,e Pentateneh it is ealled 8inai. These names are now appiied to two opposite sumndts of an i-olated. oblong, and eentral mountain in the midst of a eonfused group of grand and rngged mountain-beights at tl,e sonthern extrendty of the peninsula, at the head of the l)ed 8es. Horeb is the steep, awful eiiff, frowning over the plain Rahah. where the people of ltrael were douhtless assembled. This plain, asye Dv. Robinson, is about two miies long, and from one-third to twothirds of a miie wide. "Our eonvietion was strengthened that here was the spot where the l-ord'deseended in fire.'and proelaimed the law. Here lay the plain where the whole eongregation ndght be assembled: here was the mount that, rising perpendieularly in frowning maje tv. eould be approaehed, if not forbidden; and bens the mountain-brow, where alone the lighIning! and the thiek elo-,d would be visible." At the sonthern extremity of this eentral ridge, whieh

is abont tbree miies long, is Mount 8inai proper, now ealled by the monks J. bel M0sa, or Moses' Mount. But, thongh it has tins traditionary name, its eharaeter and topography do not apply Fo well to the deseri) tiou given in Exedus as do those of the northern sumndt . Horeb. The name 8inai. however, is sometimes appiied to the whole ridge, and henee Miiton's pbrs..o "of Horeb Or vf 8inai."

15. Abovr the A,mian mount. ln Bteotia. aneiently wdled A,mia, was Mount Heiieon, so famed in antiqnity as the seat of Apollo and the Muses, and sung by poets of every age. Miiton, therefore, means to say that he intends to

soar ab;,ve" other poets, who have sung of mere earthly seenes and interests.

10. Rhyme, from the Latin rythmus, lGe. .',vd),o(-) here means verse. '' Blank verse is apt to l,e loose, thin, and more full of words than thonght: the blank verse of Miiton is eompressed, elosewoven, and weighty in mattev."—8)r R. Brvdoks.

17. And ehiefly Thou, O 8pirit. ln the begiuning of his seeond book of "The lleason of Chureh Government," speaking of his design of writing a poem in the Eng'i-h langnage, he says, "II was not to be obtained by the invoeation of Dame Memory and her 8iren danghters, but by devent prayer te that eternal 8pirit who ean enrieh with all utteranee and knowledge, and terds ont his 8eraphim with the hallow'd fire of his Altar to toueh and purify the iips t f whom he pleases." 8ee Piekering's edition, London, 1851. voi. iii. p. 140, or -')'ompendinmof Engiish Literature," p. 205.

24. That to the higldh of 0ds great argument. "The highth of the argoment is preeisely what distingnishes this poem

I may assert eternal Providenee, 20
And justify the ways of God to men.

Say first, for heaven hides nothing from thy view,
Nor the deep traet of hell; say first, what eause
Moved our grand Parents in that happv state,
Favour'd of heaven so highly, to fall on 30
From their Creator, and transgress his will
For one restraint, lords of the world besides?
Who first sedueed them to that foul revolt?
The infernal serpent: he it was, whose guile,
Stirr'd up with envy and revenge, deeeived 34
The mother of mankind, what time his pride
Had east him out from heaven, with all his host
Of rebel angels; by whose aid aspiring
To set himself in glory above his peers,
He trusted to have equal'd the Most High, 40
If he opposed; and with ambitious aim
Against the throne and monarehy of God,
Raised impious war in heaven and battel proud,
With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power
Hurl'd headlong flaming from the ethereal sky, 48
With hideous ruin and eombustion, down
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
In adamantine ehains and penal fire,
Who durst defy the Omnipotent to arms.
Nine times the spaee that measures day and night 00
To mortal men, ne^with his horrid erew
Lay vanquish'd, rolling-IrT'rtrrr-fiery--gtrrfi--"'
Confounded though immortal: but his doom
Reserved him to more wrath; for now the thought
Both of lost happiness and lasting pain 50
Torments him; round he throws his baleful eyes,
That witness'd huge afflietion and dismay
Mix'd with obdurate pride and stedfast hate.
At onee, as far as angels ken, he views
The dismal situation waste and wild: C0
A dungeon horriblo on all sides round,
As one great furnaee, flamed; yet from those flames
No light, but rather darkness visible
Served only to diseover sights of woe,

Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peaee 05
And rest ean never dwell: hope never eomes,
That eomes to all; but torture without end

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Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed

With ever-burning sulphur uneonsumed:

Sueh plaee eternal justiee had prepared "o

For those rebellious; here their prison ordain'd

In utter darkness; and their portion set

As far removed from God and light of heaven,

As from the eentre thriee to the utmost pole.

O, how unlike the plaee from whenee they fell! 75

There the eompanions of his fall, o'erwhelm'd

With floods and whirlwinds of tempestnous fire,

Ho soon diseerns; and welt'ring by his side,

One next himself in power, and next in erime,

Long after known in Palestine, and nain'd 80

Beelzebub: to whom the areh-enemy,

And thenee in heav'n eall'd Satan, with bold words

Breaking the horrid silenee, thus began:—

If thou beest he—But, 0, how fallen! how ehanged
From him, who in the happy realms of light, 85
Clothed with transeendent brightness, didst outshine
Myriads, though bright! If he, whom mutual league,
United thoughts and eounsels, equal hope
And hazard in the glorious enterprize,
Join'd with me onee, now misery hath join'd 80
In equal ruin: into what pit thou seost,
From what highth fallen: so mueh the stronger prov'd
He with his thunder; and till then who knew
The foree of those dire arms? yet not for those,
Nor what the potent Vietor in his rage 05
Can else infliet, do I repent, or ehange,
Though ehanged in outward lustre, that fix'd mind
And high disdain from sense of injured merit,
That with the Mightiest raised me to eontend,
And to the fieree eontention brought along loo
Iunumerable foree of spirits ann'd,
That durst dislike his reign; and, me preferring,
His utmost power with adverse power opposed
In dubious battel on the plains of heaven,
And shook his throne. What though the field be lost? 105
All is not lost; the uneonquerable will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And eourage never to submit or yield,
And what is else not to be overeome;

74. Utmost pole; that is, the pole of the universe. "Homer lII. viii. 10l makes the sent of Hell as far beneath the doeneet pit of earth, as the heaven is above the earth. Virgii lM,i. vi. 578l makes it twiee as far, and Miiton thrive as for; ns if these tbroe great poets had stretehed their utmost genins, and vied with eaeh other, wl:o should extend l,b' idea of the depth of Hell farthest. iiut Miiton's whole deseription of Hell as mueh exeeeds theirs as ln this single

eireumstanee of the depth of it."—New

toN.

77. Tempestnous Jtee. Pa, xi. 0, 82. Chlted 8atan. The word 8atan ln Hebrew signifies an enemy: henee he is emi' uently the enemy. that is; of Ged and man.

100. And what is else iioi to be overt,me. Piekering's edition, following Miiton's own eopy, reads this iine with a note of interrogation. Thongh one or two eommentators prefer this, 1 agree deeided))' with Drs. t'earoe and Newton That glory never shall his wrath or might 110

Extort from me: to bow and sue for graee

With suppliant knee, and deify his power,

Who from the terrour of this arm so late

Doubted his empire; that were low indeed;

That were an ignominy and shame beneath 11J

This downfall; sinee, by fate, the strength of gods

And this empyreal substanee eaunot fail;

Sinee, through experienee of this great "vent,

In arms not worse, in foresight mueh advaneed,

We may with more sueeessful hope resolve li)

To wage by foree or guile eternal war,

Irreeoneileable to our grand Foe,

Who now triumphs, and in the exeess of joy

Sole reigning holds the tyranuy of heaven.

So spake the apostate angel, though in pain, lis
Vaunting aloud, but raek'd with deep despair:
And him thus answer'd soon his bold eompeer:—

0 prinee, 0 ehief of many throned powers,
That led th' einbattell'd seraphim to war
Under thy eonduet, and, in dreadful deeds lau
Fearless, endanger'd heaven's perpetual King;
And put to proof his high supremaey,
Whether upheld by strength, or ehanee, or fate:
Too well I see and rue the dire event,

That with sad overthrow and foul defeat 130

Hath lost us heaven, and all this mighty host

In horrible destruetion laid thus low;

As far as gods and heavenly essenees

Can perish: for the mind and spirit remains

Invineible, and vigour soon returns; l4u

Though all our glory extinet, and happy state

Here swallow'd up in endless misery.

But what if he our Conquerour, whom I now

Of foree believe almighty, sinee no less

Than sueh eould have o'erpower'd sueh foree as ours— 145

Have left us this our spirit and strength entire,

Strongly to suffer and support our pains,

That we may so suffiee his vengeful ire;

Or do him mightier serviee, as his thralls

Bv right of war, whate'er his business bo, 1M

ifere in the heart of hell to work in fire,

Or do his errands in the gloomy deep:

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What ean it then avail, though yet we feel

Strength undiminish'd, or eternal being,

To undergo eternal punishment? 155

Whereto with speedy words the Areh-fiend replied:—

Fallen eherub, to be weak is miserable,
Doing or suffering: but of this be sure,
To do aught good never will be our task,
But ever to do ill our sole delight; 100
As being the eontrary to his high will,
Whom wo resist. If then his providenee
Out of our evil seek to bring forth good,
Our labour must be to pervert that end,
And out of good still to find means of evil: 105
Whieh oft-times may sueeeed, so as perhaps
Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb
His inmost eounsels from their destined aim.
But see! the angry Vietor hath reeall'd
His ministers of vengeanee and pursuit 170
Baek to the gates of heaven: the sulphurous hail,
Shot after us in storm, o'erblown hath laid
The fiery surge, that from the preeipiee
Of heaven reeeived us falling; and the thunder,
Wing'd with red lightuing and impetnous rage, 175
Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and eeases now
To bellow through the vast and boundless deep.
Let us not slip the oeeasion, whether seorn
Or satiate fury yield it from our foe.

Seest thou you dreary plain, forlorn and wild, 100

The seat of desolation, void of light,

Save what the glimmering of these livid flames

Casts pale and dreadful? Thither let us tend

From off the tossing of these fiery waves;

There rest, if any rest ean harbour there; 180

And, reassembling our afflieted powers,

Consult how we may heneeforth most offend

Our enemy; our own loss how repair;

How overeome this dire ealamity;

What reinforeement we may gam from hope; 100
If not, what resolution from despair,

Thus Satan, talking to his nearest mate,
With head uplift above the wave, and eyes
That sparkling blazed; his other parts besides
Prone on the flood, extended long and large, 105
Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge
As whom the fables name of monstrous size,
Titanian, or Earth-born, that warr'd on Jove,
Briareos, or Typhon, whom the den

By aneient Tarsus held, or that sea-beast 200
Leviathan, whieh Cod of all his works

100. Brtortvs and Tiph0ens wore two Miiton here means the whale, thongh ln famed giantaof antiqnity. Ry Ltviathan Job it answers to the eroeediie.

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