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Bred only and completed to the taste
To whom thus Adam of short joy bereft.
621. To these that sober race speaks in ver. 757. But if this of men, &c.] As we read in verse be blameable on this acGen. vi. 2. The sons of God saw count, yet our poet has used the the daughters of men, that they same way of speaking in ix. 11. were fair ; and they took them
That brought into this world a wives of all which they chose. It
world of woe. is now generally agreed, that
I think that the foregoing part this passage is to be understood
of this sentence should
be pointed of the sons of Seth, the worshippers of the true God, making matches with the idolatrous
and now swim in joy, daughters of wicked Cain; and
Ere long to swim at large; and
laugh, for which Milton very rightly puts this
The world ere long a world of tears construction upon it here, though
must weep. elsewhere he seems to give into For swimming in joy and swim. the old exploded conceit of the ming at large are opposed to each angels becoming enamoured of other, as are likewise laughing the daughters of men. See iii; and weeping a world of tears. 463. and the note there, and
Pearce. likewise v. 447. and Par. Reg.
As the sense is so much im. ii. 178, fc.
proved by this pointing, we 627. The world ere longa
cannot but prefer it to Milton's world of tears must weep.) Dr.
own, which was thus : Bentley observes that this world and world is a jingle, and that
-and now swim in joy
(Ere long to swim at large) and a world of tears is a low ex
laugh; for which pression. He would therefore
The world ere long a world of tears read a flood of tears: as Milton
Enter'd so fair, should turn aside to tread
630 Paths indirect, or in the mid way faint ! But still I see the tenor of Man's woe Holds on the same, from Woman to begin.
From Man's effeminate slackness it begins, Said th’ Angel, who should better hold his place 655 By wisdom and superior gifts receiv’d. But now prepare thee for another scene.
He look'd, and saw wide territory spread Before him, towns, and rural works between, Cities of men with lofty gates and towers,
640 Concourse in arms, fierce faces threat'ning war, Giants of mighty bone, and bold emprise ; Part wield their arms, part curb the foaming steed, Single or in array of battle rang'd Both horse and foot, nor idly must'ring stood ; 645 One way a band select from forage drives A herd of beeves, fair oxen and fair kine From a fat meadow ground; or fleecy flock, Ewes and their bleating lambs over the plain, Their booty; scarce with life the shepherds fly, 650
638. He look'd and saw wide for enterprise. It is used in the territory spread &c.] The next Mask. vision is of a quite contrary na Alas! good vent'rous youth, ture, and filled with the horrors I love thy courage yet, and bold of war. Adam at the sight of cmprise. it melts into tears, and breaks 645. - nor idly must'ring out in that passionate speech, stood ;] One cannot perceive - what are these,
the pertinence of this without Death's ministers, not men &c. supposing that it hinted at the
Addison. circumstances of the land-army 642. -emprise ;] An old word at that time. Warburton.
But call in aid, which makes a bloody fray ;
651. - which makes a bloody
Another field rose high with waving
grain ; fray ;) So it was altered for
With bended sickles stand the reaper the better in the second edition;
train, it was tacks a bloody fray in the Here stretch'd in ranks the leveli'd first edition ; which is not so swarths are found, plain and intelligible.
Sheaves heap'd on sheaves, here 660. In other part the scepter'd
thicken up the ground. Pope. heralds call &c.] It may be And ver. 587, 8c. noted here once for all, that in Εν δε νομον σιησε σιρικλυτος Αμφι. this visionary part Milton has yunus
Εν καλη βησση μεγαν οιων αργενναων,
his frequently had his eye upon
Σταθμους τε, κλισιας τε, κατηρεφιας master Homer, and several of the images which are repre Next this, the eye the art of Vulcan sented to Adam are copies of leads the descriptions on the shield of Deep thro' fair forests, and a length Achilles, Iliad. xviii.
of meads; And stalls, and folds, and scatter'd
cotts between, His eyes he open'd, and beheld a field,
And fleecy flocks that whiten all the Part arable and tilth, whereon were sheaves
The vision of marriages, New reap'd, the other part sheep
They light the nuptial torch, and bid walks and folds.
Hymen, then first to marriage rites Is not this Homer's description invok'd: a little contracted? ver 550, fc. With feast and music all the tents
resound. Εν δ ισιθι τιμενος βαθυληίον ενθα και Is it not a most beautiful and spidos
exact copy of Homer? ver. 491, Ημων, οξειας δραπανας εν κιρσιν εχον
&c. Δραγματα δ' αλλα μετ' ογμον επη -Εν τη μεν ρα γαμοι σ' εσαν ειλασι
τριμα πιστον εραζε. . Αλλα δ' αμαλλοδετηρες εν ελλιδανοισι Νυμφας δ' εκ θαλαμων, δαίδων υπο λαμ. διοντο.
To council in the city gates : anon
Ηγινεον ανα αστυ" πολυς δ' υμεναιος They fight, they fall, beside the ορώρει"
silver flood, Kougos ορχηστηρες εδινεον, εν δ' αρα The waving silver seem's to blush
with blood. Αυλοι, φορμιγγες τε βοην εχον
The representation of the city Here sacred pomp, and genial feast besieg'd here in Milton,
delight, And solemn dance, and hymeneal
Others to a city strong rite;
Lay siege, encamp'd ; &c. Along the street the new-made brides the reader will find to be a very
are led, With torches flaming, to the nuptial great improvement upon that in bed:
Homer, ver. 509, fc. The youthful dancers in a circle Την δ' έτερης πολιν αμφι δυο στρατοι bound
ελατο λαων, To the soft flute, and cittern's silver
Τευχεσι λαμπoμενοι: sound.
Another part (a prospect differing And in like manner the driving far) away of the sheep and oxen Glow'd with refulgent arms, and from forage, and the battle horrid war. which thereupon ensues, may be
Two mighty hosts a leaguer'd town compared with the following
embrace, &c. passage in Homer: ver. 527, &c. As the council in the one Οι μεν τα προιδοντες επιδραμον, ωκα δ' In other part the scepter'd heralds
call Ταμνοντ' αμφι βοων αγελας και τωρα
To council in the city gates : anon
Grey-headed men and grave, with Αργεννων οιων κτεινον δ' επι μηλο
warriors mix'd, βοτηρας.
Assemble, and harangues are heard, οι δ' ως ουν επυθοντο σολων κελαδον
seems to be of much more im. Ιραων προπαροιθε καθημενοι, αυτικο εφ' ιστων
portance than that in the other, Βαντες αερσιποδων μετεκιαθον· αιψα δ' Ver. 503, &c.
κοντο. Στησαμενοι δ' εμαχοντο
Κηρυκες δ' αρα λαον ερητυον' οι δε γε
χοντες μοιο παρ' οχέας.
Ελατ' επι ξεστοισι λιθους, ιερων κυκλω In arms the glitt'ring squadron ris
Σκηστρα δε κηρυχων εν χερσ' εχον περοing round,
φωνων: Rush sudden; hills of slaughter heap
Τοισιν επεισ' ηισσον, αμοιβηδις δ' εδι-the ground,
καζον Whole flocks and herds lie bleeding Th' appointed heralds still the noisy on the plains,
bands, And, all amidst them, dead, the And form a ring with sceptres in shepherd swains.
their hands; The bellowing oxen the besiegers On seats of stone, within the sacred hear,
place, They rise, take horse, approach, and The rev’rend elders nodded o'er the nmeet the war ;
Assemble, and harangues are heard, but soon
Alternate, each th' attesting scep Enoch said to be of middle age, tre took,
because he was translated when And rising solemn, cach his sentence
he was but three hundred and spoke.
sixty-five years old; a middle The description of the shield of age then. Gen. v. 23. RichardAchilles is certainly one of the finest pieces of poetry in the 668. And judgment from above :) whole Iliad, and our author has It appears from holy writ, that plainly shown his admiration he was not only a good man, and affection for it by borrow- and walked with God, Gen. v. ing so many scenes and images 24. but that he remonstrated from it: but I think we may likewise against the wickedness say, that they do not like other of mankind, and denounced the copies fall short of the originals, heavy judgment of God upon but generally exceed them, and them, Jude 14. Behold the Lord receive this additional beauty, cometh with ten thousands of his that they are most of them made saints to execute judgment upon representations of real histories all &c. which the poet alludes to and matters of fact.
inore plainly afterwards, ver. 661. To council in the city 704. gates :) For there assemblies
that God would come were anciently held, and the To judge them with his saints.judges used to sit, Gen. xxxiv. 669. Exploded) From explodo, 20. Deut. xvi. 18. xxi. 19. Zech. Latin, to hiss, to drive out disviii. 16.
gracefully with some noise of 665. Of middle age one rising,] contempt. Johnson.