Throne of Royal State. The opening recalls Spenser's description of the throne of Lucifera, incarnate pride:

High above all a cloth of state was spred,
And a rich throne, as bright as sunny day. (Faerie Queene

Ormus. An island in the Persian Gulf. Ind is short for India, proverbially home to a splendid court.

by merit rais'd. Contrast to the Messiah's throne of 6.43. Both Satan and the Messiah are raised by merit. Satan's merit is ironic, however -- he merits punishment, rather than glory.

success. This refers to the outcome, good or bad. Satan so far has remained "untaught" by his "success," which is his banishment to Hell. Note the ironic coupling with "Vain War."

Powers and Dominions. Two orders of angels. See Colossians 1: 16.

Immortal vigor. Satan and the devils, though damned, remain immortal and godlike in their power compared to mortals.

vertues. Though irony is intended here, Satan principally means virtue as "The power or operative influence inherent in a supernatural or divine being" (OED2).

a safe unenvied Throne. Who, we might ask would envy Satan's "throne"? Is Satan being ironic unwittingly or at his own expense?

Yielded with full consent. Ironic, as Satan has assumed the throne of Hell without asking or receiving consent.

who here will envy. The angels have fallen because they envied God's power; Satan is here trying to convince his peers not to envy him.

Thunderer. A reference to Jove, as in Ovid's Metamorphoses 1.228. Here Satan uses this symbol of omnipotence to suggest that God is a tyrant.

Moloch. Described at some length in 1. 392-405.

reck'd not. Cared not.

sentence. Counsel.

unexpert. Inexperienced.

sit lingring. Note the apparent contradiction in Moloch's description of the devils' position. They "stand" in arms, but "sit" awaiting the signal.

Almighty Engin. Moloch refers to the Son's "fierce Chariot" in 6.829. Satan himself invents a cannon in 6.484.

Tartarean. From Tartarus, the classical underworld.

forgetful Lake. The "oblivious Pool" of 1.266. Also reminiscent of the River Lethe; a drink of this river made the spirits of the dead forget their earthly life. In Dante's Purgatorio spirits cleanse themselves of guilt, not the memory of their earthly life (see Inferno 14.136-138 and Purgatorio 28.130).

insulting. Meaning both "assaulting" and "exulting."

Th' ascent is easie. Contrast with the sybil's warning to Aeneas about the descent into hell. (Aeneid 6. 126-129). Also note the contrast to Dante, who found his ascent difficult (blocked by a leopard, lion and a she-wolf), but his descent into hell unimpeded. (Inferno 1.)

event. Outcome.

exercise. Torment.

Vassals. This could be a reference either to the original Latin meaning of "servant" or "slave," or as Richard Bentley suggests, it could mean "vessels," in allusion to Romans 9: 22.

Penance. Moloch echoes the Roman Catholic tradition of mortification of the flesh, practiced by various monastic orders. Here, Milton condemns this practice as misguided and satanic by association.

essential. Essence.

proof. Experience.

fatal. Maintained by fate.

not Victory is yet Revenge. Even if the devils are not victorious, the attempt to overthrow God is, in itself, an act of revenge.

denounc'd. OED2: "To give formal, authoritative, or official information of; to proclaim, announce, declare; to publish, promulgate."

Belial. See also Belial's appearances in 1.490; 6.620-627, and in Paradise Regain'd 2.150-173. The characterization of Belial is Milton's, but the tradition may have been taken from Reginald Scot's Discoverie of Witchcraft (1665).

Manna. The divine substance that God provided as nourishment to the Israelites in Exodus 16 (see Exodus 16:31 for the origin of the name).

fact. Deed or feat.

baser fire. See Deuteronomy 4: 24 and Psalms 104: 4 for the conception of God as a "consuming fire" and "his angels" as "a flaming fire."

flat. Dull.

doubtful. Is this, as Regina Schwartz suggests, an infernal version of Hamlet's soliloquy? (Remembering and Repeating 20).

Belike. Doubtless.

amain. With all of our strength.

Chain'd on the burning Lake. This was how Satan and his follwers found themselves when they first awoke in 1.210.

red right hand. The phrase appears to be a translation of "rubente dextera" from Horace, Odes 1.2.2-3.

Each on his rock transfixt. Prometheus was chained to a rock for disobedience to Jove. He was condemned to have his liver eaten each day for having given fire to man. See Aeschylus's Prometheus Bound.

sees and derides. This echoes Psalm 2: 4: "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision."

temper. Substance.

cloath'd in reasons garb. Milton implies that while Belial's words may sound reasonable and persuasive, his words are actually hollow, like the speaker.

Mammon. See Mammon's introduction in 1.678.

Chaos. In Milton's cosmology, Chaos and Night reigned over the "eternal anarchy," the formless void between hell and heaven. See Regina Schwartz's excellent discussion of Chaos in Remembering and Repeating: Biblical Creation in Paradise Lost.

Sovran. Sovereign.

Ambrosial Flowers. In the Iliad 4. 3-4, Hebe pours ambrosia for the gods. Thus ambrosia was thought to be the proper food of gods.

Heav'n,. Following Flannagan, I have restored this comma from 1667.

Hard liberty. Milton restates this principle in Samson Agonistes 268-271. In this context, it echoes the closing words of the invective of the Consul Aemilius Lepidus against the tyrant Cornelius Sulla in 78 it is found in Sallust's version of that Oration to the Roman People (Hughes 238). As a republican Milton believed deeply in the virtue of seeking "hard liberty" over subjection to a tyrant, but he equated utter subjection to God with liberty. See PL 12.79-96 and Paradise Regain'd 3.414-426.

Thick clouds and dark. See 2 Chronicles 5: 13, 6:1 and Psalms 18: 11-13.

Art. Three states of 1674 have a lower-case "a" for "art" here: 5, 48, and 54, according to Fletcher (3.130). The copies I inspected in Rauner Special Collections at Dartmouth College Library both have an uppercase "A".

sensible of pain. The character of pain as interpreted by the senses.

were. Flannagan calls this a "genuine textual crux" because 1667 has "where" and either word "makes sense." 1674 has "were".

Such applause. This is likely an allusion to Virgil's Aeneid 10, where the gods' response to the violent appeals of Juno sounds like the winds that gradually build into a storm.

sword of Michael. Michael's sword is rightfully feared: in the war in Heaven, he wounded even Satan, though Satan quickly healed 6.320-333. For Michael see the Catholic Encyclopedia.

pollicy. Political strategy.

Beelzebub. Compare to Beelzebub's first appearance in book 1.

Front. Forehead.

Majestic. Three states of 1674 have a "Majestick" for "Majestic" here: 5, 48, and 54, according to Fletcher (3.132). The copies I inspected in Rauner Special Collections of Dartmouth College Library both have "Majestic".

Atlantean. The Titan Atlas was forced to support the heavens on his shoulders. See Pausanias's Description of Greece 5.11.5.

off-spring of Heav'n. It is hard not to hear a double sense to this phrase: children of heaven and exiles from heaven.

Vertues. OED2: "The power or operative influence inherent in a supernatural or divine being."

stile. Title.

first and last. In Revelation 21: 6, the voice of the Lord says, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end." There is some irony in a devil quoting this scripture in particular.

Iron Scepter. Psalms 2: 9.

to our power. To the limit of our power.

reluctance. Resistance.

If. 1674 has lower case "i"; 1667 has uppercase. I have restored the uppercase "I."

Gods. Angels.

by an Oath. Milton combines biblical representations of God taking an oath by himself "because he could swear by no greater" (Hebrews 6: 13; Genesis 22: 16) with classical recollections of Zeus shaking Olympus as he makes a vow to Thetis (Iliad 1. 530).

endu'd. Endowed.

abolish his own works. See Genesis 6: 7.

confusion. Destruction.

Thir frail Original. Adam, the first man. The first edition read "Originals," including Eve as a "frail" one.

By Satan. See book 1. 651.

one root. One man, or Adam.

states. Estates.

They vote. No doubt the first example of "manufactured consent" (see Noam Chomsky & Edward Hermann, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (Pantheon, 1988) parading as democracy.

Synod of Gods. A synod is a church council, composed of bishops and other dignitaries.

seat. See line 347, where seat refers to home or capital.

tempt. Attempt.

palpable obscure. Exodus 10: 22.

uncouth. Unknown.

abrupt. Used here as a noun: the gap or schism between Heaven and Hell.

suspence. Doubtful.

long is the way. Reinforcement of line 81: the descent into Hell is easy, but the ascent from Hell is difficult.

convex of Fire. Convex refers to the area around Hell; "ninefold" refers to the nine circles of the Styx around the underworld of the Aeneid 6. 570, and "gates of burning Adamant" recall Virgil's columns surrounding the gates of Tartarus (Hughes 242). This structure of Hell is also employed by Dante in the Inferno, where each of the nine circles of Hell hosts different sinners.

unessential. Without essence or being.

abortive. The meaning of this is unclear. It could mean lifeless, or monstrous (destructive). Or the word could also be used as a derivation in the etymological sense, meaning "away from birth," or not created, as in line 439.

moment. Importance.

intend. Attend to or consider.

Mansion. Home. Refer to lines 347 and 394.

Deliverance. In emulation opposite to Christ, Satan claims the role of deliverer and savior.

rais'd. Emboldened.

thir. 1674 has "her," an obvious mistake for "their." Since Milton's preferred spelling is "thir," I have supplied it.

clos. Close; hidden or secret.

Element. Sky. Refer to A Mask 299.

lantskip. Landscape.

Stygian. Hellish. From the name of the River Styx, Hell's chief river according to classical legend. See Pausanias's Description of Greece 8.18.3.

peers. Lords.

th' Antagonist. Close to the literal sense of the name, Satan; adversary.

Globe. Body of heavily armed soldiers.

horrent. Bristling

Alchymie. A metallic composition that imitates gold; thus, by metonymy, a horn made of such a metal. The horns which the fallen angels blow are in imitation of those blown in heaven, not of the same material.

th' Olympian Games or Pythian fields. This alludes to the funeral games at the tomb of Anchises in Aeneid 5. 776, and the games at the tomb of Patroclus in the Iliad 23. 800. The Pythian fields were near Delphi, where the Pythian games, which celebrated the victory of Apollo over the Python, were held. Why would Milton describe contests like these as fit pastimes for devils?

shun the Goal. That is, avoid touching the course marker as they round the turn in a chariot race.

close. Close (engage) in battle.

welkin. The sky.

Typhoean. Monstrous, like Typhon; see also 1.197-199.

Alcides. Hercules.

Oechalia. Misprinted as Oealia in 1667. See Seneca's Hercules Furens, Sophocles's Trachiniae, and Ovid's Metamorphoses 9. 134.

Lichas from the top of Oeta. Returning victorious from Oechalia, in Laconia, Hercules was brought a gift of the cloak of the centaur Nessus, whom he had years earlier fought and killed. The cloak was poisoned and destroyed him, causing him to throw the innocent Lichas into the sea. See Ovid's Metamorphoses 9. 134, Sophocles' Trachiniae, and Seneca's Hercules Furens.

sing . . ./ Thir own Heroic deeds. That is, some practised the arts of epic song and celebrated their own fall in heroic verse.

partial. That is, sung in parts, but paranomasia suggests two other senses: incomplete, and biased.

took with ravishment. The devils' song charms the senses as the cup of Circe charms her captives to their ruin in A Mask (Schwartz 90).

charms the Sense. In the context of Hell, Satan and the other fallen angels, these songs must be both false and insincere, as Hell is a place of false praise. This is of course in contrast to Heaven.

reason'd high. This recalls the castle of Limbo in Dante's Inferno 4.45, where those who lived before Christianity spend eternity.

wand'ring mazes lost. Compare also to 12.648-649: the "wandering steps" of Adam and Eve.

bold adventure. Some of the devils opt for adventure and exploration.

Styx. Hades's chief river according to Homer's Odyssey 10.510. Cocytus, Periphlegeton and Acheron are other rivers of Hades. Compare to Spenser's Faerie Queene 2.8.20; 2.7.57; 2.6.50; and 1.5.33.

Lethe. The River of Oblivion. See line 74 and note.

gathers heap. That is, gathers mass.

pile. Building.

Serbonian bog. Quicksands around Lake Serbonis at the mouth of the Nile.

Damiata. Damietta, a city at the mouth of the Nile, mentioned in Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered 15. Casius, a mountain in Egypt, figures in Lucan's Pharsalia book 8; identified as the site of Pompey's tomb in Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered 15.

frore. Frozen.

th' effect of Fire. Compare to Dante's description of the innermost circles of Hell in Inferno 33. 93-117. Instead of fire in Hell, Dante immerses Dis (Lucifer) and the other members of the four rings of the ninth circle in a lake of ice.

harpy-footed Furies. The harpies, who attacked Aeneas and his men, had the faces and breasts of young women, the wings and bodies of birds, and talons for hands (Aeneid 3.211-217). See also Inferno 13. 12.

starve. Die.

infixt, and frozen round. Here, Milton alludes not to the classical Hell of raging fires, but to Dante's Hell of frozen lakes and beds of ice. See Charon's warning of "fire and frost" to Hell's newcomers in Inferno 3. 84-89.

ferry. Alludes to Charon's ferry in Dante's Inferno 3. 83.

Medusa. Gorgon who had snakes for hair and whose appearance turned men into stones. See Odyssey 11.634.

wight. Body.

Tantalus. Tantalus was condemned in Hell to suffer intense thirst in a pool whose water rose just below the reach of his lips. See Odyssey 11. 582-592.

No rest. See Matthew 12: 43.

for evil only good. That is, evil that can be used to construct good.

Gorgons and Hydra's, and Chimera's. The hydra was a nine-headed dragon, the chimera breathed fire, and for the gorgons, see line 611 and note. See also Aeneid 6. 744.

Adversary. Adversary is a lteral translation of the name, Satan.

Explores. Tests or proves.

Ethiopian. The Indian Ocean.

the Trading Flood. The ships imagined here mimic the spice route, from India south and west around the Cape of Good Hope. Ternate and Tidore are two of the Spice Islands near New Guinea (Orgel & Goldberg 868).

Cerberian. Like the legendary hell-hound, Cerberus. See Homer's Iliad 8.365.

Scylla. For the story of Scylla's vexation, see Ovid's Metamorphoses 14.

seem'd Woman. Sin owes her serpentine nether parts to conceptions like Spenser's Error:

Halfe like a serpent horribly displaide,
But th'other halfe did a woman's shape retaine. (Faerie Queene 1.1.14)

But the dogs around Sin's waist, and especially their Cerberean mouths -- a literally Ovidian phrase -- plainly match Ovid's description of Scylla, the lovely nymph whose body Circe transformed into a mass of yelping hounds from the waist down (Metamorphoses 14. 40-74). Finally,-according to Ovid-she became the dangerous reef between Sicily (Trinacria) and the toe of the Italian boot (Calabria) (Hughes 246).

Night-Hag. Hecate, the goddess of the underworld.

Lapland. Province of northern Finland and legendary home of the witches.

labouring. Undergoing eclipse, a reference to the comtemporary belief that the witches could control the phases of the moon.

The other shape. Death, whom Milton deliberately introduces on line 666. 666 is the number of the Beast in Revelation 13: 18. The inversion of 666, 999, is the line chosen in book 9 for the moment of Adam's fall--9.999.

Furies. The Furies, according to classical legend, were born of the drops of blood that streamed from the testicles of Heaven when his son Cronus cut them in revenge for being thrust into Hades. Their names are Alecto, Tisiphone, and Megaera. See Pseudo-Apollodorus' Library 1.1.4. See also Hesiod's Theogony 156-90, where they are called Erinyes.

likeness of a Kingly Crown. The description of Death is so full of equivocal expressions that it is difficult to visualize him. As soon as you imagine a feature, you're told it only seem'd or looked that way, but wasn't really. Milton's description of Death may owe something to Pieter Bruegel's depiction of Mad Meg (1562), especially in the undefined features and the gigantic maw. Maddie Lesser '13 suggests that Death's "kingly crown" may also allude to threes line in Shakespeare's Richard II 3.2.160-162: "for within the hollow crown/ That rounds the mortal temples of a king/ Keeps Death his court."

admir'd. Synonomous with wondered.

Spirits of Heav'n. Satan, though now in Hell, was born in Heaven, unlike Death who was born in Hell. One might wonder why Milton wants to draw attention to this distinction, which leads to such nice observations that Death was conceived, according to this story, in Heaven, and Sin was born in Heaven, not Hell.

the third part of Heav'n's Sons. See Revelation 12: 3-4.

Conjur'd. Persuaded to rebel.

whip of Scorpions. See 1 Kings 12: 11.

Ophiucus. Ophiuchus; the Serpent-Bearer, a particularly large constellation.

Level'd. 1674 mistakenly omits the apostrophe; I have supplied it.

two black Clouds. The two black clouds in Boiardo's Orlando Innamorato 1.16 are Orlando and the Tartar king Agricane.

Caspian. A notoriously stormy sea.

never but once more. When each is met by the triumphant Christ, an even greater foe.

only Son. This phrase cannot help but strike us as a parody of the Son's relation to God his Father. Indeed, Satan, Sin, and Death unwittingly express an infernal trinity, in "emulation opposite to heaven." As an anti-trinitarian, perhaps Milton also means to mock trintarianism as an infernal falsehood.

spares. Forbears.

left side op'ning wide. The left side is the "sinister" side. Also, Eve is created from one of Adam's left ribs (8. 465).

Out of thy head I sprung. Here, the birth of Sin from Satan echoes the birth of Athena from the head of Zeus (Hesiod's Theogony 901).

in me thy perfect image viewing. Sin, the first-born of Satan, is the perfect image of himself as the Son is said to be the perfect image of the Father. Satan's love for his own image is his love for himself, or narcissism.

Pitch. Height.

own begotten. The phrase echoes (parodically) John 1:14 and John 3:16.

cry'd out Death. Milton's allegory, the only overt allegory in this epic poem, dramatizes (literalizes?) the metaphors of James 1:15.

Hell trembl'd at the hideous Name. This is an interesting parody on the end of Inferno 3.132, where the "darkened plain" of Hell trembles after Virgil utters the name of God and informs Dante that "no good soul" ever travels on Charon's boat (Inferno 3.129-132). Here, Hell trembles at the mention of Death.

dismaid. This word allows of several punning senses.

Fate pronounc'd. Fate is still regarded as the supreme power.

mortal dint. Death-dealing blow.

dalliance. The word is used to describe Adam's sexual practices with Eve immediately after the fall (9.1016) and also Solomon's less than perfectly licit "dalliance" with his Egyptian wife (9.443). On the erotic practices of heaven, see Raphael's account in 8.615-29, where no mention is made of procreation. See also the narrator's description of copulation (if it is that) in Paradise before the fall--4.741-62.

house of pain. As referred to in Job 30: 23.

pretences. Claims.

one for all/ Myself expose. Satan's self-sacrifice parodies the Son's voluntary sacrifice in 3.236

unfounded. Bottomless.

Purlieues. French word for boundaries.

vacant room. That is, Satan's and the rebel angels' place.

buxom. Unresisting.

Office. Service.

Thou art my Father, thou my Author. Here, Sin addresses Satan in the same manner that Dante addresses Virgil in the beginning of the Inferno: "You are my master and my author" (Inferno 1.85), and "you are my guide, my governor, my master" (Inferno 2.140).

Gods who live at ease. Compare to Homer's Iliad 6. 138 and Odyssey 4. 805, where the gods seem to always live at ease. However unattractive a character Sin is, she, unlike Adam, Eve, and even Satan, remains obedient to the person she thinks is her Father and creator.

At thy right hand. Here is the ultimate parody: Satan, Sin, and Death as the Holy Trinity. According to Hughes: "Sin imagines herself enthroned with her father Satan as the Son is seated at his Father's right hand in 3.62." (252)

Porcullis. Portcullis; outer gate.

Stygian. Styx was, in classical mythology, one of the rivers of hell; thus Stygian connotes hellish.

wards. The notches on a key.

impetuous recoile and jarring sound. Contrast to the opening of the gates of heaven in 7.205-206.

Erebus. Hell, or as according to Hughes, "in Hesiod's (Theogony 120) both Erebus and Chaos mean a dark, vast, primeval envelope of space and matter..."(253).

Without dimension. Milton "defines" Chaos by its lack of all forms of dimension, definition, and boundaries. In book 7, creation is the process of setting boundaries and dimensions to the "first matter" of Chaos (book 7.166-67 and 219-233)

Eternal Anarchie. See Ovid's Metamorphoses 1. 5-20 and 14.594 for a similar conception of Chaos.

hot, cold, moist, and dry. The characteristics of the four humors correspond to the four basic elements.

Barca. Desert between Egypt and Tunis, or according to Orgel, a city in the Lybian desert (869).

Cyrene. Ancient city near modern Tripoli.

frith. Inlet or estuary.

peal'd. Deafened.

Bellona. Goddess of War.

rase. Raze, destroy.

Vannes. Wings.

pennons. Feathers or wings.

Syrtis. Shifting sands on the North African coast. See Pliny's Natural History 5.4 for a classical description.

Gryfon. Griffins were the guardians of abundant quantities of gold which the Arimaspians constantly tried to steal. See Herodotus' History 3.16.

wades, or creeps, or flyes. Satan's difficulty in his ascent out of Hell echoes Dante's difficulty in his ascent up the mountain in Purgatory (Purgatorio 4.28-33).

dark Pavilion. The Pavilion of Chaos recalls Spenser's description of the home of the Fates,

Farre under ground from tract of living went,
Drowne in the bottome of the deepe Abysse,
Where Demogorgon, in dull darknesse pent,
Farre from the view of gods and heavens blis,
The hideous Chaos keepes, . . (Faerie Queene 4.2.47)

It more distinctly recalls Boccaccio's account of the mysterious elder deity Demogorgon and its vivid illustrations in the many editions of the Genealogy of the Gods that represent him with his offspring around him-figures like Rumor and Discord, Orcus (Hell) and Ades (Hades). Demogorgon's name is said to be a corruption of Plato's Demiourgos in the Timaeus and to figure in literature for the first time in Lucan's Pharsalia 6.744, where it is the kind of dreaded name that Spenser made it when he wrote that at it "Cocytus quakes, and Styx is put to flight" (Faerie Queene 1.1.37) (Hughes 261)

Orcus and Ades. Names of the classical god of Hell.

Confine with. Border upon.

Anarch. Anarchy, chaos.

Made head. Fought.

golden Chain. See Iliad 8. 15-24 for the legend of the golden chain linking the earth and the heavens.

Argo. Ship of Jason and the Argonauts. See Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 2.552-611).

Charybdis. Whirlpool opposite Scylla, the more treacherous whirlpool. See Odyssey 12. 234-259.

a broad and beat'n way. See 10.293-305 for a description of Death's construction of the bridge.

Th'utmost Orbe. The outermost circle of Earth is the orbit of the moon.

this frail World. Earth.

brok'n. Printed as "brok'd" in 1674, but Flannagan reports his copy has an inked in correction to "brok'n"; 1667 has "brok'n".

square or round. Too wide to determine if the boundary is straight or curved.

living Sapphire. See Revelations 21: 19.

pendant world. Not only the earth, but the entire created universe.

fraught with. Full freighted.