Abbildungen der Seite

retreating from before the crescent standards of the Turks to his capital Tauris (Tabreez), or to Casbeen (Kasveen), farther in the interior of Persia, he would leave waste the country between himself and the realm of Aladule (ie. greater Armenia, the last king of which before it was conquered by the Turks was named Aladule). Milton's recollections

of the maps of his time are surprisingly accurate.

441-452. "He through the midst unmarked," &c. Newton perceived a recollection here of Æn. i. 439 et seq., where Æneas behaves in like fashion.


"state": i.e. canopy.

See VII. 440, and note.

460. "Thrones, Dominations," &c. Mr. Browne notes the occurrence of this line three times before: V. 601, 772, 840.

477. "unoriginal": without beginning.

478-480. "fiercely opposed," &c. This is not quite consistent with the account at II. 959 et seq.; but we need not suppose, with Mr. Browne, that "Satan here lies to his followers."

512. "dlung," for "clinging," a peculiar use of the word. Hume notes the resemblance here to the account of the transformation of Cadmus in Ovid (Met. iv. 575).

513. "Supplanted": i.e. "tripped up," "taken off his feet,"-the meaning of the Latin "supplanto."

524-526. "Scorpion and Asp," &c. The different kinds of serpents here enumerated are from Pliny and other old writers of Natural History; and most of them, as Hume noted, are given in a passage in Lucan (Phars. ix. 700 et seq.).

526-528. "the soil bedropt with blood of Gorgon": i.e. Libya, upon which blood dropt from the Gorgon Medusa's head, when Perseus, after the conquest of her and her two sister-Gorgons, was carrying it through the air to Ethiopia, the drops engendering the serpents with which Libya swarms.-Ophiusa (meaning in Greek the "snake-island," in Latin called Colubrasia), a small island in the Mediterranean, abounding with serpents, now Formentara, south of the Balearic island of Iviza.

529. "Dragon." Rev. xii. 9.

531. "Huge Python": i.e. the serpent bred out of the slime left by Deucalion's Flood, and slain by Apollo.

[ocr errors]

546. 'triumph to shame." Hosea iv. 7. (Gillies.)


549. "His will who," &c. i.e. "the act or arrangement of his will who," &c.

555. "further;" spelt "furder" in the original text. 'There is one other instance in which the word is spelt so in the First Edition (XI. 193); in all other cases it is "further."

556. "thirst;" spelt "thurst" in the original, and the spelling retained to the Third Edition. In every other place where the word occurs in Paradise Lost, including line 568 of this Book, the original spelling is our present one, thirst.

560. "Megara": one of the Furies, who had serpents for hair.

561-570. "like that which grew," &c. The ancient story of the apples of Sodom, or the peculiar fruit growing on the shores of the Dead Sea, fair on the outside, but full of dust and ashes within, had its foundation in the fact that there is found in that district a plant, called "Osher" by the Arabs, producing a fruit round like an apple, but which explodes on pressure.

572. "Whom they triumphed once lapsed": i.e. "over whose single lapse they triumphed."

573- "long and ceaseless hiss." Mr. Keightley seems right in taking "hiss" as a verb and "long" and "ceaseless" as qualifying adverbs. 580-584. "fabled how the Serpent, whom they called Ophion," &c. According to one of the theogonies of the Greeks, there were two dynasties of gods before the supremacy of Jupiter. First ruled Ophion (which word implies "Serpent") and Eurynome; they were dispossessed by Kronos and Rhea, otherwise called Saturn and Ops; and they again by Jove, called Dictaan, because he was brought up on Dicte, a mountain in Crete. Milton treats this myth of Ophion and Eurynome as perhaps a tradition, kept up among the Heathen by the Devils themselves (i.e. by their own false gods), of the primeval transaction between the Serpent and Eve. Eurynome means "the wide-encroaching goddess," and perhaps Eve was meant under this name.

581, 582. "wide-encroaching." A noticeable word here, inasmuch as it is divided between two lines. In the original text, as in ours, there is a hyphen after "wide," showing that the break of the compound word into two parts was deliberate.

590. "On his pale horse." Rev. vi. 8.

601. "vast un-hide-bound corpse": i.e. vast body, not bound tightly by its skin, but with its skin hanging loose about it.

633. "at one sling," &c. : 1 Sam, xxv, 29. (Todd.)

642. "Sung Halleluiah, as the sound of seas." Rev. xix. 6.

645. "Next to the Son," &c. : for the previous part of their song has been the Halleluiah proper-i.e. "praise to Jehovah."


"New Heaven and Earth," &c.

Rev, xxi, 1,

651. "As sorted best": i.e. as suited best. See note, VIII. 384.

656. "blanc Moon" ie. white or pale Moon. See note, III.


657. "the other five": i.e. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. 658-664. "aspects, in sextile . . . tempestuous." This is not the only passage in which Milton has countenanced Astrology so far as to employ its language. The following, which we translate from an old Latin catechism or text-book of Astronomy (Blebelius, De Sphæra, 1582), will sufficiently explain the allusions in the passage: "What are the aspects of planets? They are such arrangements and distances of the planets as allow them to intercommunicate their influence. How many species of aspects are there? Five-Conjunction, Sextile, Square, Trine, and Diametral or Opposition. What is the first? The first kind of aspects, called Conjunction, is when two stars or planets are conjoined and as it were connected in one line; by the Greeks it is called Synod. What is the Sextile aspect? When two planets or stars are distant from each other a sixth part of the Zodiac, i.e. two signs or 60°. What is the Square aspect (quadratus aspectus)? When two stars look at each other at an interval of three signs, making a quadrant or 90°. What is Trine (Trigonus) aspect? When the distance of the stars measures a third of the circle, that is, 120° or four signs. What is the Diametral aspect? It is the opposite configuration of two luminaries, which are distant from each other 180° or half a circle . . . How are the aspects divided? Into happy and unhappy. Which are the happy and prosperous aspects? The prosperous and benign are the Trine and Sextile. Why are they called happy? Because the rays of the planets, falling obliquely and mutually yielding, infuse and communicate to inferior bodies gentler and less violent influences. What are the unhappy aspects? The unhappy or malignant are Conjunction, Square, and Opposition. Why are they called malignant? Because the planets, meeting each other with their rays, mutually collide, and neither can yield to the other on account of the directness of their onset. Therefore they exercise greater force in stimulating and varying seasons, and in mixing the temperaments of animals and the qualities of the air. Whence is this variety of effects known? The effect and variety of configuration was first observed in the case of the Moon, and afterwards transferred to the other planets by artists (artifices) who, by great sharpness of intelligence, and more attentive observation, endeavoured to find out and display the causes of events from the very nature of the heavenly motions and the species of the aspects." Milton, it will be noted, names all the aspects, giving Conjunction its Greek name of

Synod. す。

666. "the thunder when to roll." It has been suggested that Milton could hardly have meant "roll" to be active here-i.e. can hardly have meant that the winds roll the thunder; but such seems the true reading the only one consistent with the syntax.

668-678. "Some say," &c. It is poetically assumed here that, before the Fall, the ecliptic or Sun's path was in the same plane as the Earth's

equator, and that the present obliquity of the two planes, or their intersection at an angle of 234°, was a modification of the physical Universe for the worse, consequent upon the moral evil introduced by sin. But this physical alteration might be produced in either of two ways—either by pushing askance the axis of the Earth the required distance, leaving the Sun undisturbed; or by leaving the Earth undisturbed and compelling the Sun to deviate the required distance ("like distant breadth") from his former equatorial or equinoctial path. To indicate what "the like distant breadth" would amount to, Milton follows the Sun in imagination after his deviation from the equatorial line--tracing him, first, in his ascent north of the equator, through the constellations Taurus (in whose neck are the Pleiades, called the seven Atlantic Sisters, as being mytho logically the daughters of Atlas) and Gemini (called "the Spartan twins," as representing Castor and Pollux, the twin-sons of Tyndarus, King of Sparta), up to his extreme distance from the equator at the Crab, in the Tropic of Cancer; then returning with him in his descending path by Leo and Virgo, till he again touches the equator at Libra; and, for the rest, simply suggesting his similar deviation from the equator to the south by naming the Tropic of Capricorn as the farthest point reached on that side. Either way of effecting the new relation of the Earth to the Sun would be consistent with the Ptolemaic system, and Milton uses Ptolemaic language in his statement of each. But he gives the larger space to the hypothesis of a change of the Sun's path. Perhaps his reason for doing so, and appearing consequently to prefer this hypothesis, is that, if the change were in the Sun's path, there would be no disturbance of the previous position of the Earth with reference to the polar opening of the Universe underneath the gate of the Empyrean, nor of the way right down from that opening to Paradise (see III. 526 et seq., and X. 323, with notes). It is evident that, if the central Earth had been shifted, the incidence of the shaft or beamy way from that opening would be on a different part of the Earth's rotundity.

682. "unbenighted": without alternation of Night.

685-687. "which had forbid the snow from cold Estotiland": i.e. which would have prevented the snow from coming so far from the north pole as to cold Estotiland (marked in the old maps as that part of North America which lies immediately east of Hudson's Bay, south of Hudson's Straits, and west of Labrador).-" and south as far beneath Magellan": i.e. and kept as great an extent of the earth beneath the Straits of Magellan, towards the south pole, also clear of snow.

688. "as from Thyestean banquet." According to the Greek myth, Atreus, King of Argos, to be avenged on his brother Thyestes, for an injury done him, invited Thyestes to a banquet, at which he caused the flesh of his own sons to be served up to him disguised. Shocked by such a horror, the Sun turned out of his course, rather than behold it. Milton supposes the same effect produced on the Sun by the eating of

the forbidden fruit. Bentley objects to the pronunciation" Thyestean" in this line as erroneous; but unnecessarily, for, consistently with Milton's notion of blank verse, the word may be read Thyestéan.

695-706. "Now from the north of Norumbega," &c. Norumbega is the name inscribed on old maps of North America (at least, I find it so inscribed in the Atlas of Bertius, published in 1616) in that part of the Nova Francia, or New France, which corresponds with the northern coast of the present United States, nearest to Canada. The Samoed shore is the Siberian shore to the north-east of Russia, and is mentioned under that name in Milton's Brief History of Moscovia. The meaning of the passage is that from the polar regions, both of the new and the old hemispheres, lying north of these regions respectively, the several north winds, Boreas (N.), Cæcias (N.E.), Argestes (N. W.), and Thrascias (N.N.W.), burst south, and were met by the adverse blasts of the south winds Notus (S.) and Afer (S.W.) rushing north from Sierra Leone and other parts of Africa; while, to increase the confusion, this conflict of winds from the north and the south was crossed laterally by the Levant ("rising") or east winds-Eurus (E.), and Sirocco (S.E.) and the Ponent("setting") or west winds, Zephyr (W.), and Libecchio (S.W.). The very arrangement of the names of the Levant and Ponent winds indicates the hubbub of their meeting. The names of the winds are partly classical, partly Italian. Sirocco, as Hume notes, is the Syrian wind, Libecchio the Libyan wind.

698. "gust and flaw." Apparently a popular conjunction of words in the seventeenth century. Shakespeare, as Newton noted, has it in his Venus and Adonis (453-456):

"Like a red morn, that ever yet betoken'd

Wreck to the seaman, tempest to the fields,
Sorrow to shepherds, woe unto the birds,
Gusts and foul flaws to herdmen and to herds."

The words seem nearly synonymous-flaw (? flatus, a blast) being perhaps the stronger.

711. "To graze the herb all leaving." The use of the word "all" here has puzzled commentators. They say it could have been only the beasts that Milton meant, and not the fowls and fishes also. But it was evidently his notion that there were no carnivorous animals, whether fowls, fishes, or beasts, before the Fall; and he has specially mentioned the fishes as then only herbivorous (VII. 404).

737-741. "besides mine own," &c. : i.e. besides the curses proper to myself, "all from me": i.e. all the curses originating from me."Heavy, though in their place": i.e. heavy, though at their centre, and therefore, in their proper place, where, according to physical theories, they ought not to have weight at all.—On this passage Mr. Keightley remarks that it is "perhaps the most perplexed, disagreeable, and unnatural" in the

« ZurückWeiter »