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Into thy mother's lap, or be with ease
Henceforth I fly not death, nor would prolong
537. Gather'd, not harshly reader; since the poor poet is plucked, for death mature :] He here no doubt describing what seems to have had in mind this he felt at the time he wrote it, passage of Cicero de Senect. 19. being then in the decline of life, Et quasi poma ex arboribus, and troubled with various incruda si sint, vi avelluntur; si firmities. Thyer. matura et cocta, decidunt: sic 551. —and patiently attend vitam adolescentibus vis aufert, My dissolution,] senibus maturitas.
In the first edition it was thus, 538. -but then thou must outlive &c.] There is something
Which I must keep till my appointed
day very just and poetical in this de
Of rend'ring up, Michael to him re. scription of the miseries of old
plied. age, so finely contrasted as they are with the opposite pleasures But I suppose the author thought of youth. It is indeed short, that ending too abrupt, and but vastly expressive, and I therefore added these words in think ought to excite the pity the second edition, and omitted as well as the admiration of the to him for the verse sake.
Nor love thy life, nor hate ; but what thou liv'st
He look’d, and saw a spacious plain, whereon
560 Their stops and chords was seen ; his volant touch Instinct through all proportions low and high
553. Nor love thy life, nor to Jabal, he was the father of hate;] Martial, lib. x.
such as dwell in tents, and of
such as have cattle, Gen. iv. 20. Summum nec metuas diem, nec
Others, whence the sound was optes.
heard of harp and organ; these 554. --permit to Heaven :) belonged to Jubal, he was the Permitte Divis. Hor. od. i. ix. 9. father of all such as handle the 556. He look'd, and saw
harp and organ. Gen. iv. 21. spacious plain, &c.] As there
In other part stood one at the is nothing more delightful in forge, this was Tubal-Cain, an poetry than a contrast and op- instructor of every artificer in position of incidents, the author brass and iron. Gen. iv. 22. after this melancholy prospect 562. Instinct through all proof death and sickness, raises up portions &c.] His nimble fingers, a scene of mirth, love, and jol, lity. The secret pleasure that the various distances of sound,
as if inspired, flew through all steals into Adam's heart, as he is intent upon this vision, is treble or bass, and through all
over all proportions, low or high, imagined with great delicacy. its parts followed the sounding I must not omit the description symphony. A fugue (of fuga, of the loose female troop, who Latin, a flight) is in music the seduced the sons of God, as they correspondency of parts, anare called in Scripture.
swering one another in the same For that fair female troop thou notes, either above or below; saw'st, &c.
therefore exactly and graphiAddison.
cally styled resonant, as sound557. Were tents of various ing the same notes over again. hue ; &c.] These were the Hume. tents of the posterity of Cain, Milton is the more particular as the author himself afterwards in this description, as he was instructs us; by some were herds himself a lover of music, and a of cattle grazing; these belonged performer upon the organ.
Fled and pursu'd tranverse the resonant fugue.
565. -Iwo massy clods of ir’on 573. After these, ] As and brass
being the descendants of the Had melted, (whether found younger brother, but on the where casual fire
hither side, Cain having been Had wasted woods on moun- banished into a more distant tain or in vale,
country, a different sort, the Down to the veins of earth,-) posterity of Seth wholly difFrom Lucretius, v. 1240.
ferent from that of Cain, from Quod superest, æs atque aurum,
the high neighbouring hills, which ferrumque repertum est, was their seat, having their haEt simul argenti pondus, plumbique bitation in the mountains near potestas;
Paradise, down to the plain deIgnis ubi ingentes silvas ardore scended, where the Cainites
cremarat Montibus in magnis.
dwelt; by their guise just mer But these verses want emenda- bent to worship God aright, the
they seemed, and all their study tion. Plumbi potestas is non- Scripture itself speaks of them
The stop should be placed thus :
as the worshippers of the true
God, and know his works not hid, Et simul argenti pondus, plumbi- and Josephus and other writers que, polestas
inform us that they were ad. Ignis ubi ingentes &c.
dicted to the study of natural Argenti pondus plumbique, as philosophy, and especially of in Virgil, argenti pondus et astronomy, (Joseph. Antiq. lib. i. auri. Potestas ignis expresses c. 2.) nor those things last (in the the consuming power of fire. first edition it is lost, but afterWe have potentia solis in Vir- wards corrected among the ergil, and potestates herbarum. rata) which might preserre, nor Jortin.
was it their last care and study 573. Fusil or grav'n] By to know those things which melting or carving. Hume. might preserve freedom and peace
But on the hither side, a different sort
to men. Though this account A lovely bevy of fair ladies sat. of the Sethites be in the general And b. iv. cant. x. st. 48. agreeable to Scripture, yet the
A bevy of fair damsels close did lie. particulars of their living in the mountains near Paradise, and And b. v. cant. ix. st. 31. of their descending thence into A bevy of fair virgins clad in white. the plain, and their corrupt- And by Shakespeare, Henry ing themselves in that man- VIII. act i. ner with the daughters of Cain,
-none here he hopes, our author seems to have taken In all this noble bevy, has brought from the oriental writers, and with her particularly from the Annals of One care abroad.. Eutychius.
586. -till in the amorous net 582. A bevy of fair women,] Fast caught, they lik'd,] A bevy is a company, of the Dr. Bentley finding first in the Italian beva, (says Hume,) a later editions, says that Milton covey of partridges. It is a must have given it fast: and so word used by Chaucer, and by he did in both the editions pubSpenser likewise of a company lished in his life time. Pearce. of women, Faery Queen, b. ii. 588. till th' evening star, cant. ix. st. 34.
&c.] See the note on viji. 519.
Hymen, then first to marriage rites invok'd :
595 Of Adam, soon inclin'd t admit delight, The bent of nature ; which he thus express'd.
True opener of mine eyes, prime Angel blest, Much better seems this vision, and more hope Of peaceful days portends, than those two past ; 600 Those were of hate and death, or pain much worse, Here nature seems fulfill'd in all her ends.
To whom thus Michael. Judge not what is best By pleasure, though to nature seeming meet, Created, as thou art, to nobler end
605 Holy and pure, conformity divine. Those tents thou saw'st so pleasant, were the tents Of wickedness, wherein shall dwell his race Who slew his brother ; studious they appear Of arts that polish life, inventors rare,
610 Unmindful of their Maker, though his Spirit Taught them, but they his gifts acknowledg'd none. Yet they a beauteous offspring shall beget; For that fair female troop thou saw'st, that seem'd Of goddesses, so blithe, so smooth, so gay, 615 Yet empty of all good wherein consists Woman's domestic honour and chief praise ;
614. For that fair female troop fair female troop, thut seemed thou saw'st,] The construction &c. which is a sufficient proof is not, as some may apprehend, of the posterity of Cain begetting For that fuir female troop (which) a beauteous offspring. thou sawest ; but thou sawest that