תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

In heaven by many a towered structure high,
Where sceptred angels held their residence,
And sat as princes, whom the supreme King

735
Exalted to such power, and gave to rule,
Each in luis hierarchy, the orders bright.
Nor was his name unheard or unadored
In ancient Greece; and in Ausonian land
Men called him Mulciber; and how he fell

740 From heaven they fabled, thrown by angry Jove Sheer o’er the crystal battlements : from morn To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve, A summer's day; and with the setting sun Dropt from the zenith like a falling star, On Lemnos the Ægæan isle. Thus they relate, Erring; for he with his rebellious rout Fell long before ; nor aught availed him now To have built in heaven high towers; nor did he scape By all his engines, but was headlong sent

750 With his industrious crew to build in hell.

Meanwhile the winged haralds by command
Of sovran power, with awful ceremony
And trumpets' sound, throughout the host proclaim

745

say yes. — 736. Gave, permitted. Perhaps 'gave to rule' is a Latinism. — 737. Hierarchy (Gr. iepós, sacred ; åpxń, rule), sacred rank ? sacred principality ? — 739. Ausonian, poetic for Italian. 740. Mulciber (Lat. mulcēre, to sosten. Because fire softens metals? or softens human hardships ?), Vulcan, god of fire, worker in metals for the gods. See Class. Dict. Fell. Having tried to loosen the iron anvils fastened to his mother Juno's feet by Jupiter, he was seized by the foot and flung from heaven! Niad, I. 591, etc. — 742. Sheer (A. S. sceoran, to separate; scîr, clear, clean-cut. Wedgewood says, “The fundamental signification seems to be shining, then clear, bright, pure, clean”), completely. From morn, etc. Note how beautifully the time is lengthened out. — 746. Lemnos, etc. The metre, with the stress on 2d syl. of Ægæan, represents the concussion? Ægæan, in the Archipelago. Lemnos is volcanic ? They, the old poets ? 717. Rout, rabble, gang; originally the noise of such mob. — 750. Engines (Lat. ingenia, inventiveness), contrivances, instrumentalities. — 752. Har. alds. Milton's spelling. Sovran (It. sovrano), sovereigu. See note, I. 246.

760

A solemn council forthwith to be held
At Pandemonium, the high capital
Of Satan and his peers. Their summons called
From every band and squarèd regiment
By place or choice the worthiest : they anon
With hundreds and with thousands trooping came
Attended. All access was thronged; the gates
And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall
(Though like a covered field, where champions bold
Wont ride in armed, and at the Soldan's chair
Defied the best of Panim chivalry
To mortal combat or career with lance)
Thick swarmed, both on the ground and in the air,
Brushed with the hiss of rustling wings. As bees
In spring-time, when the Sun with Taurus rides,
Pour forth their populous youth about the hive
In clusters ; they among fresh dews and flowers
Fly to and fro, or on the smoothèd plank,
The suburb of their straw-built citadel,
New rubbed with balm, expatiate, and confer
Their state affairs : so thick the aery crowd
Swarmed and were straitened ; till, the signal given,

770

775

–756. Pandemonium (Gr. Tâv, pan, all; daluwv, daimon, demon), hall of all the demons, as Pantheon is hall of all the goals? Milton either coined the word or gave it currency. -- 758. Squared regiment (Lat. quatuor, four; eic, out ; quadra, square ; Fr. escaulron, squadron of cavalry), squadron, regiment in orilerly array. – 763. Covered field. The hall, vast as it was, was covered like a tilt-yard. Storr. Milton does not quite compare the ball to an enclosed field' (champ clos). It is too vast for that! Yet it is covered. Let us rise to Milton's conception; not imagine for a moment that he blundered on the meaning of champ clos. 764. Wont, were accustomed to. Soldan's (It. Soldano), Sultan's. — 765. Panim (Lat. pagus, country district ; Fr. pais, pays), pagan. — 766. Mortal, etc.; i. e. either a combat à l'outrance, to the death ; or career (carrière) etc., merely breaking a lance.' -- 767. Swarmed, i. e, gates, porches, hall. — 768. As bees, etc. Beautifully expanded from Homer and Virgil, I. II. 87, etc., Æn. I. 430, etc.. Georg. IV. 21. – 769. With Taurus rides. For a month his chariot is passing through that constellation ? 774. Expatiate, walk about engaged in conversation. Confer, discuss. — 776. Straitened. Origin

785

Behold a wonder! they but now who seemed
In bigness to surpass Earth's giant sons,
Now less than smallest dwarfs, in narrow room
Throng numberless, like that pygmean race

780
Beyond the Indian mount; or faery elves,
Whose midnight revels, by a forest side
Or fountain, some belated peasant sees,
Or dreams he sees, while overhead the Moon
Sits arbitress, and nearer to the earth
Wheels her pale course : they, on their mirth and dance
Intent, with jocund music charm his ear;
At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.
Thus incorporeal spirits to smallest forms
Reduced their shapes immense, and were at large, 790
Though without number still, amidst the hall
Of that infernal court. But far within,
And in their own dimensions like themselves,
The great seraphic lords and cherubim
In close recess and secret conclave sat,

795 A thousand demi-gods on golden seats, Frequent and full. After short silence then, And summons read, the great consult began.

and meaning? — 780. Pygmean. See 1. 575.—781, Indian mount, the Himalayas ? Faery elves, •elves of fairy land.' — 783-4. Sees, etc. Aut videt aut vidisse putat, either sees or thinks he has seen. Æneil, VI. 453. – 785. Arbitress, witness and umpire. Nearer. The old belief was that incantations could draw the moon down from the sky. So stated in Virg. Ecl. viii. 69 ; Horace Epod. V., etc. — 790. Reduced. Those who accept the Scriptures (as Mark v., Luke xi. 26, etc.) need no argument to make them admit the possibility of this. — 795. Conclave (Lat. con, together; clavis, key), alluding, possibly, to the Roman conclave of cardinals sitting in privacy to elect a pope? Recess, retreat. — 796. Frequent and full. Close-packed and all occupied ! or, numerous seats all filled ? — 798. Consult. Usually supposed to be accented here on the last syllable. Dryden so uses and accents

consults' as a noun.

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

BOOK II.

THE ARGUMENT. The consultation begun, Satan debates whether another battle be to be

hazarded for the recovery of heaven : some advise it, others dissuade. A third proposal is preferred, mentioned before by Satan, to search the truth of that prophecy or tradition in heaven concerning another world, and another kind of creature, equal, or not much inferior, to themselves, about this time to be created. Their doubt who shall be sent on this difficult search : Satan, their chief, undertakes alone the voyage, is honored and applauded. The council thus ended, the rest betake them several ways and to several employments, as their inclinations lead them, to entertain the time till Satan return. He passes on his journey to hell gates; finds them shut, and who sat there to guard them; by whom at length they are opened, and discover to him the great gulf between hell and heaven. With what difficulty he passes through, directed by Chaos, the power of that place, to this sight of this new world which he sought.

High on a throne of royal state, which far
Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,
Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand
Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
Satan exalted sat, by merit raised
To that bad eminence; and, from despair
Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires
Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue
Vain war with heaven; and, by success untaught,
His proud imaginations thus displayed :-

10

1. High, etc. A magnificent opening, somewhat similar to the description in Faerie Queene, I. iv. 8; also the beginning of Ovid's Met. II. – 2. Ormus, Hormuz, a little island, once a rich diamond mart, now miserably poor, at the entrance of the Persian Gulf. Ind; i. e. of the Moguls or of the Golconda mines ? —3. Gorgeous East is a Shakes. phrase. Love's Lab. Lost, IV. 3 ; so is rich East’in Macbeth, IV. 3. - 4. Showers, etc. “I'll set thee in a shower of gold, and hail rich pearls upon thee.” Shakes. Ant. and Cleop. II.5. A ceremony at coronations in Tartary and Persia. Barbario (Asiatic), an epithet of ‘gold' in Virg. Æn. II. 504. - 5. Satan. Rhetorical effect of reserving the name till this 5th line? Merit. What kind ? — 6. Despair, as stated in Book 1. 126. – 9. Success, result, event, experience.

« הקודםהמשך »