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A thousand demigods on golden seats,
Now Morn her rosy steps in the eastern clime
Was airy-light, from pure digestion bred, 5 And temperate vapours, bland, which the only sound
Of leaves and fuming rills, Aurora's fan,
thus asserted, Mr. Todd refers to a passage in P. Fletcher's Locusts, p. 36,
“Till to the bottom of Hell's palace diving,
They enter Dis' deepe conclave, &c." From which Milton may have borrowed the reference to a conclave.
797. Frequent and full-Frequent, in the sense of the Latin frequentes, means full. See Note on Cowper, Task, i. 684.
1. Rosy steps.--In close imitation of Homer's “rosy fingered morn” (pododáktulos ñus). Milton elsewhere (vi. 3) attributes a rosy hand to Morn. In speaking here of her rosy steps, he does not describe the person, for steps are not parts of the body, but he dwells on the effects of the advance of the Morning.
2. Orient, originally eastern, is equivalent to bright.
3. So customed, very concise and vigorous expression, equivalent to accustomed to awake early in the morning.
4. Pure, i e., perfect.
undergoing digestion. It is thus used, v. 420.
5. The only sound. Only as an Adj. in this sense, is quite unusual ; it frequently occurs in Spenser, as Faërie Queen, v. 11, 30.
6. Fuming rills ; the vapour arising from water cannot be properly called fume, i.e., smoke : but the confusion of smoke and steam is very common.
6. Aurora's fan.—This simile is not happy; for though leaves may be like a fan, rills certainly are not ; nor does it seem that Aurora is so much troubled with heat, as to require a fan. Bentley proposes to improve the passage by reading“With the early sound Of leaves, Aurora's fan and murmuring
rills" 7. The leading idea is, that Adam's sleep is light and easily dispersed. This idea suffers from the addition of the words shrill and every; for light sleep is dispelled by sounds neither shrill nor numerous.
10 With tresses discomposed, and glowing cheek,
As through unquiet rest :| he, on his side
Beauty,] which whether waking or asleep
Mild) as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes,
Heaven's last, best gift, my ever new delight !
Calls us ;| we lose the prime, to mark | how spring
How nature paints her colours, - | how the bee 25 Sits on the bloom extracting liquid sweet.” |
Such whispering waked her, but with startled eye On Adam ;] whom embracing, thus she spake : 1
[“ O sole) in whom my thoughts find all repose, |
(Such night till this I never passed,) have dreamed,
But of offence and trouble,) which my mind
Close at mine ear, one called me forth to walk
The cool, the silent, save | where silence yields 40 To the night-warbling bird, | that now awake
Tunes sweetest his love-laboured song ; | now reigns
21. The prime here, as r. 170, is the morning hour.
28. O sole.-The English adjective being entirely destitute of terminations, cannot be used without a substantive, except in a few
well-defined cases. Froin these restricting rules Poetry emancipates herself. It is poetical license, when Milton, v. 18, says, my latest found, and here, O sole,
33. Works, scil. of; morrow's, scil. of the
Full-orbed the Moon, and with more pleasing light
If none regard : | Heaven wakes with all his eyes, 45 Whom to behold but thee, Nature's desire ; |
In whose sight all things joy, with ravishment
To find thee I directed then my walk ; |
That brought me on a sudden to the tree
And,) as I wondering looked, beside it stood 55 One shaped and winged like one of those from Heaven
By us oft seen ;) his dewy locks distilled
Deigns none to ease thy load, and taste thy sweet, 60 Nor God, nor Man ?) is knowledge so despised ? |
Or envy, or what reserve, forbids to taste ? |
This said, he paused not, but with venturous arm 65 He plucked, 1—he tasted ;/ me damp horror chilled
At such bold words vouched with a deed so bold : /
42. More pleasing, viz., than the sun by day.
44. All his eyes, i.e., the stars.
46. Joy, as a verb, is found in the English Bible, Habak. iii." I will joy in the God of my salvation."
46. With ravishment belongs to gaze, to which the object may be easily supplied.
59. None here is Singular; it is generally used in the Plural.
59. To ease thy load ; properly the load is not eased; but the tree is eased of the load.
60 Nor God, nor Man.--The word God is
frequently used by Milton to designate a spiritual being, superior to man; it is not restricted to the Deity alone. See v. 70, 71, 81. In this sense Milton employs even the word goddess, 1. 78.
61. Either envy or reserve—but what reserve ?-forbids to taste.
66. Vouched =confirmed.
67 to 73. With exception of the parenthetical sentence it seems, there is no prin. cipal verb in all these lines. It is simply an invocation with adjective and participial clauses joined on to it, strongly expressive of emotion in the mind of the speaker.
Sweet of thyself, but much more sweet thus cropt !
Forbidden here, [it seems, as only fit
And why not gods of men,] since good, the more
Here, happy creature, fair angelic Eve,
Happier thou mayst be, worthier canst not be :
But sometimes in the air,) as we,] sometimes 80 Ascend to Heaven, by merit thine,) and see]
What life the gods live there, | and such live thou !'!
Which he had plucked : the pleasant savoury smell 85 So quickened appetite, that I, [methought,]
Could not but taste. Forthwith up to the clouds
And various,—wondering at my flight and change 90 To this high exaltation : suddenly
My guide was gone ; and I, methought, sunk down,
Related, and thus Adam answered sad :
The trouble of thy thoughts this night in sleep
Yet evil wheuce ?] in thee can harbour none, 100 Created pure. I But know,] that in the soul
Are many lesser faculties, that serve
EO. Thine, i.e., which is thine.
89. Wondering, to be connected with the Subj. I.
96. This night in sley must be connected with thoughts, thus : “ Thy thoughts during this night in sleep."
Reason as chief ; | among these Fancy next
Which the five watchful senses represent, 105 She forms imaginations, airy shapes,)
Which Reason joining, or disjoining, frames
Into her private cell,] when nature rests. | 110 Oft in her absence mimic Fancy wakes
To imitate her ;| but, misjoining shapes,
Some such resemblances, methinks I find 115 Of our last evening's talk in this thy dream,
But with addition strange ; yet be not sad :
No spot or blame behind : which gives me hope | 120 That) what in sleep thou didst abhor to dream, 1
Waking thou never wilt consent to do.)
Than when fair Morning first smiles on the world : 1 125 And let us to our fresh employments rise
Among the groves, the fountains, and the flowers,
So cheered he his fair spouse, and she was cheered ;
106. Frames and retires (108) are the Predicates of Principal Clauses, of which Reason is the Subject. The use of the Relat. Pron. uhih instead of the Demonstrative, for the purpose of connecting Principal Sentences, is borrowed from the Latin.
113. Ill matching, &c.—Participle used as adjunct of manner to produccs.
114. Such, i.e., produced by ill-matched words and misjoined shapes, thereforo imperfect, fallacious.
117. God, see note, v. 60.
123. Wont is here the Imperi. tense of the antiquated verb, of which only the particip. wont is now in use; comp. vi: 93, “ Who wont to meet," and Spenser, "A yearly solemn feast she wont to make.” See i. 764, note.
124. The meaning is, “Than fair morning when it first smiles on the world."