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dred-handed, fifty-headed monster, of Titan lineage; first aided Jupiter against the Titans, but afterwards helped the Giants in their war with him. Typhon or Typhoeus, a hundred-headed monster, who also warred against the gods, had his den in Cilicia, of which Tarsus was a city.
201-208. " Leviathan," etc. Commentators see in this passage a reference to the fables in books of vast whales and other rough-skinned sea-monsters seen by voyagers in the Scandinavian seas.
202. "Created hugest that swim the Ocean-stream”: a line purposely of difficult sound.
204. night-foundered." Milton has this exact word once besides-Comus, 483. In both places he uses the word in the same sense, i.e. brought to a stand by the coming on of night.
207. "under the lee," i. e. on that side of the monster which was protected from the wind.
232. "Pelorus," a promontory in Sicily.
235. Sublimed," etc. Sublimation in chemistry is the conversion of solid substances into vapour by heat, so that, in cooling, they may become solid again in a purer form.
254. "The mind is its own place." This is one of the only three places in which the word its occurs in Milton's poetry. The other two places are P. L., IV. 813, and Ode on the Nat. 106. See Essay on Milton's English, pp. 174-186.
257. "And what I should be, all but less than he": a phrase of difficult construction: meaning either "And what I should be-viz. all but just next to him," etc.; or "And what I should be, all but (except) that I am less than he,” etc. 288-290. "Through optic glass the Tuscan artist. top of Fesole.. or in Valdarno." The Tuscan artist is Galileo, who first employed the telescope for astronomical purposes about 1609. Fesolè is a height close to Florence. Valdarno is the valley of the Arno, in which Florence itself lies.
294. "ammiral," or admiral, here means the ship, not the commander.
303. "Vallombrosa." Literally "the shady valley," a beautiful valley eighteen miles from Florence, where Milton may have spent some days in 1638. See Wordsworth's "At Vallombrosa."
305. "Orion armed." The constellation Orion, called "armed" because of his sword and belt, was supposed to
bring stormy weather at certain seasons. Both Virgil and Petrarch have the exact phrase.
307. "Busiris," etc. An Egyptian king of this name figures in Greek legends as noted for his hostility to foreigners; and Milton follows Raleigh, in his Hist. of the World, in making him the Pharaoh who oppressed the Israelites. Memphian," from the great city Memphis, stands for Egyptian generally.
See Exod. vi. 16-20;
339. "Amram's son," i.e. Moses. also Exod. x. 12-15.
Rhine or the Danube.
353. "Rhene or the Danaw." 364-375. "Nor had they yet got them new names, etc. Observe in this passage Milton's adoption for his poem of the medieval belief that the Devils or Fallen Angels became the Gods of the various Heathen or Polytheistic religions. De Quincey, in one of his essays (Milton, vol. vi. of De Quincey's works), has ingeniously used the fact as a sufficient answer to the objection made by some to Milton on the ground that, in his Paradise Lost and other poems, he has blended the Pagan mythology and its names and forms with the Christian. Milton, De Quincey holds, had set himself right for ever on that subject by his adoption of the theory that the Pagan Deities, as but lapsed Angels, all belonged to the same Biblical concern.
381-505. "The chief were those," etc. In this splendid passage of 125 lines Milton, according to the idea mentioned in the preceding note, enumerates first the principal idols of the Semitic nations round about the Israelites.
392-405. "First, Moloch, horrid king," etc. For the Scriptural accounts of Moloch (meaning "king" in Hebrew), here represented as more particularly the god of the Ammonites, see Levit. xviii. 21; 1 Kings xi. 7; 2 Sam. xii. 26-29: see also Judges xi. 12-18. The "opprobrious hill" is the Mount of Olives, on which Solomon built a temple to Moloch (1 Kings xi. 7, and 2 Kings xxiii. 13, 14). The " pleasant valley of Hinnom" (Ghe-Hinnom: see Jerem. vii. 31, 32) was on the east side of Jerusalem: here was Tophet, supposed to mean "the place of timbrels." The word "Gehenna," now "the type of Hell," or a synonym for Hell, is borrowed from the name of this valley, which, originally the most beautiful valley about Jerusalem, was afterwards, in conse quence of its having been polluted by the worship of Moloch
and other idols, degraded by the pious kings, and converted into a receptacle for all the filth of the city.
406--418. "Next Chemos," etc. For references to this god of the Moabites and to the places mentioned in the passage, see I Kings xi. 7; 2 Kings xxiii. 13; Numb. xxi. 25-29, xxv. I-9; Deut. xxxii. 49; Isaiah xv. 1, 2, 4, 5, and xvi. 2, 8, 9; and Jerem. xlviii. 1-47. The "Asphaltic Pool" is the Dead Sea.
419-437. "With these came they who," etc. Here are suggested, under the general names of Baalim and Ashtaroth, a number of the miscellaneous gods, male and female, of various parts of Syria, from the Euphrates to Egypt.—The dilatability or compressibility of the Spirits at will is a postulate for the whole action of Paradise Lost.
437-446. "With these, in troop, came Astoreth," etc. Astoreth was more particularly the goddess of the Phoenicians. See Jer. vii. 18; 1 Kings xi. 4, 5; and 2 Kings xxiii. 13.
446-457. "Thammuz came next," etc. Thammuz, a Syrian love-god, originally of the parts about Lebanon. The legend was that he was killed by a wild boar in Lebanon; and the phenomenon of the reddening at a particular season every year of the waters of the Adonis, a stream which flows from Lebanon to the sea near Byblos, was mythologically accounted for by supposing that the blood of Thammuz was then flowing afresh. There were annual festivals at Byblos in Phoenicia in honour of Thammuz, held every year at the season referred to. Women were the chief performers at these festivals,—the first part of which consisted in lamentations for the death of Thammuz, and the rest in rejoicings over his revival. The worship spread over the East, and even into Greece, where Thammuz became the celebrated Adonis, the beloved of Venus. See Ezek. viii. 12-14.
457-466. "Next came one who mourned in earnest,” etc. : i.e. Dagon, the god of the Philistines, whose cause for mourning, as related 1 Sam. v. 1-9, was more real than that of Thammuz. "Azotus" is the Ashdod of that passage. "Grunsel," i.e. "ground-sill" or "threshold."
467-476. "Him followed Rimmon," etc. Rimmon, another Syrian god, worshipped at Damascus. The "leper" whom he lost is Naaman (see 2 Kings v.): for his gaining of King Ahaz, see 2 Kings xvi. 10-20.
476-489. "After these appeared a crew. . . Osiris, Isis,
Orus, and their train." Here we have the gods of Egypt, who were represented in all manner of grotesque animal forms. Hence the phrases "wandering gods" and "bleating gods."- "Borrowed gold": it was with the gold borrowed from the Egyptians (Exod. xii. 35) that the Israelites were supposed to have made the golden calf (Exod. xxxii.) The "rebel king" who doubled that sin is Jeroboam (1 Kings xii. 26-33). See also Psalm cvi. 19, 20.
490-505. "Belial came last," etc. Next to the first place in such a procession the last place is, at least in poetic custom, the post of honour: hence Belial, who closes the procession, is a hardly less important personage than Moloch, who led it. See Deut. xiii. 13; 1 Sam. ii, 12.
502. "flown with insolence," etc., i.e. flowed, flooded, flushed.
503-505. The allusions here are to the narratives in Gen. xix. 8 and Judges xix. 22, 28. In the first edition the text stood thus:
"Witness the streets of Sodom, and that night
Yielded their matrons, to prevent worse rape."
These words not being in strict accordance with the narratives referred to, Milton, for subsequent editions, altered the text to what it now is.
507-521. "The rest were long to tell," etc. Having enumerated those great leading Spirits who afterwards became the chief Gods of the Semitic or Oriental nations, Milton does not think it necessary to be equally minute about those others, imagined by him probably as of inferior rank, who became afterwards the Gods of what we should now call the various Indo-European Polytheisms.- -At one of these Polytheisms, the Greek or Classical or Mediterranean, he does glance, because of its renown; for, in a few lines, we have the genealogy of "the Ionian gods," who were worshipped by the issue of Javan, the fourth son of Japheth, and the progenitor more particularly of the Gentiles of the Isles (Gen. x. 2-5). This theogony, however, is rapidly disposed of. Titan is named as the earliest supreme god; superseded by Saturn; who, in his turn, is dethroned by Zeus: the final expansion of the Greek mythology in its richest or Jovian stage being left to the imagination, helped by the
mere mention of Crete, Ida, Olympus, Delphi, and Dodona. The original theogonies of the lands west of Greece-viz. : Italy and Spain ("the Hesperian Fields"), Gaul ("the Celtic"), and Britain (with other "utmost Isles")—are represented as branching off from the Grecian theogony in its Saturnian stage. This branching off is connected with the legend of the flight of Saturn into Italy, as in Æn. viii. 319-20.——The Scandinavian and Slavonian mythologies, it will be seen, are not even named, any more than those of the Mongolian and Negro races. The founders of these were as yet among the obscurest of the Devils.
534. "Azazel." The name, according to Hume, signifies in Hebrew "the scape-goat" (Levit. xvi.); but Newton translates it "brave in retreat."
550. "Dorian mood," i.e. the Doric or grave style of music, as distinct from the Lydian or Phrygian. Compare Alleg. 136.
565. "with ordered spear and shield." This and other passages show Milton's acquaintance with military terms and manœuvres. To "order arms," which soldiers always do when they come to a halt, is to let them drop perpendicularly by their sides, the butts on the ground.
575, 576. "that small infantry," etc. : i.e. the Pygmies, a legendary nation of Indian or Ethiopian dwarfs.
576-587. "all the giant brood of Phlegra," etc. In this passage of finely-sounding proper names, Milton connects the great wars of epic legend, ancient and modern:—the primæval wars of the Giants and Gods at Phlegra in Macedonia; the Trojan and Theban wars sung by the Greek poets; those of the British Arthur; and the combats and joustings between the Christians and the Saracens all along the Mediterranean, celebrated in mediæval romances. Among the legends of Charlemain and his Paladins is that of their defeat, and of the death of Roland, at Roncesvalles in the Pyrenees, not far from Fontarabia.
609, 610. "amerced of Heaven,” i.e. “ 'punished with the loss of Heaven." The word "to amerce" (noun amercement or amerciament) was an old law term, meaning “to punish by a fine at the discretion of the Court," and derived from the French phrase à merci.
618. "Attention held them mute." Another military phrase. When soldiers listen, they "stand at attention."