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All-drowsie Night, who in a carre of

jet By steedes of iron-gray drawne

through the sky. And Silvester, of Sleep, Du Bart. p. 316. edit. fol. ut supr. And in a noysless coach, all darkly dight, Takes with him silence, drousinesse, and night. Mr. Bowle conjectures dronsie. freighted, that is, charged or loaded with drowsiness. We are to recollect, that Mil‘ton has here transferred the horses and chariot of Night to WOL. I. V.

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Sleep. And so has Claudian, Bell. Gild. 213.

Humentes jam Noctis equos; Letheaque somnus

Frena regens, tacito volvebat sydera cursu.

And Statius, Theb. ii. 59.

—Sopor obvius illi Noctis agebat equos.

T. Warton.

555. At last a soft and solemn breathing sound &c.] No doubt but that our poet in these charming lines imitated his favourite Shakespeare, Twelfth Night at the beginning. That strain again, it had a dying fall; O, it came o'er my ear, like the sweet south, That breathes upon a bank of violets, Stealing and giving odour.


555. The idea is strongly implied in these lines of Jonson's Vision of Delight, a Masque presented at Court in the Christmas of 1617, vol. vi. 21.

Yet let it like an odour rise
To all the senses here;

And fall like sleep upon their eyes,
Or musicke in their eare.

But the thought appeared before, where it is.exquisitely expressed, in Bacon's Essays. “And because “ the breath of flowers is farre “sweeter in the aire, where it “comes and goes like the warbling “ of musicke.” Of Gardens, Ess. xlvi. Milton means the gradual increase and diffusion of odour in the process of distilling perfumes; for he had at first written “slow-distill'd.” In the edition of 1673, we G

Rose like a steam of rich distill’d perfumes,
And stole upon the air, that even Silence
Was took ere she was ware, and wish’d she might
Deny her nature, and be never more

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Under the ribs of death: but Oere long
Too well I did perceive it was the voice
Of my most honour’d Lady, your dear Sister.
Amaz'd I stood, harrow’d with grief and fear, 565
And O poor hapless nightingale thought I,
How sweet thou sing'st, how near the deadly snare!
Then down the lawns I ran with headlong haste,
Through paths and turnings often trod by day,
Till guided by mine ear I found the place, 570
Where that damn'd wizard hid in sly disguise
(For so by certain signs I knew) had met
Already, ere my best speed could prevent,
The aidless innocent Lady his wish’d prey,
Who gently ask'd if he had seen such two, 575
Supposing him some neighbour villager.
Longer I durst not stay, but soon I guess'd
Ye were the two she meant; with that I sprung
Into swift flight, till I had found you here,
But further know I not.

O night and shades, 580
How are ye join’d with hell in triple knot,
Against th’ unarmed weakness of one virgin

but I presume they knew not of And s. 8. the Ghost to Hamlet,

the allusion just mentioned. I could a tale unfold, whose lightest

563. Too well I did perceive] word In the Manuscript it is Would harrow up thy soul. Too well I might perceive. 574. The aidless innocent Lady]

565. —harrow'd nwith grief and At first he had written helpless, fear, So in Shakespeare, Hamlet, but altered it, that word occuract i. s. 1. Horatio of the Ghost, ring again within a few lines —it harrows me with fear and afterwards. wonder. .

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Shall be unsaid for me: against the threats
Of malice or of sorcery, or that power
Which erring men call Chance, this I hold firm,
Virtue may be assail'd, but never hurt,

• Surpris’d by unjust force, but not inthrall’d;


Yea even that which mischief meant most harm,
Shall in the happy trial prove most glory:
But evil on itself shall back recoil,
And mix no more with goodness, when at last

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584. Yes, and keep it still, &c.] This confidence of the Elder Brother in favour of the final efficacy of virtue holds forth a very high strain of philosophy, delivered in as high strains of eloquence and poetry. T. Warton.

589. Virtue may be assail'd, but never hurt, Milton seems in this line to allude to the famous answer of the philosopher to a tyrant, who threatened him with death, Thou may'st kill me, but thou canst not hurt me. And it may be observed, that not only in this speech, but also in many others of this poem, our author has made great use of the noble

and exalted sentiments of the Stoics concerning the power of virtue. Thyer. 597. Self-fed, and self-consum'd:] This image is wonderfully fine. It is taken from the conjectures of astronomers concerning the dark spots, which from time to time appear on the surface of the sun's body, and after a while disappear again, which they suppose to be the scum of that fiery matter, which first breeds it, and then breaks thro' and consumes it. Warburton. 598. The pillar'd firmament] . See Paradise Regained, iv. 455. and the note there.

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And earth's base built on stubble.
Against th' opposing will and arm of heaven

But come let's on. 600

May never this just sword be lifted up ;
But for that damn'd magician, let him be girt
With all the grisly legions that troop
Under the sooty flag of Acheron,

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*Twixt Africa and Ind, I’ll find him out,
And force him to restore his purchase back,
Or drag him by the curls to a foul death,

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602. But for that damn'd magician, let him be girt, &c.] Compare P. R. iv. 626, et seq. T. Warton, 605. Harpies and hydras, or all the monstrous forms.] Or spoils the metre. Yet an anapaest may be admitted in the third part, see v. 636. 682. Although this last is not an anapaest. But any foot of three syllables may be admitted in this place of an iambic verse, if the licence be not taken too frequently. Hurd. Harpies and hydras are a combination in an enumeration of monsters, in Sylvester's Du Bartas, p. 206, fol. ut supr. And th’ ugly Gorgons, and the

Sphinxes fell,
Hydraes and harpies gan to yawne

and yel.
T. Warton.

605. —or all the monstrous forms] In Milton's Manuscript, and the edition of 1637 it is, or all the monstrous bugs; which word was in more familiar use formerly, and hence bugbear.

605. —all the monstrous forms

'Twict Africa and Ind,T

Such as those which Carlo and
Ubaldo meet, in going to
Armida's enchanted mountain,
in Fairfax's Tasso, c. xv. 51.

All monsters which hot Africke forth doth send *Twixt Nilus, Atlas, and the southern cape, Where all there met. Milton often copies Fairfax, and not his original. T. Warton. 607. —to restore his purchase back, J He had written at first

—to release his new got prey.

608. —to a foul death,

Curs'd as his life.] In the Manuscript, and in the edition of 1637, it is

—and cleave his scalp
Down to the hips :

and he has preserved the same

image in his Paradise Lost,

speaking of Moloch, vi. 361. Down cloven to the waist, with shat

ter'd arms And uncouth pain fled bellowing:

and no wonder he was led to it

by his favourite romances, and his favourite plays. Jonson has

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