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Or ambush from the deep. What if we find
and interrupt his joy
352. See Hebrews vi. 17 367. It has been supposed that Milton used the word puny in its original sense, as derived from the French puis ne, born since.
To mingle and involve, done all to spite
Well have ye judged, well ended long debate, 390
395 And opportune excursion, we may chance Re-enter Heav'n; or else in some mild zone Dwell not ünvisited of Heav'n's fair licht Secure, and at the bright'ning orient beam Purge off this gloom : the soft delicious air, 400 To heal the scar of these corrosive fires, (send Shall breathe her balm. But first, whom shall we In search of this new world ? whom shall we find Sufficient? who shall ’tempt with wand'ring feet The dark unbottom'd infinite abyss,
405 And through the palpable obscure find out His uncouth way, or spread his aery flight, Upborne with indefatigable wings Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive The happy isle? What strength, what art, can then Suffice, or what evasion bear him safe
This said, he sat; and expectation held
420 Pond'ring the danger with deep thoughts ; and each
406. Palpable obscure; this is another instance of Milton's using adjectives in the sense of substantives.
409 The earth is here called an island in allusion to its hanging in the air, whieh surrounds it like a sea. The word arrive Wün formerly frequently used without a preposition following.
In other's count'nance read his own dismay
O Progeny of Heav'n, empyreal Thrones, 430 With reason hath deep silence and demur Seized us, though undismay'd : long is the way And hard that out of Hell leads up to light; Our prison strong ; this huge convex of fire, Outrageous to devour, immures us round 435 Ninefold, and gates of burning adamant Barr'd over us prohibit all egress. These pass’d, if any pass, the void profound Of unessential Night receives him next Wide gaping, and with utter loss of being 440 Threatens him, plunged in that abortive galt. If thence he 'scape into whatever world, Or unknown region, what remains him less Than unknown dangers, and as hard escape ? But I should ill become this throne, O Peers, 445 And this imperial sov'reignty, adorn'd With splendour, arm'd with pow'r, if aught propos'd And judged of public moment, in the shape Of difficulty or danger, could deter Me from attempting. Wherefore do I assume 450 These royalties, and not refuse to reign, Refusing to accept as great a share Of hazard as of honour; due alike To him who reigns, and so much to him due Of hazard more, as he above the rest
455 High honour'd sits ? Go, therefore, mighty Powers, Terror of Heav'n, though fall'n; intend at home While here shall be our home, what best may ease The present misery, and render Hell More tolerable; if there be cure or charm 460 To respite, or deceive, or slack the pain
439. Unessential; that is, void of substance.
Of this ill mansion ; intermit no watch
495. Milton intimates above, that the fallen and degraded state of man or his individual vice is not at all disproved by some of his external actions not appearing totally base. The commentators should have observed, in explaining this passage, that the whole grand mystery on which the poem depends is the first fearful spiritual alienation of Satan from God, the only fountain of truth and all real positive good; and that when thus separated, whether the spirit be that of man or devil, it may perform actions fair in appearance but not essentially good, because springing from no fixed principle of good.
O shame to men ! Devil with Devil damn'd
The Stygian council thus dissolved ; and forth In order came the grand infernal peers : 'Midst came their mighty Paramount, and seem'd Alone th' antagonist of Heav'n, nor less Than Hell's dread emperor with pomp supreme, 510 And God-like imitated state ; him round A globe of fiery Seraphim inclosed With bright emblazonry, and horrent arms. Then of their session ended they bid cry With trumpets regal sound the great result: 515 Tow'rds the four winds four speedy Cherubim Put to their mouths the sounding alchemy By heralds' voice explain'd; the hollow abyss Heard far and wide, and all the host of Hell With deaf'ning shout return'd them loud acclain. 520 Thence more at ease their minds, and somewhat raised By false presumptuous hope, the ranged Pow'rs Disband, and wand'ring, each his sev 'ral way Pursues, as inclination or sad choice Leads him perplex’d, where he may likeliest find 525 Truce to his restless thoughts, and entertain The irksome hours till his great chief return. Part on the plain, or in the air sublime,
496. It has been well observed, that an allusion is probably made here to the troubler character of the times in which the author lived.
$12. A globe, or a battalion surrounding him in a circle. See Virgil, Æn. X. 373.
513. Horrent, rouzh and sharp. This epithet I imagine to have considerable force, because it implies the dense and com pact closeness of the globe of spirits surrounding Satan. The arnis were horrent, because standing out like a boar's bristles from this fiery body.
517. Alchemy, a very fine metonymy for the trumpets. 528. The occupations of the fallen spirits are conceived in the sighest strain both of poetry and philosophy.