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Thou therefore give due audience, and attend.
This second source of men, while yet but few,
And while the dread of judgment past remains
Fresh in their minds, fearing the Deity,
With some regard to what is just and right


think that the exhibiting part turbulent ones of angelic war of the history of mankind in in heaven. This contrivance vision, and part in narrative, is of Milton's to introduce into his as if an history-painter should poem so many things posterior put in colours one half of his to the time of action fixed in his subject, and write down the first plan, by a visionary proremaining part of it. If Milphetic relation of them, is, it ton's poem flags any where, it must be allowed, common with is in this narration, where in our author, to Virgil and most some places the author has been epic poets since his time; but so attentive to his divinity, that there is one thing to be obhe has neglected his poetry. served singular in our English The narration however rises poet, which is, that whereas very happily on several occa- they have all done it princisions, where the subject is ca- pally, if not wholly, to have an pable of poetical ornaments, as opportunity of complimenting particularly in the confusion their own country and friends, which he describes among the he has not the least mention of, the builders of Babel, and in or friendly allusion to, his. The his short sketch of the plagues Reformation of our Church from of Egypt. Addison.

the errors and tyranny of poMr. Addison observes, that if pery, which corruptions he so Milton's poem flags any where, it well describes and pathetically is in this narration ; and to be laments, afforded him occasion sure, if we have an eye only to fair enough, and no doubt his poetic decoration, his remark is not doing it must be imputed to just: but if we view it in an- his mind's being so unhappily other light, and consider in how imbittered, at the time of his short a compass he has com- writing, against our governprised, and with what strength ment both in Church and State; and clearness he has expressed, so that to the many other misthe various actings of God to- chiefs flowing from the grand wards mankind, and the most rebellion we may add this, of sublime and deep truths both its depriving Britain of the best of the Jewish and Christian panegyric it is ever likely to theology, it must excite no less have. Thyer. admiration in the mind of an 16. With some regard to what attentive reader, than the more is just and right] This answers sprightly scenes of love and in- to the silver age of the poets, nocence in Eden, or the more the Paradisiacal state is the


Shall lead their lives, and multiply apace,
Lab’ring the soil, and reaping plenteous crop,
Corn wine and oil; and from the herd or flock,
Oft sacrificing bullock, lamb, or kid,
With large wine-offerings pour’d, and sacred feast
Shall spend their days in joy unblam’d, and dwell
Long time in peace by families and tribes
Under paternal rule: till one shall rise

golden one. That of iron be- fectly indifferent in itself, and gins soon, ver. 24. Richardson. made use of only by way of

24. -till one shall rise &c.] exaggeration : but in this place It is generally agreed, that the the greatest number of interfirst governments in the world preters take it in a bad sense, were patriarchal, by families and in the same manner as when it tribes, and that Nimrod was the is said of the men of Sodom, first who laid the foundations of that they were sinners before the kingly government among man- Lord, Gen. xiii. 13. as also of kind. Our author therefore Er the eldest son of Judah, that (who was no friend to kingly he was wicked in the sight of the government at the best) repre. Lord, Gen. xxxviii. 7. And St. sents him in a very bad light Austin in particular would have as a most wicked and insolent it translated not before the Lord, tyrant, but he has great autho- but against the Lord. Our aurities, both Jewish and Chris- thor, in conformity to this opitian, to justify him for so doing. nion, says, The Scripture says of Nimrod,

Before the Lord, as in despite of Gen. x. 9. that he was a mighty

Heaven, hunter before the Lord: and this

but then takes in the other inour author understands in the

terpretation of Vatablus and worst sense, of hunting men nd not beasts, and men not the same as under the Lord,

others, that before the Lord is beasts shall be his game.


usurping all authority to himseveral commentators under

self next under God, and claimand the Scripture applies the ing it jure divino, as was done

; word to hunting of men by persecution, oppression, and ty- Or from Heav'n claming second sov

ranty ; ranny. Jer. xvi. 16. Lam. iv. 18. Ezek. xiii. 18, 20. And so claming, so Milton spells the the Jerusalem Targum here ex- word in this place, and so he pounds it of a sinful hunting of spells reclame in vi. 791. and so the sons of men. The phrase all of that family should be before the Lord seems to be per- spelt, declame, exclame, proclame,



Of proud ambitious heart, who not content
With fair equality, fraternal state,
Will arrogate dominion undeserv'd
Over his brethren, and quite dispossess
Concord and law of nature from the earth,
Hunting (and men not beasts shall be his game)
With war and hostile snare such as refuse
Subjection to his empire tyrannous:
A mighty hunter thence he shall be styl'd
Before the Lord, as in despite of Heaven,
Or from Heav'n claming second sovranty ;
And from rebellion shall derive his name,
Though of rebellion others he accuse.
He with a crew, whom like ambition joins
With him or under him to tyrannize,
Marching from Eden tow’ards the west, shall find





&c. being derived from the La- 40. Marching from Eden totin clamo, and the French cla- wards the west, &c.] Gen. xi. 2.

&c. Anil it came to pass as they And from rebellion shall derive his journeyed from the east, that they

found a plain in the land of for the name Nimrod, though Shinar- And they had brick for more favourable etymologies are

stone, and slime had they for given, yet commonly is derived mortar. And they said, Ğo to, from the Hebrew word marad,

let us build us a city and a tower, which signifies to rebel; and whose top may reach unto hearen,

and let us make us a nume, lest this probably was the principal occasion of those injurious re

we be scattered abroad upon the ports which have prevailed in face of the whole earth. The the world concerning himn.

Hebrew chemar, which we trans

late slime, is what the Greeks Though of rebellion others he accuse.

call asphallus, and the Latins This was added by our author bitumen, a kind of pitch; and probably not without a view to that it abounded very much in his own time, when himself the plain near Babylon, that it and those of his own party swam upon the waters, that were stigmatized as the worst there was a cave and fountain of rebels.

continually emitting it; and that


The plain, wherein a black bituminous gurge
Boils out from under ground, the mouth of hell;
Of brick, and of that stuff they cast to build
A city' and tow'r, whose top may reach to heaven ;
And get themselves a name, lest far dispers’d
In foreign lands their memory be lost,
Regardless whether good or evil fame.
But God who oft descends to visit men
Unseen, and through their habitation walks
To mark their doings, them beholding soon, 50
Comes down to see their city, ere the tower
Obstruct heav'n-tow'rs, and in derision sets

this famous tower at this time, probable that whose lopunto and the no less famous walls of heaven meant, whose top may Babylon afterwards, were built be sacred unto heaven, that is, with this kind of cement, is sacred to the host of heaven; and confirmed by the testimony of that this was the very tower several profane authors. This which Herodotus describes at black bituminous gurge, this Babylon with a chapel at the pitchy pool, the poet calls the top of it. Clio, 181. It is promouth of hell, not strictly speak- bable also that God confounded ing, but by the same sort of not only their languages, but figure by which the ancient still more their idolatrous creed, poets call Tænarus or Avernus rendering the universal combithe jaws and gate of hell, nation of men in this base apo

stasy impracticable and transient. Tænarias etiam fauces, alta ostia

See Graves on the Pentateuch,
Virg. Georg. iv. 467.

part ii. lect. 1. Hutchinson's 43. — they cast-] Consi- Works, i. 28. E. der, devise means, contrive, as in 51. Comes down to see their Par. Lost, iii. 634.

city, &c.] Gen. xi. 5, &c. And

the Lord came down to see the But first he casts to change his city and the lower, which the proper shape. T. Warton. children of men builded &c. The

Scripture speaketh here after 44. —low'r whose top may the manner of men: and thus reach to heaven ;] Milton here the heathen gods are often refollows the translators of the presented as coming down to Bible, who supply the words observe the actions of men,' as may reach, which are not found in the stories of Lycaon, Baucis, in the original: but is is more and Philemon, &c.


Upon their tongues a various spi'rit to rase
Quite out their native language, and instead
To sow a jangling noise of words unknown :
Forthwith a hideous gabble rises loud
Among the builders ; each to other calls
Not understood, till hoarse, and all in rage,
As mock'd they storm; great laughter was in heaven
And looking down, to see the hubbub strange 60
And hear the din ; thus was the building left
Ridiculous, and the work Confusion nam’d.

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53.-a various spi'rit] 2 Chron. riage of Vulcan in waiting, xviii. 22. It is said the Lord Iliad. i. 599. had put a lying spirit in the

Aobssos d' up cropro gidas paragusoo mouth of the prophets; here he froren, puts a various spirit in the mouth Ως ιδον Ηφαιστον δια δωματα τοισοof these builders, a spirit varying the sounds by which they Vulcan with aukward grace his office would express their thoughts plies, one to another, and bringing And unextinguish'd laughter shakes

the skies,

Pope. consequently confusion, whence the work is so called. Rich- But, as Mr. Thyer adds, it is ardson,

rather too comic for the grave 59. --great laughter was in character of Milton's gods to be heav'n &c.] Dr. Bentley has represented peeping down and made some alterations here, and laughing like a parcel of mere the context considered I know mortals, to see the workmen not whether they are not for puzzled and squabbling about the better;

their work: though there are -great laughter is in heaven such expressions even in ScripAU looking down

ture, Psal. ii. 4. He that sitteth - thus is the building left: in the heavens shall laugh; the but afterwards I find the author Lord shall have them in derision. varying the tense in several See too Psal. xxxvii. 13. lix. 8. places, and speaking of things Prov. i. 26. I also will laugh at future as past, future with re- your calamity, I will mock when gard to the time when the an

your fear cometh. gel is speaking, but past with 62. -and the work Confu. regard to the time which he is sion nam'd.] For Babel in Hespeaking of Great laughter was brew signifies Confusion. Therein heaven &c. And thus Homer fore is the name of it called Babel, represents the gods as laughing because the Lord did there conat the aukward limping care found the language of all the

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