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So were I equalled with them in renown,
SATAN'S MEETING WITH URIEL IN THE SUN.5
He soon Saw within ken a glorious angel stand, The same whom John saw 6 also in the sun : His back was turned, but not his brightness hid :
desires to resemble; and those he distinguishes both with the epithet 'blind' to make the likeness more striking.” He adds, “ It seems therefore as if Milton had intended at first to mention only these two, and then currente calamo had added the two others."
(1) Mæonides-Homer, so called from Mæonia, the supposed place of his birth,
(2) And Tiresias, &c.—Dr. Pearce proposes to correct the false accent in this line, by making “ Tiresias” and “Phineus” change places.
(3) Thoughts that voluntary, &c.—This, it has been well observed, is perhaps one of the best definitions of poetry that could be framed.
(4) And wisdom, &c.—i.e. and presented with wisdom, enfeebled and disparaged; or rather, perhaps, this is an instance of the nominative absolute, wisdom being, &c.
(5) “ Paradise Lost,” book iii. “ The figures introduced here,” remarks Hazlitt, “have all the elegance and precision of a Greek statue; glossy and impurpled, tinged with golden light."
(6) John saw—“And I saw an angel standing in the sun." Rev. xix. 17.
Of beaming sunny rays a golden tiar?
many a coloured plume, sprinkled with gold;
(1) Tiar-tiara, or diadem-the ornamental headdress of Eastern princes.
(5) Stripling cherub, &c.—"A finer picture of a young angel,” says Newton, “ could not be drawn by the pencil of Raphael than is here by the pen of Milton."
(6) Prime—first or highest dignity.
(7) His habit succinct- i. e. his robe was tucked or looped up for freedom of action; he was prepared for motion.
(8) Decent—as the Latin decens, graceful, comely.
(9) His eyes, &c.—“Those seven, they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth.” Zech. iv. 10.
SATAN'S ADDRESS TO THE SUN.'
(1) “Paradise Lost,” book iv. “ The opening of this speech to the sun,” says Addison, “is very bold and noble. It is, I think, the finest ascribed to Satan in the whole poem.” The consummate skill, too, with which the poet describes the conflict of passions in the mind of Satan is commended by the same judicious critic.
(2) This new world-Satan has now alighted on earth, and from the top of Mount Niphates thus addresses the sun, which “sat high in his meridian tower.” The ruined archangel, the mighty orb of day, the lone mountain-summit, each the greatest of its kind, present in their combination a magnificent picture.
(3) Worse ambition-worse, because it led to daring impiety and its retribution. (4) What could be, &c.i. e. what service could be less hard, &c. (5) I'sdained—I disdained. (6) So burdensome, &c.-i. e. it being so burdensome, &c.
Then happy; no unbounded hope had raised
way I fly is hell; myself am hell!
(1) “Paradise Lost,” book iv. This beautiful description has been compared with the finest specimens of the same kind, as Homer's description of the gardens of Alcinous, and of Calypso's shady grotto, Ariosto's of the garden of Paradise, Tasso's of the garden of Armida, and Marino's of the garden of Venus, and though doubtless a general imitation of some of them, is thought greatly to exceed them all. In reference to Milton's power of delineating external scenery, Macaulay remarks ("Edinburgh Review," vol. xlii.):-"Neither Theocritus nor Ariosto had a finer or a more healthful sense of the pleasantness of external objects, or loved better to luxuriate amidst sunbeams and flowers, the song of nightingales, the juice of summer fruits, and the coolness of shady fountains. His poetry reminds us of the miracles of Alpine scenery. Nooks and dells, beautiful as fairyland, are embosomed in its most rugged and gigantic elevations. The roses and myrtles bloom unchilled on the verge of the avalanche.”
(2) Fares—from the Anglo-Saxon far-an, to go-goes. We have the same element in “ thoroughfare”-i.e. through-go.
(3) Champaign head, &c.-Open top or table-land of a steep hill, whose rough and prickly sides were covered with a wild growth of thickets and bushes.
Access denied; and over-head? up grew
but despair : now gentle gales,
(1) Overhead, &c.-i. e. overhead above these thickets, on the side of the hill likewise, grew the loftiest trees, rising one above another like the seats of an amphitheatre.
(2) Verdurous wall—i.e. a sort of bank set with a green hedge, over which Adam could look downwards on Eden. All the scenery hitherto described is outside of the garden itself.
(3) Fruit-used here in the sense of produce, including both blossoms and fruit.
(4) Of pure, &c.—Of frequently implies change of circumstance, as in “Paradise Lost,” book x., v. 720_"O miserable of happy.”