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300

Unspeakable ; for who, though with the tongue
Of angels, can relate, or to what things
Liken on earth conspicuous, that may

lift
Human imagination to such highth
Of Godlike pow'r? for likest gods they seem’d,
Stood they or mov'd, in stature, motion, arms,
Fit to decide the empire of great heaven.
Now wav'd their fiery swords, and in the air
Made horrid circles ; two broad suns their shields 303
Blaz’d opposite, while expectation stood
In horror ; from each hand with speed retir'd,
Where erst was thickest fight, th' angelic throng,
And left large field, unsafe within the wind
Of such commotion ; such as, to set forth
Great things by small, if, nature's concord broke,
Among the constellations war were sprung,
Two planets rushing from aspéct malign

310

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298. -can relate, &c.] The very fine they are, but fall very accusative case after the verbs short of the sublimity of this relate and liken is fight before description. mentioned, and here understood. 306. —while expectation stood For who though with the tongue

In horror ;) of angels can relate that fight, or Expectation is personified in to what conspicuous things on earth the like sublime manner in can liken it, so conspicuous as to Shakespeare, Hen. V. act ii. lift human imagination &c. A For now sits expectation in the air. general battle is a scene of too

313. Two planets &c.] Milton much confusion, and therefore

seems to have taken the hint of the poets relieve themselves and this simile from that of Virgil, their readers by drawing now but varied and applied to his and then a single combat be- subject with his usval judgment. tween some of their principal Æn. viii, 691. heroes, as between Paris and

-pelago credas innare revulsas Menelaus, Hector and Ajax, Cycladas, aut montes concurrere Hector and Achilles in the Iliad, montibus altos. and between Turnus and llas, But (as Mr. Thyer observes) he Æneas and Mezentius, Turnus has lessened the grandeur and and Æneas in the Æneid; and sublimity of this simile by tar

Of fiercest opposition in mid sky
Should combạt, and their jarring spheres confound. 315
Together both with next to' almighty arın
Up-lifted iinminent, one stroke they aim'd
That might determine, and not need repeat,
As not of pow'r at once; nor odds appear'd
In might or swift prevention : but the sword

320 Of Michael from the armoury of God

met

nishing it with the idle super Was giv'n him temper'd so, that stitious notion of the malignancy

neither keen of planets in a particular as

Nor solid might resist thal edge: it pect or opposition, as the judicial

The sword of Satan with stecp force astrologers term it.

to smite 316. Together both with next Descending, and in half cut sheer ; to' almighty arm

This passage is a copy of that in Up-lifted imminent,)

Virgil, wherein the poet tells us, So I conceive the passage should that the sword of Æneas, which be pointed with the comma

was given him by a deity, broke after imminent, and not after into pieces the sword of Turnus, arm, that the words up-lifted which came from a mortal forge. imminent may be joined in con

As the moral in this place is distruction with arm, rather than vine, so by the way we may obwith stroke or they following. serve, that the bestowing on a The arm was quite lifted up,

man who is favoured by heaven and hanging over just ready to such an allegorical weapon, is fall. One thinks one sees it very conformable to the old hanging almost like the stone in eastern way of thinking. Not Virgil, Æn. vi. 602.

only Homer has made use of it, Quos super atra silex jam jam lap- but we find the Jewish hero sura cadentique

in the book of Maccabees, Imminet assimilis,

2 Maccab. xv. 15, 16. who had 321. from the armoury of fought the battles of the chosen God] Milton, notwithstanding people with so much glory and the sublime genius he was master success, receiving in his dream of, has in this book drawn to his a sword from the hand of the assistance all the helps he could prophet Jeremiah. Addisun. meet with among the ancient Tasso likewise mentions the poets, The sword of Michael, armoury of God, cant. vii. st. 80. which makes so great a havoc But this account of Michael's among the bad angels, was given sword seems to be copied from him, we are told, out of the Arthegal's in Spenser's Faery armoury of God.

Queen, b. v. cant. i. st. 10.

Was given him temper'd so, that neither keen
Nor solid might resist that edge: it met
The sword of Satan with steep force to smite
Descending, and in half cut sheer; nor stay'd,

325

For of most perfect metal it was But he did not think this suf

made, And was of no less virtue, than of Homer had still the advantage,

ficient, he was sensible that fame. For there no substance was so firm and therefore goes on after and hard,

seeming to have done with it, But it would pierce or cleave, whereso it came ;

-postquam arma dei ad Vulcania Ne any armour could his dint out

ventum est, ward,

Mortalis mucro, glacies ceu futilis, But wheresoever it did light it

ictu throughly shar'd.

Dissiluit: | fulvå resplendent frag.

mina arena. And this word shared is used in the same manner by Milton. And this beauty being more

325. -and in half cut sheer ;] imitable in our language than We have here a fair opportunity the sixda Te xas tergaexcéu of Hoto observe how finely great mer, the excellent translator of geniuses imitate one another. Homer has here rather copied There is a most beautiful pas- Virgil than translated Homer. sage in Homer's Iliad. iii. 363.

The brittle steel, unfaithful to his where the sword of Menelaus in

hand, a duel with Paris breaks in Broke short: the fragments glitpieces in his hand; and the line ter'd on the sand. in the original is so contrived, The sword of Satan is broken as that we do not only see the well as those of Paris and Turaction, as Eustathius remarks, nus, but is broken in a different but almost fancy we hear the manner, and consequently a difsound of the breaking sword in ferent kind of beauty is proper the sound of the words,

here. Their's broke short, and Τριχθα τι και τετραχθα διασρυφιν εκ were shattered into various frag:

ments; but the sword of Michael As this kind of beauty could

was of that irresistible sharpness, hardly be equalled by Virgil, he that it cut the sword of Satan has with great judgment substi- quite and clean in two, and the tuted another of his own, and dividing of the sword in half is has artfully made a break in the very well expressed by half a verse to express the breaking verse, as likewise the word deshort off the sword of Turnus scending is placed admirably to against the divine armour of express the sense. The reader Æneas, Æn. xii. 731, &c. cannot read it over again without

perceiving this beauty. Neither at perfidus ensis Frangitur, | in medioque ardentem does Milton stop here, but deserit ictu.

carries on beauties of the same

FIO Xugos.

But with swift wheel reverse, deep entring shar'd
All his right side: then Satan first knew pain,
And writh'd him to and fro convolv'd; so sore
The griding sword with discontinuous wound .
Pass'd through him: but th ethereal substance clos'd,
Not long divisible; and from the gash
A stream of necta'rous humour issuing flow'd
Sanguine, such as celestial spi'rits may bleed,
And all his armour stain’d ere while so bright.
Forthwith on all sides to his aid was run

331

335

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kind to the description of the wound an ichor, or pure kind of wound, and the verses seem al blood, which was not bred from most painful in describing Sa- mortal viands; and that though tan's pain,

the pain was exquisitely great, -deep entring shar'd

the wound soon closed up and All his right side : then Satan first healed in those beings who are knew pain,

vested with immortality. Addison. And writh'd him to and fro convolu'd ;

The reader perhaps would be The griding sword with discontinu. pleased to see the passage in ous wound

Homer here quoted, Iliad. v. Pass'd through him.

339. 329. The griding sword with

-ρει δ' αμβροτον αιμα θεοιο, , discontinuous wound] Discontinu Ιχωρ ολοσσιρ τι ρειι μακαρισσι θεοισιν. . ous wound is said in allusion to Ου γαρ σιτον εδουσ', ου πινουσ αιθοπα the old definition of a wound,

Toúnix' avasjonss sien, med abarato that it separates the continuity

καλεονται. of the parts, vulnus est solutio

From the clear vein a stream imcontinui: and griding is an old mortal flow'd, word for cutting, and used in Such stream as issues from a wounded Spenser, as in Faery Queen, b. ii. cant. viii. st. 36.

Pure emanation! uncorrupted food;

Unlike our gross, diseas'd, terrestrial That through his thigh the mortal

blood : steel did gride.

Por not the bread of man their life 332. A stream of necťarous sustains, humour issuing flow'd

Nor wine's inflaming juice supplies

their veins. Sanguine,]

Pope. The passage wherein Satan is 335. to his aid was run] A described as wounded by the Latinism; so we have ventum sword of Michael is in imitation est in the lines just before quoted of Homer. Homer tells us, that from Virgil, upon Diomedes wounding the

-postquam arma dei ad Vulcania gods, there flowed from the

ventum est. CCS

God;

340

By angels many and strong, who interpos'd
Defence, while others bore him on their shields
Back to his chariot, where it stood retir'd
From off the files of war; there they him laid
Gnashing for anguish and despite and shame,
To find himself not matchless, and his pride
Humbled by such rebuke, so far beneath
His confidence to equal God in power.
Yet soon he heal'd; for spi'rits that live throughout
Vital in every part, not as frail man
In entrails, heart or head, liver or reins,
Cannot but by annihilating die;
Nor in their liquid texture mortal wound
Receive, no more than can the fluid air:

345

can

no

murtal

336. —who interpos'd] Thus quoted it just now. And we see Homer makes the chief of the here Milton's notions of angels. Trojans interpose between their They are vital in every part, wounded hero when he was and receive overborne by Ajax. Satan lighted wound, and cannot die but by out of his sun-bright chariot at annihilation. They are all eye, ver. 103. and according to the all ear, all sense and understandHomeric manner, is now wound- ing: and can assume what kind ed, and borne (on the shields of of bodies they please. And Seraphim) back to it, where it these notions, if not true in diwas placed out of the range and vinity, yet certainly are very fine array of battle, Iliad. xiv. 428.

in poetry; but most of them are -Ton ag' iraigos

not disagreeable to those hints Xspon aupartis pogor ix novou, opg' which are left us of these spi

ixsa iqrorous Ωκεας, οι οπισθι μαχης ηδε στολεμοιο

ritual beings in Scripture. Εστασαν, ηνιοχουσε και άρματα ποικιλ

848. Nor in their liquid texture

mortal wound inuch more loose and redundant Receive, no more than can the than our expressive author. fluid air :) Hume.

The same comparison in Shake344. --for spi'rits that live speare, Macbeth, act v. throughout &c.] Our author's reason for Satan's healing so

As easy may'st thou the intrenchant

air soon is better than Homer's

With thy keen sword impress, as upon a like occasion, as

make me bleed.

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