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Sat on his faded cheek, but under brows
fpeare, fpeaking of a fear, in this very fword intrench'd it."
All's Well that ends well, “It was
amerc'd] Amerc'd has here uspdw, to deprive, to take away;
a ftrange affinity with the Greek
Οφθαλμῶν μὲν ΑΜΕΡΣΕ, δίδυ δ ̓ ἡδεῖαν ἀοιδὴν,
"The Mufe amerced him of his eyes, but gave him the faculty of finging fweetly." HUME.
Amerce is an old English verb, and occurs in the drama of Tancred and Gifmund, 4to. 1591. fign. H. 3. b.
"Now, daughter, feest thou not how I amerce
Ver. 611.yet faithful how they flood,] To see the true conftruction of this, we must go back to ver. 605 for the verb. The fenfe then is this, to behold the fellows of his crime condemn'd &c. yet how they stood faithful. RICHARDSON. as when Heaven's fire
Hath feath'd &c.] Hath hurt, hath damaged; a word frequently ufed in Chaucer, Spenfer, Shakspeare, and our old writers. This is a very beautiful and clofe fimile; it repre
With finged top their stately growth, though bare, Stands on the blafted heath. He now prepar'd 615 To fpeak; whereat their doubled ranks they bend From wing to wing, and half enclose him round With all his peers: Attention held them mute. Thrice he affay'd, and thrice, in spite of scorn, Tears, fuch as Angels weep, burft forth: at last
fents the majestick ftature, and withered glory, of the Angels: and the last with great propriety, fince their luftre was impaired by thunder, as well as that of the trees in the fimile: and befides, the blafted heath gives us fome idea of that finged burning foil, on which the Angels were ftanding. Homer and Virgil frequently ufe comparisons from trees, to exprefs the ftature or falling of a hero, but none of them are applied with fuch variety and propriety of circumstances as this of Milton. See An Efay upon Milton's imitations of the Ancients, p. 24. NEWTON.
Their ftately growth, though bare, will remind the reader of an elegant fimile in Lucan, Pharfal. i. 136.
"Qualis frugifero quercus fublimis in agro,
The blafted heath, as Mr. Dunfter alfo notices, is an expreffion of Shakspeare, which gives, as here, additional intereft to the defcription. It is where Macbeth is accofted by the witches, "with prophetick greetings, upon the blafted heath." TODD.
Ver. 619. Thrice he affay'd, and thrice
Tears burst forth:] He had Ovid in his thought,
Met. xi. 419.
"Ter conata loqui, ter fletibus ora rigavit." BENTLEY. The turn of the words bears a near refemblance to Spenfer, Faer. Qu. i. xi. 41.
"Thrice he affaid it from his foote to draw,
Words, interwove with fighs, found out their way.
As alfo to Sackville, Induction Mir. for Magiftrates, ft. last, "Thryfe he began to tell his doleful tale, "And thryfe the fighs did fwallow up his voyce."
Milton perhaps had alfo in mind Agamemnon's addrefs to the Grecian leaders, Il. ix. 13.
ἂν δ ̓ ̓Αγαμέμνων
Ἴσατο δακρυχέων, κ. τ. λ.
Ὣς ὁ βαρυςενάχων ἔπε Αργείοσι μετηύδα, TopD.
Ver. 622. O Myriads &c.] Compare ver. 315, &c. And the Speech in Taffo, Gier. Lib. C. iv. ft. 9, 10. TODD.
and that ftrife
"Turpe fuit vinci, quàm contendiffe decorum eft."
Ver. 633. Hath emptied Heaven,] It is conceived that a third part of the Angels fell with Satan, according to Rev. xii. 4. "And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and caft them to the earth :" And this opinion Milton has again ex
Self-rais'd, and repoffefs their native seat?
So as not either to provoke, or dread
preffed, B. ii. 692, B. v. 710, B. vi. 156. But Satan here talks big, and magnifies their number, as if their " exile had emptied Heaven." NEWTON.
"Shee dar'd, and did attempt to tempt mee too; "But God forbad, &c." TODD. Ver. 646. See the note on Par. Reg. B. i. 97.
Ver. 642. Which tempted our attempt,] The jingle of the times: So Sylvefter, Du Bartas, ed. 1621. p. 827.
by fraud &c.] From Marino.
Ver. 651. There went a fame &c.] This is a neceffary circumftance, whereon to found the project on which the whole Poem turns; which project is with much judgement first flightly
Intended to create, and therein plant
He fpake: and, to confirm his words, out-flew Millions of flaming fwords, drawn from the thighs
Of mighty Cherubim; the fudden blaze
Quafi in quel punto mille Spade ardenti "Furon vedute fiammegiar infieme."
touched upon in this first book, and more fully developed in the fecond, previous to Satan's proceeding on his enterprise. See alfo the note on ver. 211. DUNSTER.
Ver. 664. Millions of flaming fwords,] Compare Taffo, Gier. Lib. c. v. ft, 28.
And Silius Italicus, L. i. v. 500.
"Mille fimul dextræ, densusque micare videtur
Ibid. drawn from the thighs] It may be observed here, that Milton, to keep up the dignity of language, has purpofely avoided the trite phrafe drawn from the fides, and adopted the Greek way of expreffing it. Thus Homer, Il. i. 194.
Ἢ ὅγε φάσγανον ἐξὺ ἐρυσσάμενος παρὰ μηρᾶ. THYER. Ver. 665. the fudden blaze
Far round illumin'd] "Trait l'efpee hors de