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ALTHOUGH explanatory notes” are advertised in Tonson's 1695 edition of Paradise Regained, with Samson Agonistes, and the Minor Poems, the first real Commentary on Paradise Regained appeared in 1752, when NEWTON completed his edition of the Poetical Works collectively by adding the single quarto volume containing Paradise Regained, on, and the Minor Poems to his two quarto volumes of 1749 containing the Paradise Lost. Besides Newton's own Notes to Paradise Rogained there appeared Notes to the Poem from some of his coadjutors on the Paradise Lost (see p. 101), especially THYER, JORTIN, and WARBURTON, and also from some new coadjutors, among whom was MR. CALTON, a Lincolnshire clergyman. Not satisfied with what had thus been done, and thinking that Paradise Regained had been unduly neglected in comparison with Paradise Lost, CHARLES DUNSTER, M.A., issued in 1795, in a handsome quarto volume, a separate edition of the Poem, with the text in large type, and abundant footnotes in small type, partly a reproduction of those of Newton and his coadjutors, partly contributions by himself. The Notes in this Variorum edition of Paradise Regained by Dunster were substantially preserved by Todd in his successive Variorum editions of the Poetical Works of 1801, 1809, 1826, and 1842, where indeed (Dunster's own volume being scarce) they are most accessible. In these, however, there were additional Notes by Todd himself, with some derived from other sources, more particularly from MSS. of the two brothers THOMAS WARTON and JOSEPH Warton, communicated to Todd by their nephew. Since Todd the only annotators of the Poem that need be mentioned here are MR. KEIGHTLEY, MR. R. C. BROWNE, and MR. J. M. Ross, (see antè, p. 103). The Notes of Mr. Ross, however, are only to Books III. and IV.-So far as use has been made in the following Notes of the materials provided by these preceding commentators, it has been on the principles explained in the Preface to the Notes on Paradise Lost, pp. 103---106.
1–7. “I, who," &c. In this manner of referring, at the opening of a new poem, to his previous poem of Paradise Lost, Milton, as Newton noted, follows precedent. Prefixed to the Æneid are the lines, attributed by some to Virgil himself
“Ile ego qui quondam gracili modulatus avená
Carmen," &c. Spenser also opens his Faery Qucene with the following reference to his smaller pastoral poems which had preceded it :
“Lo! I, the man whose Muse whilom did mask,
As time her taught, in lowly shepherd's weeds,
For trumpets stern to change mine oaten reeds." But there is a far closer relation between the Paradise Regained and Paradise Lost than between either the Æneid and Virgil's preceding poems, or the Facry Quecne and the preceding pastoral poems of Spenser. As these first seven lines indicate, the one is a sequel and retrievement of the other.
4–7. “By one man's firm obedience," &c. On this passage, as announcing the theme of the entire poem, see pp. 5, 6 of the Introduction. It may be added that Milton in this poem resumes the history of his former hero, Satan, in order to show the fulfilment of the prophecy with which his former poem ended, that the seed of the Woman should bruise the head of the Serpent. It is to be recollected that the passages of Scripture on which the poem is mainly founded are Matthew iii. and iv. 1-11; Mark i. 1-15; Luke iii. 2—23 and iv. 1-14; and John, chap. i. In line 4, as Newton noted, there is a reference to Rom. v. 19, and in line 7, as Dunster noted, to Isaiah li. 3.
8-17. “ Thou Spirit," &c. With this compare the similar invocations, Par. Lost, I. 1—26, and VII. 1–39; also IX. 13-47. See notes on those passages.
8. “Eremite," the old and more correct forın of hermit, from the Greek epnuitns, a dweller in the desert. Todd notes that the spelling hermit is older than Milton's time; indeed hermite and heremite alternate with ermite and eremite in the oldest English writings.
14. "full summed.” See Par. Lost, VII. 421, and note there.
and John i. 33
. Dunster quotes also Isaiah lxviii. 1. 33--35
" That heard the Adversary, &c." Satan means AdverDunster quotes Job i. 7. 39—42. “ Flies to his place," &c. Compare In Quintum Novembris, 7 et seg
42. consistory." It is not unlikely, as Thyer noted, that Milton chose this word as being the name more particularly of ecclesiastical courts, Papal or English. In Par. Lost, X. 457, the council of evil Spirits is called "their dark divan." (Dunster.) 44, 45.
“O ancient Powers of Air,” &c. It is to be remembered that, at the loss of Paradise, such a road or bridge was established over Chaos between Hell and the Universe of Man that the Fallen Angels were able thenceforth to go and come at their pleasure between the two, and in fact to consider the Universe an extension of their infernal empire. They are here supposed, accordingly, to have since then resided more in the Universe of Man—"this wide World ”-than in Hell; and chiefly they are supposed to have made the Air their residence. See Ephes. ii. 2, and vi. 12 (Dunster), and refer to Par. Lost, X. 188—190, 260, 261, 320-324, 375-381, 399, 400, 463–467.
62. “ infringed”: in its primary sense, “ broken in upon," "shattered.” 74. “ Purified to reccive him pure." 1 John iii. 3. (Newton.) 83. “A perfect dove": i.e. a real dove, not a seeming one. Luke
84. "sovran." Though in the original editions of Paradise Lost this word is always spelt sovran, it is here spelt sov'raign both in the First and in the Second Edition--propably because the person who saw Paradise Regained through the press inclined to our present form of the word, sovereign, which derives it from the French rather than from the Italian. The present is the only case in which the word occurs in Par. Reg.; nor does it once occur in Samson Ag. 85.
“ This is,” &c. One rather wonders why Milton did not dictate in this line " I am" instead of “am." The metre of the line would still have been as good as that of many another line in the poem.
90. “ IVhen his fierce thunder," &c. See Par. Lost, VI. 831-866.
91. “ Who this is,” &c. Satan does not as yet know that Jesus is the Messiah.
"the utmost edge of hazard." Newton noted that Shakespeare has the phrase, “the extreme edge of hazard.” All's Well, III. 3.
97. "well-couched," well concealed.
103, 104. “a calmer topage;" &c. ; for then the expedition was from IIell through Chaos up to the Starry World ; now it is only from Midair to Earth,
104. “the way found prosperous once" : i.e. the method of guile, previously successful in causing Adam to fall.
117. " yea gods": i.e. not only possessors and rulers of regions of the Earth and Air, but actually gods to men, in consequence of that process by which the Fallen Angels had in course of time been transmuted into the false gods of the various Polytheistic systems. See Par. Lost, I. 361 et seq. and note there.
128. "frequence": assembly (Lat. frequentia).
129. "to Gabriel." Gabriel, as Bishop Newton remarks, is here selected as the Archangel whom Scripture mentions as particularly enployed in embassies relating to the Gospel. He is the Angel of Mercy, and appears in Par. Lost as the Guardian of Paradise.
137. “ Then told'st": a Latinism for “then thou told'st," unless we choose to suppose “then” a misprint for “thou.” See Luke i. 34, 35.
146. “apostasy": fór apostates. Dunster refers to Par. Lost, XII. 132, for an instance of the same figure : "numerous servitude.”
157, 158. “the rudiments of his great warfarc.” Dunster quotes Virgil (Æn. XI. 156):
“ Primitiæ juvenis miseræ, bellique propinqui
Dura rudimenta ;” and Statius (Syl'. v. ii. 8) :
Quid si militiæ jam te, puer inclyte, primæ
Auspicium.” i 159. “ To conquer Sin and Death,” &c. See Par. Lost, X. 585 et seq.
160. “By humiliation," &c. In the original edition this line runs on with the preceding, and there is a seinicolon after "sufferance." But almost certainly, as Mr. Keightley observes, the present is the true reading
166. “ This perfeit man," &c. It has been noted that throughout this speech to Gabriel and the Angels there is a suppression or keeping back for the present of the doctrine of the Divinity of Christ. 6. The Angels,” says Calton,” are first to learn the mystery of the incarnation from that important event which is the subject of the poem." Yet Michael had known it, and foretold it to Adam (Par. Lost, XII. 360 et seq.).
171, 172. “ the hand sung with the voice," meaning that instrumental music accompanied the voice. The Latin cano is used sometimes in the sense in which Milton here uses "sing." Calton quotes Tibullus, 111. iv. 41:
“Sed postquam suerant digiti cum voce locuti.” 175. “But to." A line very peculiar metrically, unless, with Jortin, we suppose " vanquish" accented on the last syllable, vanquish. Todd finds the word so accented in Shakespeare, Henry VI., Part I. III. 3 :
“I am vanquished : these haughty words of hers
Have battered me like roaring cannon-shot." Here, however, vanquished is perhaps a trisyllable.
182. "vigils." The nocturnal service of the Roman Catholic Church is so called; why the word should be used here is not obvious.
184. “in Bethabara." John i. 28, and Judges vii. 24. Bethabara was a town on the east bank of the Jordan in the middle part of its course between the Lake of Gennesareth and the Dead Sea. There was another town, called Betharaba, on the west shore of the northern end of the Dead Sea, and not far from the Jordan at that point; and the similarity of the name has misled some commentators. But see II. 19--24, and note.
185. “much rezolving in his breast.” Dunster compares Virgil, Æn. X. 890 :
“ Multa movens animo." 193
"He entered now the bordering Desert wild." The Desert or Wilderness which was the scene of the Temptation was, according to the Scriptural account (Matt. iii. 1-5; Luke iii. 2, 3, and iv. I), the same in which John had been preaching, and from which he had gone up the Jordan to Bethabara baptizing. It was called the Wilderness or Desert of Judea, and extended from the Jordan along the whole western coast of the Dead Sea-different parts of it receiving special names from mountains or towns situated in it. The middle part was called the Wilderness of Ziph (1 Sam. xxiii. 14), from the mountain Ziph, and the northern part, due east from Jerusalem, the Wilderness of Engedi or Engaddi (1 Sam. xxiv. 1), from Engaddi, one of the so-called cities of the Desert (Josh. xv. 62). The “ bordering desert wild,” into