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His ministers of vengeance and pursuit
Back to the gates of heav'n: the sulphurous hail
Shot after us in storm, o'erblown hath laid
The fiery surge, that from the precipice
Of heav'n receiv'd us falling ; and the thunder,
Wing'd with red lightning and impetuous rage,
Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now
To bellow through the vast and boundless deep.
Let us not slip th' occasion, whether scorn,
Or satiate fury yield it from our foe.
Seest thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild,
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 can harbour there,
And re-assembling our afflicted Powers,
Consult how we may henceforth most offend
Our enemy, our own loss how repair,
How overcome this dire calamity,
What reinforcement we may gain from hope,
If not what resolution from despair.

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190

could not all be effected by a -wbere very desolation dwells. single hand : and what a sublime

T. Warlon. idea must it give us of the ter 186. —our afflicted Powers,] rors of the Messiah, that he The word afflicted here is intendalone should be as formidable as ed to be understood in the Latin if the whole host of heaven

sense, routed, ruined, utterly were pursuing! So that this broken. Richardson. seeming contradiction, upon ex 191. If not what resolution amination, proves rather a beauty 'What reinforcement; to which than any blemish to the poem. is returned If not: a vicious syn

181. The seat of desolation,] tax: but the poet gave it If none. As in Comus, 428.

Bentley

195

Thus Satan talking to his nearest mate With head up-lift above the wave,

and

eyes
That sparkling blaz’d, his other parts besides
Prone on the flood, extended long and large
Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge
As whom the fables name of monstrous size,
Titanian, or Earth-horn, that warr'd on Jove,
Briareos or Typhon, whom the den
By ancient Tarsus held, or that sea-beast

200

193. With head up-lift above nounced as four syllables; and

the
wave,

and
eyes

not Briareus, which is proThat sparkling blaz'd, his other nounced as three. parts besides

Et centum geminus Briareus. Prone on the flood,]

Virg. An. vi. 287. Somewhat like those lines in

And Briareus with all his bundred Virgil of two monstrous ser

hands. Dryden. pents. Æn. ii. 206.

199.-or Typhon, whom the den Pectora quorum inter fluctus arrecta, By ancient Tarsus held,]

jubæque Sanguineæ exuperant undas; pars

Typhon is the same with Typho

ëus. That the den of Typhoëus cætera pontum Pone legit.

was in Cilicia, of which Tarsus 196. Lay floating many a rood,] told by Pindar and Pomponius

was a celebrated city, we are A rood is the fourth part of an

Mela. I am much mistaken, if acre, so that the bulk of Satan

Milton did not make use of Faris expressed by the same sort of measure, as that of one of the naby's note on Ovid, Met. v. 347.

to which I refer the reader. He giants in Virgil, Æn. vi. 596.

took ancient Tarsus perhaps from Per tota novem cui jugera corpus

Nonnus:
Porrigitur.
And also that of the old dragon

Ταρσος αειδομενη πρωτοστολις, , in Spenser. Faery Queen, b. i. which is quoted in Lloyd's Diccant. ii. st. 8.

tionary. Jortin. That with his largeness measured

θεων πολεμιος much Jand.

Τυφως εκατοντακαρανος· τον τοτε 198. Tilanian, or Earth-born,)

Κιλικιον θρεψεν πολυω-
wupoy aytpor. .

Pind. Py. i. 30.
-Genus antiquum terræ, Titania

E. pubes. Æn. vi, 580.

200.

that sea

a-beast 199. Briareos] So Milton Leviathan,] writes it, that it may be pro- The best critics seem now to be

Leviathan, which God of all his works
Created hugest that swim th’ ocean stream:
Him haply slumb’ring on the Norway foam
The pilot of some small night-founder'd skiff
Deeming some island, oft, as sea-men tell,

205

agreed, that the author of the Dr. Bentley reads nigh-founbook of Job by the leviathan der’d; but the common reading meant the crocodile; and Milton is better, because if (as the Docdescribes it in the same manner tor says) foundering is sinking partly as a fish and partly as a by a leaking in the ship, it beast, and attributes scales to it: would be of little use to the and yet by some things one pilot to fix his anchor on an would think that he took it island, the skiff would sink notrather for a whale, (as was the withstanding, if leaky. By nightgeneral opinion,) there being no founder'd Milton means overcrocodiles upon the coasts of taken by the night, and thence Norway, and what follows being at a loss which way to sail. That related of the whale, but never, the poet speaks of what befel as I have heard, of the crocodile. the pilot by night, appears from

202. Created hugest, &c.] This ver. 207. while night invests the verse is found fault with as being sen. Milton, in his poem called too rough and absonous, but the Mask, uses the same phrase: that is not a fault but a beauty the two brothers having lost here, as it better expresses the their way in the wood, one of hugeness and unwieldiness of them says, the creature, and no doubt was

-for certain designed by the author.

Either some one, like us, night. 202. -th'

stream:] founder'd, here, &c. The Greek and Latin poets fre

Pearce. quently turn substantives into

205.

sea-men tell,] adjectives. So Juvenal xi. 94. Words well added to obviate the according to the best copies, incredibility of casting anchor

in this manner.

Hume. Qualis in oceano Auctu testudo na

That some fishes on the coast Littore ab oceano Gallis renientibus, of Norway have been taken for

Jortin. islands, I suppose Milton had

learned from Olaus Magnus and 204. — night-founder'd skif] other writers; and it is amply Some little boat, whose pilot confirmed by Pontoppidan's dedares not proceed in his course scription of the Kraken in his for fear of the dark night; a account of Norway, which are metaphor taken from a foundered authorities sufficient to justify a horse that can go no farther. poet, though perhaps not a naHume.

tural historian.

ocean

Sas

taret: ver. 113.

210

With fixed anchor in his scaly rind
Moors by his side under the lee, while night
Inyests the sea, and wished morn delays :
So stretch'd out huge in length the Arsch-Fiend lay
Chain’d on the burning lake, nor ever thence
Had ris'n or heav'd his head, but that the will
And high permission of all-ruling heaven
Left him at large to his own dark designs,
That with reiterated crimes he might
Heap on himself damnation, while he sought
Evil to others, and enrag'd might see
How all his malice serv'd but to bring forth
Infinite goodness, grace and mercy shown
On Man by him seduc'd, but on himself
Treble confusion, wrath and vengeance pour’d.

215

220

207. Moors by his side under speaking of the moon, iv. 609. the lee,] Anchors by his side under wind. An instance this

And o'er the dark her silver mantle

threw. among others of our author's affectation in the use of technical

209. So stretch'd out huge in terms.

length the Ar'ch-Fiend lay] The 207. —while night

length of this verse, consisting Invests the sea,]

of so many monosyllables, and A much finer expression than pronounced so slowly, is excelumbris nox operit

terras of Virgil, lently adapted to the subject that Æn. iv. 352. But our author it would describe. The tone is in this (as Mr. Thyer remarks) upon the first syllable in this alludes to the figurative de- line, the Arʻch-Fiend lay; wherescription of night used by as it was upon the last syllable the poets, particularly Spenser. of the word in ver. 156. th ArchFaery Queen, b. i. cant. ii. st. 49. Fiend replied ; a liberty that MilBy this the drooping day-light 'gan ton sometimes takes to proto fade,

nounce the same word with a And yield bis room to sad succeeding different accent in different places.

night, Who with her sable mantle 'gan to

We shall mark such words as shade

are to be pronounced with an The face of earth.

accent different from the common Milton also in the same taste

use.

225

Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool
His mighty stature; on each hand the flames
Driv'n backward slope their pointing spires, and rollid
In billows, leave i'th' midst a horrid vale.
Then with expanded wings he steers his flight
Aloft, incumbent on the dusky air
That felt unusual weight, till on dry land
He lights, if it were land that ever burn'd
With solid, as the lake with liquid fire ;
And such appear'd in hue, as when the force
Of subterranean wind transports a hill

230

221. Forthwith upright he rears, This conceit is borrowed from &c.] The whole part of this Spenser, who speaking of the great enemy of mankind is filled old dragon has these lines, b. i. with such incidents as are very cant. ii. st. 18. apt to raise and terrify the

Then with his waving wings displayed reader's imagination. Of this

wide, nature is his being the first that

Himself up high he lifted from the awakens out of the general ground, trance, with his posture on the And with strong Aight did forcibly

divide burning lake, his rising from it, and the description of his shield

The yielding air, which nigh too fee

ble found and spear. To which we may

Her fitting parts, and element un. add his call to the fallen angels, sound, that lay plunged and stupified To bear so great a weight. in the sea of fire.

Thyer. He call'd so loud that all the hollow

229. –liquid fire ;] Virg. Ecl. deep

vi. 33. Of bell resounded. But there is no single passage in Et liquidi simul ignis. the whole poem worked up to a greater sublimity, than that 231. Of subterranean wind] wherein his person is described Dr. Pearce conjectures that it in those celebrated lines,

should be read subterranean winds, -He above the rest

because it is said aid the winds In shape and gesture proudly eminent afterwards, and the conjecture Stood like a tow'r, &c.

seems probable and ingenious :

Addison. the fuelld entrails, sublim'd with 226. -incumbent on the dusky mineral fury, aid and increase the air

winds which first blew up the That fell unusual weight,]

fire.

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