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Can give it, or will ever? how he can,
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
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
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
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;
By my advice; fince fate inevitable
fees, and derides ;] Alluding to
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
Worth waiting; fince our prefent lot appears
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.