Imagens da página

OF Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree,) whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe,

With loss of Eden, | till one greater Man 5 Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,]

Sing, heavenly Muse,) that, on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed, |

In the beginning how the Heavens and Earth 10 Rose out of Chaos : | or, if Sion hill

1. In selecting the Iambic blank verse for his epic poem, Milton felt that it lacked weight and dignity. To remedy these defects he has tried to remove much of its light, tripping character by introducing Spondees and Trochees instead of lambi. Of these two substitutes, the Spondee is unexceptional ; but the Trochee belongs to a rbythm directly opposed to the Iambus, and its too frequent introduction into lambic verse tends to destroy not only the Iambic rhythm but all rhythm.

Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit of that forbidden tree-Indirect Obj. to sing. (Gr. 77. 4.)

Whose mortal taste ... Eden---Adj. Sent. to fruit.

Till one man ... seat-Adv. Se nces.

Sing [thou]-Subj. and Pred. of Prin. Sent.

Heavenly Muse-Nom. of address.

That on the secret top ... shepherd-Adj. Sent. to Muse.

Who first taught ... seed-Adj. Sent. to shepherd.

In the beginning. chaos-Noun Sent. direct Obj. to taught.

2. That forbidden tree–The Demonstr. Pronoun is frequently used by Milton, as in Latin, to point to well-known things, though they may not have been mentioned in the sentence. -Comp. 1. 29; IV. 12.

4. One greater Man.—The Comparative has reference to the Man Adam, 1. 1.

5. Restore us, and regain.---This is the Pres. Subj. Strictly interpreted, therefore, it refers to a future event, which can only be the final salvation of the individual man at the judgment day. It is, therefore, not the act of Christ's atonement that is alluded to.

5. The blissful seat.-Eden in its wider sense, the seat or dwelling of heavenly bliss.

6. Secret.- When God communed with Moses on Sinai, the mountain was covered with “dark clouds” and “thick smoke." It was secret from vulgar eyes as the Holy of Holies in the Temple. The suggestion of the ingenious Bentley, therefore, to read sacred for secret, though very plausible, is not tenable.

9. In the-A trochee. See J. 1, Note.

10. Chaos.-The chaos of Hesiod is the infinite void from which arose the visible world. The chaos of Ovid is the original, formless material of the world. The account of the creation given in Genesis, though acknowledging no chaos properly speaking, seems to approach to the second conception of chaos, the gross and shapeless mass which was by degrees elaborated into the beautiful order, the kosmos, of the Creation. It is not to be expected that the poetic language and imagery borrowed from the mythology of Greece, should exactly fit a Christian

Delight thee more, / and Siloa's brook] that flowed
Fast by the oracle of God ; | I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song, |

That with no middle flight intends to soar 15 Above the Aonian mount, | while it pursues Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.

And chiefly Thou, O Spirit,) that dost prefer
Before all temples the upright heart and pure,

Instruct me,) for thou know'st ; | Thou from the first 20 Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread

Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast abyss,]
And mad’st it pregnant :] What in me is dark, |
Illumine :] what is low, | raise and support ;]

That to the highth of this great argriment
25 I may assert Eternal Providence, |
And justify the ways of God to men.

] Say first,] for Heaven hides nothing from thy view, Nor the deep tract of Hell ;] say first,] what cause

epic. Hence the frequent difficulties into which Milton involves himself and bis readers by his unsparing use of classical allusions and mythological imagery.

14, 15, The Aonian mount is Helicon in Baotia or Aonia, the seat of the Muses. The poet proposes to himself a higher theme than a Greek poet could attempt. Yet the imagery with which this idea is expressed, is entirely Greek. It is repeated more fully, vii. 3

“ Above the Olympian hill I soar,

Above the flight of Pegascean wing" It was the Italian poet Bojardo who first represented the winged horse Pegasus as the peculiar property of poets, destined to carry them upwards in their“adventurous flights.” Comp. Cowper, Task, i. 4. Rhyme is used here for poetry in general.

21. Dove-like saťst brooding.Genesis i. 2," And the spirit of God moved upon the face the waters.” The expression, dovelike, is based upon Luke iii. 22. Brood is a more correct translation of the Hebrew

original than move, in the authorized version of the Bible.

24. To the highth of this great argument -i.e., in a manner worthy of this great argument.

25. To men- Indir. Obj. to justify.
26. This is done especially fii. 80-134.
27. (a) Say (thou) first-Prin. Sent.
(6) For Hcaven . . . view — Paren.

(c) Nor the deep tract of HellParen.

(d) What cause ...

Sent. Obj. to say.
Favoured of Heaven so highly-

Enlarg. of Obj. to d. To fall off ... and transgress his will-Factitive Objs. to d.

[Gr. 76. 1.) (e) [Except] for one restraint, lords

of the world besides-Enlarg. of

direct Obj. parents. 27. The first in this and the following line is not followed by any correlative Adverh,

Moved our grand Parents, in that happy state, 30 Favoured of Heaven so highly, to fall off

From their Creator, and transgress his will
For one restraint, lords of the world besides ? |
Who first seduced them to that foul revolt ? |

The infernal Serpent ;] he it was, whose guile, 35 Stirred up with envy and revenge, deceived

The mother of mankind, what time his pride
Had cast him out from Heaven, with all his host
Of rebel Angels ; | by whose aid aspiring

To set himself in glory above his peers,
40 He trusted to have equalled the Most High,

If he opposed ; and, with ambitious aim
Against the throne and monarchy of God,
Raised impious war in Heaven, and battle proud,

With vain attempt.] Him the Almighty Power 45 Hurled headlong flaming from the ethereal sky,

With hideous ruin and combustion, down
To bottomless perdition : there to dwell
In adamantine chains and penal fire,

placed above his peers (Paradise Lost, v. 812), and his ambition was to be above the Messiah (v. 662).

40. He trusted to have equalled the Most High-i.e., he had trusted to equal. So vi.


such as next or then. This kind of forgetfulness is very frequent in the best Classical writers.

29 That--Comp. Note to 1. 2.

33. This question is partly an answer tu the previous question, inasmuch as it supposes that our grand parents were seduced.

34. This direct question, and somewhat abrupt answer, are a manifest imitation of Homer, Il. i. 8," Which God set on the two to direful

strife? Zeus' son and Leto's."

36. What time-At that time when-a favourite expression of Milton.

38. Aspiring to set himself in glory above his peers—Enlargement to Subj. He in line

Wbat for news he thought to bave re

ported; also vi. 131,

Thy hope was to have reached

The highth of thy aspiring unopposed. Similar expressions are, I might, should, could, ought to, have done it. I meant to have written. It is a process of shifting the indication of tense from one verb to another.

41. With ambitious aim against, &c.-Extension to pred. " raised,” in line 43.

44. Him, &c.—Mark the almost imper. ceptible transition to the narrative.

45. Two beautiful alliterations.



39. To set himself in glory above his peers. -Bentley remarks that this is a slip on the part of the blind poet; for Satan was already

Who durst defy the Omnipotent to arms. | 50 Nine times the space) that measures day and night

To mortal men, he with his horrid crew
Lay vanquished, rolling in the fiery gulf,
Confounded, though immortal :) but his doom

Reserved him to more wrath ;| for now the thought 55 Both of lost happiness, and lasting pain,

Torments him : | round he throws his baleful eyes, |
That witnessed huge affliction and dismay
Mixed with obdurate pride and steadfast hate : 1

At once, as far as Angels ken, he views 60 The dismal situation waste and wild : 1

A dungeon horrible on all sides round,
As one great furnace flamed ;| yet from those flames
No light ;] but rather darkness visible

Served only to discover sights of woe,
65 Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace

And rest can never dwell ; | hope never comes]
That comes to all ; , but torture without end
Still urges,] and a fiery deluge, fed

With ever-burning sulphur unconsumed :) 70 Such place Eternal Justice had prepared

For those rebellious ;| here their prison ordained
In utter darkness,] and their portion set

49. The antecedent to who is him, v. 44.

52. Vanquished-rolling-confounded. Participles used as extensions to pred. (Gr. 78, d).

53. Though immortal. This may be considered as an enlargement to Subj. he.

54. Now, i.e., since he had recovered consciousness.

55. Lost and lasting-Alliteration and assonance; the latter is the identity of consonants at the end of words,

57. Witnessed-i.e., manifested.
59. As far as-a compound preposition.
62. Fourfold alliteration.

62. Yet from those fames [came] no light - Princip. Sent. adversatire.

66. [Where] hope never comes-Adj. Sent. to shades."

68. Still is very frequently used in the sense of ever, for ever, constantly.

68. Urges, i.e., pursues.

71. For those rebelliousIndirect Obj. When the Adject. is used as a Subst. in the plural, it is not preceded by qualifying pro

We can say, He loves the grateful, but not, He loves these grateful. Yet Milton breaks often through this rule, as v. 567, so many glorious once ; vi. 414, his rebellious; vi. 687, these disobedient.

72. Their portion . . . as fur removed Double Obj.-Gr. 76, Remark 1.


As far removed from God and light of Heaven,]

As from the centre thrice to the utmost pole.]
75 O how unlike the place] from whence they fell ! |

There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelmed
With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire,
He soon discerns; and weltering by his side

One next himself in power, and next in crime, 80 Long after known in Palestine, and named

Beelzebub. To whom the Arch-Enemy,
And thence in Heaven called Satan, with bold words
Breaking the horrid silence, thus began : 1

If thou beest he ; | but oh, how fallen ! how changed 85 From him,] who, in the happy realms of light,

Clothed with transcendent brightness, didst outshine
Myriads though bright ! | If he] whom mutual league,
United thoughts and counsels, equal hope

And hazard in the glorious enterprise,
90 Joined with me once,) now misery hath joined

In equal ruin !) Into what pit thou seest,
From what highth | fallen ;) so much the stronger proved
He with his thunder : , and till then who knew

74. As [it is] from the centre--Adr. Sent.

78. WelteringTo welter is to roll, to wallow. German, wälzen. From weltering to Beëlzebub is an enlarged Obj. to discerns. 84. 1. If thou beest he-Adverb. Sent. 2. But oh, how fallen, how changed

[art thou] from him—Paren.

3. Who in the happy realms ... though

bright-Adj. Sent. to 2. N.B.-
Didst ought strictly to be did ;
but it is attracted into the second

person by the form of address.
4. If [thou beest] he-Repetition

of 1.
5. Whom mutual league . with me

once-Adj. Sent, to the Pron. He.

6. Now [wbom] misery hath joined

in equal ruin-Adj. Sent. to the

Pron. He. 7. Fallen-Participle agreeing with

me. 8. Into what pit, thou seest, from

what height-Equivalent to into the pit and from the height, which thou seest : Adjunct to

fallen. 9. So much the stronger proved he

with his thunder-Adv. Sent. to 6. Equivalent to inasmuch as

he proved so much the stronger. 10. And till then who knew the force

of those dire arms-Prin. Sent. N.B.-A very confused passage, with no Prin. Sent. for the basis. This is excused by the abrupt form of address.--Comp. v. 543.

« AnteriorContinuar »