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Counsell'd ignoble ease, and peaceful sloth,
Not peace: And after him thus Mammon spake.
Either to difenthrone the King of Heaven
We war, if war be best, or to regain
Our own right loft: Him to unthrone we then
May hope, when everlasting Fate fhall yield
To fickle Chance, and Chaos judge the ftrife:
The former, vain to hope, argues as vain
The latter: For what place can be for us
Within Heaven's bound, unless Heaven's Lord



We overpower? Suppofe he should relent,
And publish grace to all, on promise made
Of new fubjection; with what eyes could we
Stand in his presence humble, and receive 240
Strict laws impos'd, to celebrate his throne
With warbled hymns, and to his Godhead fing
Forc'd Halleluiahs; while he lordly fits
Our envied Sovran, and his altar breathes
Ambrofial odours and ambrofial flowers,


Ver. 227. Counsell'd ignoble eafe,] Virgil's "ignobile otium,” Georg. iv. 764. NEWTON.

Ver. 233. and Chaos judge the ftrife:] Between the King of Heaven and Us, not between Fate and Chance, as Dr. Bentley fuppofes. PEARCE.

Ver. 234. The former, vain to hope,] That is, to unthrone the King of Heaven, " argues as vain the latter," that is, to regain our own loft right. NEWTON.

Ver. 245. Ambrofial odours and ambrofial flowers,] Dr. Bentley would read,

"Ambroual odours from ambrofial flowers;"

Our fervile offerings? This must be our task
In Heaven, this our delight; how wearifome
Eternity fo spent, in worship paid
To whom we hate! Let us not then pursue
By force impoffible, by leave obtain❜d
Unacceptable, though in Heaven, our state
Of fplendid vaffalage; but rather seek
Our own good from ourselves, and from our own
Live to ourselves, though in this vaft recefs,
Free, and to none accountable, preferring 255

And he asks, how an altar can breathe flowers, especially when flowers are, as here, diftinguished from odours? But, when the altar is faid to breathe, the meaning is, that it smells of, it throws out the smells of, or, as Milton expreffes it, B. iv. 265, it breathes out the smell of. In this fenfe of the word breathe, an altar may be faid to breathe flowers, and odours too as a diftin&t thing; for, by odours here, Milton means the fmells of gums and sweet spicy fhrubs: See B. viii. 517. Not unlike is what we read in Fairfax's Taffo, c. xviii. ft. 20.

"Flowers and odours fweetly fmilde and fmeld.”



Milton illuftrates himself in Samfon Agon, v. 986.


my tomb
"With odours vifited and annual flowers."

Ambrofial odours, as Mr. Callander alfo notices, is a phrase from
Spenfer. See the Faer. Qu. ii. iii. 22, iv. xi. 46. TʊDD,

Ver. 254. Live to ourselves,] Horace, Epift. I. xviii. 107, (6 ut mihi vivam

"Quod fupereft ævi." NEWTON,

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Ver. 255.

preferring Hard liberty before the eafy yoke

Of fervile pomp.] Such is the difdainful obfervation of Prometheus to Mercury, Prom. Vin; v. 974. edit. Schütz.



Hard liberty before the easy yoke
Of fervile pomp. Our greatnefs will
Then moft confpicuous, when great things offmall,
Ufeful of hurtful, profperous of advérfe,
We can create; and in what place fo e'er
Thrive under evil, and work eafe out of pain,
Through labour and endurance. This deep world
Of darkness do we dread? How oft amidst
Thick clouds and dark doth Heaven's all-ruling

Choose to refide, his glory unobfcur'd,
And with the majefty of darkness round
Covers his throne; from whence deep thunders roar
Muftering their rage, and Heaven resembles Hell?
As he our darkness, cannot we his light
Imitate when we pleafe? This defart foil
Wants not her hidden luftre, gems and gold;
Nor want we skill or art, from whence to raise
Magnificence; and what can Heaven fhow more?
Our torments alfo may in length of time
Become our elements; these piercing fires 275
As foft as now fevere, our temper chang'd
Into their temper; which muft needs remove
The fenfible of pain. All things invite

Τῆς σῆς λατρείας τὴν ἐμὴν δυσπραξίαν,

Σαφῶς ἐπίς ασ ̓, οὐκ ἄν ἀλλάξαιμ ̓ ἐγώ. TODD.

Ver. 263.



How oft amidst

Thick clouds and dark &c.] Imitated from Pfalm xviii. 11, 13, and from Pfalm xcvii. 2. NEWTON.

Ver. 278. The fenfible of pain.] The fenfe of pain. T fenfible, the adjective used for a fubftantive, HUME.

To peaceful counfels, and the settled state
Of order, how in safety best we may
Compofe our prefent evils, with regard
Of what we are, and where; difmiffing quite

"Peace is defpair'd,

"For who can think fubmiffion? War then, War,

Open or understood, must be refolv'd."

Ver. 279. To peaceful counfels,] There are fome things wonderfully fine in thefe fpeeches of the infernal Spirits, and in the different arguments fo fuited to their different characters: but they have wandered from the point in debate, as is too common in other affemblies. Satan had declared in B. i. 660.

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"Whether of open war, or covert guile,
"We now debate:"


Which was approved and confirmed by the whole hoft of Angels. And accordingly, at the opening of the council, he proposes for the fubject of their confideration, which way they would make choice of, B. ii. 41.

Moloch fpeaks to the purpose, and declares for open war, v. 51. My fentence is for open war: Of wiles, "More unexpert, I boast not," &c.


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But Belial argues alike against war open or conceal'd, v. 187. "War therefore, open or conceal'd, alike

My voice diffuades; for what can force or guile, &c." Mammon carries on the fame arguments, and is for dismissing quite all thoughts of war. So that the queftion is changed in the courfe of the debate, whether through the inattention or intention of the author it is not eafy to fay. NEWTON.

Ver. 282. Of what we are, and where ;] So it is in the first edition; but in the fecond, "Of what we are and were." Tickell reftored the reading of the firft edition, which is the beft as it implies both "our condition, and the place where we are;" while the other merely means "our condition past and prefent." For this reafon Dr. Newton follows the first edition, which Dr. Bentley alfo has followed. TODD.

All thoughts of war: Ye have what I advise. He scarce had finish'd, when such murmur fill'd The affembly, as when hollow rocks retain


Ver. 285. as when hollow rocks retain &c.] Virgil compares the affent, given by the affembly of the Gods to Juno's fpeech, Æn. x. 96. to the rifing wind, which our author affimi lates to its decreasing murmurs:

"Cunctique fremebant


"Cælicolæ affenfu vario: ceu flamina prima

"Cum deprenfa fremunt fylvis, et cæca volutant "Murmura, venturos nautis prudentia ventos." HUME. The conduct of both poets is equally juft and proper. The intent of Juno's fpeech was to rouse and inflame the affembly of the Gods, and the effect of it is therefore properly compared by Virgil to the rifing wind: but the defign of Mammon's speech is to quiet and compofe the infernal affembly, and the effect of this therefore is as properly compared by Milton to the wind falling after a tempeft. Claudian has a fimile of the fame kind in his defcription of the infernal council, In Rufinum, i. 70.

"" ceu murmurat alti

"Impacata quics pelagi, cum flamine fracto

"Durat adhuc fævítque tumor, dubiúmque per æftum "Laffa recedentes fluitant veftigia venti."

And in other particulars our author feems to have drawn his council of Devils with an eye to Claudian's council of Furies; and the reader may compare Alecto's fpeech with Moloch's, and Mcgara's with Belial's or rather with Beelzebub's. NEWTON.

Milton, in this fimile, did not forget Homer, whom he has exceeded, however, in beauty of defcription, Iliad ii. 144.

Κινήθη δ ̓ ἀγορᾷ, ὡς κύματα μακρὰ θαλάσσης
Πόντε Ικαρίοιο, τα μὲν τ ̓ Εἶρός τε Νότος τα
Ωρορ ̓, ἐπαίξας πατρὸς Διὸς ἐκ νεφελάων.

And, with refpect to his council of Devils, it fhould be remembered, that he had before exhibited, at the age of feventeen, an infernal council and confpiracy in that brilliant proof of his genius, In Quintum Novembris. Phineas Fletcher, in his Locuftæ vel

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