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From what highth fallen; fo much the ftronger
He with his thunder: and till then who knew
"O foror, O conjux, O fœmina fola fuperftes,
In equal ruin cannot answer to in the glorious enterprise, becaufe Milton places a comma after enterprife, and in conftruction it follows after hazard, not after join'd. NEWTON.
Ver. 93. He with his thunder:] There is an uncommon beauty in this expreffion. Satan difdains to utter the name of God, though he cannot but acknowledge his fuperiority. See alfo v. 257. NEWTON.
Yet not for thofe,
Nor what the potent victor in his rage
Can elfe inflict, do I repent or change, &c.] Milton, in this and other paffages where he defcribes the fierce and unrelenting fpirit of Satan, feems very plainly to have copied after the picture that Æfchylus gives of Prometheus. Thus Prometheus, fpeaking of Jupiter, Prom. Vinct. 991.
ῥιπτέσθω μὲν αἰθάλασα φλόξ, Λευκοπτέρῳ δὲ νιφάδι, καὶ βρονήμασι
Χθονίοις κυκάτω πάνα, καὶ ταρασσέτω
Γνάμψει γὰρ ἀδὲν τῶν δὲ μ ̓, ὣτε καὶ φράσαι, κ. τ. λ. THIER. Poffibly Milton might recollect the unfubdued fpirit of Capaneus in Dante, Inferno xiv. 52.
"Se Giove ftanchi il fuo fabbro, da cui
"O s'egli ftanchi gli altri, a muta a muta,
Though chang'd in outward luftre, that fix'd
And high difdain from fenfe of injur❜d merit, That with the Mightieft rais'd me to contend, And to the fierce contention brought along 100 Innumerable force of Spirits arm'd,
That durft diflike his reign, and, me preferring, His utmoft with adverfe power oppos'd power In dubious battle on the plains of Heaven, And fhook his throne. What though the field be loft?
All is not loft; the unconquerable will,
"Sì com'e' fece alla pugna di Flegra,
"E me factti di tutta fua forza,
"Non ne potrebbe aver vendetta allegra." TODD. Ver. 98. And high difdain] Thus Speufer, Faer. Qu. i. i. 19. "His gall did grate for grief and high difdain."
This, as Mr. Thyer citing the paffage from Spenfer has obferved, is the alto sdegno of the Italians. Our old poets, I may add, were fond of the expreffion. P. Fletcher has adopted it. See the note on ver. 48 of the prefent Book. And Sir J. Harington, Orl. Fur. 1607, B. xiv. ft. 20.
they took this thing in high difdaine.” And Sylvefter, Du Bart. 1621, p. 1129.
"Yet out of high difdain, &c." TODD. Ver. 105. What though the field be loft?
All is not loft ; &c.] This paffage is an excellent improvement upon Satan's speech to the infernal fpirits in Taffo, c. iv. ft. 15; but feems to be expreffed from Fairfax's translation, rather than from the original :
"We loft the field, yet loft we not our heart." NEWTON.
And what is elfe not to be overcome;
Ver. 109. And what is elfe not to be overcome ;] Milton's own, as well as all fubfequent, editions, till Dr. Newton's appeared, read this line with a note of interrogation. But Dr. Pearce obferved, there fhould be only a femicolon; as the words fignify, And if there be any thing elfe, befides the particulars mentioned, which is not to be overcome. A literary friend, peculiarly diftinguished by his dramatick taste and judgement, prefers the original punctuation as being more animated, more fuitable to the impetuofity and indignation of the fpeaker. The late Mr. Reed communicated to me his agreement in opinion with Dr. Pearce. TODD.
Ver. 110. That glory &c.] That refers to what went before; to his unconquerable will, and study of revenge, his immortal hate, and courage never to fubmit or yield, and what befides is not to be overcome; thefe Satan efteems his glory, and that glory he fays God fhould never extort from him. Then begins a new fentence, according to all the beft editions, To bow and fue for grace, &c., that were low indeed, &c.; that ftill referring to what went before: And, by obferving this punctuation, this whole paffage, which has perplexed and confounded many readers and writers, is rendered plain and easy to be understood. NEWTON.
Εἰσελθέτω σὲ μήποθ', ὡς ἐγὼ Διὸς
To bow and fue for grace With fuppliant knee, &c.] The refolution of Satan is that of Prometheus, Efchyl. Prom. Vinct. ver. 1002, ed. Schütz.
με δεσμῶν τῶν δὲ τῷ παντὸς δέω. Town.
That were an ignominy, and fhame beneath 115
So fpake the apostate Angel, though in pain, Vaunting aloud, but rack'd with deep defpair:
Ver. 116. - fince, by fate, &c.] For Satan fuppofes the Angels to fubfift by fate and neceflity; and he represents them of an empyreal, that is a fiery, fubftance, as the Scripture itfelf does, Pjulm civ. 4. "He maketh his Angels fpirits, and his minifters a flame of fire." NEWTON,
the tyranny of Heaven.] The poet, fpeaking in his own perfon at v. 42, of the fupremacy of the Deity, calls it "the throne and monarchy of God; but here very artfully alters it to the tyranny of Heaven. THYER.
Tyranny vulgarly fignifies the art of tyrannifing; here it fignifies the power, as in Greek. See Euripid. Phoeniff. v. 509. ed. P. Steph. 1602. STILLINGFLEET.
Ver. 126. Vaunting aloud, &c.] Thus Virgil, Æn. i. 212. "Talia voce refert, curífque ingentibus æger
Spem vultu fimulat, premit altum corde dolorem." Theocritus has exprefied this in a more fimple manner, as better fuited to the paftoral ftile, Idyll. i. 95.
ἃ Κύπρις γελάοισα,
Λαθρα μὲν γελάοισα, βαρὺν δ ̓ ἀνὰ θυμὸν ἔχουσα.
Homer's defcription of Juno in the fame circumftances is more majefiick:
And him thus anfwer'd foon his bold compeer.
Can perify for the mind and spirit remains Invincible, and vigour foon returns,
ἡ δὲ γέλασσε
Χείλεσιν ὐδὲ μέτωπον ἐπ ̓ ὀφρύσι κυανέησιν
One needs not be afraid to pronounce Milton's verfe fuperiour to any of thefe above-quoted, both in the brevity and energy of expreffion, and juftnefs of the thought, arifing from the nature of the foregoing fpeech, and Satan's prefent mifery.
"primáque ab origine mundi
"Ad mea perpetuum deducite tempora carmen."
Ver. 131. endanger'd Heaven's perpetual king,] The reader fhould remark here the propriety of the word perpetual. Beelzebub does not fay eternal king, for then he could not have boafted of endangering his kingdom: but he endeavours to detract as much as he can from God's everlasting dominion, and calls him only perpetual king, king from time immemorial or without interruption, as Ovid ufes perpetuum, Met. i. 4.
What Beelzebub means here, is expreffed more at large afterwards by Satan, v. 637, &c. NEWTON.