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So under fiery cope together rush'd 215
A legion, led in fight yet leader seem’d
Of battle, open when, and when to close
The ridges of grim war: no thought of flight,
zara 3 orzuaray goatiaz.
Turnvas, but Milton has improved the horror of the description, and a shade of darts is not near so great and dreadful an image as a fiery cope or vault of flaming darts.
229. —though number'd such &c.] Each legion was in number like an army, each single warrior was in strength like a legion, and though led in fight
was as expert as a commander
None of retreat, no unbecoming deed
Of victory: deeds of eternal fame
Were done, but infinite; for wide was spread That war and various, sometimes on firm ground
-evrt podou Atown/avoy, ovr' axiawens. 239. As only in his arm the moment lay Of victory :] As if upon his single arm had depended the whole weight of the victory. The moment, the weight that turns the balance, as the word signifies in Latin, Ter. Andr. i. v. 31. Dum in dubio.est animus, paulo momento huc vel illuc impellitur: and as he has employed here the metaphor of the neight, so of the scale a little afterwards—long time in even scale the battle hung —-using as a metaphor what Homer makes a simile of, Iliad. xii. 433. Axx' oxey, &rri raaayra yuyn "ns asy raw sari wa Azazm ruraro wreAspass ra. As when two scales are charg’d with doubtful loads- *
But how much stronger is it in Milton, that the war Tormented all the air; all air seem'd then Conflicting fire It would be entering into too minute a detail of criticism to mention every little circumstance that is copied from Homer; and where he does not directly copy from Homer, his style and colouring is still very much in Homer's manner; and one may see plainly that he has read him, even where he does not imitate him. Wonderful as his genius was, he could hardly have drawn the battles of the angels so well without first reading those in the Iliad; and Homer taught him to excel Homer. 242. That war and various, sometimes on firm ground A standing fight, then soaring &c.]
A standing fight, then soaring on main wing
Conflicting fire: long time in even scale
The battle hung; till Satan, who that day
by Abdiel in the beginning of
Stands ready to smite once, , and smite no more.
255. Of tenfold adamant,) In other poets the angels are armed
A vast circumference: At his approach
Though heaviest by just measure on thyself
And thy adherents: how hast thou disturb’d
Thy malice into thousands, once upright
And faithful, now prov’d false But think not here
From all her confines.
Heav'n the seat of bliss
Brooks not the works of violence and war.
in adamant, and in Tasso there is particular mention of an adamantine shield, cant. vii. st. 82. Scudo di lucidissimo diamante. 262. Author of evil, &c.] These speeches give breath as it were to the reader after the hurry of the general battle ; and prepare his mind, and raise his expectation the more for the ensuing combat between Michael and Satan. It is the practice likewise of Homer and Virgil, to make their heroes discourse before they fight; it renders the action more solemn,
and more engages the reader's
Regno di pene, e di perpetua morte: i. siano in quegli a voi doulati chiostri
Thy offspring, to the place of evil, hell,
Precipitate thee with augmented pain.
So spake the prince of angels; to whom thus
Thou canst not.
Hast thou turn’d the least of these
To flight, or if to fall, but that they rise 285
The strife of glory; which we mean to win,
Or turn this heav’n itself into the hell
I fly not, but have sought thee far and nigh.