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35

For ought appears, and on their orbs impose 30
Such restless revolution day by day
Repeated, while the sedentary earth,
That better might with far less compass move,
Serv'd by more noble than herself, attains
Her end without least motion, and receives,
As tribute, such a sumless journey brought
Of incorporeal speed, her warmth and light;
Speed, to describe whose swiftness number fails.

So spake our sire, and by his count'nance seemd Entring on studious thoughts abstruse, which Eve 40

37. Of incorporeal speed,] Not stances. She rises to go forth that it was truly so, it signifies with lowliness, but yet with only very great speed, such as majesty and grace. What mospirits might use. Speed almost desty and what dignity is here! spiritual, as he expresses it a lit- Ovid says of Venus relating a tle afterwards, ver. 110.

story to her beloved Adonis, Met. 40. —which Eve

x. 559. Perceiving &c.]

Sic ait, ac mediis interserit oscula What a lovely picture has the verbis. poet here drawn of Eve! As it did not become her to bear a

But how much more delicate is part in the conversation, she Milton's expression, and more modestly sits at a distance, but becoming the chaste conjugal

affection of Eve! yet within view. She stays as long as the angel and her hus

- from his lip band are discoursing of things, Not words alone pleas'd her. which it might concern her and her duty to know: but when Tibullus says in praise of Sulthey enter upon abstruser points, picia, iv. ii. 7. then she decently retires. This

Illam, quicquid agit, quoquo veis preserving the decorum of

stigia stectit, character: and so Cephalus in Componit furtim, subsequiturque Plato's Republic, and Scævola in Cicero's treatise De Oratore, But how much farther has our stay only as long as it was suit- author carried the thought! Not able for persons of their cha- only grace, but a pomp of wina racter, and are made to with- ning graces waited upon her. draw when the discourse was She is not only graceful, but less proper for them to hear. queen of the graces, as the heaEve's withdrawing is juster and thens supposed their Goddess of more beautiful than these in- love to be.

decor.

Perceiving where she sat retir'd in sight,
With lowliness majestic from her seat,
And
grace

that won who saw to wish her stay,
Rose, and went forth among her fruits and flowers,
To visit how they prosper'd, bud and bloom, 45
Her nursery; they at her coming sprung,
And touch'd by her fair tendence gladlier grew.
Yet went she not, as not with such discourse
Delighted, or not capable her ear
Of what was high: such pleasure she reserv’d, 50
Adam relating, she sole auditress;
Her husband the relator she preferr'd
Before the angel, and of him to ask
Chose rather; he, she knew, would intermix
Grateful digressions, and solve high dispute

55 With conjugal caresses ; from his lip Not words alone pleas'd her. O when meet now Such pairs, in love and mutual honour join'd ? With goddess-like demeanour forth she went, Not unattended, for on her as queen

60 46. -they at her coming 59. With goddess-like demeanour sprung, &c.] The same pretty forth she went, thought Marino applies to his

Not unattended,] Venus, which probably Milton in the turn of expression in might have in view.

these two lines, Milton seems to

allude to Homer's description of L'herbe dal sole iinpallidite, e gialle. Helen. Iliad. iji. 142. Verdeggian tutte, ogni fior s'apre et alza, &c.

Ωρμασ' εκ θαλαμοιο, τερεν κατα δακρυ Adone, cant. iii. st. 65.

Ουκ ολη, άμα τηγε. In the same manner also speak

Thyer. ing of Adonis,

60. Not unattended, for on her Tutto al venir d'Adon par che ri.

as queen denti, Rivesta il bel giardin novi colori &c.

A pomp of winning graces

waited still.) Thyer. Pomp, retinue, train. Her train

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Ib. cant. vi. st. 146.

65

A pomp of winning graces waited still,
And from about her shot darts of desire
Into all eyes to wish her still in sight.
And Raphael now to Adam's doubt propos'd
Benevolent and facile thus replied.

To ask or search I blame thee not, for heaven
Is as the book of God before thee set,
Wherein to read his wondrous works, and learn
His seasons, hours, or days, or months, or years :
This to attain, whether heav'n move or earth,

70

" To

of regal attendants were win- hard question, whether heaven ning graces.

It is the same, and or earth move, is of no concern it is the true, sense of pomp, or consequence to thee; N'imin L'Allegro, v. 127.

porte (French) it matters not;

says Mr. Hume. Mr. RichardWith pomp, and feast, and revelry.

son understands it in the same So in Par. Lost, viii. 564.

manner: his words are, While the bright pomp ascended “ attain to know whether the jubilant.

sun or the earth moves is not And v. 353.

“ of use to us." But I believe More solemn than the tedious pomp that they are both mistaken in which waits

the sense of this passage, for I On princes, &c.

conceive it otherwise. This to T. Warton.

attain is to be referred to what 66. To ask or search &c.] precedes and not to what folThe angel's returning a doubtful lows; and accordingly there is answer to Adam's enquiries, was only a colon before these words not only proper for the moral in Milton's own editions, and reason which the poet assigns, not a full stop as in some others. but because it would have been This to attain, that is, to attain highly absurd to have given the the knowledge of seasons, hours, sanction of an archangel to any or days, or months, or years. It particular system of philosophy. imports not, it matters not, it The chief points in the Ptole- makes no difference, whether maic and Copernican hypotheses heaven move or earth, whether are described with great con- the Ptolemaic or the Copernican ciseness and perspicuity, and at system be true. This knowthe same time dressed in very ledge we may still attain; the pleasing and poetical images. rest, other more curious points Addison

of enquiry concerning the hea70. This to attain,] To at venly bodies, God hath done tain to the knowledge of this wisely to conceal.

75

Imports not, if thou reckon right; the rest
From man or angel the great Architect
Did wisely to conceal, and not divulge
His secrets to be scann'd by them who ought
Rather admire; or if they list to try
Conjecture, he his fabric of the heavens
Hath left to their disputes, perhaps to move
His laughter at their quaint opinions wide
Hereafter, when they come to model heaven
And calculate the stars, how they will wield
The mighty frame, how build, unbuild, contrive
To save appearances, how gird the sphere
With centric and eccentric scribbled o'er,
Cycle and epicycle, orb in orb:
Already by thy reasoning this I guess,
Who art to lead thy offspring, and supposest
That bodies bright and greater should not serve

80

85

vens

76. -he his fabric of the hea- bers. That might be one thing

intended; but it is not all. To Hath left to their disputes.] calculate them is to make a comMundum tradidit disputationi putation of every thing relating eorum, ut non inveniat homo to them: the consequence of opus quod operatus est Deus, ab which is (in the old system initio usque ad finem. Vulg. especially) centric and eccentric, Lat. Eccles. iii. 11. Heylin. cycle and epicycle, and orb in orb.

80. And calculate the stars,] Pearce. The sense is, and form a judg- 83. With centric and eccentric] ment of the stars by computing Centric or concentric are such their motions, distance, situ- spheres whose centre is the ation, fic. as to calculate a nati- same with, and eccentric such vity signifies to form a judgment whose centres

different of the events attending it, by from, that of the earth. Cycle computing what planets, in is a circle; Epicycle is a circle what motions, presided over upon another circle. Expedients that nativity. But Dr. Bentley of the Ptolemaics to solve the takes calculating the stars here apparent difficulties in their systo mean counting their num- tem. Richardson.

are

90

The less not bright, nor heav'n such journeys run,
Earth sitting still, when she alone receives
The benefit: consider first, that great
Or bright infers not excellence: the earth
Though, in comparison of heav'n, so small,
Nor glist’ring, may of solid good contain
More plenty than the sun that barren shines,
Whose virtue on itself works no effect,

95
But in the fruitful earth; there first receiv'd
His beams, unactive else, their vigour find.
Yet not to earth are those bright luminaries
Officious, but to thee earth's habitant.
And for the heav'n's wide circuit, let it speak
The Maker's high magnificence, who built
So spacious, and his line stretch'd out so far;
That man may know he dwells not in his own ;
An edifice too large for him to fill,
Lodg’d'in a small partition, and the rest
Ordain'd for uses to his Lord best known.
The swiftness of those circles attribute,
Though numberless, to his omnipotence,
That to corporeal substances could add
Speed almost spiritual ; me thou think'st not slow, 110

100

105

102. --and his line stretch'd And the sense is (as Dr. Pearce out so far ;] A Scripture ex- expresses it) that it is God's pression, Job xxxviii. 5. Who omnipotence which gives to the hath stretched the line upon it? circles, though so numberless, as if God had measured the such a degree of swiftness. Or, heavens and the earth with a if we join numberless in conline.

struction with swiftness, it may 108. Though numberless,] It be understood as in ver. 38. may be joined in construction with circles, and not with swift

Speed, to describe whose swiftness

number fails. ness, as Dr. Bentley conceived.

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