Councel. See 1.754-75 for a description of Satan's first "councel." It is not clear whether this meeting bears resemblance to the first, but even if it does not, the word "councel" links the two events and associates the negative connotations of the first with the second.

dreadless Angel. Abdiel, a fearless angel.

circling Hours. The Horae, also known as the Hours or the Seasons are daughters of Zeus and Themis. Most accounts identify three - Thallo (Spring), Auxo (Summer), Carpo (Harvest, Autumn, Fall). In Athens, Auxo was often omitted. They became associated with ethical properties, possibly from their connection with the order and regularity of nature — the change of seasons. Hesiod names them Eunomia (law and order), Dike (justice), and Eirene (peace). They also served as the wardens of the sky, rolling the clouds back from the gates of Mt. Olympus, permitting the gods to come and go in their chariots. See Homer's Iliad 5. 745, and Spenser's Faerie Queene 7.7. 45.

with rosie hand. As at the opening of book 5, Milton echoes Homer's image of the "rosy fingered dawn" (Odyssey 2.1).

vicissitude. Change as a result of natural phenomena (OED2).

Lines 1-10. This passage is borrowed from Hesiod's Theogony, lines 736-757. But in Theogony, the cave is in the underworld and follows the description of the battle.

her. The "Morn" is here gendered feminine. Though in book 7 Raphael speaks of the sun as masculine, light, the first of created things, he speaks of as feminine ( 7.243-249 and 7.359-382).

procinct. Readiness; war is in readiness in Heaven (OED2).

one/ Return'd not lost. Milton's emphasis on the importance of one righteous individual surrounded by wickedness is supported by many biblical passages, from the story of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18: 20-19) to Moses (in Exodus), and culminating in the life of Jesus. Milton also may have regarded himself as one just man surrounded by evildoers, since often he had to defend his religious convictions to those in power, and on the issue of divorce he was virtually alone among his English contemporaries.

Golden Cloud. The Bible sometimes describes God as speaking from a cloud. See Exodus 34: 5-7, for example.

Servant of God, well done. This is addressed to Abdiel whose name literally means "servant of God." The phrase also echoes the words of the master to the faithful servants in Jesus' parable of the talents (Matthew 25: 21). Milton's fascination with this parable is evident in Sonnet 19.

The better fight. This echoes 2 Timothy 4:7.

perverse. This term, in another form, will later be used to describe Satan.

Michael. Michael is Hebrew for "God-like" or "strength of God." See below, line 67.

Gabriel. Another archangel, Gabriel, like Raphael, was a heavenly messenger.

my Sons. All angels, as all men are God's sons. No angels, in Milton's writings, are female. This poem frequently refers to Eve as "daughter of God and man." See Satan's musing over the expression "son of God" in Paradise Regain'd 4.517.

armed Saints. Milton's angels resemble in some ways the biblical descriptions of the church militant in Ephesians 6. Homer's and Virgil's epic heroes were also armed or protected by gods. By alluding to the biblical armor of God, however, Milton suggests that the angels' armor was spiritual.

Equal in number. Satan drew off a "third" of heaven's host in his rebellion (see 5.710 and below 156); the Father, presumably sends exactly the same number of loyal angels into battle against them.

Tartarus. Classical name for Hell; see Apollodorus Library 1.2. On Chaos in relation to hell, see Schwartz, Remembering and Repeating 8-39.

the signe. Milton models the presence of God on Exodus 19: 18, where God appears to Moses on Mount Sinai.

Quadrate. A military term denoting a square or cubic troop formation.

Thir names of thee. Genesis 2: 19 tells the story of God bringing all beasts and birds before Adam for naming. Adam retells this story in 8.349-354.

terrene. This earthly world (OED2).

Apostate. One who forsakes his religious faith, a pervert (OED2). Note also the numerous uses of variants and synonyms of the word used in Book 6.

Sun-bright chariot. Satan's chariot is bright, but it does not burn with the "thick flames" (see lines 750-1) of the Son's divine chariot. Although Satan's chariot is impressive, it will pale in comparison to the Son's.

Idol of Majesty Divine. In portraying himself as a god, Satan has violated what will be handed down in Exodus 20:3-5 as the first commandment.

undaunted heart explores. The phrase recalls Homer's introduction of Hector's speech before his battle with Achilles in Iliad 22.98.

resemblance of the Highest. Abdiel acknowledges that Satan retains some celestial beauty, despite his rebel nature. Since Raphael tells this story to Adam in the form of a warning, he may be cautioning Adam not to admire beauty overmuch, as he later advises Adam to be wary of attributing overmuch to Eve's beauty ( 8.565-570). Satan's sin affects his appearance, especially after he has fallen to Hell. He becomes unrecognizable to other angels ( 4.827-834).

realtie. Sincerity, honesty (OED2).

Most reason is. It is most reasonable. The notion that a contestant who prevails in truth should also prevail in combat underlies the practice of trial by combat.

Sect. Often used in the 17th century as a term to designate religious schismatics, like Baptists, Familists, or Quakers. Milton speaks almost approvingly of sectarian and schismatic differences of opinion in Areopagitica. See also the Preface to Eikonoklastes.

askance. Sidewise, with a side glance; see (OED2).

seditious Angel. From Satan's point of view loyalty to God appears as sedition.

Synod. A gathering, especially of church dignitaries (OED2). See also 2.391.

Plume. An ornament symbolizing dignity or rank, often attached to a military helmet (OED2). Satan accuses Abdiel of turning to God only to curry favor and advancement in Heaven.

pause between. That is, between your challenge and your destruction.

Unanswer'd least thou boast. That is, lest you boast that I left your challenge unanswered.

through sloth had rather serve. Milton often expressed the notion that certain people, sometimes whole races, are content to become slaves to tyrants. See 12.99-104; Samson Agonistes 240-46, and The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates.

God and Nature bid the same. The central tenet of natural law philosophy. See the Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce 1.1 and 2.3.

to thy self enthrall'd. For a similar definition of loss of liberty, see 12.90-101. For the Son's theory of a just king, worthy of obedience, see Paradise Regain'd 2.463-72.

crest. That is, the heraldic crest apparently worn on his helmet.

Cope. The sky.

Both Battels maine. The main body of both armies.

no unbecoming deed. No deed unbecoming to a warrior. Even the rebel angels, though their rebellion is condemned, behaved, says Raphael, like exemplary soldiers.

his ample Shield. The shield is apparently made of rock, or diamond. Satan's shield is described in epic style in 1.284-291.

Intestine War. Civil war.

once upright. Adam, too, will be reduced from his "upright" position due to his lack of obedience. In his case, though, it will be a specific "effeminate slackness" that leads him to disobey (see 11.634-6).

ofspring. Michael means Satan's followers as well as the two other members of the unholy trinity, Sin and Death, described in 2.643-58.

Hell. The geography of Milton's cosmos is both physical and spiritual. After the event of the battle, Satan will discover that he truly is his own Hell, even while in Heaven or on earth; see 4.75-77. For the converse, see A Mask 318-85.

parle. Parley; talk, especially the negotiations and posturing between opponents in battle.

jarring Sphears (lines 310-15). Raphael suggests that one way Adam may visualize war in heaven is by thinking of the constellations at war with each other, or two planets in single combat. Such a conflict would be a microcosm of the battle Raphael describes.

not of power. A difficult sentence. Both combatants (each one degree removed from "almighty") aimed one stroke each as if they meant only to strike once and determine the matter by that single stroke. To expect to repeat such a stroke would be nonsense, for that would indicate the first stroke was "not of power" to do the job. Some types of martial training aimed to teach soldiers to prevail with a single stroke.

odds appeerd. That is, there appeared no evidence that either the mighty stroke (Michael's attack) or its "swift prevention" (Satan's parry) would prevail.

shar'd. Sheared, or completely severed. Michael's first stroke cut Satan's sword in half; then his "swift wheele reverse" (as all one with the first stroke) cut Satan's right side completely away.

griding. Cutting.

discontinuous wound. That is, an open wound. The cut is continuous, but the resulting wound, being wide open, is technically called discontinuous.

Nectarous humor. This passage echoes one in the Iliad 5.334-417, which also describes a celestial battle. Aphrodite's hand is pierced and she bleeds the nectarous blood of the Gods (ichor), but is healed by Dione, her mother.

Reines. The kidneys or loins (OED2).

Ensignes. A rallying or battle cry (OED2).

Moloc furious King. Moloch was introduced in 1.392-396.

uncouth. Unknown. In this battle, the rebel angels first feel pain. Apparently the loyal angels, following Michael and Gabriel, can be pushed and moved, but not hurt or frightened (see below lines 404-405).

Raphael. Raphael speaks of himself in the third person; he has not introduced himself to Adam by name, nor does he ever. Thus, he is in some ways like Odysseus relating the stories of the Trojan War to Alcinous and his people (Odyssey 9). Unlike Odysseus, however, he does not reveal his identity nor focus his story on himself, but on the Son's authority and the moral victory of Abdiel.

Adramelec. Adramelec, the "mighty King," was a local version of the Babylonian sun god. 2 Kings 17:31 says that children were burned on his altar. Throughout, Milton uses the names of foreign gods from past ages to signify the false godhood of the rebellious angels.

Asmadai. The evil Asmodeus of the Tobit story. Also mentioned in 4.168-171.

meaner thoughts. Lower ambitions.

Ariel. In cabbalistic lore, Ariel is the name of an evil angel and pagan god. In Cornelius Agrippa's De Occulta Philosophia, it is the name of one of the spirits of the earth. Ariel is the name of Prospero's familiar spirit in Shakespeare's The Tempest 1.2.

Arioc. The name means "lion-like." Abraham is said to have fought a King Arioch (Genesis 14: 1) amongst a list of other adversary kings some of whom are also named after their pagan gods. Another Arioch appears as a Babylonian captain in Daniel 2: 14. Perhaps Milton also found the name in books of demonology.

Ramiel. The name means "Thunder of God" and appears as "Rameel," one of the angels who descended to earth to copulate with the beautiful daughters of men, in the apocryphal Book of Enoch 1.6.7.

praise of men. Raphael stops his epic catalog of warriors; the heavenly ones do not seek fame and the evil ones should not have it.

Defensive scarse. Scarce able to defend themselves.

Phalanx. This battle formation was originally developed by the Greeks. It is yet another allusion to ancient war and epic. For an explanation of "phalanx," see Britannica Online.

Libertie alone. Satan may serve here to satirize Oliver Cromwell as one for whom liberty alone was "too mean" a cause for struggle, but also sought worldly "Honour, Dominion, Glorie, and renowne." The Commonwealth proclaimed following the execution of Charles I in 1649 effectively became a Protectorate in 1654 when Cromwell assumed the title Lord Protector.

Nisroc. An Assyrian deity mentioned in 2 Kings 19: 37.

spiritous and fierie spume. The phrase represents sulfur and nitre, which in Milton's time, were thought to play a role in the creation of other matter. This would make them volatile in their creativity, a kind of gunpowder, somewhat like God's thunder is linked to His creativity through his control over matter.

hallow. Hollow.

The Thunderer. Satan uses Zeus's epithet from Hesiod's Theogony to speak of God.

originals of Nature. The basic elements.

Concocted and adusted. Alchemical processes of heating and drying.

Mineral and Stone. The rebel angels dig up "crude" materials and form cannons from them. By suggesting that Earth's "entrails" are much like heaven's Raphael supports the monistic theory that all substances were created out of "one first matter" ( 5.472), of God and by God. Therefore, they can only be made evil through evil use. By introducing the elements to the battle as weapons, putting them in their chaotic roles rather then the subservient roles of order created by God, Satan further imposes Chaos on Heaven (Schwartz 27).

refulgent. Radiant and gleaming (OED2).

in alt. In halt, halted.

Ensignes. Here "Ensignes" are battle banners or standards (OED2 Definition #5a).

Zophiel. Zophiel means "Spy of God." It is not a biblical name.

Adamantine. Having the hardness or luster of a diamond.

incentive reed. Fuse material.

conscious Night. Wakeful night; the rebel angels stay awake all night making cannons.

in hollow Cube. That is, in a quadrate formation with an empty center where the cannon is concealed.

perverse. It is ironic that Satan uses a word that is associated with his own crime against God.

discharge. As with the word "charge" in 566, Satan is a rather dry punster.

line 568. 1674 has a comma after "scarce"; this seems a mistake, so I have omitted it.

amus'd. Bemused.

chaind Thunderbolts. Chain shot: two cannonballs with a length of chain between used to take out a whole vanguard at one blast.

The sooner for thir Arms. An example of Milton's disdain for arms and weapons in general. Other examples of this disdain can be found in PL 9.30-41, and in Samson Agonistes 1119-1125. God's forces prevail again when they abandon their arms below in line 639.

serried. Of files or ranks of armed men, pressed close to each other (OED2).

displode thir second tire. Fire another round.

Belial. Belial, a Latin Vulgate name for devil or Satan, was first introduced in 1.490.

scoffing. Insults were commonplace in epic battles of the Iliad and the Aeneid, but it is notable that the sinless angels do not participate in them, and are not concerned with their own honor; thus, they have no need to return scorn for scorn.

pluckt the seated Hills. In Hesiod's Theogony 713-720, the heroes fighting for Zeus throw hundreds of boulders at the Titans. In Pseudo-Apollodorus' Library 1.6.3, we read the story of Typhon attacking Zeus by throwing mountains, which, nevertheless, fall back on him; Zeus finishes Typhon by throwing Mount Etna on him. Here the loyal angels in effect re-bury the cannon and gunpowder the rebel angels dug from the soil of heaven.

armor help'd their harm. Now armor hinders the rebels as before it had hindered the loyal angels. See above line 595 and note.

bruis'd. This is not the last time that Satan and his forces will be "bruis'd." See 10.178-181.

jaculation. OED2: The action of darting, hurling, or throwing; a hurl, a throw. From Latin iacio, iaciere.

Assessor. One who sits beside; hence one who shares another's rank, position, or dignity (OED2).

Visibly. The Son is the visible manifestation of the Father's invisible (3.375) power and being, and enacts his will. Thus "invisible" in line 681 must be read as a substantive meaning: "what is invisible." See also 3.139 where the Son is said to be the visible expression of the Father.

Insensibly. Imperceptibly.

perpetual fight. What Satan called "eternal Warr" ( 1.121) seen from God's perspective.

the third. Milton's emphasis on the Son's single combat against all of Satan's forces on the third day of battle also alludes to Jesus' passion, death and resurrection on the "third day" (Matthew 16:21).

Unction. Anointing; Messiah means anointed one.

Ascend my Chariot. The image alludes to the legend of Phaeton who stole his father Phoebus's (Apollo's) chariot (the sun) and wrecked it, destroying both himself and much of the earth (Ovid's Metamorphoses 2.42 and following). Unlike Phaeton, the Milton's Son is invited to ride the Father's chariot.

ill Mansion. Here used as a contrast to Heaven. Christ says "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2). "Ill Mansion," then, is a twisted version of Heaven.

Worm. Satan, unwittingly foretells the form he will assume when he tempts Eve (OED2 Definition #44).

Unfeigned. Sincere.

Paternal Deitie. The Son's "Chariot of Paternal Deitie" contrasts with Satan's earlier chariot, of lines 99-101, when he uses the image of power and will to try to elevate himself to God's position.

Wheele within Wheele. The imagery of the divine chariot comes from Ezekiel 1: 5-21 and Ezekiel 10: 6-19.

Victorie. Milton has chosen a Roman goddess, Victory, to represent the triumph of the Son.

Lines 750-766. Milton uses Ezekiel's vision of God's presence (Ezekiel 1: 4-14) to indicate the majesty of God the Father made manifest in the Son.

Beril. A transparent precious stone mentioned in Ezekiel 10:9 as part of the description of God's heavenly chariot (OED2).

showrie Arch. Rainbow.

armd. The Son's armor, like the armor of Aeneas and Achilles, is divinely wrought. However, this armor is made of light, which indicates its spiritual nature.

Urim. One of the types of mystical stones (along with the thummim) said to decorate the breastplate of Aaron the high priest and brother of Moses. See Exodus 28: 30 and 3.597-598.

on the wings of Cherub. As in the act of creation, recounted in 7.218, Milton seems intent on leaving the impression that the Son's activity here is similar both in the source of its power and in its purposes to the act of creation. Here he separates the rebel angels "farr" from the faithful; in creation he separates light from dark and the earth from the dry land.

reduc'd. That is, he led his army back under the command of the Son.

circumfus'd. Spread out.

obdur'd. Obdurate, hardened.

Wonders. Milton recalls Christ's alleged frustration with the Pharisees, saying, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But no sign will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matthew 13: 39).

stand. The Son's command to stand echoes the final line of Milton's Sonnet 19.

to other hand belongs. That is, "to the Son."

Vengeance is his. God's vengeance is a major theme of the Hebrew Scriptures. You can search for examples using the Bible Gateway search engine. Paul repeats this theme in Romans 12: 19.

I alone. Whereas Satan and even Hesiod's heroic Zeus fight with all their power in the midst of their armies, the Son will battle Satan's whole army single-handed. Milton is fond of celebrating the triumph of the one just man.

the Four. The cherubim of lines 753-754.

Empyrean. Of the sphere of highest heaven (OED2).

Distinct with eyes. The Son's chariot is festooned with eyes. Raphael invites us to imagine the demise of the rebel angels as effected largely by the gaze of the Son and his cherubic servants, as if their eyes alone were the arrows of their ruin, and the Son's ire, and thunderous threats. Satan and his army "fall" without ever being really struck by anything but looks and sounds.

Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fall'n. Similar to the decriptions of Adam after the Fall.

Goats. This allusion also prefigures the last judgment (as described in Matthew 25: 32), when Christ will separate "the sheep from the goats" and drive the goats from him, into the fire.

headlong themselves they threw. See William Blake's 1808 watercolor illustration of these lines.

Nine dayes. Milton compares the falling angels to the Titans, who challenged the Gods of Olympia. In Hesiod's Theogony 664-735, the Titans fell for nine days before they reached the underworld.

mural breach. The opening in the wall.

Triumphant. The palm branches and songs of triumph suggest the image of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem shortly before his crucifixion (Matthew 21: 8-11).

Thy weaker. Eve who, though present during Raphael's story, is spoken of as though absent. Perhaps she is clearing the food and dishes. The phrase "thy weaker" comes from 1 Peter 3: 7 where a "wife" is referred to as "the weaker vessel."