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With Explanatory Notes
BY THE REV. J. EDMONDSTON.
"Such is the erudition applied to this most wonderful work, that nothing
T. NELSON AND SONS, LONDON: EDINBURGH:
280. r. 469.
THE notes appended to this edition of Milton's two chief poems have been partly selected from the voluminous collections that have been amassed by a succession of learned commentators, and partly written by the editor. Of the selected notes, those without signature have, generally, been much abridged or otherwise altered, and very often made up by combining hints from various sources; or, if little changed, they are adopted on the compiler's own responsibility, along with such as appear in this edition for the first time. In a few instances, in which the responsibility is left with the original author, his words are authenticated by his signature or initials.1 The attempt to condense the notes into small space, and the other alterations alluded to, have rendered it difficult to assign each note or portion of a note to its author. In such a case it may suffice, once for all, to express the editor's obligations to former labourers in this field, of whose contributions towards the illustration of his author, he has throughout freely availed himself.
1 Initials-A., Addison; C., Cowper; D., Dunster; H., Hawkins; N., Bishop Newton; Pr., Prendeville; St., Stillingfleet; Th., Thyer.
THIS first book proposes, first in brief, the whole subject, man's disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise, wherein he was placed: then touches the prime cause of his fall, the serpent, or rather Satan in the serpent; who, revolting from God, and drawing to his side many legions of Angels, was, by the command of God, driven out of Heaven, with all his crew, into the great deep. Which action passed over, the Poem hastes into the midst of things, presenting Satan with his Angels now fallen into Hell, described here, not in the centre, (for Heaven and Earth may be supposed as yet not made, certainly not yet accursed,) but in a place of utter darkness, fitliest called Chaos: here Satan, with his Angels, lying on the burning lake, thunderstruck and astonished, after a certain space recovers, as from confusion, calls up him who next in order and dignity lay by him: they confer of their miserable fall. Satan awakens all his legions, who lay till then in the same manner confounded. They rise; their numbers, array of battle, their chief leaders named, according to the idols known afterwards in Canaan and the countries adjoining. To these Satan directs his speech, comforts them with hope yet of regaining Heaven, but tells them lastly of a new world and new kind of creature to be created, according to an ancient prophecy, or report, in Heaven: for that Angels were, long before this