Puslapio vaizdai

Hurl'd headlong flaming from th' ethereal sky,
With hideous ruin and combustion, down
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
In adamantin chains and penal fire,
Who durft defy th' Omnipotent to arms.
Nine times the space that measures day and night 50
To mortal men, he with his horrid crew
Lay vanquish'd, rolling in the fiery gulf,
Confounded though immortal: But his doom
Referv'd him to more wrath; for now the thought

45. Hurl'd headlong flaming from th' ethereal fky,] Hom. Iliad. I. 591,

τριψε, ποδι τελαγων, αποβάλε


Hurl'd headlong downward from th' ethereal height. Pope.

46. With bideous ruin and tombustion,] Ruin is deriv'd from ruo, and includes the idea of falling with violence and precipitation, and combuftion is more than flaming in the foregoing verfe, it is burning in a dreadful manner. So that he was not only burl'd head. long flaming, but he was hurl'd headlong flaming with bideous ruin and combuftion; and what occafion is there then for reading with Dr. Bentley confufion inftead of combuftion?



48. In adamantin chains] Æschy. Ius Prometh. 6.

Αδαμαντίναις πεδησιν.

50. Nine times &c.] The nine days aftonishment, in which the Angels lay intranced after their dreadful overthrow and fall from Heaven, before they could recover either the use of thought or speech, is a noble circumftance, and very finely imagined. The divifion of Hell into feas of fire, and into firm ground impregnant with the fame furious element, with that particular circumftance of the exclufion of hope from those infernal regions, are inftances of the fame great and fruitful invention.

Addifon. 63. darkness vifible] Milton feems to have used thefe words to fignify gloom: Abfolute darkness

[ocr errors]

Both of loft happiness and lasting pain
Torments him; round he throws his baleful eyes,
That witness'd huge affliction and dismay
Mix'd with obdurate pride and stedfast hate:
At once, as far as Angels ken, he views
The difmal fituation wafte and wild;

A dungeon horrible on all fides round
As one great furnace flam'd, yet from thofe flames
No light, but rather darkness vifible

Serv'd only to discover fights of woe,

[ocr errors]


Seneca has a like expreffion, fpeaking of the Grotta of Paufilypo, Senec. Epift. LVII. Nihil illo carcere longius, nihil illis faucibus obfcurius, quæ nobis præftant, non ut per tenebras videamus, fed ut ipfas. And, as Monf. Voltaire obferves, Antonio de Solis, in his excellent Hiftory of Mexico hath ventur'd on the fame thought, when speaking of the place wherein Montezuma was wont to confult his Deities; " "Twas a large dark "fubterraneous vault, fays he,



is ftrictly speaking invifible; but "where fome difmal tapers afwhere there is a gloom only, there "forded juft light enough to fee is fo much light remaining as "the obfcurity." See his Effay ferves to show that there are ob- on Epic Poetry, p. 44. Euripides jects, and yet that thofe objects too expreffes himself in the fame cannot be diftinctly feen: In this poetical manner. Bac. 510. fenfe Milton feems to use the ftrong and bold expreffion, darkness vifible. Pearce.

πως αν σκοτίον εισορᾳ κνέφας. There is much the fame image in Spenfer, but not fo bold, Fairy Queen, B. 1. Cant. 1. St. 14.

[blocks in formation]


Regions of forrow, doleful fhades, where peace 65
And reft can never dwell, hope never comes
That comes to all but torture without end
urges, and a fiery deluge, fed
With ever-burning fulphur unconfum'd:
Such place eternal Juftice had prepar'd
For those rebellious, here their prison ordain'd

In utter darkness, and their portion set
As far remov❜d from God and light of Heaven,
As from the center thrice to th’utmost pole.


[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

And inly grieve, as doth an hidden


The inner garment fret, not th’utter touch.

And again, B. 4. Cant. 10. St. 11.

[ocr errors]




Till to the bridge's utter gate I


74. As from the center thrice to th' utmost pole.] Thrice as far as it is from the center of the earth (which is the center of the world according to Milton's fyftem, IX. 103. and X. 671.) to the pole of the world; for it is the pole of the univerfe, far beyond the pole of the earth, which is here call'd the utmost pole. It is obfervable that Homer makes the feat of Hell as far beneath the deepest pit of earth, as the Heaven is above the earth,

[ocr errors]

ནྟཾ ༤ཟི?

Τόσσον ενερθ' αΐδεω, ὅσον «ρανθ es' awo youns. Iliad. VIII. 16. Virgil makes it twice as far,

Tum Tartarus ipfe.

O how unlike the place from whence they fell! 75
There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelm'd
With floods and whirlwinds of tempeftuous fire,
He foon difcerns, and welt'ring by his fide
One next himself in pow'r, and next in crime,
Long after known in Palestine, and nam'd
Beelzebub. To whom th' Arch-Enemy,
And thence in Heav'n call'd Satan, with bold words
Breaking the horrid filence thus began.

If thou beeft he; but O how fall'n! how chang'd

Bis patet in præceps tantum tenditque fub umbras, Quantus ad æthereum cœli fufpe&tus Olympum. Æn. VI. 577. And Milton thrice as far,


As far remov'd from God and light of Heaven,

As from the center thrice to th' utmost pole :

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


ferrea turris, and horrifono firidentes cardine porte of Virgil, in comparifon with this defcription by Milton, concluding with that artful


O how unlike the place from whence they fell !

81. Beelzebub.] The lord of flies, an idol worshipped at Ecron, a city of the Philiftines, 2 Kings I. 2. He is called prince of the Devils, Mat. XII. 24. therefore deservedly here made fecond to Satan himself. Hume.

As if these three great poets had ftretched their utmoft genius, and vied with each other, who fhould extend his idea of the depth of Hell fartheft. But Milton's whole 82. And thence in Heav'n call'd defcription of Hell as much exSatan,] For the word Satan ceeds theirs, as in this fingle cir- in Hebrew fignifies an enemy: he cumftance of the depth of it. And is the enemy by way of eminence, how cool and unaffecting is the the chief enemy of God and Man.


ταρταρον κεροενία, the σιδηραιof ४०

84. If thou beeft be; &c.] The Homer, and the lugentes campi, the thoughts in the first speech and


From him, who in the happy realms of light 85
Cloth'd with transcendent brightness didst outshine. I
Myriads though bright! If he whom mutual league,
United thoughts and counfels, equal hope
And hazard in the glorious enterprise,

Join'd with me once, now mifery hath join'd
In equal ru'in: into what pit thou feest


defcription of Satan, who is one of the principal actors in this poem, are wonderfully proper to give us a full idea of him. His pride envy and revenge, obftinacy defpair and impenitence, are all of them very artfully interwoven. In fhort, his firft fpeech is a complication of all thofe paffions, which discover themselves feparately in feveral other of his fpeeches in the poem. Addifon. The change and confufion of these enemies of God is moft artfully exprefs'd in the abruptnefs of the beginning of this fpeech: If thou art he, that Beelzebub He ftops, and falls into a bitter reflection on

their prefent condition, compared with that in which they lately were. He attempts again to open his mind; cannot proceed on what he intends to fay, but returns to thofe fad thoughts; ftill doubting whether 'tis really his affoeiate in the revolt, as now in mifery and ruin; by that time he had expatiated on this (his heart was opprefs'd with it) he is affured to



whom he speaks, and goes on to
declare his proud unrelenting mind.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]
« AnkstesnisTęsti »