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• αυταρ επει τα σακG- μεγα τε, τιβαρόν τε,
Ειλετο, τεδ' απανευθε σελας γενετ', ούτε μηνης. but the shield of Satan was large as the moon seer through a tele. scope: an instrument first applied to celestial observations by Galileo, a native of Tuscany, whom he means here by the Tuscan artist, and afterwards mentions by name in v. 262. a testimony of his honour for so great a man, whom he had known and visited in Italy, as himself informs us in his Areopagitica.
Newton. 289. Fesole,] Is a city in Tuscany; Valdarno, or the valley of Arno, a valley there.
Ricbardson, ' 292. His spear, to equal which the tallest pine, &c.] He walked with his spear, in comparison of which the tallest pine was but a wand. For when Homer, Odyss. ix. 322. makes the club of Polyphemus as big as the mast of a ship,
Οσσον 9' ίσου νηG-. and Virgil gives him a pine to walk with, Æn. iii. 659.
Trunca manu pinus regit et vestigia firmat ; and Tasso arms Tancred and Argantes with two spears as big as masts, Cant. 6. St. 40.
Posero in resta, e dirizzaro in alto
These sons of Mavors bore (instead of spears)
“ Two knotty masts,” which none but they could lift. Fairfax. well might Milton assign a spear so much larger to so superior a being.
Naruton. 293• Norwegian hills,] The bills of Norway, barren and rocky, but abounding in vast woods; from whence are brought masts of the largest size.
Hume, 303. Vallombrosa,] A famous valley in Etruria, or Tuscany, so named of Vallis and Umbra, remarkable for the continual cool shades, which the vast number of trees that overspread it afford. Hume.
310. From the sea-shore their floating carcases, &c.] Much has been said of the long similitudes of Homer, Virgil, and our Author, wherein they fetch a compass, as it were, to draw in new images, besides those in which the direct point of likeness consists. I think
they have been sufficiently justified in the general; but in this before us, while the Poet is digressing, he raises a new similitude from the floating carcases of the Egyptians.
Heylin. 338. As when the potent rod, &c.] See Exod. x. 13. “ Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the Lord brought an east wind upon the land, and the east wind brought the locusts : and the locusts went up all over the land of Egypt — so that the land was darkened.”
and th' invisible
Oft to th' image of a brute,] Alluding to Rom. i. 23. “And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things."
Newton. 372. With gay religions full of pomp and gold,) By religions, Milton means religious rites, as Cicero uses the word when he joins religiones et ceremonias. De Legib. lib. i. c. 15, and elsewhere.
Pearce. 376. Say, Muse, &c.] The catalogue of evil Spirits has abundance of learning in it, and a very agreeable turn of poetry, which rises in a great measure from its describing the places where they were worshipped, by those beautiful marks of rivers, so frequent among the ancient poets. The Author had doubtless in this place Homer's catalogue of ships, and Virgil's list of warriors in his view. Addison.
Dr. Bentley says that this is not the finest part of the Poem; but I think it is, in the design and drawing, if not in the colouring; for the PARADISE Lost being a religious epic, nothing could be more artful than thus deducing the original of superstition. This gives it a great advantage over the catalogues he has imitated; for Milton's becomes thereby a necessary part of the work, as the original of superstition, an essential part of a religious epic, could not have been shown without it. Had Virgil's or Homer's been omitted, their poems would not have suffered materially, because in their relations of the following actions we find the soldiers who were before catalogued: but by no following history of superstition that Milton could have brought in, could we find out these Devils' agency; it was therefore necessary he should inform us of the fact. Warburton.
Say, Muse, &c.] Homer, at the beginning of his catalogue, invokes his Muse afresh in a very pompous manner: Virgil does the like; and Milton follows both so far as to make a fresh invocation, though short; because he had already made a large and solemn address in this very book, at the beginning of his Poem. Newton.
376. — their names then known,] When they had got them new names. Milton finely considered, that the names he was obliged to apply to these evil Angels carry a bad signification, and therefore could not be those they had in their state of innocence and glory; he has therefore said their former names are now lost, razed from amongst those of their old associates, who retain their purity and happiness.
Richardson. 386. thron'd
Between the Cherubim ;] This relates to the ark being placed between the two golden Cherubim, 1 Kings vi. 23. 1 Kings viii. 6 and 7. See also 2 Kings xix. 15. "O Lord God of Israel, which dwellest between the Cherubim.” Hezekiah's prayer.
Hume. 392. First Moloch, horrid king, ) First after Satan and Beelzebub. The name Moloch signifies King; and he is called horrid king, because of the human sacrifices which were made to him. This idol is supposed by some to be the same as Saturn, to whom the Heathens sacrificed their children ; and by others to be the Sun. It is said in Scripture that the children “ passed through the fire to Moloch;" and our Author employs the same expression, by which we must understand, not that they always actually burnt their children in honour of this idol, but sometimes, made them only leap over the flames, or pass nimbly between two fires, to purify them by that lus. tration, and consecrate them to this false deity. The Rabbins as. sure us that the idol Moloch was of brass, sitting on a throne of the same metal, and wearing a royal crown, having the head of a calf, and his arms extended to receive the miserable victims which were to be consumed in the flames; and therefore it is very probably styled here "his grim idol.” He was the God of the Ammonites, and is called “the abomination of the children of Ammon," 1 Kings xi. 7. and was worshipped in Rabba, the capital city of the Ammonites, which David conquered, and took from thence the crown of their God Milcolm, as some render the words, 2 Sam. xii. 30. and this Rabba being called the city of waters,"2 Sam. xii. 27. it is here said VOL. II,
“Rabba and her wat'ry plain;" and likewise in Argob and in Basaa, neighbouring countries to Rabba, ad subject to the Ammonites as far as u to the stream of utmost Arnon;" which river was the boun. dary of their courtry on the south. Solomon built a temple to Moloch on the Mount of Olives, 1 Kings xi. 7. therefore called “ that opprobrious bill;" and high places and sacrifices were made to him “ in the pleasant valley of Hinnom,” Jer. vii. 31. which lay southcast of Jerusalem, and was called likewise Tophet, from the Hebrew Torn, a drum, drums and such like noisy instruments being used to drown the cries of :he miserable children who were offered to this idol; and Gehenna, or the valley of Hinnom, is in several places of the New Testament, and by our Saviour himself, made "the name and typeof Hell,” by reason of the fire that was kept up there to Moloch, and of the horrid groans and outcries of human sacrifices. We might enlarge much more upon each of these idols, and produce a hcap of learned authorities and quotations ; but we endeavour to be as short as we can, and say no more than may serve as a sufficient commentary to explain and illustrate our Author.
Newton. 40h. Next Chemos, &c.] He is rightly mentioned next after Moloch, as their names are joined together in Scripture, 1 Kings xi. 7. and it was a natural transition from the God of the Ammonites to the God of their neighbours the Moabites. St. Jerom and several learned men assert Chemos and Baal Peor to be only different names for the same idol, arid suppose him to be the same with Priapus, or the idol of turpitude, and therefore called here "the obscene dread of Moab's sons, from Aroar,” a city upon the river Arnon, the boundary of their country to the north, afterwards belonging to the tribe of Gad,“ to Nebc," a city eastward, afterward belonging to the tribe of Reuben, “and the wild of southmost Abarim," a ridge of mountains the boundary of their country to the south; in Hesebon or Heshbon, "and Horonaim, Seon's realm,” two cities of the Moabites, taken from them by Sihon, king of the Amorites, Num. xxi. 26." beyond the flow'ry dale of Sibma clad with vines :" a place famous for vineyards, as appears from Jer. xlviii. 32. “O vine of Sibmah, I will weep for thee," and Eleälé, another city of the Moabites, not far from Heshbon,“ toth’Asphaltic pool," the Dead Sea; so called from the Asphaltus or bitumen abounding in it. The river Jordan empties itself into it; and that river and this sca were the boundary of the Moabites to the west. It was this god, under the name of Baal Peor, that the Israelites were induced to worship in Sittim, and committed whoredom with the daughters of Moab, for which there died of the plague twenty and four thousand, as we read in Numb. xxv. His high places were adjoining to those of Moloch on the mount of Olives, therefore called here that hill of scandal,” as before" that opprobrious hill;" for " Solomon did build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem; and for Moloch, the abomination of the children of Ammon," 1 Kings xi. 7. But good Josiah brake in pieces their images, and cut down their groves. See 2 Kings xxiii. 13, 14.
415. orgies] Wild frantic rites. Generally by orgies are understood the feasts of Bacchus, because they were such ; but any other mad ceremonies may be so called, as here the lewd ones of Chemos or Peor, ,
422. Baalim and Ashtaroth;] These are properly named together, as they frequently are in Scripture; and there were many Baalim, and many Ashtaroth. They were the general names of the gods and goddesses of Syria, Palestine, and the neighbouring countries. It is supposed, that by them is meant the Sun and the host of Heaven.
Newton. 437. With these in troop, &c.] Astoreth, or Astarte, was the goddess of the Phænicians; and the moon was adored under this name. She is rightly said to come in troop with Ashtaroth, as she was one of them, the moon with the stars. Sometimes she is called Queen of Heaven, Jer. vii. 18. and xliv. 17, 18. She is likewise called “the Goddess of the Zidonians," · Kings xi. 5."and the abomination of the Zidonians," 2 Kings xxiii. 13. as she was worshipped very much in Zidon, or Sidon, a famous city of the Phænicians, situated upon the Mediterranean. Solomon, who had many wives that were foreigners, was prevailed upon by them to introduce the worship of this goddess into Israel, 1 Kings xi. 5. and built her temple on the mount of Olives; which, on account of this and other idols, is called “the mountain of corruption,” 2 Kings xxiii. 13. as here by the Poet “th' offensive mountain," and before, “ that opprobrious hill," and es that hill of scandal."
446. Thamınuz came next, &c.] The account of Thammuz is finely romantic, and suitable to what we read among the ancients of the worship which was paid to that idol. The reader will pardon
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