« PreviousContinue »
Over their heads à crystal firmament,
765 Of smoke and bick’ring tiame and sparkles dire : Attended with ten thousand thousand Saints, He onward came; far off his coming shone; And twenty thousand (I their number heard) Chariots of God, half on each hand were seen. 770 He on the wings of Cherub rode sublime On the crystalline sky, in sapphire throned, Illustrious far and wide, but by his own First seen; them unexpected joy surprised, When the great ensign of Messiah blazed 775 Aloft, by Angels borne, his sign in Heav'n ; Under whose conduct Michael soon reduced His army, circumfused on either wing, Under their Head embody'd all in one. Before him pow'r divine his way prepared : 780 At his command th' uprooted hills retired Each to his place; they heard his voice, and went Obsequious; Heav'n his wonted face renew'd, And with fresh flow'rets hill and valley smiled. This saw his hapless fues, but stood obdured, 785 And to rebellious fight rallied their Pow'rs Insensate, hope conceiving from despair. In Heav'nly Spirits could such perverseness dwell ? But to convince the proud what signs avail, Or wonders move th' obdurate to relent?
790 They, harden'd more by what might most reclaim, Grieving to see his glory, at the sight Took envy; and aspiring to his bighth, Stood re-embattled fierce, by force or fraud
760. The Urim and Thummím formed part of Aaron's breast plate. The former in Hebrew means light, the latter perfection.
765. Ps. xviii. 8. 1. 3. for the next line see Jude 14. Ps. Ixviii. 17. Rev vii. 4.
771. Ps. xvii. 20. 776. It is doubtful whether Milton alluded to any particular sign here but assuredly, I think, not to the cross, as has been supposed.
Weening to prosper, and at length prevail
706 Against God and Messiah, or to fall In universal ruin last ; and now To final battle drew, disdaining flight Or faint retreat; when the great Son of God To all his host on either hand thus spake : 800
Stand still in bright array, ye Saints; here stand Ye Angels arm'd, this day from battle rest: Faithful hath been your warfare, and of God Accepted, fearless in his righteous cause ; And as ye have received, so have ye done 805 Invincibly : but of this cursed crew The punishment to other hand belongs : Vengeance is his, or whose he sole appoints; Number to this day's work is not ordain'd, Nor multitude; stand only and behold
810 God's indignation on these Godless pour'd By me ; not you, but me, they have despised, Yet envy'd. Against me is all their rage, Because the Father, t' whom in Heav'n supreme Kingdom, and pow'r, and glory appertains, 815 Hath honour'd me according to his will. Therefore to me their doom he hath assign'd; That they may have their wish, to try with me In battle which the stronger proves ; they all, Or I alone against them, since by strength 920 They measure all, of other excellence Not emulous, nor care who them excels ; Nor other strife with them do I vouchsafe. . So spake the Son, and into terror changed His count'nance, too severe to be beheld,
825 And full of wrath bent on his enemies. At once the Four spread out their starry wings With dreadful shade contiguous, and the orbs Of his fierce chariot roll'd, as with the sound Of torrent floods, or of a num'rous host.
830 He on his impious foes right onward drové, Gloomy as night : under his burning wheels The steadfast empyréan shook throu, hout, Al but the throne itself of God. Full soon Among them he arrived ; in his right hand 835
832. Gloomy as night, from Homer, who 80 mentions Apollo and Hector.
Grasping ten thousand thunders, which he sent
Hell heard th' unsufferable noise ; Hell saw Heav'n ruining from Heav'n, and would have fled Affrighted ; but strict Fate had cast too deep Her dark foundations, and too fast had bound. 870 Nine days they fell: confounded Chaos roar'd, And felt tenfold confusion in their fall Through his wild anarchy, so huge a rout Incumber'd him with ruin. Hell at last Yawning, received them whole, and on them closed : Hell, their fit habitation, fraught with fire 876 $42. Rev. vi. 16.
859. Job vi. 4. ul. Ruining, from the Latin ruo, to rush or fall headlong.
Unquenchable, the house of woe and pain.
906 As a despite done against the Most High, Thee once to gain companion of his woe. But listen not to his temptations, warn Thy weaker ; let it profit thee to' have heard, By terrible example, the reward
910 Of disobedience. Firm they might have stood, Yet fell ; remember, and fear to transgress.
888. Rev. iv. 11.
Raphael, at the request of Adam, relates how and wherefore this world was first created : that God after the expelling of Satan and his Angels out of Heaven, declared his pleasure to creato another world and other creatures to dwell, therein; sends his son with glory and attendance of Angels to perform the work of creation in six days; the Angels celebrate with hymns the per formance thereof, and his reascension into Heaven.
DESCEND from Heav'n, Urania, by that name
1 If rightly thou art call’d, whose voice divine Following, above th’ Olympian hill I soar, Above the flight of Pegaséan wing. The meaning, not the name I call; for thou 5 Nor of the Muses nine, nor on the top Of old Olympus dwell'st, but heav'nly born : Before the hills appear'd, or fountain flow'd, Thou with eternal Wisdom didst converse, Wisdom thy sister, and with her didst play 10 In
presence of th' Almighty Father, pleased With thy celestial song. Up led by thee Into the Heav'n of Heav'ns I have presumed, An earthly guest, and drawn empyreal air, Thy temp'ring. With like safety guided down, 15 Return me to my native element; Lest from this flying steed, unrein'd (as once Bellerophon, though from a lower clime),
1. Milton has, throughout his poem, shewn the most admirable skill in adapting to his purpose, such parts of the classical mythology as he wished to employ. He has been much blamed for his frequent, and, as it is thought, affected display of learning is this particular ; but there is a circumstance which has not, I believe, struck the minds of his cop, mentators, which goes far to justify him in this respect. Milton's imagination, filled with the rich antiquity of his theme, was necessarily frequently occupied by the splendid pomps with which superstition crowds her temple, but he could not contemplate a single part of his subject, without putting the truth of nature and revelation in juxta position witi the corruptions of both. Hence many of his most beautiful ideas are mixed up with these allusions, and it can hardly fail the notice of a reflecting reader, that the mind never once losing sight of the various forms under which the enemies of God have appeared, comprehends the compass of the poem more closely than it could otherwise have done.
8 Proverbs viii. 24. 19. Bellerophon; he attempted, it is said, to mount to heaven ou the winged horse Pegasus, and fell in the Aleian field or-in Cilicia