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In our defense, left unawares we lose
To whom the Son with calm aspect and clear,
So spake the Son; but Satan with his Powers Far was advanc'd on winged speed, an host Innumerable as the stars of night,
745 Or stars of morning, dew-drops, which the sun
734. Lightning divine,] If light- the stars of morning, dew-drops, ning is a participle, the adjective seems as new as it is beautiful: divine is to be taken adverbially, And the sun impearls them, turns as if he had said Lightning divincly: them by his reflected beams to but it is rather a substantive, and seeming pearls ; as the morn was in Scripture the Angel's counte- said before to sow the earth with nance is said to have been like light orient pearl, ver. 2. ning, Dan. X. 6. Mat. XXVIII. 3. 750. In their triple degrees;] This
notion of triples in all the oeco746. Or stars of morning, dew- nomy of Angels is started by Tafto,
drops,] Innumerable as the Cant. 18. St. 96. Kars is an old fimile, but this of
Impearls on every leaf and every flower.'
Affecting In battel round of squadrons tbree The fancy was borrow'd from the they stood,
Bentley. And all by threes those squadrons Spenser has again the same notion, ranged were:
and uses the same exprefion in his
Hymn of heavenly love, and by Spenser, Fairy Queen, B. 1. There they in their trinal tripliCant. 12. St. 39.
About him wait, and on his will Like as it had been many an
depend. Angel's voice Singing before th'eternal Majesty, 761. — in the dialeet of men ] In their trinal triplicities on high. The learned reader cannot but be
Affecting all equality with God,
The Mountain of the Congregation call'd;
Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers,
pleased with the poet's imitation which are in use only among the of Homer in this line. Homer learned to the Gods, and those mentions persons and things, which which are in vulgar use to men. he tells us in the language of the However that be, this manner of Gods are call'd by different names speaking certainly gives a dignity from those they go by in the lan- to the poem, and looks as if the guage of men. Milton has imitated poets had conversed with the Gods him with his usual judgment in this themselves. particular place, wherein he has 766. The Mountain of the Congrelikewise the authority of Scripture " gation call d; ] Alluding ta to justify him.
Addison. what we quoted before from Ifa. The scholiasts and commentators XIV, 13. I will exalt my tbront upon Homer endevor to account above the ftars of God; I will fit for this manner of speaking several alfa upon the mount of the congreways; but the most probable is, gation, in the fides of the north. that he attributes chose names
Of King anointed, for whom all this haste i
• 772. Thrones, Dominations, Prince - Crown'd them with glory, and to
doms, Virtues, Powers,] The their glory nam'd use of the word Virtues in this line Thrones, Dominations, Princeclearly explains what Milton meant doms, Virtues, Powers. by th' angelic Virtue in ver. 371.
Thyer. Whom thus th' angelic Virtue an. 790. Natives and fons of Heav'r fwerd mild.
By none,] Dr. Bentley's false It was an order of Angels diftin- pointing of this passage has led guith'd by chat name. This is the others to mistake the Tense of it, more evidently his meaning by as well as himself. He refers the chese lines after, ver. 837. word pollefs'd to natives and fons, and all the Spirits of Heaven
but should it not rather be referred
to Heav'n the word immediately · By him created in their bright de. preceding, there being no comma - grees,
between them in Milton's own edi
By none, and if not equal all; yet free,
tions, as there is in Dr. Bentley's ? For government, though high, And is not the passage to be under and low, and lower, ftood thus, that No one pollesi'd Hea- Put into parts, doth keep in one ven before them, they were a sort of consent ; Aborigines ? which notion Satan Congreeing in a full and natural explains more at large in his fol- close, lowing speech, ver. 859.
Like music: * We know no time when we were and in Trine and Craffida. AAL. not as now;
e and in Troilus and Creslida, A& I. Know none before us, felf-begot, Take but degree away, untune self-rais'd
that ftring, · By our own quick’ning pow'r, And hark what discord follows. when fatal course
· 799. - much less for This to be Had circled his full orb, the birth our Lord, ] This paffage mature
seems to me as inexplicable almost Of this our native Heav'n, ethe- as any in Milton.' Dr. Bentley real fons.
thinks it hard to find what for this 792. - for orders and degrees relates to; and therefore reads ferte · Jar not with liberty, but well think, or if we have no regard to
confift.] Jar, a metaphor the likeness of the letters, afpire, taken from music, to which both presume, or other such word. Then the philosophers and poets have al- the series (he says) will be this, ways loved to compare govern. Who can introduce law and edia en ment. So Shakespear, Henry V. its? much less can he forethink, take A& I.
it in his scheme or view, to become