« 上一頁繼續 »
To set himself in glory 'bove his peers,
Nine times the space that measures day and night 50
A dungeon horrible on all sides round,
As one great furnace flamed; yet from those flames
Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
And rest can never dwell: hope never comes,
With ever-burning sulphur unconsumed:
In utter darkness, and their portion set
44. This whole description of the fall of the angels and of the infernal abyss is conceived in the noblest style of poetry; the flaming, rushing fall of the apostate angels, and the dark but fiery prison which received them, are perhaps the most sublime pictures which the human imagination ever produced.
74. It is a curious observation, that Homer places Hell as far beneath the earth as Heaven is above it; Virgil makes it twice as distant, and Milton here thrice as far.
O how unlike the place from whence they fell!
And thence in Heav'n call'd Satan, with bold words Breaking the horrid silence thus began:
If thou beest he; but O how fallen! how changed
Join'd with me once, now misery hath join'd
From what height fall'n, so much the stronger proved
That durst dislike his reign, and me preferring,
His utmost pow'r with adverse pow'r opposed
In dubious battle on the plains of Heav'n,
And shook his throne. What though the field be lost?
All is not lost; th' unconquerable will
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield:
And what is else not to be overcome?
That glory never shall his wrath or might
81. Beelzebub, or the Lord of Flies, was worshipped at Ekron, 2 Kings, i. 2. see also Matt. xii. 24.
82. Satan in Hebrew means an enemy.
84. The first speech of Satan is very noble, and the abrupt manner of its commencement is powerfully striking. Imitations have been pointed out in this passage, of Isaiah xiv. Virgil, Æn. ii. 274. and Homer, Odyss. vi. 110. Others have also been remarked of Eschylus, Tasso, &c. but they seem to me to liave been coincidences rather than imitations.
Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace
In arms not worse, in foresight much advanced,
Who now triumphs, and in th' excess of joy
So spake th' apostate Angel, though in pain,
O Prince, O Chief of many throned powers 1
Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate;
Hath lost us heav'n, and all this mighty host
In horrible destruction laid thus low,
As far as Gods and heav'nly essences
Though all our glory extinct, and happy state
Than such could have o'erpower'd such force as ours) Have left us this our spirit and strength entire 146 Strongly to suffer and support our pains,
That we may so suffice his vengeful ire,
116. Satan expresses by the word fate, his high and proud belief in the original and underived existence as well as immortality of the angels. Here is an admirable attention to the minutest circumstances which might develope the character of the fallen spirit evident throughout the speech, and the reader's attention cannot be too strongly directed to its examination.
Or do him mightier service as his thralls
Whereto with speedy words th' Arch-Fiend reply'd:
Doing or suffering: but of this be sure,
Back to the gates of Heav'n; the sulph'rous hail
Of Heav'n received us falling; and the thunder, Wing'd with red lightning and impetuous rage, 175 Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now
To bellow through the vast and boundless deep,
Seest thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild,
Save what the glimm'ring of these livid flames
170. Dr. Bentley has pointed out a contradiction between this passage and one in the sixth book. It is here said that the good angels pursued the fallen ones down to hell; in the other place, It is asserted, that the Messiah alone expelled them from heaven. The variation has been accounted for by the account being given by different relators-The one by the discomfited Satan, the other by the angel Raphael.
And reassembling our afflicted powers,
What reinforcement we may gain from hope
Thus Satan talking to his nearest mate
Moors by his side under the lee, while night
Invests the sea, and wished morn delays:
So stretch'd out huge in length the Arch-Fiend lay
And high permission of all-ruling Heav'n
Heap on himself damnation, while he sought
196. Virgil describes the bulk of one of the giants in the same manner. Æn. vi. 596.
199. Typhon or Typhoeus was one of the rebel giants, and Imprisoned by Jupiter under Mount Etna, or, as others say, in a cave near Tarsus, a city in Cilicia.
201. It has been questioned whether Milton supposed the Leviathan to be a whale or a crocodile. It is most probable his ima gination made him content with the description of this animal given in Job, and that his critical industry was not at all engaged In settling the question.
204. Bentley has given a curious instance of his utter want of poetical feeling in proposing to change this epithet nightfoundered into nigh-foundered.
209. This verse, by its laboured length, well expresses the idea of Satan & immense bulk.