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261, 262. "the glass of Galileo." The second mention of Galileo in the poem (see I. 288), and the third of the telescope (1. 288 and III. 590).
264-266. "Or pilot from amidst the Cyclades Delos or Samos first appearing kens," etc. The construction may either be "or pilot kens Delos or Samos first appearing from amidst the Cyclades," or it may be "or pilot, coming from amidst the Cyclades, kens Delos or Samos first appearing. In either case, as Mr. Keightley has pointed out, the geography is not strictly accurate. Samos is not one of the Cyclades which vitiates the first construction; Delos is one of the Cyclades-which vitiates the second. Milton probably intended the first construction, with an extended meaning of the term Cyclades.
272-274. "A phanix," etc. The phoenix, the fabulous Arabian bird of the ancients, of which only one was alive at a time, was said to go from Arabia, every 500 years, to deposit the ashes of the preceding phoenix, its father, (or, according to another legend, its own ashes) in the Temple of the Sun at Heliopolis in Lower Egypt. Milton substitutes Thebes in Upper Egypt.
"Six wings he wore," etc. See Isaiah
285. "Sky-tinctured grain," i.e. of a cerulean or violet purple, as if dipped in the colours of the sky. Grain, now generally meaning "texture," "fibre," "structure" (e.g. wood of a hard or close "grain "), more frequently in the old poets meant "colour,"-nay, one variety of colour. Granum, in Latin "seed" (as in a "grain" of corn, or "grain" collectively for corn), had come to be a special designation for the red dye coccum, consisting of the granular or seed-like dried bodies of certain insects collected from trees in Spain and other Mediterranean countries. It was also called kermes, from a Persian word meaning "worm" or "insect"; whence our words carmine and crimson. From distinct, "red" or "crimson," however, the word grain seems to have been extended to include all fast or durable colours of a red or purple order, if not other colours. Compare Il Pens. 33 and P. L. XI. 240-244; and see a detailed and interesting inquiry on the subject in Marsh's Lectures on the English Language, First Series. Grain, however, though used in our older English writers for "colour," or for "purple or
red colour," was certainly also used by them sometimes in our present sense of "texture"; which is natural enough, inasmuch as "granum" had the sense of "small round particle" primitively and generally.
285. "Like Maia's son he stood," i.e. like the god Mercury. Compare a passage in Hamlet, iii. 4.
321, 322. "Adam, Earth's hallowed mould, of God inspired": Gen. ii. 7. The name Adam implies derivation from the earth.
339-341. "or middle shore in Pontus or the Punic shore, or where Alcinous reigned," i.e. "or any of the Mediterranean regions, whether those of Western Asia (represented by Pontus in Asia Minor), or those of Northern Africa (represented by the Punic or Carthaginian coast), or those of southern Europe (represented by Phæacia, afterwards Corcyra or Corfu, where Alcinous had his gardens)."
341, 342. "fruit of all kinds, in coat rough, or smooth rined, or bearded husk, or shell." The reading in most of the editions is "rind," and the construction "fruit of all kinds, in rough coat, or smooth rind, or bearded husk, or shell." But in the First, Second, and Third Editions the lines stand thus:
"fruit of all kindes, in coate, Rough, or smooth rin'd, or bearded husk, or shell."
From the spelling "rin'd" here it appears that Milton intended the word for an adjective 66 rined," equivalent to "rinded"; and Mr. Keightley quotes from Spenser the expression "the grey moss marred his rine," containing the substantive "rine" from which such an adjective might be formed. It is probable that Milton meant the construction to be "fruit of all kinds,—in coat, whether rough coat or coat smooth-rined, or in bearded husk," etc.
349. "odours from the shrub unfumed" means either "odours unfumed (i.e. not yet exhaled) from the shrub," or "odours from the unfumed (i.e. unburnt or natural) shrub.' Mr. Browne notes: "Fire was unknown in Paradise (IX. 392), at least till after the Fall (x. 1073).”
351-353. "without more train accompanied than with his own complete perfections." A curious license of syntax, which provoked from Bentley this note: "Without more than with is a solecism. It should be without more than his,
etc., with being expunged." As the verse does not permit this, Bentley supposed that Milton dictated with no more train than with. The liberties and flexibilities of seventeenth century English were unknown in Bentley's grammar.
382. "three that in Mount Ida," etc. Aphrodite or Venus, Here or Juno, and Athene or Minerva, when Paris had to decide which was the most beautiful.
415-426. "Of Elements the grosser feeds the purer," etc. In these few lines there is a sketch of Milton's Physics or Physiology.
447. "the Sons of God."
See Genesis vi. 2.
469-490. "O Adam," etc. Here we have a sketch, from the Archangel's mouth, of Milton's Metaphysical or rather Physico-Metaphysical system. Some have found in it a sort of Materialism, inasmuch as it makes “body up to spirit work," or represents the inorganic as ascending by gradations, "improved by tract of time," but by strict selfdiscipline as well, into the vegetable, the animal, the intellectual or human, and finally the Angelic. If this is to be called Materialism, however, the materialistic principle is confined by Milton within the bounds of what may be called "creation," and for this "creation" there is asserted an absolute cause and origin in an Eternal self-existing Spirit or Deity. Milton's Materialism is thus very different from the ordinary Materialism, and much more sublime. In fact, in this passage he gives a vague hint of that Pantheism, or Pantheistic Materialism, which he has expressed more articulately in his Latin treatise Of Christian Doctrine. He there contends that all creation, inanimate and animate,-brutes, men, and Angels included,-consists but of diverse forms or degrees of one and the same original or prime matter; which matter was originally an efflux or emanation out of the very substance of the One Eternal Spirit (see Memoir, pp. Ixvii-lxviii.). The present passage, while only hinting that doctrine, as in the phrase "one first matter all," is more precise than the treatise, however, in expressing the subordinate doctrine of an evolution from lower to higher as possible among the present diverse formations, inorganic and living, of the one aboriginal cosmical matter.
488. "Discursive or Intuitive": an old distinction with psychologists. Discursive Reason, or Understanding, they say, is that which arrives at knowledge gradually by searching,
comparing, distinguishing, etc.; Intuitive Reason is immediate insight, or perception of what must be true necessarily.
509. "the scale of Nature set," etc.: i.e. "planted that ladder (scala, a ladder), or fixed that gradation, of Nature, from its centre to its circumference, on which," etc.
546-548. "than when Cherubic songs," etc. IV. 680-688, with references there.
557. "Worthy of sacred silence to be heard." Literally, as Richardson noted, from Horace, Od. II. xiii. 29.
576. more than on Earth is thought." In these words and in the passage in which they appear, "what if Earth,” etc., one rather sees Milton himself speaking to his contemporaries than Raphael speaking at a time when there were only two human beings on the Earth to have opinions.
577. "As yet this World was not," etc. At this point we have the true chronological beginning of the whole poem ;, and from this point to the end of Book VIII. is mainly a retrospective history, in colloquy between Raphael and Adam, of events prior to the action of the poem itself as related hitherto.
579-583. on a day on such day as Heaven's great year brings forth." Here, at the outset, Milton's, or Raphael's, plan of narrating the events of the eternal or transcendental world so as to make them analogically conceivable by the human mind involves him in a daring image, with a perplexing theological consequence. Heaven has its "great year,"—perhaps that "great year of the Heavens," imagined by Plato, which is measured by one complete revolution of all the spheres, so that all are brought back to the exact condition of mutual arrangement from which they set out, and are ready to begin a new repetition of their vast courses. Well, on a day such as this great year brings forth, -the first day of one such enormous Heavenly revolution,— there was an assembling of the Heavenly hierarchies, by summons, to hear a grand new announcement of the will of the Infinite Father. It was that on that day had been begotten the only Son, and that he was constituted and anointed Head and Lord over all things. Now, as the Angelic hosts were assembled to hear this decree, they had indefinitely pre-existed the day so splendidly marked, and it came as a kind of interruption or new epoch in their existence. This seems farther hinted in a subsequent speech of Satan (lines
853-863), where it is implied that, in Satan's view at least, the Angels had come into being at the beginning of a previous great year or natural cycle of the Heavens. Now, though Milton was an Arian, as is proved by his Treatise of Christian Doctrine, yet his Arianism, as avowed in that treatise, was of the kind called High Arianism, which would not have been content with imagining the ascendancy of the Son as subsequent to the creation of the Angels. According to Bishop Sumner's summary of the portion of the treatise referring to this subject, Milton asserted that "the Son of God existed in the beginning and was the first of the whole creation," and that "by his delegated power all things were made in heaven and in earth." There might seem to be an inconsistency between this and what is suggested in the present passage. But see the speech of Abdiel (lines 835-840), where the seeming inconsistency is provided for by the assertion that, although the Son had been begotten on that day of the assembling of the Angels, yet by Him originally had all things, including the Angels themselves, been made. It seems unavoidable to suppose that Milton drew a distinction between the essential existence and power of the Divine Logos and "his being begotten as the Son," dating the first as from the beginning, or at least from before all Creation and all Angels, but placing the last within the limits of created time and of the angelic history, and so denying what theologians call "the Eternal Sonship."
589. "gonfalons." A gonfalon, as distinct from an ordinary standard, was a flag at the end of a lance.
601. "Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers." A gradation of rank seems implied, as if the "throned Angels" were highest, next those with "dominations," and so on. The enumeration is common in poems and prose-writings about the Angels.
602-609. The texts here coagulated are Psalm ii. 67, cx. 1; Eph. iv. 15; Genesis xxii. 16; Isaiah xlv. 23; Philipp. ii. 10, 11; Heb. i. 5.
625-627. "And in their motions harmony divine," etc. The Pythagorean notion of "the music of the spheres," or an actual music produced by, or regulating, the motions of the heavenly orbs, was a favourite one with Milton, and often recurs in his writings.
636–641. “On flowers reposed. . . rejoicing in their joy.”