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Rar off and fearless, nor with cause to boast,
O thou that with surpassing glory crown'd,
24. Memory is here used in the sense of reflection or conside. ration.
32. Milton first thought of writing a tragedy on the Loss of Pa radise, and the first ten lines of this speech formed its opening.
50. Sdeign'd, for disdad, from the Italian, sdegnare.
So burdensome still paying, still to owe,
70 Nay, cursed be thou; since against his thy will Chose freely what it now so justly rues. Me miserable! which way shall I fly Infinite wrath, and infinite despair? Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell; 75 And in the lowest deep a lower deep Still threat’ning to devour me opens wide, To which the Hell suffer seems a Heav'n O then at last relent." Is there no place Left for repentance, none for pardon left ?
80 None left but by submission; and that word DISDAIN forbids me, and my dread of shame Among the Spirits beneath, whom I seduced With other promises and other vaunts Than to submit, boasting I could subdue
85 Th’Omnipotent. Ay me, they little know How dearly I abide that boast so vain, Under what torments inwardly I groan, While they adore me on the throne of Hell ! With diadem and sceptre high advanced,
00 The lower still I fall, only supreme In misery! such joy ambition finds. But say I could repent, and could obtain
55. Understood not, to be connected with the preceding vertus
By act of grace my former state, how soon 94
110 Divided empire with Heav'n's Kivg I hold, By thee, and more than half perhaps will reign; As Man ere long, and this new world shall know.
Thus while he spake, each passion dimm’d his face; Thrice changed with pale, ire, envy, and despair; 115 Which marr'd his borrow'd visage, and betray'd Him counterfeit, if any eye beheld. For heav'nly minds from such distempers foul Are ever clear. Whereof he soon aware, Each perturbation sinooth'd with outward calm, 120 Artificer of fraud ; and was the first That practised falsehood under saintly show, Deep malice to conceal, couch'd with revenge : Yet not enough had practised to deceive Uriel once warn'd; whose eye pursued him down 125 The way he went, and on th’ Assyrian mount Saw him disfigured more than could befall Spirit of happy sort; his gestures fierce He mark'd and mad demeanour, then alone, As he supposed, all unobserved, unseen.
130 So on he fares, and to the border comes Of Eden, where delicious Paradise, Now nearer, crowns with her inclosure green, As with a rural mound, the champaign head Of a steep wilderness, whose hairy sides 135 With thicket overgrown, grotesque and wild,
Access deny'd; and over head up grew,
151. The description which Milton has given of Paradise is similar to those of Homer, Spenser, and Tasso, in their accounts of the gardens in which the scene of their poems sometimes lies. To these may be added Ariosto's and Marino's, it being generally allowed, that though Milton's is superior to any other, that the Italian come nearest in beauty and perfection.
158. An imitation is here observed of Shakspeare in the Twelfth Night, or of Ariosto, Orlan. Fur. 6. 34. st. 51.
162. Mozambique is an island on the eastern coast of Africa. As the north-east wind blows contrary to those who have doabled the Cape, they are nence obliged to slack their coune. Sabean from Saba, a city and province of Arabia Felix
168. See Tobit viii.
Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent 170 From Media post to Egypt, there fast bound.
Now to th' ascent of that steep savage hill Satan had journey'd on, pensive and slow; But further way found none, so thick intwined, As one continued brake, the undergrowth 175 Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplex'd All path of man or beast that pass'd that way: One gate there only was, and that look'd east On th' other side ; which when th'arch-felon saw, Due entrance he disdain'd, and in contempt, 180 At one slight bound high overleap'd all bound Of hill or highest wall, and sheer within Lights on his feet. As when a prowling wolf, Whom hunger drives to seek new haunt for prey, Watching where shepherds pen their flocks at eve In hurdled cots amid the field secure,
186 Leaps o'er the fence with ease into the fold : Or as a thief bent to unhoard the cash Of some rich burgher, whose substantial doors, Cross-barr'd and bolted fast, fear no assault, 190 In at the window climbs, or o'er the tiles : So clomb this first grand thief into God's fold; So since into his church lewd hirelings climb. Thence up he flew, and on the tree of life, The middle tree and highest there that grew, 195 Sat like a cormorant; yet not true life Thereby regain'd, but sat devising death To them who lived ; nor on the virtue thought Of that life-giving plant, but only used For prospect, what well used had been the pledge Of immortality. So little knows Any, but God alone, to value right The good before him, but perverts best things To worst abuse, or to their meanest use. Beneath him, with new wonder, now he views 205 To all delight of human sense exposed In narrow room Nature's whole wealth, yea more, A Heav'n on Earth : for blissful Paradise
183. A wolf is a frequent subject of comparison in the poets, but for the whole of this, see John x. 1
193. Lewd, impious or wicked. 195. Gen. ij. 9 In the midst, signifies the excellency as well is the situation of the tree.