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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.
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.
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
And fall like sleep upon their eyes,
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,
Under the ribs of death: but Oere long
O night and shades, 580
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. .
Shall be unsaid for me: against the threats
• Surpris’d by unjust force, but not inthrall’d;
Yea even that which mischief meant most harm,
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.
And earth's base built on stubble.
But come let's on. 600
May never this just sword be lifted up ;
*Twixt Africa and Ind, I’ll find him out,
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
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
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
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