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On half the nations, and with fear of change

Perplexes monarchs.

Darken'd so, yet shone Above them all th’Arch-Angel: but his face

600

Deep scars of thunder had intrench'd, and care
Sat on his faded cheek, but under brows
Of dauntless courage, and considerate pride
Waiting revenge: cruel his eye, but cast

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The fellows of his crime, the followers rather (Far other once beheld in bliss) condemn’d For ever now to have their lot in pain, Millions of spirits for his fault amerc’d

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598. —and with fear of change Perplexes monarchs.] It is said that this noble poem was in danger of being suppressed by the Licencer on account of this simile, as if it contained some latent treason in it: but it is saying little more than poets have said under the most absolute monarchies; as Virgil, Georg. i. 464. *—Ille etiam caecos instare tumultus

Saepe monet, fraudemgue, et operta tumescere bella.

598. In the same manner Tasso, Hier. lib. cant. vii. st. 52.

—CometaA i purpurei tiranni infausta luce.

600. —his face Deep scars of thunder had intrench'd] Had cut into, had made trenches there, of the French trencher to

cut, Shakespeare uses the same word speaking of a sear, It nas this very sword intrenched it, All's well that ends well, act ii. 609. –amerc'd] This word is not used here in its proper lawsense, of mulcted, fined, &c. but, as Mr. Hume rightly observes, has a strange affinity with the Greek autoa, to deprive, to take away, as Homer has used it much to our purpose. opéaxpay air apieri, Mbow Y mbusy soony. The Muse amerced him of his eyes, but gave him the faculty of singing sweetly. Odyss. viii. 64. And the word is used in the same sense in Spenser. 611. —yet faithful hon, they stood, J To see the true construction of this we must go back to ver. 605. for the verb. The sense then is this, to behold the fellows of his crime condemned

Their glory wither'd: as when heaven's fire
Hath scath’d the forest oaks, or mountain pines,
With singed top their stately growth though bare

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To speak; whereat their doubled ranks they bend From wing to wing, and half inclose him round With all his peers: attention held them mute. Thrice he assay’d, and thrice in spite of scorn

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Words interwove with sighs found out their way. O Myriads of immortal Spirits, O Powers

&c. yet how they stood faithful. Richardson. 612. —as when heaven's fire Hath scath'd &c.] Hath hurt, hath damaged; a word frequently used in Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, and our old writers. This is a very beautiful and close simile; it represents the majestic stature, and withered glory of the angels; and the last with great propriety, since their lustre was impaired by thunder, as well as that of the trees in the simile: and besides, the blasted heath gives us some idea of that singed burning soil, on which the angels were standing. Homer and Virgil frequently use comparisons from trees, to express the stature or falling of a hero, but none of them are applied with such variety and propriety of circumstances as this of Milton. See An Essay upon Milton's imitations of the Ancients, p. 24. 619. Thrice he assay’d, and thrice— Tears burst forth]

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Tears such as angels weep, like Homer's Ichor of the gods which was different from the blood of mortals. This weeping of Satan on surveying his numerous host, and the thoughts of their wretched state, puts one in mind of the story of Xerxes weeping on seeing his vast army, and reflecting that they were mortal, at the time that he was hastening them to their fate, and to the intended destruction of the greatest people in the world, to gratify his own vain glory.

621. Words interwore with sighs found out their nay.] Not unlike a line in Fairfax's Tasso, xii. 26.

Her sighs her dire complaint did

interlace.

Interwove is almost peculiar to Milton. He has it again, Par. Reg. ii. 263. and in Comus, 544. T. Warton.

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Matchless, but with th' Almighty, and that strife

Was not inglorious, though th' event was dire,
As this place testifies, and this dire change

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Hateful to utter: but what pow'r of mind
Foreseeing or presaging, from the depth
Of knowledge past or present, could have fear'd,
How such united force of Gods, how such

As stood like these, could ever know repulse?
For who can yet believe, though after loss,

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That all these puissant legions, whose exile
Hath emptied heav'n, shall fail to re-ascend
Self-rais'd, and repossess their native seat?

For me be witness all the host of heaven,

If counsels different, or danger shunn’d
By me, have lost our hopes. But he who reigns
Monarch in heav'n, till then as one secure
Sat on his throne, upheld by old repute,

Consent or custom, and his regal state

640

Put forth at full, but still his strength conceal’d, Which tempted our attempt, and wrought our fall.

623. —and that strife Was not inglorious, Ovid, Met. ix. 6. nec nana Turpe fuit vinci, quam contendisse decorum est. 633. Hath emptied heav'n,) It is conceived that a third part of the angels fell with Satan, according to Rev. xii. 4. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth; and this opinion Milton hath expressed in several places, ii. 692. v. 710. vi. 156: but Satan here talks big and mag

nifies their number, as if their exile had emptied heaven. 634. Self-rais'd, Milton is fond of self in composition. See other instances, in Par. Lost, iii. 130. v. 860, 254. vii. 154, 242, 51O. viii. 572. ix. 183, 607, 1188. x. 1016. xi. 93. Comus, 597. T. Warton. 642. Which tempted our attempt, Words though well chosen and significative enough, yet of jingling and unpleasant sound, and like marriages between persons too near of kin, to be avoided. Hume.

Henceforth his might we know, and know our own,
So as not either to provoke, or dread

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To work in close design, by fraud or guile,
What force effected not: that he no less
At length from us may find, who overcomes
By force, hath overcome but half his foe.
Space may produce new worlds; whereof so rise 650
There went a fame in heav'n that he ere long
Intended to create, and therein plant
A generation, whom his choice regard
Should favour equal to the sons of heaven:

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Our first eruption, thither or elsewhere:
For this infernal pit shall never hold
Celestial Spi'rits in bondage, nor th’ abyss
Long under darkness cover. But these thoughts

Full counsel must mature: Peace is despair’d,
For who can think submission?

660 War then, War

Open or understood must be resolv’d.

This kind of jingle was undoubtedly thought an elegance by Milton, and many instances sof it may be shewn not only in his works, but I believe in all the best poets both ancient and modern, though the latter I am afraid have been sometimes too liberal of them.

647. —-that he no less &c.] Satan had owned just before, ver. 642. that they had been deceived by God's concealing his strength; he now says, He also shall find hitmself mistaken in his turn; He shall find eur cunning such

as that though we have been
overpowered, we are not more
than half subdued. Richardson.
650. —rife] Milten uses and
explains rife which is fresh, re-
cent, common, customary, and the
like, in Sams. Agon. 866.
that grounded maxim
So rife and celebrated in the mouths
Of wisest men.
Rise would be well translated
into Latin by celebris. T. War-
ton.
Rife is prevalent, abounding.
Johnson.
662. understood] Notexpressed,

He spake: and to confirm his words, out-flew Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs

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Far round illumin’d hell: highly they rag’d . Against the High'est, and fierce with grasped arms Clash'd on their sounding shields the din of war, Hurling defiance tow’ard the vault of heav’n.

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Julius Caesar, act v. Defiance, traitors, hurl we in your teeth. Milton in his imitations scarcely ever confines himself to the beauties or expressions of one author, but enriches his diction with the spoils of many, and hence surpasses any one. Letter to Mr. West on Spenser's Faery Queen, p. 23. 669. Hurling defiance toward the vault of heav'n.] Dr. Bentley reads the walls of heav'n. Heaven the habitation of God and angels being never described as vaulted; and Dr. Pearce approves the emendation; and without doubt the wall or malls of heaven is a common expression with our author. But may we not by the vault of heaven understand coeli convera, our visible heaven, which is often described as vaulted, the sphere of the fixed stars above which God and angels inhabit? Hurling defiance toward the visible heaven is in effect hurling defiance toward the invisible heaven, the seat of God and angels. 671. Belch'd] So Virgil, AEn.

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