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The hollow universal orb they fill'd,
Again, God said, Let there be firmament
261. Again, God said, &c.] firmness and intransgressibility. When he makes God speak, he Hume and Richardson. adheres closely to the words of 268. The waters underneath Scripture. And God said, Let
from those above there be a firmament in the midst
Dividing :) of the waters, and let it divide the They who understand the fir. waters from the waters, Gen. i. mament to be the vast air, ex6. But when he says that God panded and stretched out on all made the firmament, he explains sides to the starry heavens, what is meant by the firma. esteem the waters above it to ment. The Hebrew word, be those generated, in the midwhich the Greeks render by dle region of the air, of vapours atigewesh, and our translators by exhaled and drawn up thither firmament, signifies expansion: from the steaming earth and it is rendered expansion in the nether waters; which descend margin of our Bibles, and Mil- again in such vast showers and ton rightly explains it by the ex- mighty floods of rain, that not panse of elemental air.
only rivers, but seas may be 264. — liquid air,] Virg. Æn. imaginable above, as appeared vi. 202. liquidumque per aëra.
when the cataracts came down 267. -partition firm und sure,] in a deluge, and the flood-gates For its certainty not solidity of heaven were opened. Gen. vii. St. Augustin upon Genesis. It in. Others, and those many, is not called firmament as being by these waters above understand a solid body, but because it is a the crystalline heaven, (by Gasbound or term between the upper sendus made double,) by our and nether waters ; a partition author better named crystalline firm and immoveable, not upon ocean, by its clearness resemaccount of its station, but of its bling water. Who layeth the
Dividing : for as earth, so he the world
The earth was form’d, but in the womb as yet
beams of his chambers in the Hebrews and in the style of waters, Psal. civ. 3. Praise him, Scripture. In this very chapye heavens of hearens, and ye ter, ver. 20. it is said, fowl that waters above the heavens, Psal. may fly above the earth in the cxlviii. 4. To this sense our
open firmament of heaven. So in poet agrees, and thus infers, Ps. civ. 12. By them shall the that as God built the earth, and fowls of the heaven have their founded it on waters, (stretched habitation, which sing among the out the earth above the waters, branches. And Matt. vi. 26, Ps. cxxxvi. 6. By the word of what we translate the fowls of God the heavens were of old, and the air is in the original the the earth consisting out of the fowls of hearen, Tu water and in the water, 2 Pet. 8eav8. So again, Rev. xix. 17, iii. 5.) so also he established the the fowls that fly in the midst of whole frame of the heavenly heaven. And we read often in orbs, in a calm crystalline sea Scripture of the rain of heaven, surrounding it, lest the neigh- and the clouds of heaven. The bourhood of the unruly Chaos truth is, there were three heashould disturb it. But all search vens in the account of the Hein works so wonderful, so distant brews. Mention is made of the and undiscernable, as well as un- third heaven, 2 Cor. xii. 2. The demonstrable, is quite confounded. first heaven is the air, as we have Hume.
shewn, wherein the clouds move 274. And Heav'n he named the and the birds fly; the second firmament :) So Gen. i. 8. And is the starry heaven, and the God called the firmament Heaven. third heaven is the habitation of But it may seem strange if the the angels and the seat of God's firmament means the air and at- glory. Milton is speaking here mosphere, that the air should be of the first heaven, as he mencalled heaven : but so it is fre- tions the others in other places. quently in the language of the
Prolific humour soft'ning all her globe,
God said, mountains, they go down by the Be gather'd now ye waters un valleys unto the place which thou der keaven
hast founded for them, &c. We Into one place, and let dry suppose that we need not desire land appear.]
the reader to remark the beautiThis is again exactly copied ful numbers in the following from Moses; And God said, verses of the poem, how they Let the waters under the heaven seem to rise with the rising be gathered together into one place, mountains, and to sink again and let the dry land uppear : and with the falling waters. it was so. Gen. i. 9. And it was 285. Immediately the mounso is very short in Moses; Mil- tains &c.] We have the same ton enlarges upon it, as the sub- elevation of thought in the third ject will admit some fine strokes day, when the mountains were of poetry, and seems to have had brought forth, and the deep was his eye upon the 104th Psalm, made. We have also the rising which is likewise a divine hymn of the whole vegetable world in praise of the creation, sixth described in this day's work, and following verses.
Thou which is filled with all the graces coveredst the earth with the deep; that other poets have lavished the waters stood above the moun- on their description of the spring, tains. At thy rebuke they fled, and leads the reader's imaginaat the voice of thy thunder they tion into a theatre equally sur
away. They go up by the prising and beautiful. Addison.
On the swift floods : as armies at the call
299. If steep, with torrent rap- You cannot read it otherwise ture,] I have seen a marginal than slowly, and so as to give reading with torrent rupture, as your mind a picture of the thing in ver. 419. we have bursting described. Many examples of with kindly rupture. But we the like kind are to be found in may understand torrent rapture our author and all good poets. in the same manner as glad pre- Richardson. cipitance, ver. 291.
307. The dry land, earth, &c.] 303. And on the washy ooze These are again the words of
deep channels wore ; Genesis formed into verse, Gen. Easy, ere God had bid the ground i. 10, 11. And God called the dry be dry, &c.]
land Earth, and the gathering The earth was just now emerged together of the waters called he from the waters in which it had Seas: and God saw that it was been wrapt; it was therefore good. And God said, Let the all one great washy ooze, slime earth bring forth grass, the herb and mud. In this soft earth yielding seed, and the fruil-tree deep channels were easily worn yielding fruit after his kind, whose by the streaming water, till it seed is in itself upon the earth. was dry every where but within But when he comes to the dethe banks,
scriptive part, he then opens a where rivers now
finer vein of poetry Stream, and perpetual draw their
Put forth the verdant grass, herb yielding seed,
321. The swelling gourd,] I branches, and implicit signifies give “swelling" instead of the entangled. The subject is low, old reading smelling upon the and therefore he is forced to united authorities of Bentley, raise the expression. Pearce, and Newton himself, 325. or gemm'd (although he declined altering Their blossoms : ] the received text,) supported by Put forth their blossoms, of gemarguments quite convincing, but more (Latin) to bud forth Hume.
, too long for the occasion. E. Dr. Bentley thinks it plain
321. —-the corny reed] The that Milton gave it or gemmed horny reed stood upright among with blossoms; taking gemmed for the undergrowth of nature, like a participle as hung is. But a grove of spears or a battalion gemmed may be a verb, as spread with its spikes aloft. Corneus is. And to gem their blossoms is (Latin) of or like horn. Hume. an expression of the same poet
323. ——with frizzled hair im- ical cast with that in iv. 219, plicit :) Hair, coma in Latin, blooming ambrosial fruit. Pearce. is used for leaves, twigs and