תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

Mixed with obdurate pride and steadfast hate.
At once, as far as angel's ken, he views
The dismal situation waste and wild :
A dungeon horrible on all sides round
As one great furnace flamed ; yet from those flames
No light; but rather darkness visible

always used in this sense in Shakespeare and in Milton, and not (as now) as merely equivalent to 'saw.!” Milton, however, appears to use witness' once in the sense of see' in Par. Lost, III. 700; and he uses witnessed' nowhere in his poems except in this passage. — 58. Obdurate. Note the proper original accent of the word, from Lat. dūrus, hard. The preference, or at least the tendency, now seems to be in favor of placing it on the first syllable. — 59. As far as angel's ken. In Milton's time it was not common to mark the possessive case by an apostrophe. We are therefore uncertain whether angels is nom. plu., possess. plu., or possess. sing., and whether ken is a verb or a noun. Hunter, Major, Storr, and others make angels plu. and ken a verb. Keightley and Masson print Angel's, and, with Ross, they make ken a noun. Which is best ? Ken (A. S. cunnan, can, to know, to be able; Old Eng. kennen, to know, know by sight; ken, the view, the gaze ; Scot. ken, know; akin to Gr. root yvo, gno, Lat. (g)nosco), knowledge gained by sight, range of vision. — 60. Situation. “This word is used only here in Milton's poems, and but twice by Shakespeare.” R. C. Browne. But Shakespeare also used the plu, situations, and both he and Milton use situate as a participle meaning placed. Waste and wild. Keightley thinks that here is a recollection of Gen. i. 2, without form and void. Note the alliteration. — 61. Dungeon (Lat. dominio, mastership, rule; whence dongeo, as Fr. songer fr. somniare; donjon, the large tower or redoubt of a fortress. The word originally meant the principal building of a district, or the fortress which commanded the rest), 'an underground prison, such as once used to be placed in the strongest part of the fortress.' Wedgwood. Marsh, in his Lectures on the English Language, prefers to derive it from de homagio;

because, in the principal tower of a feudal fortress, styled in Portuguese torre de homenagen, tower of homage, the ceremony of pledging fealty, or homage, took place.' On all sides round. Modifies what ? - 62. Great furnace. The language used in Rev. ix. 2. — 63. No light. Supply came, or shone, or there was ? Zeugma ? Darkness visible. This powerful line arrests the attention of many critics. Hunter quotes from Chaucer's Parson's Tale, “ In hell ... the dark light that shall come out of the fire ... showeth him the horrible devils,” etc. Todd cites from The Wisdom of Solomon, xvii. 5, “No power of the fire might give them light.” Keightley suggests, in Walker's History of Independency (1648), I. 14, “ Their burning zeal without knowledge is like hell-fire without light”; also, Heywood's description of hell, “Burns, but wastes not, and adds to darkness, night.” Newton recalls

65

Served only to discover sights of woe,
Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
And rest can never dwell; hope never comes
That comes to all; but torture without end
Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed
With ever-burning sulphur unconsumed.
Such place eternal justice had prepared
For those rebellious ; here their prison ordained
In utter darkness, and their portion set
As far removed from God and light of heaven

70

Seneca's description of the grotto of Pausilippo, “We see not through the darkness, but see the darkness itself.” De Quincey explains the passage as meaning 'a sullen light intermingled with darkness.' Bentley thought to improve upon it by substituting for Milton's line the following : 'No light, but rather a transpicuous gloom'! Voltaire refers to a History of Mexico by Antonio de Solis, published in 1684, speaking of the place where Montezuma used to consult his deities, “ It was a large dark subterranean vault, where dismal tapers afforded just light enough to see the obscurity.” So in the Bacchce of Euripides, l. 510, “that he may behold dim darkness." In Spenser's Faerie Queene, I. 1. 14, we have —

“His glistering armor made

A little glooming light, much like a shade." We might add Shakespeare's “Hell is murky,” and Milton's “Burning embers through the room teach light to counterfeit a gloom.”—66. Hope never comes. So Dante's Inferno, III. 9, “ All hope abandon, ye who enter here" (the inscription over the gate of hell). Urges (Lat. urgêre, to press, push, drive), harasses, presses. -- 69. Sulphur. The brimstone of Rev. xx. 10. — 70. Had prepared. “Everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels,' Matt. xxv. 41.—72. Darkness, as in Jude, 6, 13. Utter (A. S. ut, out, uter, outer), the same as outer in Matt. xxii. 13, is found in Par. Lost, III. 16, V. 614. Spenser (Faerie Queene, IV. X. 11) has utter for outer in the line, “Till to the bridge's utter gate I came," and similarly Ben Jonson speaks of the utter shell of knowledge.' Portion, part assigned, as in Matt. xxiv. 51. — 73. As far removed. “Not very far," says Landor, “for creatures who could have measured all that, and a much greater distance, by a single act of the will." But could they? It took them nine days to fall thither, pursued all the way by lightnings. Par. Lost, Book VI. 865–875. The archangel Raphael (Par. Lost, VIII, 110–114) seems to have been some hours in coming from Heaven to Eden, though his path was unobstructed (Book V. 256-270): –

"Me thou thinkest not slow, Who, since the morning hour, set out from heaven Where God resides, and ere midday arrived

As from the centre thrice to the utmost pole.
Oh, how unlike the place from whence they fell !
There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelmed
With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire,
He soon discerns; and, weltering by his side,
One next himself in power, and next in crime,

In Eden, distance inexpressible

By numbers that have nanie.” Evidently it was far enough.

See in the Introduction the diagrams illustrating Milton's conception of the successive stages of creation in that portion of infinite space with which this poem deals. Our starry universe, which Milton calls the world,' is attached to the Empyrean at a single glittering point. Par. Lost, Book II. 1051, 1052. Keightley cites, after Todd, on line 72, a few words from Milton's Doctrine of Divorce, 'a local hell ... in that uttermost and bottomless gulf of Chaos, deeper from holy bliss than the world's diameter multiplied.' (See the diagrams in the Introduction.) — 74. As from the centre thrice, etc. Nearly all the commentators appear to have mistaken Milton's meaning. Professor Himes (Study of Milton's Paradise Lost, pp. 21, 22) well says: “Homer and Virgil, to whom Milton took pains to conform as nearly as possible, recognized below the Empyrean three regions, one above the other, and of equal height. The first was the Ethereal, extending from Heaven to Earth ; the second was Hades, of like depth; the third and lowest was Tartarus, or the place of punishment, an equal distance below Hades. Homer, speaking of the location of Tartarus, teaches that it extends as far below Hades as the distance from Heaven to Earth.' (Iliad, VIII. 16.)

Tóooov ēvepdo 'Atdew, Soov oúpavós dor' and gains. Virgil, measuring from the surface of the earth, and of course including Hades, says, 'Then Tartarus itself sinks deep down and extends towards the shades twice as far as is the prospect upward to the ethereal throne of Heaven' (Æneid, VI. 577-9):

Tum Tartarus ipse
Bis patet in præceps tantum, tenditque sub umbras,

Quantus ad otherium coeli suspectus Olympum.' Milton's phraseology is equivalent to saying that the whole distance from Heaven to Hell is three times as far as from Heaven to Earth. – Utmost pole, the pole of this universe of ours, the end of the axis of our heavens. — 75. Oh, how unlike the place, etc. This momentary glimpse of heaven adds to the horror ? 77. Note the energy and the alliteration. Dunster quotes Psalm xi. 6, “Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest.” — 78. Weltering (Lat. volvere, volutare; Ger. wälzen ; A. S, waeltan; English, wallow), rolling. So in Lycidas, l. 13, the corpse

Long after known in Palestine and named
Beelzebub. To whom the arch-enemy,
And thence in heaven called Satan, with bold words
Breaking the horrid silence, thus began :-

“If thou beest he — but oh, how fallen ! how changed
From him, who, in the happy realms of light,
Clothed with transcendent brightness, didst outshine
Myriads though bright ! — if he, whom mutual league,
United thoughts and counsels, equal hope

85

‘welters' as it floats in the sea. — 80. Palestine (Hebrew, Pelesheth). Here, as in Exodus xv. 14, Philistia, the narrow sea-coast southwest from the Holy Land seenis to be included. – 81. Beëlzebub. He is styled “the prince of the devils ' in Matt. xii. 24. The word is said to mean 'god of fies'! (though others interpret it 'lord of the dunghill,') and to be more correctly spelled Beëlzebul. Professor Himes is inclined to identify, to some extent, 'Beël. zebub with Artemis, the lunar divinity, as Satan has been identified with Apollo, the solar divinity,' and we are reminded of the crescent-crowned oestrus-driven Io, one of the many forms under which the moon-goddess appears.' Says another critic: “Some authors suppose that he (Beëlzebub] was so called (god of flies], because the inhabitants of Ekron worshipped the beetle ; which worship they perhaps borrowed from their superstitions neighbors, the Egyptians.” See 2 Kings i. 2, where he is called “the god of Ekron.' See Isaiah vii. 18, for a possible allusion to this worship. Flies in some of the eastern countries are an inexpressible torment, and 'god of flies' seems to a European there no inappropriate appellation for him whom our Saviour called 'prince of devils'! - 82. Thence, from that fact, i. e. because he is an enemy, the chief enemy. Satan in Hebrew signifies adversary. — 84. Beest. Keightley pronounces ' beest'here 'a grammatical error'; but Shakes, uses the word similarly in Julius Cæsar, IV. 3, “If that thou beest a Roman." Beest is lineally descended from A. S. byst, like Ger. bist. On, how fallen! how changed! In Isaiah xiv. 12, we have, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, Son of the Morning"! and in Virgil, Æneid, II. 274, we read Hei mihi, qualis erat ! quantum mutatus, etc., Ah me, how he looked ! how changed,” etc. Note the abrupt transitions in this speech, indicating the tumultuous agitation of Satan's soul! Any art in this ? — 86. Brightness. In Par. Lost, V. 708, his countenance is compared to the morning star. In line 599, Book I., he still shines, though 'darkened.' Everywhere, Milton seems to proceed on the theory that the bodies of spirits are luminous like fire. -- 87. Myriads. A myriad, uupids in Greek, was originally ten thousand. Here it is put for vast multitude ? Mutual (Lat. muto, mutare, to change), exchangeable, or exchanged, or the result of exchange or stipulation. Macaulay stigmatizes “the low barbarism of 'mutual friend'"!-88. United. Epithet describing thoughts' and 'counsels'?

And hazard in the glorious enterprise,
Joined with me once, now misery hath joined
In equal ruin — into what pit thou seest,
From what highth fall’n, so much the stronger proved
He with his thunder: and till then who knew
The force of those dire armis ? Yet not for those,
Nor what the potent Victor in his rage

95
Can else inflict, do I repent, or change,
Though changed in outward lustre, that fixed mind,
And high disdain from sense of injured merit,
That with the mightiest raised me to contend,
And to the fierce contention brought along

100 Innumerable force of spirits armed That durst dislike his reign, and, me preferring, His utmost power with adverse power opposed In dubious battle on the plains of heaven, And shook his throne. What though the field be lost? 105 All is not lost; the unconquerable will, And study of revenge, immortal hate, And courage never to submit or yield, And what is else not to be overcome — That glory never shall his wrath or might

110

100

Thoughts, one of the subjects of 'joined'? - 89. Glorious. This word vividly suggests the aspiring ambition of Satan. -- 90. Now misery hath joined. Supply whom? or thee? What is the conclusion of the sentence beginning with if, lines 84 and 87 ? Bentley points out the similarity of the passage to Ovid, Met. i. 351. — 91-93. This passage is wonderfully condensed, “Thou, being fallen from such height into such depth, art shown how much stronger he was.” Thunder. The thunder made a deep impression on Satan and his followers. How often they allude to it! Is there any trace here of the notion in Shakespeare (in Julius Cæsar, for instance) of the thunder as a weapon separate from the lightning? - 94. Force. Meaning of this word in line 101 ? The language of Prometheus in defying Jove and in asserting unconquerable will (Æsch. Prom. Vinct. 992–7, 1002–6) is quite similar. What evidence that Milton had Prometheus in mind in other passages of Par. Lost ? 107. Study. The critics will have it that Milton here uses this word (like studies in Shakes., 1 Henry IV., I. 3 ?) to signify endeavor or desire. But is this necessary? – 109. Some few interpret this line as if it read, Not to be overcome — what is it but this? But the majority explain it as meaning, If anything else is incapable of being overcome, that is not lost. -- 110. That

« הקודםהמשך »