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RAPHAEL at the request of Adam relates how and wherefore this world was first created; that God, after the expelling of Satan and his angels out of heaven, declared his pleasure to create another world and other creatures to dwell therein; sends his Son with glory and attendance of angels to perform the work of creation in six days: the angels celebrate with hymns the performance thereof, and his reascension into heaven.
DESCEND from heav'n, Urania, by that name
1. Descend from heav'n, Ura- 491. Onupriados Mouras. He nia,] Descende cælo, Hor. Od. calls it old, that is, famed of old iii. iv. 1. but here it is better and long celebrated, as he says applied, as now his subject leads old Euphrates, i. 420. and mount him from heaven to earth. The Casius old, ii. 593. word Urania in Greek signifies 5. heavenly; and he invokes the Nor of the Muses nine, nor on heavenly Muse as he had done before, i. 6. and as he had said Of old Olympus dwell'st, but in the beginning that he intended heav'nly born, to soar above the Aonian mount, Tasso in his invocation has the so now he says very truly that same sentiment, Gier. Lib. cant. he had effected what he intended, i. st. 2. and soars above the Olympian hill,
O Musa, tu, che di caduchi allori above the flight of Pegaséan wing, Non circondi la fronte in Helicona ; that is, his subject was more
Ma si nel cielo infra i beati cbori sublime than the loftiest flights
Hai di stelle immortali aurea corona, of the heathen poets. The
Thyer. mountain Olympus is celebrated 8. Before the hills appear'd, of for the seat of the Muses, who fountain flow'd, &c.] From Prov. were therefore called Olym- viii. 24, 25, 30. When there were piades, as in Homer, Iliad. ii. no depths, I was brought forth;
Thou with eternal Wisdom didst converse,
when there were no fountains too pure and fine for him, but abounding with water: Before the the heavenly Muse temper'd and mountains were settled, before the qualified it so as to make him hills was I brought forth: Then capable of breathing in it: which was 1 by him as one brought up is a modest and beautiful
of with him; and I was daily his bespeaking his reader to make delight, rejoicing always before favourable allowances for any him, or playing according to the failings he may have been guilty Vulgar Latin (ludens corain eo of in treating of so sublime a omni tempore), to which Milton subject. alludes, when he says, and with 17. — (as once her didst play, &c. And so he Bellerophon, &c.] quotes it likewise in his Tetra Belleruphon was a beautiful and chordon, p. 222. vol. i. edit. 1738. valiant youth, son of Glaucus; “ God himself conceals not his who refusing the amorous appli
own recreations before the cations of Antea wife of Præteus “ world was built ; I was, saith king of Argos, was by her false “the eternal Wisdom, daily his suggestions, like those of Joseph's delight, playing always before mistress to her husband, sent
into Lycia with letters desiring 14. and drawn empyreal air, his destruction; where he was Thy temp'ring ;]
put on several enterprises full of Spenser, Faery Queen, b. ii. hazard, in which however he cant. ii. st. 39.
came off conqueror : but at
tempting vain-gloriously to Thus fairly she attempered her feast,
mount up to heaven on the And pleas'd them all with meet satiety.
winged horse Pegasus, he fell Thyer.
and wander'd in the Aleian plains
till he died. Hume and Richard15. Thy temp'ring ;] This is said in allusion to the difficulty His story is related at large in of respiration on high moun- the sixth book of Homer's Iliad ; tains. This empyreai air was but it is to the latter part of it
Bellerophon, though from a lower clime,)
that Milton chiefly alludes, ver. had this passage at the begin200. &c.
ning of the seventh as now.
The episode has two principal Αλλ' ότε δη κακείνος απηχθιτο σασι Asortir,
parts, the war in heaven, and Ητοι και κασσιδιον το Αληιον οιος αλατο, the new creation; the one was "Ον θυμον κατιδων, στατον ανθρωπων sung, but the other remained
unsung, and he is now entering But when at last, distracted in his upon it—but narrower bound. mind,
Bound here seems to be a parForsook by heav'n, forsaking human kind,
ticiple as well as unsung. Half Wide o'er the Aleian field he chose yet remains unsung; but this to stray,
other half is not rapt so much A long, forlorn, uncomfortable way. into the invisible world as the
Pope. former, it is confined in narIt is thus translated by Cicero in
compass, and bound his third book of Tusculan Dis- within the visible sphere of putations.
day. Qui miser in campis inærens errabat
21. It is however half of the Aleis,
whole work which has been Ipse suum cor edens, hominum ve- treated, as well as half of the stigia vitans.
Episode. It is equally true with The plain truth of the story respect to the whole subject that seems to be, that in his latter the latter half of it is much more days he grew mad with his bound within the visible diurnal poetry, which Milton begs may sphere than the former portion; never be his own case: Lest and in point of actual length from this flying steed &c. He half still remained, when the says this to distinguish his from
poem was divided into ten the common Pegasus, above the books, as well as now that it is flight of whose wing he soared, distributed into twelve. It is as he speaks, ver. 4.
remarkable too that he invokes 21. Half yet remains unsung,] the Muse only in this place and I understand this with Mr. at the beginning of the Poem. Richardson, that it is the half There appears to be therefore a of the episode, not of the whole considerable probability, that work, that is here meant; for Milton meant that half of his when the poem was divided whole subject remained unsung. into but ten books, that edition E.
More safe I sing with mortal voice, unchang’d
my slumbers nightly, or when morn
25.-though fall'n on evil 32. But drive far off the bardays,] The repetition and turn barous dissonance of the words is very beautiful, Of Bacchus and his revelers,
&c.] though fall'n on evil days, On evil days though fall’n, and evil Compare Comus, 550. where the tongues ; &c.
Spirit is describing the Son of
Bacchus and his “ monstrous A lively picture this in a few
rout:" lines of the Poet's wretched condition. In darkness, though
The wonted roar was up amidst the is still understood; he was not
And filled the air with barbarous dis. become hoarse or mute though in darkness, though he was blind,
T. Warton. and with dangers compassid 33. Of Bacchus and his reround, and solitude, obnoxious velers,] It is not improbable to the government, and having that the poet intended this as an a world of enemies among the oblique satire upon the dissoluteroyal party, and therefore
ness of Charles the Second and obliged to live very much in his court; from whom he seems privacy and alone. And what to apprehend the fate of Orstrength of mind was it, that pheus, a famous poet of Thrace, could not only support him who though he is said to have under the weight of these mis- charmed woods and rocks with fortunes, but enable him to soar his divine songs, yet was torn to such heights, as no human to pieces by the Bacchanalian genius ever reached before?
women on Rhodope, a mountain 31. -and fit audience find, of Thrace, nor could the Muse though few. He had Horace in Calliope his mother defend him. mind, Sat. i. x. 73.
So fail not thou, who thee imneque te ut miretur turba, labores, plores ; nor was his wish inef. Contentus paucis lectoribus.
fectual, for the government suf