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Thy legions under darkness : but thou seest
All are not of thy train ; there be who faith
Prefer, and piety to God, though then
To thee not visible, when I alone

Seem'd in thy world erroneous to dissent
From all: my sect thou seest ; now. learn too late
How few sometimes may know, when thousands err.

Whom the grand foe with scornful eye askance
Thus answer'd. Ill for thee, but in wish'd hour 150

my revenge, first sought for thou returu'st
From flight, seditious Angel, to receive
Thy merited reward, the first assay
Of this right hand provok’d, since first that tongue
Inspir'd with contradiction durst oppose
A third part of the gods, in synod met
Their deities to assert, who while they feel
Vigour divine within them, can allow
Omnipotence to none. But well thou com'st
Before thy fellows, ambitious to win

160 From me some plume, that thy success may show

147. —my sect thou seest ; &c.] shew] Thy success, thy ill sucThe use of the word sect in this cess; the word success is used place seems a little forced and in the same sense, ii. 9. Richardsingular; and I cannot help son. thinking but Milton brought it 161. —that thy success may in in order to sneer the Loyalists

show of his time, who branded all Destruction to the rest :) dissenters, of whom he was one, Bentley says, a detestable fault : with the opprobious name of it should be instruction. Mr. Sectaries. This also accounts Pope says, success ironicé. I do for the word few in the next line, not know what this means. The inasmuch as it suited Milton's text is right, and the meaning particular view better to esta- is, that thy success may shew blish a general maxim than to thy fellows the road to destrucapply it merely to the single tion, or the way to destroy their case of Abdiel. Thyer.

enemies. Warburto. 161. ~that thy success moy

Destruction to the rest : this pause between
(Unanswer'd lest thou boast) to let thee know;
At first I thought that liberty and heaven
To heav'nly souls had been all one: but now 165
I see that most through sloth had rather serve,
Ministring spi'rits, train’d up in feast and song ;
Such hast thou arm’d, the minstrelsy of heaven,
Servility with freedom to contend,
As both their deeds compar'd this day shall prove. 170

To whom in brief thus Abdiel stern replied.
Apostate, still thou err'st, nor end wilt find
Of erring, from the path of truth remote:
Unjustly thou deprav'st it with the name
Of servitude to serve whom God ordains,

Or Nature: God and Nature bid the same,
When he who rules is worthiest, and excels
Them whom he governs. This is servitude,
To serve th' unwise, or him who hath rebell’d
Against his worthier, as thine now serve thee,
Thyself not free, but to thyself inthralld;


167. Minist'ring spi'rits,] So Tympana vos buxusque vocat Bethey are called Heb. i. 14. Are recynthia matris

Idææ: sinite arma viris, et cedite they not all ministring spirits ?

ferro, and Satan mentions it in derision. Compare this with that 172. Apostate, still thou err'st, of Virgil, n. ix. 614.

not end wilt find

Of erring, from the path of Vobis picta croco et fulgenti murice

truth remote:] vestis : Desidiæ cordi: juvat indulgere cho. Something like this is what Juno reis:

says to Jupiter, Iliad. xix. 107. Et tunicæ manicas et habent redimi. cula mitræ.

Ψευστησις, ουδ' αυτι σιλος μυθω εσιO vere Phrygiæ, neque enim Phry. ges! ite per alta

Thyer. Dindyma, ubi assuetis bitorem dat tibia cantum.

181. Thyself not free, but to




Yet lewdly dar’st our ministring upbraid.
Reign thou in hell thy kingdom ; let me serve
In heav'n God ever blest, and his divine
Behests obey, worthiest to be obey'd ;
Yet chains in hell, not realms expect: mean while
From me return'd, as erst thou saidst, from flight,
This greeting on thy impious crest receive.

So say’ing, a noble stroke he lifted high,
Which hung not, but so swift with tempest fell 190
On the proud crest of Satan, that no sight,
Nor motion of swift thought, less could his shield
Such ruin intercept : ten paces huge
He back recoil'd; the tenth on bended knee
His massy spear upstay'd ; as if on earth


thyself inthralld ;] So Horace, 187. From me return'd, as erst sat. ii. vii. 81.

thou saidst, from flight,

This greeting &c.] Tu mihi qui imperitas, aliis servis miser

So Ascanius in Virgil retorts his Quisnam igitur liber? sapiens, sibi adversary's term of reproach, qui imperiosus.

Æn.ix: 685. And as to what is here said of

Bis capti Phryges hæc Rutulis reservitude, see Aristotle's Politics,

sponsa remittunt, b. i. c. 3, and 4.

183. --in hell thy kingdom ;] alluding to ver. 599. Not that it was so at present.

189. So "say'ing, &c.] Saying This is said by way of antici

is here contracted into one sylpation. God had ordered him lable, or is to be pronounced as to be cast out, ver. 52. and what two short ones, which

very well the Almighty had pronounced, expresses the eagerness of the the good angel looks upon as angel. He struck at bis fue done. And this sentiment,

before he had finished his speech,

while he was speaking, which is Reign thou in hell thy kingdom ; let much better than Dr. Bentley's In heav'n God ever blest,

reading So said, as if he had not

aimed his blow, till after he had is designed as a contrast to Sa

spoken. tan's vaunt in i. 263.

195. -as if on earth

Winds under ground, &c.] Better to reign in hell, than serve in heaven.

Hesiod compares the fall of

me serve


Winds under ground, or waters forcing way
Sidelong had push'd a mountain from his seat
Half sunk with all his pines. Amazement seiz'd
The rebel Thrones, but greater rage to see
Thus foil'd their mightiest ; ours joy fillid, and shout,
Presage of victory, and fierce desire
Of battle: whereat Michäel bid sound
Th’archangel trumpet ; through the vast of heaven
It sounded, and the faithful armies rung
Hosanna to the High’est: nor stood at gaze
The adverse legions, nor less hideous join'd
The horrid shock: now storming fury rose,
And clamour such as heard in heav’n till now
Was never ; arms on armour clashing bray'd
Horrible discord, and the madding wheels



Whose false foundation waves have Cygnus to an oak or a rock

wash'd away, falling, Scut. Herc. 421.

With dreadful poise is from the main Ηρισι δ', ώς ότι τις δρυς ηριπεν, η οσε

land rift, &c. TITON

Thyer. Ηλιβατος, πληγεισα Διος ψιλοένσι κι

210. -and the madding wheels] gausw.

What strong and daring figures And similes of this kind are very are here! Every thing is alive frequent amongst the ancient and animated. T'he


chariot poets, but though our author wheels are mad and raging. And might take the hint of his from how rough and jarring are the thence, yet we must allow, that verses, and how admirably do he has with great art and judg- they bray the horrible discord they ment heightened it in proportion would describe! The word bray to the superior dignity of his (probably from the Greek Beaxia subject. But perhaps he might strepo) signifies to make any rather more probably allude to kind of noise. It is applied by Spenser's description of the fall Spenser to the sound of a trumof the old dragon, under which pet, Faery Queen, b. iii. cant. allegory he intended to represent xii. st. 6. a Christian's victory over the And when it ceas'd, shrill trumpets devil. Faery Queen, b. i. cant. loud did bray. st. 54.

But it usually signifies any disSo down he fell, as an huge rocky agreeable noise, as b. i. cant. vi. clift,

st. y.


Of brazen chariots rag'd ; dire was the noise
Of conflict; over head the dismal hiss
Of fiery darts in flaming vollies flew,
And flying vaulted either host with fire.
Her shrill outcries and shrieks so hosts with fire: the author may
loud did bray:

be fairly thought to have given it and b. i. cant. viii. st. 11.

-over head with dismal hiss He loudly bray'd with beastly yelling

The fiery darts in flaming vollies flew. sound:

Bentley. and sometimes it is used as a

But if there be any place in this verb active, as here in Milton; poem, where the sublimity of Faery Queen, b. v. cant. xi. the thought will allow the accust. 20.

racy of expression to give way Even blasphemous words, which she

to the strength of it, it is here. doth bray:

There is a peculiar force someand in Shakespeare's Hamlet,

times in ascribing that to a cir

cumstance of the thing, which act i.

more properly. belongs to the The kettle drum and trumpet thus thing itself; to the hiss, which

bray out The triumph of his pledge.

belongs to the darts. See my

note on ii. 654. Pearce. 212. -over head the dismal

As the learned Mr. Upton rehiss

marks in his Critical ObservaOf fiery darts]

tions on Shakespeare, the subNow the author is come to that stantive is sometimes to be conpart of his poem, where he is strued adjectively when governmost to exert what faculty he ing a genitive case. Aristophahas of infos, magniloquence of nes in Plut. 268. S xquos appa style, and sublimity of thought,

2005 67w, O thou who tellest me a Nunc, veneranda Pales, magno nunc gold of words, that is, golden ore sonandum.

words. Sir Philip Sidney's ArVirg. Georg. iii. 294. cadia, p. 2. opening the cherry of He has executed it to admira- her lips, that is, cherry lips. So tion: but the danger is, of being here the hiss of darts is hissing hurried away by his unbridled darts. steed; and of deserting pro- 214. And flying vaulted either priety, while he is hunting after host with fire.] Our author has sound and tumor. And it is

And it is frequently had his eye upon Hehard to guess, what fault to siod's giant-war as well as upon charge on the printer, since Homer, and has imitated several poetic fury is commonly both passages ; but commonly exthought and allowed to be re- ceeds his original, as he has gardless of syntax. But here

But here done in this particular. Hesiod in this sentence, which is cer- says that the Titans were overtainly vicious, the hiss flew in shadowed with darts, Theog. vollies, and the hiss vaulted the 716.

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