Page images


Then both from out hell gates into the waste
Wide anarchy of Chaos damp and dark
Flew diverse, and with pow'r (their pow'r was great)
Hovering upon the waters, what they met
Solid or slimy, as in raging sea
Tost up and down, together crowded drove
From each side shoaling tow’ards the mouth of hell :
As when two polar winds, blowing adverse
Upon the Cronian sea, together drive

Mountains of ice, that stop th' imagin'd way
Beyond Petsora eastward, to the rich
Cathaian coast. The aggregated soil
Death with his mace petrific, cold and dry,
As with a trident smote, and fix'd as firm

295 As Delos floating once; the rest his look

ex quo sagaces dicti canes. Cic. coast, Cathay or Catay, a country de Divinat. A fit comparison of Asia and the northern part of for the chief hell-hound. Hume. China.

289. As when two polar winds, 296. As Delos floating once :) &c.] Sin and Death, flying into An island in the Archipelago said different parts of Chaos, and to have floated about in the sea, driving all the matter they meet till it became the birth place with there in shoals towards the of Apollo. Callimachus, in his mouth of hell, are compared to hymn called Delos, has given a two polar winds, north and south, most enchanting description of blowing adverse upon the Cronian this matter. Richardson. sea, the northern frozen sea, (A 296. -the rest his look &c.] Thule unius diei navigatione In Milton's own editions the mare concretum, a nonnullis Cro- passage was thus, nium appellatur. Plin. Nat. Hist.

-the rest his look lib. iv. cap. 16.) and driving to

Bound with Gorgonian rigour not to gether mountains of ice, that stop

move, th' imugin'd way, the north-east And with Asphaltic slime ; broad as passage as it is called, which so

the gate, many have attempted to dis- Deep to the roots of hell the ga.

ther'd beach cover, Beyond Petsora eastward,

They fasten'd. the most north-eastern province of Muscovy, to the rich Cuthaian A difficult passage, which Dr.

Bound with Gorgonian rigour not to move;
And with Asphaltic slime, broad as the gate,
Deep to the roots of hell the gather'd beach
They fasten’d, and the mole immense wrought on 300
Over the foaming deep high arch'd, a bridge
Of length prodigious, joining to the wall
Immoveable of this now fenceless world

Bentley perceived and tried to relating only to the hardening mend. To Gorgonian rigour he the soft and slimy substances: objects, that the rigour or hard- and all the rest seems to relate ness was not in the Gorgon's to the fastening the foundation look, but in the object turned with Asphaltic slime to the roots into stone.

And so it may be of hell. Pearce. understood here—a rigour such It appears that by the rest we as was caused by the Gorgon's are to understand the slimy parts, look. Milton has the authority as distinguished from the solid of Claudian for expressing him- or soil : and it would be very self thus,

absurd to say, that his look

bound the slimy parts with -rigidů cum Gorgone Perseus.' In Ruffin. i. 279. Asphaltic slime or as with As

phaltic slime, which Dr. Bentley Again, the Doctor objects to, proposed. It is much easier to And with Asphaltic slime, because suppose with Mr. Richardson, then the construction would be, that the comma after nuove and his look bound it with slime. I the semicolon after slime have agree with him that this could changed places, and that the not come from Milton. There


should be read thus, is only one way (I think) in which all these difficulties are

the rest his look

Bound with Gorgonian rigour not to be got over, and that is by changing two of the points in

And with Asphaltic slime, broad as the passage, and reading thus ;

Deep to the roots of hell &c. -the rest his look

The sense is then the very same Bound with Gorgonian rigour not to

as in the foregoing most excelAnd with Asphaltic slime, broad as

lent remark of Dr. Pearce's, and

we venture to print it accordDeep to the roots of hell, the ga- ingly. We generally follow ther'd beach

carefully Milton's own puncThey fasten'd,

tuation; but though he was The first part of the passage, extremely accurate, yet he was ending at move, I understand as not always infallible.

to move ;

the gate,


the gate,


Forfeit to Death ; from hence a passage broad,
Smooth, easy, inoffensive down to hell.

305 So, if great things to small may be compar’d, Xerxes, the liberty of Greece to yoke, From Susa his Memnonian palace high Came to the sea, and over Hellespont Bridging his way, Europe with Asia join'd, 310 And scourg'd with many a stroke th’indignant waves. 304. - from hence a passage the residence of the Persian broad,

monarchs, called Memnonia by Smooth, easy, inoffensive down Herodotus, of Memnon who to hell.]

built it and reigned there; and Alluding perhaps to Virgil, Æn. over Hellespont bridging his way, vi. 126.

and building a bridge -facilis descensus Averni:

Hellespont, the narrow sea by Or to the paths of wickedness, Europe from Asia, to march his

Constantinople, that divides Hesiod. Egy. i. 285.

large army over it, Europe with Την μεν τοι κακοτητα και ιλαδον εστιν Asia join'd, and scourg'd with


stroke thi' indignant Ρηιδιως: ολιγη [λειη] μεν οδος, μαλα δ'

waves; alluding particularly to εγγυθι ναιει. .


Xerxes's madness in ordering

the sea to be whipped for the Wide is the gate and broad is the loss of some of his ships ; way that leadeth to destruction. indignant wares, scorning and Matt. vii. 13. Greenwood.

raging to be so confined, as 305. inoffensive] Unem- Virgil says, Pontem indignatus barrassed; without stop or ob- Araxes, Æn. viii. 728. and struction. A Latin mode of Georg. ii. 162. speech. Johnson.

306. So Xerxes &c.] This Atque indignatum magnis stridoribus simile is very exact and beau

æquor. tiful. As Sin and Death built a bridge over Chaos to subdue and Lucan has likewise made a enslave mankind : So, if great the Hellespont. Pharsal. ii. 672.

simile of Xerxes's bridge over things to small may be compared, Si parva licet componere ma- Tales fama canit tumidum super gnis, as Virgil says, Georg. iv.

æquora Xerxem 176. Xerxes, the Persian mo- Construxisse vias, multum cum ponnarch, to bring the free states of Greece under his yoke, came

Europamque Asiæ, Sestonque ad.

movit Abydo, from Susa, the chief city of

Incessitque fretum rapidi super Hel. Susiana, a province of Persia,




tibus ausus,


Now had they brought the work by wondrous art
Pontifical, a ridge of pendent rock,
Over the vex'd abyss, following the track
Of Satan to the self same place where he
First lighted from his wing, and landed safe
From out of Chaos, to the outside bare
Of this round world: with pins of adamant
And chains they made all fast, too fast they made
And durable ; and now in little space
The confines met of empyrean heaven
And of this world, and on the left hand hell
With long reach interpos’d; three several ways


312. -by wondrous art false pointing? and should not Pontifical,]

the comma after Satan be omitBy the strange art of raising ted, and be inserted after Chaos ? bridges. Pontifex, the high and is not this the construction priest of the Romans, had that of the whole passage? Now had name from pons a bridge and they brought the work-over the facere to make: Quia sublicius vexed abyssto the outside bare pons a Pontificibus factus est of this round world, following the primum, et restitutus sepe, ac- track of Satan to the self same cording to Varro. Hume. place where he first lighted from

Art pontifical, this is a very his wing, and landed safe from bad expression to signify the art out of Chaos. We venture to of building bridges, and yet to print it accordingly, not know, suppose a pun would be worse, ing well how to make sense and as if the Roman priesthood were

grammar of it otherwise. as ready to make the way easy 322. -on the left hand hell] to hell, as Sin and Death did. He places hell on the left hand, Warburton.

according to our Saviour's de 317. From out of Chaos, to the scription of the day of judgoutside bare] In Milton's own ment, Then shall he say unto editions the verses are thus, them on the left hand, Matt. xxv. Of Satan, to the self same place

41. or rather according to Virwhere he

gil, who makes hell to lie on First lighted from his wing, and the left hand, as Elysium lay on landed safe

the right, Æn. vi. 542. From out of Chaos to the outside bare &c.

- At læva malorum

Exercet pænas, ct ad impia tartara Is not here another instance of

mittit. PS



In sight, to each of these three places led.
And now their way to earth they had descried,
To Paradise first tending, when behold
Satan in likeness of an angel bright
Betwixt the Centaur and the Scorpion steering
His zenith, while the sun in Aries rose:
Disguis'd he came, but those his children dear
Their parent soon discern’d, though in disguise.
He after Eve seduc'd, unminded slunk
Into the wood fast by, and changing shape
To'observe the sequel, saw his guileful act
By Eve, though all unweeting, seconded
Upon her husband, saw their shame that sought
Vain covertures; but when he saw descend
The Son of God to judge them, terrified
He fled, not hoping to escape, but shun
The present, fearing guilty what his wrath



328. Betwixt the Centaur and sentence on the transgressors,

the Scorpion steering ver. 92. and after that Sin and His zenith, while the sun in Death made the bridge; so that Aries rose :)

the sun might be rising in Aries, Alluding to a ship steering her when they met Satan steering his course betwixt two islands: so zenith. And this is confirmed Satan directed his way between by what follows here in ver. these two signs of the zodiac, 341, &c. Pearce. upwards: the zenith is over- Satan to avoid being discohead. Richardson.

vered (as he had been before, Dr. Bentley puts a

iv. 569, &c.) by Uriel regent of after steering ; but there should the sun, takes care to keep at as be none; for the sense is, steer- great a distance as possible, and ing to his zenith, or upwards, therefore while the sun rose in towards the outside of this round Aries, he steers his course diworld, from whence he had rectly upwards beluist the Cencome down, ver. 317. Besides taur and the Scorpion, two conthe Doctor instead of rose reads stellations which lay in a quite rode: but it was crening, when different part of the heavens Messiah came and passed the from Aries.

com ma

« PreviousContinue »