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Than all this globous earth in plain outspread, 650 (Such are the courts of God !) the angelic throng
Dispersed in bands and files, their camp extend
Celestial tabernacles] where they slept 655 Fanned with cool winds ; save those, who, in their course,
Melodious hymns about the sovran throne
Is heard no more in Heaven ;) he, of the first, 660 If not the first archangel, great in power,
In favour, and pre-eminence, yet fraught
Messiah, King anointed, —could not bear 665 Through pride that sight, and thought himself impaired.
Deep malice thence conceiving, and disdain)
With all his legions to dislodge, and leave
Contemptuous ;) and, his next subordinate
Sleep’st thou, companion dear ? What sleep can close
interpolation, according to his practice of rejecting everything as spurious which he considers unworthy of Milton.
649. The expression, this glorious earth in plain outspread, Bentley thinks would not have instructed but puzzled Adam. This is true, but if Raphael had been confined to the few notions which Adam could form in Paradise, the greater part of his narrative must have been left out. In this speech alone, the following words must have been utterly unintelligible to the first of men :—Thrones, dominations, princedoms.
Son, anoint, vicegerent, pearl, diamond, gold, bands, files, camp, pavilions, tabernacles, pyramids, towers, and many more. But the fact is, Adam must tacitly be allowed to have had an extensive knowledge of things he could not know from experience ; for what is addressed nominally to Adam is really intended for the reader. Yet, in spite of this explanation, we cannot find much to admire in a pedantic allusion to Mercator's projection.
660. If not the first.-See note on v. 569. 672. Subordinate.-Beelzebub. See 1. 84.
675 Of yesterday, so late, hath passed the lips
Of Heaven's Almighty ? Thou to me thy thoughts
Thy sleep dissent ? New laws thou seest imposed ; 680 New laws from him who reigns new minds may raise
In us who serve—new counsels, to debate
Of all those myriads) which we lead the chief ;) 685 Tell them,] that by command,) ere yet dim night
Her shadowy cloud withdraws, I am to haste,
The quarters of the north ; | there to prepare 690 Fit entertainment to receive our King,
The great Messiah, and his new commands ;)
“So spake the false archangel, and infused 695 Bad influence into the unwary
That the Most High commanding, now) ere night,-) 700 Now) ere dim night had disencumbered Heaven,
The great hierarchal standard was to move ;)
679. Dissent=cause difference.
679. New is said with a feeling of indig. nation and reproach, as novus is often in Latin. It is one of the "ambiguous words” alluded to 703.
680. Minds, i.e., opinions.
684. The chief of myriads must be myriads. The sense requires the alteration
of chief into chiefs. The alteration is borne out by 697.
689. The north is supposed to be the particular quarter where Satan resided. This notion is perhaps based on Isaiah xiv. 12
696. The sense is, He calls by a general summons, or severally (i.e. by name), the powers who commanded under him.
705 The wonted signal, and superior voice
Of their great potentate ;| for great indeed
The starry flock, allured them ;) and with lies 710 Drew after him the third part of Heaven's host !]
“ Meanwhile the Eternal Eye, whose sight discerns Abstrusest thoughts, from forth his holy mount, And from within the golden lamps that burn
Nightly before him, saw without their light 715 Rebellion rising-saw in whom—how spread Among the sons of morn—
—what multitudes Were banded to oppose his high decree ; And, smiling, to his only Son thus said :
“Son ! thou in whom my glory I behold 720 In full resplendence, heir of all my might !
Nearly it now concerns us to be sure
Of deity or empire : such a foe
Equal to ours, throughout the spacious north ;
Let us advise, and to this hazard draw
708. It is the evening star, as Bentley observes, not the morning star, that guides the starry flock.
709. The lies are not merely a deceitful expression of countenance, but the false motive given for the march, 689, ff., viz., to prepare fit entertainment in the north to receive the Messiah. It is, therefore, bold poetic language to say, that Satan's “countenance with lies drew after him the third part of Heaven's host."
712. Abstruse, in the sense of the Latin abstrusus, bidden, secret.
718. Strictly analysed the sentence is,the Eternal Eye (711) saw and said. The reader has to evolve the subject he from “the Eternal Eye" for the predicate said, as in 710 he must be supplied as lying suggested in “his countenance,” 708.
720. Heir.-See Heb. i. 2, 3.
721. In putting cutting irony into the mouth of God, Milton no doubt considered bimself justified by passages in Scripture, as Psalm ii., “Why do the heathen rage ? He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh : the Lord shall have them in derision."
In our defence ; lest unawares we lose
“ To whom the Son, with calm aspect and clear,
Lightning divine, ineffable, serene,
Justly hast in derision, and, secure,
Illustrates, when they see all regal power 740 Given me to quell their pride ; | and in event
Know] whether I be dexterous to subdue
“So spake the Son : but Satan, with his powers,
Far was advanced on winged speed ; an host 745 Innumerable as the stars of night,
Or stars of morning-dew-drops, which the sun
Of Seraphim, and Potentates, and Thrones, 750 In their triple degrees ; (regions to which
All thy dominion, Adam, is no more
Stretched into longitude ;) which having pass’d, 755 At length into the limits of the north
They came ; and Satan to his royal seat,
From diamond quarries hewn, and rocks of gold ; 760 The palace of great Lucifer ; (so call
That structure in the dialect of men
734. Lightning, i.e., shining divinely, ineffably, serenely.
736. See note on 721.
739. Illustrate, in the sense of the Latin illustrare, to make illustrious.
744. Host is in Apposition with powers ; and dew-drops with stars of morning.
750. Threefold instead of triple would improve the rhythm.
752. All the earth into longitude. See note on 649.
756. And Satan, scil. came.
758. Pyramids are a strange feature in a royal palace.
Interpreted, which, not long after, he,
In imitation of that mount whereon
The Mountain of the Congregation called ;
About the great reception of their King 770 Thither to come ; and with calumnious art
Of counterfeited truth thus held their ears :
[" "Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers ! If these magnific titles yet remain
Not merely titular, since, by decree, 775 Another now hath to himself engrossed
All power, / and us eclipsed, under the name
This only to consult,] how we may best,)
Receive him coming to receive from us
To One, and to his image now proclaimed ! 785 But what if better counsels might erect
Our minds, and teach us to cast off this yoke ?
ye submit your necks, and choose to bend
To know ye right, or if ye know yourselves 790 Natives and sons of Heaven, possessed before
By none ; and if not equal all, yet free
766. “ The mount of the congregation in the sides of the north.”—Isaiah xiv. 13.
768. Join “ Pretending to come thither, (being) so commanded, to consult,” &c.
771. Held.-Occupied, engaged.
772. This line serves as the principal sentence, as if it read, you are Thrones, &c.
783. The sense is,—This is too much to
be paid to any one; but how can it be endured to pay it double, once to himself and once to his representative ?
788. If I trust, i.e., if I may trust, if I may be sure.
790. Heaven, which was possessed by none before you, and therefore belongs properly to you.