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For well I understand, in the prime end
His image who made both, and less expressing
The character of that dominion giv'n
O'er other creatures; yet, when I approach
Her loveliness, so absolute she seems,
As one intended first, not after made
Greatness of Mind and Nobleness their seat
To whom the Angel, with contracted brow:
Dismiss not her, when most thou need'st her nigh, By attribúting overmuch to things
Less excellent, as thou thyself perceiv'st.
547. Absolute; complete, as used in the former instance, line 421. 568. Eph. v. 28, 29.
576. Adorn, for adorn'd, to avoid the inharmonious sound of the Latter with the word made.-It is thus used, as fledge for fledged, and comes from the Italian adjective adorno.
But if the sense of touch, whereby mank.nd
So much delights me as those graceful acts,
More grateful than harmonious sound to th' ear.
Variously representing; yet, still free,
Approve the best, and follow what I approve.
To whom the Angel, with a smile that glow'd
589. It is supposed that Milton a judes in this passage to Plato's theory of divine love.
Answer'd: Let it suffice thee that thou know'st 620
Us happy'; and without love no happiness.
Of membrane, joint, or limb, exclusive bars.
Beyond the earth's green cape and verdant isles
Be strong, live happy', and love, but first of all,
His great command: take heed lest passion sway 635 Thy judgment to do aught which else free will
Would not admit; thine and of all thy sons
The weal or woe in thee is placed; beware.
I in thy persevering shall rejoice,
And all the Blest.
Stand fast; to stand or fall
So saying, he arose; whom Adam thus
Thy condescension, and shall be honour'd ever
So parted they; the Angel up to Heav'n From the thick shade, and Adam to his bower.
634. 1 John v. 3.
645. Benediction; not signifying blessing, but farewell. 652. His bower, that is, his inmost bower or place of rest.
Satan, having compassed the earth with meditated guile, returns as a mist by night into Paradise, erters into the serpent sleeping. Adam and Eve in the morning go forth to their labours, which Eve proposes to divide in several places, each labouring apart: Adam consents not, alleging the danger, lest that enemy, of whom they were forewarned, should attempt her, found alone: Eve, loath to be thought not circumspect or firm enough, urges her going apart, the rather desirous to make trial of her strength: Adam at last yields: The Serpent finds her alone; his subtle ap proach, first gazing, then speaking, with much flattery extolling Eve above all other creatures. Eve wondering to hear the Serpent speak, asks how he attained to human speech and such understanding not till now: the Serpent answers, that by tasting of a certain tree in the garden he attained both to speech and rea.. son; till then void of both: Eve requires him to bring her to that tree, and finds it to be the tree of knowledge, forbidden: The Serpent, now grown bolder, with many wiles and arguments, in duces her at length to eat; she, pleased with the taste, deliberates a while whether to impart thereof to Adam or not, at last brings him of the fruit, relates what persuaded her to eat thereof; Adam, at first amazed, but perceiving her lost, resolves, through vehemence of love, to perish with her; and extenuating the trespass, eats also of the fruit: The effects thereof in them both; they seek to cover their nakedness; then fall to variance and accusation of one another.
No more of talk where God or Angel guest
Venial discourse, unblamed: I now must change
Those notes to tragic; foul distrust, and breach
And disobedience: on the part of Heav'n
Now alienated, distance and distaste,
Anger and just rebuke, and judgment given,
1. Milton has arranged the divisions of his poem with great skill. The reader is by turns filled with awe and delight, astonishment and wonder: after having been terror-stricken at the sublime account of the fall of the angels, he is charmed and soothed by the description of Paradise, and the sweet discourse of philosophy, carried on between Raphael and Adam. A new order of feelings are now to be awakened, and pity, mingled with fear, possesses us through the whole book.
11. Nothing can be in worse taste than this and other such puns; but not a great poet is perhaps to be found, with a taste so pure, that it could resist altogether the corruptions of the popular one.
Death's harbinger. Sad task! yet argument
Unsung; or to describe races and games,
At joust and tournament; then marshal'd feast
Served up in hall with sewers and seneschals;
Not that which justly gives heroic name
Nor skill'd nor studious, higher argument
21. The picture of Milton, which here rises to the mind, is among the most beautiful of the visions to which the poem gives birth. Blind, deserted, but inspired, how like a character in the work does he seem to the imagination, while thus speaking of his communion with the heavenly muse.
26. He had, long before commencing Paradise Lost, or designing it even, determined to write an Epic on the subject of King Arthur's history.
28. Allusion is made in this passage to the principal Epics, the subjects of which are almost all drawn from the wars of one country or the other. The most ardent lover of the classic poeme cannot but feel Milton's objection to be correct; the only caution to be observed, is, not to mistake his dislike of their subjects for any depreciation of the sublime geniuses which composed them.
35. Impresses quaint; witty devices on the shields-Bases, or housings. Sewers, servants who placed the dishes on the table. -Seneschal, a principal servant, or steward.