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585

Upon her center pois’d; when on a day
(For time, though in eternity, applý’d
To motion, measures all things durable
By present, past, and future) on such day
As Heav’n’s great year brings forth, th’empyreal host
Of Angels by imperial summons call’d,
Innumerable before th' Almighty's throne 585
Forthwith from all the ends of Heav'n appear’d
Under their Hierarchs in orders bright:
Ten thousand thousand ensigns high advanc'd,
Standards and gonfalons 'twixt van and rear
Stream in the air, and for distinction serve

590
Of

from the resolutions taken in the 583. As Heav'n's great year] Our infernal council, or in its more re poet

seems to have had Plato's great mote beginning, as proceeding from year in his thoughts. the firit revolt of the Angels in Magnus ab integro seclorum naHeaven. The occasion which Mil

fcitur ordo. Virg. Ecl. IV.5. ton assigns for this revoli, as it is founded on hints in holy Writ, and -Et incipient magni procedere on the opinion of some great wri menses. Ecl. IV. 12. Hume. ters, so it was the most proper that the poet could have made use of. Plato's great year of the Heavens

The revolt in Heaven is described is the revolution of all the spheres. with great force of imagination, Every thing returns to where it let and a fine variety of circumitances. out when their motion firit began.

Addisin. See Auson. Idyl. XVIII. 15. A

proper time for the declaration of

the vicegerency of the Son of God. 579. Upon her center poisid ;] Pon- Milton has the same thought for deribus librata fuis, as Ovid lays the birth of the Angels (ver. 861.) Met. I. 13. or as Milton elsewhere imagining such kind of revolutions expreffes it, VII. 242.

long before the Angels or the

worlds were in being. So far back And Earth self-balanc'd oa her into eternity did the vast mind of center hung.

this poct carry him! Richardiin,

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Of hierarchies, of orders, and degrees ;
Or in their glittering tissues bear imblaz'd
Holy memorials, acts of zeal and love
Recorded eminent. Thus when in orbs
Of circuit inexpressible they stood,

595
Orb within orb, the Father infinite,
By whom in bliss imbosom'd fat the Son,
Amidst as from a flaming mount, whose top
Brightness had made invisible, thus spake.

Hear all ye Angels, progeny of light, 600 Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers, Hear my decree, which unrevok'd shall stand.

This

583. -th' empyreal hof) We gave his commandments to the read of such a divine assembly in children of Israel, as here he is Job, I. 6. Now there was a day giving his great command conwhen the sons of God came to present cerning the Melliah in Heaven. themselves before the Lord.' And again, 1 Kings XXII. 19. I saw the 498.

-whole top Lord krting on his throne, and all the Brightness had made invisible] bojt of heaven standing by him or

. his The same just and yet bold thought right hand and on his left, which with that in III. 380. was enough to furnish the hint to

Dark with excessive bright thy Milton.

skirts appear. 589. Standards and gonfalons) A See the note on that verse. Thyer. gonfalon is some kind of streamer or banner, but of what particular 602. Hear my decree, &c.] We fort authors do not seem to be at observed before that Milton was all agreed, and neither is it very very cautious what sentiments and material to know.

language he ascribed to the Al

mighty, and generally confind 598. Amidff as from a fiaming mount, himself to the phrases and expref&c.] This idea seems to be taken fions of Scripture; and in this parfrom the divine presence in the ticular speech the reader will ealily mount, Exod. XIX. when God remark how much of it is copy d

troin

605

This day I have begot whom I declare
My only Son, and on this holy hill
Him have anointed, whom ye now behold
At my right hand; your head I him appoint;
And by myself have sworn to him shall bow
All knees in Heav'n, and shall confess him Lord :
Under his great vice-gerent reign abide
United as one individual soul

616
For ever happy: Him who disobeys,
Me disobeys, breaks union, and that day
Cast out from God and blessed vision, falls
Into' utter darkness, deep ingulfa, his place
Ordain'd without redemption, without end.

So spake th' Omnipotent, and with his words All seem'd well pleas'd; all seem'd, but were not all.

That

615

from holy Writ by comparing it mysterious motions, which the shinwith the following texts. I have ing sphere of the planets and fixed fet my Anointed upon my holy bill of stars in their various revolutions Sion; I will declare the decree, The imitates nearest; windings and turnLord halb said unto me, Thou art my ings intangled and obscure, involv. fon, this day bave I begotten thee. ing and surrounding one another, Pfal. II. 6,7: By myself have I altho' not moving on the same fworn, faith the Lord. Gen. XXII. center, yet then most regular and 16. At the name of Jesus every knee orderly, when to our weak and shall bow, of things in Heaven- distant understanding they seem and every tongue jhall confess that most irregular and disturbid. Jesus Chris is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil. II, 10, 11. And those untruly errant callid, I 620, Mystical dance, &c.] Strange trow,

;

625

That day, as other solemn days, they sperrt
In song and dance about the sacred hill;
Mystical dance, which yonder starry sphere 620
Of planets and of fix'd in all her wheels
Resembles nearest, mazes intricate,
Eccentric, intervolv’d, yet regular
Then most, when most irregular they seem ;
And in their motions harmony divine
So smooths her charming tones, that God's own ear
Listens delighted. Evening now approach'd
(For we have also' our evening and our morn,
We ours for change delectable, not need)
Forthwith from dance to sweet repast they turn 630
Desirous; all in circles as they stood,
Tables are set, and on a sudden pild

With

Since he errs not, who doth them text in Job XXXVIII. 37. that guide and move.

seems to favor the opinion of the Fairfax's Taslo, Cant. 9. St. 6. Pythagoreans, concerning the mu

fical mo:ion of the spheres, though Altsa tum ea quæ funt infixa certis our translation differs therein from locis, tum illa non re sed vocabulo other versions. Concentum cæli quis errantia, &... Cicero Tusc. Disp. dormire faciet? Who Mall lay 1. 25. And in their motions fuch alleep, os itill the confort of the divine perfe&ion appears, and their Heaven? but this is to be under. harmonious proportion so tunes her stood metaphorically, of the woncharming notes, that God himself derful proportions observed by the pleas'd and delighted, pronounced heavenly bodies in their various them good, Gen. I. 18. There is a mo:ioas. Hunie, VOL. I.

Da

633.rubied

With Angels food, and rubied nectar flows
In pearl, in diamond, and maffy gold,
Fruit of delicious vines, the growth of Heaven. 635
On flow'rs repos’d, and with fresh flow'rets crown'd,
They eat, they drink, and in communion sweet
Quaff immortality and joy, secure
Of surfeit where full measure only bounds
Excess, before th' all-bounteous King, who show'r'd
With copious hand, rejoicing in their joy. 641
Now when ambrosial night with clouds exhald

From

XIX. 38.

633.rubied near] Nectar Are fill'd, before th' all-bounteous of the color of rubies; a transla

King, tion of Homer's reXtep epu@gov. Iliad.

In the second edition the author al.

· ter'd it and added as follows, -αμεροσιης και νικίαερυθρον.

They eat they drink, and in comand Odyr. V. 93.

munion sweet

Quaff immortality and joy, secure -παρεθηκε τραπεζαν

Of surfeit where full measure only Αμβροσιης αλησασα, κερασσε δε νεκ

bounds ταρ ερυθρον,

Excess, before th' all-bounteons

King, 634. In pearl, &c.] This feast of the Angels is much richer than the banquet of the Gods in Homer's Dr. Bentley is for restoring the Wiad, IV. 3. Homer's Gods drink former reading, but we think that nectar in golden cups xpuesos de in communion sweet gives a much 7250CV; but here the nectar flows better idea than with refe&tion foweet. in pearl , in diamond, and mally geld.

To quaff immortality and joy, to

drink largely and plentifully of im637. They eat, they drink, &c.] mortal joy, is a very poetical exIn the first edition it was thus,

pression, and plainly alluding to

Pfal. XXXVI. 8, 9. Thou shalt make They eat, they drink, and with them drink of the river of thy plearcfection sweet Jures, for witb thee is the fountain of

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