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sense common in Shakespeare, but now becoming obsolete. Here to abide a boast' means to endure not a boast, but the consequences of a boast. This change of meaning is partly due to the natural confusion between a crime and its consequences, exemplified in the double meaning of the Lat. piaculum (Aeneid, VI. 569), partly to the confusion of 'abide' with the obsolete verbabye' (connected with 'buy') = pay for, pay the penalty for. Abide' is used similarly in the sense of 'abye' in Julius Caesar, III. ii. 119:

"If it be found so, some will dear abide it."

89. the throne of Hell. Compare II. 1. Some editors put a full stop after 'Hell,' and a comma after 'groan' in the previous line.

91, 92. only supreme In misery. He means that the great power and glory he enjoys among the fallen angels is a shadow, and the only real pre-eminence he has is pre-eminence in misery. Compare II. 27-30.

92. joy is bitterly ironical. The ambitious, instead of the happiness they expect, are doomed to misery.

93. But say I could, but let us put the case that I could.


94, 95. how soon Would highth, etc. In a paraphrase these abstract terms should be rendered by concretes, and the rhetorical question expecting the answer 'yes' should be turned into an affirmative statement. The meaning might be expressed in a paraphrase as follows: Very soon, if restored to my former high position, I should become as proud as I was before, and retract the oaths that I swore when I was hypocritically submissive. When freed from the burden of misery, I should refuse to perform vows made under the pressure of misfortune on the excuse that they were extorted from me by violence, and therefore nugatory.' In these lines Satan expresses the likelihood of his acting in accordance with the character ascribed to him in a popular Latin couplet, which has been translated:

"The Devil was ill, the Devil a monk would be; The Devil got well, the devil a monk was he." Compare also the following lines from Tennyson's Elaine : "Yet the great knight in his mid-sickness made Full many a holy vow and pure resolve.

These, as but born of sickness, could not live."

99-100. For the difficulty of reconcilement, compare the Indian proverb, "O Summum, do not rudely break the cord of friendship; if, after breaking, it should be joined, a knot will remain.

102. The doubled misery is too great a price to pay for a short respite.


103. This includes all the considerations in lines 96-102. particular considerations that actuated God and the Devil were, however, different. God would not grant peace, because he knew that the Devil would soon rebel again. The Devil would not ask for peace, because he knew that the temporary respite would in the end lead to worse misery.

107. him stands for 'mankind' personified as Man (113). 108. farewell fear. Compare

"All hope is lost

Of my reception into grace: what worse?
For where no hope is left, is left no fear


(Paradise Regained, III. 206).

The sentiment is inconsistent with that expressed in 76. This inconsistency is, however, quite justifiable in a speech intended to express mental conflict.

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109. All good to me is lost, I have no hope of any kind of good. This is in seeming contradiction with what follows. The contradiction is resolved when we see that "good" is used in the two lines in different senses. In line 109 " good means real good, real welfare, real happiness; whereas in the following line it means seeming good. Satan's meaning is that, as he need not hope to obtain the real good, he is determined to pursue evil as if it were his good, to make evil the great object of all his endeavours.

110. Evil, be thou my Good. This sentence, besides being in seeming contradiction with the previous sentence, is also in seeming contradiction with itself. As evil is the opposite of good, how can evil be anyone's good? Evil cannot be good, if evil and good are predicated from the same point of view. What is morally evil cannot be morally good. But what is morally evil may be chosen as one's good, that is, as the object of one's pursuit, and this is Satan's meaning. Compare 1. 160:

"To do aught good never will be our task,

But ever to do ill our sole delight."

111. Divided empire. By his wickedness Satan had become ruler of hell, and so had what he chose to regard as an equal share with God in the sovereignty of the universe. He hopes by continuing his career of wickedness to annex to his rule the newly created world, and so become lord of more than half the universe. Reign" is here used transitively in the sense of 'rule' in imitation of the rare transitive use of the Lat. regno (Hor. Od. II. vi. 11).


115. Thrice changed with pale, so that it thrice altered and became pale under the successive influence of ire, envy, and despair. Keightley and Masson make a sharp distinction between the dimness of 114 and the paleness of 115, and understand the

natural paleness of Satan's face thrice to succeed to the dimness or dark glow (cf. "obscured," 1. 571) of the three passions. This is supported by I. 602, from which we may understand that Satan's countenance after his fall was pale in its ordinary state. "Ire," " envy," and "despair," are in apposition to ". passion." The adjective 'pale' is used for the abstract noun 'paleness.' Compare II. 278, "the sensible of pain" = sensibility to pain.

116. his borrowed visage, the face of a stripling cherub which he had temporarily assumed as a disguise. See III. 634-639. 122. One who practises falsehood under saintly show is called a hypocrite.

123. couched with revenge, in close connection with revenge. 124. Yet not enough had practised, sc. falsehood. He was not such an adept in hypocrisy as to be able to delude Uriel when that angel had once got an inkling of his real character. His temporary disfigurement put Uriel on his guard, so that he was not deceived by the subsequent fraud described in 1. 120.

126. the Assyrian mount, Niphates (III. 742).

130. As he supposed is an adverbial clause modifying only what follows. He had been really alone, and he had wrongly supposed

himself to be unobserved.


131. fares, goes. This meaning survives in 'thoroughfare' and in 'fare,' meaning the price paid for a journey. originally meant, 'May you have a prosperous journey.'

132. Eden ... Paradise. As we learn from 11. 208-214, Eden was a wide fertile region, in the east part of which was situated Paradise (derived through the Greek from a Persian word meaning 'garden'), or the Garden of Eden. In the last line of the poem we find that Adam and Eve, though expelled from Paradise, were still in Eden. This is in accordance with what we read in the Bible: "And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden eastward." Nevertheless, people often identify Eden and the garden in which Adam and Eve lived, probably because it was thought that the Garden of Eden (Genesis, iii. 23, 24) meant the garden called Eden, just as the city of Rome means the city called Rome.

134. champain head, level top. Milton represents Paradise as situated on a tableland on the top of a steep, thickly-wooded mountain.

139. branching palm. As only a few rare species of palms have branches in the proper sense of the word, Milton by the epithet 'branching,' which he thrice in his poetry applies to the palm, evidently intends to express the long branch-like leaves that crown its summit. Similarly, palm leaves are called "branches of palm trees" in John, xii. 13.

141. a woody theatre. The trees on the slope of the mountain are compared to rows of spectators in a theatre, each row rising above the row immediately in front. "Theatre" and "" scene in the previous line are both in apposition to "insuperable height of loftiest shade" in l. 138.

142. higher than their tops. This seems at first sight inconsistent with 1. 138, in which it was declared to be impossible to exceed the height of the trees. But, in the first place, the meaning of such an adjective as 'insuperable' must not be pressed. In the second place, the wall, being on the very top of the hill, would by its position overtop the trees, if only equal to them in height. In 146 we have trees higher than the wall which was higher than the tops of the insuperable trees of 138.

145. his nether empire, the earth outside the garden, which, as we have seen, was on the top of a high hill. As Adam was the representative of the human race, the whole earth was regarded as his empire.

147. loaden, a form intermediate between the more common strong participle 'laden' and the weak participle 'loaded.' Compare:

"There grew a goodly tree him fair beside

Loaden with fruit" (Fairy Queen, I. xi. 46).

149. enamelled. Enamel is a kind of glass used for forming an ornamental surface of various colours. Hence "enamelled here means 'decorated with various colours.' The word is used in the same sense in IX. 525, and Lycidas, 139. Notice that in this case a metaphor taken from art is applied to nature, which is the reverse of the usual practice of poets. Similarly Scott has "the varnished holly" (Rokeby, IV. xiii. 4). Compare 249, 700. Such comparisons produce rather a poor effect, as the beauty of flowers far surpasses that of enamel, mosaic, embroidery, or varnish.

151. evening cloud. The pleasure that the sun takes in evening clouds and rainbows is expressed by the bright colours in which they are arrayed by the sunlight (compare 596). Notice the change from " on " in 150 to "in" in 151. The cloud and bow, being less substantial than the blossoms and fruits, are regarded as "interpenetrated" (Shelley) by the sunlight. Bentley changes "in" to " on " " in 151.

152. showered the earth, watered the earth with showers. 'Shower' is used transitively in another sense in 773.

153. of pure. Here 'of' expresses change of state. As he approached the pure air became still purer. For this use of 'of,' compare "I, of brute, human; ye, of human, Gods" (IX. 712), x. 720, and "Is of a king become a banished man (3 Henry VI. III. iii. 25).

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155. Vernal delight. Todd quotes from Milton's Tractate of Education: "In those vernal seasons of the year, when the air is calm and pleasant, it were an injury and sullenness against nature not to go out and see her riches, and partake in her rejoicing with heaven and earth."

157. Fanning, moving their wings with a motion like that of fans. 'Fan' is used in the same sense in Lycidas, 44: "Fanning their joyous leaves."

158. whisper whence they stole, and, as they murmur gently, reveal the source from which their fragrance is derived, namely, from the Garden of Eden. Keightley compares "The shades refreshed by silvan breezes which have passed over the blooming Patalis and stolen their fragrance" (Sakuntala, Prologue); "Even as the breeze snatches perfumes from their very beds," i.e. the flower beds (Bhagavad-Gita), and


'Like the sweet south,

That breathes upon a bank of violets,

Stealing and giving odour" (Twelfth Night, 1. i. 5-7). 159. As, when, etc. Compare II. 636-642. These similes are indications of the interest the English were beginning to take in the trade with India, which was destined to have such an important influence on their future history. The route to India by the Cape of Good Hope was discovered by Vasco de Gama, a Portuguese navigator, in 1498.

161. Mozambic, now spelled Mozambique, a Portuguese settlement on the east coast of Africa.

162. Sabaean odours. Keightley remarks on this passage, "What is here asserted is an impossibility. Any one who will look on a map of the world will see that, when a vessel going to India has passed Mozambic, the coast of Arabia is due north to her, and at an immense distance, with a portion of the east coast of Africa interposed." But, in the first place, strict geographical accuracy can hardly be expected in a poetical simile; and, in the second place, the interposing portion of the east coast of Africa is described by ancient writers as a spice-bearing country under the rule of the Sabaeans. The passage is probably a reminiscence of Diodorus Siculus, who describes the delicious perfume wafted over the sea from the roses, cinnamon trees, and palm trees of this part of the world.

163. Araby the Blest, a literal translation of Arabia Beata, the Latin name of the part of Arabia now called Yemen. The chief people of this region in ancient times were the Sabaei, so that Sabaean can be used as the adjective of Araby the Blest. 163, 164. with such delay Well pleased. their progress towards India is more than

The retardation of compensated for by

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