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A pomp of winning graces waited still,
To ask or search I blame thee not, for heaven
of regal attendants were win- hard question, whether heaven ning graces. It is the same, and or earth move, is of no concern it is the true, sense of pomp, or consequence to thee; N'imin L'Allegro, v. 127.
porte (French) it matters not ;
says Mr. Hume. Mr. RichardWith pomp, and feast, and revelry.
son understands it in the same So in Par. Lost, viii. 564.
manner: his words are, While the bright pomp ascended “ attain to know whether the jubilant.
sun or the earth moves is not And y. 353.
" of use to us." But I believe More solemn than the tedious pomp that they are both mistaken in which waits
the sense of this passage, for I On princes, &c.
conceive it otherwise. This to T. Warton.
attain is to be referred to what 66. To ask or search &c.] precedes and not to what folThe angel's returning a doubtful lows; and accordingly there is answer to Adam's enquiries, was only a colon before these words not only proper for the moral in Milton's own editions, and reason which the poet assigns, not a full stop as in some others. but because it would have been This to attain, that is, to attain highly absurd to have given the the knowledge of seasons, hours, sanction of an archangel to any or days, or months, or years. It particular system of philosophy. imports not, it matters not, it The chief points in the Ptole- makes no difference, whether maic and Copernican hypotheses heaven move or earth, whether are described with great con- the Ptolemaic or the Copernican ciseness and perspicuity, and at system be true. This knowthe same time dressed in very ledge we may still attain; the pleasing and poetical images. resť, other more curious points Addison
of enquiry concerning the hea70. This to attain,] To ata venly bodies, God hath done tain to the knowledge of this wisely to conceal.
Imports not, if thou reckon right; the rest
76. -he his fabric of the hea- bers. That might be one thing
intended; but it is not all. To Hath left to their disputes,] calculate them is to make a comMundum tradidit disputationi putation of every thing relating eorum, ut non inveniat homo to them : the consequence of opus quod operatus est Deus, ab which is in the old system initio usque ad finem. Vulg. especially) centric and eccentric, Lat. Eccles. jji. 11. Heylin. cycle and epicycle, and orb in orb.
80. And calculate the stars,] Pearce. The sense is, and form a judg- 83. With centric and eccentric] ment of the stars by computing Centric or concentric are such their motions, distance, situ- spheres whose centre is the ation, fic. as to calculate a nati- same with, and eccentric such vity signifies to form a judgment whose centres different of the events attending it, by from, that of the earth. Cycle computing what planets, in is a circle; Epicycle is a circle what motions, presided over upon another circle. Expedients that nativity. But Dr. Bentley of the Ptolemaics to solve the takes calculating the stars here apparent difficulties in their systo mean counting their num- tem. Richardson,
The less not bright, nor heav'n such journeys run,
102. -and his line stretch'd And the sense is (as Dr. Pearce out so far ;] A Scripture ex- expresses it) that it is God's pression, Job xxxviii. 5. Who omnipotence which gives to the hath stretched the line upon it? circles, though so numberless, as if God had measured the such a degree of swiftness. Or, heavens and the earth with a if we join numberless in conline.
struction with swiftness, it may 108. Though numberless,] It be understood as in ver. 38. may be joined in construction with circles, and not with swift- Speed, to describe whose swiftness
number fails. ness, as Dr. Bentley conceived.
Who since the morning hour set out from heaven
But this I urge,
128. In six thou, seest, &c.] ascribe these motions to several In the moon, and the five other spheres crossing and thwarting wandering fires, as they are one another with crooked and called v. 177. Their motions indirect turnings and windings: are evident; and what if the or you must attribute them to earth should be a seventh planet, the earth, and save the sun his and move three different mo- labour and the primum mobile tions though to thee insensible? too, that swift nocturnal and The three different motions which diurnal rhomb. It was observed the Copernicans attribute to the in the note on vii. 619. that earth are the diurnal round her when Milton uses a Greek word, own axis, the annual round the he frequently subjoins the Engsun, and the motion of libration lish of it, as he does here, the as it is called, whereby the earth wheel of day and night. So he so proceeds in her orbit, as that calls the primum mobile: and her axis is constantly parallel to this primum mobile in the anthe axis of the world. Which cient astronomy was
an imaelse to several spheres thou must ginary sphere above those of ascribe, &c. You must either the planets and fixed stars; and VOL. II.
The planet earth, so stedfast though she seem,
therefore said by our author to 145. —Her spots thou seest be supposed and invisible above As clouds,] all stars. This was conceived It seems by this and by another to be the first mover, and to passage, v. 419. as if our author carry all the lower spheres round thought that the spots in the along with it; by its rapidity moon were clouds and vapours: communicating to them a mo- but the most probable opinion tion whereby they revolved in is, that they are her seas and twenty-four hours. Which needs waters, which reflect only part not thy belief, if earth &c. But of the sun's rays, and absorb the there is no need to believe this, rest. They cannot possibly be if the earth by revolving round clouds and vapours, because on her own axis from west to they are observed to be fixed east in twenty-four hours (tra- and permanent. But (as Dr. velling east) enjoys day in that Pearce observes) Mr. Auzout in half of her globe which is turned the Philosophical Transactions towards the sun, and is covered for the year 1666 thought that with night in the other half he had observed some difference which is turned away from the between the spots of the moon sun.
as they then appeared, and as