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Their noxious vapour, or inur'd not feel,
Or chang'd at length, and to the place conform’d
In temper and in nature, will receive
Familiar the fierce heat, and void of pain ;
This horror will grow mild, this darkness light,
Besides what hope the never-ending flight
Of future days may bring, what chance, what change
Worth waiting, since our present lot appears
For happy though but ill, for ill not worst,
If we procure not to ourselves more woe.

Thus Belial with words cloth'd in reason's garb
Counsell'd ignoble ease, and peaceful sloth,
Not peace: and after him thus Mammon spake.

Either to disenthrone the King of heaven


220. This horror will grow gold and silver, and that he was mild, this darkness light,] It is the architect of Pandemonium, quite too much, as Dr. Bentley or the infernal palace, where the says, that the darkness should evil spirits were to meet in counturn into light: but light, I con cil. His speech in this book is ceive, is an adjective here as

every way suitable to so dewell as mild ; and the meaning praved a character. How prois, This darkness will in time per is that reflection, of their become easy, as this horror will being anable to taste the happigrow mild; or, as Mr. Thyer ness of heaven were they acthinks, it is an adjective used in tually there, in the mouth of the same sense as when we say one, who while he was in heaven, It is a light night. It is not well is said to have had his mind expressed, and the worse as it dazzled with the outward pomps rimes with the following line. and glories of the place, and to

227. Counselld ignoble ease,] have been more intent on the Virgil. Studiis ignobilis oti, Georg. riches of the pavement, than on iv. 564.

the beatific vision! I shall also 228. Mammon spake.] Mam- leave the reader to judge how mon's character is so fully drawn agreeable the following sentiin the first book, that the poet ments are to the same character. adds nothing to it in the second. We were before told, that he

-This deep world

Of darkness do we dread ? How oft was the first who taught man amidst, fic. kind to ransack the earth for




We war, if war be best, or to regain
Our own right lost : him to unthrone we then
May hope, when everlasting Fate shall yield
To fickle Chance, and Chaos judge the strife:
The former vain to hope argues as vain
The latter: for what place can be for us
Within heav'n's bound, unless heav’n’s Lord supreme
We overpow'r ? Suppose he should relent,
And publish grace to all, on promise made
Of new subjection ; with what eyes could we
Stand in his presence humble, and receive
Strict laws impos'd, to celebrate his throne
With warbled hymns, and to his Godhead sing
Forc'd Halleluiah's; while he lordly sits
Our envied sovran, and his altar breathes
Ambrosial odours and ambrosial flowers,
Our servile offerings ? This must be our task



233. —and Chaos judge the and asks how an altar can strife.] Between the King of breathe flowers, especially when heaven and us, not between Fate flowers are, as here, distinguished and Chance, as Dr. Bentley sup- from odours ? But when the altar poses. Pearce.

is said to breathe, the meaning 234. The former vain to hope] is that it smells of, it throws out That is to unthrone the King of the smell of, or (as Milton exheaven, argues as vain the latter, presses it, iv. 265.) it breathes out that is to regain our own lost the smell of &c. In this sense right.

of the word breathe, an altar 242. With warbled hymns,] may be said to breathe flowers, Warbled song,". Comus, 854. and odours too as a distinci thing; "Warbled string,” Arcades, 87. for by odours here Milton means T. Warton.

the smells of gums and sweet 244. -and his allar breathes spicy shrubs, see viii. 517. Not Ambrosiat odours and ambrosial unlike is what we read in Fairflowers,]

fax's Tasso, cant. xviii. 517. Dr. Bentley would read from for and,

Flowers and odours lly smeli'd. Ambrosial odours from ambrosial

Pearce. flowers,



In heav'n, this our delight; how wearisome
Eternity so spent in worship paid
To whom we hate! Let us not then pursue
By force impossible, by leave obtain'd
Unacceptable, though in heav'n, our state
Of splendid vassalage ; but rather seek
Our own good from ourselves, and from our own
Live to ourselves, though in this vast recess,
Free, and to none accountable, preferring
Hard liberty before the easy yoke
Of servile pomp. Our greatness will appear
Then most conspicuous, when great things of small,
Useful of hurtful, prosp'rous of adverse
We can create, and in what place so e'er

Thrive under ev'il, and work ease out of pain
Through labour and indurance. This deep world
Of darkness do we dread! How oft amidst
Thick clouds and dark doth heav'n's all-ruling Sire
Choose to reside, his glory unobscurid,
And with the majesty of darkness round
Covers his throne ; from whence deep thunders roar
Must'ring their rage, and heav'n resembles hell ?
As he our darkness, cannot we his light
Imitate when we please? This desert soil



254. Live to ourselves,] Hor. Imitated from Psalm xviii. 11, Epist. i. xviii. 107.

13. He made darkness his secret -Ut mihi vivam

place; his pavilion round about Quod superest ævi.

him were dark waters, and thick

clouds of the skies.The Lord and Persius, Sat. iv. 52.

also thundered in the heavens, and

the Highest gave his voice, hailTecum habita.

stones and coals of fire. And from 263. –How oft amidst

Ps. xcvii. 2. Clouds and darkness Thick clouds and dark &c.] are round about him, &c.


Wants not her hidden lustre, gems and gold ;
Nor want we skill or art, from whence to raise
Magnificence ; and what can heav'n show more?
Our torments also may in length of time
Become our elements, these piercing fires
As soft as now severe, our temper chang'd
Into their temper; which must needs remove
The sensible of pain. All things invite
To peaceful counsels, and the settled state
Of order, how in safety best we may
Compose our present evils, with regard


274. Our torments also may in firmed by the whole host of length of time

angels. And accordingly at the Become our elements, &c.] opening of the council he proEnforcing the same argument poses for the subject of their that Belial had urged before, ver. consideration, which way they 217; and indeed Mammon's whole would make choice of, ii. 41. speech is to the same purpose as Whether of open war or covert guile, Belial's; the argument is im We now debate: proved and carried farther, only Moloch speaks to the purpose, with such difference as is suitable and declares for open

war, to their different characters.

ver. 51. 278. The sensible of pain.]

My sentence is for open war: of The sense of pain. Tò sensibile,

wiles the adjective used for a substan More unexpert, I boast not, 8c. tive. Hume.

But Belial argues alike against 279. To peaceful counsels,]

war open or concealed, ver. 187. There are some things wonder

War therefore, open or conceald, fully fine in these speeches of the

alike infernal spirits, and in the differ

My voice dissuades; for what can ent arguments so suited to their force or guile &c. different characters: but they Mammon carries on the same have wandered from the point in arguments, and is for dismissing debate, as is too common in quite all thoughts of war. So other assemblies. Satan had de

that the question is changed in clared in i. 660.

the course of the debate, whether -Peace is despair’d,

through the inattention or intenFor who can think submission ? War tion of the author it is not easy

then, war, Open or understood, must be resolv'd.

281. —with regard Which was approved and con Of what we are und where,] VOL. I.


to say.


Of what we are and where, dismissing quite
All thoughts of war: ye have what I advise.

He scarce had finish’d, when such murmur fill'd
Th' assembly, as when hollow rocks retain
The sound of blust’ring winds, which all night long
Had rous’d the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull
Sea-faring men o'er-watch’d, whose bark by chance
Or pinnace anchors in a craggy bay
After the tempest: Such applause was heard 290
As Mammon ended, and his sentence pleas'd,
Advising peace: for such another field

It is thus in the first edition : in equally just and proper. The the second edition it is, with re- intent of Juno's speech was to gard of what we are and were : rouse and inflame the assembly and it is varied sometimes the of the gods, and the effect of it one and sometimes the other in is therefore properly compared the subsequent editions. If we by Virgil to the rising wind : read with regard of what we are but the design of Mammon's and were, the sense is, with re speech is to quiet and compose gard to our present and our the infernal assembly, and the past condition; if we read with effect of this therefore is as proregard of what we are and where, perly compared by Milton to the the sense is, with regard to our wind falling after a tempest. present condition and the place Claudian has a simile of the where we

are; which latter same kind in his description of seems much better.

the infernal council. In Rufi285. -as when hollow rocks num, i. 70. retain &c.] Virgil compares the

-ceu murmurat alti assent given by the assembly of Impacata quies pelagi, cum flamine the gods to Juno's speech, Æn.

fracto x. 96. to the rising wind, which

Durat adhuc sævitque tumor, du

biumque per æstum our author assimilates to its de

Lassa recedentis fluitant vestigia creasing murmurs,

venti. -cunctique fremebant And in other particulars our auCælicolæ assensu vario: ceu flamina

thor seems to have drawn his prima, Cum deprensa fremunt sylvis, et

council of devils with an eye to cæca volutant

Claudian's council of furies; and Murmura, venturos nautis proden. the reader may compare Alecto's tia ventos.

speech with Moloch's, and MeHume.

gæra's with Belial's or rather The conduct of both poets is with Beëlzebub's.

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