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With borders long the rivers : that earth now
Again th’ Almighty spake, Let there be lights
331. —though God had yet 275.) with evening harps and not rain'd &c.] This is taken from matin, (ver. 450.) What is done the second chapter of Genesis; by the voices and instruments the poet was studious to weave is poetically ascribed to the time in all that Moses had written of in which they were employed. the creation. Gen. ii. 4, 5, 6. Richardson. In the day that the Lord God 339. Again th' Almighty spake, made the earth and the heavens, Let there be lights &c.] Gen. i. und every plant of the field before 14, 15. And God said, Let there it was in the earth, and every be lights in the firmament of the herb of the field before it grew: heaven to divide the day from the for the Lord God had not caused night ; and let them be for signs, it to rain upon the earth, and and for seasons, and for days, and there was not a man to till the years : And let them be for lights ground: but there went up a mist in the firmament of the heaven, to from the earth, and watered the give light upon the earth: and it whole face of the ground.
was so. We see, when he makes 338. So ev'n and morn recorded the divine Person speak, he still the third day.] Recorded, cele- keeps close to Scripture; but afbrated, caused to be reniem- terwards he indulges a greater bered. This was done by the latitude of thought, and gives even and morning chorus, (ver. freer scope to his imagination.
Their office in the firmament of heaven
346. And God made two great that of celestial bodies the sun lights,] The several glories of was first framed, and then the the heavens make their appear- moon and stars, observing this ance on the fourth day. Addison. order of creation, we suppose, The very words of Moses, And according to the degrees of useGod made two great lights ; not fulness to men.
The sun, he that they were greater than all says, was unlightsome first; and other stars and planets, but are it is most probable, that the only greater lights with refer- bodies of the sun and moon fc. ence to man, and therefore Mil- were formed at the same time ton judiciously adds,
as the body of the earth on the
first day, but they were not great for their use To man, the greater to have
made those complete luminous rule by day,
bodies, they did not shine out in The less by night altern ;
their lustre and glory till the
fourth day, the air perhaps or that is, alternate, a word added atmosphere not being sufficito Moses's account, as in their ently cleared before to transmit vicissitude is afterwards; the their rays to the earth. Mil. greater light to rule the day, and ton's hypothesis is different. the lesser light to rule the night: He
says that the light was transhe made the stars also. And God planted from her cloudy shrine or set them in the firmament of the tabernacle, wherein she had soheaven, to give light upon the journed the three first days, and earth, and to rule over the day, on the fourth day was placed in and over the night, and to divide the sun's orb, which was become the light from the darkness : and now the great palace of light. God saw that it was good. Gen. i. But let it be remembered that 16, 17, 18. So far,
this is all hypothesis, and that keeps close to Scripture, but the Scripture determines nothing then he launches out, and says,
one way or other.
For of celestial bodies first the sun
358. And sow'd with stars the peated so often, and in two heav'n thick as a field:) This places substitutes some other allusion is extremely elegant. expression in the room of it; Manil. v. 726.
but when Milton was describing Tunc conferta licet cæli fulgentia
the creation of light, it was bettempla
ter (as Dr. Pearce judiciously Cernere seminibus densis, totisque observes) to keep strictly to the micare
word, though frequently reFloribus :
peated, than to vary it by where Milton
seems to have phrases and circumlocutions. read conserta, which is much 364. Hither as to their founa more beautiful; and his reading tain other stars] So the sun is seems to be proved by the word called by Lucretius, v. 282. the densis, which would be unneces- fountain of light, of liquid light. sary, and even bad, with the
Largus item liquidi fons luminis, word conferta. Richardson.
æthereus sol 361. —made porous to receive Irrigat assidue cælum candore reAnd drink the liquid light, firm
centi: to retain
and by other stars are meant the Her gather'd beams,]
planets, as appears by mentionPorous yet firm. Milton seems ing particularly the morning to have taken this thought from planet Venus, what is said of the Bologna stone, which being placed in the light
And hence the morning planet gilds
her horns; willimbibe, and for some time retain it so as to enlighten a dark In the first edition it was his place. Richardson.
horns, but the author in the 362. And drink the liquid second edition softened it into light,] Dr. Bentley finds fault her horns, which is certainly with the word light being re- properer for the planet Venus,
Repairing, in their golden urns draw light,
though Dr. Bentley and Mr. There are perhaps two or three Fenton have still printed it his other instances in the poem: horns.
but the jingle of the rhyme is 370. First in his east the glo- pretty well avoided by the pause rious lump was seen,] It is in- in the verses, or by their rundeed a little inaccurate to make ning into one another. Howthis as well as the former verse
ever it would have been more conclude with the word seen; artificial, if the structure had but this is not so bad as when been different.
We know very both verses rhyme together, as
well that there are parallel inin ji. 220.
stances even in Homer and Vir.
gil; but though some may think This horror will grow mild, this darkness light;
them beauties in Greck and Besides what hope the never-ending Latin, we think them none in flight;
an English poem professedly And in vi. 34.
written in blank verse.
In all such cases we must say with -far worse to bear
Horace, De Arte Poet. 351. Than violence; for this was all thy
Verum ubi plura nitent in carmine,
non ego paucis
Offendar maculis, quas aut incuria By sacred unction, thy deserved
Aut humana parum cavit natura. Go then thou mightiest in thy Fa- 372. - jocund to run ther's might:
His longitude through heav'n's And in xi. 230.
high road ;] One of the heav'nly host, and by his Longitude signifies the sun's gait
course from east to west in a None of the meanest, some great straight and direct line: and we potentate.
find Milton using the word after
much the same manner in iii. The bent of nature; which he thus Psalm xix. 5. where it is said of
576. This passage alludes to express'd. True opener of mine eyes, prime the sun, that he rejoiceth as a angel blest.
giant to run his course. Pearce. VOL. II.
His longitude through heav'n's high road ; the gray
the sun at his creation, intimates Dawn, and the Pleiades before very plainly that the creation him danc'd
was in the spring according to Shedding sweet influence:] the
common opinion. Virg. These are beautiful images, and Georg. ii. 338, &c. very much reseinble the famous picture of the morning by Guido,
Ver illud erat; ver magnus where the sun is represented in
Orbis, et hibernis parcebant fatibus his chariot, with the Aurora fly
Euri, ing before him, shedding flow- Cum primæ lucem pecudes hausere, ers, and seven beautiful nymph
&c. like figures dancing before and about his chariot, which are
And when he farther adds, shedcommonly taken for the Hours, ding sweet influence, it is in allu. but possibly may be the Pleiades, sion to Job xxxviii. 31. Canst as they are seven in number, thou bind the sweet influences of and it is not easy to assign a
Pleiades? reason why the hours should be
382. With thousand lesser lights signified by that number parti- dividual holds,] Dividuus is an cularly. The picture is on a
Ovidian adjective, Amor. i. v. 10. ceiling at Rome; but there are
ii. x. 10. Art. Amator. ii. 488, copies of it in England, and an
&c. and Milton has twice Anexcellent print by Jac. Frey. glicised it in Par. Lost; viz. in The Pleiades are seven stars in this place, and again b. xii. 85. the neck of the constellation of liberty, Taurus, which rising about the time of the vernal equinox, are
· which always with right reason
dwells called by the Latins Vergiliæ.
Twinn'd, and from her hath no Our poet therefore in saying dividual being that the Pleiades danced before