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Divine instructer, I have heard, than when

Cherubic songs by night from neighbouring hills
Aereal music send: nor knew I not

To be both will and deed created free;

Yet that we never shall forget to love

Our Maker, and obey him whose command
Single is yet so just, my constant thoughts

Assured me, and still assure: though what thou tell'st

Hath pass'd in heaven, some doubt within me move,
But more desire to hear, if thou consent,

The full relation, which must needs be strange,
Worthy of sacred silence to be heard;

And we have yet large day; for scarce the sun
Hath finish'd half his journey, and scarce begins
His other half in the great zone of heaven.
Thus Adam made request; and Raphael,"
After short pause assenting, thus began:

High matter thou enjoin'st me, O prime of men,
Sad task and hard; for how shall I relate
To human sense the invisible exploits

Of warring spirits? how, without remorse,
The ruin of so many, glorious once





And perfect while they stood? how last unfold
The secrets of another world, perhaps
Not lawful to reveal? yet for thy good

This is dispensed; and what surmounts the reach
Of human sense, I shall delineate so,
By likening spiritual to corporal forms,

As may express them best; though what if earth

Be but the shadow of heaven, and things therein
Each to other like, more than on earth is thought?
As yet this world was not, and Chaos wild

Reign'd where these heavens now roll, where earth now rests
Upon her centre poised; when on a day,

■ Raphael.



Raphael's behaviour is every way suitable to the dignity of his nature, and to that character of a sociable spirit with which the author has so judiciously introduced him. He had received instructions to converse with Adam, as one friend converses with another, and to warn him of the enemy who was contriving his destruction. Accordingly, he is represented as sitting down at table with Adam, and eating of the fruits of Paradise. The occasion naturally leads him to his discourse on the food of angels. After having thus entered into conversation with man upon more indifferent subjects, he warns him of his obedience, and makes a natural transition to the history of that fallen angel who was engaged in the circumvention of our first parents.-ADDISON.

• Though what if earth, &c.

In order to make Adam comprehend these things, the angel tells him that he "must liken spiritual to corporal forms," and questions whether there is not a greater similitude and resemblance between things in heaven and things on earth than is generally imagined; which is suggested very artfully; as it is, indeed, the best apology that could be made for those bold figures which Milton has employed, and especially in his descriptions of the battles of the angels. To the same purpose, says Mede, Discourse x.: "If the visible things of God may be learned, as St. Paul says, from the creation of the world, why may not the invisible and intelligible world be learned from the fabric of the visible? the one (it may be) being the pattern of the other."-NEWTON.

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By present, past, and future) on such day

As heaven's great year brings forth, the empyreal host
Of angels, by imperial summons call'd,
Innumerable before the Almighty's throne
Forthwith, from all the ends of heaven, appear'd
Under their hierarchs in orders bright:

Ten thousand thousand ensigns high advanced,
Standards and gonfalons 'twixt van and rear
Stream in the air, and for distinction serve
Of hierarchies, of orders, and degrees;
Or in their glittering tissues bear imblazed
Holy memorials, acts of zeal and love
Recorded eminent. Thus when in orbs
Of circuit inexpressible they stood,
Orb within orb, the Father infinite,
By whom in bliss imbosom'd sat the Son,
Amidst, as from a flaming mount, whose top
Brightness had made invisible, thus spake:

Hear, all ye angels, progeny of light,

Thones, dominations, princedoms, virtues, powers;

Hear my decree," which unrevoked shall stand:
This day I have begot whom I declare
My only Son, and on this holy hill

Him have anointed, whom ye now behold

At my right hand; your head I him appoint;

And by myself have sworn, to him shall bow







All knees in heaven, and shall confess him Lord.
Under his great vicegerent reign abide
United, as one individual soul,

For ever happy: him who disobeys,

Me disobeys, breaks union; and that day,
Cast out from God and blessed vision, falls
Into utter darkness, deep ingulf'd, his place
Ordain'd without redemption, without end.

P As heaven's great year.



Our poet seems to have had Plato's great year in his thoughts. See also Virgil, Ecl. iv. 5 and 12.-HUME.

Plato's great year of the heavens is the revolution of all the spheres. Everything returns to where it set out when their motion first began. See Auson. Idyl. xviii. 15. A proper time for the declaration of the vicegerency of the Son of God. Milton has the same thought for the birth of the angels, v. 861, imagining such kind of revolutions long before the angels or the world were in being. So far back into eternity did the vast mind of this poet carry him.-RICHARDSON.

a The empyreal host.

See Job i. 6, and 1 Kings xxii. 19.-NEWTON: and Dan. vii. 10.-TODD.

r Hear my decree.

We observe before, that Milton was very cautious, what sentiments and language he ascribed to the Almighty, and generally confined himself to the phrases and expressions of Scripture; and in this particular speech the reader will easily remark how much of it is copied from Holy Writ, by comparing it with the following texts: Psalm ii. 6, 7; Gen. xxii. 16; Philip. ii. 10, 11.-NEWTON. Also to Heb. i. 5.-TODD.

So spake the Omnipotent, and with his words

All seem'd well pleased; all seem'd, but were not all.
That day, as other solemn days they spent,
In song and dance about the sacred hill;
Mystical dance, which yonder starry sphere
Of planets, and of fix'd, in all her wheels
Resembles nearest, mazes intricate,
Eccentric, intervolved, yet regular

Then most, when most irregular they seem;
And in their motions harmony divine

So smoothes her charming tones, that God's own ear

Listens delighted. Evening now approach'd;

(For we have also our evening and our morn,
We ours for change delectable, not need)
Forthwith from dance to sweet repast they turn
Desirous; all in circles as they stood,
Tables are set, and on a sudden piled
With angels' food; and rubied nectar flows




In pearl, in diamond, and massy gold,

Fruit of delicious vines, the growth of heaven.


On flowers reposed, and with fresh flowerets crown'd,

They eat, they drink, and in communion sweet
Quaff immortality and joy, secure

Of surfeit, where full measure only bounds

Excess, before the all-bounteous King, who shower'd
With copious hand, rejoicing in their joy.
Now when ambrosial night with clouds exhaled

From that high mount of God, whence light and shade
Spring both, the face of brightest heaven had changed
To grateful twilight, (for night comes not there
In darker veil) and roseat dews disposed

All but the unsleeping eyes of God to rest;
Wide over all the plain, and wider far

Than all this globous earth in plain outspread,
(Such are the courts of God) the angelic throng,
Dispersed in bands and files, their camp extend
By living streams among the trees of life,
Pavilions numberless and sudden rear'd,

Fann'd with cool winds; save those, who, in their course,

Celestial tabernacles, where they slept

Melodious hymns about the sovran throne

Alternate all night long: but not so waked

Satan; so call him now; his former name

Is heard no more in heaven: he of the first,
If not the first archangel, great in power,

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So the Psalmist, Psalm cxxi. 4:-"He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep." The author had likewise Homer in mind, Il. ii. 1.-NEWTON.

t By living streams.

Rev. vii. 17:-"The Lamb shall lead unto living fountains of water."-TODD.

In favour, and pre-eminence, yet fraught

With envy against the Son of God, that day

Honour'd by his great Father, and proclaim'd
Messiah King anointed, could not bear

Through pride that sight, and thought himself impaired.
Deep malice thence conceiving and disdain,
Soon as midnight brought on the dusky hour
Friendliest to sleep and silence, he resolved
With all his legions to dislodge, and leave
Unworshipp'd, unobey'd, the throne supreme,
Contemptuous; and his next subordinate
Awakening, thus to him in secret spake :

Sleep'st thou, companion dear? what sleep can close
Thy eyelids? and remember'st what decree
Of yesterday, so late hath pass'd the lips

Of heaven's Almighty? Thou to me thy thoughts

Wast wont, I mine to thee was wont to impart :
Both waking we were one; how then can now
Thy sleep dissent? New laws thou seest imposed;
New laws from him who reigns, new minds may raise
In us who serve, new counsels to debate
What doubtful may ensue: more in this place
To utter is not safe. Assemble thou

Of all those myriads which we lead the chief;
Tell them, that by command, ere yet dim night
Her shadowy cloud withdraws, I am to haste,
And all who under me their banners wave,
Homeward, with flying march, where we possess
The quarters of the north;" there to prepare

The quarters of the north.






See Sannazarius, de Partu Virginis, iii. 40. There are other passages in the same poem of which Milton has made use.-JORTIN.

Some have thought that Milton intended, but I dare say he was above intending here, a reflection upon Scotland; though being himself an independent, he had no great affection for the Scotch presbyterians. He had the authority, we see, of Sannazarius for fixing Satan's rebellion in "the quarters of the north;" and he had much better authority, the same that Sannazarius had,-that of the prophet, whose words, though applied to the king of Babylon, yet alluded to this rebellion of Satan, Isaiah xiv. 12:"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north." St. Austin says, that the devil and his angels, being averse from the light and fervour of charity, grew torpid as it were with an icy hardness; and are therefore, by a figure, placed in the north. See his Epist. cxi. sect. 55. And Shakspeare called Satan "the monarch of the north," 1 Hen. VI. a. v., s. 3. I have seen too a Latin poem by Odoricus Valmerana, printed at Vienna in 1627, and entitled "Dæmonomachiæ, sive de Bello Intelligentiarum super Divini Verbi Incarnatione." This poem is longer than the Iliad, for it consists of five-and-twenty books, but it equals the Iliad in nothing but in length, for the poetry is very indifferent: however, in some particulars the plan of this poem is very like "Paradise Lost."

It opens with the exaltation of the Son of God; and thereupon Lucifer revolts, and draws a third part of the angels after him into the quarters of the north:

Pars tertia lævam,

Hoc duce persequitur, gelidoque, aquilone locatur.

It is more probable that Milton had seen this poem, than some others from which he is charged with borrowing largely. He was indeed a universal scholar, and read all

Fit entertainment to receive our King,
The great Messiah, and his new commands;
Who speedily through all the hierarchies
Intends to pass triumphant, and give laws.
So spake the false archangel, and infused
Bad influence into the unwary breast
Of his associate he together calls,
Or several one by one, the regent powers,
Under him regent; tells, as he was taught,
That the Most High commanding, now ere night,
Now ere dim night had disincumber'd heaven
The great hierarchal standard was to move;
Tells the suggested cause, and casts between
Ambiguous words and jealousies to sound
Or taint integrity: but all obey'd
The wonted signal and superiour voice
Of their great potentate; for great indeed
His name, and high was his degree in heaven:
His countenance, as the morning star that guides
The starry flock, allured them; and with lies
Drew after him the third part of heaven's host.
Meanwhile the eternal eye, whose sight discerns
Abstrusest thoughts, from forth his holy mount,
And from within the golden lamps that burn
Nightly before him, saw without their light
Rebellion rising; saw in whom, how spread
Among the sons of morn, what multitudes
Were banded to oppose his high decree;
And, smiling, to his only Son thus said

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sorts of authors, and took hints from the moderns as well as the ancients. He was a great genius, but a great genius formed by reading; and, as it was said of Virgil, he collected gold out of the dung of other authors.-NEWTON.

The commentators have not observed that there is still another poem, which Milton seems to have copied, "L'Angelida di Erasmo di Valvasone," printed at Venice in 1590, describing the battle of the angels against Lucifer. I beg leave to add that Milton seems also to have attended to a poem of Tasso, not much noticed, on the Creation, "Le Sette Giornate del Mondo Creato," in 1607.-J. WARTON.

This poem of Tasso is in blank verse: the measure, therefore, as well as the subject, would particularly interest Milton. There is another poem, still less noticed, into which also Milton might have looked, "Della Creatione del Mondo, Poema Sacro, del Signor Gasparo Murtola, Giorni sette, Canti sedici," printed at Venice in 1608: the printer of which informs the reader that this work had been expected by the learned with much impatience.-TODD.

▾ His countenance, as the morning-star.

This similitude is not so new as poetical. Virgil, in like manner, compares the beautiful young Pallas to the morning-star, n. viii. 589, &c. But there is a much greater propriety in Milton's comparing Satan to the morning-star, as he is often spoken of under the name of Lucifer, as well as denominated Lucifer, son of the morning. -NEWTON,

w The third part of heaven's host.

See Rev. xii. 3, 4.-NEWTON.

x The golden lamps.

Alluding to the lamps before the throne of God, which St. John saw in his vision, Rev. iv. 5:"And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne."-NEWTON.

See Isaiah xiv. 12.-TODD.

y Sons of morn.

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