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I, who erewhile the happy garden sung
Thou Spirit, who ledst this glorious eremite
Now had the great proclaimer, with a voice
2. See Rom. v. 19.
his presentiment that he would under8. This invocation is so supremely take sometbing like these two great beautiful, that it is hardly possible to poems, in his “Reasons of Church Gogive the preference even to that in the vernment urged against Prelacy," quoted opening of the Paradise Lost. This has in the “Compendium of English Literathe merit of more conciseness.--DUNG- ture," page 265. TER.
14. Full summid. See note on Paradise 11. In.smire, &c. See the very fine open- Lost, vii. 421, ing in the ninth book of Paradise Lost, 26. Divinely roarned. See John i. 33. and also his invocation of Urapia, at the 42. Omsistory. By this word I suppose beginning of the seventh book. See also Milton intends to glance at the meeting
O ancient powers of air, and this wide world; . (For much more willingly I mention air, This our old conquest, than remember hell, Our hated habitation,) well ye know, How many ages, as the years of men, This universe we have possess'd, and ruled, In manner at our will, the affairs of earth, Since Adam and his facile consort Eve Lost Paradise, deceived by me; though since With dread attending when that fatal wound Shall be inflicted by the seed ef Eve Upon my head. Long the decrees of Heaven Delay, for longest time to him is short; And now, too soon for us, the circling hours This dreaded time have compass’d, wherein we Must bide the stroke of that long-threaten'd wound, At least, if so we can; and, by the head Broken, be not intended all our power To be infringed, our freedom and our being, In this fair empire won of earth and air: For this ill news I bring; the woman's Seed, Destined to this, is late of woman born: His birth to our just fear gave no small cause; But his growth now to youth's full flower, displaying All virtue, grace, and wisdom to achieve Things highest, greatest, multiplies my fear. Before him a great prophet, to proclaim His coming, is sent harbinger, who all Invites, and in the consecrated stream Pretends to wash off sin, and fit them, so Purified, to receive him pure; or rather To do him honour as their King: all come, And he himself among them was baptized; Not thence to be more pure, but to receive The testimony of Heaven, that who he is Thenceforth the nations may not doubt. I saw The prophet do him reverence; on him, rising Out of the water, Heaven above the clouds Unfold her crystal doors; thence on his head A perfect dove descend, (whate'er it meant) And out of Heaven the sovran voice I heard, This is my Son beloved,-in him am pleased. His mother then is mortal, but his Sire He who obtains the monarchy of Heaven: And what will he not do to advance his Son?
of the pope and cardinals so damed, or may read the first two speeches in it; perhaps at the episcopal tribunal, to all this of Satan with which the book judiwhich sorts of courts or assemblies he cionsly opens; and that of God, at verse • was an avowed enemy.-THYER,
130 of this book.-I. WAARTON. 44. O ancient powers. They who have 53. Attending, that is, waiting, expectbeen taught to think, by the cant of ing. common critics, that this poem is un- / 87. Obtains in the sense of the Latin worthy of the great genius of Milton, obtinco, to hold, retain, or govern, 89 and 90. See Par. Lost, vi. 834, &c., 1 bank of Jordan where John was bapfor the account of the Messiah's driving tized. the rebel angels out of Heaven,
His first-begot we know, and sore have felt,
He ended, and his words impression left
1:20. Girded with snaky roles. Though 97. Well-couch'd, that is, fraud couch- this phrase may allude to the habits of ing closely down like a tiger, ready to sorcerers and necromancers who were respring upon its prey: a most expressive presented in prints as girded about the epithet.
middle with the skins of serpents; yet, 100. When no other durst. The fear as Dunster says, it rather is used here in and unwillingness of the other of the a metaphorical sense, as the Christian is fallen angels to undertake this dismal | described in the "Ephesians," as having expedition is particularly described in his “loins girt about with truth." So in Paradise Lost, ii. 420.-DUNSTER.
the beginning of the third book of this 119. Coast of Jordan. The wilderness poem Satan is described, as where our Saviour underwent his forty
Torty "At length collecting all his serpent wiles." days' temptation, was on the same !
Gabriel, this day by proof thou shalt behold,
So spake the Eternal Father, and all heaven
137. Told'st; this is, thou told'st. mighty in the other. Satan expresses his
146. Apostasy, for apostates, the abdiffidence, but still resolves to make trial stract for the coprrete: this alludes to of this Son of God; the Father declares his boasting of his having “ruined his purpose of proving and illustrating Adam," line 102.
his Son. The infernal crew are distracted 162. Oercome all the world. John xvi. 33. and surprised with deep dismay; all
168. All Heaven admiring stood. We | Heaven stands awhile in admiration, tanpot but notice the great art of the The fiends are silent through fear and poet, in setting forth the dignity and im- grief; the Angels burst forth into sing portance of his subject. He represents ing with joy and the assured hopes of all beings as interested one way or other success. And their attention is thus en in the event. A council of Devils is sum- gaged, the better to engage the attenmoned: an assembly of Angels is held. tion of the reader.-NEWTON. Satan is the speaker in the one, the Al. 1
Circling the throne and singing, while the hand
Victory and triumph to the Son of God,
So they in heaven their odes and vigils tuned:
0, what a multitude of thoughts at once
174. Now entering his great duel: that what a fine light does Milton here place is, now entering the lists to prove, in that text of Scripture, where it is said personal combat with his a vowed anta-that Jesus was led up of the Spirit into gonist, the reality of his divinity.
the Wilderness! He adheres strictly to 182. Vigils, the songs which they sung the inspired historian, and at the same While keeping their watches.
time gives it a turn which is extremely 184. Bethabara. John i. 28.
poetical.-THYER. 189. One day walk'd forth alone. In 1 205. To promote all truth. John xvili. 37.