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primitive meaning of revolutions, v. 597? Todd says: 'This circumstance of the damned's suffering the extremes of heat and cold by turns seems to be founded on Job 24 : 19, not as it is in the English translation, but in the vulgar Latin version, which Milton often used: "Ad nimium calorem transeat ab aquis nivium. Let him pass to excessive heat from waters of snow."
604. Lethean sound. Perhaps suggested by the Lethsea stagna of Propertius IV (V). vii. 91.
604-610. 'Milton, like Dante, has mixed the Greek mythology with the Oriental. To hinder the damned from tasting a single drop of the Lethe they are ferried over.
Medusa with Gorgonian terror guards
It is strange that until now they never had explored the banks of the other four infernal rivers.' — Landor.
609. Brink. Surface; like brim in Scott, Marmion 6 : 15: —
Not lighter does the swallow skim
610. Fate withstands. Probably a reminiscence of Mn. 4 : 440, Fata obstant.
611. Medusa. Cf. Ovid, Met. 4 : 779-781: 'He [Perseus] arrived at the abodes of the Gorgons, and saw everywhere, along the fields and the roads, statues of men and wild beasts turned into stone from their natural form, at the sight of Medusa.' And so Pindar, ATem. 10 : 6-7: 'Long is the tale of Perseus, that telleth of the Gorgon Medusa.'
613. Can you discover any flaw in the following criticism of Landor's? — 'No living wight had ever attempted to taste it, nor was it this water that fled the lips of Tantalus at any time; least of all can we imagine that it had already fled it.'
614. Tantalus. Od. 11 : 582-587: 'Moreover I beheld Tantalos in grievous torment, standing in a mere, and the water came nigh unto his chin. And he stood straining as one athirst, but he might not attain to the water to drink of it. For often as that old man stooped down in his eagerness to drink, so often the water was swallowed up and it vanished away, and the black earth still showed at his feet, for some god parched it evermore.'
614-622. Landor says: 'It is impossible to refuse the ear its satisfaction at [these lines];' but adds: 'Now who would not rather have forfeited an estate than that Milton should have ended so
Which God by curse
How Ovidian! This book would be greatly improved, not merely by the rejection of a couple such as these, but by the whole from verse 647 to verse 1007. The number would still be 705; fewer by only sixty-four than the first would be after its reduction.'
615. Confused. Pronounce.
616. Pale. Modifies what noun?
618. Cf. p. 193, v. 69. No rest. Cf. Matt. 12 : 43.
621. Lowell comments: 'Milton, like other great poets, wrote some bad verses, and it is wiser to confess that they are so than to conjure up some unimaginable reason why the reader should accept them as the better for their badness. Such a bad verse is
Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens and shapes of death,
which might be cited to illustrate Pope's
And ten low words oft creep in one dull line.'
But Burke says (Sublime and Beautiful, Part 5, Sec. 7): 'Here is displayed the force of union, . . . which yet would lose the greatest part of the effect if they were not the
Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens, and shades — of Death.
This . . . raises a very great degree of the sublime; and this sublime is raised yet higher by what follows, a "universe of death."' In Sidney's Arcadia there is a somewhat similar line: —
Rocks, woods, hills, caves, dales, meads, brooks, answer me.
626-627. See note on 1 : 540.
628. Gorgons, and Hydras. Define. Cf. Virgil, ;En. 6 : 287
And again 6 : 576-577: —
Quinquaginta atris inmanis hiatibus Hydra
Chimeras dire. II. 6 : 180-182: 'Of divine birth was she and not of men, in front a lion, and behind a serpent, and in the midst a goat; and she breathed dread fierceness of blazing fire.'
62'J ff. Cf. p. 197, v. 204 ff.
631. Puts on swift wings. Cf. P. L. 5 : 276-277.
632. Explores . . . flight. Explore here means 'try,' a Latin meaning. Cicero has the expression, 'explore flight' (explorare fugam, Verr. II. v. 17. 44), but not in the same sense.
634. Virgil has (din. 5 : 217), 'Skims on (radit, grazes) her liquid way, nor so much as moves her swift wings.' Level. Corresponds to Gr. tvnTilos, even, steady, applied to wings by Apollonius Bhodius 2 : 935; similarly, paribus alls, sEn. 4 : 252; 5 : 657; 9 : 14.
635. Fiery eoneave. Cf. 1 : 298.
636-643. In his Preface of 1815-1845, Wordsworth writes: 'Imagination, in the sense of the word as giving title to a class of the following poems, has no reference to images that are merely a faithful copy, existing in the mind, of absent external objects; but is a word of higher import, denoting operations of the mind upon those objects and processes of creation or of composition, governed by certain fixed laws. I proceed to illustrate my meaning by instances. A parrot hangs from the wires of his cage by his beak or by his claws; or a monkey from the bough of a tree by his paws or his tail. Each creature does so literally and actually. In the first Eclogue of Virgil, the shepherd, thinking of the time when he is to take leave of his farm, thus addresses his goats: —
Non ego vos posthac viridi projectus in antro
half way down
Hangs one who gathers samphire,
is the well-known expression of Shakespeare, delineating an ordinary image upon the cliffs of Dover. In these two instances is a slight exertion of the faculty which I denominate imagination, in the use of one word: neither the goats nor the samphire-gatherer do literally hang, as does the parrot or the monkey; but, presenting to the senses something of such an appearance, the mind in its activity, for its own gratification, contemplates them as hanging.'
He then quotes our lines, and adds: 'Here is the full strength of the imagination involved in the word hangs, and exerted upon the whole image: First, the fleet, an aggregate of many ships, is represented as one mighty person, whose track, we know and feel, is upon the waters; but, taking advantage of its appearance to the senses, the Poet dares to represent it as hanging in the clouds, both for the gratification of the mind in contemplating the image itself, and in reference to the motion and appearance of the sublime objects to which it is compared. . . .
'When the compact fleet, as one person, has been introduced " Sailing from Bengala," "they," i.e., the "merchants," representing the fleet, resolved into a multitude of ships, " ply" their voyage towards the extremities of the earth: "So" (referring to the word " As " in the commencement) "seemed the flying Fiend; " the image of his person acting to recombine the multitude of ships into one body, — the point from which the comparison set out. "So seemed," and to whom seemed? To the heavenly Muse who dictates the poem, to the eye of the Poet's mind, and to that of the Header, present at one moment in the wide Ethiopian, and the next in the solitudes, then first broken in upon, of the infernal regions!'
Leigh Hunt, 'What is Poetry,' has: 'Shakespeare and Milton abound in the very grandest [similes]; such as Antony's likening his changing fortunes to the cloud-rack; Lear's appeal to the old age of the heavens; Satan's appearance in the horizon, like a fleet "hanging in the clouds;" and the comparisons of him with the comet and the eclipse. Nor unworthy of this glorious company, for its extraordinary combination of delicacy and vastness, is that enchanting one of Shelley's in the Adonais: —
Life, like a dome of many-colored glass,
Cf. Garnett (Milton, pp. 160-161): 'When such a being voyages through space it is no hyperbole to compare him to a whole fleet, judiciously shown at such distance as to suppress every minute detail that could diminish the grandeur of the image. . . . These similes, and an infinity of others, are grander than anything in Homer, who would, however, have equaled them with an equal subject. Dante's treatment is altogether different; the microscopic intensity of perception in which he so far surpasses Homer and Milton affords, in our opinion, no adequate compensation for his inferiority in magnificence.' „
638. Ternate and Tidore. Two of the Molucca islands in the East Indies. Pronounce.
640. Trading. What figure of speech?
641. Ethiopian. Indian Ocean, Cape. Of Good Hope.
642. Cf. Introduction, p. 32. Ply. Define. Stemming. Define. Nightly. By night. The pole. Which?
645. Thrice threefold. CO. v. 436. Threefold is the wall in Virgil's hell, sin. 6 : 549, but ninefold the flowing of Styx, 6 : 439. Folds. Cf. P. L. 1 : 724. Brass. The wall in Hesiod, Theog. 726, is of brass.
646. Iron. So appeared the walls in Dante, Inf. 8 : 78, and so was the gate of Tartarus in II. 8 : 15. Adamantine. Cf. v. 436. So sEn. G : 552, 'pillars of solid adamant.'
647. Impaled with circling fire. So in sin. 6 : 550, 'encircled by a rushing river with waves of torrent fire;' this is Phlegethon, however. Impaled. Cf. P. L. 6 : 553 ; also the only Shakespearian sense.
648. Before the gates. Cf. sEn. 6 : 574-575: 'See you the form of the watcher that sits in the porch? the shape that guards the threshold?'
Garnett says Wilton, p. 155): —
'If anything more infatuated can be imagined, it is the simplicity of the All-Wise Himself in entrusting the wardership of the gate of Hell, and consequently the charge of keeping Satan in, to the beings in the universe most interested in letting him out. The sole but sufficient excuse is that these faults are inherent in the subject. If Milton had not thought that he could justify the ways of Jehovah to man he would not have written at all; common sense on the part of the angels would have paralyzed the action of the poem; we should, if conscious of our loss, have lamented the irrefragable criticism that should have stifled the magnificent allegory of Sin and Death.'
648ft. 'In the description of Sin and Death, and Satan's interview with them, there is a wonderful vigor of imagination and of thought, with such sonorous verse as Milton alone was capable of