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Torn from Pelorus, or the shatter’d side
Sublim’d with mineral fury, aid the winds,
And leave a singed bottom all involv’d
Of unblest feet.
Him follow’d his next mate,
Both glorying to have 'scap'd the Stygian flood
As Gods, and by their own recover'd strength,
Not by the sufferance of supernal Power.
Said then the lost Arch-Angel, this the seat
That we must change for heav'n, this mournful gloom
Who now is Sovran can dispose and bid
Above his equals.
232. Pelorus,) A promontory of Sicily, now Capo di Faro, about a mile and a half from Italy, whence Virgil angusta à sede Pelori, AEn. iii. 687. Hume.
238. Of unblest feet.] Dr. Bentley to make the accent smoother reads Of feet unblest; but Milton could have done the same thing, if he thought proper: on the contrary he chooses almost always to put the epithet before the substantive (excepting at the end of a verse) even though the verse be the rougher for it. A plain sign that he thought it poetical to do so. Pearce.
Farewell happy fields, Where joy for ever dwells:
Hail horrors, hail 250
246. Sovran.] So Milton spells it after the Italian Sovrano. It is not easy to account for the formation of our word Sovereign. 247. —farthest from him is best, This is expressed from the Greek proverb reja, Aus; r. was cigavov, Far from Jupiter, but far too from thunder. Bentley. 248. Whom reasonhathequall'd,) Reason is to be pronounced here as one syllable, or two short ones, as it is likewise in viii. 591. and ix. 559. See the note on ver. 39. 250. —Hail horrors, hail &c.] His sentiments are every way answerable to his character, and suitable to a created being of the most exalted and most depraved nature. Such is that in which he takes possession of his place of torments, Hail horrors, hail &c. And afterwards, Here at least We shall be free; &c. Amidst those impieties which this enraged Spirit utters in other places of the poem, the author has taken care to introduce none that is not big with absurdity, and incapable of shocking a religious reader; his words, as the poet himself describes them, bearing only a semblance of worth, not substance. He is likewise with great art described as owning his adversary to be almighty. Whatever perverse interpretation he puts on the justice, mercy, and other attributes of the Supreme Being, he frequently confesses his omnipotence, that being the perfection he was forced to allow him, and the only consideration which could support his pride under the shame of his defeat. Nor must I omit that beautiful circumstance of his bursting out into tears, upon his survey of those innumerable Spirits whom
Infernal world, and thou profoundest hell Receive thy new possessor; one who brings A mind not to be chang’d by place or time. The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heav’n of hell, a hell of heaven.
What matter where, if I be still the same, And what I should be, all but less than he
he had involved in the same guilt and ruin with himself. Addison. 252. Receive thy nen possessor;] This passage seems to be an improvement upon Sophocles, Ajax 395, where Ajax, before he kills himself, cries out much in the same manner. Iw oxores, sooy ozo;; 1614:2: n easy” as tool, ‘Extrê šxtré exn+oğa, ‘Extrès as. (Ed. Turneb.) 253. —by place or time.] Milton is excellent in placing his words: invert them only, and say by time or place, and if the reader has any ear, he will perceive how much the alteration is for the worse. For the pause falling upon place in the first line by time or place, and again upon place in the next line The mind is its own place, would offend the ear, and therefore is artfully varied. 254. The mind is its on n place,) These are some of the extravagancies of the Stoics, and could not be better ridiculed than they are here by being put in the mouth of Satan in his present situation. Thyer. 257. – all but] I have heard it proposed to read albeit, that is although ; but prefer the common reading.
Whom thunder hath made greater 2 Here at least We shall be free; th’ Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
Here we may reign secure, and in my choice
Th’ associates and copartners of our loss,
Lie thus astonish’d on th’ oblivious pool,
Which but th’ Omnipotent none could have foil’d, If once they hear that voice, their liveliest pledge
My miseries, be assured, I would not change For thy gay servitude, but rather choose To live a vassal to this dreary rock, Than lackey the proud heels of Jove. (Potter.) It was a memorable saying of Julius Caesar, that he had rather be the first man in a countryvillage than the second at Rome. The reader will observe how properly the saying is here applied and accommodated to the speaker. It is here made a sentiment worthy of Satan, and of him only; nam te nec sperent Tartara regen), Nec tibi regnandi veniat tam dira cupido. Pirg. Georg. i. 36.
Of hope in fears and dangers, heard so oft
In worst extremes, and on the perilous edge
Grovelling and prostrate on yon lake of fire,
As we ere while, astounded and amaz’d,
No wonder, fall’n such a pernicious height.
Was moving tow’ard the shore; his pond’rous shield,
Ethereal temper, massy, large and round,
Behind him cast; the broad circumference
276. —on the perilous edge Of battle] Perhaps he had in mind Virgil, AEn. ix. 528. Et mecum ingentes oras evolvite belli. Jortin.
Shakespeare has an expression
I'll read you matter, deep and dangerous; As full of peril and advent'rous spirit, As to o'er-walk a current, roaring loud, On the unstedfast footing of a spear. Or after all may not the edge of battle be expressed from the Latin acies, which signifies both the edge of a weapon, and also an army in battle array? The
author himself would incline one to think so by his use of this metaphor in another place, vi. 108.
On the rough edge of battle ere it
276.] The expression was probably derived from the very common Greek phrase irs oveev axunç. See Lucian, tom. ii. p. 605. ed. Reitz. Dunster.
282 —fall'n such a pernicious height.] Dr. Bentley reads fall'n from such prodigious height: but the epithet pernicious is much stronger, and as for the want of a preposition, that is common in this poem; for thus in i. 723.
Stood fix’d her stately height.
—ere he arrive
287. —like the moon, whose
orb, &c.] Homer compares the
Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views At evening from the top of Fesolé,
Or in Waldarno, to descry new lands,
Rivers or mountains in her spotty globe.
His spear, to equal which the tallest pine Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mast Of some great ammiral, were but a wand,
He walk'd with to support uneasy steps
Over the burning marle, not like those steps On heaven's azure, and the torrid clime
but the shield of Satan was large as the moon seen through a telescope, an instrument first applied to celestial observations by Galileo, a native of Tuscany, whom he means here by the Tuscan artist, and afterwards mentions by name in v. 262, a testimony of his honour for so great a man, whom he had known and visited in Italy, as himself informs us in his Areopagitica. 289. Fesolé. Is a city in Tuscany; Waldarno, or the valley of Arno, a valley there. Richardson. 292. His spear, to equal which the tallest pine, &c.] Homer,
Odyss. ix. 322. makes the club
Trunca manu pinus regit et vestigia firmat. and Tasso arms Tancred and Argantes with two spears as big as masts, cant. vi. St. 40. Posero in resta, e dirizzaro in alto I duo guerrier le noderose antenne. These sons of Mavors bore (instead of spears) Two knotty masts, which none but they could lift, Fairfax. well then might Milton assign a spear so much larger to so superior a being. 293. —Norwegian hills,) The hills of Norway, barren and rocky, but abounding in vast woods, from whence are brought masts of the largest size. Hume. 294. —ammiral,] According to its German extraction amiral or amirael, says Hume; from the Italian ammiraglio, says Richardson more probably. Our author made choice of this, as thinking it of a better sound than admiral: and in Latin he writes ammiralatas curia, the court of admiralty. 294. —ammiral,] The ship which carries the admiral. Johnson's Dictionary. D