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Full, to the utmost measure, of what bliss
To whom the angel : “Son of Heaven and Earth ! 520 Attend. That thou art happy, owe to God ;
That thou continuest such, owe to thyself,
God made thee perfect, not immutable ; 525 And good he made thee, but to persevere
He left it in thy power ; ordained thy will
Our voluntary service he requires, 530 Not our necessitated ; such with him
Finds no acceptance, nor can find ; for how
By destiny, and can no other choose ?
In sight of God enthroned, | our happy state
Because we freely love, as in our will
And some are fallen—to disobedience fallen,
Thy words 545 Attentive, and with more delighted ear,
Divine instructor ! I have heard, than when
520. Owe to God, i.e., know that thou owest.
531. The order is :-How can hearts not free, who will only what they must [will] by destiny, and can [will] no other, be said whether they serve willingly or no.
534. No other.-Nothing else. Other is used very freely by Milton for the neuter gender, as if answering the Latin aliud.
539. As in our will.-Elliptical phrase for it being placed in our will.
543. Compare 1. 91.
Aërial music send. Nor knew I not
To be, both will and deed, created free ; | 550 Yet) that we never shall forget to love
Our Maker, and obey him whose command
Hath passed in Heaven, / some doubt within me move ; 555 But more desire to hear,) if thou consent, |
The full relation) which must needs be strange,
Hath finished half his journey, and scarce begins 560 His other half in the great zone of Heaven."
Thus Adam made request ; and Raphael,
High matter thou enjoin’st me, O prime of men ! Sad task and hard ; for how shall I relate 565 To human sense the invisible exploits
Of warring spirits ? how, without remorse,
The secrets of another world, perhaps
This is dispensed ; and what surmounts the reach 548. See note on v. 421.
553, Thou tell'st must here be analysed 549. Both will and deed.-An imitation as a parenthetical sentence. of the so called Greek accusative. The 557. Worthy of sacred silence to be heard. meaning is, I know to be created free with We can say worthy of sacred silence, or respect to will and deed.
worthy to be heard ; but the two objects 552. Single is YBT 80 just. The force of cannot be joined. Perhaps we ought to read, the adversative yet is not at first sight ob- worthy in sacred silence to be heard. Milton vious; for, if the commands were many, had in his mind Horace, Ode ir. 13, 29. Adam might yet call them just and there- 566. Remorse.--Sorrow, grief. fore be ready to obey them; but as there 569. Perhaps.-Can the archangel be in was only one command, why should he call doubt? But here, as also v. 574 (“though it just nevertheless? If single meant sin- what if Earth,” &c.), the poet's own personal gular, strange, the difficulty would vanish. sentiment is put into the mouth of the angel. But it means the only one, and Adam's 571. And what surmounts the reach of reasoning implies, that there is nothing human sense ... best.—These lines contain capricious or irksome in this single re- an apology for the form of the following straint.
narrative, in which the conflict of spiritual
Of human sense, I shall delineate so,
As may express them best ; though what if Earth 575 Be but the shadow of Heaven, and things therein
Each to other like, more than on earth is thought !
“ As yet this world was not, and Chaos wild Reign'd where these heavens now roll, where Earth now rests
Upon her centre poised; when, on a day, 580 (For time, though in eternity, applied
To motion, measures all things durable
Of angels, by imperial summons called, 585 Innumerable before the Almighty's throne
Forthwith, from all the ends of Heaven, appeared,
Standards and gonfalons 'twixt van and rear 590 Stream in the air, and for distinction serve
Of hierarchies, of orders, and degrees ;
Recorded eminent. Thus when in orbs 595 Of circuit inexpressible they stood,
Orb within orb, the Father infinite,
Brightness had made invisible, thus spake : beings is described as one of corporeal 593. The objects of bear are not memoforms. This apology is weakened by the rials and acts, but memorials and acts mental reserve, 574, though what if Earth, recorded. The latter expression is equiva&c.
lent to the record of acts. Comp. note on 583. Heaven's great year.---The ancient 1, 636. It is of course the record of acts philosophers frequently spoke of a great of zeal that is emblazed, not the acts themyear, comprising thousands of solar years, selves. as the period for a complete revolution of 594. After recorded supply as. all the heavenly bodies.
598. Amidst, scil. them. 589. Standards and gonfalons.—Gon- 598. Whose top brightness had made infalon, borrowed from the Italian, is the visible. Compare all. 380, "Dark with ex
same as standard.
600 Hear, all ye angels, progeny of light,
Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers !
My only Son, and on this holy hill
At my right hand ; your head I him appoint ;
Under his great vicegerent reign abide 610 United, as one individual soul,
For ever happy : him who disobeys,
Into utter darkness, deep ingulfed, his place 615 Ordained without redemption, without end.'
“ So spake the Omnipotent, and with his words
song and dance about the sacred hill; 620 Mystical dance ! which yonder starry sphere
Of planets, and of fixed, in all her wheels
Then most, when most irregular they seem ; 625 And, in their motions, harmony divine
So smooths her charming tones, that God's own ear
600. Progeny of light.—Compare v. 458, “Divine effulgence.”
614. His place ordained, in Apposition to darkness.
620. Mystical dance.-Compare v. 178.
621. Fixed, i.e.,. stars; this substantive must be evolved from planets, which means wandering stars.
621. IVheels.-Revolutions. The idea of rotation lies at the bottom of a great number of cognate words, such as the Latin
volvo; the German wälzen, walzen, walze, welt; the English, wallow, wheel, whirl, world.
622. Mazes, in Appos. to dance, 620.
625. Their does not refer to planets (621), but to they (618). The poet leaves it uncertain how the harmony is produced, whether by instruments and singing (as 655), or as in the case of the mystic dance not without song (178) of the planets, merely by the dancing motion.
Listens delighted. Evening now approached ;
We ours for change delectable, not need ;)
Desirous ; all in circles, as they stood,
In pearl, in diamond, and massy gold,
On flowers reposed, and with fresh flowerets crowned,
Of surfeit, where full measure only bounds 640 Excess) before the all-bounteous King, who showered
With copious hand, rejoicing in their joy.
“ Now when ambrosial night, with clouds exhaled From that high mount of God,) whence light and shade
Spring both, | the face of brightest Heaven had changed 645 To grateful twilight,) (for night comes not there
In darker veil,) and roseate dews disposed
627. Evening now approached.-Nomin. Absolute, for there is no conjunction at the beginning of 630.
628. Compare 162 and note. 631. Desirous is explained
436, “ with keen despatch of real hunger.”
638. Quaff immortality. This seems to imply that their immortality was the result of their drinking. Very different and very appropriate is the classical expression which Milton had in view; there the departed spirits drink oblivion in Lethe, longa oblivia potant.
639. Secure of surfeit, where full measure only bounds excess.---- Bentley despairs of understanding the meaning of these words. He therefore prefers the reading of the first edition,
They eat, they drink, and with refec
tion sweet Are filled before the all-bounteous
King, who showered " If we retain the additional lines of the edition of 1674, we must take only as a qualification of bounds, not of measure, and lay a strong emphasis on bounds. The sense then will be, where full measure has only the effect of bounding, i.e., limiting or preventing excess. Where there is always a full and bounteous supply, there is no temptation, even for human beings, to excessive indulgence at any particular time.
640. Showered.-- Transit. Verb without object. See 1. 259, note.
648. The words and wider far to Courts of God, are condemned by Bentley as an