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For lying is thy sustenance, thy food.
Yet thou pretend'st to truth; all oracles
By thee are giv'n, and what confess'd more true
Among the nations ? that hath been thy craft,
By mixing somewhat true to vent more lies.
But what have been thy answers, what but dark,
Ambiguous and with double sense deluding,
Which they who ask'd have seldom understood,
And not well understood as good not known?
Who ever by consulting at thy shrine


xxii. 6. See the note, l. 372. Milton in these lines about the Dunster.

heathen oracles seems to have 432. that hath been thy cruft had in view what Eusebius says By mixing somewhal true to more copiously upon this subject vent more lies.]

in the fifth book of his PræparaCompare St. Austin. De Div. tio Evangelica. That learned Dæmon. Sect. 12. Miscent tamen father reasons in the very same isti (Dæmones) fallacias; etway about them, and gives many verum quod nôsse potuerint, non instances from history of their docendi magis quam decipiendi delusive and double meanings. fine, prænuntiant. Thyer.

It may not perhaps be imperti. 434. But what have been thy nent to mention one by way of answers, what but dark,] The illustration. Cresus sending oracles were often so obscure to consult the Delphic oracle and dubious, that there was need about the success of his intended of other oracles to explain them. expedition against the Persian Sed jam ad te venio,

received this answer, Sancte Apollo qui umbilicum certum terrarum obsides,

Κροίσος Αλυν διαβας μεγαλην αρχην Unde superstitiosa primum


sæva evasit vox fera,

Croesus Halym penetrans magnam tuis enim oraculis Chrysippus

pervertet opum vim, totum volumen implevit, partim which by the ambiguity of one falsis, ut ego opinor, partim casu word might either signify the veris, ut fit in omni oratione conquest of the Persian empire, sæpissime; partim flexiloquis, et or the ruin of his own: but he, obscuris, ut interpres egeat inter- as it was natural enough for an prete, et sors ipsa ad sortes refe- ambitious prince to do, construrenda sit ; partim ambiguis, et qua ing it according to his own ad dialecticum deferenda sint. flattering hopes, was overcome Cicero De Div. ii. 56. Calton. and lost his kingdom. Thyer.


Return'd the wiser, or the more instruct
To fly or follow what concern'd him most,
And run not sooner to his fatal snare?
For God hath justly giv’n the nations up
To thy delusions ; justly, since they fell
Idolatrous: but when his purpose is
Among them to declare his providence

445 To thee not known, whence hast thou then thy truth, But from him or his angels president

439. -instruct,] Thus b. ii. their oracles, says, tamen nec ista 399. suspect, for suspected. Dun- ipsa, quæ ab eis vix raro et clanster.

culo proferuntur, movere nos de 447. But from him or his an- bent, si cuiquam Dæmonum exgels president] Utitur etiam eis tortum est id prodere cultoribus Deus (Dæmonibus) ad veritatis suis, quod didicerat ex eloquiis manifestationem per ipsos fien- prophetarum, vel oraculis Angedam, dum divina mysteria eis lorum. Aug. De Div. Dæmonum. per Angelos revelantur. The Sect. 12. tom. 6. Ed. Bened. words are quoted from Aquinas, And again, Cum enim vult Deus (2da 2dæ Quest. 172. Art. 6.) etiam per infimos infernosque but the opinion is as old at least spiritus aliquem vera cognoscere, as St. Austin, whose authority temporalia dumtaxat atque ad he and Peter Lombard allege istam mortalitatem pertinentia, for it. Calton.

facile est, et non incongruum, ut This notion Milton very pro- omnipotens et justus ad eorum bably had from Tertullian and pænam, quibus ista prædicuntur, St. Austin. Tertullian speaking ut malum quod eis impendet of the gods of the Heathens ante quam veniat prænoscendo and their oracles savs, Disposi- patiantur, occulto apparatu mitiones etiam Dei et tunc pro- nisteriorum suorum etiam spiphetis concionantibus excepe- ritibus talibus aliquid divinatiorunt, et nunc lectionibus reso- nis impertiat, ut quod audiunt nantibus carpunt, ita et hinc ab Angelis, prænuntient homi, sumentes quasdam temporum nibus, De Div. Quest. ad sortes æmulantur divinitatem, Simpl. 1. ii. s. iii. tom. 6. Thyer. dum furantur divinationem. In 4 47. or his angels president, oraculis autem, quo ingenio am. In every province ?). biguitates temperent in eventus, Milton has here followed the sciunt Cresi, sciunt Pyrrhi. Apol. Septuagint reading in DeuteC. 22. St. Austin more appo- ronomy. 'Ote dispueses av ó wires sitely to our present purpose, an- 20misnoty ogrce sdywy xato appcor swering the Heathen boasts of aggrawo dsov. Warburton.



In every province? who themselves disdaining
- Tapproach thy temples, give thee in command
What to the smallest tittle thou shalt say
To thy adorers; thou with trembling fear,
Or like a fawning parasite obey’st;
Then to thyself ascrib’st the truth foretold.
But this thy glory shall be soon retrench’d;
No more shalt thou by oracling abuse .
The Gentiles ; henceforth oracles are ceas’d,
And thou no more with pomp and sacrifice
Shalt be inquir'd at Delphos or elsewhere,

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453. Then to thyself ascrib'st follows the same authority in the truth foretold.] The Demons making them cease at the com(Lactantius says) could certainly ing of our Saviour. See this foresee and truly foretel many matter fully discussed in Fonfuture events, from the know. tenelle's history of oracles, and ledge they had of the dispositions father Baltus's answer to him. of Providence before their fall. Thyer. And then they assumed all the Thus Juvenal Sat. vi. 554. honour to themselves, pretend.

- Delphis oracula cessant. , ing to be the authors and doers of

And in Lucan's Pharsalia, b. v. what they predicted. Nam cum dispositiones Dei præsentiant,

where Appius is desirous to conquippe qui ministri ejus fuerunt,

sult the Delphic oracle, but finds interponunt se in his rebus; ut

it dumb, the priestess tells him ; quæcunque a Deo vel facta sunt,

muto Parnassus hiatu vel fiunt, ipsi potissimum facere,

Conticuit, pressitque Deum, seu

spiritus istas aut fecisse videantur. Div. Inst.

Destituit faucesii. 16. Calton.

seu sponte Deorum 456. --henceforth oracles are Cyrrha silet. ceas'd,] I would not censure Thus Milton in the Hymn on the Milton for mentioning the silence Nativity, st. xix. of oracles, at our Saviour's ap

The oracles are dumb, &c. pearing in the world, both here and in his elegant hymn on And before him Giles Fletcher Christ's nativity, because it in Christ's Victory in Heaven, adorns the poems, though it be st. lxxxii. a vulgar error. Jortin.

The angels carolla loud their song of As Milton had before adopted peace, the ancient opinion of oracles

The cursed oracles were strucken dumb. being the operations of the fallen

Dunster. angels, so here also again he 458. -at Delphos] In the fa

At least in vain, for they shall find thee mute.
God hath now sent his living oracle


mous controversy about ancient an end to the temptation by and modern learning Mr. Wot- giving him full conviction. Tanton reproves Sir William Tem- tum vero ei innotuit (Christus) ple, for putting Delphos for quantum voluit: tantum autem Delphi, every where in his Es- voluit, quantum oportuit. (Aug. says. Mr. Boyle justifies it, and De Civ. Dei, ix. 21. I have put says that it is used by all the ei for eis to suit it to my present finest writers of our tongue, and purpose.] Christ in the Greek best judges of it, particularly Fathers is styled autown, I wou Waller, Dryden, Creech, &c. If Bouan, doyos cor, essential life, the these authorities may justify Sir living counsel, and the living William Temple, they may also word of God. And St. John justify Milton; but certainly the says, that in him was life, and the true way of writing is not Del- life was the light of men, i. 4. phos in the accusative case, but This meaning was not unobDelphi in the nominative. And served by the Tempter. He though one would not condemn easily perceived that the eternal those excellent writers, who have Word might be the living oracle unawares fallen into the common intended: and his words a little error, yet to defend Delphos below, ver. 475. seem to be a upon this only pretence, that it feigned acknowledgment of what has been the custom of our Eng- he would not yet believe, though lish writers to call it so, is, as he feared it might be true. Dr. Bentley replies, like the But thou art plac'd above me, thou Popish priest, who for thirty

art Lord; vears together had read Mumpsi. From thee I can and must submiss mus in his breviary instead of indure Sumpsimus ; and when a learned

Check or reproof, and glad to 'scape man told him of his blunder,

so guit. I'll not change, says he, my Thou art the first-begotten of old Mumpsimus for your new

God, and Lord of all things; Sumpsimus.

and thou canst remand me to 458. But Delphos in English that dreadful deep, whither thy is as proper as Argos, which by thunder drove me out of heaven. Livy, Virgil, and most of the Calton. Latin authors, is written Argi. 460. -his living oracle] We Dunster.

have here corrected an error, 460. God hath now sent his which has prevailed in most of living oracle

the editions, loving oracle instead Into the world]

of living oracle; and another This heavenly oracle delivers a little afterward, and inward himself here, in terms clear oracle instead of an inward enough to alarm the Tempter: oracle. but it was not time yet to put

Into the world to teach his final will,
And sends his Spi'rit of truth henceforth to dwell
In pious hearts, an inward oracle
To all truth requisite for men to know.

So spake our Saviour ; but the subtle Fiend, 465
Though inly stung with anger and disdain,
Dissembled, and this answer smooth return’d.

Sharply thou hast insisted on rebuke, And urg'd me hard with doings, which not will But misery hath wrested from me: where Easily canst thou find one miserable, And not enforc'd oft-times to part from truth ; If it may stand him more in stead to lie, Say and unsay, feign, flatter, or abjure ? But thou art plac'd above me, thou art Lord ; 475 From thee I can and must submiss indure Check or reproof, and glad to 'scape so quit. Hard are the ways of truth, and rough to walk, Smooth on the tongue discours’d, pleasing to th' ear, And tuneable as sylvan pipe or song ;


474. Say and unsay, feign, But musical as is A pollo's fute, &c. flatter, or abjure?] Might not Milton possibly intend here, and Much the same sentiments apparticularly by the word abiure. pear in the Tractate on Education, to lash some of his complying p. 101. ed. 1675. “I will point friends, who renounced their re ye out the right path of a virpublican principles at the Resto- tuous and noble education, laration? Thyer.

borious indeed at the first ascent, 478. Hard are the ways of but also so smooth, so green, so truth, and rough to walk,

full of goodly prospect and meSmooth on the tongue discours'd,

discours'd. lodious sounds, that the harp of &c.]

Orpheus was not more charmCompare Comus, 476.

ing.” Compare Pref. Ch. Gov. How charming is divine philosophy!

b. ii. Pr, W. vol. 1. ỔI. T, WarNot harsh, and crabbed, as dull fools ton.


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