bad success. Success is meant in the most literal archaic sense of "outcome," but Milton may not be above suggesting a notion of sinister oxymoron following the "evil be thou my good" vein (Paradise Lost 4.110).

what. Anything.

salve his credit. The metaphor invites us to imagine credit as wounded. "Salve" is replaced by "save" in the 1680 text, changing somewhat the image presented by the line.

Vain battry. Milton echoes here a long history of epic similes that liken military attacks to insects or to birds. Ariosto likened the Moors' attack on the Christian fortress to flies around a bowl of milk or starlings around ripe grapes (Orlando Furioso 14.109; use "CIX"). The flies swarming over milk simile comes from Homer's (Iliad 16. 641 and 2.469); Spenser uses it to allegorize temptations (Faerie Queene 2.9.51; use "flyes"). The "surging waves" of line 18 recall Iliad 15.618-621.

Septentrion. Northerly winds; coming from the direction of the Ursa major constellation (which includes the North Star).

a river. The Tiber. The Imperial City is Rome.

Parallax. Optical illusion; witch lore taught that the devil could make things appear out of nothing; see Marlowe's Doctor Faustus.

Queen of the Earth. In Revelation 18: 7, John records the condemnation of Babylon; it was commonplace to regard Rome as a second Babylon and Protestants regarded the Roman Catholic Church as the whore of Babylon condemned in the book of Revelation.

Tarpeian rock. A steep cliff of the Capitoline Hill where the citadel was built.

Mount Palatine. One of the seven hills of Rome; "Mount" may be mildly sarcastic.

conflux. Flowing together.

Pretors. Roman Magistrates.

Lictors. Attendants of Roman officials that enforced authority; they carried fasces, or bundles of sticks (Milton's "rods") that symbolized Imperial authority.

Cohorts. A tenth of a legion.

turmes. Squadrons of about thirty horse.

Appian Road. The Appian Way, named after Appius Claudius; the main road from Rome to Brundisium.

Æmilian. The Via Aemilia, named after the Consul Aemilius, was the road from Placentia to Ariminum on the Adriatic coast.

Syene. Now Aswan, a city on the lower Nile.

Meroe Nilotic Isle. Capital of ancient Ethiopia, a city surrounded by the lower reaches of the White and Blue Nile; "Nilotic" means simply "of the Nile."

realm of Bocchus. Modern day Morocco. The Blackmoor Sea denotes the Mediterranean off Morocco's coast.

Chersoness. Chersonese, a peninsula; in this case the Malay peninsula, said by Josephus (Antiquities 8.6.4) to have been the source of Solomon's gold" (Orgel & Goldberg 937). See also Paradise Lost 11.392.

Taprobane. Ceylon (Sri Lanka) or Sumatra, thought to be the easternmost island on the globe. See Orlando Furioso 15.17.

Gallia. Gaul is France; Gades is Cadiz; British West is probably the Roman province of Brittany in northern France.

Line 79-80. Germans, Scythians, and Sarmathians were the three "barbaraic" tribes that vexed Roman imperial ambitions. The Tauric pool is the Sea of Azov, north of the Black Sea. Scythian tribes lived just to the north of it and Sarmathians further north still. The Tauri lived in the Crimea.

justly may'st prefer. Satan is transparently mendacious on this score; see 3.361-364.

Kingdoms of the world. See Matthew 4: 8 and Luke 4: 5 for gospel accounts of this temptation; see also Revelation 11: 15. In the 1680 text, "Kingdoms" is not capitalized, but "world" is.

This Emperour. Tiberius Caesar ruled from 14-37; his sons died before he retired to a life of reputed debauchery at Capri. Sejanus gained power in his absence. His chosen successor was Caligula.

Favourite. This refers to Lucius Aelius Sejanus. See Tacitus' Annals 6. See also Ben Jonson's Sejanus.

Is given. See Luke 4: 6.

luxury. Not just riches is meant here, but the vice of luxury.

magnificence. Milton means specifically magnificence as defined by Aristotle; see Nicomachean Ethics 1122a-1123a.

Cittron tables. Aromatic wood from North Africa was prized for household furniture; see Pliny's Natural History 13.15.29.

Atlantic stone. Perhaps marble from near Mount Atlas?

Setia, Cales, and Falerne. Famous Roman vineyards.

Chios and Crete. Famous Greek vineyards prized by Romans; see Horace's Odes 3.19.5.

Myrrhine. Fine porcelain made from murra, a rare clay.

complements. Possibly a misprint for "compliments" though it may also be simply a variant spelling. See Shawcross in Flannagan xix.

Outlandish. A pun, as the word can mean either "foreign" or "ridiculous." The above passage on embassies is no doubt informed by Milton's experience as Cromwell's Latin Secretary.

Peeling. Pillaging.

Deservedly made vassal. Milton taught that tyranny was the outward political expression of an inward and personal condition of intemperance or enslavement of one's reason to bodily desires (see line 146 below). See Paradise Lost 12.84-105 and The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates.

the daily Scene effeminate. The "daily scene" refers to all the kinds of shows produced daily at the Roman colliseum, including gladiatorial combat and convicts thrown to hungry beasts. Milton alleges that daily exposure to such scenes not only enures one to blood (140) but will "effeminate" or "make womanish" otherwise manly warriors. According to this view any activity that allows the passions and affections, especially bodily desires, to take precedence over reason tends to "effeminate" a man. See Paradise Lost 11.635 and Samson 410 and 562. See also the OED2.

like a tree. Echoes Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Daniel 4: 10-12, read by Christian hermeneuts as foretelling Christ's kingdom.

a stone. Echoes the prophetic dream of Daniel 2: 34-44., considered by Christian hermeneuts to foretell Christ's triumph.

shall be no end. Echoes Luke 1: 33.

giv'n to me. See Luke 4: 6.

only him shalt serve. See Deuteronomy 6: 13.

Get thee behind me. Echoes Luke 4: 8.

Sons of God. See Job 1: 6.

Tetrarchs. A subordinate ruler, originally of one quarter of a larger principality, hence the term "tetrarch". Satan is the ruler of the powers of the air, subordinate to God who rules all things.

Alone into the Temple. See the narrative of young Jesus in the Temple at Jerusalem in Luke 2: 41-50.

Moses Chair. See Matthew 23:2.

Pentateuch. The first five books of the Hebrew scriptures, known as Torah and supposed to have been written by Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.

To admiration. That is, to an admirable, even astonishing, degree.

Idolisms. That is, their idolatry.

specular Mount. That is, this mount whence we see all the kingdoms of the world, but may also imply the mount and the views it affords are delusions, specular, "glamourous" in the sense used to describe magic or sleights of hand (see the OED2's first sense).

Academe. An olive grove north of Athens where Plato taught his students as they walked; it became known as the academy.

Attic Bird. Nightingales were profuse in Athens, and were sometimes called "Attica avis."

Hymettus. The river Ilissus originates on the slopes of Mt. Hymettus — famous for its honey — and flows through Athens.

Alexander. Aristotle was Alexander's tutor; his school was called the Lyceum, the name of a park east of the city where, like Plato, teacher and student learned while strolling; hence the name "peripatetics" or "strollers.

painted Stoa. The stoa, or porch over the market at Athens was painted with frescoes by Polygnotus and was the site of public debate. See Pausanias' Description of Greece 1.15. The Stoics were named for the stoa.

Æolian charms. Aeolian songs (charms, carmina) and Dorian odes were the two chief forms of Attic lyric poetry; Sappho and Alcaeus exemplify the first and Pindar the second.

Melesigenes. An epithet for Homer, who according to one legend was born near the river Meles in Ionia. "There is an epigram in the Greek Anthology quoting Phoebus Apollo as saying, 'The song is mine, but divine Homer wrote it down'(9.455)" (Flannagan 771).

Chorus or Iambic. Greek tragedy was usually composed in iambic trimeter; the metrics of choruses varied more widely. For Milton's sense of classical tragedy, see the preface to Samson Agonistes.

Lines 267-71 The implication is that great orators, like Pericles or Demosthenes for example, could "weild" or rule Athens (that fierce democracy) with their rhetoric. Aristophanes' play, Acharnians 531, depicts Pericles haranguing the Athenians as Sparta attacked the city.

low-rooft house. Socrates is imagined as a poor but honest commoner.

Wisest of men. See Plato's Apology 21 for the story of Chaerephon consulting the Delphic oracle.

aught. This may be a misprint for "ought" or merely a variant spelling.

that he nothing knew. That is, Socrates, who said that he knew nothing: Apology 23a-23b.

The next. Plato, who invented dialogues that could never have taken place (Symposium) and fables like that of Atalntis.

A third. Pyrrhon of Elis whose followers were called pyrrhonists or skeptics. He taught that no knowledge was reliable.

Lines 297-8. In his Nicomachean Ethics 1098b-1099b, Aristotle says that it is best for pleasure and external goods to accompany virtue and that they normally do.

perfect in himself. See also Paradise Lost 8.415 (Adam to God), or 8.642 (Raphael to Adam).

many books. See Ecclesiastes 12: 12.

pibles. Pebbles. The Rauner copy of 1671 italicizes the "i" in pibles.

Harps in Babylon. See Psalm 137: 1-3.

Lines 346-50. See Sir Philip Sidney's The Defence of Poesie, in which he describes David's Psalms as vatic (prophetic) poetry.

I read aught in Heaven. That is, Satan is reading Jesus's horoscope.

Real or Allegoric. Flanagan suggests that this use of the word "allegoric" indicates Milton's disdain for allegory. I think it indicates something different. Milton portrays Satan as confused about allegory and reality in much the same way Protestants accused Jews of being confused and stubbornly literal-minded. Since Jesus's kingdom is "not of this world," Satan considers it "allegoric" because he holds this world to be reality; but to Protestant Christians, the "next world" of Christ's kingdom is the "real" world, and this present world but a dim shadow of that. See Luxon, Literal Figures.

Disturb'd his sleep. As he did with Eve in Paradise Lost 4.799-809.

either Tropic. Both the northern and the southern skies.

the four hinges. The four cardinal compass points.

amice. An amice was once the first piece of liturgical clothing put on by a priest or deacon preparing himself for mass. It formed a kind of small hood or collar that protected other vestments from contact with the skin.

As Earth and Skie would mingle. This echoes Virgil's description of a storm in the Aeneid 1. 133-4.

pillar'd frame of Heaven. See Job 26:11.

line 487. The semi-colon does not appear in the copy-text, but has been supplied from state 2 of signature H (according to Fletcher 4.31) because it apparently is needed. In the Rauner Library copy, this correction appears in ink.

line 496. The semicolon after "will" has been supplied as it appears in the second state of this signature (according to Fletcher 4.31). So also the semicolon after "desist" has been changed to a comma. In the Rauner Library copy, these corrections appear in ink.

storm'st refus'd. That is, "you storm and rage having been so persistently refused."

All men are Sons of God. Yes, in fact they are, if one traces the genealogy back far enough. See Luke 3:23-38.

Adversary. The name Satan means "adversary," but Satan applies the word to Jesus, much as in "Evil, be thou my good" (Paradise Lost 4.110).

parl. Parley.

sift. See Luke 22:31.

Hippogrif. Heroes in other epic poems ride on hippogrifs or other monsters; see Geryon in Dante's Inferno 17 or the "hippogryph" in Ariosto's Orlando Furioso 4.18.

glorious Temple. The Temple built by Herod the Great on the site of Solomon's temple. Josephus describes it as white like snow and topped with spires in Jewish War 5.5.6: "But this temple appeared to strangers, when they were coming to it at a distance, like a mountain covered with snow; for as to those parts of it that were not gilt, they were exceeding white. On its top it had spikes with sharp points, to prevent any pollution of it by birds sitting upon it."

For it is written. Psalm 91:11-12.

Lines 557-559. These lines follow Luke 4:10-11 and Matthew 4:6.

Tempt not the Lord thy God. Deuteronomy 6:16.

Antæus. Antaeus is the son of Gaiea, the Earth; Alcides is Hercules, son of Jove whose maternal grandfather was Alcaeus. According to legend, when they wrestled, Antaeus received renewed vigor each time he touched the earth (his mother) so Hercules defeated him by holding him off the ground and strangling him.

Theban Monster. The Sphinx, who had the head and breast of a woman, the tail of a serpent, the body of a dog, wings of a bird, the paws of a lion, and the voice of a human, devoured all who could not answer her riddle until Oedipus solved it. See Hesiod's Theogony 326 and Pausanias' History of Greece 9.26. Christopher Hill points out that the answer to the sphinx's riddle was "man," just as Jesus (as man) has defeated the "riddling" Satan here.

Globe. Latin globus: a full assembly in a compact body.

Ambrosial. The food of the Olympian gods was said to be ambrosia, but here the adjective more likely means food fit for a god, not the food the Olympians allegedly ate. In Paradise Lost 5.433 Raphael finds the fruit of Eden food fit for god-like appetite. "Ambrosial" is also used in A Mask 16 and Paradise Lost 2.245.

debel. Subdue; Latin: debellare superbos as in Virgil's Aeneid 6. 853: "tame the proud."

Supplanted Adam. 1 Corinthians 15:22.

snares are broke. See Psalm 124:7.

fairer Paradise. See Paradise Lost 12.587.

Temptation. Not capitalized in the 1680 edition. This agrees with line 595, above.

Autumnal Star. Probably a shooting star or meteorite, plentiful in autumn in the northern hemishpere.

Lightning. See Luke 10:18.

trod down. Malachi 4:3.

Thy wound. Satan's wound to the head. See Genesis 3:15.

Abaddon. Hell. See Revelation 9:11.

Line 629. Plea of the devils in Matthew 8:29. see also Luke 8:26-33.

Mothers. Note that Samson's body, at the close of Samson Agonistes (1732-33), is brought back to his father's house.