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In prospect from his throne, how good, how fair,
563. The planets in their sta- 565. Open, ye everlasting gates, tion list'ning stood,] The word &c.] Ps. xxiv. 7. Lift up your station is used in a more peculiar heuds, O ye gates, and be ye lifted sense than usual. The station up, ye everlasting doors ; and the of a planet is a term of art, when King of glory shall come in. This the planet appears neither to go hymn was sung when the ark of backwards nor forwards, but to God was carried up into the stand still and keep the same sanctuary on mount Sion, and place in its orbit. And what is is understood as a prophecy of said here of the stars and planets our Saviour's ascension into heais somewhat in the same noble ven; and therefore is fitly apstrain, as the song of Deborah, plied by our author to the same Judges v. 20. the stars in their divine Person's ascending thither courses fought against Sisera. after he had created the world,
A broad and ample road, whose dust is gold
578. -as stars to thee appear, royal robes of France were said &c.] The pavement of heaven to be anciently pondered with was as thick set with stars, as bees, and afterwards with fleurstars appear in the galaxy or de-lys. E. milky way, which is an assem- 591. -and from work blage of an infinite number of Now resting, bless'd and hallittle stars, seen distinctly with a low'd the sev’nth day, telescope, but too faint and re- As resting on that day from all mote to affect the eye singly.
his work,] 581. Powder'd with stars,] A The reason assigned by Moses, like expression in Chaucer. Of and almost in the very words, the cuckoo and the nightingale, Gen. ii. 2, 3. God rested on the ver. 63.
seventh doy from all his work The grounde was grene, youdrid which he created and made: and with daisye.
God blessed the serenth day and 581.] It was a common ex- sanctified it, because that in it he pression formerly for robes spot- hud rested from all his work. ted with any figure; so the
And dulcimer, all organs of sweet stop,
597. All sounds on fret by 602. Great are thy works, Jestring or golden wire] On the hovah, &c.] Milton is generally finger-board of a bass-viol, for truly orthodox. In this hymn instance, are divisions athwart, the angels intimate the unity by which the sound is regulated of the Son with the Father, singand varied. These divisions are ing to both as one God, Jehocalled frets. Richardson.
vah. 598. Temper'd-] See the 605. Than from the giant annote, Lycidas, 33. E.
gels;] The word giant is used 599. of incense clouds not to express the stature and Fuming from golden censers hid size of the angels, but that disthe mount.)
position of mind, which is always The incense fuming from golden ascribed to giants, viz. a proud, censers seems to be founded on fierce, and aspiring temper. Rev. viii. 3, 4. And an angel And this the Hebrew word Gibcame and stood at the altar, hav- bor signifies, which is rendered ing a golden censer; and the a giant in Scripture. Pearce. smoke of the incense ascended up
Dr. Pearce's construction of before God out of the angel's hand. the word giant, as if it meant Milton had seen too their man- only fierce, proud, and aspiring. ner of incensing in the churches is in my opinion a little forced ; abroad, and he seems to have nor yet do I think that there is approved something of it by any reason to change it into transferring it to heaven. And rebel, as Dr. Bentley would have
. I have known some very good it. Milton, I doubt not, inprotestants wish that we had re- tended to allude to Hesiod's tained the moderate but not the giant war, but I do not see with superstitious use of incense in Dr. Bentley, that therefore he our churches, as thinking it must insinuate that this relation might contribute to the sweet- is as fabulous as that. ness and salubrity of those bably designed by this expresplaces.
sion to hint his opinion, that the
Thy thunders magnified; but to create
fictions of the Greek poets owed του θρονου θαλασσα υαλινη, όμοια their rise to some uncertain xquoranaq. Rev. iv. 6. And beclouded tradition of this real fore the throne was a sea of glass, event, and their giants were, if like unto crystal. they had understood the story 621. - perhaps a world right, his fallen angels. Thyer. Of destin'd habitation ;]
619. On the clear hyaline,] Milton was not willing to make This word is expressed from the the angel assert positively that Greek inhorn, and is immediately every star was a world designed translated the glassy sea. For to be inhabited, and therefore Milton, when he uses Greek adds perhaps, this notion of the words, sometimes gives the Eng- plurality of worlds being not so lish with them, as in speaking well established in those days as of the rivers of hell, ii. 577. &c. in these. and so the galaxy he immediately 624. Earth with her nether translates that milky way. The ocean] To distinguish it from glassy sea is the same as the crys. the crystalline ocean, the waters talline ocean, ver. 271. KHI SYNTIOV above the firmament.
Their pleasant dwelling place. Thrice happy men, 625
630 Holy and just : thrice happy if they know Their happiness, and persevere upright.
So sung they, and the empyréan rung With hallelujahs : thus was sabbath kept. And thy request think now fulfill'd, that ask'd How first this world and face of things began, And what before thy memory was done From the beginning, that posterity Inform’d by thee might know; if else thou seek'st Ought, not surpassing human measure, say. 640
631. -thrice happy if they Virg. Georg. ii. 458. know
O fortunatos simium, sua si bona Their happiness,]