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Held by thy voice, thy potent voice, he hears,
And longer will delay to hear thee tell
His generation, and the rising birth
Of nature from the unapparent deep:
Or if the star of evening and the moon
Haste to thy audience, night with her will bring
Silence, and sleep list’ning to thee will watch,
Or we can bid his absence, till thy song
End, and dismiss thee ere the morning shine.

Thus Adam his illustrious guest besought :
And thus the Godlike Angel answer'd mild.
This also thy request with caution ask'd
Obtain: though to recount almighty works
What words or tongue of Seraph can suffice,
Or heart of man suffice to comprehend ?

110

suspense in heaven

bring the moon down from heaHeld by thy voice, thy potent voice

ven, he hears,

Carmina vel cælo possunt deducere for after it is said he is held sus

lunam: ver. 69. pense in heaven by thy voice, to and well therefore may Milton say, he hears thy voice is poor suppose the sun to delay, susand low indeed. He must hear pended in heaven, to hear the it before he can be held by it. angel tell his generation, and espeWe have therefore followed the cially since we read that the sun punctuation of Dr. Pearce; and did 'stand still at the voice of the sense seems plain, as he has Joshua. pointed these verses, Held by 103. —unapparent deep :] thy potent voice, he hears suspense Where nothing was to be seen in heaven, that is, he stops and according to Gen.i. 2. Darkness hearkens, he stays and is atten- was upon the face of the deep. tive. The poets often feign the Hume. rivers to stop their course, and 110. And thus the Godlike other inanimate parts of nature angel answer'd mild.] The angel's to hear the songs of Orpheus encouraging our first parents in and the like, Virg. Ecl. viii. 4. a modest pursuit after knowEt mutata suos requierunt flumina

ledge, with the causes which he assigns for the creation of the

world, are very just and beauNay charms and verses can tiful. Addison,

cursus,

120

Yet what thou canst attain, which best may serve 115
To glorify the Maker, and infer
Thee also happier, shall not be withheld
Thy hearing, such commission from above
I have receiv'd, to answer thy desire
Of knowledge within bounds; beyond abstain
To ask, nor let thine own inventions hope
Things not reveal’d, which th' invisible King,
Only omniscient, hath suppress’d in night,
To none communicable in earth or heaven :
Enough is left besides to search and know.
But knowledge is as food, and needs no less
Her temp’rance over appetite, to know
In measure what the mind may well contain ;
Oppresses else with surfeit, and soon turns
Wisdom to folly', as nourishment to wind.

Know then, that after Lucifer from heaven (So call him, brighter once amidst the host Of angels, than that star the stars among)

195

130

116. and infer

Prudens futuri temporis exitum Thee happier,]

Caliginoså nocte premit Deus, And by inference make thee

Thyer. happier.

122. —th' invisible King,] 121. -- or let thine own in- As God is styled in Scripture ventions hope] Milton seems here the invisible King, 1 Tim. i. 17. to allude to Eccles. vii. 20. they so this is the properest epithet have sought out many intentions; that could have been employed which commentators explain by here, when he is speaking of reasonings. Pearce.

things not revealed, suppressed in Thus they provoked him lo night, to none communicable in anger with their

in- earth or heuven, neither to men ventions, Psalm cvi. 29. The nor angels, as it is said of the two following lines are almost day of judgment, Matt. xxiv. a literal translation of these 36. Of that day and hour knowtwo in Horace, Od. iii. xxix. eth no man, no not the angels of 29.

heaven, but my Father only.

own

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140

Fell with his flaming legions through the deep
Into his place, and the great Son return'd
Victorious with his saints, th' omnipotent
Eternal Father from his throne beheld
Their multitude, and to his Son thus spake.

At least our envious foe hath fail'd, who thought
All like himself rebellious, by whose aid
This inaccessible high strength, the seat
Of deity supreme, us dispossess'd,
He trusted to have seiz'd, and into fraud
Drew many, whom their place knows here no more ;
Yet far the greater part have kept, I see,

145 Their station, heav'n yet populous retains Number sufficient to possess her realms Though wide, and this high temple to frequent With ministeries due and solemn rites : But lest his heart exalt him in the harm Already done, to have dispeopled heaven, My damage fondly deem'd, I can repair

150

185. Into his place,] As the allur'd them, and with lies traitor Judas is said likewise Drew after him the third part of

heav'n's host, to go to his own place, Acts i. 25.

as v. 709. but that he ruin'd as 143. -and into fraud

ell as cheated'them, i. 609. Drew many,]

Millions of spirits for his fault Fraud in common acceptation amerc'd means no more than deceit, but Of heav'n, and from eternal splenoften signifies misfortune. Mil.

dours flung

For his revolt. ton, who so constantly makes

Richardson. Latin or Greek of English, does it here, and extends the idea to 144. whom their place the misery, the punishment con- knows here no more;) A Scripsequent upon the deceit, as well ture expression, Job vii. 10. as the deceit itself. So that neither shall his place know him Satan is said here, not only to any more. Psal. ciii

. 16. and the have drawn many into fraud, place thereof shall know it no not only that he

more.

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That detriment, if such it be to lose
Self-lost, and in a moment will create
Another world, out of one map a race
Of men innumerable, there to dwell,
Not here, till by degrees of merit rais'd
They open to themselves at length the way
Up hither, under long obedience tried,
And earth be chang’d to heav'n, and heav'n to earth,
One kingdom, joy and union without end.

161
Mean while inhabit lax, ye pow’rs of heaven,
And thou my Word, begotten Son, by thee
This I perform, speak thou, and be it done:
My overshadowing Spi'rit and might with thee 165
I send along ; ride forth, and bid the deep

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ven.

154. — and in a moment] 162. Mean while inhabit lax,] Our author seems to favour the Dwell more at large, there being opinion of some divines, that more room now than there was God's creation was instantane before the rebel angels were exous, but the effects of it were pelled, or than there will be made visible and appeared in after men are translated to heasix days in condescension to the

ven.

If this be the meaning,
capacities of angels; and is so we cannot much commend the
related by Moses in condescen- beauty of the sentiment, as it
sion to the capacities of men. intimates that the angels might

160. And earth be chang'd to be straitened for room in hea-
heav'n, and heav'n to earth,]
Milton's meaning seems to have 165. My overshadowing Spi'rit]
been this, that earth would be As God's Spirit is said to do,
so happy in being inhabited by Luke i. 35. The Holy Ghost
obedient creatures, that it would shall come upon thee, and the
be changed to, i. e. resemble, power of the Highest shall over-
heaven; and heaven by receive shadow thee: and we read Gen.
ing those creatures would in i. 2. that the Spirit of God moved,
this resemble earth, that it would or rather brooded, upon the face
be stocked with men for its in- of the waters. The Spirit of God
habitants. Pearce.

co-operated in the creation, and
Or thus in short, the angels therefore is said to be sent along
frequently visiting earth, and with the Son.
men being translated to heaven.

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Within appointed bounds be heav'n and earth,
Boundless the deep, because I am who fill
Infinitude, nor vacuous. the space.
Though I uncircumscrib'd myself retire,

170
And put not forth my goodness which is free
To act or not, necessity and chance
Approach not me, and what I will is fate.

So spake th’ Almighty, and to what he spake His Word, the filial Godhead, gave effect. 175 Immediate are the acts of God, more swift Than time or motion, but to human ears Cannot without process of speech be told, So told as earthly notion can receive. Great triumph and rejoicing was in heaven, When such was heard declar'd th’ Almighty's will; Glory they sung to the Most High, good will

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168. Boundless the deep, &c.] An expression borrowed from The sense is, the deep is bound- Tasso. where Satan, mimicking less, but the space contained in the Deity, says to his followers, it is not vacuous and empty, Sia destin ciò, ch' io vogliobecause there is an infinitude

Gier. Lib. cant. iv, st. 17. and I fill it. Though I, who Or rather from Claudian, De am myself uncircumscribed, set bounds to my goodness, and do Rapt. Pros. ii. 306. not exert it every where, yet

Sit fatum quodcunque voles. neither necessity nor chance in

Thyer. fluence my actions, &c. Pearce. 182. Glory they sung to the

173. -and what I will is fate.] Most High, &c.] The angels From Lucan, v. 91.

are very properly made to sing Deus magnusque potensque

the same divine song to usher Sive canit fatum, seu quod jubet ipse in the creation, that they did to canendo

usher in the second creation by Fit fatum.

Jesus Christ, Luke ii. 14. And

Bentley. we cannot but approve Dr. Or from Statius, Theb. i. 212. Bentley's emendation, Glory

they sung to God most high, grave et immutabile sanctis Pondus adest verbis, et vocem fata

instead of to the Most High, as sequuntur.

it improves the measure of the Jortin. verse, is more opposed to men

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