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His stature reach'd the sky, and on his crest
990 Might have ensued, nor only Paradise In this commotion, but the starry cope
988. His flature reach'd the sky,] Suftinet, Ætnæos efflantem fauciIt is probable that besides Homer's Discord, Iliad. IV. 443.
A triple pile of plumes his crest Ουρανω εσηeιξε καρη, και επι
On which with belching flames χθονι βαινει,
Chimæra burn'd! Dryden. and Virgils Fame, Æn. IV. 177.
989.- nor wanted in bis graff&c.] Ingrediturque solo, et caput inter This is said to fignify that he wantnubila condit,
ed not arms, tho' he was but jutt
raised out of the form of a toad. mention'd in a note above by Mr. He was reprefented as in arms, Addison, he alluded likewise to II. 812. when he was upon the that noble description in the book point of engaging with Death; and of Wisdom, XVIII. 16. It touched we must suppose that his power, as the Heaven, but it stood upon the an Angel, was such, that he could Earth.
assume them upon occasion when
ever he pleased. 989. Sat horror plum'd;] Horror is personify'd, and is made the
991. - nor only Paradise &c.] plume of his helmet; and how This representation of what muft much nobler an idea is this than have happen'd, if Gabriel and Sa. the horses tails and sphinxes and tan had encounter’d, is imaged in dragons and other terrible animals these few lines with a nobleness on the helmets of the ancient he suitable to the occasion, and is an roes, or even than the Chimæra improvement upon a thought in vomiting flames on the creft of Homer, where he represents the Turnus, Æn. VII. 785
terrors which must have attended
the conflict of two such powers as Cui triplici crinita juba galea alta Jupiter and Neptune, Iliad. XV. Chimæram
Of Heav'n perhaps, or all the elements
μαλα γαρ κε μαχης επυ- rying on of his fable, and for the θολο και αλλοι,
breaking off the combat between 'O:7p vepTELJI HUO 3901, Kegroy
the two warriors, who were upon the point of engaging. To this
further add, that Milton is And all the Gods that round old the more justify'd in this passage, Saturn dwell,
as we find the same noble allegory Had heard the thunders to the in holy Writ, where a wicked deeps of Hell.
Pope. prince, fome few hours before he
was assaulted and flain, is said to 996. Tb' Eternal to prevent fuck have been weighed in the scales, and
to have been found wanting. horrid fray] The breaking
Addison. off the combat between Gabriel and Satan, by the hanging out of
997. —his golden scales,] So the golden scales in Heaven, is a they are in Homer xpuota tarefinement upon Homer's thought, azilo, both where he weighs the who tells us that before the battel deftinies of the Greeks and Tro. between Hector and Achilles, Ju- jans in book the 8th, and the fates piter weighed the event of it in a of Hector and Achilles in book pair of scales. The reader may the 22d. And this figure of weighsee the whole passage in the 22ding the destinies of men appear'd Iliad. Virgil before the last deci- fo beautiful to succeeding poets, five combat describes Jupiter in the that Æschylus (as we are inform'd same manner, as weighing the fates by Plutarch in his treatise of Hearof Turnus and Æneas. Milton, ing the poets) writ a tragedy upon tho he fetch'd this beautiful cir- this foundation, which he intitled cumstance from the Iliad and Æneid, abuxos agite or the weighing of does not only insert it as a poeti- jouls. cal embellishment, like the authors above mention'd; but makes an 998. Betwixt Afrea and the Scor: artful use-of it for the proper car. pion fign,] Libra or the Scales
Wherein all things created first he weigh’d,
is one of the twelve signs of the kingdom, and finish'd it, thou art zodiac, as Aftrea (or Virgo the weighed in the balances. So finely Virgin) and Scorpio also are. This hath Milton improv'd upon the does as it were realize the fiction, fictions of the poets by the eternal and gives consequently a greater truths of holy Scripture. force to it.
Richardson. This allusion to the sign Libra in 1003. The sequel each of parting the Heavens is a beauty that is not and of fight;] Dr. Bentley reads in Homer or Virgil, and gives this The figxal each &c. To understand passage a anifest advantage over which of these two readings fuits both their descriptions.
the place best, let us consider the
poet's thought, which was this: 999. Whercin all things created God put in the golden scales two
first he weigh’d, &c.] This weights : in the one scale he put of weighing the creation at firft the weight, which was the sequel and of all events fince gives us a (that is represented the consesublime idea of providence, and is quence) of Satan's parting from conformable to the file of Scrip- them; in the other scale he put ture, Job XXVIII. 25. To make the the weight, which was the sequel weight for the winds, and be weigh- of Satan's fighting : neither of the eth the waters by measure. Chap. scales had any thing in it immeXXXVII. 16. Dort thou know the diately relating to Gabriel : and balancings of the clouds ? Isaiah XL. therefore Dr. Bentley mistakes (I 12. Who weighed the mountains in think) when he says, that the scales, and the hills in a balances ascending weight, Satan’s, was the And then for weighing particular fignal to him of defeat; the deevents since fee i Sam. II. 3. By scending, Gabriel's, the fignal to him aftions are weighd. Prov. XVI. him of victory: they were both 2. The Lord weigheth the spirits. I signals (if signals) to Satan only, do not recollect an instance of for he only was wrigh'd, ver. 1012; weighing battels particularly, but or rather they show'd him what there is foundation enough for that would be the consequence both of in Homer and Virgil as we have his fighting and of his retreating. feen; and then for weighing king. The scale, in which lay the weight, doms we see an instance in Bellhaze that was the sequel of his fighting, zar, and it is said expressly, Dan. by ascending show'd him that he V. 26, 27, God hotb number'd thy was light in arms, and could not
Battels and realms: in these he put two weights
obtain victory; whereas the other poet's meaning.
Pearce. scale, in which was the sequel of It may be proper, before we conhis parting or retreating, having de- clude, to produce the passages out fcended, it was a sign that his go- of Homer and Virgil, whereof so ing oif quietly would be
his wiseft much has been said, that the reader
θανατοιο, from this of Milton; for in them Τρωων θ' ιπποδαμων, και Αχαthe fates of the two combatants
ων χαλκοχιτωγων are weighd one against the other, Ελκε δε μεσόα λαζων, ρεπε ' and the descent of one of the scales foreshow'd the death of him whose
αισιμον ήμαρ Αχαιων. . fate lay in that scale, quo vergat
Αι μεν Αχαιων κηρες επι χθονι pondere lethum: whereas in Milton σελυβοτερη no:hing is weigh'd but what relates ESETnv• Tpwwv de mess regercy to Satan only, and in the two scales
ευρυν αερθεν. . are weigh'd the two different events of his retreating and his fighting. The Sire of Gods his golden scales From what has been said it may suspends, appear pretty plainly, that Milton With equal hand: in these exby sequel meant the consequence or plor'd the fate ecvent, as it is express’d in ver. Of Greece and Troy, and pois’d 1001. and then there will be no the mighty weight. occasion for Dr. Bentley's signal; Press'd with its load the Grecian both because it is a very improper
balance lies word in this place, and because a
Low funk on earth, the Trojan & Signal of parting and of fight, can strikes the skies. Pope.
be nothing else than a signal when to part and when to fight; which The same lines, mutatis mutandis, he will not pretend to be the are apply'd to Hector and Achilles
Which Gabriel spying, thus bespake the Fiend. 1005
Satan, I know thy strength, and thou know'st mine, Neither our own but giv'n; what folly then To boast what arms can do? since thine no more Than Heav'n permits, nor mine, though doubled now
in the 22d book, and there are thus Every reader, who compares these translated.
passages with our author, muft see
plainly that tho' there is some reJove lifts the golden balances, that semblance, yet there is also great show
difference. There are golden scales The fates of mortal men, and in Homer as well as in Milton; things below:
but Milton in some measure auHere each contending hero's lot thorizes the fi&tion by making his he tries,
scales the balance in the Heavens. And weighs with equal hand their In Homer and Virgil the combadeftinies.
tants are weigh'd one against anoLow sinks the scale surcharg'd ther; but here only Satan is weigh d, with Hector's fate;
in one scale the confequence of his Heavy with death it finks, and retreating, and of his fighting in Hell receives the weight. the other. And there is this far
ther improvement, that in Homer The passage in Virgil is shorter, and Virgil the fates are weigh'd to
satisfy Jupiter himself, but here it Jupiter ipse duas æquato examine is done only to satisfy the conlances
tending parties, for Satan to read Sustinet, et fata imponit diversa his own destiny. So that when duorum;
Milton imitates a fine passage, he Quem damnet labor, et quo vergat does not imitate it servily, but pondere lethum.
makes it I may say an original
of his own by his manner of vary. Jove sets the beam; in either scale ing and improving it.
he lays The champion's fate, and each 1008.
- since thine no more exactly weighs.
Than Heav'n permits, ncr mine,] On this side life, and lucky chance Thine and mine refer to strength, ver. ascends:
1006. not to arms the substanLoaded with death, that other tive preceding. Dr. Bentley reads icale descends. Dryden. strength initead of arms.
Æn. XII. 725.