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It will be observed that some notes that are usually given are omitted. These omitted notes fall under three heads as follows:
1. Those that may be found in any unabridged dictionary. These notes are not carelessly omitted here. Every word that in any way deserves a note has been examined. Whenever the dictionary has been found to contain a good note, as, for example, upon the word "Tantalus," B. II., 1. 614, no note has been given.
2. Scripture references. been purposely omitted.
- Many of those usually given have All Scripture references have been
patiently examined, and many have been rejected, as they are nothing more than the mention of names found in the text of Paradise Lost. Only those Scripture references have been given that will be of real help in understanding the poem. Often the poem itself contains the best "note," as, for example, the word "Leviathan," B. I., ll. 200-208.
3. Classical references. —It seems to the present editor that a great hindrance to the study of such poems as Paradise Lost is the practice of constantly calling the pupil's attention from the study of the poem to some parallel in Homer, Vergil.
Most teachers will agree that this is likely to prevent the eager following of the tremendous and often headlong action of Milton's mighty universal drama.
The present editor therefore suggests that the classical references given be let alone during the first study of the poem, and that the pupils be allowed to follow without a break the action of the poem just as they would listen to a play on the stage. On the second reading many of these references will be found useful in tracing the growth of the thought in Milton's mind, and will aid in the interpretation of the poem.
Lines 1-4. Man's first disobedience. Genesis ii. and iii.
4. Greater Man. Christ. 1 Corinthians xv. 21+.
6. Heavenly Muse. The muse that inspired Moses.
7. Oreb (Horeb). Exodus iii. 1; Deuteronomy iv. 10-14. See Map of Egypt and Arabia, p. xxxix.
8. Chosen seed. The Jews, "God's Chosen People."
9. See Genesis i.
10. Sion Hill. The southwestern hill of Jerusalem. Encyc. Brit., XIII., 639. Poetically, the sacred hill of Jerusalem, as Helicon was of the Greeks. See Map of Jerusalem, p. xxxv.
11. Siloa's brook. Brook south of Jerusalem, running through the Valley of Gehenna. See Map of Jerusalem, p. xxXV. 12. Oracle of God. 1 Kings vi. 16.
14. No middle flight. This is meant literally; even to the highest Heaven and the deepest Hell.
15. Aonian mount. Mt. Helicon in Boeotia. According to Cook, Mt. Parnassus. See Map, p. xxxvii. In short, he means that he will leave all the Greek poets far below. Recall themes of the Greek poets.
17-19. Here Miiton invokes the aid, not of a muse, but of the Holy Spirit itself. That he sincerely believed that Heaven will help "the upright heart and pure" is shown in the last six lines of Comus, which see.
21. Brooding. Supposed to mean "moved"; but a clearer meaning is given by Milton himself in P. L., B. VII., 233-242. See also Genesis i. 2.
22-26. Beginning with "what," try to realize the depth of Milton's sincerity here.
24. Highth. The form used by Milton.
27--32. Heaven hides not. Psalm 139.
33-36. Serpent. Genesis iii.
40. Most High. Isaiah xiv. 12–14.
50-59. Nine times. Shut your eyes and try to image this.
57. Witnessed. Gave evidence of.
59. Ken. The vast range of vision of angels contrasted with the limited vision of man.
61-69. Read over and over, and try to image.
63. Darkness visible. Can you think this? Job x. 22.
66-67. Hope never comes. See Dante's Inferno, Longfellow's translation, Canto iii., 9; "All hope abandon, ye who enter in."
69. Ever-burning sulphur. Revelations xx. 10.
70. Such place. Matthew xxv. 41.
72. Utter darkness.
See Ezekiel x. 5;
73–74. As far removed. See Fig. 4, p. xxxi. Read p. xix.
81. Beelzebub. See dictionary and Encyc. Brit.
93. Thunder. Paradise Lost, B. VI., 763–764.
104. Battle. Paradise Lost, B. VI.
106-109. Study these lines as you would some lines in Vergil, until you have found the meaning.
117. Empyreal. Indestructible, imperishable. For detail, see Paradise Lost, B. I., 138-140; B. VI., 330–353.
129. Seraphim (poetic plural of seraph). 1. An order of celestial beings ranking next above the cherubim in the celestial hierarchy, and having six wings, represented in Isaiah as beside the throne of God, praising him and active in his service. 2. In art and poetry, one of the highest orders of angels, excelling in wisdom, might, swiftness of movement and action, and zeal in the service of God. - Standard Dictionary.
Cherubim (plural of cherub). An order of angelic beings ranking second to the seraphim in the celestial hierarchy, and held to excel in knowledge. Standard Dictionary.
138. Essences. See note on line 117.
149. Thralls. Word of Scandinavian origin, meaning those bound to the service of others.
152. Gloomy deep. Observe the effect of "gloomy deep." The "gloomy deep" is Chaos. See chapter on The Cosmography of Paradise Lost, p. xvi.
160. "But ever to do ill our sole delight," the keynote of the future struggle in the poem.
167. Fail. "If I mistake not."
169-177. Shut your eyes and try to image this.
177. Bellow. Observe how the sound suits the sense.
178. Slip. "Let us not let slip-."
180-183. Image this.
198. Titanian, etc.
See encyclopædia or any good manual of mythology for stories of the Titans and the War of the Giants upon Jove.
199. Briareos. One of the three hundred-armed sons of Uranus and Gaia, the others being Cottus and Gyges. Said to have aided Jove against the Titans.
Typhon. A hundred-headed monster, conquered and cast into Tartarus by Jove. In various legends his place of abode