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Messiah was declar'd in sight of heaven,
your necks, and choose to bend
788 knee] Shakesp. Richard II. act i, scene iv.
* And had the tribute of his supple knee.' Todd
Equally free; for orders and degrees
Thus far his bold discourse without control
and in a flame of zeal severe The current of his fury thus oppos’d.
O argument blasphemous, false, and proud! Words which no ear ever to hear in heaven
799 much less] This passage is considered as one of the most difficult in Milton. Bentley, Pearce, Richardson, Greenwood, Warburton, and Newton, have given their different interpretations. I differ from them, as they carry back the force of much less' to what has past. I consider one argument concluded at err not,' and that much less,' beginning a new one, looks forward; and I thus explain it: Much less reason has he to be called our Lord, and consequently to look for adoration from us, when it must be at the expense, or abuse of those imperial titles which in themselves assert our own sovereignty, and our consequent immunity from servitude.' He alludes to the titles given the angels. Thrones, dominations, princedoms,' &c. this argument Abdiel answers, v. 831. I trust that this explanation will be considered as satisfactory.
799 for this] for. This. Iste. Bentl. MS.
Expected, least of all from thee, ingrate,
Essential powers; nor by his reign obscur’d,
So spake the fervent angel; but his zeal
work Of secondary hands, hy task transferr'd From Father to his Son ? strange point and new! Doctrine which we would know whence learn'd:
who saw When this creation was? remember'st thou Thy making, while the Maker gave thee being ? We know no time when we were not as now; Know none before us, self-begot, self-rais'd By our own quick’ning power, when fatal course Had circled his full orb, the birth mature Of this our native heaven, ethereal sons. Our puissance is our own, our own right hand Shall teach us highest deeds, by proof to try Who is our equal : then thou shalt behold Whether by supplication we intend Address, and to begirt th’ Almighty throne
Beseeching or besieging. This report,
He said, and, as the sound of waters deep,
O alienate from GOD, O spirit accurst, Forsaken of all good, I see thy fall Determin’d, and thy hapless crew involv'd In this perfidious fraud, contagion spread Both of thy crime and punishment. Henceforth No more be troubled how to quit the yoke Of God's Messiah; those indulgent laws Will not be now vouchsaf'd, other decrees Against thee are gone forth without recall: That golden sceptre which thou didst reject Is now an iron rod, to bruise and break Thy disobedience. Well thou didst advise ; Yet not for thy advice or threats I fly These wicked tents devoted, lest the wrath
869 Beseeching] See Heywood's Spider and Flie, p. 376.
• Myne answere is, not a harnes cap-a-pie
Besieging (stead of beseeching).' 875 flaming] •Each flaming seraph.'
v. Beaumont's Psyche, c. xxix. st. 184. 888 Thy disobedience] Thee disobedient, v. 2. 702, b. 139, b. 687. Bentl. MS.
890 lest] The construction is deficient. Pearce would understand, .but I fly' before · lest.' Bentley proposes reading,
• These wicked tents devote, but lest the wrath,' &c. Newton.