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To mark their doings, them beholding soon, 50
Comes down to see their city, ere the tower
Obstruct Heav'n-tow'rs, and in derision sets
Upon their tongues a various spi'rit to rase
Quite out their native language, and instead
To sow a jangling noise of words unknown; 55
Forthwith a hideous gabble rises loud
Among the builders; each to other calls
Not understood, till hoarse, and all in gage,
As mock'd they storm; great laughter was in Heaven
And looking down, to see the hubbub strange

60 And

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great laughter is in Heaven

şi. Comes down to see their city, has made some alterations here, &c.] Gen. XI. 5 &c. And the Lord and the context consider'd I know came down to see the city and the not whether they are not for the Power, which the children of rren better; builded &c. The Scripture speaketh here after the manner of men : And All looking down thus the Heathen Gods are often re- thus is the building left: presented as coming down to observe but afterwards I find the author of Lycaon, Baucis and Philemon&c. varying the

tense in several places

, 53. :

.- a various spirit] 2 Chron. XVIII. 22. 'Tis said the Lord had past, future with regard to the put a lying spirit in the mouth of but past with regard to the curre

time when the Angel is speaking the prophets ; here he puts a va- which he is speaking of

. Great rious spirit in the mouth of these laughter was in Heaven &c. builders, a spirit varying the sounds thus Homer represents the Gods as

cAnd by which they would express their thoughts one to another, and bring- carriage of Vulcan in waiting. liad.

laughing at the aukward limping ing confequently confusion, whence

I. the work is so callid. Ricbardfon.

599. 59. great laughter was in Arlert i ap' fympto 78485

Heaven &c.] Dr. Bentley

μακαρει θεοισιν,

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And hear the din; thus was the building left
Ridiculous, and the work Confusion nam'd.

Whereto thus Adam fatherly displeas’d.
O execrable son fo to aspire
Above his brethren, to himself assuming
Authority usurp'd, from God not given :
He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl
Dominion absolute; that right we hold
By his donation; but man over men
He made not lord; such title to himself
Reserving, human left from human free.



"Ως ιδον Ηφαισον δια δωματα 62.

and the work Confufion σοιπηυονία.

nam'd.] For Babel in Hebrero

fignifies Confufion. Therefore is the Vulcan with aukward grace his name of it called Babel, because the office plies,

Lord did there confound the language And unextinguish'd laughter shakes of all the earth. Gen. XI. 9. As the skies. Pope.

the poet represents this confusion

among the builders as an object of But as Mr. Thyer adds, it is rather ridicule, fo he makes use of some too comic for the grave character ridiculous words, such as are not of Milton's Gods to be represented very usual in poetry, to highten peeping down and laughing like a that ridicule, as jangling noise, biparcel of mere mortals, to see the deous gabble, frange kubbub. workmen puzled and squabbling 71. human left from buman about their work: tho there are free.] Every reader must be such expressions even in Scripture, pleased with the spirit of liberty, Plal. II. 4. He that fitteth in the that breathes in this speech of our Heavens jhall laugh; the Lord shall first ancestor: And it is not improbave them in derifon. See too Pfal. bable that the author had in mind XXXVII. 13. LIX. 8. Prov. I. 26. a passage of St. Austin, as I find it I also will laugh at your calamity, I quoted by Mr. Hume. Rationaler will mock whep your fear cometh. factum ad imaginem fuam, noluit

But this usurper his encroachment proud
Stays not on man ; to God his tow'r intends
Siege and defiance: Wretched man! what food
Will he convey up thither to sustain

Himself and his rash army, where thin air
Above the clouds will pine his entrails gross,
And familh him of breath, if not of bread?

To whom thus Michael. Juftly thou abhorr'ít That fon, who on the quiet state of men

80 Such trouble brought, affecting to subdue Rational liberty; yet know withal, Since thy original lapse, true liberty Is lost, which always with right reason dwells Twinn'd, and from her hath no dividual being: 85 Reason in man obscur’d, or not obey'd,



nifi irrationalibus dominari, non

ere the tower hominem homini, sed hominem pe- Obstruct Heav'n-tow'rs.cori. Aug. c. 15. 1. 19. de Civit. Dei. For Milton, tho' he speaks 81. Such trouble brought, ] Di. contemptibly of the Fathers, yet Bentley reads brings

, because this sometimes makes use of their senti- is not (he says) told here as a


past. But Michael is not telling 73; ---10 God his tow'r intends &c.] any thing here: he is only making This being not asserted in Scripture, a reflection upon what he had been but only Tuppos'd by some writers, telling Adam just before in ver. is better put into the mouth of 27. and it having been already rold

, Adam, than of the Angel. I wish the reflection made upon it may the poet had taken the lame care in juftly speak of it as a ching past. ver. 51.


83. Siece


Immediately inordinate desires
And upstart passions catch the government
From reason, and to servitude reduce
Man till then free. Therefore fince he permits
Within himself unworthy pow'rs to reign
Over free reason, God in judgment just
Subjects him from without to violent lords ;
Who oft as undeservedly inthrall
His outward freedom : tyranny must be,
Though to the tyrant thereby no excuse.
Yet sometimes nations will decline so low
From virtue, which is reason, that no wrong,
But justice, and some fatal curse annex'd
Deprives them of their outward liberty,
Their inward loft: Witness th' irreverent fon

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83. Since thy original lapse,] Thus means twinn'd at a birth with right it is in Milton's own editions ; in reason. Liberty and virtue (which Dr. Bentley's, Mr. Fenton's, and is reason, ver. 98.) are twin-fifters, other editions it is Since by original and the one hath no being divided lapse, which makes hardly sense or from the other. syntax.

Witness th' irreverent son

Of him who built the ark, &c. ] 84. - which always with right Witness Cham, the father of Ca. reason dwells.

naan, and shameful son of Noah, Twinn'd, ] Some editions read who for the reproach done to his twin'd, and Mr. Hume explains it father, by discovering bis nakedness, twisted together with upright reason; heard this heavy curse pronounced but in Milton's own editions it is by him on his wicked pofterity the printed twinn'd, and I presume he Canaanites; Curfed be Canaan; a VOL, II,




Of him who built the ark, who for the shame
Done to his father, heard this heavy curse,
Servant of servants, on his vicious race.
Thus will this latter, as the former world, 103
Still tend from bad to worse, till God at last
Wearied with their iniquities, withdraw
His presence from among them, and avert
His holy eyes; resolving from thenceforth
To leave them to their own polluted ways;
And one peculiar nation to select
From all the rest, of whom to be invok'd,
A nation from one faithful man to spring:


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fervant of servants frall he be unto to the one peculiar natim of the man kis brethren, Gen. IX. 22, 25.

of Abraham, from whence the Ma Hume. fiah was to descend.

Does not Milton here forget, that 114. Him on this fide Euphrator: the Angel had not before mention'd residing,] That is Not e. the story of Ham's uncovering his when Michael was speaking; father's nakedness? The urging it get when God resolv'd to feltet er by way of example seems to infer peculiar nation from all the reit, ve its being known to Adam, which 11. No need therefore for 1: yet it could not be. Thyer. Bentley's word then, instead of u

Peace This heariy curse, so it is in Milton's own editions, but in others his

115. Bred up in i'o!r27 beavy curse.

We read in Joshua XXIV... SE

fathers dwelt on the other fades 109. — resolving from thenceforth food in old time, even Terak ik:

To leave them &c.] And the An- ther of Abraham, and the faida. gel leaves them in like manner, and Nachor, and they served order to confines his narration henceforward Now as Terah Abraham's fans

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