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From what height fall'n, so much the stronger prov'd
He with his thunder: and till then who knew

The force of those dire arms? yet not for those,
Nor what the potent victor in his rage

Can else inflict, do I repent or change,

Though chang'd in outward lustre, that fix'd mind,
And high disdain from sense of injur'd merit,
That with the Mightiest rais'd me to contend,
And to the fierce contention brought along
Innumerable force of Spirits arm'd,

That durst dislike his reign, and me preferring,
His utmost pow'r with adverse pow'r oppos'd
In dubious battle on the plains of heaven,
And shook his throne.



What though the field be lost?

soror, O conjux, O fœmina sola

Quam commune mihi genus, et pa

truelis origo, Deinde torus junxit, nunc ipsa pericula jungunt.

In equal ruin cannot answer to in the glorious enterprise, because Milton places a comma after enterprise, and in construction it follows after hazard, and not after join'd.

93. He with his thunder:] There is an uncommon beauty in this expression. Satan disdains to utter the name of God, though he cannot but acknowledge his superiority. So again ver. 257.

all but less than he

Whom thunder hath made greater.


yet not for those,

sages, where he is describing the Satan, seems very plainly to fierce and unrelenting spirit of have copied after the picture that Eschylus gives of Prometheus. Thus Prometheus speaking of Jupiter. Prom. Vinct.


-ριπτέσθω μεν αιθαλουσα φλεξι Λευκοπτέρω δε νιφάδι, και βροντήμασι Χθονίοις κυκάτω παντα, και ταράσσετα Γνάμψει γαρ ουδεν των δε μ', ώτε και

φρασαι. 2. T. x.


98. And high disdain] This is a favourite expression of Spenser's. Thus in the Faery Queen, b. i. cant. i. st. 19.

His gall did grate for grief and high disdain.

This is the alto sdegno of the

Nor what the potent victor in Italians, from whom no doubt

his rage

Can else inflict, do I repent or

change, &c.]

Milton in this and other pas

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All is not lost; th' unconquerable will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield,
And what is else not to be overcome;
That glory never shall his wrath or might
Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace
With suppliant knee, and deify his power,
Who from the terror of this arm so late.
Doubted his empire; that were low indeed,
That were an ignominy' and shame beneath
This downfall; since by fate the strength of Gods
And this empyreal substance cannot fail,

This passage is an excellent improvement upon Satan's speech to the infernal Spirits in Tasso, cant. iv. st. 15. but seems to be expressed from Fairfax's translation rather than from the original.

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

109. And what is else not to be overcome;] Here should be no note of interrogation, but only a semi-colon. The words And what is else not to be overcome signify Et si quid sit aliud quod superari nequeat, and if there be any thing else (besides the particulars mentioned) which is not to be overcome. Pearce.

110. That glory, &c.] That refers to what went before; his unconquerable will and study of revenge, his immortal hate, and courage never to submit or yield, and what besides is not to be overcome; these Satan esteems his glory, and that glory he says God never should extort from him.




And then begins a new sentence according to all the best editions, To bow and sue for grace, &c.— that were low indeed, &c. that still referring to what went before; and by observing this punctuation, this whole passage, which has perplexed and confounded so many readers and writers, is rendered plain and easy to be understood.

116. since by fale, &c.] For Satan supposes the angels to subsist by fate and necessity, and he represents them of an empyreal, that is a fiery substance, as the Scripture itself doth; He maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. Psal. civ. 4. Heb. i. 7. Satan disdains to submit, since the angels (as he says) are necessarily immortal and cannot be destroyed, and since too they are now improved in experience, and may hope to carry on the war more successfully, notwithstanding the present triumph of their adversary in heaven.

Since through experience of this great event
In arms not worse, in foresight much advanc'd,
We may with more successful hope resolve
To wage by force or guile eternal war,
Irreconcileable to our grand foe,

Who now triumphs, and in th' excess of joy
Sole reigning holds the tyranny of heaven.

So spake th' apostate Angel, though in pain,
Vaunting aloud, but rack'd with deep despair:
And him thus answer'd soon his bold compeer.
O Prince, O Chief of many throned Powers,
That led th' embattled Seraphim to war
Under thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds
Fearless, endanger'd heav'n's perpetual king,




124. the tyranny of heaven.] The poet speaking in his own person at ver. 42. of the supremacy of the Deity calls it the throne and monarchy of God; but here very artfully alters it to the tyranny of heaven. Thyer. 125. So spake th' apostate An

gel, though in pain, Vaunting aloud, but rack'd with

deep despair :] The sense of the last verse rises finely above that of the former: in the first verse it is only said, that he spake though in pain: in the last the poet expresses a great deal more; for Satan not only spake, but he taunted aloud, and yet at the same time he was not only in pain, but was rack'd with deep despair. Pearce.

The poet had probably in view this passage of Virgil, En. i.


Talia voce refert; curisque ingentibus æger

Spem vultu simulat, premit altum corde dolorem.

131. endanger'd heav'n's perpetual king,] The reader should remark here the propriety of the word perpetual. Beelzebub doth not say eternal king, for then he could not have boasted of endangering his kingdom: but he endeavours to detract as much as he can from calls him only perpetual king, God's everlasting dominion, and king from time immemorial or without interruption, as Ovid says perpetuum carmen, Met. i. 4.

— primaque ab origine mundi

Ad mea perpetuum deducite tempora


What Beelzebub means here is

And put to proof his high supremacy,

Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate;
Too well I see and rue the dire event,

That with sad overthrow and foul defeat


Hath lost us heav'n, and all this mighty host

In horrible destruction laid thus low,
As far as Gods and heav'nly essences

Can perish for the mind and spi'rit remains
Invincible, and vigour soon returns,


Though all our glory' extinct, and happy state
Here swallow'd up in endless misery.

But what if he our conqu❜ror (whom I now

Of force believe almighty, since no less


Than such could have o'er-pow'r'd such force as ours)
Have left us this our spi'rit 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,

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To do me business in the veins of earth.

To dive into the fire.


Errands, v. 152. is probably used
in a contemptuous sense.
the note, b. iii. 652. T. Warton.

150. whate'er his business

be,] The business which God hath appointed for us to do. So in ii. 70. His torments are the torments which he hath appointed for us to suffer. Many instances of this way of speaking may be found in this poem. Pearce.

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 undiminish'd, or eternal being

To undergo eternal punishment?

Whereto with speedy words th' Arch-Fiend replied.
Fall'n Cherub, to be weak is miserable

Doing or suffering: but of this be sure,
To do ought good never will be our task,
But ever to do ill our sole delight,
As be'ing 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

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