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Birth-day of Heav'n and Earth; with joy and fhout The hollow univerfal orb they fill'd,
And touch'd their golden harps, and hymning prais'd God and his works, Creator him they fung,
Both when first evening was, and when first morn.
Again, God faid, Let there be firmament
Amid the waters, and let it divide
The waters from the waters: and God made
The firmament, expanfe of liquid, pure,
Transparent, elemental air, diffus'd
In circuit to the uttermoft convex
Of this great round: partition firm and fure,
to view one after another, in fuch a manner, that the reader feems prefent at this wonderful work, and to affift among the quires of Angels, who are the spectators of it. How glorious is the conclufion of the first day! Addifon.
261. Again, God faid, &c.] When he makes God fpeak, he adheres clofely to the words of Scripture. And God faid, Let there be a firmament in the midft of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. Gen. I. 6. But when he fays that 256. with joy and fhout God made the firmament he explains The hollow univerfal orb they fill'd,] what is meant by the firmament. The Angels finging and fhouting for The Hebrew word, which the Greeks joy at the creation of the world render by sepeμa, and our transfeems to be founded upon Job lators by firmament, fignifies expanXXXVIII. 4, 7. Where waft thou fion: it is render'd expansion in the when I laid the foundations of the margin of our bibles, and Milton earth; when the morning ftars jang rightly explains it by the expanse of together, and all the fons of God elemental air. fbouted for joy? And with this joy and fhout they fill'd the hollow univerfal orb, the great round (as it is call'd ver. 267.) of the univerfe, bellow as being concave and having O creatures to inhabit it.
264.-liquid air,] Virg. Æn. VI. 202. liquidumque per aera.
267.-partition firm and fure,] For its certainty not folidity. St. Auguftin upon Genefis. It is not call'd firmament as being a folid body,
The waters underneath from those above
Dividing for as earth, fo he the world
Of Chaos far remov'd, left fierce extremes
but because it is a bound or term between the upper and nether waters; a partition firm and immoveable, not upon account of its ftation, but of its firmness and intranfgreffibility.
Hume and Richardfon.
268. The waters underneath from
fembling water. Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters. Pfal. CIV. 3. Praise him ye Heavens of Heavens, and ye waters above the Heavens. Pfal. CXLVIII. 4. To this fenfe our poet agrees, and thus infers, that as God built the earth, and founded it on waters (tretched out the earth above the waters. Pfal.
Dividing:] They who understand CXXXVI. 6. By the word of God the firmament to be the vast air, ex- the Heavens were of old, and the earth panded and ftretch'd out on all confifting out of the water and in the fides to the ftarry Heavens, efteem water. 2 Pet. III. 5.) fo alfo he the waters above it to be thofe ge- establish'd the whole frame of the nerated, in the middle region of heavenly orbs, in a calm cryftallin the air, of vapors exhaled and drawn fea furrounding it, left the neighup thither from the fteaming earth bourhood of the unruly Chaos fhould and nether waters; which defcend difturb it. But all fearch in works again in fuch vaft showers and mighty fo wonderful, fo diftant and undiffloods of rain, that not only rivers, cernable, as well as undemonftrable, but feas may be imaginable above, is quite confounded. as appeared when the cataracts came down in a deluge, and the flood gates of Heaven were open'd. Gen. VIÏ.11. Others, and thofe many, by thefe waters above understand the cryftallin Heaven (by Gaffendus made double) by our author better named cryftallin ocean, by its clearness re
274. And Hearo'n be nam'd the
firmament:] So Gen. 1. 8. And God called the firmament Heaven. But it may feem ftrange if the firmament means the air and atmosphere, that the air fhould be called Heaven: but fo it is frequently in the lan
The earth was form'd, but in the womb as yet Of waters, embryon immature involv'd,
Appear'd not: over all the face of earth
guage of the Hebrews and in the file of Scripture. In this very chapter, ver. 20. it is faid fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of Heaven. So in Pfal. CIV. 12. By them fhall the fowls of the Heaven have their habitation, which fing among the branches. And Mat. VI. 26. what we tranflate the fowls of the air is in the original the fowls of Heaven, τα πετεινα του κρανο. So again, Rev. XIX. 17. the fowls that fly in the midft of Heaven. And we read often in Scripture of the rain of Heaven, and the clouds of Heaven. The truth is there were three Heavens in the account of the Hebrews. Mention is made of the third Heaven 2 Cor. XII. 2. The first Heaven is the air, as we have shown, wherein the clouds move and the birds fly; the fecond is the ftarry Heaven, and the third Heaven is the habitation of the Angels and the feat of God's glory. Milton is speaking here of the firft Heaven, as he mentions the others in other places.
Be gather'd now ye waters under
Into one place, and let dry land ap
pear.] This is again exactly copied from Mofes; And God said, Let the waters under the Heaven be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was fo. Gen. I. 9. And it was fo is very thort in Mofes; Milton inlarges upon it, as the fubject will admit fome fine ftrokes of poetry, and feems to have had his eye upon the CIVth Pfalm, which is likewife a divine hymn in praife of the creation, 6th and following verfes. Thou covered the earth with the deep; the waters food above the mountains. At thy rebuke they fled, at the voice of thy thunder they hafted away. They go up by the mountains, they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou haft founded for them, &c. We fuppofe that we need not defire the reader to remark the beautiful numbers in the following verfes of the poem, how they seem to rife with the rifing mountains, and to fink again with the falling waters. 285. Im
Into one place, and let dry land appear.
Immediately the mountains huge appear
As drops on duft conglobing from the dry;
For hafte; fuch flight the great command imprefs'd
Of trumpet (for of armies thou hast heard)
285. Immediately the mountains &c.] We have the fame elevation of thought in the third day, when the mountains were brought forth, and the deep was made. We have also the rifing of the whole vegetable world defcribed in this day's work, which is filled with all the graces that other poets have lavish'd on their defcription of the spring, and leads the reader's imagination into a theatre equally furprifing and beautiful. Addifon.
299. If fteep, with torrent rapture,] I have feen a marginal reading with
torrent rupture, as in ver. 419. we
303. And on the washy oofe deep
be dry, &c.] The earth was juft now emerg'd from the waters in which it had been wrapt; 'twas therefore all one great washy oofe, flime and mud. In this foft earth deep channels were eafily worn by the ftreaming water, 'till 'twas dry every
If steep, with torrent rapture, if through plain, i
All but within those banks, where rivers now 305
And faw that it was good, and faid, Let th' earth
He fcarce had faid, when the bare earth, till then
where but within the banks, the bounds fet to the rivers, where they now perpetually draw along after them their moift train. The rivers are imagin'd as perfons of great quality, the length of their robe training after them;
where rivers now
to be found in our author and all good poets. Richardfon.
307. The dry land, earth, &c.] Thefe are again the words of Genefis form'd into verfe. Gen. I. 10, 11. And God called the dry land earth, and the gathering together of the waters called he feas: and God faw that it
Stream, and perpetual draw their was good. And God faid, Let the earth
You cannot read it otherwife than flowly, and fo as to give your mind a picture of the thing defcrib'd. Many examples of the like kind are VOL. II.
bring forth grafs, the herb yielding feed, and the fruit-tree yielding fruit after his kind, whofe feed is in itself upon the earth. But when he comes to the defcriptive part, he then opens a finer vein of poetry.