Coasting the wall of Heaven on this side Night

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Senior Member
from Paradise Lost

........................ he then survey'd
Hell and the gulf between, and Satan there
Coasting the wall of Heaven on this side Night
In the dun air sublime, and ready now
To stoop with wearied wings, and willing feet,

Could somebody explain this part of the line? Not that I'm sure what it would mean, but why not "on this side of Night"?
Thanks in advance
  • Truffula

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    From Dartmouth's gloss "on this side Night" means "On this side (the day side) of night. On the other side of Eternal Night is Chaos. The air through which Satan flies is 'dun' because some of the light of the empyrean penetrates it."

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    ... why not "on this side of Night"?...
    That wouldn't fit the scansion. These are ten-syllable lines, with Heav'n pronounced at a monosyllable. You need to speak Milton's verse out loud to properly appreciate him (as he did himself of course - he was blind and dictated this work from memory).
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