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As clouds, and clouds may rain, and rain produce
Fruits in her soften'd soil, for some to eat
Allotted there; and other suns perhaps
With their attendant moons thou wilt descry
Communicating male and female light,
Which two great sexes animate the world,
Stor'd in each orb perhaps with some that live.
For such vast room in nature un possess'd
By living soul, desert and desolate,
Only to shine, yet scarce to contribute
Each orb a glimpse of light, convey'd so far
Down to this habitable, which returns

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they are described to have ap- 155. Only to shine, yel scarce peared long before : and Milton, to contribute] The accent here who wrote this poem about that upon contribute is the same as time, might approve of Auzout's upon altribúte, in ver. 107. observation, though others do

The swiftness of those circles attrinot.

búte: 150. Communicating male and and upon attributed in ver. 12. female light] The suns communicate male, and the moons

With glory attributed to the high. female, light. And thus Pliny But now-a-days we generally lay mentions it as a tradition, that the accent differently. the sun is a masculine star, dry- 155. In each of these words ing all things: on the contrary, Mr. Todd throws back the acthe moon is a soft and feminine cent on the first syllable. Milstar, dissolving humours: and ton perhaps pronounced many so the balance of nature is pre- words in the foreign manner served, some of the stars binding without any very marked emthe elements, and others loosing phasis on either syllable: and if them. Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. ii. we avoid the modern method of c. 100. Solis ardore siccatur li- placing the accent on the second quor; et hoc esse masculum syllable of contribute, attribute, sidus accepimus, torrens cuncta &c. a greater stress is necessarily sorbensque.-E contrario ferunt laid both on the first syllable, lunæ femineum ac molle sidus, where Mr. Todd would place atque nocturnum solvere humo- the accent, and upon the third, rem.-Ita pensari naturæ vices, where it is placed by Newton. semperque sufficere, aliis side. E. rum elementa cogentibus, aliis 157. this habitable,] An ad. vero fundentibus.

jective used substantively: earth

160

Light back to them, is obvious to dispute.
But whether thus these things, or whether not,
Whether the sun predominant in heaven
Rise on the earth, or earth rise on the sun,
He from the east his flaming road begin,
Or she from west her silent course advance
With inoffensive pace the spinning sleeps
On her soft axle, while she paces even,

165

is understood; as in vi. 78. this that supposition. Now he sums terrene. This habitable is pure up the whole, But whether thus Greek, Oixeuiin, the inhabited, these things, or whether not, whethe earth. Richardson.

ther the one system or the other 158. Light back to them,] I be true, whether heaven move think that Dr. Bentley very or earth, solicit not thyself about justly objects to the word light these matters, fear God and do here: for if the fixed stars con- thy duty. vey only a glimpse of light to 162. -his flaming road] our earth, it is too much to say Elegantly applying to the road that she returns back to them what belongs to the sun. So i. light in general, which implies 786. he says the moon wheels her more than a glimpse of it. He pale course. Richardson. therefore would read Nought back

164. —that spinning sleeps to them: but this is not agreeable On her soft axle,] to the philosophy which Milton Metaphors taken from a top, of puts in Raphael's mouth: for it which Virgil makes a whole siis intimated in ver. 140. that our mile, Æn. vii. 378. It is an earth does send out light from objection to the Copernican her; and if so, then some of her system, that if the earth moved light might be returned back to round on her axle in twentythe fixed stars. Suppose we four hours, we should be sensishould read Like back to them ble of the rapidity and violence &c. i. e. only a glimpse of light, of the motion ; and therefore to just as much and no more than obviate this objection it is not she receives. Peurce.

only said that she advances her 159. But whether thus these silent course with inoffensive pace things, or whether not, &c.] The that spinning sleeps on her soft angel is now recapitulating the 'axle, but it is farther added to whole. He had argued upon explain it still more, while she the supposition of the truth of paces even, and bears thee soft the Ptolemaic system to ver. 122. with the smooth air along : for Then he proposes the Coperni- the air, the atmosphere, moves as can system, and argues upon well as the earth.

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And bears thee soft with the smooth air along,
Solicit not thy thoughts with matters hid,
Leave them to God above, him serve and fear;
Of other creatures, as him pleases best,
Wherever plac'd, let him dispose: joy thou
In what he gives to thee, this Paradise
And thy fair Eve; heav'n is for thee too high
To know what passes there; be lowly wise:
Think only what concerns thee and thy being ;
Dream not of other worlds, what creatures there

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Live, in what state, condition, or degree,
Contented that thus far hath been reveal'd
Not of earth only but of highest heaven.

To whom thus Adam, clear'd of doubt, replied. How fully hast thou satisfied me, pure Intelligence of heav'n, angel serene, And freed from intricacies, taught to live The easiest way, nor with perplexing thoughts To interrupt the sweet of life, from which God hath bid dwell far off all anxious cares, And not molest us, unless we ourselves Seek them with wand'ring thoughts, and notions vain. But apt the mind or fancy is to rove Uncheck’d, and of her roving is no end; Till warn'd, or by experience taught, she learn, 190 That not to know at large of things remote From use, obscure and subtle, but to know That which before us lies in daily life,

180

185

173. be lowly wise :] Noli altum sapere. Hume.

193. That which before us lies in daily life,] Shadowed from

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Is the prime wisdom ; what is more, is fume,
Or emptiness, or fond impertinence,

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And renders us in things that most concern
Unpractis'd, unprepard, and still to seek.
Therefore from this high pitch let us descend
A lower flight, and speak of things at hand
Useful, whence haply mention may arise

200 Of something not unseasonable to ask By sufferance, and thy wonted favour deign’d. Thee I have heard relating what was done Ere my

remembrance : now hear me relate a verse of Homer, so much ad- relates to him the circuinstances mired and recommended by So- in which he found himself upon crates,

his creation; as also his conver

sation with his Maker, and his Οττι του εν μιγαροισι κακον σ' αγαθοντι first meeting with Eve. There

Bentley.

is no part of the poem more apt

to raise the attention of the rea. 194. Is the prime wisdom; der, than this discourse of our what is more, is fume, &c.] An great ancestor; as nothing can excellent piece of satire this, and be more surprising and delighta fine reproof of those men who ful to us, than to hear the sentihave all sense but common sense, ments that arose in the first man and whose folly is truly repre- while he was yet new and fresh sented in the story of the phi- from the hands of his Creator. losopher, who while he was gaz- The poet has interwoven every ing at the stars fell into the thing which is delivered upon ditch. Our author in these lines, this subject in holy writ with as Mr. Thyer imagines, might so many beautiful imaginations probably have in his eye the of his own, that nothing can be character of Socrates, who first conceived more just and natural attempted to divert his country. than this whole episode. As men from their airy and chi- our author knew this subject merical notions about the origin could not but be agreeable to his of things, and turn their atten- reader, he would not throw it tion to that prime wisdom, the into the relation of the six days' consideration of moral duties, works, but reserved it for a disand their conduct in social life. tinct episode, that he might have

204. —now hear me relate an opportunity of expatiating My story,]

upon it more at large. Before Adam, to detain the angel, en- I enter on this part of the poem, ters upon his own history, and I cannot but take notice of two

205

210

My story, which perhaps thou hast not heard ;
And day is not yet spent ; till then thou seest
How subtly to detain thee I devise,
Inviting thee to hear while I relate,
Fond, were it not in hope of thy reply:
For while I sit with thee, I seem in heaven,
And sweeter thy discourse is to my ear
Than fruits of palm-tree pleasantest to thirst
And hunger both, from labour, at the hour
Of sweet repast; they satiate, and soon fill
Though pleasant, but thy words with grace divine 215
Imbued, bring to their sweetness no satiety.

shining passages in the dialogue O heav'nly poet! such thy verse apbetween Adam and the angel.

pears, The first is that wherein our

So sweet, so charming to my ravish'd

ears, ancestor gives an account of the

As to the weary swain, with cares pleasure he took in conversing

opprest, with him, which contains a very

Beneath the sylvan sbade, refreshing noble moral.

rest;

As to the feverish traveller, when For while I sit with thee, I seem

first in heaven, &c.

He finds a crystal stream to quench his thirst.

Dryden. The other I shall mention is that in which the angel gives a rea

But the fine turn in the three son why he should be glad to last lines of Milton is entirely hear the story Adam was about his own, and gives an exquisite to relate.

beauty to this passage above

Virgil's. See: An Essay upon For I that day was absent, &c. Milton's imitations of the Ancients,

Addison. 211. And sweeter thy discourse

212. -fruits of palm-tree] is to my ear &c.] The poet had The palm-tree bears a fruit called here probably in mind that pas

a date, full of sweet juice, a sage in Virgil, Ecl. v. 45. great restorative to dry and ex

hausted bodies by augmenting Tale tuum carmen nobis, divine the radical moisture. There is poeta,

one kind of it called Palma Quale sopor fessis in gramine: quale Ægyptiaca, which from its vir,

per æstum Dulcis aquæ saliente sitim restin. tue against drought was named guere rivo.

Adobos, sitim sedans. Hume.

P. 37.

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