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By Astracan over the snowy plains
great city in the kingdom of glory, seems to be copied from Persia, now called Ecbatana, a like adventure of Æneas, Virg. sometime in the hands of the Æn. i. 439. Turks, but in 1603 retaken by
Infert se septus nebula (mirabile Abas, king of Persia ; or Cas- dictu) been, one of the greatest cities Per medios, miscetque viris, neque of Persia, in the province of
Dissjinulant, et nube cava speculanAyrach, formerly Parthia, to
tur amictiwards the Caspian Sea, where Vix ea fatus erat, cum circumfusa the Persian monarchs made their
repente residence after the loss of Tau- Scindit se nubes, et in æthera purgat ris, from which it is distant
Restitit Æneas, clarâque in luce resixty-five German miles to the
fulsit, south-east. Hume.
Os humerosque Deo similis. 433. --or Bactrian Sophi from
-Then entering at the gate, the horns
Conceal'd in clouds, (prodigious to Of Turkish crescent,]
relate) From is often used by Milton
He mix'd, unmark'd, among the busy
throng, without expressing the parti
Borne by the tide, and pass'd unseen ciple, which yet is to be sup
along. plied in the sense.
See ii. 542. But doubtful of the wish'd event, he viii. 213. and ix. 396. Pearce.
stays, 441.-he through the midst
And from the hollow cloud his
friends surveysunmark'd, &c.] This account
Scarce had he spoken, when the cloud of Satan's passing unmarked gave way, through the midst of the angels, The mists flew upward, and dissolv'd and ascending his throne invi
in day : sible, and seeing there about him
The Trojan chief appear'd in open
sight, himself unseen, and then burst
August in visage, and serenely bright. ing forth, as from a cloud, in
Of lowest order, pass’d; and from the door
445.-state] A canopy; a co- from Paradise. We then see vering of dignity. Thus Dray- him steering his course among ton, fol. ed. p. 73. col. 1. the constellations, and after havWhile she sate under an estate of ing traversed the whole creation,
pursuing his voyage through the and again, Polyolt. s. xxvi. vol. iii. Chaos, and entering into his p. 1168. Compare Par. Lost, vii. own infernal dominions. His 440. Arcades, 81. T. Warton. first appearance in the assembly
455. Their mighty chief re- of fallen angels, is worked up turn'd:] We are in the next with circumstances which give a place to consider the infernal delightful surprise to the reader ; agents under the view which but there is no incident in Milton has given us of them in the whole poem which does this this book. It is observed by more than the transforination of those who would set forth the the whole audience, that folgreatness of Virgil's plan, that lows the account their leader he conducts his reader through gives them of his expedition. all the parts of the earth which The gradual change of Satan were discovered in his time. himself is described after Ovid's Asia, Afric, and Europe are the manner, and may vie with any several scenes of his fable. The of those celebrated transform. plan of Milton's poem is of an
ations which are looked upon as infinitely greater extent, and the most beautiful parts in that fills the mind with many more poet's works. Milton astonishing circumstances. Sa- fails of improving his own hints, tan, having surrounded the earth and bestowing the last finishing seven times, departs at length touches to every incident which
Forth rush'd in haste the great consulting peers,
Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers,
is admitted into his poem. The it. It is first made use of by unexpected hiss which rises in God the Father, when he dethis episode, the dimensions and clares his Son the Messiah, and hulk of Satan so much superior appoints him Head of the anto those of the infernal spirits gels. Book v. 600. who lay under the same transformations with the annual
Hcar all ye Angels, progeny of light,
Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, change which they are supposed
Virtues, Powers, &c. to suffer, are instances of this kind. The beauty of the diction Satan, after he had revolted and is very remarkable in this whole drawn his legions after him into episode, as I have observed be- the limits of the north, makes fore the great judgment with use of it again in allusion to the which it was contrived. Addi- foregoing speech of God the
Father, and questions whether 457. Rais'd from their dark these magnific titles were not Divan,] The devils are fre- now become merely titular, ver. quently described by metaphors 772. taken from the Turks. Satan is
Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, called the Sultan, i. 348. as here Virtues, Powers, the council is styled the Divan. If these magnific titles yet remain But the said council is said to Not merely lilular &c. sit in secret conclave, i. 795.
The Seraph Abdiel on the other 457. And it is called a gloomy side repeats it likewise after God consistory, Par. Reg. i. 42.
the Father, and extols his good460. Thrones, Dominations, Princedors, Virtues, l'owers,] It gels, ver. 839.
ness in having so named the anis common with Homer to make use of the same verse several Crown'd them with glory', and to times, and especially at the be
their glory nam'd ginning of his speeches; but I
Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms,
Virtues, Powers. know not whether there is not more of' simplicity in the practice And now Satan addresses his than beauty. Our author how- angels with it again; for now, ever hath done the same with says he, I may declare ye such this line; but it is curious to not only of right, but in possesobserve how artfully he has sion. So that the repetition of managed it, and by repeating it this line depends all along upon every time gives new beauty to the first use of it, and gives a
For in possession such, not only of right,
461 I call ye and declare ye now, return'd Successful beyond hope, to lead ye forth Triumphant out of this infernal pit Abominable, accurs'd, the house of woe,
465 And dungeon of our tyrant: now possess, As lords, a spacious world, to our native heaven Little inferior, by my adventure hard With peril great achiev'd. Long were to tell What I have done, what suffer'd, with what pain 470 Voyag'd th' unreal, vast, unbounded deep Of horrible confusion, over which By Sin and Death a broad way now is pav'd To expedite your glorious march ; but I Toil'd out my uncouth passage, forc'd to ride 475 Th’untractable abyss, plung'd in the womb Of unoriginal Night and Chaos wild, That jealous of their secrets fiercely' oppos’d My journey strange, with clamorous uproar Protesting Fate supreme; thence how I found
force and beauty to it, which against my proceedings. But it would not have without the this seems not perfectly to agree repetition.
with the account in book the 475. Toild out my uncouth second. It was indeed with passage,] My strange unusual labour and difficulty that Satan passage, of the Saxon uncud un- journeyed through Chaos, but known, forc'd to ride th' untract- we do not read of Chaos and the able abyss, as in ii. 540. and ride other powers fiercely opposing the air. ix. 63. he rode with durk- him, or protesting Fute with ness. Hor. Od. iv. iv. 44. Per clamorous uproar. On the conSiculas equitavit undas. We have trary Chaos bids him also in Scripture to ride upon
-go and speed; winds, and the like expressions. Havoc, and spoil, and ruin are my
480. Protesting Fate supreme] gain. Calling upon Fate as a witness But Satan is here extolling his
The new created world, which fame in heaven
own performances, and perhaps the first syllable, as in Pope's the author did not intend, that Epistle to Arbuthnot, ver. 355. the father of lies should keep
A friend in exile, or a father dead. strictly to truth.
480. —thence how I found] And there are several words It is the same sentence still con- whereof we have altered the tinued, and refers to ver. 469. pronunciation from that of our Long were to tell &c.
old writers, but whether we have 484. —by our exíle] He con- altered it for the better, is a stantly places the accent upon great question, the last syllable in exile, as Spen- 4.96. --that which to wie beser likewise does, Faery Queen, longs,] Our author understands b. i. cant. iii. st. 3.
the sentence (as the most learned Far from all people's praise, as in and orthodox divines do) as reexile :
ferring partly to Satan the aubut now it is commonly pro- thor of malice, and partly to the nounced with the accent upon Serpent the instrument of it.