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For ought appears, and on their orbs impose 30
So spake our sire, and by his count'nance seem'd Eatring 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 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 yet within view. She stays as
affection of Eve! 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
decor. 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 winracter, and are made to with- ning graces
her. draw when the discourse was She is not only graceful, but less proper for 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.
Perceiving where she sat retir'd in sight,
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. jji. 142. Verdeggian tutte, ogni fior s'apre et alza, &c.
“Ωρματ' ικ θαλαμοιο, τερεν κατα δακρυ Adone, cant. iii. st. 65.
Ουκ αιη, 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. denti,
as queen Rivesta il bel giardin novi colori &c.
A pomp of winning graces
waited still.] Thyer. Pomp, retinue, train. Her train
Ib. cant. vi. st. 146.
of winning graces waited still,
To ask or search I blame thee not, for heaven
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; With pomp, and feast, and revelry.
says Mr. Hume. Mr. Richard
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.
Imports not, if thou reckon right; the rest
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, fc. 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.
The less not bright, nor heav'n such journeys run,
90 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
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.