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This is true glory and renown, when God
When to extend his fame through heaven and earth,
To things not glorious, men not worthy of fame.
1 One is the, &c.-Alexander and Romulus are intended.
Ought suffered; if young African for fame
He brought our Saviour to the western side
On each side an imperial city stood,
"And now, in her turn, Rome under Tiberius is depicted, with the spirit indeed of a poet, but with the accuracy of a contemporary annalist: and her imperial palaces, the houses of her gods, the conflux of divers nations and languages at her gates; the embassies from far crowding the Emilian and Appian roads; the prætors and proconsuls hasting to their provinces, or on their triumphant return; all fill the mind's eye:" Quarterly Review, ubi supra. 2 Another plain, &c.-The "plain" is that part of Italy contained between the "southern sea," the Mediterranean, and the "ridge of hills," the "Apennines."
3 Porches-from the Latin porticus, a portico-a walk covered with a roof and supported by columns, a colonnade. These erections were very beautiful both at Athens and Rome, and were the favourite resorts of the fashionable and literary circles. See note 4, p. 351; and also Dr. Smith's "Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities," article "Porticus."
Trophies-memorials or monuments of victory, consisting generally of the arms, shields, &c., of the enemy, fixed on some elevation.
5 Parallax-from the Greek Tagaλağıs, a difference-aberration, the distance between the true and the apparent place of a star; hence here, the elevation of the object to the eye, by which the city was seen "above the height of mountains interposed."
Of vision, multiplied through air, or glass
And now the Tempter thus his silence broke :
"The city which thou seest no other deem
Than great and glorious Rome, queen of the earth,
Impregnable; and there mount Palatine,
Thence to the gates cast round thine eye, and see
Hasting, or on return, in robes of state;
Lictors and rods, the ensigns of their power,
Legions and cohorts, turms of horse and wings:
Or on the Emilian; some from farthest south,
The realm of Bocchus to the Blackmoor sea;
From the Asian Kings, and Parthian among these;
Hasting-"The rapacity of the Roman provincial governors, and their eagerness to take possession of their prey, is here strongly marked by the word hasting:"" Dunster.
2 Turms-from the Latin turma, a cavalry troop-troops of horse.
3 The Appian road, &c.-The Appian road led south, the Emilian north of Rome. The nations on the Appian road are enumerated in the seven lines beginning "Syene, &c.." those in the Emilian, in the three beginning "From Gallia, &c."
From India and the golden Chersonese,1
Dusk faces with white silken turbans wreathed;
And long renown, thou justly mayst prefer
Look once more, ere we leave this specular mount,
1 Golden Chersonese-the Aurea Chersonesus, or Golden Peninsula, Malacca. 2 Taprobane-the island of Ceylon.
3 Dusk faces-a line noted for its picturesqueness.
5 Tauric pool-the Palus Mootis, or Sea of Azov.
6"It [the mind's eye] is again carried away to the westward, and the flowery hill of Hymettus offers itself to our notice; and Athens, with its picturesque suburbs, is unfolded with a perspicuity and precision that might challenge the most scrupulous critic to quarrel even with an epithet (so true is Milton to his Grecian masters :) while her schools of philosophy, the sects into which they are divided, the dogmas they severally espoused, all pass in rapid review, leaving us confounded at the mental plentitude of this extraordinary man: Quarterly Review, ubi supra.
7 Ere we leave, &c.-It is Satan who speaks, after displaying from this "specular mount"-this hill of observation-the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them. "It would be impossible," remarks the Rev. A. P. Stanley, "for any one to describe the view from the summit of Hymettus, more truly than in the words in which Milton has set forth his conception of Athens, not from ocular inspection, but such as, from the union of deep classical learning with his poetical faculty, he imagined it to have appeared in the vision from the specular mount in the Paradise Regained."" Classical Museum, vol. i, p. 57.
And eloquence, native to1 famous wits
City or suburban, studious walks and shades;
Plato's retirement, where the Attic bird2
Trills her3 thick-warbled notes the summer long;
His whispering stream: within the walls then view
There shalt thou hear and learn the secret power
By voice or hand, and various-measured verse,
And his who gave them breath, but higher sung,
Of moral prudence, with delight received
1 Native to, &c.-i. e. a place noted for the famous men who were born there, and ever ready to welcome eminent strangers.
2 Attic bird-see note 3, p. 71.
3 Trills her, &c.—"There never was," says Dr. Newton, "a verse more expressive of the harmony of the nightingale than this."
4 Lyceum, &c.-The Lyceum was the school of Aristotle, the Stoa that of Zeno. The word Stoa answers to the Latin porticus, or porch. See note 3,
5 Eolian charms, &c.-" Æolia carmina," verses such as those of Alcæus, and Sappho, who were both of Mitylene in Lesbos, an island belonging to the Eolians: "Dorian lyric odes,"-such as those of Pindar: Newton.
6 And his, &c.-i. e. and his who not only cultivated those species of poetry, but the loftier field of epic.
7 Melesigenes-i. e. born at or near Meles, a river of Asia Minor.
Thence Homer, &c.—i. e. from his blindness called dungos, blind; this is
one of the many conjectures respecting the etymology of the name.
Iambic i.e. the dialogue part of the tragedy which was chiefly written in iambic measure, as distinguished from the chorus, which consisted of various measures.