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Thee, Father, first they sung Omnipotent,
Approach 377. Thrond inaccessible, but when or trebly shaded by a cloud and
shou MadA] The word but both wings. What then is the full here is the same as except, unless ; blaze!
Richardson. inaccessible but when thou had f, In like manner Tasso describing that is then only accessible, when the Almighty in Heaven, Cant. 9. thou shad'ft &c. Perhaps Milton St. 57. had in view what Ovid says of Phæbus when his son Phaeton
Quivi ei cosi nel suo splendor s'in
volve, came to him, Met. II. 39.
Che v'abbaglian la vista anco i -- circum caput omne micantes più degni. Deposuit radios, propiusque accedere jussit. Pearce.
The same thought in Spenser's
Hymn of heavenly Beauty, but 380. Dark with excessive bright more languidly express’d,
thy skirts appear,] Milton has the same thought of darkness oc With the great glory of that woncasion'd by glory, V. 599. Bright
drous light ness had made invisible. This also His throne is all incompassed a.. explains his meaning here; the ex round, cess of brightness had the effect of And hid in his own brightness from darkness, invisibility. What an
the fight idea of glory! the skirts only not Of all that look thereon Esc. to be look'd on by the beings
Tbyer. nearest to God, but when doubly
Approach not, but with both wings veil their eyes.
382. Approach not,] So Ovid Met. in Col. I. 15. the firs-born of every
creature or of all creation, waons Confiftitque procul, neque enim x?10€ws; and Rev. III. 14. the bea propiora ferebat
ginning of the creation of God. Lumina.
387. Whom else no creature can but with both wings veil their eyes. behold; ] No creature can So they are represented in Isaiah's otherwise behold the Father but in vision of the throne of God: and through the Son. No man bath Above it ftood the Seraphims ; each feen God at any time; the only begotone had fix wings; with twain he ten Son which is in the bojom of the cover'd his face, &c. Isa. VI. 2. Father, he hath declared him, John
I. 18. But He that hath seen me, 383. of all creation forf,] So hath seen the Father, John XIV. 9.
Back from pursuit thy Pow'rs with loud acclame
398. Thee only extolld,] We must of which see before in the note not understand it thus, Thy Powers upon I. 169. returning from pursuit extollid, &c. but Thy Powers extolla thee re 406. He to appease thy wrath,) turning from pursuit, and the only ; As an ingenious person obferves, for he was the sole vietor, all the than or but must be understood beTest stood filent eye-witnesses of his al- fore He to complete the fenie. Such mighty acts
, VI. 880. &c. So per- omissions are frequent in poetry, fečtly doth this hymn of the good and this may have a beauty here, Angels agree with the account as it exprelles the readiness of the given by Raphael in Book VI. and Son to interpose on Man's behalf whenever mention is made of the immediately upon perceiving the good Angels joining in the pursuit, Father's gracious purpose. it is by the evil Angels, the reason VOL. I.
Hail Son of God, Saviour of Men, thy name
Thus they in Heav'n, above the starry sphere,
the firm opacous globe
412. Hail Son of God,] So in the It is to be noted that the ending of conclusion of the hymn to Her- this hymn is in imitation of the cules mention'd before. Æn. VIII. hymns of Homer and Callimachus, 301.
who always promise to return in Salve vera Jovis proles, decus ad- future hymns. Richardson. dite Divis.
418. Mean while upon the firm &c.]
Satan's walk upon the outside of 413. the copious matter of my the universe, which at a distance
fong] Dr. Bentley reads here appeared to him of a globular our fong; but why may not Milton form, but upon his nearer aptake the liberty usd in the ancient proach looked like an unbounded chorus, where sometimes the plu- plain, is natural and noble: as his ral, and sometimes the fingular roaming upon the frontiers of the number is ufed? Or it may be creation between that mass of matfaid that Milton speaks in his own ter,which was wrought into a world, person, or rather narrates than and that shapelers unformed heap gives us the words as the words of of materials, which ftill lay in the Angels. If we read it over, Chaos and confcifion, strikes the we fhall see this plainly; Thee first imagination with fomething aftothey sung, ver. 372. and again, nishingly great and wild. Addison. Thee next they sang, ver. 383; and 431. As when a vultur &c.] this accounts for what Dr. Bentley This simile is very apposite and objects to ver. 381, that Seraphim lively, and corresponds exactly in are mention'd. Pearce, all the particulars. Satan coming
Satan alighted walks: a globe far off
from Hell to Earth in order to who are called roving, as they live destroy mankind, but lighting first chiefly in tents, and remove from on the bare convex of this world's place to place for the convenience outermoft orb, a sea of land as the of pasturage, their herds of cattel poet calls it, is very fitly com- and what they take in hunting pared to a vultur flying, in queft being their principal fubfiftence. of his prey, tender lambs or kids Ganges and Hydafpes are famous new-yean'd, from the barren rocks rivers of India ; and Serica is a to the more fruitful hills and region betwixt China to the east streams of India, but lighting in and the mountain Imäus to the his way on the plains of Sericana, west: and what our author here which were in a manner a fea says of the Chineses, he seems to of land too, the country being so have taken from Heylin's Cosmosmooth and open that carriages graphy, p. 867. where it is said, were driven (as travelers report) « Agreeable unto the observation with sails and wind. Imaus is a ce “ of modern writers, the country lebrated mountain in Afia; its“ is so plain and level, that they name signifies frocuy in the lan « have carts and coaches driven guage of the inhabitants according “ with fails, as ordinarily as drawn to Pliny, Lib. 6. cap. 21. incola- “ with horses, in these parts.” Our rum lingua nivosum significante ; author fupposes these carriages to and therefore it is said here whose be made of cane, to render the Snowy ridge. It is the boundary to thing somewhat more probable. It the east of the Western Tartars, may be thought the less incredible,