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Though all our glory extinct, and happy state
Here swallowed up in endless misery.

But what if he, our Conqueror, (whom I now
Of force believe almighty, since no less

Than such could have o'erpowered such force as ours) 145
Have left us this our spirit and strength entire,
Strongly to suffer and support our pains,
That we may so suffice his vengeful ire,
Or do him mightier service as his thralls
By right of war, whate'er his business be,
Here in the heart of Hell to work in fire,
Or do his errands in the gloomy deep?
What can it then avail, though yet we feel
Strength undiminished, or eternal being,

To undergo eternal punishment?"

Whereto with speedy words th' Arch Fiend replied.
"Fallen Cherub! to be weak is miserable,

Doing or suffering: but of this be sure,
To do aught good never will be our task,
But ever to do ill our sole delight,
As being the contrary to his high will
Whom we resist. If then his providence
Out of our evil seek to bring forth good,
Our labour must be to pervert that end,
And out of good still to find means of evil;
Which oft-times may succeed, so as perhaps
Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb

English authors have, in similar instances, employed a verb singular. I concur, however, with L. Murray in disapproving this phraseology. For either the terms are synonymous, or they are not. If their equivalence be admitted, all but one are redundant, and there is only one subject of discourse; only one term should therefore be retained, and a verb singular be joined with it. If they be not equivalent, there are as many distinct ideas as there are terms; and a plurality of subjects require (?) a plural verb."

157. To be weak is miserable, doing or suffering.] To be weak is miserable, doing, because there is no strength of execution; we toil and moil, and after all effect nothing: and suffering, because there is no power of endurance; whatever falls on us, falls with all its weight,





as we have no spring of resistance.
Longfellow-the sweet American poet
of our own day— has adopted the idea
in his poem, On the Light of Stars.

"O, fear not in a world like this,
And thou shalt know ere long,
Know how sublime a thing it is

To suffer and be strong."

Solomon had long ago remarked it as one of the characteristics of old age, that "the grasshopper is a burden" to it.

159. To do aught good, &c.] "Aught," in the sense of any thing, is preferable to " ought," because it is never used in any other sense, whereas "ought" is also used as an auxiliary verb.-See CAMPBELL'S Philosophy of Rhetoric.

167. If I fail not.] There is something inconsistent between the "I"

His inmost counsels from their destined aim.

But see! the angry Victor hath recalled

His ministers of vengeance and pursuit

Back to the gates of Heaven: the sulphurous hail,
Shot after us in storm, o'erblown, hath laid
The fiery surge, that from the precipice
Of Heaven received us falling; and the thunder,
Winged with red lightning and impetuous rage,
Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now
To bellow through the vast and boundless deep.
Let us not slip th' occasion, whether scorn,
Or satiate fury, yield it from our foe.
Seest thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild,
The seat of desolation, void of light,
Save what the glimmering of these livid flames
Casts pale and dreadful? Thither let us tend
From off the tossing of these fiery waves;
There rest, if any rest can harbour there;

here and 1. 164., "Our labour, &c.;"
but it is finely characteristic of the
Devil's egotism. The clause might be
considered as equivalent to the com-
mon phrase "if I am not mistaken;"
but its more natural meaning is, "if I
fail not to find means of evil."


176. Hath spent his shafts.] Milton very often determines the person of his pronoun with a tacit reference to the gender of the corresponding Latin word. Thus his in this line refers to thunder, which, according to our idiom, would properly be neuter, but the corresponding word in Latin, tonitrus, is masculine. Again in 1. 592. of this same book he says, His (Satan's) form had not lost all her original brightness," where he makes the pronoun feminine, because forma in Latin is so. In the same way, in 1. 673., he uses his, referring to hill, because collis or mons is masculine in Latin. When he departs from this rule, it is in favour of the nature of the thing itself, irrespective of the word by which it is expressed; thus, in lines 351, 352, he says:

"A multitude, like which the populous North Poured never from her frozen ioins."

where the idea of "mother of nations," "officina gentium," workshop of






nations, evidently determines him to use the feminine gender. For an account of the populousness of ancient nations, see HUME's Essays.


177. To bellow through the vast and boundless deep.] "Bellow" is from the Sax. "bellan," to roar like a bull, and the whole line is highly expressive. The words, as mere words, give a certain idea of sound and space, and are herc either of set purpose, or, with the unconscious felicity of high genius, made “ echo to the sense." On this line the Richardsons well remark, "Who that reads this, does not hear such thunder (as ?) he never conceived before?" Tennyson has used the same word as well as the word "boom" with great effect in his Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington, when, speaking of “the volleying cannon," he says

"For many a time, in many a clime,

His captain's ear has heard them boom, Bellowing victory, bellowing doom." 178. Let us not slip the occasion.] The full phrase would have been "Let us not let slip the occasion;" but Milton drops one let.

179. Satiate fury.] i. e. rage or fury that has obtained its object, or at any rate spent its force.

185. There rest, fc.] In reading,

And, re-assembling our afflicted Powers,
Consult how we may henceforth most offend
Our enemy; our own loss how repair;
How overcome this dire calamity;

What' reinforcement we may gain from hope;
If not, what resolution from despair."

Thus Satan, talking to his nearest mate,
With head uplift above the wave, and eyes
That sparkling blazed; his other parts besides
Prone on the flood, extending long and large,
Lay floating many a rood; in bulk as huge
As whom the fables name of monstrous size,
Titanian, or Earth-born, that warred on Jove;
Briareos, or Typhon, whom the den

By ancient Tarsus held; or that sea-beast
Leviathan, which God of all his works
Created hugest that swim th' ocean stream:
Him, haply slumb'ring on the Norway foam,
The pilot of some small night-foundered skiff

put a strong emphasis on there, at the
beginning of the line.





cave, having been subdued by Jupiter. Briareus was one of the Titans. 186-187. Afflicted, in the Latin sense war which Titan, along with his of "cast down," "battered," "altogether brethren and sons, waged against Saput to rout;" and "offend," in the sense turn for the recovery of his kingdom, of "hurt by striking against," so as to is known in mythology as the war of the vex and annoy, if not materially damage. Titans, and seems here to be con189. Dire calamity.] "Dire," ill-founded with the war of the giants omened, portending evil. Calamity," against Jupiter. The Titans were the from the Latin word calamus, a reed, or children of Uranus and Gaia heaven stalk of corn, would mean, etymologi- and earth - and hence called "earthcally, the misfortune inflicted on the born." farmer by a storm which broke the stalks of corn, and so prevented it from ever ripening; but the word now means any kind of crushing misfortune. The phrase, "dire calamity," therefore, not merely includes present suffering, but indicates that "worse remains behind."

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200-202. Or that sea-beast, fc.] "What a force of imagination is there in this last expression! What an idea it conveys of the size of that hugest of created beings, as if it shrunk up the ocean to a stream, and took up the sea in its nostrils as a very little thing!"-HAZLITT'S Lectures. Line 202. has been objected to as inharmonious; but it is meant "to labour and move slow," in sympathy with the subject. The same sort of adaptation is visible in line 209., which by its great length and peculiar structure suggests the idea of immense size.

204. Some small night-foundered skiff.] Not "foundered," observe, but "night-foundered," that is, plunged in

Deeming some island, oft, as seamen tell,
With fixed anchor in his scaly rind,

Moors by his side under the lee, while night
Invests the sea, and wished morn delays:

So stretched out, huge in length, the Arch Fiend lay,
Chained on the burning lake; nor ever thence
Had risen or heaved his head, but that the will
And high permission of all-ruling Heaven
Left him at large to his own dark designs,
That with reiterated crimes he might
Heap on himself damnation, while he sought
Evil to others; and, enraged, might see
How all his malice served but to bring forth
Infinite goodness, grace and mercy shown
On Man, by him seduced; but on himself
Treble confusion, wrath, and vengeance poured.
Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool
His mighty stature; on each hand the flames,





Driven backward, slope their pointing spires, and, rolled In billows, leave i' th' midst a horrid vale.

Then with expanded wings he steers his flight

Aloft, incumbent on the dusky air,


That felt unusual weight; till on dry land
He lights, if it were land, that ever burned
With solid, as the lake with liquid, fire;
And such appeared in hue, as when the force
Of subterranean wind transports a hill
Torn from Pelorus, or the shattered side

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night; or, as Hume says, some little boat whose pilot dares not proceed in his course for fear of the dark night-a metaphor taken from a foundered horse that can go no further."

207. Moors by his side under the lee.] Lee is the sheltered side of a ship, or what is opposite to the weather side. When a ship is under the lee of the shore, the wind is blowing off shore; when she is on a lee shore, it is blowing on the land.-See the story of Sinbad the Sailor-first voyage-in the Arabian Nights' Entertainments.

207-208. While night invests the sea, fc.] While night covers the sea as with a garment," and delays, or keeps back, the wished-for morning.



"Delays" might be considered as an intransitive verb, in which case the latter clause would be equivalent to "the wished-for morning lingers."

227. Unusual weight may mean weight to which it was not used, or greater weight than ordinary. Spenser has a passage in which the latter meaning is expressed, and of which this is possibly an adaptation. "Then, with his waving wings displayed wyde, Himselfe up high he lifted from the ground, And with strong flight did forcibly divyde The yielding ayre, which nigh too feeble found

Her flitting parts, and element unsound, To beare so great a weight; he, cutting way With his broad sayles, about him soared round," &c. &c. - Faerie Queene, book i. canto ii. st. 18.

232. Pelorus is the ancient name

Of thund'ring Etna, whose combustible

And fuelled entrails, thence conceiving fire,
Sublimed with mineral fury, aid the winds,
And leave a singéd bottom all involved

With stench and smoke; such resting found the sole
Of unblest feet. Him followed his next mate,
Both glorying to have 'scaped the Stygian flood,
As gods, and by their own recovered strength,
Not by the suff'rance of supernal Power.

"Is this the region, this the soil, the clime," Said then the lost Archangel," this the seat




That we must change for Heaven; this mournful gloom
For that celestial light? Be it so, since he,
Who now is Sovereign, can dispose and bid

of Cape Faro, the N. E. point of Sicily, and one of the three promontories which form the triangular figure of the island. Etna, a volcanic mountain in the same island, is too well known to require any particular description.

235. Aid the winds.] i. e. go faster than the wind, and so push it before them. The reference to the winds is the more appropriate, as it was in this part of the world that they had their home, according to the ancient mythology.

236. Involved with stench.] "With" is not so common after "involved" as "L in."

239. The Stygian flood.] Styx is the name of the principal river of the nether world, round which it flows seven times. Cocytus is a branch of the Styx. "Escaped the Stygian flood" is, therefore, equivalent to "having got out of the nether regions."

242-270. Is this the region, &c.] "It is this image of mental energy, bearing up against the terrors of overwhelming power, which gives so strong a poetical effect to the description of Epicurus, in Lucretius; and also to the character of Satan as conceived by Milton. But in all these cases, the sublimity of energy, when carefully analysed, will be found to be merely relative; or, if I may use the expression, to be only a reflection from the

sublimity of the Power to which it is opposed."-STEWART'S Philosophical


246-247. Since he who now is Sovereign can dispose and bid what shall be right.] Of all ideas that can be entertained of God, this is the most unworthy, and yet some, among whom Hobbes occupies a chief place, have followed the heresy here propounded. Satan appears to put some stress on the word Sovereign (from Supremus, the highest), as if that could settle the question. But words must not be allowed to harden into things. The philosophy of the matter is briefly this:-It is not so much wrong to steal, because God has said "Thou shalt not steal," as that he has given the commandment because, anterior to all positive command, the thing is wrong in itself. Were it otherwise, we could conceive of God's reversing the moral law,-which is absurd. I might appeal to numerous passages in the writings of Cudworth, Barrow, and Butler, in confirmation of what I here advance, were this a fit place to do so; but I shall content myself with calling attention to what Dr. Thomas Brown, in his Lectures on the Human Mind, says on the subject:

"There is a principle of moral discrimination already existing in us, that, even when we conform our conduct to the divine will, is the very principle by

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