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Can give it, or will ever? how he can,
Is doubtful; that he never will, is fure.
Will he, fo wife, let loofe at once his ire,
Belike through impotence, or unaware,
To give his enemies their wish, and end
Them in his anger, whom his anger faves
To punish endless? Wherefore cease we then?
Say they who counsel war; we are decreed, 160
Referv'd, and deftin'd to eternal woe;
Whatever doing, what can we suffer more,
What can we fuffer worfe? Is this then worst,
Thus fitting, thus confulting, thus in arms? 164
What! when we fled amain, pursued, and ftruck
With Heaven's afflicting thunder, and befought
The deep to shelter us? This Hell then feem'd
A refuge from those wounds: or when we lay
Chain'd on the burning lake? That fure was worse.
What if the breath, that kindled thofe grim fires,


Ver. 156.

impotence,] It is here meant for the oppofite to wisdom, and is ufed frequently by the Latin writers to fignify a weakness of mind, an unfteadiness in the government of our paffions, or the conduct of our designs. "Victoria ferociores impotentioréfque reddidit," Cic. Epift. ad Fam. ix. 9. "Impotentia dictorum et factorum;" Tufc. Difp. iv. 23. Hence we often meet with impotens animi, doloris, iræ, etc. PEARCE,

Hence the exclamation in Samfon Agonistes, which Dryden has copied ;

"O impotence of mind, in body ftrong!" TODD. Ver. 163. Is this then worft, &c.] See the Prometheus of Æfchylus, 307-329, and Homer's Ilind, ix. 337, &c. full of interrogations. STILLING FLEET.

Ver. 170. What if the breath, that kindled thofe grim fires,] C c


Awak'd, fhould blow them into fevenfold rage, 171
And plunge us in the flames? or, from above,
Should intermitted vengeance arm again
His red right hand to plague us? What if all
Her ftores were open'd, and this firmament 175
Of Hell should spout her cataracts of fire,
Impendent horrours, threatening hideous fall
One day upon our heads; while we perhaps,
Designing or exhorting glorious war,
Caught in a fiery tempeft fhall be hurl'd


Ifaiah xxx. 33. "For Tophet is ordained of old; the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the Lord, like a ftream of brimftone, doth kindle it." NEWTON.

The fentiment in this, and the two following verfes, is probably borrowed from Æfchylus, where Oceanus addreffes Prometheus, Prom. Vinct. v. 311. edit. Schütz.


Εἰ δ ̓ ὧδε τραχεῖς καὶ τεθηγμένες λόγες
Ρίψεις, τάχ ̓ ἄν σε, καὶ μακρὰν ἀνωτέρω
Θαχῶν, κλύοι Ζεὺς, ὥστε σοι τὸν νῦν χόλον
Παρόντα μόχθων παιδιὰν εἶναι δοκεῖν. TODD.

Ver. 174. His red right hand] So Horace fays of Jupiter, "rubente dextera." But here being fpoken of Vengeance, it must be "her right hand;" as in the next line it is "her stores." BENTLEY.

There is fomething plaufible and ingenious in this obfervation : But by "his" feems to have been meant God's, who is mentioned fo often in the courfe of the debate, that he might very well be underflood without being named; and by "her stores" in the next line, I fuppofe, are meant Hell's, as mention is made afterwards of "her cataracts of fire." NEWTON.

"Her ftores” are undoubtedly Hell's stores; the order of the relative and the antecedent being here inverted. TODD.

Ver. 180. Caught in a fiery tempeft &c.] Again alluding to the fate of Ajax Oileus, as in B. i. 328. HUME.


Each on his rock transfix'd, the sport and
Of wracking whirlwinds; or for ever funk
Under yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains;
There to converfe with everlasting groans,
Unrefpited, unpitied, unrepriev'd,
Ages of hopeless end? This would be worse.
War therefore, open or conceal'd, alike
My voice diffuades; for what can force or guile
With him, or who deceive his mind, whofe


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Ver. 181.

the Sport and prey

Of wracking whirlwinds;] Virgil, En. vi. 75. Rapidis ludibria ventis." NEWTON.

And in the fame En. 740.

"Aliæ panduntur inanes

"Sufpenfæ ad ventos." CALLANDER.

Ver. 185. Unrefpited, unpitied, unrepriev'd,] This way of introducing feveral adjectives beginning with the fame letter, without any conjunction, is very frequent among the Greek tragedians, whom Milton, I fancy, imitated. What strength and beauty it adds, needs not to be mentioned. THYER.

And Fairfax, Taffo, c. ii. ft. 16.


It was a common practice among our own poets. Thus Spenfer, Faer. Qu. vii. vii. 46.

"Unbodied, unfoul'd, unheard, unfeen."

"Unfeene, unmark'd, unpitied, unrewarded."

"Ungoverned, uncardinall'd, unlorded,

"Outed of all his hopes, but not unworded." TODD.

Many paffages might be adduced. Milton was certainly fond of this practice. See B. iii. 231, and B. v. 899. Again, Par. Reg. B. iii. 429. And even in his profe, vol. i. p. 255. ed. 1698. "But he, that will mould a modern bishop into a pri mitive, muft yield him to be elected by the popular voice, undioceft, unrevenued, unlorded." This practice appears to me to be ridiculed in Gayton's Notes on Don Quixote, 1654, p. 230.

Views all things at one view? He from Heaven's


All these our motions vain fees, and derides;
Not more almighty to refift our might
Than wife to frustrate all our plots and wiles.
Shall we then live thus vile, the race of Heaven
Thus trampled, thus expell'd to fuffer here 195
Chains and these torments? better these than

By my advice; fince fate inevitable
Subdues us, and omnipotent decree,
The Victor's will. To fuffer, as to do,
Our strength is equal, nor the law unjust
That fo ordains: This was at firft refolv'd,
If we were wife, against so great a Foe
Contending, and fo doubtful what might fall.
I laugh, when those who at the spear are bold
And venturous, if that fail them, fhrink and fear
What yet they know muft follow, to endure 206
Exile, or ignominy, or bonds, or pain,

fees, and derides ;] Alluding to

Ver. 191.
Pfalm ii. 4. NEWTON.

Ver. 204.


Ver. 199.

To fuffer, as to do,] So Scævola boasted that he was a Roman, and knew as well how to fuffer, as to act. "Et facere et pati fortia Romanum eft," Liv. ii. 12. So Horace, Od. III. xxiv. 43. "Quidvis et facere et pati."


ἐπιςαμένος μὲν ἄκουλος Εσθλος δ ̓ ἐν ςαδίη, STILLINGFLEET.


who at the Spear are bold

And venturous,] So Homer, of Thoas, Il. xv. 282,

- The sentence of their Conquerour: This is now
Our doom; which if we can fuftain and bear,
Our Supreme Foe in time may much remit 210
His anger; and perhaps, thus far remov❜d,
Not mind us not offending, fatisfied
With what is punish'd; whence these raging fires
Will flacken, if his breath ftir not their flames.
Our purer effence then will overcome
Their noxious vapour; or, inur'd, not feel;
Or chang'd at length, and to the place conform'd
In temper and in nature, will receive
Familiar the fierce heat, and void of pain;
This horrour will grow mild, this darkness light;
Befides what hope the never-ending flight 221
Of future days may bring, what chance, what

Worth waiting; fince our prefent lot appears
For happy though but ill, for ill not worst,
If we procure not to ourfelves more woe.
Thus Belial, with words cloth'd in reafon's




Ver. 220. This horrour will grow mild, this darkness light ;] Light, I conceive, is an adjective here as well as mild; and the meaning is, "This darknefs will in time become eafy, as this horrour will grow mild :" Or, as Mr. Thyer thinks, it is an adjective used in the fame fenfe as when we fay, "It is a light night." But it is not well expreffed. NEWTON.

Ver. 226. words cloth'd in reafon's garb,] As in Comus, v. 759, of that fpecious enchanter, " obtruding falfe rules prank'd in reafon's garb." TODD.

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