Page images

72. Utter darkness. So P. L. 3: 16; 5: 614; and Shakespeare, 1 Hen. IV. III. iii. 42. See Matt. 8: 12; 22: 13; 25: 30; Jude 6. For the equivalence of outer and utter see Ezek. 10: 5; 42: 1. Portion. See Matt. 24: 51.

74. Not very far for creatures who could have measured all that distance, and a much greater, by a single act of the will.' — LANDOR. Is this a just criticism? How long had it taken them to fall (P. L. 6 871; cf. 8 113-114)? Cf. the Genesis of the Pseudo-Cadmon, p. 193, v. 71.


In Il. 8: 13-16, Zeus threatens: 'I will take and cast him into misty Tartaros, right far away, where is the deepest gulf beneath the earth, as far beneath Hades as Heaven is high above the earth.' In En. 6: 577-579, the Sibyl speaks: Then Tartarus itself yawns with sheer descent, and stretches down through the darkness twice as far as the eye travels upward to the firmament of heaven.' 78. Weltering. Define. See Lyc. 13.

81. Beelzebub. See 2 Kings 1:2 ff.; Matt. 12:24. See Milton's description of him, P. L. 2: 299–309. What indications of his character are given in P. L. 1: 128-155, 271-282; 2: 299-380? what respect, if any, does he appear inferior to Satan?


Arch-Enemy. How does this term differ in meaning from the Arch-Fiend of P. L. 1: 156, 209 (cf. Arch-Foe, P. L. 6:259)? What is the etymology of fiend? What the meaning of the word Satan?

With 81 ff. cf. p. 194, v. 108 ff.

83. Horrid. Why horrid? Has the word occurred before in this Book?

84. Beest. Is this the usual word? But oh, etc.

Note the anacoluthon in this speech. What is anacoluthon? What does this figure suggest on the part of the speaker?

How fallen! how changed. An allusion to Scripture and to Virgil. See Isa. 14: 12, and Æn. 2: 274.

What expressions in this speech are complimentary ? Could Satan have any reason for using compliment? Are there any expressions denoting superiority? Why would not monologue have served as well in this place?

84-94. Mark the cæsural pauses, and note the number of syllables which precede the pause in the successive lines. Would uniformity

in this respect be preferable? Compare, in this respect, vv. 59–69. See, on the subject of Milton's rhythm, Introduction, pp. 30-31, 36-37. 86. Cf. p. 193, v. 54.

86-87. Didst


bright. Cf. Odys. 6: 107-8: 'High over all she [Artemis] rears her head and brows, and easily may she be known, but all are fair!'

[ocr errors]

93. Thunder. A consultation of the following passages ought to be interesting: P. L. 1 : 174, 258, 601; 2: 66, 166, 294. From a comparison of these with Shakespeare, King Lear II. iv. 230; Troil. II. iii. 11; Cymb. IV. ii. 271; V. iv. 30, 95, should you judge this to be a Christian or a pagan conception? See note on v. 199.

94. Dire. Define. See P. L. 2: 589.

Yet not for those, etc. Cf. Prometheus Bound 1013-1016 :

Let him now hurl his blanching lightnings down,

And with his white-winged snows, and mutterings deep

Of subterraneous thunders, mix all things,
Confound them in disorder! None of this

Shall bend my sturdy will.

97. Changed. Modifies what word?

98. Lowell says (Shakespeare Once More): 'Milton is saved from making total shipwreck of his large-utteranced genius on the desolate Noman's Land of a religious epic only by the lucky help of Satan and his colleagues, with whom, as foiled rebels and republicans, he cannot conceal his sympathy.'

101. Innumerable force. Define.

105-106. What though . . . not lost. Cf. Fairfax's Tasso 4 : 15:


We lost the field, yet lost we not our heart.

105-109. What though ... overcome. Memorize.

107. Study. What is the primary meaning of the Latin studium? 108-109. Note the following by Matthew Arnold, The Study of Poetry:

'There can be no more useful help for discovering what poetry belongs to the class of the truly excellent, and can therefore do us most good, than to have always in one's mind lines and expressions of the great masters, and to apply them as a touchstone to other poetry. Of course we are not to require this other poetry to resemble them; it may be very dissimilar. But if we have any tact we shall find them, when we have lodged them well in our minds, an infallible touchstone for detecting the presence or absence of

high poetic quality, and also the degree of this quality, in all other poetry which we may place beside them. Short passages, even single lines, will serve our turn quite sufficiently.'

The author then quotes Homer, Il. 3: 243, 244; 17: 443-445; 24: 543; Dante, Inf. 33: 49-50; 2: 91-93; Par. 3: 85; Shakespeare, 2 Henry IV. III. i. 20-22; Hamlet V. ii. 354-357, and adds: 'Take of Milton that Miltonic passage:

[blocks in formation]

and finish with the exquisite close to the loss of Proserpine, the loss

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

These few lines, if we have tact and can use them, are enough even of themselves to keep clear and sound our judgments about poetry, to save us from fallacious estimates of it, to conduct us to a real estimate.'

111. To bow, etc. Cf. Prometheus Bound 1023–1027 :

Oh! think no more

That I, fear-struck by Zeus to a woman's mind,

Will supplicate him, loathed as he is,

With feminine upliftings of my hands,

To break these chains! Far from me be the thought!

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

116. By fate. Is this a Biblical conception? Why put into the mouth of Satan? Gods. See P. L. 1: 138, 570; 2: 391.

117. Empyreal substance. Cf. heavenly essences, v. 138; fiery essence, Hymn on the Circumcision 7. Cf. P. L. 6: 433-435:

Since now we find this our empyreal form
Incapable of mortal injury,


[ocr errors]

For the Scriptural warrant of this view, see Ps. 104: 4. What is the etymology of empyreal?

123. Scan the line.

124. What is the usual Greek meaning of tyrant, and tyranny? 126. Cf. En. 1: 208-209: 'Such were his words; sick at heart with a weight of care, hope in his looks he feigns, deep in his soul his grief he stifles.'

129. That. What is its antecedent? Define embattled.

Seraphim. The modern conceptions of the Seraphim and Cherubim are not directly derived from the Bible, but owe much to the treatise on the Celestial Hierarchies by the Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, of the fourth century, from which modern poets have freely drawn. Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologica, thus treats the subject (Quæst. 108):

'The name of Seraphim is not given from love alone, but from excess of love, which the name of heat or burning implies. Hence Dionysius interprets the name Seraphim according to the properties of fire, in which is excess of heat. In fire, however, we may consider three things. First, a certain motion which is upward, and which is continuous; by which is signified, that they are unchangingly moving towards God. Secondly, its active power, which is heat; . . . and by this is signified the influence of this kind of Angels, which they exercise powerfully on those beneath them, exciting them to a sublime fervor, and thoroughly purifying them by burning. Thirdly, in fire its brightness must be considered; and this signifies that such angels have within themselves an inextinguishable light, and that they perfectly illuminate others.

In the same way the name of Cherubim is given from a certain excess of knowledge; hence it is interpreted plenitudo scientiæ, which Dionysius explains in four ways: first, as perfect vision of God; secondly, full reception of divine light; thirdly, that in God himself they contemplate the beauty of the order of things emanating from God; fourthly, that, being themselves full of this kind of knowledge, they copiously pour it out upon others.'

So Bacon, in his Advancement of Learning, Bk. I:

'To proceed to that which is next in order from God to spirits, we find, as far as credit is to be given to the celestial hierarchy of that supposed Dionysius the senator of Athens, the first place or degree is given to the angels of love, which are termed seraphim, the second to the angels of light, which are termed cherubim.'

To these add Byron, Cain I. i. 418:

I have heard it said,
The seraphs love most cherubim know most.


Conduct. A sense now somewhat rare. See P. L. 6: 777;

9: 630; so Shak., King John IV. ii. 129: 'Under whose conduct came those powers of France ?' Is the meaning merely guidance?

134. Rue. Define.

135. Foul. Define. See v. 555.

137. Laid. Construction?

139. Remains. Account for the singular.

141. What word is to be understood before extinct and swallowed?

144. Of force. Cf. Shak., 1 Hen. IV. II. iii. 120, where Hotspur's wife replies to his question, 'Will this content you, Kate?' in the words, It must of force.' Meaning?

145. Than such. Meaning of such? Is the repetition of force, in a different sense, felicitous ?

147. Strongly. Meaning?

148. Suffice. Satisfy. The Latin sufficere would here require a dative. Ire. Etymology? Would it be better to

avoid the rime it causes ?


149. Thralls. One of the very few old English words borrowed from Scandinavian; see Emerson, History of the English Language, p. 155.

150. By right of war. Modifies what word? His business. Meaning of his? Cf. Luke 2: 49: Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?'

154. Being. Cf. P. L. 2: 98.

156. Speedy words. Like the Homeric 'winged words,' as, for example, in Odys. 1: 122, and often.

157. To be... suffering. Memorize this apothegm. To what is it a reply? Why Cherub, instead of Seraph? See note on v. 129. 158. Doing or suffering. Milton has in mind the antithesis employed by Eschylus and Sophocles, as in Eschylus, Eum. 868; Soph. O. C. 267; consult the Greek Lexicon s. v. Spáw, and see also P. L. 2 : 162, 199, 340. The Latin thus uses facere et pati, Liv. 2: 12; Hor., Od. III. xxiv. 43.

166. Which. What is its antecedent?

167. Fail. Err. A Latinism, nisi (ni) fallor; so Æn. 5: 49. 170. Is there a contradiction between this and P. L. 6: 800-823, 880? If so, how is it to be solved? May ministers here refer to hail, v. 171, and thunder, v. 174 ? Cf. P. L. 6: 836.

« PreviousContinue »