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Stood to entertain her guest from Heaven ;) no veil
She needed, virtue proof ; no thought infirm 385 Altered her cheek. On whom the angel “ Hail !”
Bestowed ; the holy salutation used
“ Hail, mother of mankind ! whose fruitful womb
Shall fill the world more numerous with thy sons, 390 Than with these various fruits the trees of God Have heaped this table !”–Raised of grassy
All autumn piled ; though spring and autumn here 395 Danced hand in hand. A while discourse they hold ;
No fear lest dinner cool ; when thus began
All perfect good, unmeasured out, descends,400 To us for food and for delight hath caused
The earth to yield ; unsavoury food, perhaps,
To whom the angel : “ Therefore what he gives 405 (Whose praise be ever sung !) to Man, in part
Spiritual, may of purest spirits be found
384. Virtue proof.-Strong in virtue; the other compounds, such as fireproof, waterproof, mean proof against.
393. Her-Table is used as of the Fem. Gend. Supply the Pred. had.
394. Though spring, &c, i.e., though in reality there was here no difference between spring and autuinn.
396. No fear lest dinner cool.-Low and trivial.
399. Unmeasured out. -We cannot put the negative prefix un to Verbs compounded with Prepositions, unless Verb and Prep. are inseparable. We can say unforgiven, uninformed, unoverthrown, unuprooted,
unoverlooked, but not unbuilt up, unbroken in, unlooked over. The expression unmeasured out must therefore be put down as a poetical license. In v. 351, (without) is a similar deviation from the correct mode of forming the negative.
402. Spiritual is to be contracted into two syllables.
403. The object to gives is left out, (see l. 259). What is to be supplied ? If the word food, or it, then Adam has already anticipated the whole of Raphael's subsequent information,
405. Op purest spirits, means here by purest spirits.
Intelligential substances require,
As doth your rational ; and both contain 410 Within them every lower faculty
Of sense, whereby they hear, see, smell, touch, taste,
For know, whatever was created needs 415 To be sustained and fed : of elements
The grosser feeds the purer ; earth the sea ;
Whence, in her visage round, those spots, unpurged 420 Vapours, not yet into her substance turned.
Nor doth the Moon no nourishment exhale
From all his alimental recompense 425 In humid exhalations, and at even
Sups with the Ocean. Though in Heaven the trees
We brush mellifluous dews, and find the ground 430 Covered with pearly grain ; yet God hath here
Varied his bounty so with new delights,
408. Intelligence and reason are here respectively the higher and lower faculty, contrary to their use lower down, 485 and 487, and contrary to our present practice, as established since Kant.
412. Tasting—The Part. Pres, stands for the Part. Past, having tasted.
412. To concoct is the same as to digest.
415. The following passage is strongly objected to by every sensible critic and commentator. “ Our author," says Bentley, “should have taken great care, what notions,
what points of philosophy he put into the mouth of an archangel." Nobody, of course, will find fault with Milton for errors in natural philosophy. Homer is full of them. His notions of geography and astronomy a child may now smile at. But he never inculcates them theoretically as a professor from his chair.
421. The double negative for the affirmative is a Latinism. Compare v. 548, Nor know I not, &c.
431. Taried.-See note on v. 184.
435 The angel, nor in mist,]—the common gloss
Of theologians ; but with keen despatch
Through spirits with ease ;] nor wonder,] if, by fire 440 Of sooty coal, the empiric alchemist
Can turn, or holds it possible to turn,
Ministered naked, and their flowing cups
Deserving Paradise !] if ever, then,
Love unlibidinous reigned, nor jealousy 450 Was understood, the injured lover's Hell.
Thus when with meats and drinks they had sufficed,
Given him by this great conference, to know 455 Of things above this world, and of their being
Who dwell in Heaven, whose excellence he saw
435. Gloss, interpretation.
" The common gloss of theologians” is not in Apposition, but it is an ellipse, which requires the addition of which is.
437. The logical order is, heat concoctive to transubstantiate, i.e., with a veritable digestive power.
438. The process of real eating and digestion upon which the poet so empbatically insists, suggests, of course, the process of secretion as equally natural. This conclusion, however, is rejected by the statement, that “what redounds transpires."
441. Or holds it possible to turn.-By this reservation Milton saves his reputation for soundness in philosophy, but he much weakens the stringency of his argument; for if the transformation of metals is only a
fancy of the alchemist, it will not prove nor even illustrate the chemical change of material food in spiritual beings.
445. Crowned.A classica expression, borrowed by the Latin poets from Homer, the more noticeable, as we fail to see its appropriateness ; for a liquid is not suitable for a crown. Such is the force of imitation, that it is pleased with and repeats words which it does not understand. It is true, that now the expression, “to crown cups," has been invested with the specific meaning “ to fill them brimful."
447. To have been.-See note on 1. 40.
449. Jealousy ... the injured Lover's hell. The qualification injured is not essential. Othello was not injured, but fancied himself to be so.
Transcend his own so far ; whose radiant forms—
Exceeded human ; and his wary speech 460 Thus to the empyreal minister he framed :
[“ Inhabitant with God !] now know I well Thy favour, in this honour done to Man ;/ Under whose lowly roof thou hast vouchsafed
To enter, and these earthly fruits to taste ; 465 Food not of angels, yet accepted so,
As that more willingly thou couldst not seem
To whom the winged Hierarch replied :
[“ O Adam !] one Almighty is, from whom 470 All things proceed, and up to him return,)
If not depraved from good,] created all
Of substance, and, in things) that live, | of life ;) 475 But more refined, more spiritous, and pure,
As nearer to him placed, or nearer tending
Proportioned to each kind. So, from the root
More aery ; last, the bright consummate flower
458. Divine effulgence.--In Apposition to radiant forms.
464. Between and and these, the whole of the preceding line must be repeated.
470. And up to him return.- A pseudo adjective clause. If it were a proper adjective clause, the Relat. Pron. should be used, not the personal; it should be whom, not him.
471. Created all, i.e., all being created good. Nominative Absolute.
472. Such, i.e., good.
each, and the plural their, jar against each
478. Till body up to spirit work." Our author should have considered things better; for by attributing his own false notions in philosophy to an archangel, he has really lessened the character wbich he intended to raise. He is as much mistaken here in bis metaphysics as he was before in his physics." -DR. NEWTON. See note on v. 415.
480. Lighter, scil. than the root. 481. More aery, scil. than the stalk.
To vital spirits aspire, to animal,
Fancy and understanding, whence the soul
Is oftest yours, the latter most is ours; 490 Differing but in degree, of kind the same.
Wonder not then, what God for you saw good,
Time may come, when men With angels may participate, / and find 495 No inconvenient diet, nor too light fare :]
And from these corporal nutriments, perhaps,
Ethereal,] as we ;] or may, at choice, 500 Here, or in Heavenly Paradises, dwell,]
If ye be found obedient, and retain,
Your fill] what happiness this happy state 505 Can comprehend, incapable of more."
To whom the patriarch of mankind replied : “ O favourable spirit, propitious guest ! Well hast thou taught the way that might direct
Our knowledge, and the scale of nature set 510 From centre to circumference ; whereon,
In contemplation of created things,
Obedient ?' Can we want obedience then 515 To him, or possibly his love desert,
Who formed us from the dust, and placed us here,
485. Intellectual --See note on v. 408. 437. Her being.--Her essence.
488. Discourse.—Logic, the process of arriving at truth by a mental effort.
491. The order is :- Wonder not then if I refuse Rot what God saw good for you, but convert it as you do to proper substance.
504. Your fill.-Adverbially used.