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There he shall first lay down the rudiments
Of his great warfare, ere I send him forth
To conquer Sin and Death, the two grand foes,
By humiliation and strong sufferance :

His weakness shall o'ercome Satanic strength,
And all the world, and mass of finful flesh;
That all the Angels and ethereal Powers,
They now, and men hereafter may discern,
From what consummate virtue I have chose 165
This perfect man, by merit call’d my Son,
To earn falvation for the fons of men.


Again the words confummate virtue monstrant. Lactantius. Div. Inft. are ambiguous, and may be re- Lib. IV. 6. Cum igitur a prophetis ferred to the divine nature of Christ idem manus Dei, & virtus, & feras well as the human. Their pre mo dicatur. ibid. 29. Paradise Lost, sent connexion applies them direct. VI.

I. 713. ly to the human nature : but they

-Into thee such virtue and had a secret reference, I conceive,

grace in the poet's meaning to the ma

Immense I have transfus'd. jesty of that heavenly part of him, which denominates Christ in the Christ show'd his heavenly wifholy Scriptures the wisdom of God dom upon every trial : but his and the power (or virtue) of God, divine virtue broke out, to the £duvapiv, Dei virtutem, Lat. amazement of the tempter, in the Vulg. I Cor. I. 24. Hunc tamen last. Note that the præpofition folum primogenitum divini nominis from, appellatione dignatus eft, patria sci

From what consummate virtue licet virtute, ac majeftate pollentem. Effe autem summi Dei filium, is used here as ito and præ, to qui fit poteftate maxima præditus, fignify for or because of non tantùm voces prophetarum,

Calton. fed etiam Sibyllarum vaticinia deVOL. I.

168. Se

So spake th' eternal Father, and all Heaven Admiring stood a space, then into hymns Burst forth, and in celestial measures mov'd, 170 Circling the throne and singing, while the hand Sung with the voice, and this the

argument. Victory and triumph to the Son of God Now entring his great duel, not of arms,


IV. 254

168. So spake th' eternal Father, Sung with the voice,] We have and all Heaven

pretty near the same phrase in TiAdmiring food a space,] We can bullus. III. IV. 41. not but take notice of the great art of the poet in setting forth the Sed poftquam fuerant digiti cum dignity and importance of his sub

voce locuti, ject. He represents all beings as Edidit hæc dulci triftia verba interested one way or other in the modo. event. A council of Devils is fummon'd; an affembly of Angels is And the word hand is used by Milheld upon the occasion. Satan is ton once again in this poem, and the speaker in the one, the Al- also in the Arcades, to distinguish mighty in the other.

Satan ex

inftrumental harmony from vocal. presses his diffidence, but still refolves to make trial of this Son of God; the Father declares his pur There thou shalt hear and learn pose of proving and illustrating his

the secret power Son. The infernal crew are dis Of harmony in tones and numtracted and surpriz'd with deep dif bers hit may; all Heaven stands a while in By voice or hand. admiration. The fiends are silent thro' fear and grief; the Angels Arcades, 77. burst forth into finging with joy If my inferior hand or voice could and the assured hopes of success. hit And their attention is thus engag. Inimitable sounds. ed, the better to engage the atten

I have sometimes indulg'd a fuftion of the reader. 171. while the hand picion, that the poet dictated,



But to vanquish by wisdom hellish wiles.
The Father knows the Son ; therefore secure
Ventures his filial virtue, though untry'd,
Against whate'er may tempt, whate'er feduce,
Allure, or terrify, or undermine.
Be frustrate all ye stratagems of Hell,
And devilish machinations come to nought.



while the harp express it by the metaphor of a Sung with the voice ;

duel, Now entring his great duel. but the few authorities alledged He lays the accent on the last

175. But to vanquish by wisdom put the present reading out of question.

Calton. fyllable in vanquish, as elsewhere 174. Now entring bis great duel;] in my opinion, he imitates the

in triumph; and in many places, There is, I think, a meanness in

Latin and Greek prosody, and the customary sense of this term,

makes that makes it unworthy of these

a vowel long before two

consonants. speakers and this occasion ; and yet

Fortin. it is observable, that Milton in his

176. The Father knows the Son ; Paradise Loft makes , Michael use

therefore secure the very same word where he is

Ventures his filial virtue, though speaking to Adam of the same untry'd, ] Could this have been thing, XII. 386.

said by the Angels, if they also had

known this Son to be the eternal To whom thus Michael. Dream Word, who created all things; not of their fight,

and who had before driven this As of a duel, &c.

Tempter, and all his powers out The Italian duello, if I am not of Heaven? The incarnation was mistaken, bears a stronger sense, generally believed by the Fathers and this, I suppose, Milton had in to have been a secret to Angels, view.

Thyer. till they learned it from the If it be not a contradiction, it is Church. See Huetii Origeniana. inaccurate at least in Milton, to Lib. 2. Cap. 2. Quæft. 5. 18. As make an Angel say in one place, to the time and means of their inDream not of their fight as of a duel; formation, Milton seems to be and afterwards to make the Angels particular.

Calton. C 2

182. Sa

So they in Heav'n their odes and vigils tun'd: Mean while the Son of God, who yet some days Lodg’d in Bethabara where John baptiz’d, Musing and much revolving in his breast, 185 How best the mighty work he might begin Of Saviour to mankind, and which way first Publish his God-like office now mature, One day forth walk'd alone, the Spirit leading, And his deep thoughts, the better to converse 190 With folitude, till far from track of men,


182. So they in Heav'n their odes called mattins. Mr. Sympson proand vigils tun’d:

poses a sight alteration, Mean while the Son of God)

-their odes in vigils tun'd, How nearly does the poet here adhere to the same way of speaking that is, each watch when reliev'd , he had used in Paradise Lost on the sung fo and so: but as we have fame occasion. III. 416.

explain’d the word, there seems to be no occasion for


alteration. Thus they in Heav'n above the starry sphere

183 who yet some days

Lodg'd in Bethabara where John Their happy hours in joy and hymning spent.

baptiz'd,] The poet, I presume, Mean while &c. Thyer.

said this upon the authority of the

first chapter of St. John's Gospel, 182.--their odes and vigilstun'd:] where several particulars, which This is a very uncommon expres- happened several days together, are fion, and not easy to be understood, related concerning the Son of God, unless we suppose that by vigils the and it is said ver. 28. These things poet means those songs which they were done in Bethabara beyond Jora fung while they kept their watches. dan, where John was baptizing: Singing of hymns is their manner 189. One day forth walk'd alone, of keeping their wakes in Heaven. the Spirit leading, And I see no reason why their And his deep thoughts,] This is evening service may not be called wrong pointed in all the editions vigils, as the morning service is thus,


Thought following thought, and step by step led on,
He enter'd now the bord’ring desert wild,
And with dark shades and rocks environ'd round,
His holy meditations thus pursu’d.

O what a multitude of thoughts at once
Awaken’d in me swarm, while I consider
What from within I feel myself, and hear
What from without comes often to my ears,
Ill sorting with my present state compar'd!
When I was yet a child, no childish play



One day forth walk'd alone, the his favourite romances, where the Spirit leading;

muling knights are often describ'd And his deep thoughts, &c. losing themselves in forests in this

manner. Thyer. But at most there should be only a

195.-meditations] This is the comma after leading, for the construction is, his deep thoughts leading in all the rest that I have seen it

reading in Milton's own edition ; as well as the Spirit. And as

is meditation. Mr. Thyer observes, what a fine light does Milton here place that 201. When I was yet a child, no text of Scripture in, where it is said, childish play that Jefus was led up of the Spirit Yo me was pleasing ;] How finely into the wilderness, and how excel- and consistently does Milton here lently adapted to embellish his imagine the youthful meditations of poem! He adheres strictly to the our Saviour? how different from inspir'd historian, and yet without and superior to that superstitious any sort of profanation gives it a trumpery which one meets with in turn which is vastly poetical. the Evangelium Infantia, and other

such aprocryphal trafh? Vid. Fa191.-- till far from track of men, bricii Cod. Apoc. N. Test. Thyer.

Thought following thought, &c.]I He seems to allude to Callimachus, hope it won't be thought too light who says elegantly of young Juto observe, that our author might piter, Hymn. in Jov. 56. probably in these lines have in view

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