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Us timely' of what might else have been our loss,
Unknown, which human knowledge could not reach : 75
For which to th' infinitely Good we owe
Immortal thanks, and his admonishment
Receive with solemn purpose to observe
Immutably his sovran will, the end
Of what we are. But since thou hast vouchsaf'd
Gently for our instruction to impart
Things above earthly thought, which yet concern'd
Our knowing, as to highest wisdom seem'd,
Deign to descend now lower, and relate
What may no less perhaps avail us known,
How first began this heav'n which we behold
Distant so high, with moving fires adorn'd
Innumerable, and this which yields or fills
All space, the ambient air wide interfus'd
Embracing round this florid earth, what cause

90 Mov'd the Creator in his holy rest Through all eternity so late to build

85

79. -the end

earth, but flowing into and spun Of what we are.)

out between all bodies; and is a The will of God is the end to fuller and finer notation of its which all we are; thou hast liquid and spiritual texture, leavcreated all things, and for thy ing no vacuum in nature, than pleasure they are and were created, that of Ovid, Rev. iv. 11. 88. -und this which yields or

Nec circumfuso pendebat in aëre

tellus. Met, i. 12. fills

Hume. All space, the ambient air wide interfus'd]

92. -so late to build] It is Yields space to all bodies, and a question that has been often

up the deserted space asked, Why God did not create so as to be subservient to mo the world sooner? but the same tion. Richardson.

question might be asked, if the Ambient interfus'd denotes the world had been created at any air not only surrounding the time, for still there were infinite

again fills

In Chaos, and the work begun, how soon
Absolv’d, if unforbid thou may'st unfold
What we, not to explore the secrets ask

95
Of his eternal empire, but the more
To magnify his works, the more we know.
And the great light of day yet wants to run
Much of his race though steep; suspense in heaven,

ages before that time. And that Thy tale with raptures I could hear can never be a just exception

thee tell,

Thy woes on earth, the wondrous against this time, which holds

scenes in hell, equally against all time. It

Till in the vault of heav'n the stars must be resolved into the good decay, will and pleasure of Almighty

And the sky reddens with the rising day.

Broome. God; but there is a farther reason according to Milton's hypothesis, which is that God, after Mr. Thyer is of opinion, that the expelling of Satan and his there is not a greater instance angels out of heaven, declared of our author's exquisite skill in his pleasure to supply their place the art of poetry, than this and by creating another world, and the following lines. There is other creatures to dwell therein. nothing more, really to be ex

94. Absolv’d] Finished, com pressed, than Adam's telling pleted, perfected, from Absolutus, Raphael his desire to hear the (Latin.) Richardson.

continuance of his relation, and 98. And the great light of day yet the poet by a series of strong yet wants to run &c.] Our au and noble figures has worked it thor has improved upon Homer, up into half a score of as fine Odyss. xi. 372. where Alcinous lines as any in the whole poem. by the same sort of arguments Lord Shaftesbury has observed, endeavours to persuade Ulysses that Milton's beauties generally to continue his narration; only depend upon solid thought, there it was night, and here the strong reasoning, noble passion, scene is by day.

and a continued thread of moral

doctrine; but in this place he Νυξ δ' ήδι μαλα μακρη, αθισφατος: εδε has shewn what an exalted fancy To wgn

and mere force of poetry can Εύδειν εν μεγαρα: συ δε μοι λεγε θεσ: do.

99.

-suspense in heaven, Ken RI s no διαν ағасходну

Held by thy voice, thy potent

voice, he hears,] And lo! a length of night behind We have here altered the punc

remains, The evening stars still mount th'

tuation of the first editions, ethereal plains,

which was thus,

zina seya.

100

105

Held by thy voice, thy potent voice, he hears,
And longer will delay to hear thee tell
His generation, and the rising birth
Of nature from the unapparent deep :
Or if the star of evening and the moon
Haste to thy audience, night with her will bring
Silence, and sleep list’ning to thee will watch,
Or we can bid his absence, till thy song
End, and dismiss thee ere the morning shine.

Thus Adam his illustrious guest besought:
And thus the Godlike Angel answer'd mild.
This also thy request with caution ask'd
Obtain : though to recount almighty works
What words or tongue of Seraph can suffice,
Or heart of man suffice to comprehend ?

110

suspense in heaven

bring the moon down from heaHeld by thy voice, thy potent voice

ven, he hears,

Carmina vel cælo possunt deducere for after it is said he is held sus

lunam: ver. 69. pense in heaven by thy voice, to and well therefore may Milton say he hears thy voice is poor suppose the sun to delay, susand low indeed. He must hear pended in heaven, to hear the it before he can be held by it. angel tell his generation, and espeWe have therefore followed the cially since we read that the sun punctuation of Dr. Pearce; and did stand still at the voice of the sense seems plain, as he has Joshua. pointed these verses, Held by 103. --unapparent deep : ] thy potent voice, he hears suspense Where nothing was to be seen in heaven, that is, he stops and according to Gen.i. 2. Darkness hearkens, he stays and is atten

the face of the deep. tive. The poets often feign the Hume. rivers to stop their course, and 110. And thus the Godlike other inanimate parts of nature angel answer'd mild.] The angel's to hear the songs of Orpheus encouraging our first parents in and the like, Virg. Ecl. viii. 4. a modest pursuit after know

ledge, with the causes which he Et mutata suos requierunt flumina

assigns for the creation of the

world, are very just and beauNay charms and

tiful. Addison,

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120

Yet what thou canst attain, which best may serve 115
To glorify the Maker, and infer
Thee also happier, shall not be withheld
Thy hearing, such commission from above
I have receiv’d, to answer thy desire
Of knowledge within bounds; beyond abstain
To ask, nor let thine own inventions hope
Things not reveald, which th’invisible King,
Only omniscient, hath suppress’d in night,
To none communicable in earth or heaven :
Enough is left besides to search and know.
But knowledge is as food, and needs no less
Her temp’rance over appetite, to know
In measure what the mind may well contain ;
Oppresses else with surfeit, and soon turns
Wisdom to folly', as nourishment to wind.

Know then, that after Lucifer from heaven (So call him, brighter once amidst the host Of angels, than that star the stars among)

195

130

116.
and infer

Prudens futuri temporis exituus
Thee happier,]

Caliginosâ nocte premit Deus,
And by inference make thee

Thyer. happier.

122. -th' invisible King, ] 121. —nor let thine own in- As God is styled in Scripture ventions hope] Milton seems here the invisible King, I Tim. i. 17. to allude to Eccles. vii. 20. they so this is the properest epithet have sought out many inventions; that could have been employed which commentators explain by here, when he is speaking of reasonings. Pearce.

things not revealed, suppressed in Thus they prorokeil him to night, to none communicable in their

in- earth or heuven, neither to men tentions, Psalm cvi. 29. The nor angels, as it is said of the two following lines are almost day of judgment, Matt. xxiv. a literal translation of these 36. Of that day and hour knowtwo in Horace, Od. iii. xxix. eth no man, no not the angels of 29.

heaven, but my Father only.

Onn

anger with

135

140

Fell with his flaming legions through the deep
Into his place, and the great Son return'd
Victorious with his saints, th' omnipotent
Eternal Father from his throne beheld
Their multitude, and to his Son thus spake.

At least our envious foe hath faild, who thought
All like himself rebellious, by whose aid
This inaccessible high strength, the seat
Of deity supreme, us dispossess'd,
He trusted to have seiz'd, and into fraud
Drew many, whom their place knows here no more ;
Yet far the greater part have kept, I see,
Their station, heav'n yet populous retains
Number sufficient to possess her realms
Though wide, and this high temple to frequent
With ministeries due and solemn rites :
But lest his heart exalt him in the harm
Already done, to have dispeopled heaven,
My damage fondly deem'd, I can repair

145

150

as v.

135. Into his place,] As the allur’d them, and with lies traitor Judas is said likewise Drew after him the third part of

heav'n's host, to go to his own place, Acts i. 25.

709. but that he ruin'd as 143. and into fraud well as cheated'them, i. 609. Drew many,]

Millions of spirits for his fault Fraud in common acceptation amerc'd means no more than deceit, but Of heav'n, and from eternal splenoften signifies misfortune. Mil

dours flung

for his revolt. ton, who so constantly makes

Richardson. Latin or Greek of English, does it here, and extends the idea to 144.

-whom their place the misery, the punishment con- knows here no more ;] A Scripsequent upon the deceit, as well ture expression, Job vii. io. as the deceit itself. So that neither shall his place know him Satan is said here, not only to any more. Psal. ciii. 16. and the have drawn many into fraud, place thereof shall know it no not only that he

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