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wet his sword; he hath bent his bow and made it reads -he ordaincth his arrows against the persecutors.
The substance of this ingenious vindication of Milton against the charge of Bentley is taken from a note of Richardson, though by some inadvertence Dr. Newton, who borrows it, has omitted to make the acknowledgment. LINE 193. With head uplift.
Milton frequently abridges the participle perfect of its last syllable, by this, and a multitude of such artifices, giving his language an air of novelty. LINE 202. Created hugest, that swim the ocean
stream, The author, speaking of a vast creature, speaks in numbers suited to the subject, and gives his line a singular and strange movement, by inserting the word hugest where it may have the clumsiest effect. He might easily have said in smoother verse
Created bugest of the ocean stream
but smoothness was not the thing to be consulted when the Leviathan was in question. In like manner, speaking of the larger fishes, book 7. 410. he says
part, huge of bulk, Wallowing unwieldy! enormous in their gait, Tempest the ocean.
What man of true taste would exchange such cumbersome verse, on such an occasion, for the most musical, that ever was written ?
LINE 203. Him haply slumbering on the Norway
foam This simile is most happily introduced, and finely chosen by the poet for the relief of his reader, who feels his imagination refreshed by such a sudden removal from scenes of fire to the shores of the ocean.
LINE 207. Under the lee.
Milton, as Dr. Newton here insinuates, has indeed been charged with an affectation of technical terms; but his use of the word lee in this place seems no proof of it. What other word could he have found in our language, by which to express the situation intended, and was not such a word (of maritime use indeed, but almost universally understood in our country) to be preferred to a tedious circumlocution? LINE 215. Heap on himself damnation.
Here Milton seems to have had in view Romans 2. v. 5.-But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God. LINE 241. Not by the suff'rance of supernal power
To which cause alone the poet himself ascribes it a little before. See lines 211. 12. LINE 257. All but less than he.
The construction perhaps is not very obvious, but seems to be this. What matter where I am, so I be still the same, and what I should be in every respect, this one particular excepted, that I am less than he, whom thunder hath made greater ?
LINE 298.-Smote on him sore besides,
The poet in other passages expresses the effect of violent heat by the verb smite. Thus in book 4. 244. he says
Both where the morning sun first warmly smoto
The open field.
Per certo i bei vostri occhi, Donna mia,
Esser non puo che non sian lo mio sole,
Si mi percuoton forte. LINE 300...Of that inflamed sea.
Milton sometimes cuts off the last syllable of the participle in ed, and sometimes, as here, allows its complete pronunciation. It were to be wished, that the practice of incorporating it with the preceding syllable by the absorption of the intermediate e-as in thrash'd, advanc'd, wreck'd, and other words of the like kind, had not so universally obtained, as it has. For the consequence is often a clutter of consonants with only a single vowel to assist their utterance, which has a barbarous effect, both in the sound, and in the appearance. LINE 315.
Of all the harangues, that either history, or poetry, has invented for commanders rallying their routed armies, none was ever better conceived than this. Satan seems himself astonished in the beginning of it, but it is at their astonishment, which, though he sees it, he can hardly believe. Next affecting ignorance of the real cause of their inactivity, he imputes it to sloth and indolence, as if to stimulate them by derision. In the
third place, to provoke and rouse them still more, he pretends to suppose it possible, that they may be at that moment employed in worshipping and doing homage to the conqueror. Lastly he uses solid argument, reminding them of the danger, to which they expose themselves by such supineness, and finishes his exhortation with a line detached from the rest, and therefore so emphatical that while he utters it, we seem to hear the vaults of Hell re-echo.
LINE 335. Nor did they not perceive.
A Græcism, and taken from the oude atinge-the neque non paruit of Homer. LINE 376. Who first, who last? So Homer Iliad, 5.703.
'Ενθα τίνα πρώτον, τινα δ' υφαλον; LINE 379. Came singly where he stood on the bare
strand. Singly, in the true construction of this line is to be connected with stood. They came where he stood singly. That is, as we are told in lines 299. 300.
On the beach
LINE 384.-Their altars by His altar.
The expression alludes to Ezekiel 43. 8. In their setting of their threshold by my thresholds, and their post by my posts they have even defiled my holy
LINE 418. Till good Josiah drove them thence to
Hell. This is an allusion to Chron. 2. ch. 34. V. 4. And they brake down the altars of Baalim in his (Josiah’s) presence, and the images, that were on high above them, he cut down, and the groves and carved images, and the molten images he brake in pieces, and made dust of them, and strowed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them.
Ezekiel saw. See Ezekiel ch. 8. v. 16. And he brought me into the inner court of the Lord's house, and behold, at the door of the temple of the Lord between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men with their backs towards the temple of the Lord, and their faces towards the east, and they worshipped the sun toward the east.
LINE 499. Ascends above the loftiest tow'rs.
So Homer makes Eumæus, speaking of the riotous deeds of the suitors say
Των υβρις τι, βιη τι, σιδήριον ερανον εκει.
Od. B. 15. L. 328.
LINE 516. Ruled the middle air.
A portion which the poet seems to allot to Jupiter on the authority of Homer, Iliad 15. 192.
Ζευς δ' ελαχ' ουρανόν ευρυν εν αιθέρι και νεφίλησι. . LINE 537. Shone like a meteor.
Mr. Gray had doubtless this line in his eye, when