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Ais stature reach'd the sky, and on his crest
Satan, I know thy strength, and thou know'st mine; Neither our own, but giv'n. What folly then To boast what arms can do? since thine no more Than Heav'n permits, nor mine, though doubled now To trample thee as mire: for proof look up, 1010 And read thy lot in yon celestial sign, (weak, Where thou art weigh'd, and shewn how light, how If thou resist. The Fiend look'd up, and knew His mounted scale aloft: nor more; but fled Murm'ring, and with him fled the shades of night.
989. A powerful personification of horror. 1002. The same allegory is employed by both Homer and Virgil, and in Scripture we find Daniel informing Belshazzar that he was weighed in the balancos: for illustrations of this passage, see Job xxviii. xxxvii. Isa. xl. 1. Sam. ii. 3. Proverbs xvi. 2. and Dan. .
1003. Bentley proposes to read signal instead of sequel, but the latter is preferable, see Hom. II. viii. 69. also Virgil, Æn. xli. 728.
1012. Milton follows Scripture and not the poets in making the scale ascend in token of victory.
THE ARGUMENT. Morning approacher, Eve relates to Adam ber troubleson dream; he likes it not, yet comforts ber: They come forth to their day labours : Their morning hymn at the door of their bower. God, to render man inexcusable, sends Raphael to admunish him of his obedience, of his free estate, of his enemy near at hand, who he is, and why his enemy, and whatever else may avail Adam to know. Raphael comes down to Paradise, his appearance described, his coniing discerned by Adam afar oil, sitting at the door of his bower; he goes out to meet him, brings him to his lodge, entertains him with the choicest fruits of Paradise got together by Eve; their discourse at t.ble : Raphael performs his message, minds Adain of his state and of his enemy; relates, at Adam's request, who that enemy is, and how he came to be so, beginning from his first revolt in Heaven, and the occasion thereof; how he drew his legions after him to the parts of the north, and there incited them to rebel with him, persuading all but only Abdiel a Seraph; who in argument dissuades and opposes him, then forsakes him. Now morn her rosy steps in th' eastern cline Advancing, sow'd the earth with orient pearl, When Adam waked, so custom'd, for his sleep Was aery light from pure digestion bred, And temp'rate vapours bland, which tn'only suund 5 Of leaves and fuming rills, Aurora's fan, Lightly dispersed, and the shrill matin song Of birds on ev'ry bough ; so much the more His wonder was to find unwaken'd Eve With tresses discomposed, and glowing cheek, 10 As through inquiet rest; he on his side Leaning, half raised, with looks of cordial love Hung over her enamour'd, and beheld Beauty, which whether waking or asleep, Shot forth peculiar graces ; then with voice 15 Mild, as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes, Her hand soft touching, whisper'd thus: Awake, My fairest, my espoused, my latest found, Heav'n's last best gift, my ever new delight, Awake; the morning shines, and the fresh field 20
1. This is a lovely description of morning, and the more beautiful because not separated from the consideration of the actors in the poem.-I think it will be generally found that poets of great eminence seldom indulge themselves in pure description, or rather, that their descriptions are almost always mixed up with circumstance and detail. 5. Which refers to sleep, not to vapours.
Calls us ; we lose the prime, to mark how spring
25 Such whisp'ring waked her, but with startled eye On Adam, whom embracing, thus she spake :
O sole in whom my thoughts find all repose, My glory, my perfection, glad I see Thy face, and morn return'd ; for I this night 30 (Such night till this I never pass'd) have dream'd, If dream'd, not as I oft am wont, of thee, Works of day past, or morrow's next design, But of offence and trouble, which my mind Knew never till this irksome night. Methought, 35 Close at mine ear one call'd me forth to walk, With gentle voice ; I thought it thine: it said, Why sleep'st thou, Eve? now is the pleasant time, The cool, the silent, save where silence yields To the night-warbling bird, that now awake 40 Tunes sweetest his love-labour'd song; now reigns Full orb d the moon, and with more pleasing light Shadowy sets off the face of things ; in vain, If none regard ; Heav'n wakes with all his eyes, Whom to behold but thee, Nature's desire ? 45 In whose sight all things joy, with ravishment Attracted by thy beauty still to gaze. I rose as at thy call, but found thee not; To find thee I directed then my walk; And on, methought, alone I pass'd through ways 50 That brought me on a sudden to the tree Of interdicted knowledge: fair it seem'd, Much fairer to my fancy than by day : And as I woud'ring look'd, beside it stood
24. I am inclined to think that this mention of nature is the only blemish in the passage: none of Adam's curious questionings which have been reprobated by writers, were unnatural in a being continually contemplating the universe with an undimmed eye; but it is very inconsistent to suppose he would personify the principle of things, and separate its operation from the immediate action of the divine hand.-Nature was a noble and splendid conception in the mind of the heathen poets and philosophers, but it is a puerile contradiction after the thoughts have been long fixed on a personal Deity. 41. His and her are applied by Milton to the nightingale
One shaped and wing'd, like one of those from Heav'a
90 My guide was gone, and I, methought, sunk down, And fell asleep; but O how glad I waked To find this but a dream! Thus Eve her night Related ; and thus Adam answer'd sad : Best image of myself and dearer half,
95 The trouble of thy thoughts this night in sleep Affects me equally; nor can I like
This uncoutb dream, of evil sprung I fear;
110 To imitate her; but misjoining shapes, Wild work produces oft, and most in dreams, Ill matching words and deeds long past or late. Some such resemblances methinks I find Of our last evening's talk, in this thy dream, 115 But with addition strange; yet be not sad. Evil into the mind of God or Man May come and go, so unapproved, and leave No spot or blame behind : Which gives me hope That what in sleep thou didst abhor to dream 120 Waking thou never wilt consent to do. Be not dishearten'd then, nor cloud those looks That wont to be more cheerful and serene Than when fair morning first smiles on the world ; And let us to our fresh employments rise
125 Among the groves, the fountains, and the flowers That open now their choicest bosom'd smells, Reserved from night, and kept for thee in store.
So cheer'd he his fair spouse, and she was cheer'd ; But silently a gentle tear let fall
130 From either eye, and wiped them with her hair. Two other precious drops that ready stood, Each in their crystal sluice, he ere they fell Kiss'd, as the gracious signs of sweet remorse And pious awe, that fear'd to have offended. 135 So all was clear'd, and to the field they haste. But first, from under shady arborons roof Soon as they forth were come to open sight
117. God in this line means angel; the word is so applied la Scripture sometimes : see also John X. 35. and refer to line 60