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None of retreat, no unbecoming deed
Of victory: deeds of eternal fame
Were done, but infinite; for wide was spread
ουτε φοβου μεμνημένον, ουτ' αλε-
239. As only in his arm the mo-
Of victory:] As if upon his single arm had depended the whole weight of the victory. The moment, the weight that turns the balance, as the word signifies in Latin, Ter. Andr. i. v. 31. Dum in dubio est animus, paulo momento huc vel illuc impellitur: and as he has employed here the metaphor of the weight, so of the scale a little afterwards-long time in even scale the battle hung -using as a metaphor what Homer makes a simile of, Iliad.
Αλλ' εχον, ώστε ταλαντα γυνη
Ως μεν των επι ισα μαχη τετατο στο λεμος τε.
As when two scales are charg'd with doubtful loads-
Tormented all the air; all air seem'd then
and one may
would be entering into too minute a detail of criticism to mention every little circumstance and that is copied from Homer; where he does not directly copy from Homer, his style and colouring is still very much in Homer's see plainly that he has read him, even where he does not imitate him. Wonderful as his genius was, he could hardly have drawn the battles of the angels so well without first reading those in the Iliad; and Homer taught him to excel Homer.
242. That war and various, sometimes on firm ground A standing fight, then soaring &c.]
A standing fight, then soaring on main wing
Of fighting seraphim confus'd, at length
Saw where the sword of Michael smote, and fell'd 250
The syntax and sense is; The war was sometimes a standing fight on the ground, and sometimes the war soaring on main wing tormented all the air.
by Abdiel in the beginning of the action: but I suppose the poet did not consider Abdiel as equal to Satan, though he gained that accidental advantage over him. Satan no doubt would have proved an overmatch for Abdiel, only for the general engagement which ensued, and broke off the combat between them.
251. with huge two-handed sway &c.] It shows how entirely the ideas of chivalry and romance had possessed him, to make Michael fight with a two-handed sword. The same idea occasioned his expressing himself very obscurely in the following lines of his Lycidas, v. 130.
But that two-handed engine at the
Stands ready to smite once, and
smite no more.
255. Of tenfold adamant,] In other poets the angels are armed
A vast circumference: At his approach
Author of ev'il, unknown till thy revolt,
Of thy rebellion? how hast thou instill'd
And faithful, now prov'd false? But think not here
Thy offspring, to the place of evil, hell,
Thou and thy wicked crew; there mingle broils,
Or some more sudden vengeance wing'd from God
So spake the prince of angels; to whom thus
That thou should'st hope, imperious, and with threats
The strife of glory; which we mean to win,
I fly not, but have sought thee far and nigh.
Thy legions und
Thus answer'd. Of my revenge, From flight, sed Thy merited re Of this right ha Inspir'd with co A third part of Their deities to Vigour divine Omnipotence to Before thy fello From me some
147. my sect th The use of the wo place seems a littl singular; and I thinking but Milto in in order to sneer of his time, who dissenters, of whom with the opprobi Sectaries. This for the word few in inasmuch as it su particular view be blish a general m apply it merely t case of Abdiel. T 161.that thy