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NOTES TO PARADISE REGAINED.
1-7. "I, who erewhile," etc. On the intimate connexion of Paradise Regained with Paradise Lost, see Introd. pp. 6-10. The passages of Scripture which are Milton's chief authorities in this poem are Matthew iii. and iv. 1-11; Mark i. 1-15; Luke iii. 2-23, and iv. 1-14; and John i.
8-17. "Thou Spirit," etc. See Par. Lost, I. I-26, VII. I-39, IX. 13-47.--Eremite, now Hermit, means in Greek "a dweller in the desert."
33. "the Adversary," i.e. Satan. See note, Par. Lost, 1.
44-50. "O ancient Powers of Air," etc. It is to be remembered that, at the loss of Paradise, such a road or bridge was established over Chaos between Hell and the Universe of Man that the Fallen Angels were able thenceforth to go and come at their pleasure between the two, and in fact to consider the Universe an extension of their infernal empire. They are here supposed, accordingly, to have since then resided more in the Universe of Man- -"this wide World"-than in Hell; and chiefly they are supposed to have made the Air their residence.
89-91. "His first-begot we know. . . who this is we must learn." Mr. Jerram notes:-"Satan is represented as knowing Jesus to be the Son of God in a certain sense (see Book IV. 501, 515-521), but not as the Messiah."
103, 104. "a calmer voyage now," etc. For now it is not to be from Hell, up through Chaos, to the Human World, as in the former expedition, but only from the midair round the Earth, where Satan and his consistory are, down to the Earth.
117. "yea gods," i.e. not only possessors and rulers of regions of the Earth and Air, but actually gods to men, in consequence of that process by which the Fallen Angels had in course of time been transmuted into the false gods of the various Polytheistic systems. See Par. Lost, I. 364 et seq.,
and note there.
175. "But to," etc. A line very peculiar metrically, unless, with Jortin, we suppose "vanquish" accented on the last syllable, vanquish.
184. "Lodged in Bethabara, where John baptized." This is from John i. 28—"These things were done in Bethabara, where John was baptizing." In that passage, however, the best Greek MSS. of the New Testament read Bethany for Bethabara; which reading is adopted by the editors of the Revised New Testament, though they note, 66 Many ancient authorities read Bethabarah, some Betharabah." Mr. Jerram, who had remarked the various reading, says that, if Bethany is adopted, then conjectures as to the site of Bethabara "are of course futile." He adds, however :-"Some take it to be the Bethbárah mentioned in Judges vii. 24, the principal ford of the Jordan; others Bethnimrah (Joshua xiii. 27), east of the Jordan and nearly opposite Jericho. Lieut. Conder, of the Palestine Exploration, identifies Bethabara with a ford much farther north, about 25 miles S. E. of Cana, now called Makhádet Abára. Since Bethabara means 'House of Crossing,' there may have been many places on the Jordan bearing that name.'
193. "the bordering Desert wild." The Desert or Wilderness which was the scene of the Temptation was, according to Matthew and Luke, the same as that in which John had been preaching and from which he had gone to Bethabara baptizing. It was called the Wilderness of Judea, and extended from the Jordan along the whole western coast of the Dead Sea. The middle part was called specially the Wilderness of Ziph, from a mountain in it, and the northern part, due east from Jerusalem, the Wilderness of Engedi or Engaddi, from one of the cities of the desert (Josh. xv. 62). The "bordering Desert wild" of the present passage was either this Wilderness of Engedi, or some desert part of the valley of Jordan itself higher up. In the sequel of the poem, however, Milton supposes that Christ, in his forty days of wandering, may have penetrated farther into the Wilder
ness of Judea and even reached the great Arabian Desert itself.
292, 293. "I learn not yet," etc. In the spirit of such texts as Luke ii. 52, and Mark xiii. 32, and in accordance with the view of some theologians, Milton makes Christ as Man not omniscient, but acquiring knowledge gradually.
294. our Morning Star." Rev. xxii. 16.
314-320. "But now an aged man," etc. Note the manner of Satan's first appearance here, and how stealthy and mean-looking he is. It is as if the great Satan of Paradise Lost had been shrinking since then into the Mephistopheles of the modern world. See Introd. p. 10.
333, 334. aught... what," for "aught that" or 'aught which": an obsolete use now of "what," except as a vulgarism, though etymologically proper. 347-351. "Is it not written?" etc.
Deut. viii. 3.
'Eliah," etc. This name occurs four times in the poem. Twice it is spelt Eliah in the original edition -viz. here and at 11. 19; and twice Elijah-viz. at II. 268, and II. 277."Wandered this barren waste." Elijah's wanderings were from Beersheba into the Great Desert as far as Horeb (1 Kings xix. 1-8), and therefore not strictly in that Desert of Judea which is usually supposed to have been the scene of Christ's temptation.
368, 369. "I came," etc. Job. i. 6.
371-376. "And, when . . . King Ahab," etc. I Kings xxii. 19-23.
383, 384. "What can be then less in me than desire,” etc. The meaning is "The least I can do is to desire"; and the wording, if strictly construed, gives almost the opposite sense. "A word like less," as Mr. Jerram notes, "is liable to cause confusion when joined to a word or phrase implying a negative"; and he quotes sentences from Shakespeare where less stands instead of more.
428. "four hundred mouths." I Kings xxii. 6.
435. "Ambiguous, and with double sense deluding." A reference to some of the famous instances of ambiguous answers by the Delphic Oracle.
456. "henceforth Oracles are ceased." See Od. Nat. 173 et seq. and note there.
498. "His grey dissimulation." in Ford's Broken Heart.
The phrase is found Keightley, who noted the fact,
thought it a mere accidental coincidence; but Mr. Jerram observes that the Broken Heart came out about 1620, and was probably known to Milton.
"Andrew and Simon." John i. 40, 42. "Moses missing long." Exod. xxxii. I. 16. "the great Thisbite." Elijah, the Tishbite (1 Kings xvii. 1). Milton avoids the sh sound when he can.
17. "yet once again to come." This was a belief of the Early Church, founded on Malachi iv. 5, and Matt. xvii.
19-24. "so in each place these nigh to Bethabara," etc., i.e. so the first disciples sought Christ in all places along the Jordan from Bethabara. (See note, I. 184.) The places named are: Jericho, which was called "the City of Palms " (Deut. xxxiv. 3), and which was to the west of the Jordan, a little north of the Dead Sea; Enon, a town on the Jordan, considerably higher up and nearer the Lake Gennesareth, and mentioned in John iii. 23 as one of the places where John baptized; Salem, mentioned in the same text as near to Ænon, and mentioned also in I Sam. ix. 4 as Shalim, in the country round which Saul sought his father's asses, and under the same name in Gen. xxxiii. 18 as a dwellingplace of Jacob (hence probably called "Salem old" by Milton, and not because, as some suppose, he identified it with the Salem of Melchizedek, Gen. xiv. 18); and finally Macharus, on the east of the northern angle of the Dead Sea. But they searched not these places only, but also every other town or city between the Lake Genezaret and the Dead Sea,-whether on the west of the Jordan, or in the country called Peræa on the eastern side of that river. 27. "Plain fishermen (no greater men them call)." After Spenser (Shep. Cal., i. 1): "A shepherd's boy (no better do him call)."
61-62. Mr. Jerram notes the rhyme in these two lines as an unfortunate accident in a blank verse poem.
119. "without sign of boast," etc. In contrast to his triumphant return from tempting Adam. See Par. Lost, X. 460 et seq.