Satan. The name's literal senses are "enemy" or "adversary."

Godhead. In book 9, Satan comes to Eve when she is separated from Adam and tempts her into eating from the forbidden tree of knowledge. Part of his ruse involves promising her eventual Godhead (9.708).

Uriel. Literally the "fire" or "light" of God, Uriel is one of the four archangels of the Hebrew tradition. The others were Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, and each was assigned one quarter of the world in each of the cardinal directions. The name does not originate in the Bible (Uriel never appears in the Bible), but in the Apocrypha.

Mt. Niphates. A mountain in the Taurus range, in Armenia. Milton refers to it as being near Assyria in 4.126. It becomes the scene of Satan's temptation of Christ in 11.381 as well as Paradise Regain'd 3.252-265. According to Jordanes' The Origins and Deeds of the Gods, Niphates is a mountain range in Asia: "The range has different names among various peoples. The Indian calls it Imaus and in another part Paropamisus. The Parthian calls it first Choatras and afterward Niphates; the Syrian and Armenian call it Taurus; the Scythian names it Caucasus and Rhipaeus, and at its end calls it Taurus. Many other tribes have given names to the range."

holy light. Dante writes a similar invocation to light in Paradiso 13. 55 of the Divine Comedy.

unblam'd. Milton's narrator expresses some anxiety about getting this address to God as Light just right, anxious not to omit some glory by speaking another, or to misspeak himself at all in addressing one so high, so glorious.

God is light. As in 1 John 1: 5.

effluence. Pouring or streaming forth.

increate. Not Created.

Or hear'st thou rather. "Or wouldst thou rather be addressed as . . . "

Ethereal. Born of or tempered by Heavenly fire, or merely of Heaven.

Before the Heavens. See Genesis 1:3, which states that light was the first created thing.

invest. Envelop.

void and formless. See the description of the "world" before creation in Genesis 1:2.

Stygian. Referring to the river Styx, one of the rivers of Hell, found at the entrance to Hades. Also used in general reference to the underworld of classical mythology. Milton's narrator says that he has left the Hell of books 1 and 2, and now ascends to descrption of heaven, as if he were, as Dante imagines making such a journey himself in Purgatorio 1. 1-9.

utter and through middle darkness. A reference to Hell and Chaos. See note for Chaos.

Chaos. Milton borrows the concept of chaos, or unformed matter, from Hesiod and Platonic philosophy (especially the Timaeus 53a-b). See also Schwartz.

the heav'nly Muse. Urania, the muse associated with astronomy. Also implies the Holy Spirit. See the earlier invocation to the muse in 1.6 and the later one in 7.1.

Orphean. Relating to the legendary orator and poet Orpheus, who travelled to Hades to plead for the release of his young wife, Eurydice. See Ovid Metamorphoses 10.

Sovran. Sovereign.

eyes, that rowle in vain. Milton had been totally blind since 1652 (see Flannagan's Chronology). The poet and the narrator are thus almost fully identified.

drop serene. A reference to gutta serena, the medical term for the variety of cataracts which blinded Milton; it in fact refers to any blindness which has no appearance-altering features. These cataracts gave little or no physical clouding or other sign of blindness, but left Milton virtually sightless.

Mt. Sion. A sacred mountain, purported to be the site of Moses's "lore and teaching" from God. Milton apparently prefers its image to that of the usual mountain home of the Muses, Mount Parnassus. See 1.386 and 1.442 and Deuteronomy 4:48.

Thamyris. Homer mentions this blind Thracian in the Iliad 2.594.

Maeonides. An archaic form of the name Homer, the blind poet and author of the Iliad and the Odyssey. The name stems from his apparent homeland of Maeonia.

Tiresias. A sage and prophet who appears in Sophocles' Oedipus the King as well as in Antigone. A Theban seer, he prophesied the fall of Oedipus, and spoke of his blindness as the facilitator of his state of illumination.

Phineus. A blind Thracian king who enjoyed the gift of prophecy. See Apollodorus' Library 1.9.21.

numbers. A reference to poetic units and rhythm, namely verses, or when appropriate, used in reference to musical measures.

the wakeful Bird. The nightingale.

darkling. Intended as an adjective, meaning "in the dark".

the Book of knowledg fair. That is, creation as a book of knowledge. See book 1.511-12 and Calvin's Institutes 1.5.

Empyrean. Of or pertaining to the highest Heaven or celestial areas.

stoop. To swoop down, as with a bird of prey.

World. Here the poem refers not to the Earth alone, but rather the sphere of the created universe, beyond which is Chaos or void.

assay. To try.

glozing. Flattering, cajoling, or perverting.

the sole Command. God's command that Adam and Eve leave the tree of knowledge untouched.

Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall. This phrase is the kernel of Milton's sense of free will. The reformation debate about free will and predestination was framed by Erasmus, On Free Will (1524), and Luther, The Bondage of the Will (1525).

Reason also is choice. See Areopagitica.

Predestination. Milton's conception of predestination can be usefully compared to Augustine's in Anti-Pelagian Writings in the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 1, Volume 5

The first sort. Satan and his angel followers.

Man falls deceiv'd. See Milton's version of Adam's fall in 9. 998.

Spirits elect. The "good" angels are spirits elect. Milton intends this to mean those who have not rebelled with Satan. They are referred to in 1 Timothy 5: 21.

Substantially express'd. The Son is the substantial expression of the Father's invisible (5. 157) glory. Compare this father-son relation to Adam and Eve's as described in 4.481-491. See also William Blake's 1808 image of the relation of Father to Son.

Adversarie. Literal sense of the name Satan.

Abolish thy Creation. See Genesis 6:6-7 and PL 2. 370.

My word, my wisdom, and effectual might. The Son is here defined as the sole agent of God, the outward expression in word, wisdom, and might of an otherwise invisible (see line 375 and 5. 157), ineffable God.

pray, repent, and bring obedience due. See the culmination of this in 10.1081-1096. Compare to Calvin's sense of human beings as totally incapable of right action (Institutes 3.22.1-3). Perhaps Milton has the father repeat the point to emphasize this departure from the strict Calvinism typical of his republican associates from the 1640s and 50s.

Heav'nly Quire stood mute. Compare to the grand consult of devils in book 2.418-20

man shall find grace. See William Blake's 1808 watercolor illustration of these lines.

unprevented. Here the word retains its Latin root, and should be read as "un-anticipated."

death. The child of the incestuous relationship between Satan and his daughter Sin in 2.746.

maugre. In spite of.

complacence. Pleasure or source of pleasure.

right Hand. Christ sits at the right hand of God. A sign of utmost respect, and simultaneously one of slight inferiority. Milton held the unorthodox view that the Son was not coeternal with the Father, but was begotten by the Father at a particular moment before creation.

Made flesh. Echoes John 1: 14: "The Word was made flesh."

Virgin seed. Referring to the Virgin Mary and the Son's incarnation as a man.

room. In the place of Adam.

Adams Son. Milton's bid to reconcile two of Jesus's common titles: Son of Man and Son of God.

without thee none. Milton, like most of his contemporaries, believed that belief in Jesus Christ was the only salvation from eternal damnation. On this score, at least, he was absolutely intolerant.

imputed. Ascribed by vicarious substitution. This has been read to mean both Christ's taking on man's sin, and man's taking on Christ's virtue to enable salvation.

new life. These lines, 290-94, virtually paraphrase Paul's doctrine in Romans 5: 14-21.

Equal to God. The phrase here modifies "bliss," implying that the Son in heaven enjoys bliss equal to that enjoyed by God, but not necessarily general equality of the Son to God. Though, Milton might have invited a misreading here from more orthodox readers. We should probably understand the use of the word "unequals" in 8.383 with a similar latitude.

merit. Milton presents the Son as Son of God more by virtue of his deeds than by virtue of his begetting. Satan plays a parody of such merit in 2.5.

thy Manhood also. That is, by virtue of dying for men as a mortal, the Son's "manhood," his incarnate self, will be advanced to a heavenly throne every bit as much as his godhood already is. The term "manhood" appears gender specific, as if salvation were principally a manly experience, and only by extension intended for women.

under thee as Head Supream. All orders of angels and creatures are now to be placed under the Son as "universal king."

from all Winds. From every direction.

cited. Called forth.

Doom. Judgement, with the eschatalogical implications of Judgement Day.

Immortal Amarant. Amaranth, a purple flower which according to legend, could not, as its name implied, ever wither.

Elisian. Elysian refers to Elysium, the classical Greek place reserved for the virtuous departed. The term can be extended to any heavenly or divinely joyous place of similar stature to Heaven.

conspicuous. Clearly visible, unlike God who is invisible (5. 157) or barely visible. See also the note above.

effulgence. Splendid radiance.

opacous. Opaque.

first convex. The outer edge of the created universe, bordering on Chaos.

inferior Orbs. The spheres described by our solar system, sun, planets, moons.

Imaus. A mountain in the Himalayan range.

roving Tartar. Genghis Khan.

yeanling. Newborn.

Hydaspes. The Jhelum river in the Punjab. The Ganges is a mjor river of northern India.

Sericana. China, and the Gobi desert, over which people often traveled in sail-powered wagons.

store. A multitude.

Aereal. Of the air, airy.

Not in the neighbouring Moon. Ariosto, in Orlando Furioso 34. LXX-LXXIII (1532), imagined such a Limbo of Vanities located on the moon; Milton ridicules this as a "dream."

argent. Silver.

Translated Saints. Enoch (Genesis 5:24) and Elijah (2 Kings 2: 1-11) were both transported to heaven alive.

ill-joynd Sons and Daughters. Genesis 6: 4 tells the story of how a race of giants was born to women who coupled with the "sons of God." Milton retells the story in book 11.573-627.

Sennaar. The plain of Shinar from Genesis 10: 10.

Empedocles. Sicilian pre-Socratic philosopher from the fifth century, BCE. In his Ars Poetica 464-67, Horace tells the story of how Empedocles threw himself into the volcanic Mt. Aetna to prove himself divine; the volcano spewed out his apparently mortal remains.

Cleombrotus. A youth said to have drowned himself in an ecstatic fervor after reading the Plato's Phaedo (Lactantius, Divine Institutes 3.18).

White, Black and Grey. The White Friars are the Carmelites, the Black are the Dominicans, and the Grey are the Franciscans. Milton's contempt for these Roman Catholic orders prompts him to place them in this Limbo of Vanities.

Golgotha. The site of the crucifixion. See Matthew 27:33.

weeds. Clothing.

whose ballance weighs. Libra, symbolized by the balance, was located in one of the 55 crystalline spheres of Ptolemaic cosmology. In Ptolemaic cosmology, this balance was said to measure the trepidation, or irregular motion, in the sphere. Traditional cosmologists, committed to a Ptolemaic model, spoke much about "trepidation" as a way of accounting for otherwis unaccounted for celestial motions. For graphic and animated details of Ptolemaic cosmology, see The Universe of Aristotle and Ptolemy.

that first mov'd. The primum mobile, or prime mover sphere from which the movement of all the other spheres derived. For graphic and animated details of Ptolemaic cosmology, see The Universe of Aristotle and Ptolemy.

wicket. A door set within or beside a door. As Orgel & Goldberg note (874), this is a diminutive form and doubtless intended to invoke a sense of irony, even sarcasm. John Leonard advances the claim that the satirical tone implicit in imagining Heaven's gate as a "wicket" spreads backwards and forwards over this entire account of Dominican and Franciscan superstition, including a rejection of the Ptolemaic astronomy underlying it (Faithful Labourers, volume 2, 705-706).

Beads. Rosaries, or prayers recited with beads as mempory aids.

Indulgences. Indulgences were special dispensations that could be purchased from Roman Catholic church officials. Luther denounced them in his 95 Theses, especially Thesis 21.

Bulls. Certain Papal decrees are called Bulls.

Paradise of Fools. An area devoid of boundaries intended to be the abode of transgressors. Regina Schwartz notes its significance as a boundless area is central to the theme of Paradise Lost; to violate boundaries, as Satan attempted to, and as man attempted in desiring Godhead, is a great transgression against God (Schwartz, Remembering and Repeating, 140).

Jacob. According to Genesis 28, Jacob cheats his older brother Esau by deceiving his father Isaac into blessing him in Esau's stead. Jacob then had a dream of angels ascending a ladder, hence the term "Jacob's Ladder."

Padan-Aram. Home of Jacob's uncle Laban, who provides him sanctuary from the rage of Esau.

mysteriously was meant. That is the steps on the ladder have been interpreted allegorically to signify a graduated set of states of being between earth and heaven.

Who after came from Earth. Enoch (Genesis 5: 21-24) and Elijah (2 Kings 2: 11) are two who were said to have sailed from earth to heaven.

Rapt. Carried away or transported.

Paneas. Also known as the city of Dan, it lies at the source of the Jordan and forms the northern border of Canaan.

Beersaba. Also known as Beersheba, it forms the southern border of Canaan.

Looks down with wonder. Standing at the foot of the stairway to heaven, Satan finds the prospect below him more wonderful.

obtains. Reaches.

the fleecie Starr. The Andromeda nebula; Andromeda and Aries.

other Worlds. That is, from a distance they looked like stars ("shon/ Stars distant"), but closer ("nigh hand") they appeared to be planets ("other worlds").

Hesperian Gardens. As in A Mask 981-982, this refers to the Hesperides, a legendary orchard at the edge of the world where golden fruit grew, as told in Ovid's Metamorphoses 11. 85. The isles have been associated with both the Canary Islands and British Isles.

hard to tell. Hard to tell because it depends upon whether one believes a Copernican or a Ptolemaic account of the universe. Milton remains uncommitted on this score. See excellent graphic explanations of the Copernican and Ptolemaic cosmologies. See also Raphael's answer to Adam's questions about cosmology in book 8.70 and following.

Longitude. Implying lateral movement. Here, Satan's lateral and vertical movements are both made confusing by the lack of reference to anything else.

the great Luminarie. The sun.

Magnetic beam. By the time Milton is writing book 3 of Paradise Lost, Newton had not yet published his theory of universal gravitation, though he had published early versions of his three laws of motion by 1666. Whether Milton knew of Newton's researches and ideas is a matter of some speculation.

Astronomer. Galileo discovered the presence of spots on the sun using his telescope in 1609. Also referred to as the "Tuscan Artist" in 1.288.

Carbuncle. Any red gemstone, with implications of Aaron's Breastplate.

choice. Careful or deliberate.

Chrysolite. Any green gemstone.

the Twelve that shon. Aaron, high priest of Israel and Moses's brother, wore a ceremonial breastplate in which twelve gemstones were set, each one representing a tribe of Israel. See Exodus 28: 17-24.

That stone. Often referred to as "the Philosopher's Stone," long sought after as an alchemical agent capable of turning base metals into gold.

Hermes. Mercury, an element crucial to many alchemical processes. Hermes is also a Greek deity, Mercury being his Roman equivalent, son of Zeus and Maia, and God of Science.

Limbec. Alembic, an apparatus used for distilling. See "Limbeck" in Samuel Norton, The Key of Alchemy; see also John Donne's "A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy's Day, being the shortest day," line 21.

Potable. Suitable for drinking. Drinkable gold is "a preparation of nitro-muriate of gold deoxydized by some volatile oil, formerly esteemed as a cordial medicine; drinkable gold." See Johannes Agricola's Treatise on Gold 4.

Arch-chimic. The first alchemist. In this case the sun and its rays create gemstones in the ground. Timeline of famous alchemists.

Humor. Moisture.

Culminate. reaching its greatest altitude, its meridian. Here the pre-lapsarian sun rises directlly over the equator, creating no shadows and providing Satan with a clear view.

kenn. Range of sight.

The same whom John saw. See Revelation 19: 17.

tiar. Tiara; crown.

Cherube. Satan displays his shapeshifting abilities by changing into a Cherub to fool Uriel. Cherubim and seraphim are two orders or ranks of angels. Images of Cherubim stood by the sanctuary in the temple at Jerusalem.

permissive. According to this logic, the difference between what God permits and what he actively wills absolves him from liability for evil and sin.

tends. Intends; wants.

Light. Genesis 1:2 names Light as the first creation.

order from disorder sprung. For Milton's more elaborate account (narrated by Raphael) of the creation, see book 7.205 and following. For the biblical account, see Genesis 1.

her countenance triform. "Countenance Triform" is a reference to the three phases of the moon: crescent, full, and waning crescent. They are associated with the goddesses named Luna (Lucina), Diana, and Hecate.

th' Ecliptic. The path of the sun, assuming a Ptolemaic, geocentric cosmos.