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Sung with the voice, and this the argument.
Victory' and triumph to the Son of God Now entring his great duel, not of arms, But to vanquish by wisdom hellish wiles. The Father knows the Son ; therefore secure
Nativity, st. ix. and Lucretius, gonist, and his ability to restore iv. 588. Dunster.
the lost happiness of mankind, 174. Now entoring his great by regaining Paradise for them, duel,] There is, I think, a and by rescuing and redeeming meanness in the customary sense them from that power, which of this term that makes it un- had led them captive. worthy of these speakers and In the opening of the poem this occasion; and yet it is ob- we may notice allusions to the servable, that Milton in his Pa- duel, or trial by combat; radise Lost makes Michael use
-the tempter foiled the very same word where he is in all his wiles defeated and repuls’d. speaking to Adam of the same And in the Invocation, thing, xii. 386.
Thou Spirit, who ledd'st this glorious To whom thus Michael. Dream not
eremite of their fight,
Into the desert, his victorious field,
Against the spiritual foe, and As of a duel, &c.
brought'st him thence The Italian duello, if I am not By proof th' undoubted Son of God. mistaken, bears a stronger sense, And ver. 130. and this, I suppose, Milton had Gabriel, this day by proof thou shalt in view. Thyer.
behold. If it be not a contradiction, it Fleta defines the duel, or trial by is inaccurate at least in Milton, combat, “ singularis pugna inter to make an angel say in one duos ad probandam veritatem litis, place, Dream not of their fight et qui vicit probasse intelligitur. as of u duel; and afterwards to Dunster. make the angels express it by 175. But to vanquish by wisthe metaphor of a duel, Now dom] He lays the accent on ent'ring his great duel.
the last syllable in vanquish, as 174. The Paradise Regained elsewhere in triúmph; and in however exhibits the temptation many places, in my opinion, he of our blessed Saviour in the imitates the Latin and Greek light of a duel, or personal con- prosody, and makes a vowel long test between him and the arch- before two consonants. Jorlin. enemy of mankind; in which 175. —by wisdom] This is our Lord by his divine patience, wisdom in its frequent scriptural fortitude, and resignation to the sense of true piety. Dunster. will of his heavenly Father, 176. The Father knows the Son ; vanquishes the wiles of the therefore secure devil. He thereby attests his Ventures his filial virtue, though own superiority over his anta- . untried,
Ventures his filial virtue, though untried,
180 And devilish machinations come to nought.
So they in heav'n their odes and vigils tun'd: Mean while the Son of God, who yet some days Lodg'd in Bethabara where John baptiz'd, Musing and much revolving in his breast, 185 How best the mighty work he might begin Of Saviour to mankind, and which way first Publish his God-like office now mature, One day forth walk'd alone, the Spirit leading, Could this have been said by 182. The evening service in the angels, if they also had the Roman Catholic churches is known this Son to be the eternal called vespers. There was forWord, who created all things; merly a nocturnal service called and who had before driven this vigils or nocturns, which was Tempter and all his powers out chanted and accompanied by of heaven? The incarnation was music. Ducange explains vigigenerally believed by the Fathers liæ “ ipsum officium nocturnum to have been a secret to angels, quod in vigiliis nocturnis olim detill they learned it from the cantabatur." The old writers Church. See Huetii Origeniana. often speak of the vigiliarum canLib. ii. cap. 2. quæst. 5. 18. As tica. Dunster. to the time and means of their 183. —who yet some days information, Milton seems to be Lodg'd in Bethabara where particular. Calton.
· John baptiz'd] 182. — Their odes and vigils The poet, I presume, said this tun'd:] This is a very uncom- upon the authority of the first mon expression, and not easy to chapter of St. John's Gospel, be understood, unless we sup- where several particulars, which pose that by vigils the poet happened several days together, meant those songs which they are related concerning the Son sung while they kept their of God, and it is said ver. 28. watches. Singing of hymns is These things were done in Bethatheir manner of keeping their bara beyond Jordan, where John wakes in heaven. And I see no was baptizing. reason why their evening service 189. One day forth walk'd may not be called vigils, as the alone, the Spirit leading, morning service is called mattins. And his deep thoughts,]
And his deep thoughts, the better to converse 190
rendered in our version of מדבר
This is wrong pointed in all the Lake, or Dead Sea. The differeditions thus,
ent parts of it had different One day forth walk'd alone, the
names from the neighbouring Spirit leading;
cities or mountains; thus 1 Sam. And his deep thoughts, fc.
xxiii. 14. it is called the wilderness But at most there should be only
of Ziph, and xxiv. 1. the wildera comma after leading, for the
ness of Engaddi. The word construction is, his deep thoughts
Scripture wilderness or desert leading as well as the Spirit. And as Mr. Thyer observes,
does not mean a country absowhat a fine light does Milton
lutely barren or uninhabited, but here place that text of Scripture
only uncultivated. In Joshua in, where it is said, that Jesus
xv. we read of six cities in the was led up of the Spirit into the
wilderness. Of these Engaddi
stood nearest to the river Jordan, wilderness, and how excellently
and the northern end of the adapted to embellish his poem ! He adheres strictly to the in
Dead Sea. And we may supspired historian, and yet without
pose the desert where Milton any sort of profanation gives it
now places our Lord to be that
part of the wilderness of Judea a turn which is vastly poetical.
in the neighbourhood of Engaddi. 190. —the better to converse With solitude,]
The wildernesses, or uncultivated
parts of Judea, appear chiefly to Comus, 375.
have been forests and woods. -wisdom's self
(See Reland's Palæstina, 1. i. c. Oft seeks to sweet retired solitude.
56.) About Engaddi also there
were many mountains and rocks. 193. He enter'd now the bor. (See 1 Sam. xxiii. 29. xxiv. 2.)
dering desert wild, Milton's description accordingly And with dark shades and rocks is extremely accurate. It should environ'd round)
be observed that Bethabara was The wilderness, in which John not, where D'Anville places it, preached the Gospel, and where on the eastern bank of Jordan Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all almost opposite Enon; but, in the region round about Jordan, all probability, at the southern went out to him, and were baptized end of the river Jordan, on the in Jordan, was according to St. western bank; and within a Matt. ij. 1. the wilderness of little distance of this “bordering Judea; which extended from desert," being only a very few the river Jordan all along the miles from the Dead Sea. "Dunwestern side of the Asphaltic ster.
And with dark shades and rocks environ'd round,
O what a multitude of thoughts at once
195. -meditations) This is Verum ætate, puer, digna es medithe reading in Milton's own edi. tatus adulta: tion; in all the rest that I have
or rather his more paraphrastical seen it is meditation.
translation, 201. When I was yet a child, no childish play
Verum ætate puer, puerili haud more To me was pleasing ;)
solebas How finely and consistently does
Ludere; sed jam tuin tibi seria
cuncta placebant, Milton here imagine the youthful
Digna ætate animus jam tum volvemeditations of our Saviour! how
bat adulta. different from and superior to that superstitious trumpery which And Pindar in like manner one meets with in the Evangelium praises Demophilus. Pyth. Od. Infantiæ, and other such apocry. iv. 501. xsivos gae ay WALOT VEOS, & phal trash? Vid. Fabricii Cod. de Bovdans Tetobus. Our author Apoc. N. Test. Thyer.
might allude to these passages, He seems to allude to Calli- but he certainly alluded to the machus, who says elegantly of words of the Apostle, 1 Cor. xii. young Jupiter, Hymn. in Jov. 56. 11. only inverting the thought. oču & avæbnous, Taxivo do cou nadon When I was a child, I spake as a lovos.
child, &c. Αλλ' ιτι παιδνος εων εφρασσάο σαντα
204. –myself I thought Tsil.
Born to that end, born to proSwift was thy growth, and early was thy bloom,
mole all truth,] But earlier wisdom crown'd thy Alluding to our Saviour's words, infant days.
John xviii. 37. To this end was I
Jortin. born, and for this cause came I Henry Stephens's translation of into the world, that I should bear the latter verse is very much to witness unto the truth. our purpose,
Born to that end, born to promote all truth, 205
206. - Therefore above my years, Succumbitque oneri, et mentem sua The law of God I read]
non capit ætas. 5. Sylv. ii. 12. This resembles Virgil's
It is seldom we can trace Milton Ante annos animumque gerens cil. to the Christiad. There is how.
ramque virilem. Æn. ix. 311. ever some resemblance here to And thus Spenser, Faery Queen, Vida's description of Jesus at b. ii, c. ii. 15.
this early age, when at Jerugravity
salem at the Feast of the PassAbove the reason of her youthful years. over, going into the temple, and
Dunster. sitting in the midst of the doctors,
both hearing them and asking them 207. The law of God I read, and found it sweet,
questions. Made it my whole delight,] Ecce sacerdotum in medio conspexi. How sweet are thy words unto
(Prima rudiinenta, et virtutis signa my taste! yea, sweeter than
futuræ,) honey to my mouth! Ps. cxix.
Alta recensentem ratum monumenta, 103. And his delight is in the law
patrumque of the Lord; and in his law doth Primores ultro scitantem obscura, he meditate day and night. Ps.
docentemque. i. 2. Dunster.
Illum omnes admirari haud vulgata
canentem 209. – that ere yet my age Supra aciem, captumque hominis, Had measur'd twice six years, mentemque vigentem, . at our great feast
Humanâ non vi edoctum, non arte I went into the temple, &c.]
Maturumque animi nimium pueriliThe following verses of Statius
bus annis. Christiad, iii. 947. bear some resemblance not only
Dunster. to this passage, but also to some of the preceding lines.
214. And was admir'd by all :] -octonos bis jam tibi circuit annos
For all that heard him were astoVita ; sed augustis animus robustior
nished ut his understanding und annis,
answers. Luke ii. 47.