. . . Searchable Paradise Lost
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~ BOOK I ~

  1. Of manís first disobedience, and the fruit
  2. Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
  3. Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
  4. With loss of Eden, till one greater man
  5. Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
  6. Sing heavenly muse, that on the secret top
  7. Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
  8. That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed,
  9. In the beginning how the heavens and earth
  10. Rose out of chaos: Or if Sion hill
  11. Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flowed
  12. Fast by the oracle of God; I thence
  13. Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song,
  14. That with no middle flight intends to soar
  15. Above the Aonian mount, while it pursues
  16. Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.
  17. And chiefly thou Oh spirit, that dost prefer
  18. Before all temples the upright heart and pure,
  19. Instruct me, for thou knowest; thou from the first
  20. Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread
  21. Dove-like satst brooding on the vast abyss
  22. And mad'st it pregnant: What in me is dark
  23. Illumine, what is low raise and support;
  24. That to the heighth of this great argument
  25. I may assert eternal providence,
  26. And justify the ways of God to men.
  27. Say first, for Heaven hides nothing from thy view
  28. Nor the deep tract of Hell, say first what cause
  29. Moved our grand parents in that happy state,
  30. Favored of Heaven so highly, to fall off
  31. From their Creator, and transgress his will
  32. For one restraint, lords of the world besides?
  33. Who first seduced them to that foul revolt?
  34. The infernal serpent; he it was, whose guile
  35. Stirred up with envy and revenge, deceived
  36. The mother of mankind, what time his pride
  37. Had cast him out from Heaven, with all his host
  38. Of rebel angels, by whose aid aspiring
  39. To set himself in glory above his peers,
  40. He trusted to have equaled the most high,
  41. If he opposed; and with ambitious aim
  42. Against the throne and monarchy of God
  43. Raised impious war in Heaven and battle proud
  44. With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power
  45. Hurled headlong flaming from the ethereal sky
  46. With hideous ruin and combustion down
  47. To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
  48. In adamantine chains and penal fire,
  49. Who durst defy the Omnipotent to arms.
  50. Nine times the space that measures day and night
  51. To mortal men, he with his horrid crew
  52. Lay vanquished, rolling in the fiery gulf
  53. Confounded though immortal: But his doom
  54. Reserved him to more wrath; for now the thought
  55. Both of lost happiness and lasting pain
  56. Torments him; round he throws his baleful eyes
  57. That witnessed huge affliction and dismay
  58. Mixed with obdurate pride and steadfast hate:
  59. At once as far as angels ken he views
  60. The dismal situation waste and wild,
  61. A dungeon horrible, on all sides round
  62. As one great furnace flamed, yet from those flames
  63. No light, but rather darkness visible
  64. Served only to discover sights of woe,
  65. Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
  66. And rest can never dwell, hope never comes
  67. That comes to all; but torture without end
  68. Still urges, and a fiery Deluge, fed
  69. With ever-burning sulfur unconsumed:
  70. Such place eternal justice had prepared
  71. For those rebellious, here their prison ordained
  72. In utter darkness, and their portion set
  73. As far removed from God and light of Heaven
  74. As from the center thrice to the utmost pole.
  75. Oh how unlike the place from whence they fell!
  76. There the companions of his fall, overwhelmed
  77. With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire,
  78. He soon discerns, and weltering by his side
  79. One next himself in power, and next in crime,
  80. Long after known in Palestine, and named
  81. Beelzebub. To whom the arch-enemy,
  82. And thence in Heaven called Satan, with bold words
  83. Breaking the horrid silence thus began.
  84. If thou beest he; But oh how fallen! how changed
  85. From him, who in the happy realms of light
  86. Clothed with transcendent brightness didst outshine
  87. Myriads though bright: If he whom mutual league,
  88. United thoughts and counsels, equal hope
  89. And hazard in the glorious enterprise,
  90. Joined with me once, now misery hath joined
  91. In equal ruin: into what pit thou seest
  92. From what heighth fallen, so much the stronger proved
  93. He with his thunder: and till then who knew
  94. The force of those dire arms? yet not for those,
  95. Nor what the Potent Victor in his rage
  96. Can else inflict, do I repent or change,
  97. Though changed in outward luster; that fixed mind
  98. And high disdain, from sense of injured merit,
  99. That with the mightiest raised me to contend,
  100. And to the fierce contention brought along
  101. Innumerable force of spirits armed
  102. That durst dislike his reign, and me preferring,
  103. His utmost power with adverse power opposed
  104. In dubious battle on the plains of Heaven,
  105. And shook his throne. What though the field be lost?
  106. All is not lost; the unconquerable will,
  107. And study of revenge, immortal hate,
  108. And courage never to submit or yield:
  109. And what is else not to be overcome?
  110. That glory never shall his wrath or might
  111. Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace
  112. With suppliant knee, and deify his power,
  113. Who from the terror of this arm so late
  114. Doubted his empire, that were low indeed,
  115. That were an ignominy and shame beneath
  116. This downfall; since by fate the strength of gods
  117. And this empyreal substance cannot fail,
  118. Since through experience of this great event
  119. In arms not worse, in foresight much advanced,
  120. We may with more successful hope resolve
  121. To wage by force or guile eternal war
  122. Irreconcilable, to our grand Foe,
  123. Who now triumphs, and in the excess of joy
  124. Sole reigning holds the tyranny of Heaven.
  125. So spake the apostate angel, though in pain,
  126. Vaunting aloud, but racked with deep despair:
  127. And him thus answered soon his bold Compeer.
  128. Oh Prince, Oh chief of many throned powers,
  129. That led the embattled seraphim to war
  130. Under thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds
  131. Fearless, endangered Heavenís perpetual King;
  132. And put to proof his high supremacy,
  133. Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate,
  134. Too well I see and rue the dire event,
  135. That with sad overthrow and foul defeat
  136. Hath lost us Heaven, and all this mighty host
  137. In horrible destruction laid thus low,
  138. As far as gods and heavenly essences
  139. Can perish: for the mind and spirit remains
  140. Invincible, and vigor soon returns,
  141. Though all our glory extinct, and happy state
  142. Here swallowed up in endless misery.
  143. But what if he our Conqueror, (whom I now
  144. Of force believe Almighty, since no less
  145. Then such could have overpowered such force as ours)
  146. Have left us this our spirit and strength entire
  147. Strongly to suffer and support our pains,
  148. That we may so suffice his vengeful ire,
  149. Or do him mightier service as his thralls
  150. By right of war, what e're his business be
  151. Here in the heart of Hell to work in fire,
  152. Or do his errands in the gloomy deep;
  153. What can it then avail though yet we feel
  154. Strength undiminished, or eternal being
  155. To undergo eternal punishment?
  156. Whereto with speedy words the arch-fiend replied.
  157. Fallen Cherub, to be weak is miserable
  158. Doing or suffering: but of this be sure,
  159. To do ought good never will be our task,
  160. But ever to do ill our sole delight,
  161. As being the contrary to his high will
  162. Whom we resist. If then his providence
  163. Out of our evil seek to bring forth good,
  164. Our labor must be to pervert that end,
  165. And out of good still to find means of evil;
  166. Which oft times may succeed, so as perhaps
  167. Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb
  168. His inmost counsels from their destined aim.
  169. But see the angry Victor hath recalled
  170. His ministers of vengeance and pursuit
  171. Back to the gates of Heaven: The sulfurous hail
  172. Shot after us in storm, overblown hath laid
  173. The fiery Surge, that from the precipice
  174. Of Heaven received us falling, and the thunder,
  175. Winged with red lightning and impetuous rage,
  176. Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now
  177. To bellow through the vast and boundless deep.
  178. Let us not slip the occasion, whether scorn,
  179. Or satiate fury yield it from our foe.
  180. Seest thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild,
  181. The seat of desolation, void of light,
  182. Save what the glimmering of these livid flames
  183. Casts pale and dreadful? Thither let us tend
  184. From off the tossing of these fiery waves,
  185. There rest, if any rest can harbor there,
  186. And reassembling our afflicted powers,
  187. Consult how we may henceforth most offend
  188. Our enemy, our own loss how repair,
  189. How overcome this dire calamity,
  190. What reinforcement we may gain from hope,
  191. If not what resolution from despair.
  192. Thus Satan talking to his nearest mate
  193. With head up-lift above the wave, and eyes
  194. That sparkling blazed, his other parts besides
  195. Prone on the flood, extended long and large
  196. Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge
  197. As whom the fables name of monstrous size,
  198. Titanian, or Earth-born, that warís on Jove,
  199. Briareos or Typhon, whom the Den
  200. By ancient Tarsus held, or that sea-beast
  201. Leviathan, which God of all his works
  202. Created hugest that swim the Ocean stream:
  203. Him haply slumbering on the Norway foam
  204. The Pilot of some small night-foundered skiff,
  205. Deeming some island, oft, as sea-men tell,
  206. With fixed anchor in his scaly rind
  207. Moors by his side under the lee, while night
  208. Invests the sea, and wished morn delays:
  209. So stretched out huge in length the Arch-fiend lay
  210. Chained on the burning lake, nor ever thence
  211. Had risen or heaved his head, but that the will
  212. And high permission of all-ruling Heaven
  213. Left him at large to his own dark designs,
  214. That with reiterated crimes he might
  215. Heap on himself damnation, while he sought
  216. Evil to others, and enraged might see
  217. How all his malice served but to bring forth
  218. Infinite goodness, grace and mercy shown
  219. On man by him seduced, but on himself
  220. Treble confusion, wrath and vengeance poured.
  221. Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool
  222. His mighty stature; on each hand the flames
  223. Driven backward slope their pointing spires, and rolled
  224. In billows, leave in the midst a horrid vale.
  225. Then with expanded wings he steers his flight
  226. Aloft, incumbent on the dusky air
  227. That felt unusual weight, till on dry Land
  228. He lights, if it were land that ever burned
  229. With solid, as the lake with liquid fire;
  230. And such appeared in hue, as when the force
  231. Of subterranean wind transports a hill
  232. Torn from Pelorus, or the shattered side
  233. Of thundering Aetna, whose combustible
  234. And fueled entrails thence conceiving fire,
  235. Sublimed with mineral fury, aid the winds,
  236. And leave a singed bottom all involved
  237. With stench and smoke: Such resting found the sole
  238. Of unblest feet. Him followed his next mate,
  239. Both glorying to have escaped the Stygian flood
  240. As gods, and by their own recovered strength,
  241. Not by the sufferance of supernal Power.
  242. Is this the Region, this the soil, the clime,
  243. Said then the lost archangel, this the seat
  244. That we must change for Heaven, this mournful gloom
  245. For that celestial light? Be it so, since he
  246. Who now is sovran can dispose and bid
  247. What shall be right: farthest from him is best
  248. Whom reason hath equaled, force hath made supreme
  249. Above his equals. Farewell happy fields
  250. Where joy for ever dwells: Hail horrors, hail
  251. Infernal world, and thou profoundest Hell
  252. Receive thy new possessor: One who brings
  253. A mind not to be changed by place or time.
  254. The mind is its own place, and in itself
  255. Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.
  256. What matter where, if I be still the same,
  257. And what I should be, all but less then he
  258. Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at least
  259. We shall be free; the Almighty hath not built
  260. Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
  261. Here we may reign secure, and in my choice
  262. To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
  263. Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heaven.
  264. But wherefore let we then our faithful friends,
  265. The associates and copartners of our loss
  266. Lie thus astonished on the oblivious pool,
  267. And call them not to share with us their part
  268. In this unhappy mansion, or once more
  269. With rallied arms to try what may be yet
  270. Regained in Heaven, or what more lost in Hell?
  271. So Satan spake, and him Beelzebub
  272. Thus answered. Leader of those armies bright,
  273. Which but the Omnipotent none could have foiled,
  274. If once they hear that voice, their liveliest pledge
  275. Of hope in fears and dangers, heard so oft
  276. In worst extremes, and on the perilous edge
  277. Of battle when it raged, in all assaults
  278. Their surest signal, they will soon resume
  279. New courage and revive, though now they lye
  280. Groveling and prostrate on yon lake of fire,
  281. As we erewhile, astounded and amazed,
  282. No wonder, fallen such a pernicious heighth.
  283. He scarce had ceased when the superior Fiend
  284. Was moving toward the shore; his ponderous shield
  285. Ethereal temper, massy, large and round,
  286. Behind him cast; the broad circumference
  287. Hung on his shoulders like the moon, whose orb
  288. Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views
  289. At evening from the top of Fesole,
  290. Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands,
  291. Rivers or mountains in her spotty globe.
  292. His Spear, to equal which the tallest pine
  293. Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mast
  294. Of some great admiral, were but a wand,
  295. He walked with to support uneasy steps
  296. Over the burning marle, not like those steps
  297. On Heavenís azure, and the torrid clime
  298. Smote on him sore besides, vaulted with fire;
  299. Nathless he so endured, till on the beach
  300. Of that inflamed sea, he stood and called
  301. His Legions, angel forms, who lay entranced
  302. Thick as autumnal leaves that strew the brooks
  303. In Vallombrosa, where the Etrurian shades
  304. High overarched embower; or scattered sedge
  305. Afloat, when with fierce winds Orion armed
  306. Hath vexed the Red Sea coast, whose waves overthrew
  307. Busiris and his Memphian chivalry,
  308. While with perfidious hatred they pursued
  309. The sojourners of Goshen, who beheld
  310. From the safe shore their floating carcasses
  311. And broken chariot wheels, so thick bestrown
  312. Abject and lost lay these, covering the flood,
  313. Under amazement of their hideous change.
  314. He called so loud, that all the hollow deep
  315. Of Hell resounded. Princes, Potentates,
  316. Warriors, the flower of Heaven, once yours, now lost,
  317. If such astonishment as this can seize
  318. Eternal spirits; or have ye chosen this place
  319. After the toil of battle to repose
  320. Your wearied virtue, for the ease you find
  321. To slumber here, as in the vales of Heaven?
  322. Or in this abject posture have ye sworn
  323. To adore the Conqueror? who now beholds
  324. Cherub and seraph rolling in the flood
  325. With scattered arms and ensigns, till anon
  326. His swift pursuers from Heaven gates discern
  327. The advantage, and descending tread us down
  328. Thus drooping, or with linked thunderbolts
  329. Transfix us to the bottom of this gulf.
  330. Awake, arise, or be for ever fallen.
  331. They heard, and were abashed, and up they sprung
  332. Upon the wing, as when men wont to watch
  333. On duty, sleeping found by whom they dread,
  334. Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake.
  335. Nor did they not perceive the evil plight
  336. In which they were, or the fierce pains not feel;
  337. Yet to their generalís voice they soon obeyed
  338. Innumerable. As when the potent rod
  339. Of Amrams son in Egyptís evil day
  340. Waved round the coast, up called a pitchy cloud
  341. Of locusts, warping on the eastern wind,
  342. That ore the realm of impious Pharaoh hung
  343. Like night, and darkened all the land of Nile:
  344. So numberless were those bad angels seen
  345. Hovering on wing under the cope of Hell
  346. edwixt upper, nether, and surrounding fires;
  347. Till, as a signal given, the uplifted spear
  348. Of their great sultan waving to direct
  349. Their course, in even balance down they light
  350. On the firm brimstone, and fill all the plain;
  351. A multitude, like which the populous north
  352. Poured never from her frozen loins, to pass
  353. Rhene or the Danaw, when her barbarous sons
  354. Came like a deluge on the south, and spread
  355. Beneath Gibraltar to the Libyan sands.
  356. Forthwith from every squadron and each band
  357. The heads and leaders thither hast where stood
  358. Their great commander; godlike shapes and forms
  359. Excelling human, princely dignities,
  360. And powers that erst in Heaven sat on thrones;
  361. Though of their names in heavenly records now
  362. Be no memorial blotted out and rased
  363. By their rebellion, from the Books of Life.
  364. Nor had they yet among the sons of Eve
  365. Got them new names, till wandering ore the Earth,
  366. Through Godís high sufferance for the trial of man,
  367. By falsities and lies the greatest part
  368. Of mankind they corrupted to forsake
  369. God their Creator, and the invisible
  370. Glory of him that made them, to transform
  371. Oft to the image of a brute, adorned
  372. With gay religions full of pomp and gold,
  373. And devils to adore for deities:
  374. Then were they known to men by various names,
  375. And various idols through the heathen world.
  376. Say, Muse, their names then known, who first, who last,
  377. Roused from the slumber, on that fiery couch,
  378. At their great emperorís call, as next in worth
  379. Came singly where he stood on the bare strand,
  380. While the promiscuous crowd stood yet aloof?
  381. The chief were those who from the pit of Hell
  382. Roaming to seek their prey on Earth, durst fix
  383. Their seats long after next the seat of God,
  384. Their altars by his altar, gods adored
  385. Among the nations round, and durst abide
  386. Jehovah thundering out of Sion, throned
  387. Between the cherubim; yea, often placed
  388. Within his sanctuary it self their shrines,
  389. Abominations; and with cursed things
  390. His holy rites, and solemn feasts profaned,]
  391. And with their darkness durst affront his light.
  392. First Moloch, horrid king besmeared with blood
  393. Of human sacrifice, and parents tears,
  394. Though for the noise of drums and timbrels loud
  395. Their childrenís cries unheard, that past through fire
  396. To his grim idol. Him the Ammonite
  397. Worshipped in Rabba and her watery plain,
  398. In Argob and in Basan, to the stream
  399. Of utmost Arnon. Nor content with such
  400. Audacious neighborhood, the wisest heart
  401. Of Solomon he led by fraud to build
  402. His temple right against the temple of God
  403. On that opprobrious hill, and made his grove
  404. The pleasant Valley of Hinnom, Tophet thence
  405. And black Gehenna called, the type of Hell.
  406. Next Chemos, the obscene dread of Moabís sons,
  407. From Aroar to Nebo, and the wild
  408. Of Southmost Abarim; in Hesebon
  409. And Horonaim, Seonís realm, beyond
  410. The flowery dale of Sibma clad with vines,
  411. And Eleale to the Asphaltic pool.
  412. Peor his other name, when he enticed
  413. Israel in Sittim on their march from Nile
  414. To do him wanton rites, which cost them woe.
  415. Yet thence his lustful orgies he enlarged
  416. Even to that hill of scandal, by the grove
  417. Of Moloch homicide, lust hard by hate;
  418. Till good Josiah drove them thence to Hell.
  419. With these came they, who from the bordering flood
  420. Of old Euphrates to the brook that parts
  421. Egypt from Syrian ground, had general names
  422. Of Baalim and Ashtaroth, those male,
  423. These feminine. For spirits when they please
  424. Can either sex assume, or both; so soft
  425. And uncompounded is their essence pure,
  426. Not tied or manacled with joint or limb,
  427. Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones,
  428. Like cumbrous flesh; but in what shape they choose
  429. Dilated or condensed, bright or obscure,
  430. Can execute their aerie purposes,
  431. And works of love or enmity fulfill.
  432. For those the race of Israel oft forsook
  433. Their living strength, and unfrequented left
  434. His righteous altar, bowing lowly down
  435. To bestial gods; for which their heads as low
  436. Bowed down in battle, sunk before the spear
  437. Of despicable foes. With these in troop
  438. Came Astoreth, whom the Phoenicians called
  439. Astarte, queen of Heaven, with crescent horns;
  440. To whose bright image nightly by the moon
  441. Sidonian virgins paid their vows and songs,
  442. In Sion also not unsung, where stood
  443. Her temple on the offensive mountain, built
  444. By that uxorious king, whose heart though large,
  445. Beguiled by fair idolatresses, fell
  446. To Idols foul. Thammuz came next behind,
  447. Whose annual wound in Lebanon allured
  448. The Syrian damsels to lament his fate
  449. In amorous ditties all a summerís day,
  450. While smooth Adonis from his native rock
  451. Ran purple to the sea, supposed with blood
  452. Of Thammuz yearly wounded: the love-tale
  453. Infected Sionís daughters with like heat,
  454. Whose wanton passions in the sacred porch
  455. Ezekiel saw, when by the vision led
  456. His eye surveyed the dark idolatries
  457. Of alienated Judah. Next came one
  458. Who mourned in earnest, when the captive Ark
  459. Maimed his brute image, head and hands lopped off
  460. In his own temple, on the grunsel edge,
  461. Where he fell flat, and shamed his worshipers:
  462. Dagon his name, sea monster, upward man
  463. And downward fish: yet had his temple high
  464. Reared in Azotus, dreaded through the coast
  465. Of Palestine, in Gath and Ascalon
  466. And Accaron and Gaza's frontier bounds.
  467. Him followed Rimmon, whose delightful seat
  468. Was fair Damascus, on the fertile banks
  469. Of Abbana and Pharphar, lucid streams.
  470. He also against the house of God was bold:
  471. A leper once he lost and gained a king,
  472. Ahaz his sottish conqueror, whom he drew
  473. Gods altar to disparage and displace
  474. For one of Syrian mode, whereon to burn
  475. His odious offerings, and adore the gods
  476. Whom he had vanquished. After these appeared
  477. A crew who under names of old renown,
  478. Osiris, Isis, Orus and their train
  479. With monstrous shapes and sorceries abused
  480. Fanatic Egypt and her priests, to seek
  481. Their wandering gods disguised in brutish forms
  482. Rather then human. Nor did Israel escape
  483. The infection when their borrowed gold composed
  484. The calf in Oreb: and the rebel king
  485. Doubled that sin in Bethel and in Dan,
  486. Likening his Maker to the grazed ox,
  487. Jehovah, who in one night when he passed
  488. From Egypt marching, equaled with one stroke
  489. Both her first born and all her bleating gods.
  490. Belial came last, then whom a spirit more lewd
  491. Fell not from Heaven, or more gross to love
  492. Vice for itself: To him no temple stood
  493. Or altar smoked; yet who more oft then he
  494. In temples and at altars, when the priest
  495. Turns atheist, as did Ely's sons, who filled
  496. With lust and violence the house of God.
  497. In courts and palaces he also reigns
  498. And in luxurious cities, where the noise
  499. Of riot ascends above their loftiest towers,
  500. And injury and outrage: And when night
  501. Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons
  502. Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine.
  503. Witness the streets of Sodom, and that night
  504. In Gibeah, when the hospitable door
  505. Exposed a matron to avoid worse rape.
  506. These were the prime in order and in might;
  507. The rest were long to tell, though far renowned,
  508. The Ionian gods, of Javanís issue held
  509. Gods, yet confessed later then Heaven and Earth
  510. Their boasted parents; Titan, Heavenís first born,
  511. With his enormous brood, and birthright seized
  512. By younger Saturn, he from mightier Jove
  513. His own and Rhea's son like measure found;
  514. So Jove usurping reigned: these first in Crete
  515. And Ida known, thence on the snowy top
  516. Of cold Olympus ruled the middle air
  517. Their highest Heaven; or on the Delphian cliff,
  518. Or in Dodona, and through all the bounds
  519. Of Doric land; or who with Saturn old
  520. Fled over Adria to the Hesperian fields,
  521. And ore the Celtic roamed the utmost isles.
  522. All these and more came flocking; but with looks
  523. Down cast and damp, yet such wherein appeared
  524. Obscure some glimpse of joy, to have found their chief
  525. Not in despair, to have found themselves not lost
  526. In loss it self; which on his countenance cast
  527. Like doubtful hue: but he his wonted pride
  528. Soon recollecting, with high words, that bore
  529. Semblance of worth, not substance, gently raised
  530. Their fainting courage, and dispelled their fears.
  531. Then strait commands that at the warlike sound
  532. Of trumpets loud and clarions be upreared
  533. His mighty standard; that proud honor claimed
  534. Azazel as his right, a cherub tall:
  535. Who forthwith from the glittering staff unfurled
  536. The imperial ensign, which full high advanced
  537. Shone like a meteor streaming to the wind
  538. With gems and golden luster rich emblazed,
  539. Seraphic arms and trophies: all the while
  540. Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds:
  541. At which the universal host upsent
  542. A shout that tore Hellís concave, and beyond
  543. Frighted the reign of chaos and old night.
  544. All in a moment through the gloom were seen
  545. Ten thousand banners rise into the air
  546. With orient colors waving: with them rose
  547. A forest huge of spears: and thronging helms
  548. Appeared, and serried shields in thick array
  549. Of depth immeasurable: Anon they move
  550. In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood
  551. Of flutes and soft recorders; such as raised
  552. To height of noblest temper hero's old
  553. Arming to battle, and in stead of rage
  554. Deliberate valor breathed, firm and unmoved
  555. With dread of death to flight or foul retreat,
  556. Nor wanting power to mitigate and swage
  557. With solemn touches, troubled thoughts, and chase
  558. Anguish and doubt and fear and sorrow and pain
  559. From mortal or immortal minds. Thus they
  560. Breathing united force with fixed thought
  561. Moved on in silence to soft pipes that charmed
  562. Their painful steps over the burnt soil; and now
  563. Advanced in view, they stand, a horrid front
  564. Of dreadful length and dazzling arms, in guise
  565. Of warriors old with ordered spear and shield,
  566. Awaiting what command their mighty chief
  567. Had to impose: He through the armed files
  568. Darts his experienced eye, and soon traverse
  569. The whole battalion views, their order due,
  570. Their visages and stature as of gods,
  571. Their number last he sums. And now his heart
  572. Distends with pride, and hardening in his strength
  573. Glories: For never since created man,
  574. Met such embodied force, as named with these
  575. Could merit more then that small infantry
  576. Warred on by cranes: though all the giant brood
  577. Of Phlegra with the heroic race were joined
  578. That fought at Thebes and Ilium, on each side
  579. Mixed with auxiliar gods; and what resounds
  580. In fable or romance of Utherís son
  581. Begirt with British and Armoric knights;
  582. And all who since, baptized or infidel
  583. Jousted in Aspramont or Montalban,
  584. Damasco, or Marocco, or Trebisond,
  585. Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore
  586. When Charlemagne with all his peerage fell
  587. By Fontarabbia. Thus far these beyond
  588. Compare of mortal prowess, yet observed
  589. Their dread commander: he above the rest
  590. In shape and gesture proudly eminent
  591. Stood like a tower; his form had yet not lost
  592. All her original brightness, nor appeared
  593. Less then archangel ruined, and the excess
  594. Of glory obscured: As when the sun new risen
  595. Looks through the horizontal misty air
  596. Shorn of his beams, or from behind the moon
  597. In dim eclipse disastrous twilight sheds
  598. On half the nations, and with fear of change
  599. Perplexes monarchs. Darkened so, yet shone
  600. Above them all the archangel: but his face
  601. Deep scars of thunder had intrenched, and care
  602. Sat on his faded cheek, but under brows
  603. Of dauntless courage, and considerate pride
  604. Waiting revenge: cruel his eye, but cast
  605. Signs of remorse and passion to behold
  606. The fellows of his crime, the followers rather
  607. (Far other once beheld in bliss) condemned
  608. For ever now to have their lot in pain,
  609. Millions of spirits for his fault amerced
  610. Of Heaven, and from eternal splendors flung
  611. For his revolt, yet faithful how they stood,
  612. Their glory withered. As when Heavenís fire
  613. Hath scathed the forest oaks, or mountain pines,
  614. With singed top their stately growth though bare
  615. Stands on the blasted heath. He now prepared
  616. To speak; whereat their doubled ranks they bend
  617. From wing to wing, and half enclose him round
  618. With all his peers: attention held them mute.
  619. Thrice he assayed, and thrice in spite of scorn,
  620. Tears such as angels weep, burst forth: at last
  621. Words interwove with sighs found out their way.
  622. Oh Myriads of immortal spirits, Oh powers
  623. Matchless, but with the Almighty, and that strife
  624. Was not inglorious, though the event was dire,
  625. As this place testifies, and this dire change
  626. Hateful to utter: but what power of mind
  627. Foreseeing or presaging, from the depth
  628. Of knowledge past or present, could have feared,
  629. How such united force of gods, how such
  630. As stood like these, could ever know repulse?
  631. For who can yet believe, though after loss,
  632. That all these puissant Legions, whose exile
  633. Hath emptied Heaven, shall fail to re-ascend
  634. Self-raised, and repossess their native seat?
  635. For me be witness all the host of Heaven,
  636. If counsels different, or danger shunned
  637. By me, have lost our hopes. But he who reigns
  638. Monarch in Heaven, till then as one secure
  639. Sat on his throne, upheld by old repute,
  640. Consent or custom, and his regal state
  641. Put forth at full, but still his strength concealed,
  642. Which tempted our attempt, and wrought our fall.
  643. Henceforth his might we know, and know our own
  644. So as not either to provoke, or dread
  645. New war, provoked; our better part remains
  646. To work in close design, by fraud or guile
  647. What force effected not: that he no less
  648. At length from us may find, who overcomes
  649. By force, hath overcome but half his foe.
  650. Space may produce new worlds; whereof so rife
  651. There went a fame in Heaven that he ere long
  652. Intended to create, and therein plant
  653. A generation, whom his choice regard
  654. Should favor equal to the sons of Heaven:
  655. Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhaps
  656. Our first eruption, thither or elsewhere:
  657. For this infernal pit shall never hold
  658. Celestial spirits in bondage, nor the abyss
  659. Long under darkness cover. But these thoughts
  660. Full counsel must mature: Peace is despaired,
  661. For who can think submission? War then, war
  662. Open or understood must be resolved.
  663. He spake: and to confirm his words, out-flew
  664. Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs
  665. Of mighty cherubim; the sudden blaze
  666. Far round illumined hell: highly they raged
  667. Against the Highest, and fierce with grasped arms
  668. Clashed on their sounding shields the din of war,
  669. Hurling defiance toward the vault of Heaven.
  670. There stood a Hill not far whose grisly top
  671. Belched fire and rolling smoke; the rest entire
  672. Shone with a glossy scurf, undoubted sign
  673. That in his womb was hid metallic ore,
  674. The work of sulfur. Thither winged with speed
  675. A numerous brigade hastened. As when bands
  676. Of pioneers with spade and pickax armed
  677. Forerun the royal camp, to trench a field,
  678. Or cast a rampart. Mammon led them on,
  679. Mammon, the least erected spirit that fell
  680. From Heaven, for even in Heaven his looks and thoughts
  681. Were always downward bent, admiring more
  682. The riches of Heavens pavement, trodden gold,
  683. Then aught divine or holy else enjoyed
  684. In vision beatific: by him first
  685. Men also, and by his suggestion taught,
  686. Ransacked the center, and with impious hands
  687. Rifled the bowels of their mother Earth
  688. For treasures better hid. Soon had his crew
  689. Opened into the hill a spacious wound
  690. And digged out ribs of gold. Let none admire
  691. That riches grow in Hell; that soil may best
  692. Deserve the precious bane. And here let those
  693. Who boast in mortal things, and wondering tell
  694. Of Babel, and the works of Memphian kings
  695. Learn how their greatest monuments of fame,
  696. And strength and art are easily out-done
  697. By spirits reprobate, and in an hour
  698. What in an age they with incessant toil
  699. And hands innumerable scarce perform.
  700. Nigh on the plain in many cells prepared,
  701. That underneath had veins of liquid fire
  702. Sluiced from the lake, a second multitude
  703. With wondrous art found out the massy ore,
  704. Severing each kind, and scummed the bullion dross:
  705. A third as soon had formed within the ground
  706. A various mould, and from the boiling cells
  707. By strange conveyance filled each hollow nook,
  708. As in an organ from one blast of wind
  709. To many a row of pipes the sound-board breaths.
  710. Anon out of the earth a fabric huge
  711. Rose like an exhalation, with the sound
  712. Of dulcet symphonies and voices sweet,
  713. Built like a temple, where pilasters round
  714. Were set, and doric pillars overlaid
  715. With golden architrave; nor did there want
  716. Cornice or freeze, with bossy sculptures graven,
  717. The roof was fretted gold. Not Babylon,
  718. Nor great Alcairo such magnificence
  719. Equaled in all their glories, to inshrine
  720. Belus or Serapis their gods, or seat
  721. Their kings, when Egypt with Assyria strove
  722. In wealth and luxury. the ascending pile
  723. Stood fixed her stately heighth, and strait the doors
  724. Opening their brazen folds discover wide
  725. Within, her ample spaces, over the smooth
  726. And level pavement: from the arched roof
  727. Pendant by subtle magic many a row
  728. Of starry lamps and blazing cressets fed
  729. With naphtha and asphaltus yielded light
  730. As from a sky. The hasty multitude
  731. Admiring entered, and the work some praise
  732. And some the architect: his hand was known
  733. In Heaven by many a towered structure high,
  734. Where sceptered angels held their residence,
  735. And sat as princes, whom the supreme King
  736. Exalted to such power, and gave to rule,
  737. Each in his hierarchy, the orders bright.
  738. Nor was his name unheard or unadored
  739. In ancient Greece; and in Ausonian land
  740. Men called him Mulciber; and how he fell
  741. From Heaven, they fabled, thrown by angry Jove
  742. Sheer over the crystal battlements: from morn
  743. To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve,
  744. A summerís day; and with the setting sun
  745. Dropt from the zenith like a falling star,
  746. On Lemnos the Aegean isle: thus they relate,
  747. Erring; for he with this rebellious rout
  748. Fell long before; nor aught availed him now
  749. To have built in Heaven high towers; nor did he escape
  750. By all his engines, but was headlong sent
  751. With his industrious crew to build in hell.
  752. Mean while the winged heralds by command
  753. Of sovran power, with awful ceremony
  754. And trumpets sound throughout the host proclaim
  755. A solemn council forthwith to be held
  756. At Pandemonium, the high capital
  757. Of Satan and his peers: their summons called
  758. From every band and squared regiment
  759. By place or choice the worthiest; they anon
  760. With hundreds and with thousands trooping came
  761. Attended: all access was thronged, the gates
  762. And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall
  763. (Though like a covered field, where champions bold
  764. Wont ride in armed, and at the Soldanís chair
  765. Defied the best of Paynim chivalry
  766. To mortal combat or career with Lance)
  767. Thick swarmed, both on the ground and in the air,
  768. Brushed with the hiss of rustling wings. As bees
  769. In spring time, when the sun with Taurus rides,
  770. Pour forth their populous youth about the hive
  771. In clusters; they among fresh dews and flowers
  772. Fly to and fro, or on the smoothed plank,
  773. The suburb of their straw-built citadel,
  774. New rubbed with baum, expatiate and confer
  775. Their state affairs. So thick the aerie crowd
  776. Swarmed and were straitened; till the signal given.
  777. Behold a wonder! they but now who seemed
  778. In bigness to surpass Earthís giant sons
  779. Now less then smallest dwarfs, in narrow room
  780. Throng numberless, like that Pigmean race
  781. Beyond the Indian mount, or fairy elves,
  782. Whose midnight revels, by a forest side
  783. Or fountain some belated peasant sees,
  784. Or dreams he sees, while overhead the moon
  785. Sits arbitress, and nearer to the Earth
  786. Wheels her pale course, they on their mirth and dance
  787. Intent, with jocund music charm his ear;
  788. At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.
  789. Thus incorporeal spirits to smallest forms
  790. Reduced their shapes immense, and were at large,
  791. Though without number still amidst the hall
  792. Of that infernal court. But far within
  793. And in their own dimensions like themselves
  794. The great seraphic lords and cherubim
  795. In close recess and secret conclave sat,
  796. A thousand demigods on golden seats,
  797. Frequent and full. After short silence then
  798. And summons read, the great consult began.

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. Back to Top


~ BOOK II ~

  1. High on a throne of royal state, which far
  2. Outshone the wealth or Ormus and of Ind,
  3. Or where the gorgeous east with richest hand
  4. Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
  5. Satan exalted sat, by merit raised
  6. To that bad eminence; and, from despair
  7. Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires
  8. Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue
  9. Vain war with Heaven; and, by success untaught,
  10. His proud imaginations thus displayed:
  11. Powers and Dominions, Deities of Heaven,
  12. For, since no deep within her gulf can hold
  13. Immortal vigor, though oppressed and fallen,
  14. I give not Heaven for lost: from this descent
  15. Celestial virtues rising will appear
  16. More glorious and more dread than from no fall,
  17. And trust themselves to fear no second fate.
  18. Me though just right, and the fixed laws of Heaven,
  19. Did first create your leader, next, free choice
  20. With what besides in council or in fight
  21. Hath been achieved of merit, yet this loss,
  22. Thus far at least recovered, hath much more
  23. Established in a safe, unenvied throne,
  24. Yielded with full consent. The happier state
  25. In Heaven, which follows dignity, might draw
  26. Envy from each inferior; but who here
  27. Will envy whom the highest place exposes
  28. Foremost to stand against the Thunderer's aim
  29. Your bulwark, and condemns to greatest share
  30. Of endless pain? Where there is, then, no good
  31. For which to strive, no strife can grow up there
  32. From faction: for none sure will claim in Hell
  33. Precedence; none whose portion is so small
  34. Of present pain that with ambitious mind
  35. Will covet more! With this advantage, then,
  36. To union, and firm faith, and firm accord,
  37. More than can be in Heaven, we now return
  38. To claim our just inheritance of old,
  39. Surer to prosper than prosperity
  40. Could have assured us; and by what best way,
  41. Whether of open war or covert guile,
  42. We now debate. Who can advise may speak.
  43. He ceased; and next him Moloch, sceptered king,
  44. Stood up, the strongest and the fiercest spirit
  45. That fought in Heaven, now fiercer by despair.
  46. His trust was with the Eternal to be deemed
  47. Equal in strength, and rather than be less
  48. Cared not to be at all; with that care lost
  49. Went all his fear: of God, or Hell, or worse,
  50. He recked not, and these words thereafter spake:
  51. My sentence is for open war. Of wiles,
  52. More unexpert, I boast not: them let those
  53. Contrive who need, or when they need; not now.
  54. For, while they sit contriving, shall the rest,
  55. Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait
  56. The signal to ascend, sit lingering here,
  57. Heaven's fugitives, and for their dwelling-place
  58. Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame,
  59. The prison of his tyranny who reigns
  60. By our delay? No! let us rather choose,
  61. Armed with Hell-flames and fury, all at once
  62. O'er Heaven's high towers to force resistless way,
  63. Turning our tortures into horrid arms
  64. Against the Torturer; when, to meet the noise
  65. Of his almighty engine, he shall hear
  66. Infernal thunder, and, for lightning, see
  67. Black fire and horror shot with equal rage
  68. Among his Angels, and his throne itself
  69. Mixed with Tartarean sulfur and strange fire,
  70. His own invented torments. But perhaps
  71. The way seems difficult, and steep to scale
  72. With upright wing against a higher foe!
  73. Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench
  74. Of that forgetful lake benumb not still,
  75. That in our proper motion we ascend
  76. Up to our native seat; descent and fall
  77. To us is adverse. Who but felt of late,
  78. When the fierce foe hung on our broken rear
  79. Insulting, and pursued us through the deep,
  80. With what compulsion and laborious flight
  81. We sunk thus low? The ascent is easy, then;
  82. The event is feared! Should we again provoke
  83. Our stronger, some worse way his wrath may find
  84. To our destruction, if there be in Hell
  85. Fear to be worse destroyed! What can be worse
  86. Than to dwell here, driven out from bliss, condemned
  87. In this abhorred deep to utter woe!
  88. Where pain of unextinguishable fire
  89. Must exercise us without hope of end
  90. The vassals of his anger, when the scourge
  91. Inexorably, and the torturing hour,
  92. Calls us to penance? More destroyed than thus,
  93. We should be quite abolished, and expire.
  94. What fear we then? what doubt we to incense
  95. His utmost ire? which, to the height enraged,
  96. Will either quite consume us, and reduce
  97. To nothing this essential, happier far
  98. Than miserable to have eternal being.
  99. Or, if our substance be indeed divine,
  100. And cannot cease to be, we are at worst
  101. On this side nothing; and by proof we feel
  102. Our power sufficient to disturb his Heaven,
  103. And with perpetual inroads to alarm,
  104. Though inaccessible, his fatal throne:
  105. Which, if not victory, is yet revenge.
  106. He ended frowning, and his look denounced
  107. Desperate revenge, and battle dangerous
  108. To less than gods. On the other side up rose
  109. Belial, in act more graceful and humane.
  110. A fairer person lost not Heaven; he seemed
  111. For dignity composed, and high exploit.
  112. But all was false and hollow; though his tongue
  113. Dropped manna, and could make the worse appear
  114. The better reason, to perplex and dash
  115. Maturest counsels: for his thoughts were low,
  116. To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds
  117. Timorous and slothful. Yet he pleased the ear,
  118. And with persuasive accent thus began:
  119. I should be much for open war, Oh peers,
  120. As not behind in hate, if what was urged
  121. Main reason to persuade immediate war
  122. Did not dissuade me most, and seem to cast
  123. Ominous conjecture on the whole success;
  124. When he who most excels in fact of arms,
  125. In what he counsels and in what excels
  126. Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair
  127. And utter dissolution, as the scope
  128. Of all his aim, after some dire revenge.
  129. First, what revenge? The towers of Heaven are filled
  130. With armed watch, that render all access
  131. Impregnable: oft on the bordering Deep
  132. Encamp their legions, or with obscure wing
  133. Scout far and wide into the realm of night,
  134. Scorning surprise. Or, could we break our way
  135. By force, and at our heels all Hell should rise
  136. With blackest insurrection to confound
  137. Heaven's purest light, yet our great Enemy,
  138. All incorruptible, would on his throne
  139. Sit unpolluted, and the ethereal mould,
  140. Incapable of stain, would soon expel
  141. Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire,
  142. Victorious. Thus repulsed, our final hope
  143. Is flat despair: we must exasperate
  144. The Almighty Victor to spend all his rage;
  145. And that must end us; that must be our cure,
  146. To be no more. Sad cure! for who would lose,
  147. Though full of pain, this intellectual being,
  148. Those thoughts that wander through eternity,
  149. To perish rather, swallowed up and lost
  150. In the wide womb of uncreated night,
  151. Devoid of sense and motion? And who knows,
  152. Let this be good, whether our angry Foe
  153. Can give it, or will ever? How he can
  154. Is doubtful; that he never will is sure.
  155. Will he, so wise, let loose at once his ire,
  156. Belike through impotence or unaware,
  157. To give his enemies their wish, and end
  158. Them in his anger whom his anger saves
  159. To punish endless? Wherefore cease we, then?
  160. Say they who counsel war; we are decreed,
  161. Reserved, and destined to eternal woe;
  162. Whatever doing, what can we suffer more,
  163. What can we suffer worse? Is this, then, worst,
  164. Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms?
  165. What when we fled amain, pursued and struck
  166. With Heaven's afflicting thunder, and besought
  167. The Deep to shelter us? This Hell then seemed
  168. A refuge from those wounds. Or when we lay
  169. Chained on the burning lake? That sure was worse.
  170. What if the breath that kindled those grim fires,
  171. Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold rage,
  172. And plunge us in the flames; or from above
  173. Should intermitted vengeance arm again
  174. His red right hand to plague us? What if all
  175. Her stores were opened, and this firmament
  176. Of Hell should spout her cataracts of fire,
  177. Impendent horrors, threatening hideous fall
  178. One day upon our heads; while we perhaps,
  179. Designing or exhorting glorious war,
  180. Caught in a fiery tempest, shall be hurled,
  181. Each on his rock transfixed, the sport and prey
  182. Or racking whirlwinds, or for ever sunk
  183. Under yon boiling ocean, wrapped in chains,
  184. There to converse with everlasting groans,
  185. Unrespited, unpitied, unreprieved,
  186. Ages of hopeless end? This would be worse.
  187. War, therefore, open or concealed, alike
  188. My voice dissuades; for what can force or guile
  189. With him, or who deceive his mind, whose eye
  190. Views all things at one view? He from Heaven's height
  191. All these our motions vain sees and derides,
  192. Not more almighty to resist our might
  193. Than wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles.
  194. Shall we, then, live thus vile, the race of Heaven
  195. Thus trampled, thus expelled, to suffer here
  196. Chains and these torments? Better these than worse,
  197. By my advice; since fate inevitable
  198. Subdues us, and omnipotent decree,
  199. The Victor's will. To suffer, as to do,
  200. Our strength is equal; nor the law unjust
  201. That so ordains. This was at first resolved,
  202. If we were wise, against so great a foe
  203. Contending, and so doubtful what might fall.
  204. I laugh when those who at the spear are bold
  205. And venturous, if that fail them, shrink, and fear
  206. What yet they know must follow, to endure
  207. Exile, or ignominy, or bonds, or pain,
  208. The sentence of their conqueror. This is now
  209. Our doom; which if we can sustain and bear,
  210. Our Supreme Foe in time may much remit
  211. His anger, and perhaps, thus far removed,
  212. Not mind us not offending, satisfied
  213. With what is punished; whence these raging fires
  214. Will slacken, if his breath stir not their flames.
  215. Our purer essence then will overcome
  216. Their noxious vapor; or, inured, not feel;
  217. Or, changed at length, and to the place conformed
  218. In temper and in nature, will receive
  219. Familiar the fierce heat; and, void of pain,
  220. This horror will grow mild, this darkness light;
  221. Besides what hope the never-ending flight
  222. Of future days may bring, what chance, what change
  223. Worth waiting, since our present lot appears
  224. For happy though but ill, for ill not worst,
  225. If we procure not to ourselves more woe.
  226. Thus Belial, with words clothed in reason's garb,
  227. Counseled ignoble ease and peaceful sloth,
  228. Not peace; and after him thus Mammon spake:
  229. Either to disenthrone the King of Heaven
  230. We war, if war be best, or to regain
  231. Our own right lost. Him to unthrone we then
  232. May hope, when everlasting fate shall yield
  233. To fickle chance, and chaos judge the strife.
  234. The former, vain to hope, argues as vain
  235. The latter; for what place can be for us
  236. Within Heaven's bound, unless Heaven's Lord supreme
  237. We overpower? Suppose he should relent
  238. And publish grace to all, on promise made
  239. Of new subjection; with what eyes could we
  240. Stand in his presence humble, and receive
  241. Strict laws imposed, to celebrate his throne
  242. With warbled hymns, and to his Godhead sing
  243. Forced hallelujahs, while he lordly sits
  244. Our envied sovereign, and his altar breathes
  245. Ambrosial odors and ambrosial flowers,
  246. Our servile offerings? This must be our task
  247. In Heaven, this our delight. How wearisome
  248. Eternity so spent in worship paid
  249. To whom we hate! Let us not then pursue,
  250. By force impossible, by leave obtained
  251. Unacceptable, though in Heaven, our state
  252. Of splendid vassalage; but rather seek
  253. Our own good from ourselves, and from our own
  254. Live to ourselves, though in this vast recess,
  255. Free and to none accountable, preferring
  256. Hard liberty before the easy yoke
  257. Of servile pomp. Our greatness will appear
  258. Then most conspicuous when great things of small,
  259. Useful of hurtful, prosperous of adverse,
  260. We can create, and in what place soe'er
  261. Thrive under evil, and work ease out of pain
  262. Through labor and endurance. This deep world
  263. Of darkness do we dread? How oft amidst
  264. Thick clouds and dark doth Heaven's all-ruling Sire
  265. Choose to reside, his glory unobscured,
  266. And with the majesty of darkness round
  267. Covers his throne, from whence deep thunders roar.
  268. Mustering their rage, and Heaven resembles Hell!
  269. As he our darkness, cannot we his light
  270. Imitate when we please? This desert soil
  271. Wants not her hidden luster, gems and gold;
  272. Nor want we skill or art from whence to raise
  273. Magnificence; and what can Heaven show more?
  274. Our torments also may, in length of time,
  275. Become our elements, these piercing fires
  276. As soft as now severe, our temper changed
  277. Into their temper; which must needs remove
  278. The sensible of pain. All things invite
  279. To peaceful counsels, and the settled state
  280. Of order, how in safety best we may
  281. Compose our present evils, with regard
  282. Of what we are and where, dismissing quite
  283. All thoughts of war. Ye have what I advise.
  284. He scarce had finished, when such murmur filled
  285. The assembly as when hollow rocks retain
  286. The sound of blustering winds, which all night long
  287. Had roused the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull
  288. Seafaring men o'erwatched, whose bark by chance
  289. Or pinnace, anchors in a craggy bay
  290. After the tempest. Such applause was heard
  291. As Mammon ended, and his sentence pleased,
  292. Advising peace: for such another field
  293. They dreaded worse than Hell; so much the fear
  294. Of thunder and the sword of Michael
  295. Wrought still within them; and no less desire
  296. To found this nether empire, which might rise,
  297. By policy and long process of time,
  298. In emulation opposite to Heaven.
  299. Which when Beelzebub perceived, than whom,
  300. Satan except, none higher sat, with grave
  301. Aspect he rose, and in his rising seemed
  302. A pillar of state. Deep on his front engraven
  303. Deliberation sat, and public care;
  304. And princely counsel in his face yet shone,
  305. Majestic, though in ruin. Sage he stood
  306. With Atlantean shoulders, fit to bear
  307. The weight of mightiest monarchies; his look
  308. Drew audience and attention still as night
  309. Or summer's noontide air, while thus he spake:
  310. Thrones and Imperial Powers, offspring of Heaven,
  311. Ethereal Virtues! or these titles now
  312. Must we renounce, and, changing style, be called
  313. Princes of Hell? for so the popular vote
  314. Inclines, here to continue, and build up here
  315. A growing empire; doubtless! while we dream,
  316. And know not that the King of Heaven hath doomed
  317. This place our dungeon, not our safe retreat
  318. Beyond his potent arm, to live exempt
  319. From Heaven's high jurisdiction, in new league
  320. Banded against his throne, but to remain
  321. In strictest bondage, though thus far removed,
  322. Under the inevitable curb, reserved
  323. His captive multitude. For he, to be sure,
  324. In height or depth, still first and last will reign
  325. Sole king, and of his kingdom lose no part
  326. By our revolt, but over Hell extend
  327. His empire, and with iron scepter rule
  328. Us here, as with his golden those in Heaven.
  329. What sit we then projecting peace and war?
  330. War hath determined us and foiled with loss
  331. Irreparable; terms of peace yet none
  332. Vouchsafed or sought; for what peace will be given
  333. To us enslaved, but custody severe,
  334. And stripes and arbitrary punishment
  335. Inflicted? and what peace can we return,
  336. But, to our power, hostility and hate,
  337. Untamed reluctance, and revenge, though slow,
  338. Yet ever plotting how the Conqueror least
  339. May reap his conquest, and may least rejoice
  340. In doing what we most in suffering feel?
  341. Nor will occasion want, nor shall we need
  342. With dangerous expedition to invade
  343. Heaven, whose high walls fear no assault or siege,
  344. Or ambush from the Deep. What if we find
  345. Some easier enterprise? There is a place
  346. (If ancient and prophetic fame in Heaven
  347. Err not), another world, the happy seat
  348. Of some new race, called Man, about this time
  349. To be created like to us, though less
  350. In power and excellence, but favored more
  351. Of him who rules above; so was his will
  352. Pronounced among the gods, and by an oath
  353. That shook Heaven's whole circumference confirmed.
  354. Thither let us bend all our thoughts, to learn
  355. What creatures there inhabit, of what mould
  356. Or substance, how endued, and what their power
  357. And where their weakness: how attempted best,
  358. By force of subtlety. Though Heaven be shut,
  359. And Heaven's high Arbitrator sit secure
  360. In his own strength, this place may lie exposed,
  361. The utmost border of his kingdom, left
  362. To their defense who hold it: here, perhaps,
  363. Some advantageous act may be achieved
  364. By sudden onset, either with Hell-fire
  365. To waste his whole creation, or possess
  366. All as our own, and drive, as we were driven,
  367. The puny habitants; or, if not drive,
  368. Seduce them to our party, that their God
  369. May prove their foe, and with repenting hand
  370. Abolish his own works. This would surpass
  371. Common revenge, and interrupt his joy
  372. In our confusion, and our joy upraise
  373. In his disturbance; when his darling sons,
  374. Hurled headlong to partake with us, shall curse
  375. Their frail original, and faded bliss,
  376. Faded so soon! Advise if this be worth
  377. Attempting, or to sit in darkness here
  378. Hatching vain empires. Thus Beelzebub
  379. Pleaded his devilish counsel, first devised
  380. By Satan, and in part proposed: for whence,
  381. But from the author of all ill, could spring
  382. So deep a malice, to confound the race
  383. Of mankind in one root, and Earth with Hell
  384. To mingle and involve, done all to spite
  385. The great Creator? But their spite still serves
  386. His glory to augment. The bold design
  387. Pleased highly those infernal states, and joy
  388. Sparkled in all their eyes: with full assent
  389. They vote: whereat his speech he thus renews:
  390. Well have ye judged, well ended long debate,
  391. Synod of gods, and, like to what ye are,
  392. Great things resolved, which from the lowest deep
  393. Will once more lift us up, in spite of fate,
  394. Nearer our ancient seat, perhaps in view
  395. Of those bright confines, whence, with neighboring arms,
  396. And opportune excursion, we may chance
  397. Re-enter Heaven; or else in some mild zone
  398. Dwell, not unvisited of Heaven's fair light,
  399. Secure, and at the brightening orient beam
  400. Purge off this gloom: the soft delicious air,
  401. To heal the scar of these corrosive fires,
  402. Shall breathe her balm. But, first, whom shall we send
  403. In search of this new World? whom shall we find
  404. Sufficient? who shall tempt with wandering feet
  405. The dark, unbottomed, infinite abyss,
  406. And through the palpable obscure find out
  407. His uncouth way, or spread his airy flight,
  408. Upborne with indefatigable wings
  409. Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive
  410. The happy Isle? What strength, what art, can then
  411. Suffice, or what evasion bear him safe,
  412. Through the strict sentries and stations thick
  413. Of angels watching round? Here he had need
  414. All circumspection: and we now no less
  415. Choice in our suffrage; for on whom we send
  416. The weight of all, and our last hope, relies.
  417. This said, he sat; and expectation held
  418. His look suspense, awaiting who appeared
  419. To second, or oppose, or undertake
  420. The perilous attempt. But all sat mute,
  421. Pondering the danger with deep thoughts; and each
  422. In other's countenance read his own dismay,
  423. Astonished. None among the choice and prime
  424. Of those Heaven-warring champions could be found
  425. So hardy as to proffer or accept,
  426. Alone, the dreadful voyage; till, at last,
  427. Satan, whom now transcendent glory raised
  428. Above his fellows, with monarchal pride
  429. Conscious of highest worth, unmoved thus spake:
  430. Oh Progeny of Heaven! Empyreal Thrones!
  431. With reason hath deep silence and demur
  432. Seized us, though undismayed. Long is the way
  433. And hard, that out of Hell leads up to light.
  434. Our prison strong, this huge convex of fire,
  435. Outrageous to devour, immures us round
  436. Ninefold; and gates of burning adamant,
  437. Barred over us, prohibit all egress.
  438. These passed, if any pass, the void profound
  439. Of unessential night receives him next,
  440. Wide-gaping, and with utter loss of being
  441. Threatens him, plunged in that abortive gulf.
  442. If thence he scape, into whatever world,
  443. Or unknown region, what remains him less
  444. Than unknown dangers, and as hard escape?
  445. But I should ill become this throne, Oh Peers,
  446. And this imperial sovereignty, adorned
  447. With splendor, armed with power, if aught proposed
  448. And judged of public moment in the shape
  449. Of difficulty or danger, could deter
  450. Me from attempting. Wherefore do I assume
  451. These royalties, and not refuse to reign,
  452. Refusing to accept as great a share
  453. Of hazard as of honor, due alike
  454. To him who reigns, and so much to him due
  455. Of hazard more as he above the rest
  456. High honored sits? Go, therefore, mighty powers,
  457. Terror of Heaven, though fallen; intend at home,
  458. While here shall be our home, what best may ease
  459. The present misery, and render Hell
  460. More tolerable; if there be cure or charm
  461. To respite, or deceive, or slack the pain
  462. Of this ill mansion: intermit no watch
  463. Against a wakeful foe, while I abroad
  464. Through all the coasts of dark destruction seek
  465. Deliverance for us all. This enterprise
  466. None shall partake with me. Thus saying, rose
  467. The monarch, and prevented all reply;
  468. Prudent lest, from his resolution raised,
  469. Others among the chief might offer now,
  470. Certain to be refused, what erst they feared,
  471. And, so refused, might in opinion stand
  472. His rivals, winning cheap the high repute
  473. Which he through hazard huge must earn. But they
  474. Dreaded not more the adventure than his voice
  475. Forbidding; and at once with him they rose.
  476. Their rising all at once was as the sound
  477. Of thunder heard remote. Towards him they bend
  478. With awful reverence prone, and as a god
  479. Extol him equal to the Highest in Heaven.
  480. Nor failed they to express how much they praised
  481. That for the general safety he despised
  482. His own: for neither do the spirits damned
  483. Lose all their virtue; lest bad men should boast
  484. Their specious deeds on earth, which glory excites,
  485. Or close ambition varnished o'er with zeal.
  486. Thus they their doubtful consultations dark
  487. Ended, rejoicing in their matchless chief:
  488. As, when from mountain-tops the dusky clouds
  489. Ascending, while the north wind sleeps, o'erspread
  490. Heaven's cheerful face, the louring element
  491. Scowls o'er the darkened landscape snow or shower,
  492. If chance the radiant sun, with farewell sweet,
  493. Extend his evening beam, the fields revive,
  494. The birds their notes renew, and bleating herds
  495. Attest their joy, that hill and valley rings.
  496. Oh shame to men! Devil with devil damned
  497. Firm concord holds; men only disagree
  498. Of creatures rational, though under hope
  499. Of heavenly grace, and, God proclaiming peace,
  500. Yet live in hatred, enmity, and strife
  501. Among themselves, and levy cruel wars
  502. Wasting the earth, each other to destroy:
  503. As if (which might induce us to accord)
  504. Man had not hellish foes enough besides,
  505. That day and night for his destruction wait!
  506. The Stygian council thus dissolved; and forth
  507. In order came the grand infernal peers:
  508. Midst came their mighty paramount, and seemed
  509. Alone the antagonist of Heaven, nor less
  510. Than Hell's dread emperor, with pomp supreme,
  511. And god-like imitated state: him round
  512. A globe of fiery seraphim enclosed
  513. With bright emblazonry, and horrent arms.
  514. Then of their session ended they bid cry
  515. With trumpet's regal sound the great result:
  516. Toward the four winds four speedy cherubim
  517. Put to their mouths the sounding alchemy,
  518. By herald's voice explained; the hollow abyss
  519. Heard far and wide, and all the host of Hell
  520. With deafening shout returned them loud acclaim.
  521. Thence more at ease their minds, and somewhat raised
  522. By false presumptuous hope, the ranged Powers
  523. Disband; and, wandering, each his several way
  524. Pursues, as inclination or sad choice
  525. Leads him perplexed, where he may likeliest find
  526. Truce to his restless thoughts, and entertain
  527. The irksome hours, till his great chief return.
  528. Part on the plain, or in the air sublime,
  529. Upon the wing or in swift race contend,
  530. As at the Olympian games or Pythian fields;
  531. Part curb their fiery steeds, or shun the goal
  532. With rapid wheels, or fronted brigades form:
  533. As when, to warn proud cities, war appears
  534. Waged in the troubled sky, and armies rush
  535. To battle in the clouds; before each van
  536. Prick forth the airy knights, and couch their spears,
  537. Till thickest legions close; with feats of arms
  538. From either end of heaven the welkin burns.
  539. Others, with vast Typhoean rage, more fell,
  540. Rend up both rocks and hills, and ride the air
  541. In whirlwind; Hell scarce holds the wild uproar:
  542. As when Alcides, from Oechalia crowned
  543. With conquest, felt the envenomed robe, and tore
  544. Through pain up by the roots Thessalian pines,
  545. And Lichas from the top of Oeta threw
  546. Into the Euboic sea. Others, more mild,
  547. Retreated in a silent valley, sing
  548. With notes angelical to many a harp
  549. Their own heroic deeds, and hapless fall
  550. By doom of battle, and complain that Fate
  551. Free Virtue should enthrall to Force or Chance.
  552. Their song was partial; but the harmony
  553. (What could it less when spirits immortal sing?)
  554. Suspended Hell, and took with ravishment
  555. The thronging audience. In discourse more sweet
  556. (For Eloquence the soul, song charms the sense)
  557. Others apart sat on a hill retired,
  558. In thoughts more elevate, and reasoned high
  559. Of providence, foreknowledge, will, and fate,
  560. Fixed fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute,
  561. And found no end, in wandering mazes lost.
  562. Of good and evil much they argued then,
  563. Of happiness and final misery,
  564. Passion and apathy, and glory and shame:
  565. Vain wisdom all, and false philosophy.
  566. Yet, with a pleasing sorcery, could charm
  567. Pain for a while or anguish, and excite
  568. Fallacious hope, or arm the obdured breast
  569. With stubborn patience as with triple steel.
  570. Another part, in squadrons and gross bands,
  571. On bold adventure to discover wide
  572. That dismal world, if any clime perhaps
  573. Might yield them easier habitation, bend
  574. Four ways their flying march, along the banks
  575. Of four infernal rivers, that disgorge
  576. Into the burning lake their baleful streams,
  577. Abhorred Styx, the flood of deadly hate;
  578. Sad Acheron of sorrow, black and deep;
  579. Cocytus, named of lamentation loud
  580. Heard on the rueful stream; fierce Phlegeton,
  581. Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage.
  582. Far off from these, a slow and silent stream,
  583. Lethe, the river of oblivion, rolls
  584. Her watery labyrinth, whereof who drinks
  585. Forthwith his former state and being forgets,
  586. Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain.
  587. Beyond this flood a frozen continent
  588. Lies dark and wild, beat with perpetual storms
  589. Of whirlwind and dire hail, which on firm land
  590. Thaws not, but gathers heap, and ruin seems
  591. Of ancient pile; all else deep snow and ice,
  592. A gulf profound as that Serbonian bog
  593. Betwixt Damiata and Mount Casius old,
  594. Where armies whole have sunk: the parching air
  595. Burns frore, and cold performs the effect of fire.
  596. Thither, by harpy-footed Furies haled,
  597. At certain revolutions all the damned
  598. Are brought; and feel by turns the bitter change
  599. Of fierce extremes, extremes by change more fierce,
  600. From beds of raging fire to starve in ice
  601. Their soft ethereal warmth, and there to pine
  602. Immovable, infixed, and frozen round
  603. Periods of time,, thence hurried back to fire.
  604. They ferry over this Lethean sound
  605. Both to and fro, their sorrow to augment,
  606. And wish and struggle, as they pass, to reach
  607. The tempting stream, with one small drop to lose
  608. In sweet forgetfulness all pain and woe,
  609. All in one moment, and so near the brink;
  610. But fate withstands, and, to oppose the attempt,
  611. Medusa with Gorgonian terror guards
  612. The ford, and of itself the water flies
  613. All taste of living wight, as once it fled
  614. The lip of Tantalus. Thus roving on
  615. In confused march forlorn, the adventurous bands,
  616. With shuddering horror pale, and eyes aghast,
  617. Viewed first their lamentable lot, and found
  618. No rest. Through many a dark and dreary vale
  619. They passed, and many a region dolorous,
  620. O'er many a frozen, many a fiery alp,
  621. Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens, and shades of death,
  622. A universe of death, which God by curse
  623. Created evil, for evil only good;
  624. Where all life dies, death lives, and nature breeds,
  625. Perverse, all monstrous, all prodigious things,
  626. Abominable, inutterable, and worse
  627. Than fables yet have feigned or fear conceived,
  628. Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimeras dire.
  629. Meanwhile the adversary of God and man,
  630. Satan, with thoughts inflamed of highest design,
  631. Puts on swift wings, and toward the gates of Hell
  632. Explores his solitary flight: sometimes
  633. He scours the right hand coast, sometimes the left;
  634. Now shaves with level wing the deep, then soars
  635. Up to the fiery concave towering high.
  636. As when far off at sea a fleet descried
  637. Hangs in the clouds, by equinoctial winds
  638. Close sailing from Bengala, or the isles
  639. Of Ternate and Tidore, whence merchants bring
  640. Their spicy drugs; they on the trading flood,
  641. Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape,
  642. Ply stemming nightly toward the pole: so seemed
  643. Far off the flying Fiend. At last appear
  644. Hell-bounds, high reaching to the horrid roof,
  645. And thrice threefold the gates; three folds were brass,
  646. Three iron, three of adamantine rock,
  647. Impenetrable, impaled with circling fire,
  648. Yet unconsumed. Before the gates there sat
  649. On either side a formidable shape.
  650. The one seemed woman to the waist, and fair,
  651. But ended foul in many a scaly fold,
  652. Voluminous and vast, a serpent armed
  653. With mortal sting. About her middle round
  654. A cry of Hell-hounds never-ceasing barked
  655. With wide Cerberean mouths full loud, and rung
  656. A hideous peal; yet, when they list, would creep,
  657. If aught disturbed their noise, into her womb,
  658. And kennel there; yet there still barked and howled
  659. Within unseen. Far less abhorred than these
  660. Vexed Scylla, bathing in the sea that parts
  661. Calabria from the hoarse Trinacrian shore;
  662. Nor uglier follow the night-hag, when, called
  663. In secret, riding through the air she comes,
  664. Lured with the smell of infant blood, to dance
  665. With Lapland witches, while the laboring moon
  666. Eclipses at their charms. The other shape,
  667. If shape it might be called that shape had none
  668. Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb;
  669. Or substance might be called that shadow seemed,
  670. For each seemed either, black it stood as night,
  671. Fierce as ten furies, terrible as Hell,
  672. And shook a dreadful dart: what seemed his head
  673. The likeness of a kingly crown had on.
  674. Satan was now at hand, and from his seat
  675. The monster moving onward came as fast
  676. With horrid strides; Hell trembled as he strode.
  677. The undaunted fiend what this might be admired,
  678. Admired, not feared (God and his Son except,
  679. Created thing naught valued he nor shunned),
  680. And with disdainful look thus first began:
  681. Whence and what art thou, execrable shape,
  682. That dar'st, though grim and terrible, advance
  683. Thy miscreated front athwart my way
  684. To yonder gates? Through them I mean to pass,
  685. That be assured, without leave asked of thee.
  686. Retire; or taste thy folly, and learn by proof,
  687. Hell-born, not to contend with spirits of Heaven.
  688. To whom the goblin, full of wrath, replied:
  689. Art thou that traitor Angel? art thou he,
  690. Who first broke peace in Heaven and faith, till then
  691. Unbroken, and in proud rebellious arms
  692. Drew after him the third part of Heaven's sons,
  693. Conjured against the Highest, for which both thou
  694. And they, outcast from God, are here condemned
  695. To waste eternal days in woe and pain?
  696. And reckon'st thou thyself with spirits of Heaven
  697. Hell-doomed, and breath'st defiance here and scorn,
  698. Where I reign king, and, to enrage thee more,
  699. Thy king and lord? Back to thy punishment,
  700. False fugitive; and to thy speed add wings,
  701. Lest with a whip of scorpions I pursue
  702. Thy lingering, or with one stroke of this dart
  703. Strange horror seize thee, and pangs unfelt before.
  704. So spake the grisly terror, and in shape,
  705. So speaking and so threatening, grew tenfold,
  706. More dreadful and deform. On the other side,
  707. Incensed with indignation, Satan stood
  708. Unterrified, and like a comet burned,
  709. That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge
  710. In the arctic sky, and from his horrid hair
  711. Shakes pestilence and war. Each at the head
  712. Leveled his deadly aim; their fatal hands
  713. No second stroke intend; and such a frown
  714. Each cast at the other as when two black clouds,
  715. With heaven's artillery fraught, came rattling on
  716. Over the Caspian,, then stand front to front
  717. Hovering a space, till winds the signal blow
  718. To join their dark encounter in mid-air.
  719. So frowned the mighty combatants that Hell
  720. Grew darker at their frown; so matched they stood;
  721. For never but once more was wither like
  722. To meet so great a foe. And now great deeds
  723. Had been achieved, whereof all Hell had rung,
  724. Had not the snaky Sorceress, that sat
  725. Fast by Hell-gate and kept the fatal key,
  726. Risen, and with hideous outcry rushed between.
  727. Oh father, what intends thy hand, she cried,
  728. Against thy only son? What fury, Oh son,
  729. Possesses thee to bend that mortal dart
  730. Against thy father's head? And know'st for whom?
  731. For him who sits above, and laughs the while
  732. At thee, ordained his drudge to execute
  733. Whate'er his wrath, which he calls justice, bids,
  734. His wrath, which one day will destroy ye both!
  735. She spake, and at her words the hellish pest
  736. Forbore: then these to her Satan returned:
  737. So strange thy outcry, and thy words so strange
  738. Thou interposest, that my sudden hand,
  739. Prevented, spares to tell thee yet by deeds
  740. What it intends, till first I know of thee
  741. What thing thou art, thus double-formed, and why,
  742. In this infernal vale first met, thou call'st
  743. Me father, and that phantasm call'st my son.
  744. I know thee not, nor ever saw till now
  745. Sight more detestable than him and thee.
  746. T' whom thus the portress of Hell-gate replied:
  747. Hast thou forgot me, then; and do I seem
  748. Now in thine eye so foul?, once deemed so fair
  749. In Heaven, when at the assembly, and in sight
  750. Of all the seraphim with thee combined
  751. In bold conspiracy against Heaven's King,
  752. All on a sudden miserable pain
  753. Surprised thee, dim thine eyes and dizzy swum
  754. In darkness, while thy head flames thick and fast
  755. Threw forth, till on the left side opening wide,
  756. Likest to thee in shape and countenance bright,
  757. Then shining heavenly fair, a goddess armed,
  758. Out of thy head I sprung. Amazement seized
  759. All the host of Heaven; back they recoiled afraid
  760. At first, and called me Sin, and for a sign
  761. Portentous held me; but, familiar grown,
  762. I pleased, and with attractive graces won
  763. The most averse, thee chiefly, who, full oft
  764. Thyself in me thy perfect image viewing,
  765. Becam'st enamored; and such joy thou took'st
  766. With me in secret that my womb conceived
  767. A growing burden. Meanwhile war arose,
  768. And fields were fought in Heaven: wherein remained
  769. (For what could else?) to our Almighty Foe
  770. Clear victory; to our part loss and rout
  771. Through all the Empyrean. Down they fell,
  772. Driven headlong from the pitch of Heaven, down
  773. Into this deep; and in the general fall
  774. I also: at which time this powerful key
  775. Into my hands was given, with charge to keep
  776. These gates for ever shut, which none can pass
  777. Without my opening. Pensive here I sat
  778. Alone; but long I sat not, till my womb,
  779. Pregnant by thee, and now excessive grown,
  780. Prodigious motion felt and rueful throes.
  781. At last this odious offspring whom thou seest,
  782. Thine own begotten, breaking violent way,
  783. Tore through my entrails, that, with fear and pain
  784. Distorted, all my nether shape thus grew
  785. Transformed: but he my inbred enemy
  786. Forth issued, brandishing his fatal dart,
  787. Made to destroy. I fled, and cried out Death!
  788. Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sighed
  789. From all her caves, and back resounded Death!
  790. I fled; but he pursued (though more, it seems,
  791. Inflamed with lust than rage), and, swifter far,
  792. Me overtook, his mother, all dismayed,
  793. And, in embraces forcible and foul
  794. Engendering with me, of that rape begot
  795. These yelling monsters, that with ceaseless cry
  796. Surround me, as thou saw'st, hourly conceived
  797. And hourly born, with sorrow infinite
  798. To me; for, when they list, into the womb
  799. That bred them they return, and howl, and gnaw
  800. My bowels, their repast; then, bursting forth
  801. Afresh, with conscious terrors vex me round,
  802. That rest or intermission none I find.
  803. Before mine eyes in opposition sits
  804. Grim Death, my son and foe, who set them on,
  805. And me, his parent, would full soon devour
  806. For want of other prey, but that he knows
  807. His end with mine involved, and knows that I
  808. Should prove a bitter morsel, and his bane,
  809. Whenever that shall be: so Fate pronounced.
  810. But thou, Oh father, I forewarn thee, shun
  811. His deadly arrow; neither vainly hope
  812. To be invulnerable in those bright arms,
  813. Through tempered heavenly; for that mortal dint,
  814. Save he who reigns above, none can resist.
  815. She finished, and the subtle fiend his lore
  816. Soon learned, now milder, and thus answered smooth:
  817. Dear daughter, since thou claim'st me for thy sire,
  818. And my fair son here show'st me, the dear pledge
  819. Of dalliance had with thee in Heaven, and joys
  820. Then sweet, now sad to mention, through dire change
  821. Befallen us unforeseen, unthought-of, know,
  822. I come no enemy, but to set free
  823. From out this dark and dismal house of pain
  824. Both him and thee, and all the heavenly host
  825. Of Spirits that, in our just pretences armed,
  826. Fell with us from on high. From them I go
  827. This uncouth errand sole, and one for all
  828. Myself expose, with lonely steps to tread
  829. The unfounded Deep, and through the void immense
  830. To search, with wandering quest, a place foretold
  831. Should be, and, by concurring signs, ere now
  832. Created vast and round, a place of bliss
  833. In the purlieus of Heaven; and therein placed
  834. A race of upstart creatures, to supply
  835. Perhaps our vacant room, though more removed,
  836. Lest Heaven, surcharged with potent multitude,
  837. Might hap to move new broils. Be this, or aught
  838. Than this more secret, now designed, I haste
  839. To know; and, this once known, shall soon return,
  840. And bring ye to the place where thou and Death
  841. Shall dwell at ease, and up and down unseen
  842. Wing silently the buxom air, embalmed
  843. With odors. There ye shall be fed and filled
  844. Immeasurably, all things shall be your prey.
  845. He ceased, for both seemed highly pleased, and Death
  846. Grinned horrible a ghastly smile, to hear
  847. His famine should be filled, and blessed his maw
  848. Destined to that good hour. No less rejoiced
  849. His mother bad, and thus bespake her sire:
  850. The key of this infernal pit, by due
  851. And by command of Heaven's all-powerful King,
  852. I keep, by him forbidden to unlock
  853. These adamantine gates; against all force
  854. Death ready stands to interpose his dart,
  855. Fearless to be o'ermatched by living might.
  856. But what owe I to his commands above,
  857. Who hates me, and hath hither thrust me down
  858. Into this gloom of Tartarus profound,
  859. To sit in hateful office here confined,
  860. Inhabitant of Heaven and heavenly born,
  861. Here in perpetual agony and pain,
  862. With terrors and with clamors compassed round
  863. Of mine own brood, that on my bowels feed?
  864. Thou art my father, thou my author, thou
  865. My being gav'st me; whom should I obey
  866. But thee? whom follow? Thou wilt bring me soon
  867. To that new world of light and bliss, among
  868. The gods who live at ease, where I shall reign
  869. At thy right hand voluptuous, as beseems
  870. Thy daughter and thy darling, without end.
  871. Thus saying, from her side the fatal key,
  872. Sad instrument of all our woe, she took;
  873. And, towards the gate rolling her bestial train,
  874. Forthwith the huge portcullis high up-drew,
  875. Which, but herself, not all the stygian powers
  876. Could once have moved; then in the key-hole turns
  877. The intricate wards, and every bolt and bar
  878. Of massy iron or solid rock with ease
  879. Unfastens. On a sudden open fly,
  880. With impetuous recoil and jarring sound,
  881. The infernal doors, and on their hinges grate
  882. Harsh thunder, that the lowest bottom shook
  883. Of Erebus. She opened; but to shut
  884. Excelled her power: the gates wide open stood,
  885. That with extended wings a bannered host,
  886. Under spread ensigns marching, might pass through
  887. With horse and chariots ranked in loose array;
  888. So wide they stood, and like a furnace-mouth
  889. Cast forth redounding smoke and ruddy flame.
  890. Before their eyes in sudden view appear
  891. The secrets of the hoary deep, a dark
  892. Illimitable ocean, without bound,
  893. Without dimension; where length, breadth, and height,
  894. And time, and place, are lost; where eldest night
  895. And chaos, ancestors of nature, hold
  896. Eternal anarchy, amidst the noise
  897. Of endless wars, and by confusion stand.
  898. For hot, cold, moist, and dry, four champions fierce,
  899. Strive here for mastery, and to battle bring
  900. Their embryon atoms: they around the flag
  901. Of each his faction, in their several clans,
  902. Light-armed or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift, or slow,
  903. Swarm populous, unnumbered as the sands
  904. Of Barca or Cyrene's torrid soil,
  905. Levied to side with warring winds, and poise
  906. Their lighter wings. To whom these most adhere
  907. He rules a moment: Chaos umpire sits,
  908. And by decision more embroils the fray
  909. By which he reigns: next him, high arbiter,
  910. Chance governs all. Into this wild abyss,
  911. The womb of nature, and perhaps her grave,
  912. Of neither sea, nor shore, nor air, nor fire,
  913. But all these in their pregnant causes mixed
  914. Confusedly, and which thus must ever fight,
  915. Unless the Almighty Maker them ordain
  916. His dark materials to create more worlds,
  917. Into this wild Abyss the wary Fiend
  918. Stood on the brink of Hell and looked a while,
  919. Pondering his voyage; for no narrow frith
  920. He had to cross. Nor was his ear less pealed
  921. With noises loud and ruinous (to compare
  922. Great things with small) than when Bellona storms
  923. With all her battering engines, bent to rase
  924. Some capital city; or less than if this frame
  925. Of Heaven were falling, and these elements
  926. In mutiny had from her axle torn
  927. The steadfast Earth. At last his sail-broad vans
  928. He spread for flight, and, in the surging smoke
  929. Uplifted, spurns the ground; thence many a league,
  930. As in a cloudy chair, ascending rides
  931. Audacious; but, that seat soon failing, meets
  932. A vast vacuity. All unawares,
  933. Fluttering his pennons vain, plumb-down he drops
  934. Ten thousand fathom deep, and to this hour
  935. Down had been falling, had not, by ill chance,
  936. The strong rebuff of some tumultuous cloud,
  937. Instinct with fire and nitre, hurried him
  938. As many miles aloft. That fury stayed,
  939. Quenched in a boggy Syrtis, neither sea,
  940. Nor good dry land, nigh foundered, on he fares,
  941. Treading the crude consistence, half on foot,
  942. Half flying; behooves him now both oar and sail.
  943. As when a gryphon through the wilderness
  944. With winged course, o'er hill or moory dale,
  945. Pursues the Arimaspian, who by stealth
  946. Had from his wakeful custody purloined
  947. The guarded gold; so eagerly the fiend
  948. O'er bog or steep, through strait, rough, dense, or rare,
  949. With head, hands, wings, or feet, pursues his way,
  950. And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies.
  951. At length a universal hubbub wild
  952. Of stunning sounds, and voices all confused,
  953. Borne through the hollow dark, assaults his ear
  954. With loudest vehemence. Thither he plies
  955. Undaunted, to meet there whatever power
  956. Or spirit of the nethermost Abyss
  957. Might in that noise reside, of whom to ask
  958. Which way the nearest coast of darkness lies
  959. Bordering on light; when straight behold the throne
  960. Of Chaos, and his dark pavilion spread
  961. Wide on the wasteful deep! With him enthroned
  962. Sat sable-vested Night, eldest of things,
  963. The consort of his reign; and by them stood
  964. Orcus and Ades, and the dreaded name
  965. Of Demogorgon; Rumour next, and Chance,
  966. And Tumult, and Confusion, all embroiled,
  967. And Discord with a thousand various mouths.
  968. To whom Satan, turning boldly, thus:, Ye powers
  969. And spirtis of this nethermost Abyss,
  970. Chaos and ancient Night, I come no spy
  971. With purpose to explore or to disturb
  972. The secrets of your realm; but, by constraint
  973. Wandering this darksome desert, as my way
  974. Lies through your spacious empire up to light,
  975. Alone and without guide, half lost, I seek,
  976. What readiest path leads where your gloomy bounds
  977. Confine with Heaven; or, if some other place,
  978. From your dominion won, the Ethereal King
  979. Possesses lately, thither to arrive
  980. I travel this profound. Direct my course:
  981. Directed, no mean recompense it brings
  982. To your behoove, if I that region lost,
  983. All usurpation thence expelled, reduce
  984. To her original darkness and your sway
  985. (Which is my present journey), and once more
  986. Erect the standard there of ancient night.
  987. Yours be the advantage all, mine the revenge!
  988. Thus Satan; and him thus the anarch old,
  989. With faltering speech and visage incomposed,
  990. Answered: I know thee, stranger, who thou art,
  991. That mighty leading angel, who of late
  992. Made head against Heaven's King, though overthrown.
  993. I saw and heard; for such a numerous host
  994. Fled not in silence through the frighted deep,
  995. With ruin upon ruin, rout on rout,
  996. Confusion worse confounded; and Heaven-gates
  997. Poured out by millions her victorious bands,
  998. Pursuing. I upon my frontiers here
  999. Keep residence; if all I can will serve
  1000. That little which is left so to defend,
  1001. Encroached on still through our intestine broils
  1002. Weakening the scepter of old Night: first, Hell,
  1003. Your dungeon, stretching far and wide beneath;
  1004. Now lately Heaven and Earth, another world
  1005. Hung o'er my realm, linked in a golden chain
  1006. To that side Heaven from whence your legions fell!
  1007. If that way be your walk, you have not far;
  1008. So much the nearer danger. Go, and speed;
  1009. Havoc, and spoil, and ruin, are my gain.
  1010. He ceased; and Satan stayed not to reply,
  1011. But, glad that now his sea should find a shore,
  1012. With fresh alacrity and force renewed
  1013. Springs upward, like a pyramid of fire,
  1014. Into the wild expanse, and through the shock
  1015. Of fighting elements, on all sides round
  1016. Environed, wins his way; harder beset
  1017. And more endangered than when Argo passed
  1018. Through Bosporus betwixt the jostling rocks,
  1019. Or when Ulysses on the larboard shunned
  1020. Charybdis, and by the other whirlpool steered.
  1021. So he with difficulty and labor hard
  1022. Moved on, with difficulty and labor he;
  1023. But, he once passed, soon after, when man fell,
  1024. Strange alteration! Sin and Death amain,
  1025. Following his track (such was the will of Heaven)
  1026. Paved after him a broad and beaten way
  1027. Over the dark abyss, whose boiling gulf
  1028. Tamely endured a bridge of wondrous length,
  1029. From Hell continued, reaching the utmost orb
  1030. Of this frail world; by which the spirits perverse
  1031. With easy intercourse pass to and fro
  1032. To tempt or punish mortals, except whom
  1033. God and good angels guard by special grace.
  1034. But now at last the sacred influence
  1035. Of light appears, and from the walls of Heaven
  1036. Shoots far into the bosom of dim night
  1037. A glimmering dawn. Here nature first begins
  1038. Her farthest verge, and chaos to retire,
  1039. As from her outmost works, a broken foe,
  1040. With tumult less and with less hostile din;
  1041. That Satan with less toil, and now with ease,
  1042. Wafts on the calmer wave by dubious light,
  1043. And, like a weather-beaten vessel, holds
  1044. Gladly the port, though shrouds and tackle torn;
  1045. Or in the emptier waste, resembling air,
  1046. Weighs his spread wings, at leisure to behold
  1047. Far off the empyreal Heaven, extended wide
  1048. In circuit, undetermined square or round,
  1049. With opal towers and battlements adorned
  1050. Of living sapphire, once his native seat;
  1051. And, fast by, hanging in a golden chain,
  1052. This pendent world, in bigness as a star
  1053. Of smallest magnitude close by the moon.
  1054. Thither, full fraught with mischievous revenge,
  1055. Accursed, and in a cursed hour, he hies.

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BOOK III


. Back to Top


~ BOOK III ~

  1. Hail, holy Light, offspring of Heaven firstborn,
  2. Or of the Eternal coeternal beam
  3. May I express thee unblamed? since God is light,
  4. And never but in unapproached light
  5. Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee
  6. Bright effluence of bright essence increate.
  7. Or hearíst thou rather pure ethereal stream,
  8. Whose fountain who shall tell? before the sun,
  9. Before the Heavens thou wert, and at the voice
  10. Of God, as with a mantle, didst invest
  11. The rising world of waters dark and deep,
  12. Won from the void and formless infinite.
  13. Thee I re-visit now with bolder wing,
  14. Escaped the Stygian pool, though long detained
  15. In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight
  16. Through utter and through middle darkness borne,
  17. With other notes than to the Orphean lyre
  18. I sung of Chaos and eternal Night;
  19. Taught by the heavenly Muse to venture down
  20. The dark descent, and up to re-ascend,
  21. Though hard and rare: Thee I revisit safe,
  22. And feel thy sovereign vital lamp; but thou
  23. Revisit'st not these eyes, that roll in vain
  24. To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;
  25. So thick a drop serene hath quenched their orbs,
  26. Or dim suffusion veiled. Yet not the more
  27. Cease I to wander, where the Muses haunt,
  28. Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill,
  29. Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief
  30. Thee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath,
  31. That wash thy hallowed feet, and warbling flow,
  32. Nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget
  33. So were I equaled with them in renown,
  34. Thy sovereign command, that man should find grace;
  35. Blind Thamyris, and blind Maeonides,
  36. And Tiresias, and Phineus, prophets old:
  37. Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move
  38. Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird
  39. Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid
  40. Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year
  41. Seasons return; but not to me returns
  42. Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn,
  43. Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
  44. Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
  45. But cloud instead, and ever-during dark
  46. Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
  47. Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair
  48. Presented with a universal blank
  49. Of nature's works to me expunged and rased,
  50. And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
  51. So much the rather thou, celestial Light,
  52. Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers
  53. Irradiate; there plant eyes, all mist from thence
  54. Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
  55. Of things invisible to mortal sight.
  56. Now had the Almighty Father from above,
  57. From the pure empyrean where he sits
  58. High throned above all heighth, bent down his eye
  59. His own works and their works at once to view:
  60. About him all the Sanctities of Heaven
  61. Stood thick as stars, and from his sight received
  62. Beatitude past utterance; on his right
  63. The radiant image of his glory sat,
  64. His only son; on earth he first beheld
  65. Our two first parents, yet the only two
  66. Of mankind in the happy garden placed
  67. Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love,
  68. Uninterrupted joy, unrivalled love,
  69. In blissful solitude; he then surveyed
  70. Hell and the gulf between, and Satan there
  71. Coasting the wall of Heaven on this side Night
  72. In the dun air sublime, and ready now
  73. To stoop with wearied wings, and willing feet,
  74. On the bare outside of this world, that seemed
  75. Firm land imbosomed, without firmament,
  76. Uncertain which, in ocean or in air.
  77. Him God beholding from his prospect high,
  78. Wherein past, present, future, he beholds,
  79. Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake.
  80. Only begotten Son, seest thou what rage
  81. Transports our Adversary? whom no bounds
  82. Prescribed no bars of Hell, nor all the chains
  83. Heaped on him there, nor yet the main abyss
  84. Wide interrupt, can hold; so bent he seems
  85. On desperate revenge, that shall redound
  86. Upon his own rebellious head. And now,
  87. Through all restraint broke loose, he wings his way
  88. Not far off Heaven, in the precincts of light,
  89. Directly towards the new created world,
  90. And man there placed, with purpose to assay
  91. If him by force he can destroy, or, worse,
  92. By some false guile pervert; and shall pervert;
  93. For man will hearken to his glozing lies,
  94. And easily transgress the sole command,
  95. Sole pledge of his obedience: So will fall
  96. He and his faithless progeny: Whose fault?
  97. Whose but his own? ingrate, he had of me
  98. All he could have; I made him just and right,
  99. Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.
  100. Such I created all the ethereal Powers
  101. And Spirits, both them who stood, and them who failed;
  102. Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell.
  103. Not free, what proof could they have given sincere
  104. Of true allegiance, constant faith or love,
  105. Where only what they needs must do appeared,
  106. Not what they would? what praise could they receive?
  107. What pleasure I from such obedience paid,
  108. When will and reason (reason also is choice)
  109. Useless and vain, of freedom both despoiled,
  110. Made passive both, had served necessity,
  111. Not me? they therefore, as to right belonged,
  112. So were created, nor can justly accuse
  113. Their Maker, or their making, or their fate,
  114. As if predestination over-ruled
  115. Their will disposed by absolute decree
  116. Or high foreknowledge they themselves decreed
  117. Their own revolt, not I; if I foreknew,
  118. Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault,
  119. Which had no less proved certain unforeknown.
  120. So without least impulse or shadow of fate,
  121. Or aught by me immutably foreseen,
  122. They trespass, authors to themselves in all
  123. Both what they judge, and what they choose; for so
  124. I formed them free: and free they must remain,
  125. Till they enthrall themselves; I else must change
  126. Their nature, and revoke the high decree
  127. Unchangeable, eternal, which ordained
  128. Their freedom: they themselves ordained their fall.
  129. The first sort by their own suggestion fell,
  130. Self-tempted, self-depraved: man falls, deceived
  131. By the other first: man therefore shall find grace,
  132. The other none: In mercy and justice both,
  133. Through Heaven and Earth, so shall my glory excel;
  134. But Mercy, first and last, shall brightest shine.
  135. Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance filled
  136. All Heaven, and in the blessed Spirits elect
  137. Sense of new joy ineffable diffused.
  138. Beyond compare the Son of God was seen
  139. Most glorious; in him all his Father shone
  140. Substantially expressed; and in his face
  141. Divine compassion visibly appeared,
  142. Love without end, and without measure grace,
  143. Which uttering, thus he to his Father spake.
  144. Oh Father, gracious was that word which closed
  145. Thy sovereign command, that man should find grace;
  146. For which both Heaven and earth shall high extol
  147. Thy praises, with the innumerable sound
  148. Of hymns and sacred songs, wherewith thy throne
  149. Encompassed shall resound thee ever blest.
  150. For should man finally be lost, should man,
  151. Thy creature late so loved, thy youngest son,
  152. Fall circumvented thus by fraud, though joined
  153. With his own folly? that be from thee far,
  154. That far be from thee, Father, who art judge
  155. Of all things made, and judgest only right.
  156. Or shall the Adversary thus obtain
  157. His end, and frustrate thine? shall he fulfill
  158. His malice, and thy goodness bring to naught,
  159. Or proud return, though to his heavier doom,
  160. Yet with revenge accomplished, and to Hell
  161. Draw after him the whole race of mankind,
  162. By him corrupted? or wilt thou thyself
  163. Abolish thy creation, and unmake
  164. For him, what for thy glory thou hast made?
  165. So should thy goodness and thy greatness both
  166. Be questioned and blasphemed without defense.
  167. To whom the great Creator thus replied.
  168. Oh son, in whom my soul hath chief delight,
  169. Son of my bosom, Son who art alone.
  170. My word, my wisdom, and effectual might,
  171. All hast thou spoken as my thoughts are, all
  172. As my eternal purpose hath decreed;
  173. man shall not quite be lost, but saved who will;
  174. Yet not of will in him, but grace in me
  175. Freely vouchsafed; once more I will renew
  176. His lapsed powers, though forfeit; and enthralled
  177. By sin to foul exorbitant desires;
  178. Upheld by me, yet once more he shall stand
  179. On even ground against his mortal foe;
  180. By me upheld, that he may know how frail
  181. His fallen condition is, and to me owe
  182. All his deliverance, and to none but me.
  183. Some I have chosen of peculiar grace,
  184. Elect above the rest; so is my will:
  185. The rest shall hear me call, and oft be warned
  186. Their sinful state, and to appease betimes
  187. The incensed Deity, while offered grace
  188. Invites; for I will clear their senses dark,
  189. What may suffice, and soften stony hearts
  190. To pray, repent, and bring obedience due.
  191. To prayer, repentance, and obedience due,
  192. Though but endeavored with sincere intent,
  193. Mine ear shall not be slow, mine eye not shut.
  194. And I will place within them as a guide,
  195. My umpire Conscience; whom if they will hear,
  196. Light after light, well used, they shall attain,
  197. And to the end, persisting, safe arrive.
  198. This my long sufferance, and my day of grace,
  199. They who neglect and scorn, shall never taste;
  200. But hard be hardened, blind be blinded more,
  201. That they may stumble on, and deeper fall;
  202. And none but such from mercy I exclude.
  203. But yet all is not done; man disobeying,
  204. Disloyal, breaks his fealty, and sins
  205. Against the high supremacy of Heaven,
  206. Affecting God-head, and, so losing all,
  207. To expiate his treason hath naught left,
  208. But to destruction sacred and devote,
  209. He, with his whole posterity, must die,
  210. Die he or justice must; unless for him
  211. Some other able, and as willing, pay
  212. The rigid satisfaction, death for death.
  213. Say, heavenly Powers, where shall we find such love?
  214. Which of you will be mortal, to redeem
  215. Man's mortal crime, and just the unjust to save?
  216. Dwells in all Heaven charity so dear?
  217. And silence was in Heaven: on man's behalf
  218. He asked, but all the heavenly quire stood mute,
  219. Patron or intercessor none appeared,
  220. Much less that durst upon his own head draw
  221. The deadly forfeiture, and ransom set.
  222. And now without redemption all mankind
  223. Must have been lost, adjudged to Death and Hell
  224. By doom severe, had not the Son of God,
  225. In whom the fullness dwells of love divine,
  226. His dearest mediation thus renewed.
  227. Father, thy word is past, man shall find grace;
  228. And shall grace not find means, that finds her way,
  229. The speediest of thy winged messengers,
  230. To visit all thy creatures, and to all
  231. Comes unprevented, unimplored, unsought?
  232. Happy for man, so coming; he her aid
  233. Can never seek, once dead in sins, and lost;
  234. Atonement for himself, or offering meet,
  235. Indebted and undone, hath none to bring;
  236. Behold me then: me for him, life for life
  237. I offer: on me let thine anger fall;
  238. Account me Man; I for his sake will leave
  239. Thy bosom, and this glory next to thee
  240. Freely put off, and for him lastly die
  241. Well pleased; on me let Death wreak all his rage.
  242. Under his gloomy power I shall not long
  243. Lie vanquished. Thou hast given me to possess
  244. Life in myself for ever; by thee I live;
  245. Though now to Death I yield, and am his due,
  246. All that of me can die, yet, that debt paid,
  247. Thou wilt not leave me in the loathsome grave
  248. His prey, nor suffer my unspotted soul
  249. For ever with corruption there to dwell;
  250. But I shall rise victorious, and subdue
  251. My vanquisher, spoiled of his vaunted spoil.
  252. Death his death's wound shall then receive, and stoop
  253. Inglorious, of his mortal sting disarmed;
  254. I through the ample air in triumph high
  255. Shall lead Hell captive maugre Hell, and show
  256. The powers of darkness bound. Thou, at the sight
  257. Pleased, out of Heaven shalt look down and smile,
  258. While, by thee raised, I ruin all my foes;
  259. Death last, and with his carcass glut the grave;
  260. Then, with the multitude of my redeemed,
  261. Shall enter Heaven, long absent, and return,
  262. Father, to see thy face, wherein no cloud
  263. Of anger shall remain, but peace assured
  264. And reconcilement: wrath shall be no more
  265. Thenceforth, but in thy presence joy entire.
  266. His words here ended; but his meek aspect
  267. Silent yet spake, and breathed immortal love
  268. To mortal men, above which only shone
  269. Filial obedience: as a sacrifice
  270. Glad to be offered, he attends the will
  271. Of his great Father. Admiration seized
  272. All Heaven, what this might mean, and whither tend,
  273. Wondering; but soon the Almighty thus replied.
  274. Oh thou in Heaven and Earth the only peace
  275. Found out for mankind under wrath, Oh thou
  276. My sole complacence. Well thou know'st how dear
  277. To me are all my works; nor man the least,
  278. Though last created, that for him I spare
  279. Thee from my bosom and right hand, to save,
  280. By losing thee a while, the whole race lost.
  281. Thou, therefore, whom thou only canst redeem,
  282. Their nature also to thy nature join;
  283. And be thyself man among men on Earth,
  284. Made flesh, when time shall be, of virgin seed,
  285. By wondrous birth; be thou in Adam's room
  286. The head of all mankind, though Adam's son.
  287. As in him perish all men, so in thee,
  288. As from a second root, shall be restored
  289. As many as are restored, without thee none.
  290. His crime makes guilty all his sons; thy merit,
  291. Imputed, shall absolve them who renounce
  292. Their own both righteous and unrighteous deeds,
  293. And live in thee transplanted, and from thee
  294. Receive new life. So Man, as is most just,
  295. Shall satisfy for Man, be judged and die,
  296. And dying rise, and rising with him raise
  297. His brethren, ransomed with his own dear life.
  298. So heavenly love shall outdo hellish hate,
  299. Giving to death, and dying to redeem,
  300. So dearly to redeem what hellish hate
  301. So easily destroyed, and still destroys
  302. In those who, when they may, accept not grace.
  303. Nor shalt thou, by descending to assume
  304. Man's nature, lessen or degrade thine own.
  305. Because thou hast, though throned in highest bliss
  306. Equal to God, and equally enjoying
  307. God-like fruition, quitted all, to save
  308. A world from utter loss, and hast been found
  309. By merit more than birthright Son of God,
  310. Found worthiest to be so by being good,
  311. Far more than great or high; because in thee
  312. Love hath abounded more than glory abounds;
  313. Therefore thy humiliation shall exalt
  314. With thee thy manhood also to this throne:
  315. Here shalt thou sit incarnate, here shalt reign
  316. Both God and Man, Son both of God and Man,
  317. Anointed universal King; all power
  318. I give thee; reign for ever, and assume
  319. Thy merits; under thee, as head supreme,
  320. Thrones, Princedoms, Powers, Dominions, I reduce:
  321. All knees to thee shall bow, of them that bide
  322. In Heaven, or Earth, or under Earth in Hell.
  323. When thou, attended gloriously from Heaven,
  324. Shalt in the sky appear, and from thee send
  325. The summoning archangels to proclaim
  326. Thy dread tribunal; forthwith from all winds,
  327. The living, and forthwith the cited dead
  328. Of all past ages, to the general doom
  329. Shall hasten; such a peal shall rouse their sleep.
  330. Then, all thy saints assembled, thou shalt judge
  331. Bad men and angels; they, arraigned, shall sink
  332. Beneath thy sentence; Hell, her numbers full,
  333. Thenceforth shall be for ever shut. Mean while
  334. The world shall burn, and from her ashes spring
  335. New Heaven and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell,
  336. And, after all their tribulations long,
  337. See golden days, fruitful of golden deeds,
  338. With joy and peace triumphing, and fair truth.
  339. Then thou thy regal scepter shalt lay by,
  340. For regal scepter then no more shall need,
  341. God shall be all in all. But, all ye Gods,
  342. Adore him, who to compass all this dies;
  343. Adore the Son, and honor him as me.
  344. No sooner had the Almighty ceased, but all
  345. The multitude of angels, with a shout
  346. Loud as from numbers without number, sweet
  347. As from blest voices, uttering joy, Heaven rung
  348. With jubilee, and loud Hosannas filled
  349. The eternal regions: Lowly reverent
  350. Towards either throne they bow, and to the ground
  351. With solemn adoration down they cast
  352. Their crowns inwove with amaranth and gold;
  353. Immortal amaranth, a flower which once
  354. In Paradise, fast by the tree of life,
  355. Began to bloom; but soon for man's offence
  356. To Heaven removed, where first it grew, there grows,
  357. And flowers aloft shading the fount of life,
  358. And where the river of bliss through midst of Heaven
  359. Rolls o'er Elysian flowers her amber stream;
  360. With these that never fade the Spirits elect
  361. Bind their resplendent locks inwreathed with beams;
  362. Now in loose garlands thick thrown off, the bright
  363. Pavement, that like a sea of jasper shone,
  364. Impurpled with celestial roses smiled.
  365. Then, crowned again, their golden harps they took,
  366. Harps ever tuned, that glittering by their side
  367. Like quivers hung, and with preamble sweet
  368. Of charming symphony they introduce
  369. Their sacred song, and waken raptures high;
  370. No voice exempt, no voice but well could join
  371. Melodious part, such concord is in Heaven.
  372. Thee, Father, first they sung Omnipotent,
  373. Immutable, Immortal, Infinite,
  374. Eternal King; the Author of all being,
  375. Fountain of light, thyself invisible
  376. Amidst the glorious brightness where thou sit'st
  377. Throned inaccessible, but when thou shadest
  378. The full blaze of thy beams, and, through a cloud
  379. Drawn round about thee like a radiant shrine,
  380. Dark with excessive bright thy skirts appear,
  381. Yet dazzle Heaven, that brightest Seraphim
  382. Approach not, but with both wings veil their eyes.
  383. Thee next they sang of all creation first,
  384. Begotten Son, Divine Similitude,
  385. In whose conspicuous countenance, without cloud
  386. Made visible, the Almighty Father shines,
  387. Whom else no creature can behold; on thee
  388. Impressed the effulgence of his glory abides,
  389. Transfused on thee his ample Spirit rests.
  390. He Heaven of Heavens and all the Powers therein
  391. By thee created; and by thee threw down
  392. The aspiring Dominations: Thou that day
  393. Thy Father's dreadful thunder didst not spare,
  394. Nor stop thy flaming chariot-wheels, that shook
  395. Heaven's everlasting frame, while o'er the necks
  396. Thou drovest of warring angels disarrayed.
  397. Back from pursuit thy Powers with loud acclaim
  398. Thee only extolled, Son of thy Father's might,
  399. To execute fierce vengeance on his foes,
  400. Not so on Man: Him through their malice fallen,
  401. Father of mercy and grace, thou didst not doom
  402. So strictly, but much more to pity incline:
  403. No sooner did thy dear and only Son
  404. Perceive thee purposed not to doom frail man
  405. So strictly, but much more to pity inclined,
  406. He to appease thy wrath, and end the strife
  407. Of mercy and justice in thy face discerned,
  408. Regardless of the bliss wherein he sat
  409. Second to thee, offered himself to die
  410. For Man's offence. Oh unexampled love,
  411. Love no where to be found less than Divine!
  412. Hail, Son of God, Savior of Men! Thy name
  413. Shall be the copious matter of my song
  414. Henceforth, and never shall my heart thy praise
  415. Forget, nor from thy Father's praise disjoin.
  416. Thus they in Heaven, above the starry sphere,
  417. Their happy hours in joy and hymning spent.
  418. Mean while upon the firm opacous globe
  419. Of this round world, whose first convex divides
  420. The luminous inferior orbs, enclosed
  421. From Chaos, and the inroad of Darkness old,
  422. Satan alighted walks: A globe far off
  423. It seemed, now seems a boundless continent
  424. Dark, waste, and wild, under the frown of Night
  425. Starless exposed, and ever-threatening storms
  426. Of Chaos blustering round, inclement sky;
  427. Save on that side which from the wall of Heaven,
  428. Though distant far, some small reflection gains
  429. Of glimmering air less vexed with tempest loud:
  430. Here walked the Fiend at large in spacious field.
  431. As when a vulture on Imaus bred,
  432. Whose snowy ridge the roving Tartar bounds,
  433. Dislodging from a region scarce of prey
  434. To gorge the flesh of lambs or yeanling kids,
  435. On hills where flocks are fed, flies toward the springs
  436. Of Ganges or Hydaspes, Indian streams;
  437. But in his way lights on the barren plains
  438. Of Sericana, where Chineses drive
  439. With sails and wind their cany wagons light:
  440. So, on this windy sea of land, the Fiend
  441. Walked up and down alone, bent on his prey;
  442. Alone, for other creature in this place,
  443. Living or lifeless, to be found was none;
  444. None yet, but store hereafter from the earth
  445. Up hither like aerial vapors flew
  446. Of all things transitory and vain, when sin
  447. With vanity had filled the works of men:
  448. Both all things vain, and all who in vain things
  449. Built their fond hopes of glory or lasting fame,
  450. Or happiness in this or the other life;
  451. All who have their reward on earth, the fruits
  452. Of painful superstition and blind zeal,
  453. Naught seeking but the praise of men, here find
  454. Fit retribution, empty as their deeds;
  455. All the unaccomplished works of Nature's hand,
  456. Abortive, monstrous, or unkindly mixed,
  457. Dissolved on earth, fleet hither, and in vain,
  458. Till final dissolution, wander here;
  459. Not in the neighboring moon as some have dreamed;
  460. Those argent fields more likely habitants,
  461. Translated Saints, or middle Spirits hold
  462. Betwixt the angelical and human kind.
  463. Hither of ill-joined sons and daughters born
  464. First from the ancient world those giants came
  465. With many a vain exploit, though then renowned:
  466. The builders next of Babel on the plain
  467. Of Sennaar, and still with vain design,
  468. New Babels, had they wherewithal, would build:
  469. Others came single; he, who, to be deemed
  470. A God, leaped fondly into Aetna flames,
  471. Empedocles; and he, who, to enjoy
  472. Plato's Elysium, leaped into the sea,
  473. Cleombrotus; and many more too long,
  474. Embryos, and idiots, eremites, and friars
  475. White, black, and gray, with all their trumpery.
  476. Here pilgrims roam, that strayed so far to seek
  477. In Golgotha him dead, who lives in Heaven;
  478. And they, who to be sure of Paradise,
  479. Dying, put on the weeds of Dominick,
  480. Or in Franciscan think to pass disguised;
  481. They pass the planets seven, and pass the fixed,
  482. And that crystalline sphere whose balance weighs
  483. The trepidation talked, and that first moved;
  484. And now Saint Peter at Heaven's wicket seems
  485. To wait them with his keys, and now at foot
  486. Of Heaven's ascent they lift their feet, when lo
  487. A violent cross wind from either coast
  488. Blows them transverse, ten thousand leagues awry
  489. Into the devious air: Then might ye see
  490. Cowls, hoods, and habits, with their wearers, tossed
  491. And fluttered into rags; then relics, beads,
  492. Indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls,
  493. The sport of winds: All these, upwhirled aloft,
  494. Fly o'er the backside of the world far off
  495. Into a Limbo large and broad, since called
  496. The Paradise of Fools, to few unknown
  497. Long after; now unpeopled, and untrod.
  498. All this dark globe the Fiend found as he passed,
  499. And long he wandered, till at last a gleam
  500. Of dawning light turned thither-ward in haste
  501. His traveled steps: far distant he descries
  502. Ascending by degrees magnificent
  503. Up to the wall of Heaven a structure high;
  504. At top whereof, but far more rich, appeared
  505. The work as of a kingly palace-gate,
  506. With frontispiece of diamond and gold
  507. Embellished; thick with sparkling orient gems
  508. The portal shone, inimitable on earth
  509. By model, or by shading pencil, drawn.
  510. These stairs were such as whereon Jacob saw
  511. Angels ascending and descending, bands
  512. Of guardians bright, when he from Esau fled
  513. To Padan-Aram, in the field of Luz
  514. Dreaming by night under the open sky
  515. And waking cried, This is the gate of Heaven.
  516. Each stair mysteriously was meant, nor stood
  517. There always, but drawn up to Heaven sometimes
  518. Viewless; and underneath a bright sea flowed
  519. Of jasper, or of liquid pearl, whereon
  520. Who after came from earth, failing arrived
  521. Wafted by angels, or flew o'er the lake
  522. Rapt in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds.
  523. The stairs were then let down, whether to dare
  524. The Fiend by easy ascent, or aggravate
  525. His sad exclusion from the doors of bliss:
  526. Direct against which opened from beneath,
  527. Just o'er the blissful seat of Paradise,
  528. A passage down to the Earth, a passage wide,
  529. Wider by far than that of after-times
  530. Over mount Sion, and, though that were large,
  531. Over the Promised Land to God so dear;
  532. By which, to visit oft those happy tribes,
  533. On high behests his angels to and fro
  534. Passed frequent, and his eye with choice regard
  535. From Paneas, the fount of Jordan's flood,
  536. To Beersaba, where the Holy Land
  537. Borders on Egypt and the Arabian shore;
  538. So wide the opening seemed, where bounds were set
  539. To darkness, such as bound the ocean wave.
  540. Satan from hence, now on the lower stair,
  541. That scaled by steps of gold to Heaven-gate,
  542. Looks down with wonder at the sudden view
  543. Of all this world at once. As when a scout,
  544. Through dark and desert ways with peril gone
  545. All night, at last by break of cheerful dawn
  546. Obtains the brow of some high-climbing hill,
  547. Which to his eye discovers unaware
  548. The goodly prospect of some foreign land
  549. First seen, or some renowned metropolis
  550. With glistering spires and pinnacles adorned,
  551. Which now the rising sun gilds with his beams:
  552. Such wonder seized, though after Heaven seen,
  553. The Spirit malign, but much more envy seized,
  554. At sight of all this world beheld so fair.
  555. Round he surveys (and well might, where he stood
  556. So high above the circling canopy
  557. Of night's extended shade,) from eastern point
  558. Of Libra to the fleecy star that bears
  559. Andromeda far off Atlantic seas
  560. Beyond the horizon; then from pole to pole
  561. He views in breadth, and without longer pause
  562. Down right into the world's first region throws
  563. His flight precipitant, and winds with ease
  564. Through the pure marble air his oblique way
  565. Amongst innumerable stars, that shone
  566. Stars distant, but nigh hand seemed other worlds;
  567. Or other worlds they seemed, or happy isles,
  568. Like those Hesperian gardens famed of old,
  569. Fortunate fields, and groves, and flowery vales,
  570. Thrice happy isles; but who dwelt happy there
  571. He staid not to inquire: Above them all
  572. The golden sun, in splendor likest Heaven,
  573. Allured his eye; thither his course he bends
  574. Through the calm firmament, (but up or down,
  575. By center, or eccentric, hard to tell,
  576. Or longitude,) where the great luminary
  577. Aloof the vulgar constellations thick,
  578. That from his lordly eye keep distance due,
  579. Dispenses light from far; they, as they move
  580. Their starry dance in numbers that compute
  581. Days, months, and years, towards his all-cheering lamp
  582. Turn swift their various motions, or are turned
  583. By his magnetic beam, that gently warms
  584. The universe, and to each inward part
  585. With gentle penetration, though unseen,
  586. Shoots invisible virtue even to the deep;
  587. So wondrously was set his station bright.
  588. There lands the Fiend, a spot like which perhaps
  589. Astronomer in the sun's lucent orb
  590. Through his glazed optic tube yet never saw.
  591. The place he found beyond expression bright,
  592. Compared with aught on earth, metal or stone;
  593. Not all parts like, but all alike informed
  594. With radiant light, as glowing iron with fire;
  595. If metal, part seemed gold, part silver clear;
  596. If stone, carbuncle most or chrysolite,
  597. Ruby or topaz, to the twelve that shone
  598. In Aaron's breast-plate, and a stone besides
  599. Imagined rather oft than elsewhere seen,
  600. That stone, or like to that which here below
  601. Philosophers in vain so long have sought,
  602. In vain, though by their powerful art they bind
  603. Volatile Hermes, and call up unbound
  604. In various shapes old Proteus from the sea,
  605. Drained through a limbec to his native form.
  606. What wonder then if fields and regions here
  607. Breathe forth Elixir pure, and rivers run
  608. Potable gold, when with one virtuous touch
  609. The arch-chemic sun, so far from us remote,
  610. Produces, with terrestrial humor mixed,
  611. Here in the dark so many precious things
  612. Of color glorious, and effect so rare?
  613. Here matter new to gaze the Devil met
  614. Undazzled; far and wide his eye commands;
  615. For sight no obstacle found here, nor shade,
  616. But all sun-shine, as when his beams at noon
  617. Culminate from the equator, as they now
  618. Shot upward still direct, whence no way round
  619. Shadow from body opaque can fall; and the air,
  620. No where so clear, sharpened his visual ray
  621. To objects distant far, whereby he soon
  622. Saw within ken a glorious angel stand,
  623. The same whom John saw also in the sun:
  624. His back was turned, but not his brightness hid;
  625. Of beaming sunny rays a golden tiar
  626. Circled his head, nor less his locks behind
  627. Illustrious on his shoulders fledge with wings
  628. Lay waving round; on some great charge employed
  629. He seemed, or fixed in cogitation deep.
  630. Glad was the Spirit impure, as now in hope
  631. To find who might direct his wandering flight
  632. To Paradise, the happy seat of Man,
  633. His journey's end and our beginning woe.
  634. But first he casts to change his proper shape,
  635. Which else might work him danger or delay:
  636. And now a stripling Cherub he appears,
  637. Not of the prime, yet such as in his face
  638. Youth smiled celestial, and to every limb
  639. Suitable grace diffused, so well he feigned:
  640. Under a coronet his flowing hair
  641. In curls on either cheek played; wings he wore
  642. Of many a colored plume, sprinkled with gold;
  643. His habit fit for speed succinct, and held
  644. Before his decent steps a silver wand.
  645. He drew not nigh unheard; the angel bright,
  646. Ere he drew nigh, his radiant visage turned,
  647. Admonished by his ear, and straight was known
  648. The archangel Uriel, one of the seven
  649. Who in God's presence, nearest to his throne,
  650. Stand ready at command, and are his eyes
  651. That run through all the Heavens, or down to the Earth
  652. Bear his swift errands over moist and dry,
  653. O'er sea and land: him Satan thus accosts.
  654. Uriel, for thou of those seven Spirits that stand
  655. In sight of God's high throne, gloriously bright,
  656. The first art wont his great authentic will
  657. Interpreter through highest Heaven to bring,
  658. Where all his sons thy embassy attend;
  659. And here art likeliest by supreme decree
  660. Like honor to obtain, and as his eye
  661. To visit oft this new creation round;
  662. Unspeakable desire to see, and know
  663. All these his wondrous works, but chiefly Man,
  664. His chief delight and favor, him for whom
  665. All these his works so wondrous he ordained,
  666. Hath brought me from the quires of Cherubim
  667. Alone thus wandering. Brightest Seraph, tell
  668. In which of all these shining orbs hath man
  669. His fixed seat, or fixed seat hath none,
  670. But all these shining orbs his choice to dwell;
  671. That I may find him, and with secret gaze
  672. Or open admiration him behold,
  673. On whom the great Creator hath bestowed
  674. Worlds, and on whom hath all these graces poured;
  675. That both in him and all things, as is meet,
  676. The universal Maker we may praise;
  677. Who justly hath driven out his rebel foes
  678. To deepest Hell, and, to repair that loss,
  679. Created this new happy race of Men
  680. To serve him better: Wise are all his ways.
  681. So spake the false dissembler unperceived;
  682. For neither man nor angel can discern
  683. Hypocrisy, the only evil that walks
  684. Invisible, except to God alone,
  685. By his permissive will, through Heaven and Earth:
  686. And oft, though wisdom wake, suspicion sleeps
  687. At wisdom's gate, and to simplicity
  688. Resigns her charge, while goodness thinks no ill
  689. Where no ill seems: Which now for once beguiled
  690. Uriel, though regent of the sun, and held
  691. The sharpest-sighted Spirit of all in Heaven;
  692. Who to the fraudulent impostor foul,
  693. In his uprightness, answer thus returned.
  694. Fair angel, thy desire, which tends to know
  695. The works of God, thereby to glorify
  696. The great Work-master, leads to no excess
  697. That reaches blame, but rather merits praise
  698. The more it seems excess, that led thee hither
  699. From thy empyreal mansion thus alone,
  700. To witness with thine eyes what some perhaps,
  701. Contented with report, hear only in Heaven:
  702. For wonderful indeed are all his works,
  703. Pleasant to know, and worthiest to be all
  704. Had in remembrance always with delight;
  705. But what created mind can comprehend
  706. Their number, or the wisdom infinite
  707. That brought them forth, but hid their causes deep?
  708. I saw when at his word the formless mass,
  709. This world's material mould, came to a heap:
  710. Confusion heard his voice, and wild uproar
  711. Stood ruled, stood vast infinitude confined;
  712. Till at his second bidding Darkness fled,
  713. Light shone, and order from disorder sprung:
  714. Swift to their several quarters hasted then
  715. The cumbrous elements, earth, flood, air, fire;
  716. And this ethereal quintessence of Heaven
  717. Flew upward, spirited with various forms,
  718. That rolled orbicular, and turned to stars
  719. Numberless, as thou seest, and how they move;
  720. Each had his place appointed, each his course;
  721. The rest in circuit walls this universe.
  722. Look downward on that globe, whose hither side
  723. With light from hence, though but reflected, shines;
  724. That place is Earth, the seat of Man; that light
  725. His day, which else, as the other hemisphere,
  726. Night would invade; but there the neighboring moon
  727. So call that opposite fair star) her aid
  728. Timely interposes, and her monthly round
  729. Still ending, still renewing, through mid Heaven,
  730. With borrowed light her countenance triform
  731. Hence fills and empties to enlighten the Earth,
  732. And in her pale dominion checks the night.
  733. That spot, to which I point, is Paradise,
  734. Adam's abode; those lofty shades, his bower.
  735. Thy way thou canst not miss, me mine requires.
  736. Thus said, he turned; and Satan, bowing low,
  737. As to superior Spirits is wont in Heaven,
  738. Where honor due and reverence none neglects,
  739. Took leave, and toward the coast of earth beneath,
  740. Down from the ecliptic, sped with hoped success,
  741. Throws his steep flight in many an aerie wheel;
  742. Nor staid, till on Niphates' top he lights.

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BOOK IV


. Back to Top


~ BOOK IV ~

  1. Oh, for that warning voice, which he, who saw
  2. The Apocalypse, heard cry in Heaven aloud,
  3. Then when the Dragon, put to second rout,
  4. Came furious down to be revenged on men,
  5. Woe to the inhabitants on earth, that now,
  6. While time was, our first parents had been warned
  7. The coming of their secret foe, and 'scaped,
  8. Haply so 'scaped his mortal snare: For now
  9. Satan, now first inflamed with rage, came down,
  10. The tempter ere the accuser of mankind,
  11. To wreak on innocent frail man his loss
  12. Of that first battle, and his flight to Hell:
  13. Yet, not rejoicing in his speed, though bold
  14. Far off and fearless, nor with cause to boast,
  15. Begins his dire attempt; which nigh the birth
  16. Now rolling boils in his tumultuous breast,
  17. And like a devilish engine back recoils
  18. Upon himself; horror and doubt distract
  19. His troubled thoughts, and from the bottom stir
  20. The Hell within him; for within him Hell
  21. He brings, and round about him, nor from Hell
  22. One step, no more than from himself, can fly
  23. By change of place: Now conscience wakes despair,
  24. That slumbered; wakes the bitter memory
  25. Of what he was, what is, and what must be
  26. Worse; of worse deeds worse sufferings must ensue.
  27. Sometimes towards Eden, which now in his view
  28. Lay pleasant, his grieved look he fixes sad;
  29. Sometimes towards Heaven, and the full-blazing sun,
  30. Which now sat high in his meridian tower:
  31. Then, much revolving, thus in sighs began.
  32. Oh thou, that, with surpassing glory crowned,
  33. Lookest from thy sole dominion like the God
  34. Of this new world; at whose sight all the stars
  35. Hide their diminished heads; to thee I call,
  36. But with no friendly voice, and add thy name,
  37. Of Sun, to tell thee how I hate thy beams,
  38. That bring to my remembrance from what state
  39. I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere;
  40. Till pride and worse ambition threw me down
  41. Warring in Heaven against Heaven's matchless King:
  42. Ah, wherefore he deserved no such return
  43. From me, whom he created what I was
  44. In that bright eminence, and with his good
  45. Upbraided none; nor was his service hard.
  46. What could be less than to afford him praise,
  47. The easiest recompense, and pay him thanks,
  48. How due, yet all his good proved ill in me,
  49. And wrought but malice; lifted up so high
  50. I Ďsdained subjection, and thought one step higher
  51. Would set me highest, and in a moment quit
  52. The debt immense of endless gratitude,
  53. So burdensome still paying, still to owe,
  54. Forgetful what from him I still received,
  55. And understood not that a grateful mind
  56. By owing owes not, but still pays, at once
  57. Indebted and discharged; what burden then
  58. Oh, had his powerful destiny ordained
  59. Me some inferior angel, I had stood
  60. Then happy; no unbounded hope had raised
  61. Ambition. Yet why not some other Power
  62. As great might have aspired, and me, though mean,
  63. Drawn to his part; but other Powers as great
  64. Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within
  65. Or from without, to all temptations armed.
  66. Hadst thou the same free will and power to stand?
  67. Thou hadst: whom hast thou then or what to accuse,
  68. But Heaven's free love dealt equally to all?
  69. Be then his love accursed, since love or hate,
  70. To me alike, it deals eternal woe.
  71. Nay, cursed be thou; since against his thy will
  72. Chose freely what it now so justly rues.
  73. Me miserable, which way shall I fly
  74. Infinite wrath, and infinite despair?
  75. Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell;
  76. And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep
  77. Still threatening to devour me opens wide,
  78. To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heaven.
  79. Oh, then, at last relent: Is there no place
  80. Left for repentance, none for pardon left?
  81. None left but by submission; and that word
  82. Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame
  83. Among the Spirits beneath, whom I seduced
  84. With other promises and other vaunts
  85. Than to submit, boasting I could subdue
  86. The Omnipotent. Ay me! they little know
  87. How dearly I abide that boast so vain,
  88. Under what torments inwardly I groan,
  89. While they adore me on the throne of Hell.
  90. With diadem and scepter high advanced,
  91. The lower still I fall, only supreme
  92. In misery: Such joy ambition finds.
  93. But say I could repent, and could obtain,
  94. By act of grace, my former state; how soon
  95. Would heighth recall high thoughts, how soon unsay
  96. What feigned submission swore? Ease would recant
  97. Vows made in pain, as violent and void.
  98. For never can true reconcilement grow,
  99. Where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep:
  100. Which would but lead me to a worse relapse
  101. And heavier fall: so should I purchase dear
  102. Short intermission bought with double smart.
  103. This knows my Punisher; therefore as far
  104. From granting he, as I from begging, peace;
  105. All hope excluded thus, behold, in stead
  106. Mankind created, and for him this world.
  107. So farewell, hope; and with hope farewell, fear;
  108. Farewell, remorse, all good to me is lost;
  109. Evil, be thou my good; by thee at least
  110. Divided empire with Heaven's King I hold,
  111. By thee, and more than half perhaps will reign;
  112. As man ere long, and this new world, shall know.
  113. Thus while he spake, each passion dimmed his face
  114. Thrice changed with pale, ire, envy, and despair;
  115. Which marred his borrowed visage, and betrayed
  116. Him counterfeit, if any eye beheld.
  117. For heavenly minds from such distempers foul
  118. Are ever clear. Whereof he soon aware,
  119. Each perturbation smoothed with outward calm,
  120. Artificer of fraud; and was the first
  121. That practiced falsehood under saintly show,
  122. Deep malice to conceal, couched with revenge:
  123. Yet not enough had practiced to deceive
  124. Uriel once warned; whose eye pursued him down
  125. The way he went, and on the Assyrian mount
  126. Saw him disfigured, more than could befall
  127. Spirit of happy sort; his gestures fierce
  128. He marked and mad demeanor, then alone,
  129. As he supposed, all unobserved, unseen.
  130. So on he fares, and to the border comes
  131. Of Eden, where delicious Paradise,
  132. Now nearer, crowns with her enclosure green,
  133. As with a rural mound, the champaign head
  134. Of a steep wilderness, whose hairy sides
  135. Access denied; and overhead upgrew
  136. Insuperable height of loftiest shade,
  137. Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm,
  138. A sylvan scene, and, as the ranks ascend,
  139. Shade above shade, a woody theatre
  140. Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops
  141. The verdurous wall of Paradise upsprung;
  142. Which to our general sire gave prospect large
  143. Into his nether empire neighboring round.
  144. And higher than that wall a circling row
  145. Of goodliest trees, loaden with fairest fruit,
  146. Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue,
  147. Appeared, with gay enameled colors mixed:
  148. On which the sun more glad impressed his beams
  149. Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow,
  150. When God hath showered the earth; so lovely seemed
  151. That landscape: And of pure now purer air
  152. Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires
  153. Vernal delight and joy, able to drive
  154. All sadness but despair: Now gentle gales,
  155. Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense
  156. Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole
  157. Those balmy spoils. As when to them who fail
  158. Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past
  159. Mozambique, off at sea north-east winds blow
  160. Sabean odors from the spicy shore
  161. Of Araby the blest; with such delay
  162. Well pleased they slack their course, and many a league
  163. Cheered with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles:
  164. So entertained those odorous sweets the Fiend,
  165. Who came their bane; though with them better pleased
  166. Than Asmodeus with the fishy fume
  167. That drove him, though enamored, from the spouse
  168. Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent
  169. From Media post to Egypt, there fast bound.
  170. Now to the ascent of that steep savage hill
  171. Satan had journeyed on, pensive and slow;
  172. But further way found none, so thick entwined,
  173. As one continued brake, the undergrowth
  174. Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplexed
  175. All path of man or beast that passed that way.
  176. One gate there only was, and that looked east
  177. On the other side: which when the arch-felon saw,
  178. Due entrance he disdained; and, in contempt,
  179. At one flight bound high over-leaped all bound
  180. Of hill or highest wall, and sheer within
  181. Lights on his feet. As when a prowling wolf,
  182. Whom hunger drives to seek new haunt for prey,
  183. Watching where shepherds pen their flocks at eve
  184. In hurdled cotes amid the field secure,
  185. Leaps o'er the fence with ease into the fold:
  186. Or as a thief, bent to unhoard the cash
  187. Of some rich burgher, whose substantial doors,
  188. Cross-barred and bolted fast, fear no assault,
  189. In at the window climbs, or o'er the tiles:
  190. So clomb this first grand thief into God's fold;
  191. So since into his church lewd hirelings climb.
  192. Thence up he flew, and on the tree of life,
  193. The middle tree and highest there that grew,
  194. Sat like a cormorant; yet not true life
  195. Thereby regained, but sat devising death
  196. To them who lived; nor on the virtue thought
  197. Of that life-giving plant, but only used
  198. For prospect, what well used had been the pledge
  199. Of immortality. So little knows
  200. Any, but God alone, to value right
  201. The good before him, but perverts best things
  202. To worst abuse, or to their meanest use.
  203. Beneath him with new wonder now he views,
  204. To all delight of human sense exposed,
  205. In narrow room, Nature's whole wealth, yea more,
  206. A Heaven on Earth: For blissful Paradise
  207. Of God the garden was, by him in the east
  208. Of Eden planted; Eden stretched her line
  209. From Auran eastward to the royal towers
  210. Of great Seleucia, built by Grecian kings,
  211. Of where the sons of Eden long before
  212. Dwelt in Telassar: In this pleasant soil
  213. His far more pleasant garden God ordained;
  214. Out of the fertile ground he caused to grow
  215. All trees of noblest kind for sight, smell, taste;
  216. And all amid them stood the tree of life,
  217. High eminent, blooming ambrosial fruit
  218. Of vegetable gold; and next to life,
  219. Our death, the tree of knowledge, grew fast by,
  220. Knowledge of good bought dear by knowing ill.
  221. Southward through Eden went a river large,
  222. Nor changed his course, but through the shaggy hill
  223. Passed underneath ingulfed; for God had thrown
  224. That mountain as his garden-mould high raised
  225. Upon the rapid current, which, through veins
  226. Of porous earth with kindly thirst up-drawn,
  227. Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill
  228. Watered the garden; thence united fell
  229. Down the steep glade, and met the nether flood,
  230. Which from his darksome passage now appears,
  231. And now, divided into four main streams,
  232. Runs diverse, wandering many a famous realm
  233. And country, whereof here needs no account;
  234. But rather to tell how, if Art could tell,
  235. How from that sapphire fount the crisped brooks,
  236. Rolling on orient pearl and sands of gold,
  237. With mazy error under pendant shades
  238. Ran nectar, visiting each plant, and fed
  239. Flowers worthy of Paradise, which not nice Art
  240. In beds and curious knots, but Nature boon
  241. Poured forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain,
  242. Both where the morning sun first warmly smote
  243. The open field, and where the unpierced shade
  244. Imbrowned the noontide bowers: Thus was this place
  245. A happy rural seat of various view;
  246. Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and balm,
  247. Others whose fruit, burnished with golden rind,
  248. Hung amiable, Hesperian fables true,
  249. If true, here only, and of delicious taste:
  250. Betwixt them lawns, or level downs, and flocks
  251. Grazing the tender herb, were interposed,
  252. Or palmy hillock; or the flowery lap
  253. Of some irriguous valley spread her store,
  254. Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose:
  255. Another side, umbrageous grots and caves
  256. Of cool recess, o'er which the mantling vine
  257. Lays forth her purple grape, and gently creeps
  258. Luxuriant; mean while murmuring waters fall
  259. Down the slope hills, dispersed, or in a lake,
  260. That to the fringed bank with myrtle crowned
  261. Her crystal mirror holds, unite their streams.
  262. The birds their quire apply; airs, vernal airs,
  263. Breathing the smell of field and grove, attune
  264. The trembling leaves, while universal Pan,
  265. Knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance,
  266. Led on the eternal Spring. Not that fair field
  267. Of Enna, where Proserpine gathering flowers,
  268. Herself a fairer flower by gloomy Dis
  269. Was gathered, which cost Ceres all that pain
  270. To seek her through the world; nor that sweet grove
  271. Of Daphne by Orontes, and the inspired
  272. Castalian spring, might with this Paradise
  273. Of Eden strive; nor that Nyseian isle
  274. Girt with the river Triton, where old Cham,
  275. Whom Gentiles Ammon call and Libyan Jove,
  276. Hid Amalthea, and her florid son
  277. Young Bacchus, from his stepdame Rhea's eye;
  278. Nor where Abassin kings their issue guard,
  279. Mount Amara, though this by some supposed
  280. True Paradise under the Ethiop line
  281. By Nilus' head, enclosed with shining rock,
  282. A whole day's journey high, but wide remote
  283. From this Assyrian garden, where the Fiend
  284. Saw, undelighted, all delight, all kind
  285. Of living creatures, new to sight, and strange
  286. Two of far nobler shape, erect and tall,
  287. Godlike erect, with native honor clad
  288. In naked majesty seemed lords of all:
  289. And worthy seemed; for in their looks divine
  290. The image of their glorious Maker shone,
  291. Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure,
  292. (Severe, but in true filial freedom placed,)
  293. Whence true authority in men; though both
  294. Not equal, as their sex not equal seemed;
  295. For contemplation he and velour formed;
  296. For softness she and sweet attractive grace;
  297. He for God only, she for God in him:
  298. His fair large front and eye sublime declared
  299. Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks
  300. Round from his parted forelock manly hung
  301. Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad:
  302. She, as a veil, down to the slender waist
  303. Her unadorned golden tresses wore
  304. Disheveled, but in wanton ringlets waved
  305. As the vine curls her tendrils, which implied
  306. Subjection, but required with gentle sway,
  307. And by her yielded, by him best received,
  308. Yielded with coy submission, modest pride,
  309. And sweet, reluctant, amorous delay.
  310. Nor those mysterious parts were then concealed;
  311. Then was not guilty shame, dishonest shame
  312. Of nature's works, honor dishonorable,
  313. Sin-bred, how have ye troubled all mankind
  314. With shows instead, mere shows of seeming pure,
  315. And banished from man's life his happiest life,
  316. Simplicity and spotless innocence.
  317. So passed they naked on, nor shunned the sight
  318. Of God or angel; for they thought no ill:
  319. So hand in hand they passed, the loveliest pair,
  320. That ever since in love's embraces met;
  321. Adam the goodliest man of men since born
  322. His sons, the fairest of her daughters Eve.
  323. Under a tuft of shade that on a green
  324. Stood whispering soft, by a fresh fountain side
  325. They sat them down; and, after no more toil
  326. Of their sweet gardening labor than sufficed
  327. To recommend cool Zephyr, and made ease
  328. More easy, wholesome thirst and appetite
  329. More grateful, to their supper-fruits they fell,
  330. Nectarine fruits which the compliant boughs
  331. Yielded them, side-long as they sat recline
  332. On the soft downy bank damasked with flowers:
  333. The savory pulp they chew, and in the rind,
  334. Still as they thirsted, scoop the brimming stream;
  335. Nor gentle purpose, nor endearing smiles
  336. Wanted, nor youthful dalliance, as beseems
  337. Fair couple, linked in happy nuptial league,
  338. Alone as they. About them frisking played
  339. All beasts of the earth, since wild, and of all chase
  340. In wood or wilderness, forest or den;
  341. Sporting the lion ramped, and in his paw
  342. Dandled the kid; bears, tigers, ounces, pards,
  343. Gamboled before them; the unwieldy elephant,
  344. To make them mirth, used all his might, and wreathed
  345. His lithe proboscis; close the serpent sly,
  346. Insinuating, wove with Gordian twine
  347. His braided train, and of his fatal guile
  348. Gave proof unheeded; others on the grass
  349. Couched, and now filled with pasture gazing sat,
  350. Or bedward ruminating; for the sun,
  351. Declined, was hasting now with prone career
  352. To the ocean isles, and in the ascending scale
  353. Of Heaven the stars that usher evening rose:
  354. When Satan still in gaze, as first he stood,
  355. Scarce thus at length failed speech recovered sad.
  356. Oh Hell! what do mine eyes with grief behold?
  357. Into our room of bliss thus high advanced
  358. Creatures of other mould, earth-born perhaps,
  359. Not Spirits, yet to heavenly Spirits bright
  360. Little inferior; whom my thoughts pursue
  361. With wonder, and could love, so lively shines
  362. In them divine resemblance, and such grace
  363. The hand that formed them on their shape hath poured.
  364. Ah, gentle pair, ye little think how nigh
  365. Your change approaches, when all these delights
  366. Will vanish, and deliver ye to woe;
  367. More woe, the more your taste is now of joy;
  368. Happy, but for so happy ill secured
  369. Long to continue, and this high seat your Heaven
  370. Ill fenced for Heaven to keep out such a foe
  371. As now is entered; yet no purposed foe
  372. To you, whom I could pity thus forlorn,
  373. Though I unpitied: League with you I seek,
  374. And mutual amity, so strait, so close,
  375. That I with you must dwell, or you with me
  376. Henceforth; my dwelling haply may not please,
  377. Like this fair Paradise, your sense; yet such
  378. Accept your Maker's work; he gave it me,
  379. Which I as freely give: Hell shall unfold,
  380. To entertain you two, her widest gates,
  381. And send forth all her kings; there will be room,
  382. Not like these narrow limits, to receive
  383. Your numerous offspring; if no better place,
  384. Thank him who puts me loath to this revenge
  385. On you who wrong me not for him who wronged.
  386. And should I at your harmless innocence
  387. Melt, as I do, yet public reason just,
  388. Honor and empire with revenge enlarged,
  389. By conquering this new world, compels me now
  390. To do what else, though damned, I should abhor.
  391. So spake the Fiend, and with necessity,
  392. The tyrant's plea, excused his devilish deeds.
  393. Then from his lofty stand on that high tree
  394. Down he alights among the sportful herd
  395. Of those four-footed kinds, himself now one,
  396. Now other, as their shape served best his end
  397. Nearer to view his prey, and, unespied,
  398. To mark what of their state he more might learn,
  399. By word or action marked. About them round
  400. A lion now he stalks with fiery glare;
  401. Then as a tiger, who by chance hath spied
  402. In some purlieu two gentle fawns at play,
  403. Straight couches close, then, rising, changes oft
  404. His couchant watch, as one who chose his ground,
  405. Whence rushing, he might surest seize them both,
  406. Griped in each paw: when, Adam first of men
  407. To first of women Eve thus moving speech,
  408. Turned him, all ear to hear new utterance flow.
  409. Sole partner, and sole part, of all these joys,
  410. Dearer thyself than all; needs must the Power
  411. That made us, and for us this ample world,
  412. Be infinitely good, and of his good
  413. As liberal and free as infinite;
  414. That raised us from the dust, and placed us here
  415. In all this happiness, who at his hand
  416. Have nothing merited, nor can perform
  417. Aught whereof he hath need; he who requires
  418. From us no other service than to keep
  419. This one, this easy charge, of all the trees
  420. In Paradise that bear delicious fruit
  421. So various, not to taste that only tree
  422. Of knowledge, planted by the tree of life;
  423. So near grows death to life, whate'er death is,
  424. Some dreadful thing no doubt; for well thou knowest
  425. God hath pronounced it death to taste that tree,
  426. The only sign of our obedience left,
  427. Among so many signs of power and rule
  428. Conferred upon us, and dominion given
  429. Over all other creatures that possess
  430. Earth, air, and sea. Then let us not think hard
  431. One easy prohibition, who enjoy
  432. Free leave so large to all things else, and choice
  433. Unlimited of manifold delights:
  434. But let us ever praise him, and extol
  435. His bounty, following our delightful task,
  436. To prune these growing plants, and tend these flowers,
  437. Which were it toilsome, yet with thee were sweet.
  438. To whom thus Eve replied. Oh thou for whom
  439. And from whom I was formed, flesh of thy flesh,
  440. And without whom am to no end, my guide
  441. And head, what thou hast said is just and right.
  442. For we to him indeed all praises owe,
  443. And daily thanks; I chiefly, who enjoy
  444. So far the happier lot, enjoying thee
  445. Pre-eminent by so much odds, while thou
  446. Like consort to thyself canst no where find.
  447. That day I oft remember, when from sleep
  448. I first awaked, and found myself reposed
  449. Under a shade on flowers, much wondering where
  450. And what I was, whence thither brought, and how.
  451. Not distant far from thence a murmuring sound
  452. Of waters issued from a cave, and spread
  453. Into a liquid plain, then stood unmoved
  454. Pure as the expanse of Heaven; I thither went
  455. With unexperienced thought, and laid me down
  456. On the green bank, to look into the clear
  457. Smooth lake, that to me seemed another sky.
  458. As I bent down to look, just opposite
  459. A shape within the watery gleam appeared,
  460. Bending to look on me: I started back,
  461. It started back; but pleased I soon returned,
  462. Pleased it returned as soon with answering looks
  463. Of sympathy and love: There I had fixed
  464. Mine eyes till now, and pined with vain desire,
  465. Had not a voice thus warned me; 'What thou seest,
  466. 'What there thou seest, fair Creature, is thyself;
  467. 'With thee it came and goes: but follow me,
  468. 'And I will bring thee where no shadow stays
  469. 'Thy coming, and thy soft embraces, he
  470. 'Whose image thou art; him thou shalt enjoy
  471. 'Inseparably thine, to him shalt bear
  472. 'Multitudes like thyself, and thence be called
  473. 'Mother of human race.' What could I do,
  474. But follow straight, invisibly thus led?
  475. Till I espied thee, fair indeed and tall,
  476. Under a platane; yet methought less fair,
  477. Less winning soft, less amiably mild,
  478. Than that smooth watery image: Back I turned;
  479. Thou following criedíst aloud, 'Return, fair Eve;
  480. 'Whom flyest thou? whom thou flyest, of him thou art,
  481. 'His flesh, his bone; to give thee being I lent
  482. 'Out of my side to thee, nearest my heart,
  483. 'Substantial life, to have thee by my side
  484. 'Henceforth an individual solace dear;
  485. 'Part of my soul I seek thee, and thee claim
  486. 'My other half:' With that thy gentle hand
  487. Seized mine: I yielded; and from that time see
  488. How beauty is excelled by manly grace,
  489. And wisdom, which alone is truly fair.
  490. So spake our general mother, and with eyes
  491. Of conjugal attraction unreproved,
  492. And meek surrender, half-embracing leaned
  493. On our first father; half her swelling breast
  494. Naked met his, under the flowing gold
  495. Of her loose tresses hid: he in delight
  496. Both of her beauty, and submissive charms,
  497. Smiled with superior love, as Jupiter
  498. On Juno smiles, when he impregns the clouds
  499. That shed Mayflowers; and pressed her matron lip
  500. With kisses pure: Aside the Devil turned
  501. For envy; yet with jealous leer malign
  502. Eyed them askance, and to himself thus Ďplained.
  503. Sight hateful, sight tormenting! thus these two,
  504. Imparadised in one another's arms,
  505. The happier Eden, shall enjoy their fill
  506. Of bliss on bliss; while I to Hell am thrust,
  507. Where neither joy nor love, but fierce desire,
  508. Among our other torments not the least,
  509. Still unfulfilled with pain of longing pines.
  510. Yet let me not forget what I have gained
  511. From their own mouths: All is not theirs, it seems;
  512. One fatal tree there stands, of knowledge called,
  513. Forbidden them to taste: Knowledge forbidden
  514. Suspicious, reasonless. Why should their Lord
  515. Envy them that? Can it be sin to know?
  516. Can it be death? And do they only stand
  517. By ignorance? Is that their happy state,
  518. The proof of their obedience and their faith?
  519. Oh fair foundation laid whereon to build
  520. Their ruin; hence I will excite their minds
  521. With more desire to know, and to reject
  522. Envious commands, invented with design
  523. To keep them low, whom knowledge might exalt
  524. Equal with Gods: aspiring to be such,
  525. They taste and die: What likelier can ensue
  526. But first with narrow search I must walk round
  527. This garden, and no corner leave unspied;
  528. A chance but chance may lead where I may meet
  529. Some wandering Spirit of Heaven by fountain side,
  530. Or in thick shade retired, from him to draw
  531. What further would be learned. Live while ye may,
  532. Yet happy pair; enjoy, till I return,
  533. Short pleasures, for long woes are to succeed!
  534. So saying, his proud step he scornful turned,
  535. But with sly circumspection, and began
  536. Through wood, through waste, o'er hill, o'er dale, his roam
  537. Mean while in utmost longitude, where Heaven
  538. With earth and ocean meets, the setting sun
  539. Slowly descended, and with right aspect
  540. Against the eastern gate of Paradise
  541. Leveled his evening rays: It was a rock
  542. Of alabaster, piled up to the clouds,
  543. Conspicuous far, winding with one ascent
  544. Accessible from earth, one entrance high;
  545. The rest was craggy cliff, that overhung
  546. Still as it rose, impossible to climb.
  547. Betwixt these rocky pillars Gabriel sat,
  548. Chief of the angelic guards, awaiting night;
  549. About him exercised heroic games
  550. The unarmed youth of Heaven, but nigh at hand
  551. Celestial armory, shields, helms, and spears,
  552. Hung high with diamond flaming, and with gold.
  553. Thither came Uriel, gliding through the even
  554. On a sun-beam, swift as a shooting star
  555. In autumn thwarts the night, when vapors fired
  556. Impress the air, and shows the mariner
  557. From what point of his compass to beware
  558. Impetuous winds: He thus began in haste.
  559. Gabriel, to thee thy course by lot hath given
  560. Charge and strict watch, that to this happy place
  561. No evil thing approach or enter in.
  562. This day at heighth of noon came to my sphere
  563. A Spirit, zealous, as he seemed, to know
  564. More of the Almighty's works, and chiefly Man,
  565. God's latest image: I described his way
  566. Bent all on speed, and marked his aerie gait;
  567. But in the mount that lies from Eden north,
  568. Where he first lighted, soon discerned his looks
  569. Alien from Heaven, with passions foul obscured:
  570. Mine eye pursued him still, but under shade
  571. Lost sight of him: One of the banished crew,
  572. I fear, hath ventured from the deep, to raise
  573. New troubles; him thy care must be to find.
  574. To whom the winged warrior thus returned.
  575. Uriel, no wonder if thy perfect sight,
  576. Amid the sun's bright circle where thou sits,
  577. See far and wide: In at this gate none pass
  578. The vigilance here placed, but such as come
  579. Well known from Heaven; and since meridian hour
  580. No creature thence: If spirit of other sort,
  581. So minded, have o'er-leaped these earthly bounds
  582. On purpose, hard thou knowest it to exclude
  583. Spiritual substance with corporeal bar.
  584. But if within the circuit of these walks,
  585. In whatsoever shape he lurk, of whom
  586. Thou tellest, by morrow dawning I shall know.
  587. So promised he; and Uriel to his charge
  588. Returned on that bright beam, whose point now raised
  589. Bore him slope downward to the sun now fallen
  590. Beneath the Azores; whether the prime orb,
  591. Incredible how swift, had thither rolled
  592. Diurnal, or this less voluble earth,
  593. By shorter flight to the east, had left him there
  594. Arraying with reflected purple and gold
  595. The clouds that on his western throne attend.
  596. Now came still Evening on, and Twilight gray
  597. Had in her sober livery all things clad;
  598. Silence accompanied; for beast and bird,
  599. They to their grassy couch, these to their nests
  600. Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale;
  601. She all night long her amorous descant sung;
  602. Silence was pleased: Now glowed the firmament
  603. With living sapphires: Hesperus, that led
  604. The starry host, rode brightest, till the moon,
  605. Rising in clouded majesty, at length
  606. Apparent queen unveiled her peerless light,
  607. And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw.
  608. When Adam thus to Eve. Fair Consort, the hour
  609. Of night, and all things now retired to rest,
  610. Mind us of like repose; since God hath set
  611. Labor and rest, as day and night, to men
  612. Successive; and the timely dew of sleep,
  613. Now falling with soft slumberous weight, inclines
  614. Our eye-lids: Other creatures all day long
  615. Rove idle, unemployed, and less need rest;
  616. Man hath his daily work of body or mind
  617. Appointed, which declares his dignity,
  618. And the regard of Heaven on all his ways;
  619. While other animals unactive range,
  620. And of their doings God takes no account.
  621. To-morrow, ere fresh morning streak the east
  622. With first approach of light, we must be risen,
  623. And at our pleasant labor, to reform
  624. Yon flowery arbors, yonder alleys green,
  625. Our walk at noon, with branches overgrown,
  626. That mock our scant manuring, and require
  627. More hands than ours to lop their wanton growth:
  628. Those blossoms also, and those dropping gums,
  629. That lie bestrewn, unsightly and unsmooth,
  630. Ask riddance, if we mean to tread with ease;
  631. Mean while, as Nature wills, night bids us rest.
  632. To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adorned
  633. My Author and Disposer, what thou bidst
  634. Unargued I obey: So God ordains;
  635. God is thy law, thou mine: To know no more
  636. Is woman's happiest knowledge, and her praise.
  637. With thee conversing I forget all time;
  638. All seasons, and their change, all please alike.
  639. Sweet is the breath of Morn, her rising sweet,
  640. With charm of earliest birds: pleasant the sun,
  641. When first on this delightful land he spreads
  642. His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower,
  643. Glistering with dew; fragrant the fertile earth
  644. After soft showers; and sweet the coming on
  645. Of grateful Evening mild; then silent Night,
  646. With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon,
  647. And these the gems of Heaven, her starry train:
  648. But neither breath of Morn, when she ascends
  649. With charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun
  650. On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower,
  651. Glistering with dew; nor fragrance after showers;
  652. Nor grateful Evening mild; nor silent Night,
  653. With this her solemn bird, nor walk by moon,
  654. Or glittering star-light, without thee is sweet.
  655. But wherefore all night long shine these? for whom
  656. This glorious sight, when sleep hath shut all eyes?
  657. To whom our general ancestor replied.
  658. Daughter of God and Man, accomplished Eve,
  659. These have their course to finish round the earth,
  660. By morrow evening, and from land to land
  661. In order, though to nations yet unborn,
  662. Ministering light prepared, they set and rise;
  663. Lest total Darkness should by night regain
  664. Her old possession, and extinguish life
  665. In Nature and all things; which these soft fires
  666. Not only enlighten, but with kindly heat
  667. Of various influence foment and warm,
  668. Temper or nourish, or in part shed down
  669. Their stellar virtue on all kinds that grow
  670. On earth, made hereby apter to receive
  671. Perfection from the sun's more potent ray.
  672. These then, though unbeheld in deep of night,
  673. Shine not in vain; nor think, though men were none,
  674. That Heaven would want spectators, God want praise:
  675. Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth
  676. Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep:
  677. All these with ceaseless praise his works behold
  678. Both day and night: How often from the steep
  679. Of echoing hill or thicket have we heard
  680. Celestial voices to the midnight air,
  681. Sole, or responsive each to others note,
  682. Singing their great Creator? oft in bands
  683. While they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk,
  684. With heavenly touch of instrumental sounds
  685. In full harmonic number joined, their songs
  686. Divide the night, and lift our thoughts to Heaven.
  687. Thus talking, hand in hand alone they passed
  688. On to their blissful bower: it was a place
  689. Chosen by the sovereign Planter, when he framed
  690. All things to Man's delightful use; the roof
  691. Of thickest covert was inwoven shade
  692. Laurel and myrtle, and what higher grew
  693. Of firm and fragrant leaf; on either side
  694. Acanthus, and each odorous bushy shrub,
  695. Fenced up the verdant wall; each beauteous flower,
  696. Iris all hues, roses, and jessamine,
  697. Reared high their flourished heads between, and wrought
  698. Mosaic; underfoot the violet,
  699. Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlay
  700. Broidered the ground, more colored than with stone
  701. Of costliest emblem: Other creature here,
  702. Bird, beast, insect, or worm, durst enter none,
  703. Such was their awe of Man. In shadier bower
  704. More sacred and sequestered, though but feigned,
  705. Pan or Sylvanus never slept, nor Nymph
  706. Nor Faunus haunted. Here, in close recess,
  707. With flowers, garlands, and sweet-smelling herbs,
  708. Espoused Eve decked first her nuptial bed;
  709. And heavenly quires the hymenaean sung,
  710. What day the genial angel to our sire
  711. Brought her in naked beauty more adorned,
  712. More lovely, than Pandora, whom the Gods
  713. Endowed with all their gifts, and O! too like
  714. In sad event, when to the unwiser son
  715. Of Japhet brought by Hermes, she ensnared
  716. Mankind with her fair looks, to be avenged
  717. On him who had stole Jove's authentic fire.
  718. Thus, at their shady lodge arrived, both stood,
  719. Both turned, and under open sky adored
  720. The God that made both sky, air, earth, and heaven,
  721. Which they beheld, the moon's resplendent globe,
  722. And starry pole: Thou also madest the night,
  723. Maker Omnipotent, and thou the day,
  724. Which we, in our appointed work employed,
  725. Have finished, happy in our mutual help
  726. And mutual love, the crown of all our bliss
  727. Ordained by thee; and this delicious place
  728. For us too large, where thy abundance wants
  729. Partakers, and uncropped falls to the ground.
  730. But thou hast promised from us two a race
  731. To fill the earth, who shall with us extol
  732. Thy goodness infinite, both when we wake,
  733. And when we seek, as now, thy gift of sleep.
  734. This said unanimous, and other rites
  735. Observing none, but adoration pure
  736. Which God likes best, into their inmost bower
  737. Handed they went; and, eased the putting off
  738. These troublesome disguises which we wear,
  739. Straight side by side were laid; nor turned, I ween,
  740. Adam from his fair spouse, nor Eve the rites
  741. Mysterious of connubial love refused:
  742. Whatever hypocrites austerely talk
  743. Of purity, and place, and innocence,
  744. Defaming as impure what God declares
  745. Pure, and commands to some, leaves free to all.
  746. Our Maker bids increase; who bids abstain
  747. But our Destroyer, foe to God and Man?
  748. Hail, wedded Love, mysterious law, true source
  749. Of human offspring, sole propriety
  750. In Paradise of all things common else.
  751. By thee adulterous Lust was driven from men
  752. Among the bestial herds to range; by thee
  753. Founded in reason, loyal, just, and pure,
  754. Relations dear, and all the charities
  755. Of father, son, and brother, first were known.
  756. Far be it, that I should write thee sin or blame,
  757. Or think thee unbefitting holiest place,
  758. Perpetual fountain of domestic sweets,
  759. Whose bed is undefiled and chaste pronounced,
  760. Present, or past, as saints and patriarchs used.
  761. Here Love his golden shafts employs, here lights
  762. His constant lamp, and waves his purple wings,
  763. Reigns here and revels; not in the bought smile
  764. Of harlots, loveless, joyless, unendeared,
  765. Casual fruition; nor in court-amours,
  766. Mixed dance, or wanton mask, or midnight ball,
  767. Or serenade, which the starved lover sings
  768. To his proud fair, best quitted with disdain.
  769. These, lulled by nightingales, embracing slept,
  770. And on their naked limbs the flowery roof
  771. Showered roses, which the morn repaired. Sleep on,
  772. Blest pair; and Oh yet happiest, if ye seek
  773. No happier state, and know to know no more.
  774. Now had night measured with her shadowy cone
  775. Half way up hill this vast sublunar vault,
  776. And from their ivory port the Cherubim,
  777. Forth issuing at the accustomed hour, stood armed
  778. To their night watches in warlike parade;
  779. When Gabriel to his next in power thus spake.
  780. Uzziel, half these draw off, and coast the south
  781. With strictest watch; these other wheel the north;
  782. Our circuit meets full west. As flame they part,
  783. Half wheeling to the shield, half to the spear.
  784. From these, two strong and subtle Spirits he called
  785. That near him stood, and gave them thus in charge.
  786. Ithuriel and Zephon, with winged speed
  787. Search through this garden, leave unsearched no nook;
  788. But chiefly where those two fair creatures lodge,
  789. Now laid perhaps asleep, secure of harm.
  790. This evening from the sun's decline arrived,
  791. Who tells of some infernal Spirit seen
  792. Hitherward bent (who could have thought?) escaped
  793. The bars of Hell, on errand bad no doubt:
  794. Such, where ye find, seize fast, and hither bring.
  795. So saying, on he led his radiant files,
  796. Dazzling the moon; these to the bower direct
  797. In search of whom they sought: Him there they found
  798. Squat like a toad, close at the ear of Eve,
  799. Assaying by his devilish art to reach
  800. The organs of her fancy, and with them forge
  801. Illusions, as he list, phantasms and dreams;
  802. Or if, inspiring venom, he might taint
  803. The animal spirits, that from pure blood arise
  804. Like gentle breaths from rivers pure, thence raise
  805. At least distempered, discontented thoughts,
  806. Vain hopes, vain aims, inordinate desires,
  807. Blown up with high conceits ingendering pride.
  808. Him thus intent Ithuriel with his spear
  809. Touched lightly; for no falsehood can endure
  810. Touch of celestial temper, but returns
  811. Of force to its own likeness: Up he starts
  812. Discovered and surprised. As when a spark
  813. Lights on a heap of nitrous powder, laid
  814. Fit for the tun some magazine to store
  815. Against a rumored war, the smutty grain,
  816. With sudden blaze diffused, inflames the air;
  817. So started up in his own shape the Fiend.
  818. Back stepped those two fair angels, half amazed
  819. So sudden to behold the grisly king;
  820. Yet thus, unmoved with fear, accost him soon.
  821. Which of those rebel Spirits adjudged to Hell
  822. Comest thou, escaped thy prison? and, transformed,
  823. Why sat'st thou like an enemy in wait,
  824. Here watching at the head of these that sleep?
  825. Know ye not then said Satan, filled with scorn,
  826. Know ye not me? ye knew me once no mate
  827. For you, there sitting where ye durst not soar:
  828. Not to know me argues yourselves unknown,
  829. The lowest of your throng; or, if ye know,
  830. Why ask ye, and superfluous begin
  831. Your message, like to end as much in vain?
  832. To whom thus Zephon, answering scorn with scorn.
  833. Think not, revolted spirit, thy shape the same,
  834. Or undiminished brightness to be known,
  835. As when thou stoodest in Heaven upright and pure;
  836. That glory then, when thou no more wast good,
  837. Departed from thee; and thou resemblest now
  838. Thy sin and place of doom obscure and foul.
  839. But come, for thou, be sure, shalt give account
  840. To him who sent us, whose charge is to keep
  841. This place inviolable, and these from harm.
  842. So spake the Cherub; and his grave rebuke,
  843. Severe in youthful beauty, added grace
  844. Invincible: Abashed the devil stood,
  845. And felt how awful goodness is, and saw
  846. Virtue in her shape how lovely; saw, and pined
  847. His loss; but chiefly to find here observed
  848. His luster visibly impaired; yet seemed
  849. Undaunted. If I must contend, said he,
  850. Best with the best, the sender, not the sent,
  851. Or all at once; more glory will be won,
  852. Or less be lost. Thy fear, said Zephon bold,
  853. Will save us trial what the least can do
  854. Single against thee wicked, and thence weak.
  855. The Fiend replied not, overcome with rage;
  856. But, like a proud steed reined, went haughty on,
  857. Champing his iron curb: To strive or fly
  858. He held it vain; awe from above had quelled
  859. His heart, not else dismayed. Now drew they nigh
  860. The western point, where those half-rounding guards
  861. Just met, and closing stood in squadron joined,
  862. A waiting next command. To whom their Chief,
  863. Gabriel, from the front thus called aloud.
  864. Oh friends, I hear the tread of nimble feet
  865. Hasting this way, and now by glimpse discern
  866. Ithuriel and Zephon through the shade;
  867. And with them comes a third of regal port,
  868. But faded splendor wan; who by his gait
  869. And fierce demeanor seems the Prince of Hell,
  870. Not likely to part hence without contest;
  871. Stand firm, for in his look defiance lours.
  872. He scarce had ended, when those two approached,
  873. And brief related whom they brought, where found,
  874. How busied, in what form and posture couched.
  875. To whom with stern regard thus Gabriel spake.
  876. Why hast thou, Satan, broke the bounds prescribed
  877. To thy transgressions, and disturbed the charge
  878. Of others, who approve not to transgress
  879. By thy example, but have power and right
  880. To question thy bold entrance on this place;
  881. Employed, it seems, to violate sleep, and those
  882. Whose dwelling God hath planted here in bliss.
  883. To whom thus Satan with contemptuous brow.
  884. Gabriel? thou hadst in Heaven the esteem of wise,
  885. And such I held thee; but this question asked
  886. Puts me in doubt. Lives there who loves his pain,
  887. Who would not, finding way, break loose from Hell,
  888. Though thither doomed? Thou wouldst thyself, no doubt
  889. And boldly venture to whatever place
  890. Farthest from pain, where thou mightst hope to change
  891. Torment with ease, and soonest recompense
  892. Dole with delight, which in this place I sought;
  893. To thee no reason, who knowest only good,
  894. But evil hast not tried: and wilt object
  895. His will who bounds us. Let him surer bar
  896. His iron gates, if he intends our stay
  897. In that dark durance: Thus much what was asked.
  898. The rest is true, they found me where they say;
  899. But that implies not violence or harm.
  900. Thus he in scorn. The warlike angel moved,
  901. Disdainfully half smiling, thus replied.
  902. Oh loss of one in Heaven to judge of wise
  903. Since Satan fell, whom folly overthrew,
  904. And now returns him from his prison 'scaped,
  905. Gravely in doubt whether to hold them wise
  906. Or not, who ask what boldness brought him hither
  907. Unlicensed from his bounds in Hell prescribed;
  908. So wise he judges it to fly from pain
  909. However, and to 'scape his punishment.
  910. So judge thou still, presumptuous, till the wrath,
  911. Which thou incurrest by flying, meet thy flight
  912. Sevenfold, and scourge that wisdom back to Hell,
  913. Which taught thee yet no better, that no pain
  914. Can equal anger infinite provoked!
  915. But wherefore thou alone? wherefore with thee
  916. Came not all hell broke loose? or thou than they
  917. Less hardy to endure? Courageous Chief,
  918. The first in flight from pain, hadst thou alleged
  919. To thy deserted host this cause of flight,
  920. Thou surely hadst not come sole fugitive.
  921. To which the fiend thus answered, frowning stern.
  922. Not that I less endure, or shrink from pain,
  923. Insulting angel! well thou knowest I stood
  924. Thy fiercest, when in battle to thy aid
  925. The blasting volleyed thunder made all speed,
  926. And seconded thy else not dreaded spear.
  927. But still thy words at random, as before,
  928. Argue thy inexperience what behooves
  929. From hard assays and ill successes past
  930. A faithful leader, not to hazard all
  931. Through ways of danger by himself untried:
  932. I, therefore, I alone first undertook
  933. To wing the desolate abyss, and spy
  934. This new created world, whereof in Hell
  935. Fame is not silent, here in hope to find
  936. Better abode, and my afflicted Powers
  937. To settle here on earth, or in mid air;
  938. Though for possession put to try once more
  939. What thou and thy gay legions dare against;
  940. Whose easier business were to serve their Lord
  941. High up in Heaven, with songs to hymn his throne,
  942. And practiced distances to cringe, not fight,
  943. To whom the warrior angel soon replied.
  944. To say and straight unsay, pretending first
  945. Wise to fly pain, professing next the spy,
  946. Argues no leader but a liar traced,
  947. Satan, and couldst thou faithful add? Oh name,
  948. Oh sacred name of faithfulness profaned!
  949. Faithful to whom? to thy rebellious crew?
  950. Army of Fiends, fit body to fit head.
  951. Was this your discipline and faith engaged,
  952. Your military obedience, to dissolve
  953. Allegiance to the acknowledged Power supreme?
  954. And thou, sly hypocrite, who now wouldst seem
  955. Patron of liberty, who more than thou
  956. Once fawned, and cringed, and servilely adored
  957. Heaven's awful Monarch? wherefore, but in hope
  958. To dispossess him, and thyself to reign?
  959. But mark what I areed thee now, Avaunt;
  960. Fly neither whence thou fledst. If from this hour
  961. Within these hallowed limits thou appear,
  962. Back to the infernal pit I drag thee chained,
  963. And seal thee so, as henceforth not to scorn
  964. The facile gates of Hell too slightly barred.
  965. So threatened he; but Satan to no threats
  966. Gave heed, but waxing more in rage replied.
  967. Then when I am thy captive talk of chains,
  968. Proud limitary Cherub, but ere then
  969. Far heavier load thyself expect to feel
  970. From my prevailing arm, though Heaven's King
  971. Ride on thy wings, and thou with thy compeers,
  972. Used to the yoke, drawest his triumphant wheels
  973. In progress through the road of Heaven star-paved.
  974. While thus he spake, the angelic squadron bright
  975. Turned fiery red, sharpening in mooned horns
  976. Their phalanx, and began to hem him round
  977. With ported spears, as thick as when a field
  978. Of Ceres ripe for harvest waving bends
  979. Her bearded grove of ears, which way the wind
  980. Sways them; the careful plowman doubting stands,
  981. Left on the threshing floor his hopeless sheaves
  982. Prove chaff. On the other side, Satan, alarmed,
  983. Collecting all his might, dilated stood,
  984. Like Tenerife or Atlas, unremoved:
  985. His stature reached the sky, and on his crest
  986. Sat Horror plumed; nor wanted in his grasp
  987. What seemed both spear and shield: Now dreadful deeds
  988. Might have ensued, nor only Paradise
  989. In this commotion, but the starry cope
  990. Of Heaven perhaps, or all the elements
  991. At least had gone to wrack, disturbed and torn
  992. With violence of this conflict, had not soon
  993. The Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray,
  994. Hung forth in Heaven his golden scales, yet seen
  995. Betwixt Astraea and the Scorpion sign,
  996. Wherein all things created first he weighed,
  997. The pendulous round earth with balanced air
  998. In counterpoise, now ponders all events,
  999. Battles and realms: In these he put two weights,
  1000. The sequel each of parting and of fight:
  1001. The latter quick up flew, and kicked the beam,
  1002. Which Gabriel spying, thus bespake the Fiend.
  1003. Satan, I know thy strength, and thou knowest mine;
  1004. Neither our own, but given: What folly then
  1005. To boast what arms can do? since thine no more
  1006. Than Heaven permits, nor mine, though doubled now
  1007. To trample thee as mire: For proof look up,
  1008. And read thy lot in yon celestial sign;
  1009. Where thou art weighed, and shown how light, how weak,
  1010. If thou resist. The Fiend looked up, and knew
  1011. His mounted scale aloft: Nor more; but fled
  1012. Murmuring, and with him fled the shades of night.

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. Back to Top


~ BOOK V ~

  1. Now Morn, her rosy steps in the eastern clime
  2. Advancing, sowed the earth with orient pearl,
  3. When Adam waked, so customed; for his sleep
  4. Was aerie-light, from pure digestion bred,
  5. And temperate vapors bland, which the only sound
  6. Of leaves and fuming rills, Aurora's fan,
  7. Lightly dispersed, and the shrill matin song
  8. Of birds on every bough; so much the more
  9. His wonder was to find unwakened Eve
  10. With tresses discomposed, and glowing cheek,
  11. As through unquiet rest: He, on his side
  12. Leaning half raised, with looks of cordial love
  13. Hung over her enamored, and beheld
  14. Beauty, which, whether waking or asleep,
  15. Shot forth peculiar graces; then with voice
  16. Mild, as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes,
  17. Her hand soft touching, whispered thus. Awake,
  18. My fairest, my espoused, my latest found,
  19. Heaven's last best gift, my ever new delight!
  20. Awake: The morning shines, and the fresh field
  21. Calls us; we lose the prime, to mark how spring
  22. Our tender plants, how blows the citron grove,
  23. What drops the myrrh, and what the balmy reed,
  24. How nature paints her colors, how the bee
  25. Sits on the bloom extracting liquid sweet.
  26. Such whispering waked her, but with startled eye
  27. On Adam, whom embracing, thus she spake.
  28. Oh sole in whom my thoughts find all repose,
  29. My glory, my perfection, glad I see
  30. Thy face, and morn returned; for I this night
  31. (Such night till this I never passed) have dreamed,
  32. If dreamed, not, as I oft am wont, of thee,
  33. Works of day past, or morrow's next design,
  34. But of offence and trouble, which my mind
  35. Knew never till this irksome night: Methought,
  36. Close at mine ear one called me forth to walk
  37. With gentle voice; I thought it thine: It said,
  38. 'Why sleepest thou, Eve? now is the pleasant time,
  39. 'The cool, the silent, save where silence yields
  40. 'To the night-warbling bird, that now awake
  41. 'Tunes sweetest his love-labored song; now reigns
  42. 'Full-orbed the moon, and with more pleasing light
  43. 'Shadowy sets off the face of things; in vain,
  44. 'If none regard; Heaven wakes with all his eyes,
  45. 'Whom to behold but thee, Nature's desire?
  46. 'In whose sight all things joy, with ravishment
  47. 'Attracted by thy beauty still to gaze.'
  48. I rose as at thy call, but found thee not;
  49. To find thee I directed then my walk;
  50. And on, methought, alone I passed through ways
  51. That brought me on a sudden to the tree
  52. Of interdicted knowledge: fair it seemed,
  53. Much fairer to my fancy than by day:
  54. And, as I wondering looked, beside it stood
  55. One shaped and winged like one of those from Heaven
  56. By us oft seen; his dewy locks distilled
  57. Ambrosia; on that tree he also gazed;
  58. And 'O fair plant,' said he, 'with fruit surcharged,
  59. edeigns none to ease thy load, and taste thy sweet,
  60. 'Nor God, nor Man? Is knowledge so despised?
  61. 'Or envy, or what reserve forbids to taste?
  62. 'Forbid who will, none shall from me withhold
  63. 'Longer thy offered good; why else set here?
  64. This said, he paused not, but with venturous arm
  65. He plucked, he tasted; me damp horror chilled
  66. At such bold words vouched with a deed so bold:
  67. But he thus, overjoyed; 'O fruit divine,
  68. 'Sweet of thyself, but much more sweet thus cropped,
  69. 'Forbidden here, it seems, as only fit
  70. 'For Gods, yet able to make Gods of Men:
  71. 'And why not Gods of Men; since good, the more
  72. 'Communicated, more abundant grows,
  73. 'The author not impaired, but honored more?
  74. 'Here, happy creature, fair angelic Eve,
  75. 'Partake thou also; happy though thou art,
  76. 'Happier thou mayest be, worthier canst not be:
  77. 'Taste this, and be henceforth among the Gods
  78. 'Thyself a Goddess, not to earth confined,
  79. 'But sometimes in the air, as we, sometimes
  80. 'Ascend to Heaven, by merit thine, and see
  81. 'What life the Gods live there, and such live thou!'
  82. So saying, he drew nigh, and to me held,
  83. Even to my mouth of that same fruit held part
  84. Which he had plucked; the pleasant savory smell
  85. So quickened appetite, that I, methought,
  86. Could not but taste. Forthwith up to the clouds
  87. With him I flew, and underneath beheld
  88. The earth outstretched immense, a prospect wide
  89. And various: Wondering at my flight and change
  90. To this high exaltation; suddenly
  91. My guide was gone, and I, methought, sunk down,
  92. And fell asleep; but Oh, how glad I waked
  93. To find this but a dream! Thus Eve her night
  94. Related, and thus Adam answered sad.
  95. Best image of myself, and dearer half,
  96. The trouble of thy thoughts this night in sleep
  97. Affects me equally; nor can I like
  98. This uncouth dream, of evil sprung, I fear;
  99. Yet evil whence? in thee can harbor none,
  100. Created pure. But know that in the soul
  101. Are many lesser faculties, that serve
  102. Reason as chief; among these Fancy next
  103. Her office holds; of all external things
  104. Which the five watchful senses represent,
  105. She forms imaginations, aerie shapes,
  106. Which Reason, joining or disjoining, frames
  107. All what we affirm or what deny, and call
  108. Our knowledge or opinion; then retires
  109. Into her private cell, when nature rests.
  110. Oft in her absence mimic Fancy wakes
  111. To imitate her; but, misjoining shapes,
  112. Wild work produces oft, and most in dreams;
  113. Ill matching words and deeds long past or late.
  114. Some such resemblances, methinks, I find
  115. Of our last evening's talk, in this thy dream,
  116. But with addition strange; yet be not sad.
  117. Evil into the mind of God or man
  118. May come and go, so unreproved, and leave
  119. No spot or blame behind: Which gives me hope
  120. That what in sleep thou didst abhor to dream,
  121. Waking thou never will consent to do.
  122. Be not disheartened then, nor cloud those looks,
  123. That wont to be more cheerful and serene,
  124. Than when fair morning first smiles on the world;
  125. And let us to our fresh employments rise
  126. Among the groves, the fountains, and the flowers
  127. That open now their choicest bosomed smells,
  128. Reserved from night, and kept for thee in store.
  129. So cheered he his fair spouse, and she was cheered;
  130. But silently a gentle tear let fall
  131. From either eye, and wiped them with her hair;
  132. Two other precious drops that ready stood,
  133. Each in their crystal sluice, he ere they fell
  134. Kissed, as the gracious signs of sweet remorse
  135. And pious awe, that feared to have offended.
  136. So all was cleared, and to the field they haste.
  137. But first, from under shady arborous roof
  138. Soon as they forth were come to open sight
  139. Of day-spring, and the sun, who, scarce up-risen,
  140. With wheels yet hovering o'er the ocean-brim,
  141. Shot parallel to the earth his dewy ray,
  142. Discovering in wide landscape all the east
  143. Of Paradise and Eden's happy plains,
  144. Lowly they bowed adoring, and began
  145. Their orisons, each morning duly paid
  146. In various style; for neither various style
  147. Nor holy rapture wanted they to praise
  148. Their Maker, in fit strains pronounced, or sung
  149. Unmeditated; such prompt eloquence
  150. Flowed from their lips, in prose or numerous verse,
  151. More tunable than needed lute or harp
  152. To add more sweetness; and they thus began.
  153. These are thy glorious works, Parent of good,
  154. Almighty. Thine this universal frame,
  155. Thus wondrous fair; Thyself how wondrous then.
  156. Unspeakable, who sits above these heavens
  157. To us invisible, or dimly seen
  158. In these thy lowest works; yet these declare
  159. Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine.
  160. Speak, ye who best can tell, ye sons of light,
  161. Angels; for ye behold him, and with songs
  162. And choral symphonies, day without night,
  163. Circle his throne rejoicing; ye in Heaven
  164. On Earth join all ye Creatures to extol
  165. Him first, him last, him midst, and without end.
  166. Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,
  167. If better thou belong not to the dawn,
  168. Sure pledge of day, that crownest the smiling morn
  169. With thy bright circlet, praise him in thy sphere,
  170. While day arises, that sweet hour of prime.
  171. Thou Sun, of this great world both eye and soul,
  172. Acknowledge him thy greater; sound his praise
  173. In thy eternal course, both when thou climbest,
  174. And when high noon hast gained, and when thou fallest.
  175. Moon, that now meetest the orient sun, now flyest,
  176. With the fixed Stars, fixed in their orb that flies;
  177. And ye five other wandering Fires, that move
  178. In mystic dance not without song, resound
  179. His praise, who out of darkness called up light.
  180. Air, and ye Elements, the eldest birth
  181. Of Nature's womb, that in quaternion run
  182. Perpetual circle, multiform; and mix
  183. And nourish all things; let your ceaseless change
  184. Vary to our great Maker still new praise.
  185. Ye Mists and Exhalations, that now rise
  186. From hill or steaming lake, dusky or gray,
  187. Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold,
  188. In honor to the world's great Author rise;
  189. Whether to deck with clouds the uncolored sky,
  190. Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers,
  191. Rising or falling still advance his praise.
  192. His praise, ye Winds, that from four quarters blow,
  193. Breathe soft or loud; and, wave your tops, ye Pines,
  194. With every plant, in sign of worship wave.
  195. Fountains, and ye that warble, as ye flow,
  196. Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise.
  197. Join voices, all ye living Souls: Ye Birds,
  198. That singing up to Heaven-gate ascend,
  199. Bear on your wings and in your notes his praise.
  200. Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk
  201. The earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep;
  202. Witness if I be silent, morn or even,
  203. To hill, or valley, fountain, or fresh shade,
  204. Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise.
  205. Hail, universal Lord, be bounteous still
  206. To give us only good; and if the night
  207. Have gathered aught of evil, or concealed,
  208. Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark.
  209. So prayed they innocent, and to their thoughts
  210. Firm peace recovered soon, and wonted calm.
  211. On to their morning's rural work they haste,
  212. Among sweet dews and flowers; where any row
  213. Of fruit-trees over-woody reached too far
  214. Their pampered boughs, and needed hands to check
  215. Fruitless embraces: or they led the vine
  216. To wed her elm; she, spoused, about him twines
  217. Her marriageable arms, and with him brings
  218. Her dower, the adopted clusters, to adorn
  219. His barren leaves. Them thus employed beheld
  220. With pity Heaven's high King, and to him called
  221. Raphael, the sociable Spirit, that deigned
  222. To travel with Tobias, and secured
  223. His marriage with the seventimes-wedded maid.
  224. Raphael, said he, thou hearest what stir on Earth
  225. Satan, from Hell 'scaped through the darksome gulf,
  226. Hath raised in Paradise; and how disturbed
  227. This night the human pair; how he designs
  228. In them at once to ruin all mankind.
  229. Go therefore, half this day as friend with friend
  230. Converse with Adam, in what bower or shade
  231. Thou findest him from the heat of noon retired,
  232. To respite his day-labor with repast,
  233. Or with repose; and such discourse bring on,
  234. As may advise him of his happy state,
  235. Happiness in his power left free to will,
  236. Left to his own free will, his will though free,
  237. Yet mutable; whence warn him to beware
  238. He swerve not, too secure: Tell him withal
  239. His danger, and from whom; what enemy,
  240. Late fallen himself from Heaven, is plotting now
  241. The fall of others from like state of bliss;
  242. By violence? no, for that shall be withstood;
  243. But by deceit and lies: This let him know,
  244. Lest, willfully transgressing, he pretend
  245. Surprisal, unadmonished, unforewarned.
  246. So spake the Eternal Father, and fulfilled
  247. All justice: Nor delayed the winged Saint
  248. After his charge received; but from among
  249. Thousand celestial ardors, where he stood
  250. Veiled with his gorgeous wings, up springing light,
  251. Flew through the midst of Heaven; the angelic quires,
  252. On each hand parting, to his speed gave way
  253. Through all the empyreal road; till, at the gate
  254. Of Heaven arrived, the gate self-opened wide
  255. On golden hinges turning, as by work
  256. Divine the sovereign Architect had framed.
  257. From hence no cloud, or, to obstruct his sight,
  258. Star interposed, however small he sees,
  259. Not unconformed to other shining globes,
  260. Earth, and the garden of God, with cedars crowned
  261. Above all hills. As when by night the glass
  262. Of Galileo, less assured, observes
  263. Imagined lands and regions in the moon:
  264. Or pilot, from amidst the Cyclades
  265. Delos or Samos first appearing, kens
  266. A cloudy spot. Down thither prone in flight
  267. He speeds, and through the vast ethereal sky
  268. Sails between worlds and worlds, with steady wing
  269. Now on the polar winds, then with quick fan
  270. Winnows the buxom air; till, within soar
  271. Of towering eagles, to all the fowls he seems
  272. A phoenix, gazed by all as that sole bird,
  273. When, to enshrine his relics in the sun's
  274. Bright temple, to Egyptian Thebes he flies.
  275. At once on the eastern cliff of Paradise
  276. He lights, and to his proper shape returns
  277. A Seraph winged: Six wings he wore, to shade
  278. His lineaments divine; the pair that clad
  279. Each shoulder broad, came mantling o'er his breast
  280. With regal ornament; the middle pair
  281. Girt like a starry zone his waist, and round
  282. Skirted his loins and thighs with downy gold
  283. And colors dipped in Heaven; the third his feet
  284. Shadowed from either heel with feathered mail,
  285. Sky-tinctured grain. Like Maia's son he stood,
  286. And shook his plumes, that heavenly fragrance filled
  287. The circuit wide. Straight knew him all the bands
  288. Of angels under watch; and to his state,
  289. And to his message high, in honor rise;
  290. For on some message high they guessed him bound.
  291. Their glittering tents he passed, and now is come
  292. Into the blissful field, through groves of myrrh,
  293. And flowering odors, cassia, nard, and balm;
  294. A wilderness of sweets; for nature here
  295. Wantoned as in her prime, and played at will
  296. Her virgin fancies pouring forth more sweet,
  297. Wild above rule or art, enormous bliss.
  298. Him through the spicy forest onward come
  299. Adam discerned, as in the door he sat
  300. Of his cool bower, while now the mounted sun
  301. Shot down direct his fervid rays to warm
  302. Earth's inmost womb, more warmth than Adam needs:
  303. And Eve within, due at her hour prepared
  304. For dinner savory fruits, of taste to please
  305. True appetite, and not disrelish thirst
  306. Of nectarous draughts between, from milky stream,
  307. Berry or grape: To whom thus Adam called.
  308. Haste hither, Eve, and worth thy sight behold
  309. Eastward among those trees, what glorious shape
  310. Comes this way moving; seems another morn
  311. Risen on mid-noon; some great behest from Heaven
  312. To us perhaps he brings, and will vouchsafe
  313. This day to be our guest. But go with speed,
  314. And, what thy stores contain, bring forth, and pour
  315. Abundance, fit to honor and receive
  316. Our heavenly stranger: Well we may afford
  317. Our givers their own gifts, and large bestow
  318. From large bestowed, where Nature multiplies
  319. Her fertile growth, and by disburdening grows
  320. More fruitful, which instructs us not to spare.
  321. To whom thus Eve. Adam, earth's hallowed mould,
  322. Of God inspired, small store will serve, where store,
  323. All seasons, ripe for use hangs on the stalk;
  324. Save what by frugal storing firmness gains
  325. To nourish, and superfluous moist consumes:
  326. But I will haste, and from each bough and brake,
  327. Each plant and juiciest gourd, will pluck such choice
  328. To entertain our angel-guest, as he
  329. Beholding shall confess, that here on Earth
  330. God hath dispensed his bounties as in Heaven.
  331. So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste
  332. She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent
  333. What choice to choose for delicacy best,
  334. What order, so contrived as not to mix
  335. Tastes, not well joined, inelegant, but bring
  336. Taste after taste upheld with kindliest change;
  337. Bestirs her then, and from each tender stalk
  338. Whatever Earth, all-bearing mother, yields
  339. In India East or West, or middle shore
  340. In Pontus or the Punick coast, or where
  341. Alcinous reigned, fruit of all kinds, in coat
  342. Rough, or smooth rind, or bearded husk, or shell,
  343. She gathers, tribute large, and on the board
  344. Heaps with unsparing hand; for drink the grape
  345. She crushes, inoffensive must, and meaths
  346. From many a berry, and from sweet kernels pressed
  347. She tempers dulcet creams; nor these to hold
  348. Wants her fit vessels pure; then strews the ground
  349. With rose and odors from the shrub unfumed.
  350. Mean while our primitive great sire, to meet
  351. His God-like guest, walks forth, without more train
  352. Accompanied than with his own complete
  353. Perfections; in himself was all his state,
  354. More solemn than the tedious pomp that waits
  355. On princes, when their rich retinue long
  356. Of horses led, and grooms besmeared with gold,
  357. Dazzles the crowd, and sets them all agape.
  358. Nearer his presence Adam, though not awed,
  359. Yet with submiss approach and reverence meek,
  360. As to a superior nature bowing low,
  361. Thus said. Native of Heaven, for other place
  362. None can than Heaven such glorious shape contain;
  363. Since, by descending from the thrones above,
  364. Those happy places thou hast deigned a while
  365. To want, and honor these, vouchsafe with us
  366. Two only, who yet by sovereign gift possess
  367. This spacious ground, in yonder shady bower
  368. To rest; and what the garden choicest bears
  369. To sit and taste, till this meridian heat
  370. Be over, and the sun more cool decline.
  371. Whom thus the angelic virtue answered mild.
  372. Adam, I therefore came; nor art thou such
  373. Created, or such place hast here to dwell,
  374. As may not oft invite, though spirits of Heaven,
  375. To visit thee; lead on then where thy bower
  376. O'ershades; for these mid-hours, till evening rise,
  377. I have at will. So to the sylvan lodge
  378. They came, that like Pomona's arbor smiled,
  379. With flowerets decked, and fragrant smells; but Eve,
  380. Undecked save with herself, more lovely fair
  381. Than Wood-Nymph, or the fairest Goddess feigned
  382. Of three that in mount Ida naked strove,
  383. Stood to entertain her guest from Heaven; no veil
  384. She needed, virtue-proof; no thought infirm
  385. Altered her cheek. On whom the angel hail
  386. Bestowed, the holy salutation used
  387. Long after to blest Mary, second Eve.
  388. Hail, Mother of Mankind, whose fruitful womb
  389. Shall fill the world more numerous with thy sons,
  390. Than with these various fruits the trees of God
  391. Have heaped this table! Raised of grassy turf
  392. Their table was, and mossy seats had round,
  393. And on her ample square from side to side
  394. All autumn piled, though spring and autumn here
  395. Danced hand in hand. A while discourse they hold;
  396. No fear lest dinner cool; when thus began
  397. Our author. Heavenly stranger, please to taste
  398. These bounties, which our Nourisher, from whom
  399. All perfect good, unmeasured out, descends,
  400. To us for food and for delight hath caused
  401. The earth to yield; unsavory food perhaps
  402. To spiritual natures; only this I know,
  403. That one celestial Father gives to all.
  404. To whom the angel. Therefore what he gives
  405. (Whose praise be ever sung) to man in part
  406. Spiritual, may of purest Spirits be found
  407. No ingrateful food: And food alike those pure
  408. Intelligential substances require,
  409. As doth your rational; and both contain
  410. Within them every lower faculty
  411. Of sense, whereby they hear, see, smell, touch, taste,
  412. Tasting concoct, digest, assimilate,
  413. And corporeal to incorporeal turn.
  414. For know, whatever was created, needs
  415. To be sustained and fed: Of elements
  416. The grosser feeds the purer, earth the sea,
  417. Earth and the sea feed air, the air those fires
  418. Ethereal, and as lowest first the moon;
  419. Whence in her visage round those spots, unpurged
  420. Vapors not yet into her substance turned.
  421. Nor doth the moon no nourishment exhale
  422. From her moist continent to higher orbs.
  423. The sun that light imparts to all, receives
  424. From all his alimental recompense
  425. In humid exhalations, and at even
  426. Sups with the ocean. Though in Heaven the trees
  427. Of life ambrosial fruitage bear, and vines
  428. Yield nectar; though from off the boughs each morn
  429. We brush mellifluous dews, and find the ground
  430. Covered with pearly grain: Yet God hath here
  431. Varied his bounty so with new delights,
  432. As may compare with Heaven; and to taste
  433. Think not I shall be nice. So down they sat,
  434. And to their viands fell; nor seemingly
  435. The angel, nor in mist, the common gloss
  436. Of Theologians; but with keen dispatch
  437. Of real hunger, and concoctive heat
  438. To transubstantiate: What redounds, transpires
  439. Through Spirits with ease; nor wonder; if by fire
  440. Of sooty coal the empiric alchemist
  441. Can turn, or holds it possible to turn,
  442. Metals of drossiest ore to perfect gold,
  443. As from the mine. Mean while at table Eve
  444. Ministered naked, and their flowing cups
  445. With pleasant liquors crowned: Oh innocence
  446. Deserving Paradise! if ever, then,
  447. Then had the sons of God excuse to have been
  448. Enamored at that sight; but in those hearts
  449. Love unlibidinous reigned, nor jealousy
  450. Was understood, the injured lover's hell.
  451. Thus when with meats and drinks they had sufficed,
  452. Not burdened nature, sudden mind arose
  453. In Adam, not to let the occasion pass
  454. Given him by this great conference to know
  455. Of things above his world, and of their being
  456. Who dwell in Heaven, whose excellence he saw
  457. Transcend his own so far; whose radiant forms,
  458. Divine effulgence, whose high power, so far
  459. Exceeded human; and his wary speech
  460. Thus to the empyreal minister he framed.
  461. Inhabitant with God, now know I well
  462. Thy favor, in this honor done to Man;
  463. Under whose lowly roof thou hast vouchsafed
  464. To enter, and these earthly fruits to taste,
  465. Food not of angels, yet accepted so,
  466. As that more willingly thou couldst not seem
  467. At Heaven's high feasts to have fed: yet what compare
  468. To whom the winged Hierarch replied.
  469. Oh Adam, One Almighty is, from whom
  470. All things proceed, and up to him return,
  471. If not depraved from good, created all
  472. Such to perfection, one first matter all,
  473. Endued with various forms, various degrees
  474. Of substance, and, in things that live, of life;
  475. But more refined, more spiritous, and pure,
  476. As nearer to him placed, or nearer tending
  477. Each in their several active spheres assigned,
  478. Till body up to spirit work, in bounds
  479. Proportioned to each kind. So from the root
  480. Springs lighter the green stalk, from thence the leaves
  481. More aerie, last the bright consummate flower
  482. Spirits odorous breathes: flowers and their fruit,
  483. Man's nourishment, by gradual scale sublimed,
  484. To vital spirits aspire, to animal,
  485. To intellectual; give both life and sense,
  486. Fancy and understanding; whence the soul
  487. Reason receives, and reason is her being,
  488. Discursive, or intuitive; discourse
  489. Is oftest yours, the latter most is ours,
  490. Differing but in degree, of kind the same.
  491. Wonder not then, what God for you saw good
  492. If I refuse not, but convert, as you
  493. To proper substance. Time may come, when Men
  494. With angels may participate, and find
  495. No inconvenient diet, nor too light fare;
  496. And from these corporal nutriments perhaps
  497. Your bodies may at last turn all to spirit,
  498. Improved by tract of time, and, winged, ascend
  499. Ethereal, as we; or may, at choice,
  500. Here or in heavenly Paradises dwell;
  501. If ye be found obedient, and retain
  502. Unalterably firm his love entire,
  503. Whose progeny you are. Mean while enjoy
  504. Your fill what happiness this happy state
  505. Can comprehend, incapable of more.
  506. To whom the patriarch of mankind replied.
  507. Oh favorable Spirit, propitious guest,
  508. Well hast thou taught the way that might direct
  509. Our knowledge, and the scale of nature set
  510. From center to circumference; whereon,
  511. In contemplation of created things,
  512. By steps we may ascend to God. But say,
  513. What meant that caution joined, If ye be found
  514. Obedient? Can we want obedience then
  515. To him, or possibly his love desert,
  516. Who formed us from the dust and placed us here
  517. Full to the utmost measure of what bliss
  518. Human desires can seek or apprehend?
  519. To whom the angel. Son of Heaven and Earth,
  520. Attend. That thou art happy, owe to God;
  521. That thou continuest such, owe to thyself,
  522. That is, to thy obedience; therein stand.
  523. This was that caution given thee; be advised.
  524. God made thee perfect, not immutable;
  525. And good he made thee, but to persevere
  526. He left it in thy power; ordained thy will
  527. By nature free, not over-ruled by fate
  528. Inextricable, or strict necessity:
  529. Our voluntary service he requires,
  530. Not our necessitated; such with him
  531. Finds no acceptance, nor can find; for how
  532. Can hearts, not free, be tried whether they serve
  533. Willing or no, who will but what they must
  534. By destiny, and can no other choose?
  535. Myself, and all the angelic host, that stand
  536. In sight of God, enthroned, our happy state
  537. Hold, as you yours, while our obedience holds;
  538. On other surety none: Freely we serve,
  539. Because we freely love, as in our will
  540. To love or not; in this we stand or fall:
  541. And some are fallen, to disobedience fallen,
  542. And so from Heaven to deepest Hell; Oh fall
  543. From what high state of bliss, into what woe!
  544. To whom our great progenitor. Thy words
  545. Attentive, and with more delighted ear,
  546. Divine instructor, I have heard, than when
  547. Cherubic songs by night from neighboring hills
  548. Aerial music send: Nor knew I not
  549. To be both will and deed created free;
  550. Yet that we never shall forget to love
  551. Our Maker, and obey him whose command
  552. Single is yet so just, my constant thoughts
  553. Assured me, and still assure: Though what thou tellest
  554. Hath passed in Heaven, some doubt within me move,
  555. But more desire to hear, if thou consent,
  556. The full relation, which must needs be strange,
  557. Worthy of sacred silence to be heard;
  558. And we have yet large day, for scarce the sun
  559. Hath finished half his journey, and scarce begins
  560. His other half in the great zone of Heaven.
  561. Thus Adam made request; and Raphael,
  562. After short pause assenting, thus began.
  563. High matter thou enjoinest me, Oh prime of men,
  564. Sad task and hard: For how shall I relate
  565. To human sense the invisible exploits
  566. Of warring Spirits? how, without remorse,
  567. The ruin of so many glorious once
  568. And perfect while they stood? how last unfold
  569. The secrets of another world, perhaps
  570. Not lawful to reveal? yet for thy good
  571. This is dispensed; and what surmounts the reach
  572. Of human sense, I shall delineate so,
  573. By likening spiritual to corporal forms,
  574. As may express them best; though what if Earth
  575. Be but a shadow of Heaven, and things therein
  576. Each to other like, more than on earth is thought?
  577. As yet this world was not, and Chaos wild
  578. Reigned where these Heavens now roll, where Earth now rests
  579. Upon her center poised; when on a day
  580. (For time, though in eternity, applied
  581. To motion, measures all things durable
  582. By present, past, and future,) on such day
  583. As Heaven's great year brings forth, the empyreal host
  584. Of angels by imperial summons called,
  585. Innumerable before the Almighty's throne
  586. Forthwith, from all the ends of Heaven, appeared
  587. Under their Hierarchs in orders bright:
  588. Ten thousand thousand ensigns high advanced,
  589. Standards and gonfalons 'twixt van and rear
  590. Stream in the air, and for distinction serve
  591. Of hierarchies, of orders, and degrees;
  592. Or in their glittering tissues bear imblazed
  593. Holy memorials, acts of zeal and love
  594. Recorded eminent. Thus when in orbs
  595. Of circuit inexpressible they stood,
  596. Orb within orb, the Father Infinite,
  597. By whom in bliss imbosomed sat the Son,
  598. Amidst as from a flaming mount, whose top
  599. Brightness had made invisible, thus spake.
  600. Hear, all ye angels, progeny of light,
  601. Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers;
  602. Hear my decree, which unrevoked shall stand.
  603. This day I have begot whom I declare
  604. My only Son, and on this holy hill
  605. Him have anointed, whom ye now behold
  606. At my right hand; your head I him appoint;
  607. And by myself have sworn, to him shall bow
  608. All knees in Heaven, and shall confess him Lord:
  609. Under his great vice-gerent reign abide
  610. United, as one individual soul,
  611. For ever happy: Him who disobeys,
  612. Me disobeys, breaks union, and that day,
  613. Cast out from God and blessed vision, falls
  614. Into utter darkness, deep ingulfed, his place
  615. Ordained without redemption, without end.
  616. So spake the Omnipotent, and with his words
  617. All seemed well pleased; all seemed, but were not all.
  618. That day, as other solemn days, they spent
  619. In song and dance about the sacred hill;
  620. Mystical dance, which yonder starry sphere
  621. Of planets, and of fixed, in all her wheels
  622. Resembles nearest, mazes intricate,
  623. Eccentric, intervolved, yet regular
  624. Then most, when most irregular they seem;
  625. And in their motions harmony divine
  626. So smoothes her charming tones, that God's own ear
  627. Listens delighted. Evening now approached,
  628. (For we have also our evening and our morn,
  629. We ours for change delectable, not need;)
  630. Forthwith from dance to sweet repast they turn
  631. Desirous; all in circles as they stood,
  632. Tables are set, and on a sudden piled
  633. With angels food, and rubied nectar flows
  634. In pearl, in diamond, and massy gold,
  635. Fruit of delicious vines, the growth of Heaven.
  636. On flowers reposed, and with fresh flowerets crowned,
  637. They eat, they drink, and in communion sweet
  638. Quaff immortality and joy, secure
  639. Of surfeit, where full measure only bounds
  640. Excess, before the all-bounteous King, who showered
  641. With copious hand, rejoicing in their joy.
  642. Now when ambrosial night with clouds exhaled
  643. From that high mount of God, whence light and shade
  644. Spring both, the face of brightest Heaven had changed
  645. To grateful twilight, (for night comes not there
  646. In darker veil,) and roseate dews disposed
  647. All but the unsleeping eyes of God to rest;
  648. Wide over all the plain, and wider far
  649. Than all this globous earth in plain outspread,
  650. (Such are the courts of God) the angelic throng,
  651. Dispersed in bands and files, their camp extend
  652. By living streams among the trees of life,
  653. Pavilions numberless, and sudden reared,
  654. Celestial tabernacles, where they slept
  655. Fanned with cool winds; save those, who, in their course,
  656. Melodious hymns about the sovereign throne
  657. Alternate all night long: but not so waked
  658. Satan; so call him now, his former name
  659. Is heard no more in Heaven; he of the first,
  660. If not the first archangel, great in power,
  661. In favor and pre-eminence, yet fraught
  662. With envy against the Son of God, that day
  663. Honored by his great Father, and proclaimed
  664. Messiah King anointed, could not bear
  665. Through pride that sight, and thought himself impaired.
  666. Deep malice thence conceiving and disdain,
  667. Soon as midnight brought on the dusky hour
  668. Friendliest to sleep and silence, he resolved
  669. With all his legions to dislodge, and leave
  670. Unworshiped, unobeyed, the throne supreme,
  671. Contemptuous; and his next subordinate
  672. Awakening, thus to him in secret spake.
  673. Sleepest thou, Companion dear? What sleep can close
  674. Thy eye-lids? and rememberest what decree
  675. Of yesterday, so late hath passed the lips
  676. Of Heaven's Almighty. Thou to me thy thoughts
  677. Wast wont, I mine to thee was wont to impart;
  678. Both waking we were one; how then can now
  679. Thy sleep dissent? New laws thou seest imposed;
  680. New laws from him who reigns, new minds may raise
  681. In us who serve, new counsels to debate
  682. What doubtful may ensue: More in this place
  683. To utter is not safe. Assemble thou
  684. Of all those myriads which we lead the chief;
  685. Tell them, that by command, ere yet dim night
  686. Her shadowy cloud withdraws, I am to haste,
  687. And all who under me their banners wave,
  688. Homeward, with flying march, where we possess
  689. The quarters of the north; there to prepare
  690. Fit entertainment to receive our King,
  691. The great Messiah, and his new commands,
  692. Who speedily through all the hierarchies
  693. Intends to pass triumphant, and give laws.
  694. So spake the false archangel, and infused
  695. Bad influence into the unwary breast
  696. Of his associate: He together calls,
  697. Or several one by one, the regent Powers,
  698. Under him Regent; tells, as he was taught,
  699. That the Most High commanding, now ere night,
  700. Now ere dim night had disencumbered Heaven,
  701. The great hierarchal standard was to move;
  702. Tells the suggested cause, and casts between
  703. Ambiguous words and jealousies, to sound
  704. Or taint integrity: But all obeyed
  705. The wonted signal, and superior voice
  706. Of their great Potentate; for great indeed
  707. His name, and high was his degree in Heaven;
  708. His countenance, as the morning-star that guides
  709. The starry flock, allured them, and with lies
  710. Drew after him the third part of Heaven's host.
  711. Mean while the Eternal eye, whose sight discerns
  712. Abstrusest thoughts, from forth his holy mount,
  713. And from within the golden lamps that burn
  714. Nightly before him, saw without their light
  715. Rebellion rising; saw in whom, how spread
  716. Among the sons of morn, what multitudes
  717. Were banded to oppose his high decree;
  718. And, smiling, to his only Son thus said.
  719. Son, thou in whom my glory I behold
  720. In full resplendence, Heir of all my might,
  721. Nearly it now concerns us to be sure
  722. Of our Omnipotence, and with what arms
  723. We mean to hold what anciently we claim
  724. Of deity or empire: Such a foe
  725. Is rising, who intends to erect his throne
  726. Equal to ours, throughout the spacious north;
  727. Nor so content, hath in his thought to try
  728. In battle, what our power is, or our right.
  729. Let us advise, and to this hazard draw
  730. With speed what force is left, and all employ
  731. In our defense; lest unawares we lose
  732. This our high place, our sanctuary, our hill.
  733. To whom the Son with calm aspect and clear,
  734. Lightning divine, ineffable, serene,
  735. Made answer. Mighty Father, thou thy foes
  736. Justly hast in derision, and, secure,
  737. Laughest at their vain designs and tumults vain,
  738. Matter to me of glory, whom their hate
  739. Illustrates, when they see all regal power
  740. Given me to quell their pride, and in event
  741. Know whether I be dexterous to subdue
  742. Thy rebels, or be found the worst in Heaven.
  743. So spake the Son; but Satan, with his powers,
  744. Far was advanced on winged speed; an host
  745. Innumerable as the stars of night,
  746. Or stars of morning, dew-drops, which the sun
  747. Impearls on every leaf and every flower.
  748. Regions they passed, the mighty regencies
  749. Of Seraphim, and Potentates, and Thrones,
  750. In their triple degrees; regions to which
  751. All thy dominion, Adam, is no more
  752. Than what this garden is to all the earth,
  753. And all the sea, from one entire globose
  754. Stretched into longitude; which having passed,
  755. At length into the limits of the north
  756. They came; and Satan to his royal seat
  757. High on a hill, far blazing, as a mount
  758. Raised on a mount, with pyramids and towers
  759. From diamond quarries hewn, and rocks of gold;
  760. The palace of great Lucifer, (so call
  761. That structure in the dialect of men
  762. Interpreted,) which not long after, he
  763. Affecting all equality with God,
  764. In imitation of that mount whereon
  765. Messiah was declared in sight of Heaven,
  766. The Mountain of the Congregation called;
  767. For thither he assembled all his train,
  768. Pretending so commanded to consult
  769. About the great reception of their King,
  770. Thither to come, and with calumnious art
  771. Of counterfeited truth thus held their ears.
  772. Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers;
  773. If these magnific titles yet remain
  774. Not merely titular, since by decree
  775. Another now hath to himself engrossed
  776. All power, and us eclipsed under the name
  777. Of King anointed, for whom all this haste
  778. Of midnight-march, and hurried meeting here,
  779. This only to consult how we may best,
  780. With what may be devised of honors new,
  781. Receive him coming to receive from us
  782. Knee-tribute yet unpaid, prostration vile!
  783. Too much to one, but double how endured,
  784. To one, and to his image now proclaimed?
  785. But what if better counsels might erect
  786. Our minds, and teach us to cast off this yoke?
  787. Will ye submit your necks, and choose to bend
  788. The supple knee? Ye will not, if I trust
  789. To know ye right, or if ye know yourselves
  790. Natives and sons of Heaven possessed before
  791. By none; and if not equal all, yet free,
  792. Equally free; for orders and degrees
  793. Jar not with liberty, but well consist.
  794. Who can in reason then, or right, assume
  795. Monarchy over such as live by right
  796. His equals, if in power and splendor less,
  797. In freedom equal? or can introduce
  798. Law and edict on us, who without law
  799. Err not? much less for this to be our Lord,
  800. And look for adoration, to the abuse
  801. Of those imperial titles, which assert
  802. Our being ordained to govern, not to serve.
  803. Thus far his bold discourse without control
  804. Had audience; when among the Seraphim
  805. Abdiel, than whom none with more zeal adored
  806. The Deity, and divine commands obeyed,
  807. Stood up, and in a flame of zeal severe
  808. The current of his fury thus opposed.
  809. Oh argument blasphemous, false, and proud!
  810. Words which no ear ever to hear in Heaven
  811. Expected, least of all from thee, Ingrate,
  812. In place thyself so high above thy peers.
  813. Canst thou with impious obloquy condemn
  814. The just decree of God, pronounced and sworn,
  815. That to his only Son, by right endued
  816. With regal scepter, every soul in Heaven
  817. Shall bend the knee, and in that honor due
  818. Confess him rightful King? unjust, thou sayest,
  819. Flatly unjust, to bind with laws the free,
  820. And equal over equals to let reign,
  821. One over all with unsucceeded power.
  822. Shalt thou give law to God? shalt thou dispute
  823. With him the points of liberty, who made
  824. Thee what thou art, and formed the Powers of Heaven
  825. Such as he pleased, and circumscribed their being?
  826. Yet, by experience taught, we know how good,
  827. And of our good and of our dignity
  828. How provident he is; how far from thought
  829. To make us less, bent rather to exalt
  830. Our happy state, under one head more near
  831. United. But to grant it thee unjust,
  832. That equal over equals monarch reign:
  833. Thyself, though great and glorious, dost thou count,
  834. Or all angelic nature joined in one,
  835. Equal to him begotten Son? by whom,
  836. As by his Word, the Mighty Father made
  837. All things, even thee; and all the Spirits of Heaven
  838. By him created in their bright degrees,
  839. Crowned them with glory, and to their glory named
  840. Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers,
  841. Essential Powers; nor by his reign obscured,
  842. But more illustrious made; since he the head
  843. One of our number thus reduced becomes;
  844. His laws our laws; all honor to him done
  845. Returns our own. Cease then this impious rage,
  846. And tempt not these; but hasten to appease
  847. The incensed Father, and the incensed Son,
  848. While pardon may be found in time besought.
  849. So spake the fervent angel; but his zeal
  850. None seconded, as out of season judged,
  851. Or singular and rash: Whereat rejoiced
  852. The Apostate, and, more haughty, thus replied.
  853. That we were formed then sayest thou? and the work
  854. Of secondary hands, by task transferred
  855. From Father to his Son? strange point and new,
  856. Doctrine which we would know whence learned: who saw
  857. When this creation was? rememberest thou
  858. Thy making, while the Maker gave thee being?
  859. We know no time when we were not as now;
  860. Know none before us, self-begot, self-raised
  861. By our own quickening power, when fatal course
  862. Had circled his full orb, the birth mature
  863. Of this our native Heaven, ethereal sons.
  864. Our puissance is our own; our own right hand
  865. Shall teach us highest deeds, by proof to try
  866. Who is our equal: Then thou shalt behold
  867. Whether by supplication we intend
  868. Address, and to begirt the almighty throne
  869. Beseeching or besieging. This report,
  870. These tidings carry to the anointed King;
  871. And fly, ere evil intercept thy flight.
  872. He said; and, as the sound of waters deep,
  873. Hoarse murmur echoed to his words applause
  874. Through the infinite host; nor less for that
  875. The flaming Seraph fearless, though alone
  876. Encompassed round with foes, thus answered bold.
  877. Oh alienate from God, Oh Spirit accursed,
  878. Forsaken of all good! I see thy fall
  879. Determined, and thy hapless crew involved
  880. In this perfidious fraud, contagion spread
  881. Both of thy crime and punishment: Henceforth
  882. No more be troubled how to quit the yoke
  883. Of God's Messiah; those indulgent laws
  884. Will not be now vouchsafed; other decrees
  885. Against thee are gone forth without recall;
  886. That golden scepter, which thou didst reject,
  887. Is now an iron rod to bruise and break
  888. Thy disobedience. Well thou didst advise;
  889. Yet not for thy advice or threats I fly
  890. These wicked tents devoted, lest the wrath
  891. Impendent, raging into sudden flame,
  892. Distinguish not: For soon expect to feel
  893. His thunder on thy head, devouring fire.
  894. Then who created thee lamenting learn,
  895. When who can uncreate thee thou shalt know.
  896. So spake the Seraph Abdiel, faithful found
  897. Among the faithless, faithful only he;
  898. Among innumerable false, unmoved,
  899. Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified,
  900. His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal;
  901. Nor number, nor example, with him wrought
  902. To swerve from truth, or change his constant mind,
  903. Though single. From amidst them forth he passed,
  904. Long way through hostile scorn, which he sustained
  905. Superior, nor of violence feared aught;
  906. And, with retorted scorn, his back he turned
  907. On those proud towers to swift destruction doomed.

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~ BOOK VI ~

  1. All night the dreadless angel, unpursued,
  2. Through Heaven's wide champaign held his way; till Morn,
  3. Waked by the circling Hours, with rosy hand
  4. Unbarred the gates of light. There is a cave
  5. Within the mount of God, fast by his throne,
  6. Where light and darkness in perpetual round
  7. Lodge and dislodge by turns, which makes through Heaven
  8. Grateful vicissitude, like day and night;
  9. Light issues forth, and at the other door
  10. Obsequious darkness enters, till her hour
  11. To veil the Heaven, though darkness there might well
  12. Seem twilight here: And now went forth the Morn
  13. Such as in highest Heaven arrayed in gold
  14. Empyreal; from before her vanished Night,
  15. Shot through with orient beams; when all the plain
  16. Covered with thick embattled squadrons bright,
  17. Chariots, and flaming arms, and fiery steeds,
  18. Reflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view:
  19. War he perceived, war in procinct; and found
  20. Already known what he for news had thought
  21. To have reported: Gladly then he mixed
  22. Among those friendly Powers, who him received
  23. With joy and acclamations loud, that one,
  24. That of so many myriads fallen, yet one
  25. Returned not lost. On to the sacred hill
  26. They led him high applauded, and present
  27. Before the seat supreme; from whence a voice,
  28. From midst a golden cloud, thus mild was heard.
  29. Servant of God, well done; well hast thou fought
  30. The better fight, who single hast maintained
  31. Against revolted multitudes the cause
  32. Of truth, in word mightier than they in arms;
  33. And for the testimony of truth hast borne
  34. Universal reproach, far worse to bear
  35. Than violence; for this was all thy care
  36. To stand approved in sight of God, though worlds
  37. Judged thee perverse: The easier conquest now
  38. Remains thee, aided by this host of friends,
  39. Back on thy foes more glorious to return,
  40. Than scorned thou didst depart; and to subdue
  41. By force, who reason for their law refuse,
  42. Right reason for their law, and for their King
  43. Messiah, who by right of merit reigns.
  44. Go, Michael, of celestial armies prince,
  45. And thou, in military prowess next,
  46. Gabriel, lead forth to battle these my sons
  47. Invincible; lead forth my armed saints,
  48. By thousands and by millions, ranged for fight,
  49. Equal in number to that Godless crew
  50. Rebellious: Them with fire and hostile arms
  51. Fearless assault; and, to the brow of Heaven
  52. Pursuing, drive them out from God and bliss,
  53. Into their place of punishment, the gulf
  54. Of Tartarus, which ready opens wide
  55. His fiery chaos to receive their fall.
  56. So spake the Sovereign Voice, and clouds began
  57. To darken all the hill, and smoke to roll
  58. In dusky wreaths, reluctant flames, the sign
  59. Of wrath awaked; nor with less dread the loud
  60. Ethereal trumpet from on high 'gan blow:
  61. At which command the Powers militant,
  62. That stood for Heaven, in mighty quadrate joined
  63. Of union irresistible, moved on
  64. In silence their bright legions, to the sound
  65. Of instrumental harmony, that breathed
  66. Heroic ardor to adventurous deeds
  67. Under their God-like leaders, in the cause
  68. Of God and his Messiah. On they move
  69. Indissolubly firm; nor obvious hill,
  70. Nor straitening vale, nor wood, nor stream, divides
  71. Their perfect ranks; for high above the ground
  72. Their march was, and the passive air upbore
  73. Their nimble tread; as when the total kind
  74. Of birds, in orderly array on wing,
  75. Came summoned over Eden to receive
  76. Their names of thee; so over many a tract
  77. Of Heaven they marched, and many a province wide,
  78. Tenfold the length of this terrene: At last,
  79. Far in the horizon to the north appeared
  80. From skirt to skirt a fiery region, stretched
  81. In battailous aspect, and nearer view
  82. Bristled with upright beams innumerable
  83. Of rigid spears, and helmets thronged, and shields
  84. Various, with boastful argument portrayed,
  85. The banded Powers of Satan hasting on
  86. With furious expedition; for they weened
  87. That self-same day, by fight or by surprise,
  88. To win the mount of God, and on his throne
  89. To set the Envier of his state, the proud
  90. Aspirer; but their thoughts proved fond and vain
  91. In the mid way: Though strange to us it seemed
  92. At first, that angel should with angel war,
  93. And in fierce hosting meet, who wont to meet
  94. So oft in festivals of joy and love
  95. Unanimous, as sons of one great Sire,
  96. Hymning the Eternal Father: But the shout
  97. Of battle now began, and rushing sound
  98. Of onset ended soon each milder thought.
  99. High in the midst, exalted as a God,
  100. The Apostate in his sun-bright chariot sat,
  101. Idol of majesty divine, enclosed
  102. With flaming Cherubim, and golden shields;
  103. Then lighted from his gorgeous throne, for now
  104. "twixt host and host but narrow space was left,
  105. A dreadful interval, and front to front
  106. Presented stood in terrible array
  107. Of hideous length: Before the cloudy van,
  108. On the rough edge of battle ere it joined,
  109. Satan, with vast and haughty strides advanced,
  110. Came towering, armed in adamant and gold;
  111. Abdiel that sight endured not, where he stood
  112. Among the mightiest, bent on highest deeds,
  113. And thus his own undaunted heart explores.
  114. Oh Heaven! that such resemblance of the Highest
  115. Should yet remain, where faith and realty
  116. Remain not: Wherefore should not strength and might
  117. There fail where virtue fails, or weakest prove
  118. Where boldest, though to fight unconquerable?
  119. His puissance, trusting in the Almighty's aid,
  120. I mean to try, whose reason I have tried
  121. Unsound and false; nor is it aught but just,
  122. That he, who in debate of truth hath won,
  123. Should win in arms, in both disputes alike
  124. Victor; though brutish that contest and foul,
  125. When reason hath to deal with force, yet so
  126. Most reason is that reason overcome.
  127. So pondering, and from his armed peers
  128. Forth stepping opposite, half-way he met
  129. His daring foe, at this prevention more
  130. Incensed, and thus securely him defied.
  131. Proud, art thou met? thy hope was to have reached
  132. The heighth of thy aspiring unopposed,
  133. The throne of God unguarded, and his side
  134. Abandoned, at the terror of thy power
  135. Or potent tongue: Fool! not to think how vain
  136. Against the Omnipotent to rise in arms;
  137. Who out of smallest things could, without end,
  138. Have raised incessant armies to defeat
  139. Thy folly; or with solitary hand
  140. Reaching beyond all limit, at one blow,
  141. Unaided, could have finished thee, and whelmed
  142. Thy legions under darkness: But thou seest
  143. All are not of thy train; there be, who faith
  144. Prefer, and piety to God, though then
  145. To thee not visible, when I alone
  146. Seemed in thy world erroneous to dissent
  147. From all: My sect thou seest; now learn too late
  148. How few sometimes may know, when thousands err.
  149. Whom the grand foe, with scornful eye askance,
  150. Thus answered. Ill for thee, but in wished hour
  151. Of my revenge, first sought for, thou returnest
  152. From flight, seditious angel, to receive
  153. Thy merited reward, the first assay
  154. Of this right hand provoked, since first that tongue,
  155. Inspired with contradiction, durst oppose
  156. A third part of the Gods, in synod met
  157. Their deities to assert; who, while they feel
  158. Vigor divine within them, can allow
  159. Omnipotence to none. But well thou comest
  160. Before thy fellows, ambitious to win
  161. From me some plume, that thy success may show
  162. Destruction to the rest: This pause between,
  163. (Unanswered lest thou boast) to let thee know,
  164. At first I thought that Liberty and Heaven
  165. To heavenly souls had been all one; but now
  166. I see that most through sloth had rather serve,
  167. Ministering Spirits, trained up in feast and song.
  168. Such hast thou armed, the minstrelsy of Heaven,
  169. Servility with freedom to contend,
  170. As both their deeds compared this day shall prove.
  171. To whom in brief thus Abdiel stern replied.
  172. Apostate, still thou errest, nor end wilt find
  173. Of erring, from the path of truth remote:
  174. Unjustly thou depravest it with the name
  175. Of servitude, to serve whom God ordains,
  176. Or Nature: God and Nature bid the same,
  177. When he who rules is worthiest, and excels
  178. Them whom he governs. This is servitude,
  179. To serve the unwise, or him who hath rebelled
  180. Against his worthier, as thine now serve thee,
  181. Thyself not free, but to thyself enthralled;
  182. Yet lewdly darest our ministering upbraid.
  183. Reign thou in Hell, thy kingdom; let me serve
  184. In Heaven God ever blest, and his divine
  185. Behests obey, worthiest to be obeyed;
  186. Yet chains in Hell, not realms, expect: Mean while
  187. From me returned, as erst thou saidst, from flight,
  188. This greeting on thy impious crest receive.
  189. So saying, a noble stroke he lifted high,
  190. Which hung not, but so swift with tempest fell
  191. On the proud crest of Satan, that no sight,
  192. Nor motion of swift thought, less could his shield,
  193. Such ruin intercept: Ten paces huge
  194. He back recoiled; the tenth on bended knee
  195. His massy spear upstayed; as if on earth
  196. Winds under ground, or waters forcing way,
  197. Sidelong had pushed a mountain from his seat,
  198. Half sunk with all his pines. Amazement seized
  199. The rebel Thrones, but greater rage, to see
  200. Thus foiled their mightiest; ours joy filled, and shout,
  201. Presage of victory, and fierce desire
  202. Of battle: Whereat Michael bid sound
  203. The archangel trumpet; through the vast of Heaven
  204. It sounded, and the faithful armies rung
  205. Hosanna to the Highest: Nor stood at gaze
  206. The adverse legions, nor less hideous joined
  207. The horrid shock. Now storming fury rose,
  208. And clamor such as heard in Heaven till now
  209. Was never; arms on armor clashing brayed
  210. Horrible discord, and the madding wheels
  211. Of brazen chariots raged; dire was the noise
  212. Of conflict; over head the dismal hiss
  213. Of fiery darts in flaming vollies flew,
  214. And flying vaulted either host with fire.
  215. So under fiery cope together rushed
  216. Both battles main, with ruinous assault
  217. And inextinguishable rage. All Heaven
  218. Resounded; and had Earth been then, all Earth
  219. Had to her center shook. What wonder? when
  220. Millions of fierce encountering angels fought
  221. On either side, the least of whom could wield
  222. These elements, and arm him with the force
  223. Of all their regions: How much more of power
  224. Army against army numberless to raise
  225. Dreadful combustion warring, and disturb,
  226. Though not destroy, their happy native seat;
  227. Had not the Eternal King Omnipotent,
  228. From his strong hold of Heaven, high over-ruled
  229. And limited their might; though numbered such
  230. As each divided legion might have seemed
  231. A numerous host; in strength each armed hand
  232. A legion; led in fight, yet leader seemed
  233. Each warrior single as in chief, expert
  234. When to advance, or stand, or turn the sway
  235. Of battle, open when, and when to close
  236. The ridges of grim war: No thought of flight,
  237. None of retreat, no unbecoming deed
  238. That argued fear; each on himself relied,
  239. As only in his arm the moment lay
  240. Of victory: Deeds of eternal fame
  241. Were done, but infinite; for wide was spread
  242. That war and various; sometimes on firm ground
  243. A standing fight, then, soaring on main wing,
  244. Tormented all the air; all air seemed then
  245. Conflicting fire. Long time in even scale
  246. The battle hung; till Satan, who that day
  247. Prodigious power had shown, and met in arms
  248. No equal, ranging through the dire attack
  249. Of fighting Seraphim confused, at length
  250. Saw where the sword of Michael smote, and felled
  251. Squadrons at once; with huge two-handed sway
  252. Brandished aloft, the horrid edge came down
  253. Wide-wasting; such destruction to withstand
  254. He hasted, and opposed the rocky orb
  255. Of tenfold adamant, his ample shield,
  256. A vast circumference. At his approach
  257. The great Archangel from his warlike toil
  258. Surceased, and glad, as hoping here to end
  259. Intestine war in Heaven, the arch-foe subdued
  260. Or captive dragged in chains, with hostile frown
  261. And visage all inflamed first thus began.
  262. Author of evil, unknown till thy revolt,
  263. Unnamed in Heaven, now plenteous as thou seest
  264. These acts of hateful strife, hateful to all,
  265. Though heaviest by just measure on thyself,
  266. And thy adherents: How hast thou disturbed
  267. Heaven's blessed peace, and into nature brought
  268. Misery, uncreated till the crime
  269. Of thy rebellion! how hast thou instilled
  270. Thy malice into thousands, once upright
  271. And faithful, now proved false! But think not here
  272. To trouble holy rest; Heaven casts thee out
  273. From all her confines. Heaven, the seat of bliss,
  274. Brooks not the works of violence and war.
  275. Hence then, and evil go with thee along,
  276. Thy offspring, to the place of evil, Hell;
  277. Thou and thy wicked crew there mingle broils,
  278. Ere this avenging sword begin thy doom,
  279. Or some more sudden vengeance, winged from God,
  280. Precipitate thee with augmented pain.
  281. So spake the Prince of angels; to whom thus
  282. The Adversary. Nor think thou with wind
  283. Of aerie threats to awe whom yet with deeds
  284. Thou canst not. Hast thou turned the least of these
  285. To flight, or if to fall, but that they rise
  286. Unvanquished, easier to transact with me
  287. That thou shouldst hope, imperious, and with threats
  288. To chase me hence? err not, that so shall end
  289. The strife which thou callest evil, but we style
  290. The strife of glory; which we mean to win,
  291. Or turn this Heaven itself into the Hell
  292. Thou fablest; here however to dwell free,
  293. If not to reign: Mean while thy utmost force,
  294. And join him named Almighty to thy aid,
  295. I fly not, but have sought thee far and nigh.
  296. They ended parley, and both addressed for fight
  297. Unspeakable; for who, though with the tongue
  298. Of angels, can relate, or to what things
  299. Liken on earth conspicuous, that may lift
  300. Human imagination to such heighth
  301. Of Godlike power? for likest Gods they seemed,
  302. Stood they or moved, in stature, motion, arms,
  303. Fit to decide the empire of great Heaven.
  304. Now waved their fiery swords, and in the air
  305. Made horrid circles; two broad suns their shields
  306. Blazed opposite, while Expectation stood
  307. In horror: From each hand with speed retired,
  308. Where erst was thickest fight, the angelic throng,
  309. And left large field, unsafe within the wind
  310. Of such commotion; such as, to set forth
  311. Great things by small, if, nature's concord broke,
  312. Among the constellations war were sprung,
  313. Two planets, rushing from aspect malign
  314. Of fiercest opposition, in mid sky
  315. Should combat, and their jarring spheres confound.
  316. Together both with next to almighty arm
  317. Up-lifted imminent, one stroke they aimed
  318. That might determine, and not need repeat,
  319. As not of power at once; nor odds appeared
  320. In might or swift prevention: But the sword
  321. Of Michael from the armory of God
  322. Was given him tempered so, that neither keen
  323. Nor solid might resist that edge: it met
  324. The sword of Satan, with steep force to smite
  325. Descending, and in half cut sheer; nor staid,
  326. But with swift wheel reverse, deep entering, shared
  327. All his right side: Then Satan first knew pain,
  328. And writhed him to and fro convolved; so sore
  329. The griding sword with discontinuous wound
  330. Passed through him: But the ethereal substance closed,
  331. Not long divisible; and from the gash
  332. A stream of nectarous humor issuing flowed
  333. Sanguine, such as celestial Spirits may bleed,
  334. And all his armor stained, ere while so bright.
  335. Forthwith on all sides to his aid was run
  336. By angels many and strong, who interposed
  337. Defense, while others bore him on their shields
  338. Back to his chariot, where it stood retired
  339. From off the files of war: There they him laid
  340. Gnashing for anguish, and despite, and shame,
  341. To find himself not matchless, and his pride
  342. Humbled by such rebuke, so far beneath
  343. His confidence to equal God in power.
  344. Yet soon he healed; for Spirits that live throughout
  345. Vital in every part, not as frail man
  346. In entrails, heart of head, liver or reins,
  347. Cannot but by annihilating die;
  348. Nor in their liquid texture mortal wound
  349. Receive, no more than can the fluid air:
  350. All heart they live, all head, all eye, all ear,
  351. All intellect, all sense; and, as they please,
  352. They limb themselves, and color, shape, or size
  353. Assume, as likes them best, condense or rare.
  354. Meanwhile in other parts like deeds deserved
  355. Memorial, where the might of Gabriel fought,
  356. And with fierce ensigns pierced the deep array
  357. Of Moloch, furious king; who him defied,
  358. And at his chariot-wheels to drag him bound
  359. Threatened, nor from the Holy One of Heaven
  360. Refrained his tongue blasphemous; but anon
  361. Down cloven to the waist, with shattered arms
  362. And uncouth pain fled bellowing. On each wing
  363. Uriel, and Raphael, his vaunting foe,
  364. Though huge, and in a rock of diamond armed,
  365. Vanquished Adramelec, and Asmadai,
  366. Two potent Thrones, that to be less than Gods
  367. Disdained, but meaner thoughts learned in their flight,
  368. Mangled with ghastly wounds through plate and mail.
  369. Nor stood unmindful Abdiel to annoy
  370. The atheist crew, but with redoubled blow
  371. Ariel, and Arioch, and the violence
  372. Of Ramiel scorched and blasted, overthrew.
  373. I might relate of thousands, and their names
  374. Eternize here on earth; but those elect
  375. Angels, contented with their fame in Heaven,
  376. Seek not the praise of men: The other sort,
  377. In might though wondrous and in acts of war,
  378. Nor of renown less eager, yet by doom
  379. Cancelled from Heaven and sacred memory,
  380. Nameless in dark oblivion let them dwell.
  381. For strength from truth divided, and from just,
  382. Illaudable, naught merits but dispraise
  383. And ignominy; yet to glory aspires
  384. Vain-glorious, and through infamy seeks fame:
  385. Therefore eternal silence be their doom.
  386. And now, their mightiest quelled, the battle swerved,
  387. With many an inroad gored; deformed rout
  388. Entered, and foul disorder; all the ground
  389. With shivered armor strown, and on a heap
  390. Chariot and charioteer lay overturned,
  391. And fiery-foaming steeds; what stood, recoiled
  392. O'er-wearied, through the faint Satanic host
  393. Defensive scarce, or with pale fear surprised,
  394. Then first with fear surprised, and sense of pain,
  395. Fled ignominious, to such evil brought
  396. By sin of disobedience; till that hour
  397. Not liable to fear, or flight, or pain.
  398. Far otherwise the inviolable Saints,
  399. In cubic phalanx firm, advanced entire,
  400. Invulnerable, impenetrably armed;
  401. Such high advantages their innocence
  402. Gave them above their foes; not to have sinned,
  403. Not to have disobeyed; in fight they stood
  404. Unwearied, unobnoxious to be pained
  405. By wound, though from their place by violence moved,
  406. Now Night her course began, and, over Heaven
  407. Inducing darkness, grateful truce imposed,
  408. And silence on the odious din of war:
  409. Under her cloudy covert both retired,
  410. Victor and vanquished: On the foughten field
  411. Michael and his angels prevalent
  412. Encamping, placed in guard their watches round,
  413. Cherubic waving fires: On the other part,
  414. Satan with his rebellious disappeared,
  415. Far in the dark dislodged; and, void of rest,
  416. His potentates to council called by night;
  417. And in the midst thus undismayed began.
  418. Oh now in danger tried, now known in arms
  419. Not to be overpowered, Companions dear,
  420. Found worthy not of liberty alone,
  421. Too mean pretence, but what we more affect,
  422. Honor, dominion, glory, and renown;
  423. Who have sustained one day in doubtful fight,
  424. (And if one day, why not eternal days?)
  425. What Heaven's Lord had powerfullest to send
  426. Against us from about his throne, and judged
  427. Sufficient to subdue us to his will,
  428. But proves not so: Then fallible, it seems,
  429. Of future we may deem him, though till now
  430. Omniscient thought. True is, less firmly armed,
  431. Some disadvantage we endured and pain,
  432. Till now not known, but, known, as soon contemned;
  433. Since now we find this our empyreal form
  434. Incapable of mortal injury,
  435. Imperishable, and, though pierced with wound,
  436. Soon closing, and by native vigor healed.
  437. Of evil then so small as easy think
  438. The remedy; perhaps more valid arms,
  439. Weapons more violent, when next we meet,
  440. May serve to better us, and worse our foes,
  441. Or equal what between us made the odds,
  442. In nature none: If other hidden cause
  443. Left them superior, while we can preserve
  444. Unhurt our minds, and understanding sound,
  445. Due search and consultation will disclose.
  446. He sat; and in the assembly next upstood
  447. Nisroch, of Principalities the prime;
  448. As one he stood escaped from cruel fight,
  449. Sore toiled, his riven arms to havoc hewn,
  450. And cloudy in aspect thus answering spake.
  451. Deliverer from new Lords, leader to free
  452. Enjoyment of our right as Gods; yet hard
  453. For Gods, and too unequal work we find,
  454. Against unequal arms to fight in pain,
  455. Against unpained, impassive; from which evil
  456. Ruin must needs ensue; for what avails
  457. Velour or strength, though matchless, quelled with pain
  458. Which all subdues, and makes remiss the hands
  459. Of mightiest? Sense of pleasure we may well
  460. Spare out of life perhaps, and not repine,
  461. But live content, which is the calmest life:
  462. But pain is perfect misery, the worst
  463. Of evils, and, excessive, overturns
  464. All patience. He, who therefore can invent
  465. With what more forcible we may offend
  466. Our yet unwounded enemies, or arm
  467. Ourselves with like defense, to me deserves
  468. No less than for deliverance what we owe.
  469. Whereto with look composed Satan replied.
  470. Not uninvented that, which thou aright
  471. Believest so main to our success, I bring.
  472. Which of us who beholds the bright surface
  473. Of this ethereous mould whereon we stand,
  474. This continent of spacious Heaven, adorned
  475. With plant, fruit, flower ambrosial, gems, and gold;
  476. Whose eye so superficially surveys
  477. These things, as not to mind from whence they grow
  478. Deep under ground, materials dark and crude,
  479. Of spiritous and fiery spume, till touched
  480. With Heaven's ray, and tempered, they shoot forth
  481. So beauteous, opening to the ambient light?
  482. These in their dark nativity the deep
  483. Shall yield us, pregnant with infernal flame;
  484. Which, into hollow engines, long and round,
  485. Thick rammed, at the other bore with touch of fire
  486. Dilated and infuriate, shall send forth
  487. From far, with thundering noise, among our foes
  488. Such implements of mischief, as shall dash
  489. To pieces, and o'erwhelm whatever stands
  490. Adverse, that they shall fear we have disarmed
  491. The Thunderer of his only dreaded bolt.
  492. Nor long shall be our labor; yet ere dawn,
  493. Effect shall end our wish. Mean while revive;
  494. Abandon fear; to strength and counsel joined
  495. Think nothing hard, much less to be despaired.
  496. He ended, and his words their drooping cheer
  497. Enlightened, and their languished hope revived.
  498. The invention all admired, and each, how he
  499. To be the inventor missed; so easy it seemed
  500. Once found, which yet unfound most would have thought
  501. Impossible: Yet, haply, of thy race
  502. In future days, if malice should abound,
  503. Some one intent on mischief, or inspired
  504. With devilish machination, might devise
  505. Like instrument to plague the sons of men
  506. For sin, on war and mutual slaughter bent.
  507. Forthwith from council to the work they flew;
  508. None arguing stood; innumerable hands
  509. Were ready; in a moment up they turned
  510. Wide the celestial soil, and saw beneath
  511. The originals of nature in their crude
  512. Conception; sulfurous and nitrous foam
  513. They found, they mingled, and, with subtle art,
  514. Concocted and adjusted they reduced
  515. To blackest grain, and into store conveyed:
  516. Part hidden veins digged up (nor hath this earth
  517. Entrails unlike) of mineral and stone,
  518. Whereof to found their engines and their balls
  519. Of missive ruin; part incentive reed
  520. Provide, pernicious with one touch to fire.
  521. So all ere day-spring, under conscious night,
  522. Secret they finished, and in order set,
  523. With silent circumspection, unespied.
  524. Now when fair morn orient in Heaven appeared,
  525. Up rose the victor-angels, and to arms
  526. The matin trumpet sung: In arms they stood
  527. Of golden panoply, refulgent host,
  528. Soon banded; others from the dawning hills
  529. Look round, and scouts each coast light-armed scour,
  530. Each quarter to descry the distant foe,
  531. Where lodged, or whither fled, or if for fight,
  532. In motion or in halt: Him soon they met
  533. Under spread ensigns moving nigh, in slow
  534. But firm battalion; back with speediest sail
  535. Zophiel, of Cherubim the swiftest wing,
  536. Came flying, and in mid air aloud thus cried.
  537. Arm, Warriors, arm for fight; the foe at hand,
  538. Whom fled we thought, will save us long pursuit
  539. This day; fear not his flight; so thick a cloud
  540. He comes, and settled in his face I see
  541. Sad resolution, and secure: Let each
  542. His adamantine coat gird well, and each
  543. Fit well his helm, gripe fast his orbed shield,
  544. Borne even or high; for this day will pour down,
  545. If I conjecture aught, no drizzling shower,
  546. But rattling storm of arrows barbed with fire.
  547. So warned he them, aware themselves, and soon
  548. In order, quit of all impediment;
  549. Instant without disturb they took alarm,
  550. And onward moved embattled: When behold,
  551. Not distant far with heavy pace the foe
  552. Approaching gross and huge, in hollow cube
  553. Training his devilish enginery, impaled
  554. On every side with shadowing squadrons deep,
  555. To hide the fraud. At interview both stood
  556. A while; but suddenly at head appeared
  557. Satan, and thus was heard commanding loud.
  558. Vanguard, to right and left the front unfold;
  559. That all may see who hate us, how we seek
  560. Peace and composure, and with open breast
  561. Stand ready to receive them, if they like
  562. Our overture; and turn not back perverse:
  563. But that I doubt; however witness, Heaven!
  564. Heaven, witness thou anon! while we discharge
  565. Freely our part: ye, who appointed stand
  566. Do as you have in charge, and briefly touch
  567. What we propound, and loud that all may hear!
  568. So scoffing in ambiguous words, he scarce
  569. Had ended; when to right and left the front
  570. Divided, and to either flank retired:
  571. Which to our eyes discovered, new and strange,
  572. A triple mounted row of pillars laid
  573. On wheels (for like to pillars most they seemed,
  574. Or hollowed bodies made of oak or fir,
  575. With branches lopped, in wood or mountain felled,)
  576. Brass, iron, stony mould, had not their mouths
  577. With hideous orifice gaped on us wide,
  578. Portending hollow truce: At each behind
  579. A Seraph stood, and in his hand a reed
  580. Stood waving tipped with fire; while we, suspense,
  581. Collected stood within our thoughts amused,
  582. Not long; for sudden all at once their reeds
  583. Put forth, and to a narrow vent applied
  584. With nicest touch. Immediate in a flame,
  585. But soon obscured with smoke, all Heaven appeared,
  586. From those deep-throated engines belched, whose roar
  587. Emboweled with outrageous noise the air,
  588. And all her entrails tore, disgorging foul
  589. Their devilish glut, chained thunderbolts and hail
  590. Of iron globes; which, on the victor host
  591. Leveled, with such impetuous fury smote,
  592. That, whom they hit, none on their feet might stand,
  593. Though standing else as rocks, but down they fell
  594. By thousands, angel on archangel rolled;
  595. The sooner for their arms; unarmed, they might
  596. Have easily, as Spirits, evaded swift
  597. By quick contraction or remove; but now
  598. Foul dissipation followed, and forced rout;
  599. Nor served it to relax their serried files.
  600. What should they do? if on they rushed, repulse
  601. Repeated, and indecent overthrow
  602. Doubled, would render them yet more despised,
  603. And to their foes a laughter; for in view
  604. Stood ranked of Seraphim another row,
  605. In posture to displode their second tire
  606. Of thunder: Back defeated to return
  607. They worse abhorred. Satan beheld their plight,
  608. And to his mates thus in derision called.
  609. Oh Friends, why come not on these victors proud
  610. Ere while they fierce were coming; and when we,
  611. To entertain them fair with open front
  612. And breast, (what could we more?) propounded terms
  613. Of composition, straight they changed their minds,
  614. Flew off, and into strange vagaries fell,
  615. As they would dance; yet for a dance they seemed
  616. Somewhat extravagant and wild; perhaps
  617. For joy of offered peace: But I suppose,
  618. If our proposals once again were heard,
  619. We should compel them to a quick result.
  620. To whom thus Belial, in like gamesome mood.
  621. Leader, the terms we sent were terms of weight,
  622. Of hard contents, and full of force urged home;
  623. Such as we might perceive amused them all,
  624. And stumbled many: Who receives them right,
  625. Had need from head to foot well understand;
  626. Not understood, this gift they have besides,
  627. They show us when our foes walk not upright.
  628. So they among themselves in pleasant vein
  629. Stood scoffing, heightened in their thoughts beyond
  630. All doubt of victory: Eternal Might
  631. To match with their inventions they presumed
  632. So easy, and of his thunder made a scorn,
  633. And all his host derided, while they stood
  634. A while in trouble: But they stood not long;
  635. Rage prompted them at length, and found them arms
  636. Against such hellish mischief fit to oppose.
  637. Forthwith (behold the excellence, the power,
  638. Which God hath in his mighty angels placed!)
  639. Their arms away they threw, and to the hills
  640. (For Earth hath this variety from Heaven
  641. Of pleasure situate in hill and dale,)
  642. Light as the lightning glimpse they ran, they flew;
  643. From their foundations loosening to and fro,
  644. They plucked the seated hills, with all their load,
  645. Rocks, waters, woods, and by the shaggy tops
  646. Up-lifting bore them in their hands: Amaze,
  647. Be sure, and terror, seized the rebel host,
  648. When coming towards them so dread they saw
  649. The bottom of the mountains upward turned;
  650. Till on those cursed engines' triple-row
  651. They saw them whelmed, and all their confidence
  652. Under the weight of mountains buried deep;
  653. Themselves invaded next, and on their heads
  654. Main promontories flung, which in the air
  655. Came shadowing, and oppressed whole legions armed;
  656. Their armor helped their harm, crushed in and bruised
  657. Into their substance pent, which wrought them pain
  658. Implacable, and many a dolorous groan;
  659. Long struggling underneath, ere they could wind
  660. Out of such prison, though Spirits of purest light,
  661. Purest at first, now gross by sinning grown.
  662. The rest, in imitation, to like arms
  663. Betook them, and the neighboring hills uptore:
  664. So hills amid the air encountered hills,
  665. Hurled to and fro with jaculation dire;
  666. That under ground they fought in dismal shade;
  667. Infernal noise! war seemed a civil game
  668. To this uproar; horrid confusion heaped
  669. Upon confusion rose: And now all Heaven
  670. Had gone to wrack, with ruin overspread;
  671. Had not the Almighty Father, where he sits
  672. Shrined in his sanctuary of Heaven secure,
  673. Consulting on the sum of things, foreseen
  674. This tumult, and permitted all, advised:
  675. That his great purpose he might so fulfill,
  676. To honor his anointed Son avenged
  677. Upon his enemies, and to declare
  678. All power on him transferred: Whence to his Son,
  679. The Assessor of his throne, he thus began.
  680. Effulgence of my glory, Son beloved,
  681. Son, in whose face invisible is beheld
  682. Visibly, what by Deity I am;
  683. And in whose hand what by decree I do,
  684. Second Omnipotence, two days are past,
  685. Two days, as we compute the days of Heaven,
  686. Since Michael and his Powers went forth to tame
  687. These disobedient: Sore hath been their fight,
  688. As likeliest was, when two such foes met armed;
  689. For to themselves I left them; and thou knowest,
  690. Equal in their creation they were formed,
  691. Save what sin hath impaired; which yet hath wrought
  692. Insensibly, for I suspend their doom;
  693. Whence in perpetual fight they needs must last
  694. Endless, and no solution will be found:
  695. War wearied hath performed what war can do,
  696. And to disordered rage let loose the reins
  697. With mountains, as with weapons, armed; which makes
  698. Wild work in Heaven, and dangerous to the main.
  699. Two days are therefore past, the third is thine;
  700. For thee I have ordained it; and thus far
  701. Have suffered, that the glory may be thine
  702. Of ending this great war, since none but Thou
  703. Can end it. Into thee such virtue and grace
  704. Immense I have transfused, that all may know
  705. In Heaven and Hell thy power above compare;
  706. And, this perverse commotion governed thus,
  707. To manifest thee worthiest to be Heir
  708. Of all things; to be Heir, and to be King
  709. By sacred unction, thy deserved right.
  710. Go then, Thou Mightiest, in thy Father's might;
  711. Ascend my chariot, guide the rapid wheels
  712. That shake Heaven's basis, bring forth all my war,
  713. My bow and thunder, my almighty arms
  714. Gird on, and sword upon thy puissant thigh;
  715. Pursue these sons of darkness, drive them out
  716. From all Heaven's bounds into the utter deep:
  717. There let them learn, as likes them, to despise
  718. God, and Messiah his anointed King.
  719. He said, and on his Son with rays direct
  720. Shone full; he all his Father full expressed
  721. Ineffably into his face received;
  722. And thus the Filial Godhead answering spake.
  723. Oh Father, Oh Supreme of heavenly Thrones,
  724. First, Highest, Holiest, Best; thou always seek'st
  725. To glorify thy Son, I always thee,
  726. As is most just: This I my glory account,
  727. My exaltation, and my whole delight,
  728. That thou, in me well pleased, declarest thy will
  729. Fulfilled, which to fulfill is all my bliss.
  730. Scepter and power, thy giving, I assume,
  731. And gladlier shall resign, when in the end
  732. Thou shalt be all in all, and I in thee
  733. For ever; and in me all whom thou lovest:
  734. But whom thou hatest, I hate, and can put on
  735. Thy terrors, as I put thy mildness on,
  736. Image of thee in all things; and shall soon,
  737. Armed with thy might, rid Heaven of these rebelled;
  738. To their prepared ill mansion driven down,
  739. To chains of darkness, and the undying worm;
  740. That from thy just obedience could revolt,
  741. Whom to obey is happiness entire.
  742. Then shall thy Saints unmixed, and from the impure
  743. Far separate, circling thy holy mount,
  744. Unfeigned Halleluiahs to thee sing,
  745. Hymns of high praise, and I among them Chief.
  746. So said, he, o'er his scepter bowing, rose
  747. From the right hand of Glory where he sat;
  748. And the third sacred morn began to shine,
  749. Dawning through Heaven. Forth rushed with whirlwind sound
  750. The chariot of Paternal Deity,
  751. Flashing thick flames, wheel within wheel undrawn,
  752. Itself instinct with Spirit, but convoyed
  753. By four Cherubic shapes; four faces each
  754. Had wondrous; as with stars, their bodies all
  755. And wings were set with eyes; with eyes the wheels
  756. Of beryl, and careering fires between;
  757. Over their heads a crystal firmament,
  758. Whereon a sapphire throne, inlaid with pure
  759. Amber, and colors of the showery arch.
  760. He, in celestial panoply all armed
  761. Of radiant Urim, work divinely wrought,
  762. Ascended; at his right hand Victory
  763. Sat eagle-winged; beside him hung his bow
  764. And quiver with three-bolted thunder stored;
  765. And from about him fierce effusion rolled
  766. Of smoke, and bickering flame, and sparkles dire:
  767. Attended with ten thousand thousand Saints,
  768. He onward came; far off his coming shone;
  769. And twenty thousand (I their number heard)
  770. Chariots of God, half on each hand, were seen;
  771. He on the wings of Cherub rode sublime
  772. On the crystalline sky, in sapphire throned,
  773. Illustrious far and wide; but by his own
  774. First seen: Them unexpected joy surprised,
  775. When the great ensign of Messiah blazed
  776. Aloft by angels borne, his sign in Heaven;
  777. Under whose conduct Michael soon reduced
  778. His army, circumfused on either wing,
  779. Under their Head imbodied all in one.
  780. Before him Power Divine his way prepared;
  781. At his command the uprooted hills retired
  782. Each to his place; they heard his voice, and went
  783. Obsequious; Heaven his wonted face renewed,
  784. And with fresh flowerets hill and valley smiled.
  785. This saw his hapless foes, but stood obdured,
  786. And to rebellious fight rallied their Powers,
  787. Insensate, hope conceiving from despair.
  788. In heavenly Spirits could such perverseness dwell?
  789. But to convince the proud what signs avail,
  790. Or wonders move the obdurate to relent?
  791. They, hardened more by what might most reclaim,
  792. Grieving to see his glory, at the sight
  793. Took envy; and, aspiring to his heighth,
  794. Stood re-embattled fierce, by force or fraud
  795. Weening to prosper, and at length prevail
  796. Against God and Messiah, or to fall
  797. In universal ruin last; and now
  798. To final battle drew, disdaining flight,
  799. Or faint retreat; when the great Son of God
  800. To all his host on either hand thus spake.
  801. Stand still in bright array, ye saints; here stand,
  802. Ye angels armed; this day from battle rest:
  803. Faithful hath been your warfare, and of God
  804. Accepted, fearless in his righteous cause;
  805. And as ye have received, so have ye done,
  806. Invincibly: But of this cursed crew
  807. The punishment to other hand belongs;
  808. Vengeance is his, or whose he sole appoints:
  809. Number to this day's work is not ordained,
  810. Nor multitude; stand only, and behold
  811. God's indignation on these godless poured
  812. By me; not you, but me, they have despised,
  813. Yet envied; against me is all their rage,
  814. Because the Father, to whom in Heaven s'preme
  815. Kingdom, and power, and glory appertains,
  816. Hath honored me, according to his will.
  817. Therefore to me their doom he hath assigned;
  818. That they may have their wish, to try with me
  819. In battle which the stronger proves; they all,
  820. Or I alone against them; since by strength
  821. They measure all, of other excellence
  822. Not emulous, nor care who them excels;
  823. Nor other strife with them do I vouchsafe.
  824. So spake the Son, and into terror changed
  825. His countenance too severe to be beheld,
  826. And full of wrath bent on his enemies.
  827. At once the four spread out their starry wings
  828. With dreadful shade contiguous, and the orbs
  829. Of his fierce chariot rolled, as with the sound
  830. Of torrent floods, or of a numerous host.
  831. He on his impious foes right onward drove,
  832. Gloomy as night; under his burning wheels
  833. The steadfast empyrean shook throughout,
  834. All but the throne itself of God. Full soon
  835. Among them he arrived; in his right hand
  836. Grasping ten thousand thunders, which he sent
  837. Before him, such as in their souls infixed
  838. Plagues: They, astonished, all resistance lost,
  839. All courage; down their idle weapons dropt:
  840. O'er shields, and helms, and helmed heads he rode
  841. Of Thrones and mighty Seraphim prostrate,
  842. That wished the mountains now might be again
  843. Thrown on them, as a shelter from his ire.
  844. Nor less on either side tempestuous fell
  845. His arrows, from the fourfold-visaged Four
  846. Distinct with eyes, and from the living wheels
  847. Distinct alike with multitude of eyes;
  848. One Spirit in them ruled; and every eye
  849. Glared lightning, and shot forth pernicious fire
  850. Among the accursed, that withered all their strength,
  851. And of their wonted vigor left them drained,
  852. Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fallen.
  853. Yet half his strength he put not forth, but checked
  854. His thunder in mid volley; for he meant
  855. Not to destroy, but root them out of Heaven:
  856. The overthrown he raised, and as a herd
  857. Of goats or timorous flock together thronged
  858. Drove them before him thunder-struck, pursued
  859. With terrors, and with furies, to the bounds
  860. And crystal wall of Heaven; which, opening wide,
  861. Rolled inward, and a spacious gap disclosed
  862. Into the wasteful deep: The monstrous sight
  863. Struck them with horror backward, but far worse
  864. Urged them behind: Headlong themselves they threw
  865. Down from the verge of Heaven; eternal wrath
  866. Burnt after them to the bottomless pit.
  867. Hell heard the unsufferable noise, Hell saw
  868. Heaven ruining from Heaven, and would have fled
  869. Affrighted; but strict Fate had cast too deep
  870. Her dark foundations, and too fast had bound.
  871. Nine days they fell: Confounded Chaos roared,
  872. And felt tenfold confusion in their fall
  873. Through his wild anarchy, so huge a rout
  874. Incumbered him with ruin: Hell at last
  875. Yawning received them whole, and on them closed;
  876. Hell, their fit habitation, fraught with fire
  877. Unquenchable, the house of woe and pain.
  878. Disburdened Heaven rejoiced, and soon repaired
  879. Her mural breach, returning whence it rolled.
  880. Sole victor, from the expulsion of his foes,
  881. Messiah his triumphal chariot turned:
  882. To meet him all his Saints, who silent stood
  883. Eye-witnesses of his almighty acts,
  884. With jubilee advanced; and, as they went,
  885. Shaded with branching palm, each Order bright,
  886. Sung triumph, and him sung victorious King,
  887. Son, Heir, and Lord, to him dominion given,
  888. Worthiest to reign: He, celebrated, rode
  889. Triumphant through mid Heaven, into the courts
  890. And temple of his Mighty Father throned
  891. On high; who into glory him received,
  892. Where now he sits at the right hand of bliss.
  893. Thus, measuring things in Heaven by things on Earth,
  894. At thy request, and that thou mayest beware
  895. By what is past, to thee I have revealed
  896. What might have else to human race been hid;
  897. The discord which befell, and war in Heaven
  898. Among the angelic Powers, and the deep fall
  899. Of those too high aspiring, who rebelled
  900. With Satan; he who envies now thy state,
  901. Who now is plotting how he may seduce
  902. Thee also from obedience, that, with him
  903. Bereaved of happiness, thou mayest partake
  904. His punishment, eternal misery;
  905. Which would be all his solace and revenge,
  906. As a despite done against the Most High,
  907. Thee once to gain companion of his woe.
  908. But listen not to his temptations, warn
  909. Thy weaker; let it profit thee to have heard,
  910. By terrible example, the reward
  911. Of disobedience; firm they might have stood,
  912. Yet fell; remember, and fear to transgress.

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BOOK VII


. Back to Top


~ BOOK VII ~

  1. Descend from Heaven, Urania, by that name
  2. If rightly thou art called, whose voice divine
  3. Following, above the Olympian hill I soar,
  4. Above the flight of Pegasean wing.
  5. The meaning, not the name, I call: for thou
  6. Nor of the Muses nine, nor on the top
  7. Of old Olympus dwellest; but, heavenly-born,
  8. Before the hills appeared, or fountain flowed,
  9. Thou with eternal Wisdom didst converse,
  10. Wisdom thy sister, and with her didst play
  11. In presence of the Almighty Father, pleased
  12. With thy celestial song. Up led by thee
  13. Into the Heaven of Heavens I have presumed,
  14. An earthly guest, and drawn empyreal air,
  15. Thy tempering: with like safety guided down
  16. Return me to my native element:
  17. Lest from this flying steed unreined, (as once
  18. Bellerophon, though from a lower clime,)
  19. Dismounted, on the Aleian field I fall,
  20. Erroneous there to wander, and forlorn.
  21. Half yet remains unsung, but narrower bound
  22. Within the visible diurnal sphere;
  23. Standing on earth, not rapt above the pole,
  24. More safe I sing with mortal voice, unchanged
  25. To hoarse or mute, though fallen on evil days,
  26. On evil days though fallen, and evil tongues;
  27. In darkness, and with dangers compassed round,
  28. And solitude; yet not alone, while thou
  29. Visitest my slumbers nightly, or when morn
  30. Purples the east: still govern thou my song,
  31. Urania, and fit audience find, though few.
  32. But drive far off the barbarous dissonance
  33. Of Bacchus and his revelers, the race
  34. Of that wild rout that tore the Thracian bard
  35. In Rhodope, where woods and rocks had ears
  36. To rapture, till the savage clamor drowned
  37. Both harp and voice; nor could the Muse defend
  38. Her son. So fail not thou, who thee implores:
  39. For thou art heavenly, she an empty dream.
  40. Say, Goddess, what ensued when Raphael,
  41. The affable archangel, had forewarned
  42. Adam, by dire example, to beware
  43. Apostasy, by what befell in Heaven
  44. To those apostates; lest the like befall
  45. In Paradise to Adam or his race,
  46. Charged not to touch the interdicted tree,
  47. If they transgress, and slight that sole command,
  48. So easily obeyed amid the choice
  49. Of all tastes else to please their appetite,
  50. Though wandering. He, with his consorted Eve,
  51. The story heard attentive, and was filled
  52. With admiration and deep muse, to hear
  53. Of things so high and strange; things, to their thought
  54. So unimaginable, as hate in Heaven,
  55. And war so near the peace of God in bliss,
  56. With such confusion: but the evil, soon
  57. Driven back, redounded as a flood on those
  58. From whom it sprung; impossible to mix
  59. With blessedness. Whence Adam soon repealed
  60. The doubts that in his heart arose: and now
  61. Led on, yet sinless, with desire to know
  62. What nearer might concern him, how this world
  63. Of Heaven and Earth conspicuous first began;
  64. When, and whereof created; for what cause;
  65. What within Eden, or without, was done
  66. Before his memory; as one whose drought
  67. Yet scarce allayed still eyes the current stream,
  68. Whose liquid murmur heard new thirst excites,
  69. Proceeded thus to ask his heavenly guest.
  70. Great things, and full of wonder in our ears,
  71. Far differing from this world, thou hast revealed,
  72. Divine interpreter, by favor sent
  73. Down from the empyrean, to forewarn
  74. Us timely of what might else have been our loss,
  75. Unknown, which human knowledge could not reach;
  76. For which to the infinitely Good we owe
  77. Immortal thanks, and his admonishment
  78. Receive, with solemn purpose to observe
  79. Immutably his sovereign will, the end
  80. Of what we are. But since thou hast vouchsafed
  81. Gently, for our instruction, to impart
  82. Things above earthly thought, which yet concerned
  83. Our knowing, as to highest wisdom seemed,
  84. Deign to descend now lower, and relate
  85. What may no less perhaps avail us known,
  86. How first began this Heaven which we behold
  87. Distant so high, with moving fires adorned
  88. Innumerable; and this which yields or fills
  89. All space, the ambient air wide interfused
  90. Embracing round this florid Earth; what cause
  91. Moved the Creator, in his holy rest
  92. Through all eternity, so late to build
  93. In Chaos; and the work begun, how soon
  94. Absolved; if unforbid thou mayest unfold
  95. What we, not to explore the secrets ask
  96. Of his eternal empire, but the more
  97. To magnify his works, the more we know.
  98. And the great light of day yet wants to run
  99. Much of his race though steep; suspense in Heaven,
  100. Held by thy voice, thy potent voice, he hears,
  101. And longer will delay to hear thee tell
  102. His generation, and the rising birth
  103. Of Nature from the unapparent Deep:
  104. Or if the star of evening and the moon
  105. Haste to thy audience, Night with her will bring,
  106. Silence; and Sleep, listening to thee, will watch;
  107. Or we can bid his absence, till thy song
  108. End, and dismiss thee ere the morning shine.
  109. Thus Adam his illustrious guest besought:
  110. And thus the Godlike angel answered mild.
  111. This also thy request, with caution asked,
  112. Obtain; though to recount almighty works
  113. What words or tongue of Seraph can suffice,
  114. Or heart of man suffice to comprehend?
  115. Yet what thou canst attain, which best may serve
  116. To glorify the Maker, and infer
  117. Thee also happier, shall not be withheld
  118. Thy hearing; such commission from above
  119. I have received, to answer thy desire
  120. Of knowledge within bounds; beyond, abstain
  121. To ask; nor let thine own inventions hope
  122. Things not revealed, which the invisible King,
  123. Only Omniscient, hath suppressed in night;
  124. To none communicable in Earth or Heaven:
  125. Enough is left besides to search and know.
  126. But knowledge is as food, and needs no less
  127. Her temperance over appetite, to know
  128. In measure what the mind may well contain;
  129. Oppresses else with surfeit, and soon turns
  130. Wisdom to folly, as nourishment to wind.
  131. Know then, that, after Lucifer from Heaven
  132. (So call him, brighter once amidst the host
  133. Of angels, than that star the stars among,)
  134. Fell with his flaming legions through the deep
  135. Into his place, and the great Son returned
  136. Victorious with his saints, the Omnipotent
  137. Eternal Father from his throne beheld
  138. Their multitude, and to his Son thus spake.
  139. At least our envious Foe hath failed, who thought
  140. All like himself rebellious, by whose aid
  141. This inaccessible high strength, the seat
  142. Of Deity supreme, us dispossessed,
  143. He trusted to have seized, and into fraud
  144. Drew many, whom their place knows here no more:
  145. Yet far the greater part have kept, I see,
  146. Their station; Heaven, yet populous, retains
  147. Number sufficient to possess her realms
  148. Though wide, and this high temple to frequent
  149. With ministries due, and solemn rites:
  150. But, lest his heart exalt him in the harm
  151. Already done, to have dispeopled Heaven,
  152. My damage fondly deemed, I can repair
  153. That detriment, if such it be to lose
  154. Self-lost; and in a moment will create
  155. Another world, out of one man a race
  156. Of men innumerable, there to dwell,
  157. Not here; till, by degrees of merit raised,
  158. They open to themselves at length the way
  159. Up hither, under long obedience tried;
  160. And Earth be changed to Heaven, and Heaven to Earth,
  161. One kingdom, joy and union without end.
  162. Mean while inhabit lax, ye Powers of Heaven;
  163. And thou my Word, begotten Son, by thee
  164. This I perform; speak thou, and be it done.
  165. My overshadowing Spirit and Might with thee
  166. I send along; ride forth, and bid the Deep
  167. Within appointed bounds be Heaven and Earth;
  168. Boundless the Deep, because I Am who fill
  169. Infinitude, nor vacuous the space.
  170. Though I, uncircumscribed myself, retire,
  171. And put not forth my goodness, which is free
  172. To act or not, Necessity and Chance
  173. Approach not me, and what I will is Fate.
  174. So spake the Almighty, and to what he spake
  175. His Word, the Filial Godhead, gave effect.
  176. Immediate are the acts of God, more swift
  177. Than time or motion, but to human ears
  178. Cannot without process of speech be told,
  179. So told as earthly notion can receive.
  180. Great triumph and rejoicing was in Heaven,
  181. When such was heard declared the Almighty's will;
  182. Glory they sung to the Most High, good will
  183. To future men, and in their dwellings peace;
  184. Glory to Him, whose just avenging ire
  185. Had driven out the ungodly from his sight
  186. And the habitations of the just; to Him
  187. Glory and praise, whose wisdom had ordained
  188. Good out of evil to create; instead
  189. Of Spirits malign, a better race to bring
  190. Into their vacant room, and thence diffuse
  191. His good to worlds and ages infinite.
  192. So sang the Hierarchies: Mean while the Son
  193. On his great expedition now appeared,
  194. Girt with Omnipotence, with radiance crowned
  195. Of Majesty Divine; sapience and love
  196. Immense, and all his Father in him shone.
  197. About his chariot numberless were poured
  198. Cherub, and Seraph, Potentates, and Thrones,
  199. And Virtues, winged Spirits, and chariots winged
  200. From the armory of God; where stand of old
  201. Myriads, between two brazen mountains lodged
  202. Against a solemn day, harnessed at hand,
  203. Celestial equipage; and now came forth
  204. Spontaneous, for within them Spirit lived,
  205. Attendant on their Lord: Heaven opened wide
  206. Her ever-during gates, harmonious sound
  207. On golden hinges moving, to let forth
  208. The King of Glory, in his powerful Word
  209. And Spirit, coming to create new worlds.
  210. On heavenly ground they stood; and from the shore
  211. They viewed the vast immeasurable abyss
  212. Outrageous as a sea, dark, wasteful, wild,
  213. Up from the bottom turned by furious winds
  214. And surging waves, as mountains, to assault
  215. Heaven's heighth, and with the center mix the pole.
  216. Silence, ye troubled Waves, and thou Deep, peace,
  217. Said then the Omnific Word; your discord end!
  218. Nor stayed; but, on the wings of Cherubim
  219. Uplifted, in paternal glory rode
  220. Far into Chaos, and the world unborn;
  221. For Chaos heard his voice: Him all his train
  222. Followed in bright procession, to behold
  223. Creation, and the wonders of his might.
  224. Then staid the fervid wheels, and in his hand
  225. He took the golden compasses, prepared
  226. In God's eternal store, to circumscribe
  227. This universe, and all created things:
  228. One foot he centered, and the other turned
  229. Round through the vast profundity obscure;
  230. And said, Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds,
  231. This be thy just circumference, Oh World,
  232. Thus God the Heaven created, thus the Earth,
  233. Matter unformed and void: Darkness profound
  234. Covered the abyss: but on the watery calm
  235. His brooding wings the Spirit of God outspread,
  236. And vital virtue infused, and vital warmth
  237. Throughout the fluid mass; but downward purged
  238. The black tartareous cold infernal dregs,
  239. Adverse to life: then founded, then conglobed
  240. Like things to like; the rest to several place
  241. Disparted, and between spun out the air;
  242. And Earth self-balanced on her center hung.
  243. Let there be light, said God; and forthwith Light
  244. Ethereal, first of things, quintessence pure,
  245. Sprung from the deep; and from her native east
  246. To journey through the aerie gloom began,
  247. Sphered in a radiant cloud, for yet the sun
  248. Was not; she in a cloudy tabernacle
  249. Sojourned the while. God saw the light was good;
  250. And light from darkness by the hemisphere
  251. Divided: light the Day, and darkness Night,
  252. He named. Thus was the first day even and morn:
  253. Nor past uncelebrated, nor unsung
  254. By the celestial quires, when orient light
  255. Exhaling first from darkness they beheld;
  256. Birth-day of Heaven and Earth; with joy and shout
  257. The hollow universal orb they filled,
  258. And touched their golden harps, and hymning praised
  259. God and his works; Creator him they sung,
  260. Both when first evening was, and when first morn.
  261. Again, God said, Let there be firmament
  262. Amid the waters, and let it divide
  263. The waters from the waters; and God made
  264. The firmament, expanse of liquid, pure,
  265. Transparent, elemental air, diffused
  266. In circuit to the uttermost convex
  267. Of this great round; partition firm and sure,
  268. The waters underneath from those above
  269. Dividing: for as earth, so he the world
  270. Built on circumfluous waters calm, in wide
  271. Crystalline ocean, and the loud misrule
  272. Of Chaos far removed; lest fierce extremes
  273. Contiguous might distemper the whole frame:
  274. And Heaven he named the Firmament: So even
  275. And morning chorus sung the second day.
  276. The Earth was formed, but in the womb as yet
  277. Of waters, embryon immature involved,
  278. Appeared not: over all the face of Earth
  279. Main ocean flowed, not idle; but, with warm
  280. Prolific humor softening all her globe,
  281. Fermented the great mother to conceive,
  282. Satiate with genial moisture; when God said,
  283. Be gathered now ye waters under Heaven
  284. Into one place, and let dry land appear.
  285. Immediately the mountains huge appear
  286. Emergent, and their broad bare backs upheave
  287. Into the clouds; their tops ascend the sky:
  288. So high as heaved the tumid hills, so low
  289. Down sunk a hollow bottom broad and deep,
  290. Capacious bed of waters: Thither they
  291. Hasted with glad precipitance, uprolled,
  292. As drops on dust conglobing from the dry:
  293. Part rise in crystal wall, or ridge direct,
  294. For haste; such flight the great command impressed
  295. On the swift floods: As armies at the call
  296. Of trumpet (for of armies thou hast heard)
  297. Troop to their standard; so the watery throng,
  298. Wave rolling after wave, where way they found,
  299. If steep, with torrent rapture, if through plain,
  300. Soft-ebbing; nor withstood them rock or hill;
  301. But they, or under ground, or circuit wide
  302. With serpent error wandering, found their way,
  303. And on the washy ooze deep channels wore;
  304. Easy, ere God had bid the ground be dry,
  305. All but within those banks, where rivers now
  306. Stream, and perpetual draw their humid train.
  307. The dry land, Earth; and the great receptacle
  308. Of congregated waters, he called Seas:
  309. And saw that it was good; and said, Let the Earth
  310. Put forth the verdant grass, herb yielding seed,
  311. And fruit-tree yielding fruit after her kind,
  312. Whose seed is in herself upon the Earth.
  313. He scarce had said, when the bare Earth, till then
  314. Desert and bare, unsightly, unadorned,
  315. Brought forth the tender grass, whose verdure clad
  316. Her universal face with pleasant green;
  317. Then herbs of every leaf, that sudden flowered
  318. Opening their various colors, and made gay
  319. Her bosom, smelling sweet: and, these scarce blown,
  320. Forth flourished thick the clustering vine, forth crept
  321. The swelling gourd, up stood the corny reed
  322. Embattled in her field, and the humble shrub,
  323. And bush with frizzled hair implicit: Last
  324. Rose, as in dance, the stately trees, and spread
  325. Their branches hung with copious fruit, or gemmed
  326. Their blossoms: With high woods the hills were crowned;
  327. With tufts the valleys, and each fountain side;
  328. With borders long the rivers: that Earth now
  329. Seemed like to Heaven, a seat where Gods might dwell,
  330. Or wander with delight, and love to haunt
  331. Her sacred shades: though God had yet not rained
  332. Upon the Earth, and man to till the ground
  333. None was; but from the Earth a dewy mist
  334. Went up, and watered all the ground, and each
  335. Plant of the field; which, ere it was in the Earth,
  336. God made, and every herb, before it grew
  337. On the green stem: God saw that it was good:
  338. So even and morn recorded the third day.
  339. Again the Almighty spake, Let there be lights
  340. High in the expanse of Heaven, to divide
  341. The day from night; and let them be for signs,
  342. For seasons, and for days, and circling years;
  343. And let them be for lights, as I ordain
  344. Their office in the firmament of Heaven,
  345. To give light on the Earth; and it was so.
  346. And God made two great lights, great for their use
  347. To Man, the greater to have rule by day,
  348. The less by night, altern; and made the stars,
  349. And set them in the firmament of Heaven
  350. To illuminate the Earth, and rule the day
  351. In their vicissitude, and rule the night,
  352. And light from darkness to divide. God saw,
  353. Surveying his great work, that it was good:
  354. For of celestial bodies first the sun
  355. A mighty sphere he framed, unlightsome first,
  356. Though of ethereal mould: then formed the moon
  357. Globose, and every magnitude of stars,
  358. And sowed with stars the Heaven, thick as a field:
  359. Of light by far the greater part he took,
  360. Transplanted from her cloudy shrine, and placed
  361. In the sun's orb, made porous to receive
  362. And drink the liquid light; firm to retain
  363. Her gathered beams, great palace now of light.
  364. Hither, as to their fountain, other stars
  365. Repairing, in their golden urns draw light,
  366. And hence the morning-planet gilds her horns;
  367. By tincture or reflection they augment
  368. Their small peculiar, though from human sight
  369. So far remote, with diminution seen,
  370. First in his east the glorious lamp was seen,
  371. Regent of day, and all the horizon round
  372. Invested with bright rays, jocund to run
  373. His longitude through Heaven's high road; the gray
  374. Dawn, and the Pleiades, before him danced,
  375. Shedding sweet influence: Less bright the moon,
  376. But opposite in leveled west was set,
  377. His mirror, with full face borrowing her light
  378. From him; for other light she needed none
  379. In that aspect, and still that distance keeps
  380. Till night; then in the east her turn she shines,
  381. Revolved on Heaven's great axle, and her reign
  382. With thousand lesser lights dividual holds,
  383. With thousand thousand stars, that then appeared
  384. Spangling the hemisphere: Then first adorned
  385. With their bright luminaries that set and rose,
  386. Glad evening and glad morn crowned the fourth day.
  387. And God said, Let the waters generate
  388. Reptile with spawn abundant, living soul:
  389. And let fowl fly above the Earth, with wings
  390. Displayed on the open firmament of Heaven.
  391. And God created the great whales, and each
  392. Soul living, each that crept, which plenteously
  393. The waters generated by their kinds;
  394. And every bird of wing after his kind;
  395. And saw that it was good, and blessed them, saying.
  396. Be fruitful, multiply, and in the seas,
  397. And lakes, and running streams, the waters fill;
  398. And let the fowl be multiplied, on the Earth.
  399. Forthwith the sounds and seas, each creek and bay,
  400. With fry innumerable swarm, and shoals
  401. Of fish that with their fins, and shining scales,
  402. Glide under the green wave, in sculls that oft
  403. Bank the mid sea: part single, or with mate,
  404. Graze the sea-weed their pasture, and through groves
  405. Of coral stray; or, sporting with quick glance,
  406. Show to the sun their waved coats dropt with gold;
  407. Or, in their pearly shells at ease, attend
  408. Moist nutriment; or under rocks their food
  409. In jointed armor watch: on smooth the seal
  410. And bended dolphins play: part huge of bulk
  411. Wallowing unwieldy, enormous in their gait,
  412. Tempest the ocean: there leviathan,
  413. Hugest of living creatures, on the deep
  414. Stretched like a promontory sleeps or swims,
  415. And seems a moving land; and at his gills
  416. Draws in, and at his trunk spouts out, a sea.
  417. Mean while the tepid caves, and fens, and shores,
  418. Their brood as numerous hatch, from the egg that soon
  419. Bursting with kindly rupture forth disclosed
  420. Their callow young; but feathered soon and fledge
  421. They summed their pens; and, soaring the air sublime,
  422. With clang despised the ground, under a cloud
  423. In prospect; there the eagle and the stork
  424. On cliffs and cedar tops their eyries build:
  425. Part loosely wing the region, part more wise
  426. In common, ranged in figure, wedge their way,
  427. Intelligent of seasons, and set forth
  428. Their aerie caravan, high over seas
  429. Flying, and over lands, with mutual wing
  430. Easing their flight; so steers the prudent crane
  431. Her annual voyage, borne on winds; the air
  432. Floats as they pass, fanned with unnumbered plumes:
  433. From branch to branch the smaller birds with song
  434. Solaced the woods, and spread their painted wings
  435. Till even; nor then the solemn nightingale
  436. Ceased warbling, but all night tuned her soft lays:
  437. Others, on silver lakes and rivers, bathed
  438. Their downy breast; the swan with arched neck,
  439. Between her white wings mantling proudly, rows
  440. Her state with oary feet; yet oft they quit
  441. The dank, and, rising on stiff pennons, tower
  442. The mid aerial sky: Others on ground
  443. Walked firm; the crested cock whose clarion sounds
  444. The silent hours, and the other whose gay train
  445. Adorns him, colored with the florid hue
  446. Of rainbows and starry eyes. The waters thus
  447. With fish replenished, and the air with fowl,
  448. Evening and morn solemnized the fifth day.
  449. The sixth, and of creation last, arose
  450. With evening harps and matin; when God said,
  451. Let the Earth bring forth soul living in her kind,
  452. Cattle, and creeping things, and beast of the Earth,
  453. Each in their kind. The Earth obeyed, and straight
  454. Opening her fertile womb teemed at a birth
  455. Innumerous living creatures, perfect forms,
  456. Limbed and full grown: Out of the ground up rose,
  457. As from his lair, the wild beast where he wons
  458. In forest wild, in thicket, brake, or den;
  459. Among the trees in pairs they rose, they walked:
  460. The cattle in the fields and meadows green:
  461. Those rare and solitary, these in flocks
  462. Pasturing at once, and in broad herds upsprung.
  463. The grassy clods now calved; now half appeared
  464. The tawny lion, pawing to get free
  465. His hinder parts, then springs as broke from bonds,
  466. And rampant shakes his brinded mane; the ounce,
  467. The libbard, and the tiger, as the mole
  468. Rising, the crumbled earth above them threw
  469. In hillocks: The swift stag from under ground
  470. Bore up his branching head: Scarce from his mould
  471. Behemoth biggest born of earth upheaved
  472. His vastness: Fleeced the flocks and bleating rose,
  473. As plants: Ambiguous between sea and land
  474. The river-horse, and scaly crocodile.
  475. At once came forth whatever creeps the ground,
  476. Insect or worm: those waved their limber fans
  477. For wings, and smallest lineaments exact
  478. In all the liveries decked of summer's pride
  479. With spots of gold and purple, azure and green:
  480. These, as a line, their long dimension drew,
  481. Streaking the ground with sinuous trace; not all
  482. Minims of nature; some of serpent-kind,
  483. Wondrous in length and corpulence, involved
  484. Their snaky folds, and added wings. First crept
  485. The parsimonious emmet, provident
  486. Of future; in small room large heart enclosed;
  487. Pattern of just equality perhaps
  488. Hereafter, joined in her popular tribes
  489. Of commonalty: Swarming next appeared
  490. The female bee, that feeds her husband drone
  491. Deliciously, and builds her waxen cells
  492. With honey stored: The rest are numberless,
  493. And thou their natures knowest, and gavest them names,
  494. Needless to thee repeated; nor unknown
  495. The serpent, subtlest beast of all the field,
  496. Of huge extent sometimes, with brazen eyes
  497. And hairy mane terrific, though to thee
  498. Not noxious, but obedient at thy call.
  499. Now Heaven in all her glory shone, and rolled
  500. Her motions, as the great first Mover's hand
  501. First wheeled their course: Earth in her rich attire
  502. Consummate lovely smiled; air, water, earth,
  503. By fowl, fish, beast, was flown, was swum, was walked,
  504. Frequent; and of the sixth day yet remained:
  505. There wanted yet the master-work, the end
  506. Of all yet done; a creature, who, not prone
  507. And brute as other creatures, but endued
  508. With sanctity of reason, might erect
  509. His stature, and upright with front serene
  510. Govern the rest, self-knowing; and from thence
  511. Magnanimous to correspond with Heaven,
  512. But grateful to acknowledge whence his good
  513. Descends, thither with heart, and voice, and eyes
  514. Directed in devotion, to adore
  515. And worship God Supreme, who made him chief
  516. Of all his works: therefore the Omnipotent
  517. Eternal Father (for where is not he
  518. Present?) thus to his Son audibly spake.
  519. Let us make now man in our image, man
  520. In our similitude, and let them rule
  521. Over the fish and fowl of sea and air,
  522. Beast of the field, and over all the Earth,
  523. And every creeping thing that creeps the ground.
  524. This said, he formed thee, Adam, thee, Oh Man,
  525. Dust of the ground, and in thy nostrils breathed
  526. The breath of life; in his own image he
  527. Created thee, in the image of God
  528. Express; and thou becamest a living soul.
  529. Male he created thee; but thy consort
  530. Female, for race; then blessed mankind, and said,
  531. Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the Earth;
  532. Subdue it, and throughout dominion hold
  533. Over fish of the sea, and fowl of the air,
  534. And every living thing that moves on the Earth.
  535. Wherever thus created, for no place
  536. Is yet distinct by name, thence, as thou knowest,
  537. He brought thee into this delicious grove,
  538. This garden, planted with the trees of God,
  539. Delectable both to behold and taste;
  540. And freely all their pleasant fruit for food
  541. Gave thee; all sorts are here that all the Earth yields,
  542. Variety without end; but of the tree,
  543. Which, tasted, works knowledge of good and evil,
  544. Thou mayest not; in the day thou eatest, thou diest;
  545. Death is the penalty imposed; beware,
  546. And govern well thy appetite; lest Sin
  547. Surprise thee, and her black attendant Death.
  548. Here finished he, and all that he had made
  549. Viewed, and behold all was entirely good;
  550. So even and morn accomplished the sixth day:
  551. Yet not till the Creator from his work
  552. Desisting, though unwearied, up returned,
  553. Up to the Heaven of Heavens, his high abode;
  554. Thence to behold this new created world,
  555. The addition of his empire, how it showed
  556. In prospect from his throne, how good, how fair,
  557. Answering his great idea. Up he rode
  558. Followed with acclamation, and the sound
  559. Symphonious of ten thousand harps, that tuned
  560. Angelic harmonies: The earth, the air
  561. Resounded, (thou rememberest, for thou heardst,)
  562. The heavens and all the constellations rung,
  563. The planets in their station listening stood,
  564. While the bright pomp ascended jubilant.
  565. Open, ye everlasting gates, they sung,
  566. Open, ye Heavens, your living doors; let in
  567. The great Creator from his work returned
  568. Magnificent, his six days work, a World;
  569. Open, and henceforth oft; for God will deign
  570. To visit oft the dwellings of just men,
  571. Delighted; and with frequent intercourse
  572. Thither will send his winged messengers
  573. On errands of supernal grace. So sung
  574. The glorious train ascending: He through Heaven,
  575. That opened wide her blazing portals, led
  576. To God's eternal house direct the way;
  577. A broad and ample road, whose dust is gold
  578. And pavement stars, as stars to thee appear,
  579. Seen in the galaxy, that milky way,
  580. Which nightly, as a circling zone, thou seest
  581. Powdered with stars. And now on Earth the seventh
  582. Evening arose in Eden, for the sun
  583. Was set, and twilight from the east came on,
  584. Forerunning night; when at the holy mount
  585. Of Heaven's high-seated top, the imperial throne
  586. Of Godhead, fixed for ever firm and sure,
  587. The Filial Power arrived, and sat him down
  588. With his great Father; for he also went
  589. Invisible, yet staid, (such privilege
  590. Hath Omnipresence) and the work ordained,
  591. Author and End of all things; and, from work
  592. Now resting, blessed and hallowed the seventh day,
  593. As resting on that day from all his work,
  594. But not in silence holy kept: the harp
  595. Had work and rested not; the solemn pipe,
  596. And dulcimer, all organs of sweet stop,
  597. All sounds on fret by string or golden wire,
  598. Tempered soft tunings, intermixed with voice
  599. Choral or unison: of incense clouds,
  600. Fuming from golden censers, hid the mount.
  601. Creation and the six days acts they sung:
  602. Great are thy works, Jehovah, infinite
  603. Thy power. What thought can measure thee, or tongue
  604. Relate thee. Greater now in thy return
  605. Than from the giant angels: Thee that day
  606. Thy thunders magnified; but to create
  607. Is greater than created to destroy.
  608. Who can impair thee, Mighty King, or bound
  609. Thy empire? Easily the proud attempt
  610. Of Spirits apostate, and their counsels vain,
  611. Thou hast repelled; while impiously they thought
  612. Thee to diminish, and from thee withdraw
  613. The number of thy worshippers. Who seeks
  614. To lessen thee, against his purpose serves
  615. To manifest the more thy might: his evil
  616. Thou usest, and from thence createst more good.
  617. Witness this new-made world, another Heaven
  618. From Heaven-gate not far, founded in view
  619. On the clear hyaline, the glassy sea;
  620. Of amplitude almost immense, with stars
  621. Numerous, and every star perhaps a world
  622. Of destined habitation; but thou knowest
  623. Their seasons: among these the seat of Men,
  624. Earth, with her nether ocean circumfused,
  625. Their pleasant dwelling-place. Thrice happy Men,
  626. And sons of Men, whom God hath thus advanced,
  627. Created in his image, there to dwell
  628. And worship him; and in reward to rule
  629. Over his works, on earth, in sea, or air,
  630. And multiply a race of worshippers
  631. Holy and just: Thrice happy, if they know
  632. Their happiness, and persevere upright.
  633. So sung they, and the empyrean rung
  634. With halleluiahs: Thus was Sabbath kept.
  635. And thy request think now fulfilled, that asked
  636. How first this world and face of things began,
  637. And what before thy memory was done
  638. From the beginning; that posterity,
  639. Informed by thee, might know: If else thou seekest
  640. Aught, not surpassing human measure, say.

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~ BOOK VIII ~

  1. The angel ended, and in Adam's ear
  2. So charming left his voice, that he a while
  3. Thought him still speaking, still stood fixed to hear;
  4. Then, as new waked, thus gratefully replied.
  5. What thanks sufficient, or what recompense
  6. Equal, have I to render thee, divine
  7. Historian, who thus largely hast allayed
  8. The thirst I had of knowledge, and vouchsafed
  9. This friendly condescension to relate
  10. Things, else by me unsearchable; now heard
  11. With wonder, but delight, and, as is due,
  12. With glory attributed to the high
  13. Creator. Something yet of doubt remains,
  14. Which only thy solution can resolve.
  15. When I behold this goodly frame, this world,
  16. Of Heaven and Earth consisting; and compute
  17. Their magnitudes; this Earth, a spot, a grain,
  18. An atom, with the firmament compared
  19. And all her numbered stars, that seem to roll
  20. Spaces incomprehensible, (for such
  21. Their distance argues, and their swift return
  22. Diurnal,) merely to officiate light
  23. Round this opacous Earth, this punctual spot,
  24. One day and night; in all her vast survey
  25. Useless besides; reasoning I oft admire,
  26. How Nature wise and frugal could commit
  27. Such disproportions, with superfluous hand
  28. So many nobler bodies to create,
  29. Greater so manifold, to this one use,
  30. For aught appears, and on their orbs impose
  31. Such restless revolution day by day
  32. Repeated; while the sedentary Earth,
  33. That better might with far less compass move,
  34. Served by more noble than herself, attains
  35. Her end without least motion, and receives,
  36. As tribute, such a sumless journey brought
  37. Of incorporeal speed, her warmth and light;
  38. Speed, to describe whose swiftness number fails.
  39. So spake our sire, and by his countenance seemed
  40. Entering on studious thoughts abstruse; which Eve
  41. Perceiving, where she sat retired in sight,
  42. With lowliness majestic from her seat,
  43. And grace that won who saw to wish her stay,
  44. Rose, and went forth among her fruits and flowers,
  45. To visit how they prospered, bud and bloom,
  46. Her nursery; they at her coming sprung,
  47. And, touched by her fair tendance, gladlier grew.
  48. Yet went she not, as not with such discourse
  49. Delighted, or not capable her ear
  50. Of what was high: such pleasure she reserved,
  51. Adam relating, she sole auditress;
  52. Her husband the relater she preferred
  53. Before the angel, and of him to ask
  54. Chose rather; he, she knew, would intermix
  55. Grateful digressions, and solve high dispute
  56. With conjugal caresses: from his lip
  57. Not words alone pleased her. Oh when meet now
  58. Such pairs, in love and mutual honor joined?
  59. With goddess-like demeanor forth she went,
  60. Not unattended; for on her, as queen,
  61. A pomp of winning graces waited still,
  62. And from about her shot darts of desire
  63. Into all eyes, to wish her still in sight.
  64. And Raphael now, to Adam's doubt proposed,
  65. Benevolent and facile thus replied.
  66. To ask or search, I blame thee not; for Heaven
  67. Is as the book of God before thee set,
  68. Wherein to read his wondrous works, and learn
  69. His seasons, hours, or days, or months, or years:
  70. This to attain, whether Heaven move or Earth,
  71. Imports not, if thou reckon right; the rest
  72. From man or angel the great Architect
  73. Did wisely to conceal, and not divulge
  74. His secrets to be scanned by them who ought
  75. Rather admire; or, if they list to try
  76. Conjecture, he his fabric of the Heavens
  77. Hath left to their disputes, perhaps to move
  78. His laughter at their quaint opinions wide
  79. Hereafter; when they come to model Heaven
  80. And calculate the stars, how they will wield
  81. The mighty frame; how build, unbuild, contrive
  82. To save appearances; how gird the sphere
  83. With centric and eccentric scribbled o'er,
  84. Cycle and epicycle, orb in orb:
  85. Already by thy reasoning this I guess,
  86. Who art to lead thy offspring, and supposest
  87. That bodies bright and greater should not serve
  88. The less not bright, nor Heaven such journeys run,
  89. Earth sitting still, when she alone receives
  90. The benefit: Consider first, that great
  91. Or bright infers not excellence: the Earth
  92. Though, in comparison of Heaven, so small,
  93. Nor glistering, may of solid good contain
  94. More plenty than the sun that barren shines;
  95. Whose virtue on itself works no effect,
  96. But in the fruitful Earth; there first received,
  97. His beams, unactive else, their vigor find.
  98. Yet not to Earth are those bright luminaries
  99. Officious; but to thee, Earth's habitant.
  100. And for the Heaven's wide circuit, let it speak
  101. The Maker's high magnificence, who built
  102. So spacious, and his line stretched out so far;
  103. That man may know he dwells not in his own;
  104. An edifice too large for him to fill,
  105. Lodged in a small partition; and the rest
  106. Ordained for uses to his Lord best known.
  107. The swiftness of those circles attribute,
  108. Though numberless, to his Omnipotence,
  109. That to corporeal substances could add
  110. Speed almost spiritual: Me thou thinkest not slow,
  111. Who since the morning-hour set out from Heaven
  112. Where God resides, and ere mid-day arrived
  113. In Eden; distance inexpressible
  114. By numbers that have name. But this I urge,
  115. Admitting motion in the Heavens, to show
  116. Invalid that which thee to doubt it moved;
  117. Not that I so affirm, though so it seem
  118. To thee who hast thy dwelling here on Earth.
  119. God, to remove his ways from human sense,
  120. Placed Heaven from Earth so far, that earthly sight,
  121. If it presume, might err in things too high,
  122. And no advantage gain. What if the sun
  123. Be center to the world; and other stars,
  124. By his attractive virtue and their own
  125. Incited, dance about him various rounds?
  126. Their wandering course now high, now low, then hid,
  127. Progressive, retrograde, or standing still,
  128. In six thou seest; and what if seventh to these
  129. The planet earth, so steadfast though she seem,
  130. Insensibly three different motions move?
  131. Which else to several spheres thou must ascribe,
  132. Moved contrary with thwart obliquities;
  133. Or save the sun his labor, and that swift
  134. Nocturnal and diurnal rhomb supposed,
  135. Invisible else above all stars, the wheel
  136. Of day and night; which needs not thy belief,
  137. If earth, industrious of herself, fetch day
  138. Traveling east, and with her part averse
  139. From the sun's beam meet night, her other part
  140. Still luminous by his ray. What if that light,
  141. Sent from her through the wide transpicuous air,
  142. To the terrestrial moon be as a star,
  143. Enlightening her by day, as she by night
  144. This earth? reciprocal, if land be there,
  145. Fields and inhabitants: Her spots thou seest
  146. As clouds, and clouds may rain, and rain produce
  147. Fruits in her softened soil for some to eat
  148. Allotted there; and other suns perhaps,
  149. With their attendant moons, thou wilt descry,
  150. Communicating male and female light;
  151. Which two great sexes animate the world,
  152. Stored in each orb perhaps with some that live.
  153. For such vast room in Nature unpossessed
  154. By living soul, desert and desolate,
  155. Only to shine, yet scarce to contribute
  156. Each orb a glimpse of light, conveyed so far
  157. Down to this habitable, which returns
  158. Light back to them, is obvious to dispute.
  159. But whether thus these things, or whether not;
  160. But whether the sun, predominant in Heaven,
  161. Rise on the earth; or earth rise on the sun;
  162. He from the east his flaming road begin;
  163. Or she from west her silent course advance,
  164. With inoffensive pace that spinning sleeps
  165. On her soft axle, while she paces even,
  166. And bears thee soft with the smooth hair along;
  167. Solicit not thy thoughts with matters hid;
  168. Leave them to God above; him serve, and fear.
  169. Of other creatures, as him pleases best,
  170. Wherever placed, let him dispose; joy thou
  171. In what he gives to thee, this Paradise
  172. And thy fair Eve; Heaven is for thee too high
  173. To know what passes there; be lowly wise:
  174. Think only what concerns thee, and thy being;
  175. Dream not of other worlds, what creatures there
  176. Live, in what state, condition, or degree;
  177. Contented that thus far hath been revealed
  178. Not of Earth only, but of highest Heaven.
  179. To whom thus Adam, cleared of doubt, replied.
  180. How fully hast thou satisfied me, pure
  181. Intelligence of Heaven, angel serene,
  182. And, freed from intricacies, taught to live
  183. The easiest way; nor with perplexing thoughts
  184. To interrupt the sweet of life, from which
  185. God hath bid dwell far off all anxious cares,
  186. And not molest us; unless we ourselves
  187. Seek them with wandering thoughts, and notions vain.
  188. But apt the mind or fancy is to rove
  189. Unchecked, and of her roving is no end;
  190. Till warned, or by experience taught, she learn,
  191. That, not to know at large of things remote
  192. From use, obscure and subtle; but, to know
  193. That which before us lies in daily life,
  194. Is the prime wisdom: What is more, is fume,
  195. Or emptiness, or fond impertinence:
  196. And renders us, in things that most concern,
  197. Unpracticed, unprepared, and still to seek.
  198. Therefore from this high pitch let us descend
  199. A lower flight, and speak of things at hand
  200. Useful; whence, haply, mention may arise
  201. Of something not unseasonable to ask,
  202. By sufferance, and thy wonted favor, deigned.
  203. Thee I have heard relating what was done
  204. Ere my remembrance: now, hear me relate
  205. My story, which perhaps thou hast not heard;
  206. And day is not yet spent; till then thou seest
  207. How subtly to detain thee I devise;
  208. Inviting thee to hear while I relate;
  209. Fond were it not in hope of thy reply:
  210. For, while I sit with thee, I seem in Heaven;
  211. And sweeter thy discourse is to my ear
  212. Than fruits of palm-tree pleasantest to thirst
  213. And hunger both, from labor, at the hour
  214. Of sweet repast; they satiate, and soon fill,
  215. Though pleasant; but thy words, with grace divine
  216. Imbued, bring to their sweetness no satiety.
  217. To whom thus Raphael answered heavenly meek.
  218. Nor are thy lips ungraceful, Sire of men,
  219. Nor tongue ineloquent; for God on thee
  220. Abundantly his gifts hath also poured
  221. Inward and outward both, his image fair:
  222. Speaking, or mute, all comeliness and grace
  223. Attends thee; and each word, each motion, forms;
  224. Nor less think we in Heaven of thee on Earth
  225. Than of our fellow-servant, and inquire
  226. Gladly into the ways of God with Man:
  227. For God, we see, hath honored thee, and set
  228. On man his equal love: Say therefore on;
  229. For I that day was absent, as befell,
  230. Bound on a voyage uncouth and obscure,
  231. Far on excursion toward the gates of Hell;
  232. Squared in full legion (such command we had)
  233. To see that none thence issued forth a spy,
  234. Or enemy, while God was in his work;
  235. Lest he, incensed at such eruption bold,
  236. Destruction with creation might have mixed.
  237. Not that they durst without his leave attempt;
  238. But us he sends upon his high behests
  239. For state, as Sovereign King; and to inure
  240. Our prompt obedience. Fast we found, fast shut,
  241. The dismal gates, and barricaded strong;
  242. But long ere our approaching heard within
  243. Noise, other than the sound of dance or song,
  244. Torment, and loud lament, and furious rage.
  245. Glad we returned up to the coasts of light
  246. Ere Sabbath-evening: so we had in charge.
  247. But thy relation now; for I attend,
  248. Pleased with thy words no less than thou with mine.
  249. So spake the Godlike Power, and thus our Sire.
  250. For man to tell how human life began
  251. Is hard; for who himself beginning knew
  252. Desire with thee still longer to converse
  253. Induced me. As new waked from soundest sleep,
  254. Soft on the flowery herb I found me laid,
  255. In balmy sweat; which with his beams the sun
  256. Soon dried, and on the reeking moisture fed.
  257. Straight toward Heaven my wondering eyes I turned,
  258. And gazed a while the ample sky; till, raised
  259. By quick instinctive motion, up I sprung,
  260. As thitherward endeavoring, and upright
  261. Stood on my feet: about me round I saw
  262. Hill, dale, and shady woods, and sunny plains,
  263. And liquid lapse of murmuring streams; by these,
  264. Creatures that lived and moved, and walked, or flew;
  265. Birds on the branches warbling; all things smiled;
  266. With fragrance and with joy my heart o'erflowed.
  267. Myself I then perused, and limb by limb
  268. Surveyed, and sometimes went, and sometimes ran
  269. With supple joints, as lively vigor led:
  270. But who I was, or where, or from what cause,
  271. Knew not; to speak I tried, and forthwith spake;
  272. My tongue obeyed, and readily could name
  273. Whate'er I saw. Thou Sun, said I, fair light,
  274. And thou enlightened Earth, so fresh and gay,
  275. Ye Hills, and Dales, ye Rivers, Woods, and Plains,
  276. And ye that live and move, fair Creatures, tell,
  277. Tell, if ye saw, how I came thus, how here?
  278. Not of myself; by some great Maker then,
  279. In goodness and in power pre-eminent:
  280. Tell me, how may I know him, how adore,
  281. From whom I have that thus I move and live,
  282. And feel that I am happier than I know.
  283. While thus I called, and strayed I knew not whither,
  284. From where I first drew air, and first beheld
  285. This happy light; when, answer none returned,
  286. On a green shady bank, profuse of flowers,
  287. Pensive I sat me down: There gentle sleep
  288. First found me, and with soft oppression seized
  289. My droused sense, untroubled, though I thought
  290. I then was passing to my former state
  291. Insensible, and forthwith to dissolve:
  292. When suddenly stood at my head a dream,
  293. Whose inward apparition gently moved
  294. My fancy to believe I yet had being,
  295. And lived: One came, methought, of shape divine,
  296. And said, 'Thy mansion wants thee, Adam; rise,
  297. 'First Man, of men innumerable ordained
  298. 'First Father, called by thee, I come thy guide
  299. 'To the garden of bliss, thy seat prepared.'
  300. So saying, by the hand he took me raised,
  301. And over fields and waters, as in air
  302. Smooth-sliding without step, last led me up
  303. A woody mountain; whose high top was plain,
  304. A circuit wide, enclosed, with goodliest trees
  305. Planted, with walks, and bowers; that what I saw
  306. Of Earth before scarce pleasant seemed. Each tree,
  307. Loaden with fairest fruit that hung to the eye
  308. Tempting, stirred in me sudden appetite
  309. To pluck and eat; whereat I waked, and found
  310. Before mine eyes all real, as the dream
  311. Had lively shadowed: Here had new begun
  312. My wandering, had not he, who was my guide
  313. Up hither, from among the trees appeared,
  314. Presence Divine. Rejoicing, but with awe,
  315. In adoration at his feet I fell
  316. Submiss: He reared me, and 'Whom thou soughtest I am,'
  317. Said mildly, 'Author of all this thou seest
  318. 'Above, or round about thee, or beneath.
  319. 'This Paradise I give thee, count it thine
  320. 'To till and keep, and of the fruit to eat:
  321. 'Of every tree that in the garden grows
  322. 'Eat freely with glad heart; fear here no dearth:
  323. 'But of the tree whose operation brings
  324. 'Knowledge of good and ill, which I have set
  325. 'The pledge of thy obedience and thy faith,
  326. 'Amid the garden by the tree of life,
  327. 'Remember what I warn thee, shun to taste,
  328. 'And shun the bitter consequence: for know,
  329. 'The day thou eatest thereof, my sole command
  330. 'Transgressed, inevitably thou shalt die,
  331. 'From that day mortal; and this happy state
  332. 'Shalt lose, expelled from hence into a world
  333. 'Of woe and sorrow.' Sternly he pronounced
  334. The rigid interdiction, which resounds
  335. Yet dreadful in mine ear, though in my choice
  336. Not to incur; but soon his clear aspect
  337. Returned, and gracious purpose thus renewed.
  338. 'Not only these fair bounds, but all the Earth
  339. 'To thee and to thy race I give; as lords
  340. 'Possess it, and all things that therein live,
  341. 'Or live in sea, or air; beast, fish, and fowl.
  342. 'In sign whereof, each bird and beast behold
  343. 'After their kinds; I bring them to receive
  344. 'From thee their names, and pay thee fealty
  345. 'With low subjection; understand the same
  346. 'Of fish within their watery residence,
  347. 'Not hither summoned, since they cannot change
  348. 'Their element, to draw the thinner air.'
  349. As thus he spake, each bird and beast behold
  350. Approaching two and two; these cowering low
  351. With blandishment; each bird stooped on his wing.
  352. I named them, as they passed, and understood
  353. Their nature, with such knowledge God endued
  354. My sudden apprehension: But in these
  355. I found not what methought I wanted still;
  356. And to the heavenly Vision thus presumed.
  357. Oh, by what name, for thou above all these,
  358. Above mankind, or aught than mankind higher,
  359. Surpassest far my naming; how may I
  360. Adore thee, Author of this universe,
  361. And all this good to man? for whose well being
  362. So amply, and with hands so liberal,
  363. Thou hast provided all things: But with me
  364. I see not who partakes. In solitude
  365. What happiness, who can enjoy alone,
  366. Or, all enjoying, what contentment find?
  367. Thus I presumptuous; and the Vision bright,
  368. As with a smile more brightened, thus replied.
  369. What callest thou solitude? Is not the Earth
  370. With various living creatures, and the air
  371. Replenished, and all these at thy command
  372. To come and play before thee? Knowest thou not
  373. Their language and their ways? They also know,
  374. And reason not contemptibly: With these
  375. Find pastime, and bear rule; thy realm is large.
  376. So spake the Universal Lord, and seemed
  377. So ordering: I, with leave of speech implored,
  378. And humble deprecation, thus replied.
  379. Let not my words offend thee, Heavenly Power;
  380. My Maker, be propitious while I speak.
  381. Hast thou not made me here thy substitute,
  382. And these inferior far beneath me set?
  383. Among unequals what society
  384. Can sort, what harmony, or true delight?
  385. Which must be mutual, in proportion due
  386. Given and received; but, in disparity
  387. The one intense, the other still remiss,
  388. Cannot well suit with either, but soon prove
  389. Tedious alike: Of fellowship I speak
  390. Such as I seek, fit to participate
  391. All rational delight: wherein the brute
  392. Cannot be human consort: They rejoice
  393. Each with their kind, lion with lioness;
  394. So fitly them in pairs thou hast combined:
  395. Much less can bird with beast, or fish with fowl
  396. So well converse, nor with the ox the ape;
  397. Worse then can man with beast, and least of all.
  398. Whereto the Almighty answered, not displeased.
  399. A nice and subtle happiness, I see,
  400. Thou to thyself proposest, in the choice
  401. Of thy associates, Adam, and wilt taste
  402. No pleasure, though in pleasure, solitary.
  403. What thinkest thou then of me, and this my state?
  404. Seem I to thee sufficiently possessed
  405. Of happiness, or not? who am alone
  406. From all eternity; for none I know
  407. Second to me or like, equal much less.
  408. How have I then with whom to hold converse,
  409. Save with the creatures which I made, and those
  410. To me inferior, infinite descents
  411. Beneath what other creatures are to thee?
  412. He ceased; I lowly answered. To attain
  413. The heighth and depth of thy eternal ways
  414. All human thoughts come short, Supreme of things.
  415. Thou in thyself art perfect, and in thee
  416. Is no deficience found: Not so is Man,
  417. But in degree; the cause of his desire
  418. By conversation with his like to help
  419. Or solace his defects. No need that thou
  420. Shouldst propagate, already Infinite;
  421. And through all numbers absolute, though One:
  422. But man by number is to manifest
  423. His single imperfection, and beget
  424. Like of his like, his image multiplied,
  425. In unity defective; which requires
  426. Collateral love, and dearest amity.
  427. Thou in thy secrecy although alone,
  428. Best with thyself accompanied, seekest not
  429. Social communication; yet, so pleased,
  430. Canst raise thy creature to what heighth thou wilt
  431. Of union or communion, deified:
  432. I, by conversing, cannot these erect
  433. From prone; nor in their ways complacence find.
  434. Thus I emboldened spake, and freedom used
  435. Permissive, and acceptance found; which gained
  436. This answer from the gracious Voice Divine.
  437. Thus far to try thee, Adam, I was pleased;
  438. And find thee knowing, not of beasts alone,
  439. Which thou hast rightly named, but of thyself;
  440. Expressing well the spirit within thee free,
  441. My image, not imparted to the brute;
  442. Whose fellowship therefore unmeet for thee
  443. Good reason was thou freely shouldst dislike;
  444. And be so minded still: I, ere thou spakest,
  445. Knew it not good for man to be alone;
  446. And no such company as then thou sawest
  447. Intended thee; for trial only brought,
  448. To see how thou couldest judge of fit and meet:
  449. What next I bring shall please thee, be assured,
  450. Thy likeness, thy fit help, thy other self,
  451. Thy wish exactly to thy heart's desire.
  452. He ended, or I heard no more; for now
  453. My earthly by his heavenly overpowered,
  454. Which it had long stood under, strained to the heighth
  455. In that celestial colloquy sublime,
  456. As with an object that excels the sense
  457. Dazzled and spent, sunk down; and sought repair
  458. Of sleep, which instantly fell on me, called
  459. By Nature as in aid, and closed mine eyes.
  460. Mine eyes he closed, but open left the cell
  461. Of fancy, my internal sight; by which,
  462. Abstract as in a trance, methought I saw,
  463. Though sleeping, where I lay, and saw the shape
  464. Still glorious before whom awake I stood:
  465. Who stooping opened my left side, and took
  466. From thence a rib, with cordial spirits warm,
  467. And life-blood streaming fresh; wide was the wound,
  468. But suddenly with flesh filled up and healed:
  469. The rib he formed and fashioned with his hands;
  470. Under his forming hands a creature grew,
  471. Man-like, but different sex; so lovely fair,
  472. That what seemed fair in all the world, seemed now
  473. Mean, or in her summed up, in her contained
  474. And in her looks; which from that time infused
  475. Sweetness into my heart, unfelt before,
  476. And into all things from her air inspired
  477. The spirit of love and amorous delight.
  478. She disappeared, and left me dark; I waked
  479. To find her, or for ever to deplore
  480. Her loss, and other pleasures all abjure:
  481. When out of hope, behold her, not far off,
  482. Such as I saw her in my dream, adorned
  483. With what all Earth or Heaven could bestow
  484. To make her amiable: On she came,
  485. Led by her heavenly Maker, though unseen,
  486. And guided by his voice; nor uninformed
  487. Of nuptial sanctity, and marriage rites:
  488. Grace was in all her steps, Heaven in her eye,
  489. In every gesture dignity and love.
  490. I, overjoyed, could not forbear aloud.
  491. This turn hath made amends; thou hast fulfilled
  492. Thy words, Creator bounteous and benign,
  493. Giver of all things fair. but fairest this
  494. Of all thy gifts, nor enviest. I now see
  495. Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, myself
  496. Before me: Woman is her name; of man
  497. Extracted: for this cause he shall forego
  498. Father and mother, and to his wife adhere;
  499. And they shall be one flesh, one heart, one soul.
  500. She heard me thus; and though divinely brought,
  501. Yet innocence, and virgin modesty,
  502. Her virtue, and the conscience of her worth,
  503. That would be wooed, and not unsought be won,
  504. Not obvious, not obtrusive, but, retired,
  505. The more desirable; or, to say all,
  506. Nature herself, though pure of sinful thought,
  507. Wrought in her so, that, seeing me, she turned:
  508. I followed her; she what was honor knew,
  509. And with obsequious majesty approved
  510. My pleaded reason. To the nuptial bower
  511. I led her blushing like the morn: All Heaven,
  512. And happy constellations, on that hour
  513. Shed their selectest influence; the Earth
  514. Gave sign of gratulation, and each hill;
  515. Joyous the birds; fresh gales and gentle airs
  516. Whispered it to the woods, and from their wings
  517. Flung rose, flung odors from the spicy shrub,
  518. Disporting, till the amorous bird of night
  519. Sung spousal, and bid haste the evening-star
  520. On his hill top, to light the bridal lamp.
  521. Thus have I told thee all my state, and brought
  522. My story to the sum of earthly bliss,
  523. Which I enjoy; and must confess to find
  524. In all things else delight indeed, but such
  525. As, used or not, works in the mind no change,
  526. Nor vehement desire; these delicacies
  527. I mean of taste, sight, smell, herbs, fruits, and flowers,
  528. Walks, and the melody of birds: but here
  529. Far otherwise, transported I behold,
  530. Transported touch; here passion first I felt,
  531. Commotion strange, in all enjoyments else
  532. Superior and unmoved; here only weak
  533. Against the charm of Beauty's powerful glance.
  534. Or Nature failed in me, and left some part
  535. Not proof enough such object to sustain;
  536. Or, from my side subducting, took perhaps
  537. More than enough; at least on her bestowed
  538. Too much of ornament, in outward show
  539. Elaborate, of inward less exact.
  540. For well I understand in the prime end
  541. Of Nature her the inferior, in the mind
  542. And inward faculties, which most excel;
  543. In outward also her resembling less
  544. His image who made both, and less expressing
  545. The character of that dominion given
  546. O'er other creatures: Yet when I approach
  547. Her loveliness, so absolute she seems
  548. And in herself complete, so well to know
  549. Her own, that what she wills to do or say,
  550. Seems wisest, virtuousest, discreetest, best:
  551. All higher knowledge in her presence falls
  552. Degraded; Wisdom in discourse with her
  553. Loses discountenanced, and like Folly shows;
  554. Authority and Reason on her wait,
  555. As one intended first, not after made
  556. Occasionally; and, to consummate all,
  557. Greatness of mind and Nobleness their seat
  558. Build in her loveliest, and create an awe
  559. About her, as a guard angelic placed.
  560. To whom the angel with contracted brow.
  561. Accuse not Nature, she hath done her part;
  562. Do thou but thine; and be not diffident
  563. Of Wisdom; she deserts thee not, if thou
  564. Dismiss not her, when most thou needest her nigh,
  565. By attributing overmuch to things
  566. Less excellent, as thou thyself perceivest.
  567. For, what admirest thou, what transports thee so,
  568. An outside? fair, no doubt, and worthy well
  569. Thy cherishing, thy honoring, and thy love;
  570. Not thy subjection: Weigh with her thyself;
  571. Then value: Oft-times nothing profits more
  572. Than self-esteem, grounded on just and right
  573. Well managed; of that skill the more thou knowest,
  574. The more she will acknowledge thee her head,
  575. And to realities yield all her shows:
  576. Made so adorn for thy delight the more,
  577. So awful, that with honor thou mayest love
  578. Thy mate, who sees when thou art seen least wise.
  579. But if the sense of touch, whereby mankind
  580. Is propagated, seem such dear delight
  581. Beyond all other; think the same vouchsafed
  582. To cattle and each beast; which would not be
  583. To them made common and divulged, if aught
  584. Therein enjoyed were worthy to subdue
  585. The soul of man, or passion in him move.
  586. What higher in her society thou findest
  587. Attractive, human, rational, love still;
  588. In loving thou dost well, in passion not,
  589. Wherein true love consists not: Love refines
  590. The thoughts, and heart enlarges; hath his seat
  591. In reason, and is judicious; is the scale
  592. By which to heavenly love thou mayest ascend,
  593. Not sunk in carnal pleasure; for which cause,
  594. Among the beasts no mate for thee was found.
  595. To whom thus, half abashed, Adam replied.
  596. Neither her outside formed so fair, nor aught
  597. In procreation common to all kinds,
  598. (Though higher of the genial bed by far,
  599. And with mysterious reverence I deem,)
  600. So much delights me, as those graceful acts,
  601. Those thousand decencies, that daily flow
  602. From all her words and actions mixed with love
  603. And sweet compliance, which declare unfeigned
  604. Union of mind, or in us both one soul;
  605. Harmony to behold in wedded pair
  606. More grateful than harmonious sound to the ear.
  607. Yet these subject not; I to thee disclose
  608. What inward thence I feel, not therefore foiled,
  609. Who meet with various objects, from the sense
  610. Variously representing; yet, still free,
  611. Approve the best, and follow what I approve.
  612. To love, thou blamest me not; for Love, thou sayest,
  613. Leads up to Heaven, is both the way and guide;
  614. Bear with me then, if lawful what I ask:
  615. Love not the heavenly Spirits, and how their love
  616. Express they? by looks only? or do they mix
  617. Irradiance, virtual or immediate touch?
  618. To whom the angel, with a smile that glowed
  619. Celestial rosy red, Love's proper hue,
  620. Answered. Let it suffice thee that thou knowest
  621. Us happy, and without love no happiness.
  622. Whatever pure thou in the body enjoyest,
  623. (And pure thou wert created) we enjoy
  624. In eminence; and obstacle find none
  625. Of membrane, joint, or limb, exclusive bars;
  626. Easier than air with air, if Spirits embrace,
  627. Total they mix, union of pure with pure
  628. Desiring, nor restrained conveyance need,
  629. As flesh to mix with flesh, or soul with soul.
  630. But I can now no more; the parting sun
  631. Beyond the Earth's green Cape and verdant Isles
  632. Hesperian sets, my signal to depart.
  633. Be strong, live happy, and love, but first of all
  634. Him, whom to love is to obey, and keep
  635. His great command; take heed lest passion sway
  636. Thy judgment to do aught, which else free will
  637. Would not admit: thine, and of all thy sons,
  638. The weal or woe in thee is placed; beware!
  639. I in thy persevering shall rejoice,
  640. And all the Blest: Stand fast; to stand or fall
  641. Free in thine own arbitrament it lies.
  642. Perfect within, no outward aid require;
  643. And all temptation to transgress repel.
  644. So saying, he arose; whom Adam thus
  645. Followed with benediction. Since to part,
  646. Go, heavenly guest, ethereal Messenger,
  647. Sent from whose sovereign goodness I adore.
  648. Gentle to me and affable hath been
  649. Thy condescension, and shall be honored ever
  650. With grateful memory: Thou to mankind
  651. Be good and friendly still, and oft return.
  652. So parted they; the angel up to Heaven
  653. From the thick shade, and Adam to his bower.

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~ BOOK IX ~

  1. No more of talk where God or angel guest
  2. With Man, as with his friend, familiar used,
  3. To sit indulgent, and with him partake
  4. Rural repast; permitting him the while
  5. Venial discourse unblamed. I now must change
  6. Those notes to tragic; foul distrust, and breach
  7. Disloyal on the part of Man, revolt,
  8. And disobedience: on the part of Heaven
  9. Now alienated, distance and distaste,
  10. Anger and just rebuke, and judgment given,
  11. That brought into this world a world of woe,
  12. Sin and her shadow Death, and Misery
  13. Death's harbinger: Sad talk, yet argument
  14. Not less but more heroic than the wrath
  15. Of stern Achilles on his foe pursued
  16. Thrice fugitive about Troy wall; or rage
  17. Of Turnus for Lavinia disespoused;
  18. Or Neptune's ire, or Juno's, that so long
  19. Perplexed the Greek, and Cytherea's son:
  20. If answerable style I can obtain
  21. Of my celestial patroness, who deigns
  22. Her nightly visitation unimplored,
  23. And dictates to me slumbering; or inspires
  24. Easy my unpremeditated verse:
  25. Since first this subject for heroic song
  26. Pleased me long choosing, and beginning late;
  27. Not sedulous by nature to indite
  28. Wars, hitherto the only argument
  29. Heroic deemed chief mastery to dissect
  30. With long and tedious havoc fabled knights
  31. In battles feigned; the better fortitude
  32. Of patience and heroic martyrdom
  33. Unsung; or to describe races and games,
  34. Or tilting furniture, imblazoned shields,
  35. Impresses quaint, caparisons and steeds,
  36. Bases and tinsel trappings, gorgeous knights
  37. At joust and tournament; then marshaled feast
  38. Served up in hall with sewers and seneschals;
  39. The skill of artifice or office mean,
  40. Not that which justly gives heroic name
  41. To person, or to poem. Me, of these
  42. Nor skilled nor studious, higher argument
  43. Remains; sufficient of itself to raise
  44. That name, unless an age too late, or cold
  45. Climate, or years, damp my intended wing
  46. Depressed; and much they may, if all be mine,
  47. Not hers, who brings it nightly to my ear.
  48. The sun was sunk, and after him the star
  49. Of Hesperus, whose office is to bring
  50. Twilight upon the earth, short arbiter
  51. Twixt day and night, and now from end to end
  52. Night's hemisphere had veiled the horizon round:
  53. When Satan, who late fled before the threats
  54. Of Gabriel out of Eden, now improved
  55. In meditated fraud and malice, bent
  56. On Man's destruction, maugre what might hap
  57. Of heavier on himself, fearless returned.
  58. By night he fled, and at midnight returned
  59. From compassing the earth; cautious of day,
  60. Since Uriel, regent of the sun, descried
  61. His entrance, and forewarned the Cherubim
  62. That kept their watch; thence full of anguish driven,
  63. The space of seven continued nights he rode
  64. With darkness; thrice the equinoctial line
  65. He circled; four times crossed the car of night
  66. From pole to pole, traversing each colure;
  67. On the eighth returned; and, on the coast averse
  68. From entrance or Cherubic watch, by stealth
  69. Found unsuspected way. There was a place,
  70. Now not, though sin, not time, first wrought the change,
  71. Where Tigris, at the foot of Paradise,
  72. Into a gulf shot under ground, till part
  73. Rose up a fountain by the tree of life:
  74. In with the river sunk, and with it rose
  75. Satan, involved in rising mist; then sought
  76. Where to lie hid; sea he had searched, and land,
  77. From Eden over Pontus and the pool
  78. Maeotis, up beyond the river Ob;
  79. Downward as far Antarctic; and in length,
  80. West from Orontes to the ocean barred
  81. At Darien ; thence to the land where flows
  82. Ganges and Indus: Thus the orb he roamed
  83. With narrow search; and with inspection deep
  84. Considered every creature, which of all
  85. Most opportune might serve his wiles; and found
  86. The Serpent subtlest beast of all the field.
  87. Him after long debate, irresolute
  88. Of thoughts revolved, his final sentence chose
  89. Fit vessel, fittest imp of fraud, in whom
  90. To enter, and his dark suggestions hide
  91. From sharpest sight: for, in the wily snake
  92. Whatever sleights, none would suspicious mark,
  93. As from his wit and native subtlety
  94. Proceeding; which, in other beasts observed,
  95. Doubt might beget of diabolic power
  96. Active within, beyond the sense of brute.
  97. Thus he resolved, but first from inward grief
  98. His bursting passion into plaints thus poured.
  99. More justly, seat worthier of Gods, as built
  100. With second thoughts, reforming what was old.
  101. Oh Earth, how like to Heaven, if not preferred
  102. For what God, after better, worse would build?
  103. Terrestrial Heaven, danced round by other Heavens
  104. That shine, yet bear their bright officious lamps,
  105. Light above light, for thee alone, as seems,
  106. In thee concentering all their precious beams
  107. Of sacred influence. As God in Heaven
  108. Is center, yet extends to all; so thou,
  109. Centering, receivest from all those orbs: in thee,
  110. Not in themselves, all their known virtue appears
  111. Productive in herb, plant, and nobler birth
  112. Of creatures animate with gradual life
  113. Of growth, sense, reason, all summed up in Man.
  114. With what delight could I have walked thee round,
  115. If I could joy in aught, sweet interchange
  116. Of hill, and valley, rivers, woods, and plains,
  117. Now land, now sea and shores with forest crowned,
  118. Rocks, dens, and caves. But I in none of these
  119. Find place or refuge; and the more I see
  120. Pleasures about me, so much more I feel
  121. Torment within me, as from the hateful siege
  122. Of contraries: all good to me becomes
  123. Bane, and in Heaven much worse would be my state.
  124. But neither here seek I, no nor in Heaven
  125. To dwell, unless by mastering Heaven's Supreme;
  126. Nor hope to be myself less miserable
  127. By what I seek, but others to make such
  128. As I, though thereby worse to me redound:
  129. For only in destroying I find ease
  130. To my relentless thoughts; and, him destroyed,
  131. Or won to what may work his utter loss,
  132. For whom all this was made, all this will soon
  133. Follow, as to him linked in weal or woe;
  134. In woe then; that destruction wide may range:
  135. To me shall be the glory sole among
  136. The infernal Powers, in one day to have marred
  137. What he, Almighty styled, six nights and days
  138. Continued making; and who knows how long
  139. Before had been contriving? though perhaps
  140. Not longer than since I, in one night, freed
  141. From servitude inglorious well nigh half
  142. The angelic name, and thinner left the throng
  143. Of his adorers: He, to be avenged,
  144. And to repair his numbers thus impaired,
  145. Whether such virtue spent of old now failed
  146. More angels to create, if they at least
  147. Are his created, or, to spite us more,
  148. Determined to advance into our room
  149. A creature formed of earth, and him endow,
  150. Exalted from so base original,
  151. With heavenly spoils, our spoils: What he decreed,
  152. He effected; man he made, and for him built
  153. Magnificent this world, and earth his seat,
  154. Him lord pronounced; and, Oh indignity!
  155. Subjected to his service angel-wings,
  156. And flaming ministers to watch and tend
  157. Their earthly charge: Of these the vigilance
  158. I dread; and, to elude, thus wrapped in mist
  159. Of midnight vapor glide obscure, and pry
  160. In every bush and brake, where hap may find
  161. The serpent sleeping; in whose mazy folds
  162. To hide me, and the dark intent I bring.
  163. Oh foul descent! that I, who erst contended
  164. With Gods to sit the highest, am now constrained
  165. Into a beast; and, mixed with bestial slime,
  166. This essence to incarnate and imbrute,
  167. That to the heighth of Deity aspired.
  168. But what will not ambition and revenge
  169. Descend to? Who aspires, must down as low
  170. As high he soared; obnoxious, first or last,
  171. To basest things. Revenge, at first though sweet,
  172. Bitter ere long, back on itself recoils:
  173. Let it; I reck not, so it light well aimed,
  174. Since higher I fall short, on him who next
  175. Provokes my envy, this new favorite
  176. Of Heaven, this man of clay, son of despite,
  177. Whom, us the more to spite, his Maker raised
  178. From dust: Spite then with spite is best repaid.
  179. So saying, through each thicket dank or dry,
  180. Like a black mist low-creeping, he held on
  181. His midnight-search, where soonest he might find
  182. The serpent; him fast-sleeping soon he found
  183. In labyrinth of many a round self-rolled,
  184. His head the midst, well stored with subtle wiles:
  185. Not yet in horrid shade or dismal den,
  186. Nor nocent yet; but, on the grassy herb,
  187. Fearless unfeared he slept: in at his mouth
  188. The devil entered; and his brutal sense,
  189. In heart or head, possessing, soon inspired
  190. With act intelligential; but his sleep
  191. Disturbed not, waiting close the approach of morn.
  192. Now, when as sacred light began to dawn
  193. In Eden on the humid flowers, that breathed
  194. Their morning incense, when all things, that breathe,
  195. From the Earth's great altar send up silent praise
  196. To the Creator, and his nostrils fill
  197. With grateful smell, forth came the human pair,
  198. And joined their vocal worship to the quire
  199. Of creatures wanting voice; that done, partake
  200. The season prime for sweetest scents and airs:
  201. Then commune, how that day they best may ply
  202. Their growing work: for much their work out-grew
  203. The hands' dispatch of two gardening so wide,
  204. And Eve first to her husband thus began.
  205. Adam, well may we labor still to dress
  206. This garden, still to tend plant, herb, and flower,
  207. Our pleasant task enjoined; but, till more hands
  208. Aid us, the work under our labor grows,
  209. Luxurious by restraint; what we by day
  210. Lop overgrown, or prune, or prop, or bind,
  211. One night or two with wanton growth derides
  212. Tending to wild. Thou therefore now advise,
  213. Or bear what to my mind first thoughts present:
  214. Let us divide our labors; thou, where choice
  215. Leads thee, or where most needs, whether to wind
  216. The woodbine round this arbor, or direct
  217. The clasping ivy where to climb; while I,
  218. In yonder spring of roses intermixed
  219. With myrtle, find what to redress till noon:
  220. For, while so near each other thus all day
  221. Our task we choose, what wonder if so near
  222. Looks intervene and smiles, or object new
  223. Casual discourse draw on; which intermits
  224. Our day's work, brought to little, though begun
  225. Early, and the hour of supper comes unearned?
  226. To whom mild answer Adam thus returned.
  227. Sole Eve, associate sole, to me beyond
  228. Compare above all living creatures dear,
  229. Well hast thou motioned, well thy thoughts employed,
  230. How we might best fulfill the work which here
  231. God hath assigned us; nor of me shalt pass
  232. Unpraised: for nothing lovelier can be found
  233. In woman, than to study household good,
  234. And good works in her husband to promote.
  235. Yet not so strictly hath our Lord imposed
  236. Labor, as to debar us when we need
  237. Refreshment, whether food, or talk between,
  238. Food of the mind, or this sweet intercourse
  239. Of looks and smiles; for smiles from reason flow,
  240. To brute denied, and are of love the food;
  241. Love, not the lowest end of human life.
  242. For not to irksome toil, but to delight,
  243. He made us, and delight to reason joined.
  244. These paths and bowers doubt not but our joint hands
  245. Will keep from wilderness with ease, as wide
  246. As we need walk, till younger hands ere long
  247. Assist us; But, if much converse perhaps
  248. Thee satiate, to short absence I could yield:
  249. For solitude sometimes is best society,
  250. And short retirement urges sweet return.
  251. But other doubt possesses me, lest harm
  252. Befall thee severed from me; for thou knowest
  253. What hath been warned us, what malicious foe
  254. Envying our happiness, and of his own
  255. Despairing, seeks to work us woe and shame
  256. By sly assault; and somewhere nigh at hand
  257. Watches, no doubt, with greedy hope to find
  258. His wish and best advantage, us asunder;
  259. Hopeless to circumvent us joined, where each
  260. To other speedy aid might lend at need:
  261. Whether his first design be to withdraw
  262. Our fealty from God, or to disturb
  263. Conjugal love, than which perhaps no bliss
  264. Enjoyed by us excites his envy more;
  265. Or this, or worse, leave not the faithful side
  266. That gave thee being, still shades thee, and protects.
  267. The wife, where danger or dishonor lurks,
  268. Safest and seemliest by her husband stays,
  269. Who guards her, or with her the worst endures.
  270. To whom the virgin majesty of Eve,
  271. As one who loves, and some unkindness meets,
  272. With sweet austere composure thus replied.
  273. Offspring of Heaven and Earth, and all Earth's Lord,
  274. That such an enemy we have, who seeks
  275. Our ruin, both by thee informed I learn,
  276. And from the parting angel over-heard,
  277. As in a shady nook I stood behind,
  278. Just then returned at shut of evening flowers.
  279. But, that thou shouldst my firmness therefore doubt
  280. To God or thee, because we have a foe
  281. May tempt it, I expected not to hear.
  282. His violence thou fearest not, being such
  283. As we, not capable of death or pain,
  284. Can either not receive, or can repel.
  285. His fraud is then thy fear; which plain infers
  286. Thy equal fear, that my firm faith and love
  287. Can by his fraud be shaken or seduced;
  288. Thoughts, which how found they harbor in thy breast,
  289. Adam, misthought of her to thee so dear?
  290. To whom with healing words Adam replied.
  291. Daughter of God and Man, immortal Eve,
  292. For such thou art; from sin and blame entire:
  293. Not diffident of thee do I dissuade
  294. Thy absence from my sight, but to avoid
  295. The attempt itself, intended by our foe.
  296. For he who tempts, though in vain, at least asperses
  297. The tempted with dishonor foul; supposed
  298. Not incorruptible of faith, not proof
  299. Against temptation: Thou thyself with scorn
  300. And anger wouldst resent the offered wrong,
  301. Though ineffectual found: misdeem not then,
  302. If such affront I labor to avert
  303. From thee alone, which on us both at once
  304. The enemy, though bold, will hardly dare;
  305. Or daring, first on me the assault shall light.
  306. Nor thou his malice and false guile contemn;
  307. Subtle he needs must be, who could seduce
  308. Angels; nor think superfluous other's aid.
  309. I, from the influence of thy looks, receive
  310. Access in every virtue; in thy sight
  311. More wise, more watchful, stronger, if need were
  312. Of outward strength; while shame, thou looking on,
  313. Shame to be overcome or over-reached,
  314. Would utmost vigor raise, and raised unite.
  315. Why shouldst not thou like sense within thee feel
  316. When I am present, and thy trial choose
  317. With me, best witness of thy virtue tried?
  318. So spake domestic Adam in his care
  319. And matrimonial love; but Eve, who thought
  320. Less attributed to her faith sincere,
  321. Thus her reply with accent sweet renewed.
  322. If this be our condition, thus to dwell
  323. In narrow circuit straitened by a foe,
  324. Subtle or violent, we not endued
  325. Single with like defense, wherever met;
  326. How are we happy, still in fear of harm?
  327. But harm precedes not sin: only our foe,
  328. Tempting, affronts us with his foul esteem
  329. Of our integrity: his foul esteem
  330. Sticks no dishonor on our front, but turns
  331. Foul on himself; then wherefore shunned or feared
  332. By us? who rather double honor gain
  333. From his surmise proved false; find peace within,
  334. Favor from Heaven, our witness, from the event.
  335. And what is faith, love, virtue, unassayed
  336. Alone, without exterior help sustained?
  337. Let us not then suspect our happy state
  338. Left so imperfect by the Maker wise,
  339. As not secure to single or combined.
  340. Frail is our happiness, if this be so,
  341. And Eden were no Eden, thus exposed.
  342. To whom thus Adam fervently replied.
  343. Oh Woman, best are all things as the will
  344. Of God ordained them: His creating hand
  345. Nothing imperfect or deficient left
  346. Of all that he created, much less Man,
  347. Or aught that might his happy state secure,
  348. Secure from outward force; within himself
  349. The danger lies, yet lies within his power:
  350. Against his will he can receive no harm.
  351. But God left free the will; for what obeys
  352. Reason, is free; and Reason he made right,
  353. But bid her well be ware, and still erect;
  354. Lest, by some fair-appearing good surprised,
  355. She dictate false; and misinform the will
  356. To do what God expressly hath forbid.
  357. Not then mistrust, but tender love, enjoins,
  358. That I should mind thee oft; and mind thou me.
  359. Firm we subsist, yet possible to swerve;
  360. Since Reason not impossibly may meet
  361. Some specious object by the foe suborned,
  362. And fall into deception unaware,
  363. Not keeping strictest watch, as she was warned.
  364. Seek not temptation then, which to avoid
  365. Were better, and most likely if from me
  366. Thou sever not: Trial will come unsought.
  367. Wouldst thou approve thy constancy, approve
  368. First thy obedience; the other who can know,
  369. Not seeing thee attempted, who attest?
  370. But, if thou think, trial unsought may find
  371. Us both securer than thus warned thou seemest,
  372. Go; for thy stay, not free, absents thee more;
  373. Go in thy native innocence, rely
  374. On what thou hast of virtue; summon all
  375. For God towards thee hath done his part, do thine.
  376. So spake the patriarch of mankind; but Eve
  377. Persisted; yet submiss, though last, replied.
  378. With thy permission then, and thus forewarned
  379. Chiefly by what thy own last reasoning words
  380. Touched only; that our trial, when least sought,
  381. May find us both perhaps far less prepared,
  382. The willinger I go, nor much expect
  383. A foe so proud will first the weaker seek;
  384. So bent, the more shall shame him his repulse.
  385. Thus saying, from her husband's hand her hand
  386. Soft she withdrew; and, like a Wood-Nymph light,
  387. Oread or Dryad, or of Delia's train,
  388. Betook her to the groves; but Delia's self
  389. In gait surpassed, and Goddess-like deport,
  390. Though not as she with bow and quiver armed,
  391. But with such gardening tools as Art yet rude,
  392. Guiltless of fire, had formed, or angels brought.
  393. To Pales, or Pomona, thus adorned,
  394. Likest she seemed, Pomona when she fled
  395. Vertumnus, or to Ceres in her prime,
  396. Yet virgin of Proserpina from Jove.
  397. Her long with ardent look his eye pursued
  398. Delighted, but desiring more her stay.
  399. Oft he to her his charge of quick return
  400. Repeated; she to him as oft engaged
  401. To be returned by noon amid the bower,
  402. And all things in best order to invite
  403. Noontide repast, or afternoon's repose.
  404. Oh much deceived, much failing, hapless Eve,
  405. Of thy presumed return event perverse!
  406. Thou never from that hour in Paradise
  407. Foundst either sweet repast, or sound repose;
  408. Such ambush, hid among sweet flowers and shades,
  409. Waited with hellish rancor imminent
  410. To intercept thy way, or send thee back
  411. Despoiled of innocence, of faith, of bliss.
  412. For now, and since first break of dawn, the Fiend,
  413. Mere serpent in appearance, forth was come;
  414. And on his quest, where likeliest he might find
  415. The only two of mankind, but in them
  416. The whole included race, his purposed prey.
  417. In bower and field he sought, where any tuft
  418. Of grove or garden-plot more pleasant lay,
  419. Their tendance, or plantation for delight;
  420. By fountain or by shady rivulet
  421. He sought them both, but wished his hap might find
  422. Eve separate; he wished, but not with hope
  423. Of what so seldom chanced; when to his wish,
  424. Beyond his hope, Eve separate he spies,
  425. Veiled in a cloud of fragrance, where she stood,
  426. Half spied, so thick the roses blushing round
  427. About her glowed, oft stooping to support
  428. Each flower of slender stalk, whose head, though gay
  429. Carnation, purple, azure, or specked with gold,
  430. Hung drooping unsustained; them she upstays
  431. Gently with myrtle band, mindless the while
  432. Herself, though fairest unsupported flower,
  433. From her best prop so far, and storm so nigh.
  434. Nearer he drew, and many a walk traversed
  435. Of stateliest covert, cedar, pine, or palm;
  436. Then voluble and bold, now hid, now seen,
  437. Among thick-woven arborets, and flowers
  438. Imbordered on each bank, the hand of Eve:
  439. Spot more delicious than those gardens feigned
  440. Or of revived Adonis, or renowned
  441. Alcinous, host of old Laertes' son;
  442. Or that, not mystic, where the sapient king
  443. Held dalliance with his fair Egyptian spouse.
  444. Much he the place admired, the person more.
  445. As one who long in populous city pent,
  446. Where houses thick and sewers annoy the air,
  447. Forth issuing on a summer's morn, to breathe
  448. Among the pleasant villages and farms
  449. Adjoined, from each thing met conceives delight;
  450. The smell of grain, or tedded grass, or kine,
  451. Or dairy, each rural sight, each rural sound;
  452. If chance, with nymph-like step, fair virgin pass,
  453. What pleasing seemed, for her now pleases more;
  454. She most, and in her look sums all delight:
  455. Such pleasure took the Serpent to behold
  456. This flowery plat, the sweet recess of Eve
  457. Thus early, thus alone: Her heavenly form
  458. Angelic, but more soft, and feminine,
  459. Her graceful innocence, her every air
  460. Of gesture, or least action, overawed
  461. His malice, and with rapine sweet bereaved
  462. His fierceness of the fierce intent it brought:
  463. That space the Evil-one abstracted stood
  464. From his own evil, and for the time remained
  465. Stupidly good; of enmity disarmed,
  466. Of guile, of hate, of envy, of revenge:
  467. But the hot Hell that always in him burns,
  468. Though in mid Heaven, soon ended his delight,
  469. And tortures him now more, the more he sees
  470. Of pleasure, not for him ordained: then soon
  471. Fierce hate he recollects, and all his thoughts
  472. Of mischief, gratulating, thus excites.
  473. Thoughts, whither have ye led me, with what sweet
  474. Compulsion thus transported, to forget
  475. What hither brought us, hate, not love; nor hope
  476. Of Paradise for Hell, hope here to taste
  477. Of pleasure; but all pleasure to destroy,
  478. Save what is in destroying; other joy
  479. To me is lost. Then, let me not let pass
  480. Occasion which now smiles; behold alone
  481. The woman, opportune to all attempts,
  482. Her husband, for I view far round, not nigh,
  483. Whose higher intellectual more I shun,
  484. And strength, of courage haughty, and of limb
  485. Heroic built, though of terrestrial mould;
  486. Foe not informidable, exempt from wound,
  487. I not; so much hath Hell debased, and pain
  488. Enfeebled me, to what I was in Heaven.
  489. She fair, divinely fair, fit love for Gods,
  490. Not terrible, though terror be in love
  491. And beauty, not approached by stronger hate,
  492. Hate stronger, under show of love well feigned;
  493. The way which to her ruin now I tend.
  494. So spake the enemy of mankind, enclosed
  495. In serpent, inmate bad, and toward Eve
  496. Addressed his way: not with indented wave,
  497. Prone on the ground, as since; but on his rear,
  498. Circular base of rising folds, that towered
  499. Fold above fold, a surging maze, his head
  500. Crested aloft, and carbuncle his eyes;
  501. With burnished neck of verdant gold, erect
  502. Amidst his circling spires, that on the grass
  503. Floated redundant: pleasing was his shape
  504. And lovely; never since of serpent-kind
  505. Lovelier, not those that in Illyria changed,
  506. Hermione and Cadmus, or the god
  507. In Epidaurus; nor to which transformed
  508. Ammonian Jove, or Capitoline, was seen;
  509. He with Olympias; this with her who bore
  510. Scipio, the heighth of Rome. With tract oblique
  511. At first, as one who sought access, but feared
  512. To interrupt, side-long he works his way.
  513. As when a ship, by skilful steersmen wrought
  514. Nigh river's mouth or foreland, where the wind
  515. Veers oft, as oft so steers, and shifts her sail:
  516. So varied he, and of his tortuous train
  517. Curled many a wanton wreath in sight of Eve,
  518. To lure her eye; she, busied, heard the sound
  519. Of rustling leaves, but minded not, as used
  520. To such disport before her through the field,
  521. From every beast; more duteous at her call,
  522. Than at Circean call the herd disguised.
  523. He, bolder now, uncalled before her stood,
  524. But as in gaze admiring: oft he bowed
  525. His turret crest, and sleek enameled neck,
  526. Fawning; and licked the ground whereon she trod.
  527. His gentle dumb expression turned at length
  528. The eye of Eve to mark his play; he, glad
  529. Of her attention gained, with serpent-tongue
  530. Organic, or impulse of vocal air,
  531. His fraudulent temptation thus began.
  532. Wonder not, sovereign Mistress, if perhaps
  533. Thou canst, who art sole wonder, much less arm
  534. Thy looks, the Heaven of mildness, with disdain,
  535. Displeased that I approach thee thus, and gaze
  536. Insatiate; I thus single; nor have feared
  537. Thy awful brow, more awful thus retired.
  538. Fairest resemblance of thy Maker fair,
  539. Thee all things living gaze on, all things thine
  540. By gift, and thy celestial beauty adore
  541. With ravishment beheld, there best beheld,
  542. Where universally admired; but here
  543. In this enclosure wild, these beasts among,
  544. Beholders rude, and shallow to discern
  545. Half what in thee is fair, one man except,
  546. Who sees thee? and what is one? who should be seen
  547. A Goddess among Gods, adored and served
  548. By angels numberless, thy daily train.
  549. So glozed the Tempter, and his proem tuned:
  550. Into the heart of Eve his words made way,
  551. Though at the voice much marveling; at length,
  552. Not unamazed, she thus in answer spake.
  553. What may this mean? language of man pronounced
  554. By tongue of brute, and human sense expressed?
  555. The first, at least, of these I thought denied
  556. To beasts; whom God, on their creation-day,
  557. Created mute to all articulate sound:
  558. The latter I demur; for in their looks
  559. Much reason, and in their actions, oft appears.
  560. Thee, Serpent, subtlest beast of all the field
  561. I knew, but not with human voice endued;
  562. Redouble then this miracle, and say,
  563. How camest thou speakable of mute, and how
  564. To me so friendly grown above the rest
  565. Of brutal kind, that daily are in sight?
  566. Say, for such wonder claims attention due.
  567. To whom the guileful Tempter thus replied.
  568. Empress of this fair world, resplendent Eve,
  569. Easy to me it is to tell thee all
  570. What thou commandest; and right thou shouldst be obeyed:
  571. I was at first as other beasts that graze
  572. The trodden herb, of abject thoughts and low,
  573. As was my food; nor aught but food discerned
  574. Or sex, and apprehended nothing high:
  575. Till, on a day roving the field, I chanced
  576. A goodly tree far distant to behold
  577. Loaden with fruit of fairest colors mixed,
  578. Ruddy and gold: I nearer drew to gaze;
  579. When from the boughs a savory odor blown,
  580. Grateful to appetite, more pleased my sense
  581. Than smell of sweetest fennel, or the teats
  582. Of ewe or goat dropping with milk at even,
  583. Unsucked of lamb or kid, that tend their play.
  584. To satisfy the sharp desire I had
  585. Of tasting those fair apples, I resolved
  586. Not to defer; hunger and thirst at once,
  587. Powerful persuaders, quickened at the scent
  588. Of that alluring fruit, urged me so keen.
  589. About the mossy trunk I wound me soon;
  590. For, high from ground, the branches would require
  591. Thy utmost reach or Adam's: Round the tree
  592. All other beasts that saw, with like desire
  593. Longing and envying stood, but could not reach.
  594. Amid the tree now got, where plenty hung
  595. Tempting so nigh, to pluck and eat my fill
  596. I spared not; for, such pleasure till that hour,
  597. At feed or fountain, never had I found.
  598. Sated at length, ere long I might perceive
  599. Strange alteration in me, to degree
  600. Of reason in my inward powers; and speech
  601. Wanted not long; though to this shape retained.
  602. Thenceforth to speculations high or deep
  603. I turned my thoughts, and with capacious mind
  604. Considered all things visible in Heaven,
  605. Or Earth, or Middle; all things fair and good:
  606. But all that fair and good in thy divine
  607. Semblance, and in thy beauty's heavenly ray,
  608. United I beheld; no fair to thine
  609. Equivalent or second, which compelled
  610. Me thus, though importune perhaps, to come
  611. And gaze, and worship thee of right declared
  612. Sovereign of creatures, universal dame!
  613. So talked the spirited sly snake; and Eve,
  614. Yet more amazed, unwary thus replied.
  615. Serpent, thy overpraising leaves in doubt
  616. The virtue of that fruit, in thee first proved:
  617. But say, where grows the tree? from hence how far?
  618. For many are the trees of God that grow
  619. In Paradise, and various, yet unknown
  620. To us; in such abundance lies our choice,
  621. As leaves a greater store of fruit untouched,
  622. Still hanging incorruptible, till men
  623. Grow up to their provision, and more hands
  624. Help to disburden Nature of her birth.
  625. To whom the wily adder, blithe and glad.
  626. Empress, the way is ready, and not long;
  627. Beyond a row of myrtles, on a flat,
  628. Fast by a fountain, one small thicket past
  629. Of blowing myrrh and balm: if thou accept
  630. My conduct, I can bring thee thither soon
  631. Lead then, said Eve. He, leading, swiftly rolled
  632. In tangles, and made intricate seem straight,
  633. To mischief swift. Hope elevates, and joy
  634. Brightens his crest; as when a wandering fire,
  635. Compact of unctuous vapor, which the night
  636. Condenses, and the cold environs round,
  637. Kindled through agitation to a flame,
  638. Which oft, they say, some evil Spirit attends,
  639. Hovering and blazing with delusive light,
  640. Misleads the amazed night-wanderer from his way
  641. To bogs and mires, and oft through pond or pool;
  642. There swallowed up and lost, from succor far.
  643. So glistered the dire Snake, and into fraud
  644. Led Eve, our credulous mother, to the tree
  645. Of prohibition, root of all our woe;
  646. Which when she saw, thus to her guide she spake.
  647. Serpent, we might have spared our coming hither,
  648. Fruitless to me, though fruit be here to excess,
  649. The credit of whose virtue rest with thee;
  650. Wondrous indeed, if cause of such effects.
  651. But of this tree we may not taste nor touch;
  652. God so commanded, and left that command
  653. Sole daughter of his voice; the rest, we live
  654. Law to ourselves; our reason is our law.
  655. To whom the Tempter guilefully replied.
  656. Indeed! Hath God then said that of the fruit
  657. Of all these garden trees ye shall not eat,
  658. Yet Lords declared of all in earth or air?
  659. To whom thus Eve, yet sinless. Of the fruit
  660. Of each tree in the garden we may eat;
  661. But of the fruit of this fair tree amidst
  662. The garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat
  663. Thereof, nor shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
  664. She scarce had said, though brief, when now more bold
  665. The Tempter, but with show of zeal and love
  666. To Man, and indignation at his wrong,
  667. New part puts on; and, as to passion moved,
  668. Fluctuates disturbed, yet comely and in act
  669. Raised, as of some great matter to begin.
  670. As when of old some orator renowned,
  671. In Athens or free Rome, where eloquence
  672. Flourished, since mute, to some great cause addressed,
  673. Stood in himself collected; while each part,
  674. Motion, each act, won audience ere the tongue;
  675. Sometimes in heighth began, as no delay
  676. Of preface brooking, through his zeal of right:
  677. So standing, moving, or to heighth up grown,
  678. The Tempter, all impassioned, thus began.
  679. Oh sacred, wise, and wisdom-giving Plant,
  680. Mother of science, now I feel thy power
  681. Within me clear; not only to discern
  682. Things in their causes, but to trace the ways
  683. Of highest agents, deemed however wise.
  684. Queen of this universe, do not believe
  685. Those rigid threats of death: ye shall not die:
  686. How should you? by the fruit? it gives you life
  687. To knowledge; by the threatener? look on me,
  688. Me, who have touched and tasted; yet both live,
  689. And life more perfect have attained than Fate
  690. Meant me, by venturing higher than my lot.
  691. Shall that be shut to Man, which to the Beast
  692. Is open? or will God incense his ire
  693. For such a petty trespass? and not praise
  694. Rather your dauntless virtue, whom the pain
  695. Of death denounced, whatever thing death be,
  696. Deterred not from achieving what might lead
  697. To happier life, knowledge of good and evil;
  698. Of good, how just? of evil, if what is evil
  699. Be real, why not known, since easier shunned?
  700. God therefore cannot hurt ye, and be just;
  701. Not just, not God; not feared then, nor obeyed:
  702. Your fear itself of death removes the fear.
  703. Why then was this forbid? Why, but to awe;
  704. Why, but to keep ye low and ignorant,
  705. His worshippers? He knows that in the day
  706. Ye eat thereof, your eyes that seem so clear,
  707. Yet are but dim, shall perfectly be then
  708. Opened and cleared, and ye shall be as Gods,
  709. Knowing both good and evil, as they know.
  710. That ye shall be as Gods, since I as Man,
  711. Internal Man, is but proportion meet;
  712. I, of brute, human; ye, of human, Gods.
  713. So ye shall die perhaps, by putting off
  714. Human, to put on Gods; death to be wished,
  715. Though threatened, which no worse than this can bring.
  716. And what are Gods, that man may not become
  717. As they, participating God-like food?
  718. The Gods are first, and that advantage use
  719. On our belief, that all from them proceeds:
  720. I question it; for this fair earth I see,
  721. Warmed by the sun, producing every kind;
  722. Them, nothing: if they all things, who enclosed
  723. Knowledge of good and evil in this tree,
  724. That whoso eats thereof, forthwith attains
  725. Wisdom without their leave? and wherein lies
  726. The offence, that man should thus attain to know?
  727. What can your knowledge hurt him, or this tree
  728. Impart against his will, if all be his?
  729. Or is it envy? and can envy dwell
  730. In heavenly breasts? These, these, and many more
  731. Causes import your need of this fair fruit.
  732. Goddess humane, reach then, and freely taste.
  733. He ended; and his words, replete with guile,
  734. Into her heart too easy entrance won:
  735. Fixed on the fruit she gazed, which to behold
  736. Might tempt alone; and in her ears the sound
  737. Yet rung of his persuasive words, impregned
  738. With reason, to her seeming, and with truth:
  739. Mean while the hour of noon drew on, and waked
  740. An eager appetite, raised by the smell
  741. So savory of that fruit, which with desire,
  742. Inclinable now grown to touch or taste,
  743. Solicited her longing eye; yet first
  744. Pausing a while, thus to herself she mused.
  745. Great are thy virtues, doubtless, best of fruits,
  746. Though kept from man, and worthy to be admired;
  747. Whose taste, too long forborne, at first assay
  748. Gave elocution to the mute, and taught
  749. The tongue not made for speech to speak thy praise:
  750. Thy praise he also, who forbids thy use,
  751. Conceals not from us, naming thee the tree
  752. Of knowledge, knowledge both of good and evil;
  753. Forbids us then to taste, but his forbidding
  754. Commends thee more, while it infers the good
  755. By thee communicated, and our want:
  756. For good unknown sure is not had; or, had
  757. And yet unknown, is as not had at all.
  758. In plain then, what forbids he but to know,
  759. Forbids us good, forbids us to be wise?
  760. Such prohibitions bind not. But, if death
  761. Bind us with after-bands, what profits then
  762. Our inward freedom? In the day we eat
  763. Of this fair fruit, our doom is, we shall die.
  764. How dies the serpent? he hath eaten and lives,
  765. And knows, and speaks, and reasons, and discerns,
  766. Irrational till then. For us alone
  767. Was death invented? or to us denied
  768. This intellectual food, for beasts reserved?
  769. For beasts it seems: yet that one beast which first
  770. Hath tasted envies not, but brings with joy
  771. The good befallen him, author unsuspect,
  772. Friendly to man, far from deceit or guile.
  773. What fear I then? rather, what know to fear
  774. Under this ignorance of good and evil,
  775. Of God or death, of law or penalty?
  776. Here grows the cure of all, this fruit divine,
  777. Fair to the eye, inviting to the taste,
  778. Of virtue to make wise: What hinders then
  779. To reach, and feed at once both body and mind?
  780. So saying, her rash hand in evil hour
  781. Forth reaching to the fruit, she plucked, she ate.
  782. Earth felt the wound; and nature from her seat,
  783. Sighing through all her works, gave signs of woe,
  784. That all was lost. Back to the thicket slunk
  785. The guilty serpent; and well might; for Eve,
  786. Intent now wholly on her taste, naught else
  787. Regarded; such delight till then, as seemed,
  788. In fruit she never tasted, whether true
  789. Or fancied so, through expectation high
  790. Of knowledge; not was Godhead from her thought.
  791. Greedily she ingorged without restraint,
  792. And knew not eating death: Satiate at length,
  793. And heightened as with wine, jocund and boon,
  794. Thus to herself she pleasingly began.
  795. Oh sovereign, virtuous, precious of all trees
  796. In Paradise! of operation blest
  797. To sapience, hitherto obscured, infamed.
  798. And thy fair fruit let hang, as to no end
  799. Created; but henceforth my early care,
  800. Not without song, each morning, and due praise,
  801. Shall tend thee, and the fertile burden ease
  802. Of thy full branches offered free to all;
  803. Till, dieted by thee, I grow mature
  804. In knowledge, as the Gods, who all things know;
  805. Though others envy what they cannot give:
  806. For, had the gift been theirs, it had not here
  807. Thus grown. Experience, next, to thee I owe,
  808. Best guide; not following thee, I had remained
  809. In ignorance; thou openest wisdom's way,
  810. And givest access, though secret she retire.
  811. And I perhaps am secret: Heaven is high,
  812. High, and remote to see from thence distinct
  813. Each thing on Earth; and other care perhaps
  814. May have diverted from continual watch
  815. Our great Forbidder, safe with all his spies
  816. About him. But to Adam in what sort
  817. Shall I appear? shall I to him make known
  818. As yet my change, and give him to partake
  819. Full happiness with me, or rather not,
  820. But keeps the odds of knowledge in my power
  821. Without copartner? so to add what wants
  822. In female sex, the more to draw his love,
  823. And render me more equal; and perhaps,
  824. A thing not undesirable, sometime
  825. Superior; for, inferior, who is free
  826. This may be well: But what if God have seen,
  827. And death ensue? then I shall be no more,
  828. And Adam, wedded to another Eve,
  829. Shall live with her enjoying, I extinct;
  830. A death to think! Confirmed then I resolve,
  831. Adam shall share with me in bliss or woe:
  832. So dear I love him, that with him all deaths
  833. I could endure, without him live no life.
  834. So saying, from the tree her step she turned;
  835. But first low reverence done, as to the Power
  836. That dwelt within, whose presence had infused
  837. Into the plant sciential sap, derived
  838. From nectar, drink of Gods. Adam the while,
  839. Waiting desirous her return, had wove
  840. Of choicest flowers a garland, to adorn
  841. Her tresses, and her rural labors crown;
  842. As reapers oft are wont their harvest-queen.
  843. Great joy he promised to his thoughts, and new
  844. Solace in her return, so long delayed:
  845. Yet oft his heart, divine of something ill,
  846. Misgave him; he the faltering measure felt;
  847. And forth to meet her went, the way she took
  848. That morn when first they parted: by the tree
  849. Of knowledge he must pass; there he her met,
  850. Scarce from the tree returning; in her hand
  851. A bough of fairest fruit, that downy smiled,
  852. New gathered, and ambrosial smell diffused.
  853. To him she hasted; in her face excuse
  854. Came prologue, and apology too prompt;
  855. Which, with bland words at will, she thus addressed.
  856. Hast thou not wondered, Adam, at my stay?
  857. Thee I have missed, and thought it long, deprived
  858. Thy presence; agony of love till now
  859. Not felt, nor shall be twice; for never more
  860. Mean I to try, what rash untried I sought,
  861. The pain of absence from thy sight. But strange
  862. Hath been the cause, and wonderful to hear:
  863. This tree is not, as we are told, a tree
  864. Of danger tasted, nor to evil unknown
  865. Opening the way, but of divine effect
  866. To open eyes, and make them Gods who taste;
  867. And hath been tasted such: The serpent wise,
  868. Or not restrained as we, or not obeying,
  869. Hath eaten of the fruit; and is become,
  870. Not dead, as we are threatened, but thenceforth
  871. Endued with human voice and human sense,
  872. Reasoning to admiration; and with me
  873. Persuasively hath so prevailed, that I
  874. Have also tasted, and have also found
  875. The effects to correspond; opener mine eyes,
  876. Dim erst, dilated spirits, ampler heart,
  877. And growing up to Godhead; which for thee
  878. Chiefly I sought, without thee can despise.
  879. For bliss, as thou hast part, to me is bliss;
  880. Tedious, unshared with thee, and odious soon.
  881. Thou therefore also taste, that equal lot
  882. May join us, equal joy, as equal love;
  883. Lest, thou not tasting, different degree
  884. Disjoin us, and I then too late renounce
  885. Deity for thee, when Fate will not permit.
  886. Thus Eve with countenance blithe her story told;
  887. But in her cheek distemper flushing glowed.
  888. On the other side Adam, soon as he heard
  889. The fatal trespass done by Eve, amazed,
  890. Astonied stood and blank, while horror chill
  891. Ran through his veins, and all his joints relaxed;
  892. From his slack hand the garland wreathed for Eve
  893. Down dropt, and all the faded roses shed:
  894. Speechless he stood and pale, till thus at length
  895. First to himself he inward silence broke.
  896. Oh fairest of creation, last and best
  897. Of all God's works, Creature in whom excelled
  898. Whatever can to sight or thought be formed,
  899. Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet,
  900. How art thou lost! how on a sudden lost,
  901. Defaced, deflowered, and now to death devote!
  902. Rather, how hast thou yielded to transgress
  903. The strict forbiddance, how to violate
  904. The sacred fruit forbidden? Some cursed fraud
  905. Of enemy hath beguiled thee, yet unknown,
  906. And me with thee hath ruined; for with thee
  907. Certain my resolution is to die:
  908. How can I live without thee? how forego
  909. Thy sweet converse, and love so dearly joined,
  910. To live again in these wild woods forlorn?
  911. Should God create another Eve, and I
  912. Another rib afford, yet loss of thee
  913. Would never from my heart. No, no! I feel
  914. The link of nature draw me: flesh of flesh,
  915. Bone of my bone thou art, and from thy state
  916. Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe.
  917. So having said, as one from sad dismay
  918. Recomforted, and after thoughts disturbed
  919. Submitting to what seemed remediless,
  920. Thus in calm mood his words to Eve he turned.
  921. Bold deed thou hast presumed, adventurous Eve,
  922. And peril great provoked, who thus hast dared,
  923. Had it been only coveting to eye
  924. That sacred fruit, sacred to abstinence,
  925. Much more to taste it under ban to touch.
  926. But past who can recall, or done undo?
  927. Not God Omnipotent, nor Fate; yet so
  928. Perhaps thou shalt not die, perhaps the fact
  929. Is not so heinous now, foretasted fruit,
  930. Profaned first by the serpent, by him first
  931. Made common, and unhallowed, ere our taste;
  932. Nor yet on him found deadly; yet he lives;
  933. Lives, as thou saidst, and gains to live, as Man,
  934. Higher degree of life; inducement strong
  935. To us, as likely tasting to attain
  936. Proportional ascent; which cannot be
  937. But to be gods, or angels, demigods.
  938. Nor can I think that God, Creator wise,
  939. Though threatening, will in earnest so destroy
  940. Us his prime creatures, dignified so high,
  941. Set over all his works; which in our fall,
  942. For us created, needs with us must fail,
  943. Dependant made; so God shall uncreate,
  944. Be frustrate, do, undo, and labor lose;
  945. Not well conceived of God, who, though his power
  946. Creation could repeat, yet would be loath
  947. Us to abolish, lest the Adversary
  948. Triumph, and say; Fickle their state whom God
  949. Most favors; who can please him long? Me first
  950. He ruined, now Mankind; whom will he next?
  951. Matter of scorn, not to be given the Foe.
  952. However I with thee have fixed my lot,
  953. Certain to undergo like doom: If death
  954. Consort with thee, death is to me as life;
  955. So forcible within my heart I feel
  956. The bond of Nature draw me to my own;
  957. My own in thee, for what thou art is mine;
  958. Our state cannot be severed; we are one,
  959. One flesh; to lose thee were to lose myself.
  960. So Adam; and thus Eve to him replied.
  961. Oh glorious trial of exceeding love,
  962. Illustrious evidence, example high!
  963. Engaging me to emulate; but, short
  964. Of thy perfection, how shall I attain,
  965. Adam, from whose dear side I boast me sprung,
  966. And gladly of our union hear thee speak,
  967. One heart, one soul in both; whereof good proof
  968. This day affords, declaring thee resolved,
  969. Rather than death, or aught than death more dread,
  970. Shall separate us, linked in love so dear,
  971. To undergo with me one guilt, one crime,
  972. If any be, of tasting this fair fruit;
  973. Whose virtue for of good still good proceeds,
  974. Direct, or by occasion, hath presented
  975. This happy trial of thy love, which else
  976. So eminently never had been known?
  977. Were it I thought death menaced would ensue
  978. This my attempt, I would sustain alone
  979. The worst, and not persuade thee, rather die
  980. Deserted, than oblige thee with a fact
  981. Pernicious to thy peace; chiefly assured
  982. Remarkably so late of thy so true,
  983. So faithful, love unequalled: but I feel
  984. Far otherwise the event; not death, but life
  985. Augmented, opened eyes, new hopes, new joys,
  986. Taste so divine, that what of sweet before
  987. Hath touched my sense, flat seems to this, and harsh.
  988. On my experience, Adam, freely taste,
  989. And fear of death deliver to the winds.
  990. So saying, she embraced him, and for joy
  991. Tenderly wept; much won, that he his love
  992. Had so ennobled, as of choice to incur
  993. Divine displeasure for her sake, or death.
  994. In recompense for such compliance bad
  995. Such recompense best merits from the bough
  996. She gave him of that fair enticing fruit
  997. With liberal hand: he scrupled not to eat,
  998. Against his better knowledge; not deceived,
  999. But fondly overcome with female charm.
  1000. Earth trembled from her entrails, as again
  1001. In pangs; and Nature gave a second groan;
  1002. Sky lowered; and, muttering thunder, some sad drops
  1003. Wept at completing of the mortal sin
  1004. Original: while Adam took no thought,
  1005. Eating his fill; nor Eve to iterate
  1006. Her former trespass feared, the more to sooth
  1007. Him with her loved society; that now,
  1008. As with new wine intoxicated both,
  1009. They swim in mirth, and fancy that they feel
  1010. Divinity within them breeding wings,
  1011. Wherewith to scorn the earth: But that false fruit
  1012. Far other operation first displayed,
  1013. Carnal desire inflaming; he on Eve
  1014. Began to cast lascivious eyes; she him
  1015. As wantonly repaid; in lust they burn:
  1016. Till Adam thus 'gan Eve to dalliance move.
  1017. Eve, now I see thou art exact of taste,
  1018. And elegant, of sapience no small part;
  1019. Since to each meaning savor we apply,
  1020. And palate call judicious; I the praise
  1021. Yield thee, so well this day thou hast purveyed.
  1022. Much pleasure we have lost, while we abstained
  1023. From this delightful fruit, nor known till now
  1024. True relish, tasting; if such pleasure be
  1025. In things to us forbidden, it might be wished,
  1026. For this one tree had been forbidden ten.
  1027. But come, so well refreshed, now let us play,
  1028. As meet is, after such delicious fare;
  1029. For never did thy beauty, since the day
  1030. I saw thee first and wedded thee, adorned
  1031. With all perfections, so inflame my sense
  1032. With ardor to enjoy thee, fairer now
  1033. Than ever; bounty of this virtuous tree.
  1034. So said he, and forbore not glance or toy
  1035. Of amorous intent; well understood
  1036. Of Eve, whose eye darted contagious fire.
  1037. Her hand he seized; and to a shady bank,
  1038. Thick over-head with verdant roof imbowered,
  1039. He led her nothing loath; flowers were the couch,
  1040. Pansies, and violets, and asphodel,
  1041. And hyacinth; Earth's freshest softest lap.
  1042. There they their fill of love and love's disport
  1043. Took largely, of their mutual guilt the seal,
  1044. The solace of their sin; till dewy sleep
  1045. Oppressed them, wearied with their amorous play,
  1046. Soon as the force of that fallacious fruit,
  1047. That with exhilarating vapor bland
  1048. About their spirits had played, and inmost powers
  1049. Made err, was now exhaled; and grosser sleep,
  1050. Bred of unkindly fumes, with conscious dreams
  1051. Incumbered, now had left them; up they rose
  1052. As from unrest; and, each the other viewing,
  1053. Soon found their eyes how opened, and their minds
  1054. How darkened; innocence, that as a veil
  1055. Had shadowed them from knowing ill, was gone;
  1056. Just confidence, and native righteousness,
  1057. And honor, from about them, naked left
  1058. To guilty Shame; he covered, but his robe
  1059. Uncovered more. So rose the Danite strong,
  1060. Herculean Samson, from the harlot-lap
  1061. Of Philistine Delilah, and waked
  1062. Shorn of his strength. They destitute and bare
  1063. Of all their virtue: Silent, and in face
  1064. Confounded, long they sat, as strucken mute:
  1065. Till Adam, though not less than Eve abashed,
  1066. At length gave utterance to these words constrained.
  1067. Oh Eve, in evil hour thou didst give ear
  1068. To that false worm, of whomsoever taught
  1069. To counterfeit Man's voice; true in our fall,
  1070. False in our promised rising; since our eyes
  1071. Opened we find indeed, and find we know
  1072. Both good and evil; good lost, and evil got;
  1073. Bad fruit of knowledge, if this be to know;
  1074. Which leaves us naked thus, of honor void,
  1075. Of innocence, of faith, of purity,
  1076. Our wonted ornaments now soiled and stained,
  1077. And in our faces evident the signs
  1078. Of foul concupiscence; whence evil store;
  1079. Even shame, the last of evils; of the first
  1080. Be sure then. How shall I behold the face
  1081. Henceforth of God or angel, erst with joy
  1082. And rapture so oft beheld? Those heavenly shapes
  1083. Will dazzle now this earthly with their blaze
  1084. Insufferably bright. Oh might I here
  1085. In solitude live savage; in some glade
  1086. Obscured, where highest woods, impenetrable
  1087. To star or sun-light, spread their umbrage broad
  1088. And brown as evening: Cover me, ye Pines,
  1089. Ye Cedars, with innumerable boughs
  1090. Hide me, where I may never see them more.
  1091. But let us now, as in bad plight, devise
  1092. What best may for the present serve to hide
  1093. The parts of each from other, that seem most
  1094. To shame obnoxious, and unseemliest seen;
  1095. Some tree, whose broad smooth leaves together sewed,
  1096. And girded on our loins, may cover round
  1097. Those middle parts; that this new comer, Shame,
  1098. There sit not, and reproach us as unclean.
  1099. So counseled he, and both together went
  1100. Into the thickest wood; there soon they chose
  1101. The fig-tree; not that kind for fruit renowned,
  1102. But such as at this day, to Indians known,
  1103. In Malabar or Decan spreads her arms
  1104. Branching so broad and long, that in the ground
  1105. The bended twigs take root, and daughters grow
  1106. About the mother tree, a pillared shade
  1107. High over-arched, and echoing walks between:
  1108. There oft the Indian herdsman, shunning heat,
  1109. Shelters in cool, and tends his pasturing herds
  1110. At loop-holes cut through thickest shade: Those leaves
  1111. They gathered, broad as Amazonian targe;
  1112. And, with what skill they had, together sewed,
  1113. To gird their waist; vain covering, if to hide
  1114. Their guilt and dreaded shame. Oh, how unlike
  1115. To that first naked glory! Such of late
  1116. Columbus found the American, so girt
  1117. With feathered cincture; naked else, and wild
  1118. Among the trees on isles and woody shores.
  1119. Thus fenced, and, as they thought, their shame in part
  1120. Covered, but not at rest or ease of mind,
  1121. They sat them down to weep; nor only tears
  1122. Rained at their eyes, but high winds worse within
  1123. Began to rise, high passions, anger, hate,
  1124. Mistrust, suspicion, discord; and shook sore
  1125. Their inward state of mind, calm region once
  1126. And full of peace, now tossed and turbulent:
  1127. For Understanding ruled not, and the Will
  1128. Heard not her lore; both in subjection now
  1129. To sensual Appetite, who from beneath
  1130. Usurping over sovereign Reason claimed
  1131. Superior sway: From thus distempered breast,
  1132. Adam, estranged in look and altered style,
  1133. Speech intermitted thus to Eve renewed.
  1134. Would thou hadst hearkened to my words, and staid
  1135. With me, as I besought thee, when that strange
  1136. Desire of wandering, this unhappy morn,
  1137. I know not whence possessed thee; we had then
  1138. Remained still happy; not, as now, despoiled
  1139. Of all our good; shamed, naked, miserable.
  1140. Let none henceforth seek needless cause to approve
  1141. The faith they owe; when earnestly they seek
  1142. Such proof, conclude, they then begin to fail.
  1143. To whom, soon moved with touch of blame, thus Eve.
  1144. What words have passed thy lips, Adam severe!
  1145. Imputest thou that to my default, or will
  1146. Of wandering, as thou callest it, which who knows
  1147. But might as ill have happened thou being by,
  1148. Or to thyself perhaps? Hadst thou been there,
  1149. Or here the attempt, thou couldst not have discerned
  1150. Fraud in the Serpent, speaking as he spake;
  1151. No ground of enmity between us known,
  1152. Why he should mean me ill, or seek to harm.
  1153. Was I to have never parted from thy side?
  1154. As good have grown there still a lifeless rib.
  1155. Being as I am, why didst not thou, the head,
  1156. Command me absolutely not to go,
  1157. Going into such danger, as thou saidst?
  1158. Too facile then, thou didst not much gainsay;
  1159. Nay, didst permit, approve, and fair dismiss.
  1160. Hadst thou been firm and fixed in thy dissent,
  1161. Neither had I transgressed, nor thou with me.
  1162. To whom, then first incensed, Adam replied.
  1163. Is this the love, is this the recompense
  1164. Of mine to thee, ingrateful Eve! expressed
  1165. Immutable, when thou wert lost, not I;
  1166. Who might have lived, and joyed immortal bliss,
  1167. Yet willingly chose rather death with thee?
  1168. And am I now upbraided as the cause
  1169. Of thy transgressing? Not enough severe,
  1170. It seems, in thy restraint: What could I more
  1171. I warned thee, I admonished thee, foretold
  1172. The danger, and the lurking enemy
  1173. That lay in wait; beyond this, had been force;
  1174. And force upon free will hath here no place.
  1175. But confidence then bore thee on; secure
  1176. Either to meet no danger, or to find
  1177. Matter of glorious trial; and perhaps
  1178. I also erred, in overmuch admiring
  1179. What seemed in thee so perfect, that I thought
  1180. No evil durst attempt thee; but I rue
  1181. The error now, which is become my crime,
  1182. And thou the accuser. Thus it shall befall
  1183. Him, who, to worth in women overtrusting,
  1184. Lets her will rule: restraint she will not brook;
  1185. And, left to herself, if evil thence ensue,
  1186. She first his weak indulgence will accuse.
  1187. Thus they in mutual accusation spent
  1188. The fruitless hours, but neither self-condemning;
  1189. And of their vain contest appeared no end.

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  1. Meanwhile the heinous and despiteful act
  2. Of Satan, done in Paradise; and how
  3. He, in the serpent, had perverted Eve,
  4. Her husband she, to taste the fatal fruit,
  5. Was known in Heaven; for what can 'scape the eye
  6. Of God all-seeing, or deceive his heart
  7. Omniscient? who, in all things wise and just,
  8. Hindered not Satan to attempt the mind
  9. Of Man, with strength entire and free will armed,
  10. Complete to have discovered and repulsed
  11. Whatever wiles of foe or seeming friend.
  12. For still they knew, and ought to have still remembered,
  13. The high injunction, not to taste that fruit,
  14. Whoever tempted; which they not obeying,
  15. (Incurred what could they less?) the penalty;
  16. And, manifold in sin, deserved to fall.
  17. Up into Heaven from Paradise in haste
  18. The angelic guards ascended, mute, and sad,
  19. For Man; for of his state by this they knew,
  20. Much wondering how the subtle Fiend had stolen
  21. Entrance unseen. Soon as the unwelcome news
  22. From Earth arrived at Heaven-gate, displeased
  23. All were who heard; dim sadness did not spare
  24. That time celestial visages, yet, mixed
  25. With pity, violated not their bliss.
  26. About the new-arrived, in multitudes
  27. The ethereal people ran, to hear and know
  28. How all befell: They towards the throne supreme,
  29. Accountable, made haste, to make appear,
  30. With righteous plea, their utmost vigilance
  31. And easily approved; when the Most High
  32. Eternal Father, from his secret cloud,
  33. Amidst in thunder uttered thus his voice.
  34. Assembled angels, and ye Powers returned
  35. From unsuccessful charge; be not dismayed,
  36. Nor troubled at these tidings from the earth,
  37. Which your sincerest care could not prevent;
  38. Foretold so lately what would come to pass,
  39. When first this tempter crossed the gulf from Hell.
  40. I told ye then he should prevail, and speed
  41. On his bad errand; man should be seduced,
  42. And flattered out of all, believing lies
  43. Against his Maker; no decree of mine
  44. Concurring to necessitate his fall,
  45. Or touch with lightest moment of impulse
  46. His free will, to her own inclining left
  47. In even scale. But fallen he is; and now
  48. What rests, but that the mortal sentence pass
  49. On his transgression, death denounced that day?
  50. Which he presumes already vain and void,
  51. Because not yet inflicted, as he feared,
  52. By some immediate stroke; but soon shall find
  53. Forbearance no acquittance, ere day end.
  54. Justice shall not return as bounty scorned.
  55. But whom send I to judge them? whom but thee,
  56. Vicegerent Son? To thee I have transferred
  57. All judgment, whether in Heaven, or Earth, or Hell.
  58. Easy it may be seen that I intend
  59. Mercy colleague with justice, sending thee
  60. Man's friend, his Mediator, his designed
  61. Both ransom and Redeemer voluntary,
  62. And destined man himself to judge man fallen.
  63. So spake the Father; and, unfolding bright
  64. Toward the right hand his glory, on the Son
  65. Blazed forth unclouded Deity: He full
  66. Resplendent all his Father manifest
  67. Expressed, and thus divinely answered mild.
  68. Father Eternal, thine is to decree;
  69. Mine, both in Heaven and Earth, to do thy will
  70. Supreme; that thou in me, thy Son beloved,
  71. Mayest ever rest well pleased. I go to judge
  72. On earth these thy transgressors; but thou knowest,
  73. Whoever judged, the worst on me must light,
  74. When time shall be; for so I undertook
  75. Before thee; and, not repenting, this obtain
  76. Of right, that I may mitigate their doom
  77. On me derived; yet I shall temper so
  78. Justice with mercy, as may illustrate most
  79. Them fully satisfied, and thee appease.
  80. Attendance none shall need, nor train, where none
  81. Are to behold the judgment, but the judged,
  82. Those two; the third best absent is condemned,
  83. Convict by flight, and rebel to all law:
  84. Conviction to the serpent none belongs.
  85. Thus saying, from his radiant seat he rose
  86. Of high collateral glory: Him Thrones, and Powers,
  87. Princedoms, and Dominations ministrant,
  88. Accompanied to Heaven-gate; from whence
  89. Eden, and all the coast, in prospect lay.
  90. Down he descended straight; the speed of Gods
  91. Time counts not, though with swiftest minutes winged.
  92. Now was the sun in western cadence low
  93. From noon, and gentle airs, due at their hour,
  94. To fan the earth now waked, and usher in
  95. The evening cool; when he, from wrath more cool,
  96. Came the mild Judge, and Intercessor both,
  97. To sentence Man: The voice of God they heard
  98. Now walking in the garden, by soft winds
  99. Brought to their ears, while day declined; they heard,
  100. And from his presence hid themselves among
  101. The thickest trees, both man and wife; till God,
  102. Approaching, thus to Adam called aloud.
  103. Where art thou, Adam, wont with joy to meet
  104. My coming seen far off? I miss thee here,
  105. Not pleased, thus entertained with solitude,
  106. Where obvious duty ere while appeared unsought:
  107. Or come I less conspicuous, or what change
  108. Absents thee, or what chance detains? Come forth.
  109. He came; and with him Eve, more loath, though first
  110. To offend; discountenanced both, and discomposed;
  111. Love was not in their looks, either to God,
  112. Or to each other; but apparent guilt,
  113. And shame, and perturbation, and despair,
  114. Anger, and obstinacy, and hate, and guile.
  115. Whence Adam, faltering long, thus answered brief.
  116. I heard thee in the garden, and of thy voice
  117. Afraid, being naked, hid myself. To whom
  118. The gracious Judge without revile replied.
  119. My voice thou oft hast heard, and hast not feared,
  120. But still rejoiced; how is it now become
  121. So dreadful to thee? That thou art naked, who
  122. Hath told thee? Hast thou eaten of the tree,
  123. Whereof I gave thee charge thou shouldst not eat?
  124. To whom thus Adam sore beset replied.
  125. Oh Heaven! in evil strait this day I stand
  126. Before my Judge; either to undergo
  127. Myself the total crime, or to accuse
  128. My other self, the partner of my life;
  129. Whose failing, while her faith to me remains,
  130. I should conceal, and not expose to blame
  131. By my complaint: but strict necessity
  132. Subdues me, and calamitous constraint;
  133. Lest on my head both sin and punishment,
  134. However insupportable, be all
  135. Devolved; though should I hold my peace, yet thou
  136. Wouldst easily detect what I conceal.
  137. This Woman, whom thou madest to be my help,
  138. And gavest me as thy perfect gift, so good,
  139. So fit, so acceptable, so divine,
  140. That from her hand I could suspect no ill,
  141. And what she did, whatever in itself,
  142. Her doing seemed to justify the deed;
  143. She gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
  144. To whom the Sovereign Presence thus replied.
  145. Was she thy God, that her thou didst obey
  146. Before his voice? or was she made thy guide,
  147. Superior, or but equal, that to her
  148. Thou didst resign thy manhood, and the place
  149. Wherein God set thee above her made of thee,
  150. And for thee, whose perfection far excelled
  151. Hers in all real dignity? Adorned
  152. She was indeed, and lovely, to attract
  153. Thy love, not thy subjection; and her gifts
  154. Were such, as under government well seemed;
  155. Unseemly to bear rule; which was thy part
  156. And person, hadst thou known thyself aright.
  157. So having said, he thus to Eve in few.
  158. Say, Woman, what is this which thou hast done?
  159. To whom sad Eve, with shame nigh overwhelmed,
  160. Confessing soon, yet not before her Judge
  161. Bold or loquacious, thus abashed replied.
  162. The serpent me beguiled, and I did eat.
  163. Which when the Lord God heard, without delay
  164. To judgment he proceeded on the accused
  165. Serpent, though brute; unable to transfer
  166. The guilt on him, who made him instrument
  167. Of mischief, and polluted from the end
  168. Of his creation; justly then accursed,
  169. As vitiated in nature: More to know
  170. Concerned not Man, (since he no further knew)
  171. Nor altered his offence; yet God at last
  172. To Satan first in sin his doom applied,
  173. Though in mysterious terms, judged as then best:
  174. And on the serpent thus his curse let fall.
  175. Because thou hast done this, thou art accursed
  176. Above all cattle, each beast of the field;
  177. Upon thy belly groveling thou shalt go,
  178. And dust shalt eat all the days of thy life.
  179. Between thee and the woman I will put
  180. Enmity, and between thine and her seed;
  181. Her seed shall bruise thy head, thou bruise his heel.
  182. So spake this oracle, then verified
  183. When Jesus, Son of Mary, second Eve,
  184. Saw Satan fall, like lightning, down from Heaven,
  185. Prince of the air; then, rising from his grave
  186. Spoiled Principalities and Powers, triumphed
  187. In open show; and, with ascension bright,
  188. Captivity led captive through the air,
  189. The realm itself of Satan, long usurped;
  190. Whom he shall tread at last under our feet;
  191. Even he, who now foretold his fatal bruise;
  192. And to the Woman thus his sentence turned.
  193. Thy sorrow I will greatly multiply
  194. By thy conception; children thou shalt bring
  195. In sorrow forth; and to thy husband's will
  196. Thine shall submit; he over thee shall rule.
  197. On Adam last thus judgment he pronounced.
  198. Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife,
  199. And eaten of the tree, concerning which
  200. I charged thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat thereof:
  201. Cursed is the ground for thy sake; thou in sorrow
  202. Shalt eat thereof, all the days of thy life;
  203. Thorns also and thistles it shall bring thee forth
  204. Unbid; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
  205. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,
  206. Till thou return unto the ground; for thou
  207. Out of the ground wast taken, know thy birth,
  208. For dust thou art, and shalt to dust return.
  209. So judged he man, both Judge and Savior sent;
  210. And the instant stroke of death, denounced that day,
  211. Removed far off; then, pitying how they stood
  212. Before him naked to the air, that now
  213. Must suffer change, disdained not to begin
  214. Thenceforth the form of servant to assume;
  215. As when he washed his servants feet; so now,
  216. As father of his family, he clad
  217. Their nakedness with skins of beasts, or slain,
  218. Or as the snake with youthful coat repaid;
  219. And thought not much to clothe his enemies;
  220. Nor he their outward only with the skins
  221. Of beasts, but inward nakedness, much more.
  222. Opprobrious, with his robe of righteousness,
  223. Arraying, covered from his Father's sight.
  224. To him with swift ascent he up returned,
  225. Into his blissful bosom reassumed
  226. In glory, as of old; to him appeased
  227. All, though all-knowing, what had passed with man
  228. Recounted, mixing intercession sweet.
  229. Mean while, ere thus was sinned and judged on Earth,
  230. Within the gates of Hell sat Sin and Death,
  231. In counterview within the gates, that now
  232. Stood open wide, belching outrageous flame
  233. Far into chaos, since the fiend passed through,
  234. Sin opening; who thus now to Death began.
  235. Oh Son, why sit we here each other viewing
  236. Idly, while Satan, our great author, thrives
  237. In other worlds, and happier seat provides
  238. For us, his offspring dear? It cannot be
  239. But that success attends him; if mishap,
  240. Ere this he had returned, with fury driven
  241. By his avengers; since no place like this
  242. Can fit his punishment, or their revenge.
  243. Methinks I feel new strength within me rise,
  244. Wings growing, and dominion given me large
  245. Beyond this deep; whatever draws me on,
  246. Or sympathy, or some connatural force,
  247. Powerful at greatest distance to unite,
  248. With secret amity, things of like kind,
  249. By secretest conveyance. Thou, my shade
  250. Inseparable, must with me along;
  251. For Death from Sin no power can separate.
  252. But, lest the difficulty of passing back
  253. Stay his return perhaps over this gulf
  254. Impassable, impervious; let us try
  255. Adventurous work, yet to thy power and mine
  256. Not unagreeable, to found a path
  257. Over this main from Hell to that new world,
  258. Where Satan now prevails; a monument
  259. Of merit high to all the infernal host,
  260. Easing their passage hence, for intercourse,
  261. Or transmigration, as their lot shall lead.
  262. Nor can I miss the way, so strongly drawn
  263. By this new-felt attraction and instinct.
  264. Whom thus the meager shadow answered soon.
  265. Go, whither fate, and inclination strong,
  266. Leads thee; I shall not lag behind, nor err
  267. The way, thou leading; such a scent I draw
  268. Of carnage, prey innumerable, and taste
  269. The savor of death from all things there that live:
  270. Nor shall I to the work thou enterprisest
  271. Be wanting, but afford thee equal aid.
  272. So saying, with delight he snuffed the smell
  273. Of mortal change on earth. As when a flock
  274. Of ravenous fowl, though many a league remote,
  275. Against the day of battle, to a field,
  276. Where armies lie encamped, come flying, lured
  277. With scent of living carcasses designed
  278. For death, the following day, in bloody fight:
  279. So scented the grim Feature, and upturned
  280. His nostril wide into the murky air;
  281. Sagacious of his quarry from so far.
  282. Then both from out Hell-gates, into the waste
  283. Wide anarchy of Chaos, damp and dark,
  284. Flew diverse; and with power (their power was great)
  285. Hovering upon the waters, what they met
  286. Solid or slimy, as in raging sea
  287. Tossed up and down, together crowded drove,
  288. From each side shoaling towards the mouth of Hell;
  289. As when two polar winds, blowing adverse
  290. Upon the Cronian sea, together drive
  291. Mountains of ice, that stop the imagined way
  292. Beyond Petsora eastward, to the rich
  293. Cathaian coast. The aggregated soil
  294. Death with his mace petrific, cold and dry,
  295. As with a trident, smote; and fixed as firm
  296. As Delos, floating once; the rest his look
  297. Bound with Gorgonian rigor not to move;
  298. And with asphaltic slime, broad as the gate,
  299. Deep to the roots of Hell the gathered beach
  300. They fastened, and the mole immense wrought on
  301. Over the foaming deep high-arched, a bridge
  302. Of length prodigious, joining to the wall
  303. Immoveable of this now fenceless world,
  304. Forfeit to Death; from hence a passage broad,
  305. Smooth, easy, inoffensive, down to Hell.
  306. So, if great things to small may be compared,
  307. Xerxes, the liberty of Greece to yoke,
  308. From Susa, his Memnonian palace high,
  309. Came to the sea: and, over Hellespont
  310. Bridging his way, Europe with Asia joined,
  311. And scourged with many a stroke the indignant waves.
  312. Now had they brought the work by wondrous art
  313. Pontifical, a ridge of pendant rock,
  314. Over the vexed abyss, following the track
  315. Of Satan to the self-same place where he
  316. First lighted from his wing, and landed safe
  317. From out of Chaos, to the outside bare
  318. Of this round world: With pins of adamant
  319. And chains they made all fast, too fast they made
  320. And durable. And now in little space
  321. The confines met of empyrean Heaven,
  322. And of this World; and, on the left hand, Hell
  323. With long reach interposed; three several ways
  324. In sight, to each of these three places led.
  325. And now their way to Earth they had descried,
  326. To Paradise first tending; when, behold,
  327. Satan, in likeness of an angel bright,
  328. Betwixt the Centaur and the Scorpion steering
  329. His zenith, while the sun in Aries rose:
  330. Disguised he came; but those his children dear
  331. Their parent soon discerned, though in disguise.
  332. He, after Eve seduced, unminded slunk
  333. Into the wood fast by; and, changing shape,
  334. To observe the sequel, saw his guileful act
  335. By Eve, though all unweeting, seconded
  336. Upon her husband; saw their shame that sought
  337. Vain covertures; but when he saw descend
  338. The Son of God to judge them, terrified
  339. He fled; not hoping to escape, but shun
  340. The present; fearing, guilty, what his wrath
  341. Might suddenly inflict; that past, returned
  342. By night, and listening where the hapless pair
  343. Sat in their sad discourse, and various plaint,
  344. Thence gathered his own doom; which understood
  345. Not instant, but of future time, with joy
  346. And tidings fraught, to Hell he now returned;
  347. And at the brink of chaos, near the foot
  348. Of this new wondrous pontifice, unhoped
  349. Met, who to meet him came, his offspring dear.
  350. Great joy was at their meeting, and at sight
  351. Of that stupendous bridge his joy increased.
  352. Long he admiring stood, till Sin, his fair
  353. Enchanting daughter, thus the silence broke.
  354. Oh parent, these are thy magnific deeds,
  355. Thy trophies, which thou viewest as not thine own;
  356. Thou art their author, and prime architect:
  357. For I no sooner in my heart divined,
  358. My heart, which by a secret harmony
  359. Still moves with thine, joined in connection sweet,
  360. That thou on earth hadst prospered, which thy looks
  361. Now also evidence, but straight I felt,
  362. Though distant from thee worlds between, yet felt,
  363. That I must after thee, with this thy son;
  364. Such fatal consequence unites us three.
  365. Hell could no longer hold us in our bounds,
  366. Nor this unvoyagable gulf obscure
  367. Detain from following thy illustrious track.
  368. Thou hast achieved our liberty, confined
  369. Within Hell-gates till now; thou us impowered
  370. To fortify thus far, and overlay,
  371. With this portentous bridge, the dark abyss.
  372. Thine now is all this world; thy virtue hath won
  373. What thy hands builded not; thy wisdom gained
  374. With odds what war hath lost, and fully avenged
  375. Our foil in Heaven; here thou shalt monarch reign,
  376. There didst not; there let him still victor sway,
  377. As battle hath adjudged; from this new world
  378. Retiring, by his own doom alienated;
  379. And henceforth monarchy with thee divide
  380. Of all things, parted by the empyreal bounds,
  381. His quadrature, from thy orbicular world;
  382. Or try thee now more dangerous to his throne.
  383. Whom thus the prince of darkness answered glad.
  384. Fair daughter, and thou son and grandchild both;
  385. High proof ye now have given to be the race
  386. Of Satan (for I glory in the name,
  387. Antagonist of Heaven's Almighty King,)
  388. Amply have merited of me, of all
  389. The infernal empire, that so near Heaven's door
  390. Triumphal with triumphal act have met,
  391. Mine, with this glorious work; and made one realm,
  392. Hell and this world, one realm, one continent
  393. Of easy thorough-fare. Therefore, while I
  394. Descend through darkness, on your road with ease,
  395. To my associate powers, them to acquaint
  396. With these successes, and with them rejoice;
  397. You two this way, among these numerous orbs,
  398. All yours, right down to Paradise descend;
  399. There dwell, and reign in bliss; thence on the earth
  400. Dominion exercise and in the air,
  401. Chiefly on man, sole lord of all declared;
  402. Him first make sure your thrall, and lastly kill.
  403. My substitutes I send ye, and create
  404. Plenipotent on earth, of matchless might
  405. Issuing from me: on your joint vigor now
  406. My hold of this new kingdom all depends,
  407. Through Sin to Death exposed by my exploit.
  408. If your joint power prevail, the affairs of Hell
  409. No detriment need fear; go, and be strong.
  410. So saying he dismissed them; they with speed
  411. Their course through thickest constellations held,
  412. Spreading their bane; the blasted stars looked wan,
  413. And planets, planet-struck, real eclipse
  414. Then suffered. The other way Satan went down
  415. The causey to Hell-gate: On either side
  416. Disparted Chaos overbuilt exclaimed,
  417. And with rebounding surge the bars assailed,
  418. That scorned his indignation: Through the gate,
  419. Wide open and unguarded, Satan passed,
  420. And all about found desolate; for those,
  421. Appointed to sit there, had left their charge,
  422. Flown to the upper world; the rest were all
  423. Far to the inland retired, about the walls
  424. Of Pandemonium; city and proud seat
  425. Of Lucifer, so by allusion called
  426. Of that bright star to Satan paragoned;
  427. There kept their watch the legions, while the Grand
  428. In council sat, solicitous what chance
  429. Might intercept their emperor sent; so he
  430. Departing gave command, and they observed.
  431. As when the Tartar from his Russian foe,
  432. By Astracan, over the snowy plains,
  433. Retires; or Bactrin Sophi, from the horns
  434. Of Turkish crescent, leaves all waste beyond
  435. The realm of Aladule, in his retreat
  436. To Taurus or Casbeen: So these, the late
  437. Heaven-banished host, left desert utmost Hell
  438. Many a dark league, reduced in careful watch
  439. Round their metropolis; and now expecting
  440. Each hour their great adventurer, from the search
  441. Of foreign worlds: He through the midst unmarked,
  442. In show plebeian angel militant
  443. Of lowest order, passed; and from the door
  444. Of that Plutonian hall, invisible
  445. Ascended his high throne; which, under state
  446. Of richest texture spread, at the upper end
  447. Was placed in regal luster. Down a while
  448. He sat, and round about him saw unseen:
  449. At last, as from a cloud, his fulgent head
  450. And shape star-bright appeared, or brighter; clad
  451. With what permissive glory since his fall
  452. Was left him, or false glitter: All amazed
  453. At that so sudden blaze the stygian throng
  454. Bent their aspect, and whom they wished beheld,
  455. Their mighty chief returned: loud was the acclaim:
  456. Forth rushed in haste the great consulting peers,
  457. Raised from their dark divan, and with like joy
  458. Congratulant approached him; who with hand
  459. Silence, and with these words attention, won.
  460. Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers;
  461. For in possession such, not only of right,
  462. I call ye, and declare ye now; returned
  463. Successful beyond hope, to lead ye forth
  464. Triumphant out of this infernal pit
  465. Abominable, accursed, the house of woe,
  466. And dungeon of our tyrant: Now possess,
  467. As Lords, a spacious world, to our native Heaven
  468. Little inferior, by my adventure hard
  469. With peril great achieved. Long were to tell
  470. What I have done; what suffered; with what pain
  471. Voyaged the unreal, vast, unbounded deep
  472. Of horrible confusion; over which
  473. By Sin and Death a broad way now is paved,
  474. To expedite your glorious march; but I
  475. Toiled out my uncouth passage, forced to ride
  476. The untractable abyss, plunged in the womb
  477. Of unoriginal night and chaos wild;
  478. That, jealous of their secrets, fiercely opposed
  479. My journey strange, with clamorous uproar
  480. Protesting fate supreme; thence how I found
  481. The new created world, which fame in Heaven
  482. Long had foretold, a fabric wonderful
  483. Of absolute perfection. Therein man
  484. Placed in a Paradise, by our exile
  485. Made happy: Him by fraud I have seduced
  486. From his Creator; and, the more to increase
  487. Your wonder, with an apple; he, thereat
  488. Offended, worth your laughter, hath given up
  489. Both his beloved Man, and all his world,
  490. To Sin and Death a prey, and so to us,
  491. Without our hazard, labor, or alarm;
  492. To range in, and to dwell, and over man
  493. To rule, as over all he should have ruled.
  494. True is, me also he hath judged, or rather
  495. Me not, but the brute serpent in whose shape
  496. Man I deceived: that which to me belongs,
  497. Is enmity which he will put between
  498. Me and mankind; I am to bruise his heel;
  499. His seed, when is not set, shall bruise my head:
  500. A world who would not purchase with a bruise,
  501. Or much more grievous pain? Ye have the account
  502. Of my performance: What remains, ye gods,
  503. But up, and enter now into full bliss?
  504. So having said, a while he stood, expecting
  505. Their universal shout, and high applause,
  506. To fill his ear; when, contrary, he hears
  507. On all sides, from innumerable tongues,
  508. A dismal universal hiss, the sound
  509. Of public scorn; he wondered, but not long
  510. Had leisure, wondering at himself now more,
  511. His visage drawn he felt to sharp and spare;
  512. His arms clung to his ribs; his legs entwining
  513. Each other, till supplanted down he fell
  514. A monstrous serpent on his belly prone,
  515. Reluctant, but in vain; a greater power
  516. Now ruled him, punished in the shape he sinned,
  517. According to his doom: he would have spoke,
  518. But hiss for hiss returned with forked tongue
  519. To forked tongue; for now were all transformed
  520. Alike, to serpents all, as accessories
  521. To his bold riot: Dreadful was the din
  522. Of hissing through the hall, thick swarming now
  523. With complicated monsters head and tail,
  524. Scorpion, and Asp, and Amphisbaena dire,
  525. Cerastes horned, Hydrus, and Elops drear,
  526. And Dipsas; (not so thick swarmed once the soil
  527. Bedropt with blood of Gorgon, or the isle
  528. Ophiusa,) but still greatest he the midst,
  529. Now Dragon grown, larger than whom the sun
  530. Ingendered in the Pythian vale or slime,
  531. Huge Python, and his power no less he seemed
  532. Above the rest still to retain; they all
  533. Him followed, issuing forth to the open field,
  534. Where all yet left of that revolted rout,
  535. Heaven-fallen, in station stood or just array;
  536. Sublime with expectation when to see
  537. In triumph issuing forth their glorious Chief;
  538. They saw, but other sight instead, a crowd
  539. Of ugly serpents; horror on them fell,
  540. And horrid sympathy; for, what they saw,
  541. They felt themselves, now changing; down their arms,
  542. Down fell both spear and shield; down they as fast;
  543. And the dire hiss renewed, and the dire form
  544. Catched, by contagion; like in punishment,
  545. As in their crime. Thus was the applause they meant,
  546. Turned to exploding hiss, triumph to shame
  547. Cast on themselves from their own mouths. There stood
  548. A grove hard by, sprung up with this their change,
  549. His will who reigns above, to aggravate
  550. Their penance, laden with fair fruit, like that
  551. Which grew in Paradise, the bait of Eve
  552. Used by the tempter: on that prospect strange
  553. Their earnest eyes they fixed, imagining
  554. For one forbidden tree a multitude
  555. Now risen, to work them further woe or shame;
  556. Yet, parched with scalding thirst and hunger fierce,
  557. Though to delude them sent, could not abstain;
  558. But on they rolled in heaps, and, up the trees
  559. Climbing, sat thicker than the snaky locks
  560. That curled Megaera: greedily they plucked
  561. The fruitage fair to sight, like that which grew
  562. Near that bituminous lake where Sodom flamed;
  563. This more delusive, not the touch, but taste
  564. Deceived; they, fondly thinking to allay
  565. Their appetite with gust, instead of fruit
  566. Chewed bitter ashes, which the offended taste
  567. With spattering noise rejected: oft they assayed,
  568. Hunger and thirst constraining; drugged as oft,
  569. With hatefullest disrelish writhed their jaws,
  570. With soot and cinders filled; so oft they fell
  571. Into the same illusion, not as man
  572. Whom they triumphed once lapsed. Thus were they plagued
  573. And worn with famine, long and ceaseless hiss,
  574. Till their lost shape, permitted, they resumed;
  575. Yearly enjoined, some say, to undergo,
  576. This annual humbling certain numbered days,
  577. To dash their pride, and joy, for man seduced.
  578. However, some tradition they dispersed
  579. Among the Heathen, of their purchase got,
  580. And fabled how the Serpent, whom they called
  581. Ophion, with Eurynome, the wide
  582. Encroaching Eve perhaps, had first the rule
  583. Of high Olympus; thence by Saturn driven
  584. And Ops, ere yet Dictaean Jove was born.
  585. Meanwhile in Paradise the hellish pair
  586. Too soon arrived; Sin, there in power before,
  587. Once actual; now in body, and to dwell
  588. Habitual habitant; behind her Death,
  589. Close following pace for pace, not mounted yet
  590. On his pale horse: to whom Sin thus began.
  591. Second of Satan sprung, all-conquering Death,
  592. What thinkest thou of our empire now, though earned
  593. With travel difficult, not better far
  594. Than still at Hell's dark threshold to have sat watch,
  595. Unnamed, undreaded, and thyself half starved?
  596. Whom thus the Sin-born monster answered soon.
  597. To me, who with eternal famine pine,
  598. Alike is Hell, or Paradise, or Heaven;
  599. There best, where most with ravine I may meet;
  600. Which here, though plenteous, all too little seems
  601. To stuff this maw, this vast unhide-bound corps.
  602. To whom the incestuous mother thus replied.
  603. Thou therefore on these herbs, and fruits, and flowers,
  604. Feed first; on each beast next, and fish, and fowl;
  605. No homely morsels, and, whatever thing
  606. The scythe of Time mows down, devour unspared;
  607. Till I, in man residing, through the race,
  608. His thoughts, his looks, words, actions, all infect;
  609. And season him thy last and sweetest prey.
  610. This said, they both betook them several ways,
  611. Both to destroy, or unimmortal make
  612. All kinds, and for destruction to mature
  613. Sooner or later; which the Almighty seeing,
  614. From his transcendent seat the saints among,
  615. To those bright orders uttered thus his voice.
  616. See, with what heat these dogs of Hell advance
  617. To waste and havoc yonder world, which I
  618. So fair and good created; and had still
  619. Kept in that state, had not the folly of man
  620. Let in these wasteful furies, who impute
  621. Folly to me; so doth the prince of Hell
  622. And his adherents, that with so much ease
  623. I suffer them to enter and possess
  624. A place so heavenly; and, conniving, seem
  625. To gratify my scornful enemies,
  626. That laugh, as if, transported with some fit
  627. Of passion, I to them had quitted all,
  628. At random yielded up to their misrule;
  629. And know not that I called, and drew them thither,
  630. My hell-hounds, to lick up the draff and filth
  631. Which man's polluting sin with taint hath shed
  632. On what was pure; till, crammed and gorged, nigh burst
  633. With sucked and glutted offal, at one sling
  634. Of thy victorious arm, well-pleasing Son,
  635. Both Sin, and Death, and yawning grave, at last,
  636. Through chaos hurled, obstruct the mouth of Hell
  637. For ever, and seal up his ravenous jaws.
  638. Then Heaven and Earth renewed shall be made pure
  639. To sanctity, that shall receive no stain:
  640. Till then, the curse pronounced on both precedes.
  641. He ended, and the heavenly audience loud
  642. Sung halleluiah, as the sound of seas,
  643. Through multitude that sung: Just are thy ways,
  644. Righteous are thy decrees on all thy works;
  645. Who can extenuate thee? Next, to the Son,
  646. Destined Restorer of mankind, by whom
  647. New Heaven and Earth shall to the ages rise,
  648. Or down from Heaven descend. Such was their song;
  649. While the Creator, calling forth by name
  650. His mighty angels, gave them several charge,
  651. As sorted best with present things. The sun
  652. Had first his precept so to move, so shine,
  653. As might affect the earth with cold and heat
  654. Scarce tolerable; and from the north to call
  655. Decrepit winter; from the south to bring
  656. Solstitial summer's heat. To the blanc moon
  657. Her office they prescribed; to the other five
  658. Their planetary motions, and aspects,
  659. In sextile, square, and trine, and opposite,
  660. Of noxious efficacy, and when to join
  661. In synod unbenign; and taught the fixed
  662. Their influence malignant when to shower,
  663. Which of them rising with the sun, or falling,
  664. Should prove tempestuous: To the winds they set
  665. Their corners, when with bluster to confound
  666. Sea, air, and shore; the thunder when to roll
  667. With terror through the dark aerial hall.
  668. Some say, he bid his angels turn askance
  669. The poles of earth, twice ten degrees and more,
  670. From the sun's axle; they with labor pushed
  671. Oblique the centric globe: Some say, the sun
  672. Was bid turn reins from the equinoctial road
  673. Like distant breadth to Taurus with the seven
  674. Atlantic Sisters, and the Spartan Twins,
  675. Up to the Tropic Crab: thence down amain
  676. By Leo, and the Virgin, and the Scales,
  677. As deep as Capricorn; to bring in change
  678. Of seasons to each clime; else had the spring
  679. Perpetual smiled on earth with vernant flowers,
  680. Equal in days and nights, except to those
  681. Beyond the polar circles; to them day
  682. Had unbenighted shone, while the low sun,
  683. To recompense his distance, in their sight
  684. Had rounded still the horizon, and not known
  685. Or east or west; which had forbid the snow
  686. From cold Estotiland, and south as far
  687. Beneath Magellan. At that tasted fruit
  688. The sun, as from Thyestean banquet, turned
  689. His course intended; else, how had the world
  690. Inhabited, though sinless, more than now,
  691. Avoided pinching cold and scorching heat?
  692. These changes in the Heavens, though slow, produced
  693. Like change on sea and land; sidereal blast,
  694. Vapor, and mist, and exhalation hot,
  695. Corrupt and pestilent: Now from the north
  696. Of Norumbega, and the Samoed shore,
  697. Bursting their brazen dungeon, armed with ice,
  698. And snow, and hail, and stormy gust and flaw,
  699. Boreas, and Caecias, and Argestes loud,
  700. And Thrascias, rend the woods, and seas upturn;
  701. With adverse blast upturns them from the south
  702. Notus, and Afer black with thunderous clouds
  703. From Serraliona; thwart of these, as fierce,
  704. Forth rush the Levant and the Ponent winds,
  705. Eurus and Zephyr, with their lateral noise,
  706. Sirocco and Libecchio. Thus began
  707. Outrage from lifeless things; but Discord first,
  708. Daughter of Sin, among the irrational
  709. Death introduced, through fierce antipathy:
  710. Beast now with beast 'gan war, and fowl with fowl,
  711. And fish with fish; to graze the herb all leaving,
  712. Devoured each other; nor stood much in awe
  713. Of man, but fled him; or, with countenance grim,
  714. Glared on him passing. These were from without
  715. The growing miseries, which Adam saw
  716. Already in part, though hid in gloomiest shade,
  717. To sorrow abandoned, but worse felt within;
  718. And, in a troubled sea of passion tossed,
  719. Thus to disburden sought with sad complaint.
  720. Oh miserable of happy, Is this the end
  721. Of this new glorious world, and me so late
  722. The glory of that glory, who now become
  723. Accursed, of blessed? hide me from the face
  724. Of God, whom to behold was then my heighth
  725. Of happiness! Yet well, if here would end
  726. The misery; I deserved it, and would bear
  727. My own deservings; but this will not serve:
  728. All that I eat or drink, or shall beget,
  729. Is propagated curse. Oh voice, once heard
  730. Delightfully, Increase and multiply;
  731. Now death to hear, for what can I increase,
  732. Or multiply, but curses on my head?
  733. Who of all ages to succeed, but, feeling
  734. The evil on him brought by me, will curse
  735. My head? Ill fare our ancestor impure,
  736. For this we may thank Adam, but his thanks
  737. Shall be the execration: so, besides
  738. Mine own that bide upon me, all from me
  739. Shall with a fierce reflux on me rebound;
  740. On me, as on their natural center, light
  741. Heavy, though in their place. Oh fleeting joys
  742. Of Paradise, dear bought with lasting woes.
  743. Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
  744. To mould me Man? did I solicit thee
  745. From darkness to promote me, or here place
  746. In this delicious garden? As my will
  747. Concurred not to my being, it were but right
  748. And equal to reduce me to my dust;
  749. Desirous to resign and render back
  750. All I received; unable to perform
  751. Thy terms too hard, by which I was to hold
  752. The good I sought not. To the loss of that,
  753. Sufficient penalty, why hast thou added
  754. The sense of endless woes? Inexplicable
  755. Why am I mocked with death, and lengthened out
  756. To deathless pain? How gladly would I meet
  757. Mortality my sentence, and be earth
  758. Insensible. How glad would lay me down
  759. As in my mother's lap. There I should rest,
  760. And sleep secure; his dreadful voice no more
  761. Would thunder in my ears; no fear of worse
  762. To me, and to my offspring, would torment me
  763. With cruel expectation. Yet one doubt
  764. Pursues me still, lest all I cannot die;
  765. Lest that pure breath of life, the spirit of man
  766. Which God inspired, cannot together perish
  767. With this corporeal clod; then, in the grave,
  768. Or in some other dismal place, who knows
  769. But I shall die a living death? Oh thought
  770. Horrid, if true! Yet why? It was but breath
  771. Of life that sinned; what dies but what had life
  772. And sin? The body properly had neither,
  773. All of me then shall die: let this appease
  774. The doubt, since human reach no further knows.
  775. For though the Lord of all be infinite,
  776. Is his wrath also? Be it, man is not so,
  777. But mortal doomed. How can he exercise
  778. Wrath without end on Man, whom death must end?
  779. Can he make deathless death? That were to make
  780. Strange contradiction, which to God himself
  781. Impossible is held; as argument
  782. Of weakness, not of power. Will he draw out,
  783. For anger's sake, finite to infinite,
  784. In punished Man, to satisfy his rigor,
  785. Satisfied never? That were to extend
  786. His sentence beyond dust and Nature's law;
  787. By which all causes else, according still
  788. To the reception of their matter, act;
  789. Not to the extent of their own sphere. But say
  790. That death be not one stroke, as I supposed,
  791. Bereaving sense, but endless misery
  792. From this day onward; which I feel begun
  793. Both in me, and without me; and so last
  794. To perpetuity; Ay me! that fear
  795. Comes thundering back with dreadful revolution
  796. On my defenseless head; both Death and I
  797. Am found eternal, and incorporate both;
  798. Nor I on my part single; in me all
  799. Posterity stands cursed: Fair patrimony
  800. That I must leave ye, Sons! Oh, were I able
  801. To waste it all myself, and leave ye none!
  802. So disinherited, how would you bless
  803. Me, now your curse. Ah, why should all mankind,
  804. For one man's fault, thus guiltless be condemned,
  805. It guiltless? But from me what can proceed,
  806. But all corrupt; both mind and will depraved
  807. Not to do only, but to will the same
  808. With me? How can they then acquitted stand
  809. In sight of God? Him, after all disputes,
  810. Forced I absolve: all my evasions vain,
  811. And reasonings, though through mazes, lead me still
  812. But to my own conviction: first and last
  813. On me, me only, as the source and spring
  814. Of all corruption, all the blame lights due;
  815. So might the wrath. Fond wish! Couldst thou support
  816. That burden, heavier than the earth to bear;
  817. Than all the world much heavier, though divided
  818. With that bad woman? Thus, what thou desirest,
  819. And what thou fearest, alike destroys all hope
  820. Of refuge, and concludes thee miserable
  821. Beyond all past example and future;
  822. To Satan only like both crime and doom.
  823. Oh Conscience, into what abyss of fears
  824. And horrors hast thou driven me; out of which
  825. I find no way, from deep to deeper plunged!
  826. Thus Adam to himself lamented loud,
  827. Through the still night; not now, as ere man fell,
  828. Wholesome, and cool, and mild, but with black air
  829. Accompanied; with damps, and dreadful gloom;
  830. Which to his evil conscience represented
  831. All things with double terror: On the ground
  832. Outstretched he lay, on the cold ground; and oft
  833. Cursed his creation; Death as oft accused
  834. Of tardy execution, since denounced
  835. The day of his offence. Why comes not Death,
  836. Said he, with one thrice-acceptable stroke
  837. To end me? Shall Truth fail to keep her word,
  838. Justice divine not hasten to be just?
  839. But Death comes not at call; justice divine
  840. Mends not her slowest pace for prayers or cries,
  841. Oh woods, Oh fountains, hillocks, dales, and bowers,
  842. With other echo late I taught your shades
  843. To answer, and resound far other song.
  844. Whom thus afflicted when sad Eve beheld,
  845. Desolate where she sat, approaching nigh,
  846. Soft words to his fierce passion she assayed:
  847. But her with stern regard he thus repelled.
  848. Out of my sight, thou serpent! That name best
  849. Befits thee with him leagued, thyself as false
  850. And hateful; nothing wants, but that thy shape,
  851. Like his, and color serpentine, may show
  852. Thy inward fraud; to warn all creatures from thee
  853. Henceforth; lest that too heavenly form, pretended
  854. To hellish falsehood, snare them! But for thee
  855. I had persisted happy; had not thy pride
  856. And wandering vanity, when least was safe,
  857. Rejected my forewarning, and disdained
  858. Not to be trusted; longing to be seen,
  859. Though by the Devil himself; him overweening
  860. To over-reach; but, with the serpent meeting,
  861. Fooled and beguiled; by him thou, I by thee
  862. To trust thee from my side; imagined wise,
  863. Constant, mature, proof against all assaults;
  864. And understood not all was but a show,
  865. Rather than solid virtue; all but a rib
  866. Crooked by nature, bent, as now appears,
  867. More to the part sinister, from me drawn;
  868. Well if thrown out, as supernumerary
  869. To my just number found. Oh, why did God,
  870. Creator wise, that peopled highest Heaven
  871. With Spirits masculine, create at last
  872. This novelty on earth, this fair defect
  873. Of nature, and not fill the world at once
  874. With men, as angels, without feminine;
  875. Or find some other way to generate
  876. Mankind? This mischief had not been befallen,
  877. And more that shall befall; innumerable
  878. Disturbances on earth through female snares,
  879. And strait conjunction with this sex: for either
  880. He never shall find out fit mate, but such
  881. As some misfortune brings him, or mistake;
  882. Or whom he wishes most shall seldom gain
  883. Through her perverseness, but shall see her gained
  884. By a far worse; or, if she love, withheld
  885. By parents; or his happiest choice too late
  886. Shall meet, already linked and wedlock-bound
  887. To a fell adversary, his hate or shame:
  888. Which infinite calamity shall cause
  889. To human life, and household peace confound.
  890. He added not, and from her turned; but Eve,
  891. Not so repulsed, with tears that ceased not flowing
  892. And tresses all disordered, at his feet
  893. Fell humble; and, embracing them, besought
  894. His peace, and thus proceeded in her plaint.
  895. Forsake me not thus, Adam, witness Heaven
  896. What love sincere, and reverence in my heart
  897. I bear thee, and unweeting have offended,
  898. Unhappily deceived. Thy suppliant
  899. I beg, and clasp thy knees; bereave me not,
  900. Whereon I live, thy gentle looks, thy aid,
  901. Thy counsel, in this uttermost distress,
  902. My only strength and stay: Forlorn of thee,
  903. Whither shall I betake me, where subsist?
  904. While yet we live, scarce one short hour perhaps,
  905. Between us two let there be peace; both joining,
  906. As joined in injuries, one enmity
  907. Against a foe by doom express assigned us,
  908. That cruel Serpent: On me exercise not
  909. Thy hatred for this misery befallen;
  910. On me already lost, me than thyself
  911. More miserable. Both have sinned; but thou
  912. Against God only; I against God and thee;
  913. And to the place of judgment will return,
  914. There with my cries importune Heaven; that all
  915. The sentence, from thy head removed, may light
  916. On me, sole cause to thee of all this woe;
  917. Me, me only, just object of his ire.
  918. She ended weeping; and her lowly plight,
  919. Immoveable, till peace obtained from fault
  920. Acknowledged and deplored, in Adam wrought
  921. Commiseration: Soon his heart relented
  922. Towards her, his life so late, and sole delight,
  923. Now at his feet submissive in distress;
  924. Creature so fair his reconcilement seeking,
  925. His counsel, whom she had displeased, his aid:
  926. As one disarmed, his anger all he lost,
  927. And thus with peaceful words upraised her soon.
  928. Unwary, and too desirous, as before,
  929. So now of what thou knowest not, who desirest
  930. The punishment all on thyself; alas!
  931. Bear thine own first, ill able to sustain
  932. His full wrath, whose thou feelest as yet least part,
  933. And my displeasure bearest so ill. If prayers
  934. Could alter high decrees, I to that place
  935. Would speed before thee, and be louder heard,
  936. That on my head all might be visited;
  937. Thy frailty and infirmer sex forgiven,
  938. To me committed, and by me exposed.
  939. But rise; let us no more contend, nor blame
  940. Each other, blamed enough elsewhere; but strive
  941. In offices of love, how we may lighten
  942. Each other's burden, in our share of woe;
  943. Since this day's death denounced, if aught I see,
  944. Will prove no sudden, but a slow-paced evil;
  945. A long day's dying, to augment our pain;
  946. And to our seed (O hapless seed!) derived.
  947. To whom thus Eve, recovering heart, replied.
  948. Adam, by sad experiment I know
  949. How little weight my words with thee can find,
  950. Found so erroneous; thence by just event
  951. Found so unfortunate: Nevertheless,
  952. Restored by thee, vile as I am, to place
  953. Of new acceptance, hopeful to regain
  954. Thy love, the sole contentment of my heart
  955. Living or dying, from thee I will not hide
  956. What thoughts in my unquiet breast are risen,
  957. Tending to some relief of our extremes,
  958. Or end; though sharp and sad, yet tolerable,
  959. As in our evils, and of easier choice.
  960. If care of our descent perplex us most,
  961. Which must be born to certain woe, devoured
  962. By Death at last; and miserable it is
  963. To be to others cause of misery,
  964. Our own begotten, and of our loins to bring
  965. Into this cursed world a woeful race,
  966. That after wretched life must be at last
  967. Food for so foul a monster; in thy power
  968. It lies, yet ere conception to prevent
  969. The race unblest, to being yet unbegot.
  970. Childless thou art, childless remain: so Death
  971. Shall be deceived his glut, and with us two
  972. Be forced to satisfy his ravenous maw.
  973. But if thou judge it hard and difficult,
  974. Conversing, looking, loving, to abstain
  975. From love's due rights, nuptial embraces sweet;
  976. And with desire to languish without hope,
  977. Before the present object languishing
  978. With like desire; which would be misery
  979. And torment less than none of what we dread;
  980. Then, both ourselves and seed at once to free
  981. From what we fear for both, let us make short,
  982. Let us seek Death; or, he not found, supply
  983. With our own hands his office on ourselves:
  984. Why stand we longer shivering under fears,
  985. That show no end but death, and have the power,
  986. Of many ways to die the shortest choosing,
  987. Destruction with destruction to destroy?
  988. She ended here, or vehement despair
  989. Broke off the rest: so much of death her thoughts
  990. Had entertained, as dyed her cheeks with pale.
  991. But Adam, with such counsel nothing swayed,
  992. To better hopes his more attentive mind
  993. Laboring had raised; and thus to Eve replied.
  994. Eve, thy contempt of life and pleasure seems
  995. To argue in thee something more sublime
  996. And excellent, than what thy mind contemns;
  997. But self-destruction therefore sought, refutes
  998. That excellence thought in thee; and implies,
  999. Not thy contempt, but anguish and regret
  1000. For loss of life and pleasure overloved.
  1001. Or if thou covet death, as utmost end
  1002. Of misery, so thinking to evade
  1003. The penalty pronounced; doubt not but God
  1004. Hath wiselier armed his vengeful ire, than so
  1005. To be forestalled; much more I fear lest death,
  1006. So snatched, will not exempt us from the pain
  1007. We are by doom to pay; rather, such acts
  1008. Of contumacy will provoke the Highest
  1009. To make death in us live: Then let us seek
  1010. Some safer resolution, which methinks
  1011. I have in view, calling to mind with heed
  1012. Part of our sentence, that thy seed shall bruise
  1013. The Serpent's head; piteous amends, unless
  1014. Be meant, whom I conjecture, our grand foe,
  1015. Satan; who, in the serpent, hath contrived
  1016. Against us this deceit: To crush his head
  1017. Would be revenge indeed, which will be lost
  1018. By death brought on ourselves, or childless days
  1019. Resolved, as thou proposest; so our foe
  1020. Shall 'scape his punishment ordained, and we
  1021. Instead shall double ours upon our heads.
  1022. No more be mentioned then of violence
  1023. Against ourselves; and willful barrenness,
  1024. That cuts us off from hope; and savors only
  1025. Rancor and pride, impatience and despite,
  1026. Reluctance against God and his just yoke
  1027. Laid on our necks. Remember with what mild
  1028. And gracious temper he both heard, and judged,
  1029. Without wrath or reviling; we expected
  1030. Immediate dissolution, which we thought
  1031. Was meant by death that day; when lo, to thee
  1032. Pains only in child-bearing were foretold,
  1033. And bringing forth; soon recompensed with joy,
  1034. Fruit of thy womb: On me the curse aslope
  1035. Glanced on the ground; with labor I must earn
  1036. My bread; what harm? Idleness had been worse;
  1037. My labor will sustain me; and, lest cold
  1038. Or heat should injure us, his timely care
  1039. Hath, unbesought, provided; and his hands
  1040. Clothed us unworthy, pitying while he judged;
  1041. How much more, if we pray him, will his ear
  1042. Be open, and his heart to pity incline,
  1043. And teach us further by what means to shun
  1044. The inclement seasons, rain, ice, hail, and snow,
  1045. Which now the sky, with various face, begins
  1046. To show us in this mountain; while the winds
  1047. Blow moist and keen, shattering the graceful locks
  1048. Of these fair spreading trees; which bids us seek
  1049. Some better shroud, some better warmth to cherish
  1050. Our limbs benumbed, ere this diurnal star
  1051. Leave cold the night, how we his gathered beams
  1052. Reflected may with matter sere foment;
  1053. Or, by collision of two bodies, grind
  1054. The air attrite to fire; as late the clouds
  1055. Jostling, or pushed with winds, rude in their shock,
  1056. Tine the slant lightning; whose thwart flame, driven down
  1057. Kindles the gummy bark of fir or pine;
  1058. And sends a comfortable heat from far,
  1059. Which might supply the sun: Such fire to use,
  1060. And what may else be remedy or cure
  1061. To evils which our own misdeeds have wrought,
  1062. He will instruct us praying, and of grace
  1063. Beseeching him; so as we need not fear
  1064. To pass commodiously this life, sustained
  1065. By him with many comforts, till we end
  1066. In dust, our final rest and native home.
  1067. What better can we do, than, to the place
  1068. Repairing where he judged us, prostrate fall
  1069. Before him reverent; and there confess
  1070. Humbly our faults, and pardon beg; with tears
  1071. Watering the ground, and with our sighs the air
  1072. Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign
  1073. Of sorrow unfeigned, and humiliation meek.
  1074. Undoubtedly he will relent and turn
  1075. From his displeasure; in whose look serene,
  1076. When angry most he seemed and most severe,
  1077. What else but favor, grace, and mercy shone?
  1078. So spake our father penitent, nor Eve
  1079. Felt less remorse: they forthwith to the place
  1080. Repairing where he judged them, prostrate fell
  1081. Before him reverent; and there confessed
  1082. Humbly their faults, and pardon begged; with tears
  1083. Watering the ground, and with their sighs the air
  1084. Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign
  1085. Of sorrow unfeigned, and humiliation meek.

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~ BOOK XI ~

  1. Thus they, in lowliest plight, repentant stood
  2. Praying; for from the mercy-seat above
  3. Prevenient grace descending had removed
  4. The stony from their hearts, and made new flesh
  5. Regenerate grow instead; that sighs now breathed
  6. Unutterable; which the Spirit of prayer
  7. Inspired, and winged for Heaven with speedier flight
  8. Than loudest oratory: Yet their port
  9. Not of mean suitors; nor important less
  10. Seemed their petition, than when the ancient pair
  11. In fables old, less ancient yet than these,
  12. Deucalion and chaste Pyrrha, to restore
  13. The race of mankind drowned, before the shrine
  14. Of Themis stood devout. To Heaven their prayers
  15. Flew up, nor missed the way, by envious winds
  16. Blown vagabond or frustrate: in they passed
  17. Dimensionless through heavenly doors; then clad
  18. With incense, where the golden altar fumed,
  19. By their great intercessor, came in sight
  20. Before the Father's throne: them the glad Son
  21. Presenting, thus to intercede began.
  22. See, Father, what first-fruits on earth are sprung
  23. From thy implanted grace in Man; these sighs
  24. And prayers, which in this golden censer mixed
  25. With incense, I thy priest before thee bring;
  26. Fruits of more pleasing savor, from thy seed
  27. Sown with contrition in his heart, than those
  28. Which, his own hand manuring, all the trees
  29. Of Paradise could have produced, ere fallen
  30. From innocence. Now therefore, bend thine ear
  31. To supplication; hear his sighs, though mute;
  32. Unskillful with what words to pray, let me
  33. Interpret for him; me, his advocate
  34. And propitiation; all his works on me,
  35. Good, or not good, ingraft; my merit those
  36. Shall perfect, and for these my death shall pay.
  37. Accept me; and, in me, from these receive
  38. The smell of peace toward mankind: let him live
  39. Before thee reconciled, at least his days
  40. Numbered, though sad; till death, his doom, (which I
  41. To mitigate thus plead, not to reverse,)
  42. To better life shall yield him: where with me
  43. All my redeemed may dwell in joy and bliss;
  44. Made one with me, as I with thee am one.
  45. To whom the Father, without cloud, serene.
  46. All thy request for Man, accepted Son,
  47. Obtain; all thy request was my decree:
  48. But, longer in that Paradise to dwell,
  49. The law I gave to Nature him forbids:
  50. Those pure immortal elements, that know,
  51. No gross, no unharmonious mixture foul,
  52. Eject him, tainted now; and purge him off,
  53. As a distemper, gross, to air as gross,
  54. And mortal food; as may dispose him best
  55. For dissolution wrought by sin, that first
  56. Distempered all things, and of incorrupt
  57. Corrupted. I, at first, with two fair gifts
  58. Created him endowed; with happiness,
  59. And immortality: that fondly lost,
  60. This other served but to eternize woe;
  61. Till I provided death: so death becomes
  62. His final remedy; and, after life,
  63. Tried in sharp tribulation, and refined
  64. By faith and faithful works, to second life,
  65. Waked in the renovation of the just,
  66. Resigns him up with Heaven and Earth renewed.
  67. But let us call to synod all the blest,
  68. Through Heaven's wide bounds: from them I will not hide
  69. My judgments; how with mankind I proceed,
  70. As how with peccant angels late they saw,
  71. And in their state, though firm, stood more confirmed.
  72. He ended, and the Son gave signal high
  73. To the bright minister that watched; he blew
  74. His trumpet, heard in Oreb since perhaps
  75. When God descended, and perhaps once more
  76. To sound at general doom. The angelic blast
  77. Filled all the regions: from their blissful bowers
  78. Of amaranthine shade, fountain or spring,
  79. By the waters of life, where'er they sat
  80. In fellowships of joy, the sons of light
  81. Hasted, resorting to the summons high;
  82. And took their seats; till from his throne supreme
  83. The Almighty thus pronounced his sovereign will.
  84. Oh sons, like one of us man is become
  85. To know both good and evil, since his taste
  86. Of that defended fruit; but let him boast
  87. His knowledge of good lost, and evil got;
  88. Happier had it sufficed him to have known
  89. Good by itself, and evil not at all.
  90. He sorrows now, repents, and prays contrite,
  91. My motions in him; longer than they move,
  92. His heart I know, how variable and vain,
  93. Self-left. Lest therefore his now bolder hand
  94. Reach also of the tree of life, and eat,
  95. And live for ever, dream at least to live
  96. For ever, to remove him I decree,
  97. And send him from the garden forth to till
  98. The ground whence he was taken, fitter soil.
  99. Michael, this my behest have thou in charge;
  100. Take to thee from among the Cherubim
  101. Thy choice of flaming warriors, lest the Fiend,
  102. Or in behalf of Man, or to invade
  103. Vacant possession, some new trouble raise:
  104. Haste thee, and from the Paradise of God
  105. Without remorse drive out the sinful pair;
  106. From hallowed ground the unholy; and denounce
  107. To them, and to their progeny, from thence
  108. Perpetual banishment. Yet, lest they faint
  109. At the sad sentence rigorously urged,
  110. (For I behold them softened, and with tears
  111. Bewailing their excess,) all terror hide.
  112. If patiently thy bidding they obey,
  113. Dismiss them not disconsolate; reveal
  114. To Adam what shall come in future days,
  115. As I shall thee enlighten; intermix
  116. My covenant in the Woman's seed renewed;
  117. So send them forth, though sorrowing, yet in peace:
  118. And on the east side of the garden place,
  119. Where entrance up from Eden easiest climbs,
  120. Cherubic watch; and of a sword the flame
  121. Wide-waving; all approach far off to fright,
  122. And guard all passage to the tree of life:
  123. Lest Paradise a receptacle prove
  124. To Spirits foul, and all my trees their prey;
  125. With whose stolen fruit man once more to delude.
  126. He ceased; and the archangelic power prepared
  127. For swift descent; with him the cohort bright
  128. Of watchful Cherubim: four faces each
  129. Had, like a double Janus; all their shape
  130. Spangled with eyes more numerous than those
  131. Of Argus, and more wakeful than to drowse,
  132. Charmed with Arcadian pipe, the pastoral reed
  133. Of Hermes, or his opiate rod. Mean while,
  134. To re-salute the world with sacred light,
  135. Leucothea waked; and with fresh dews imbalmed
  136. The earth; when Adam and first matron Eve
  137. Had ended now their orisons, and found
  138. Strength added from above; new hope to spring
  139. Out of despair; joy, but with fear yet linked;
  140. Which thus to Eve his welcome words renewed.
  141. Eve, easily may faith admit, that all
  142. The good which we enjoy from Heaven descends;
  143. But, that from us aught should ascend to Heaven
  144. So prevalent as to concern the mind
  145. Of God high-blest, or to incline his will,
  146. Hard to belief may seem; yet this will prayer
  147. Or one short sigh of human breath, upborne
  148. Even to the seat of God. For since I sought
  149. By prayer the offended Deity to appease;
  150. Kneeled, and before him humbled all my heart;
  151. Methought I saw him placable and mild,
  152. Bending his ear; persuasion in me grew
  153. That I was heard with favor; peace returned
  154. Home to my breast, and to my memory
  155. His promise, that thy seed shall bruise our foe;
  156. Which, then not minded in dismay, yet now
  157. Assures me that the bitterness of death
  158. Is past, and we shall live. Whence hail to thee,
  159. Eve rightly called, mother of all mankind,
  160. Mother of all things living, since by thee
  161. Man is to live; and all things live for Man.
  162. To whom thus Eve with sad demeanor meek.
  163. Ill-worthy I such title should belong
  164. To me transgressor; who, for thee ordained
  165. A help, became thy snare; to me reproach
  166. Rather belongs, distrust, and all dispraise:
  167. But infinite in pardon was my Judge,
  168. That I, who first brought death on all, am graced
  169. The source of life; next favorable thou,
  170. Who highly thus to entitle me vouchsaf'st,
  171. Far other name deserving. But the field
  172. To labor calls us, now with sweat imposed,
  173. Though after sleepless night; for see, the morn,
  174. All unconcerned with our unrest, begins
  175. Her rosy progress smiling: let us forth;
  176. I never from thy side henceforth to stray,
  177. Where'er our day's work lies, though now enjoined
  178. Laborious, till day droop; while here we dwell,
  179. What can be toilsome in these pleasant walks?
  180. Here let us live, though in fallen state, content.
  181. So spake, so wished much humbled Eve; but fate
  182. Subscribed not: nature first gave signs, impressed
  183. On bird, beast, air; air suddenly eclipsed,
  184. After short blush of morn; nigh in her sight
  185. The bird of Jove, stooped from his aerie tour,
  186. Two birds of gayest plume before him drove;
  187. Down from a hill the beast that reigns in woods,
  188. First hunter then, pursued a gentle brace,
  189. Goodliest of all the forest, hart and hind;
  190. Direct to the eastern gate was bent their flight.
  191. Adam observed, and with his eye the chase
  192. Pursuing, not unmoved, to Eve thus spake.
  193. Oh Eve, some further change awaits us nigh,
  194. Which Heaven, by these mute signs in Nature, shows
  195. Forerunners of his purpose; or to warn
  196. Us, haply too secure, of our discharge
  197. From penalty, because from death released
  198. Some days: how long, and what till then our life,
  199. Who knows? or more than this, that we are dust,
  200. And thither must return, and be no more?
  201. Why else this double object in our sight
  202. Of flight pursued in the air, and o'er the ground,
  203. One way the self-same hour? why in the east
  204. Darkness ere day's mid-course, and morning-light
  205. More orient in yon western cloud, that draws
  206. O'er the blue firmament a radiant white,
  207. And slow descends with something heavenly fraught?
  208. He erred not; for by this the heavenly bands
  209. Down from a sky of jasper lighted now
  210. In Paradise, and on a hill made halt;
  211. A glorious apparition, had not doubt
  212. And carnal fear that day dimmed Adam's eye.
  213. Not that more glorious, when the angels met
  214. Jacob in Mahanaim, where he saw
  215. The field pavilioned with his guardians bright;
  216. Nor that, which on the flaming mount appeared
  217. In Dothan, covered with a camp of fire,
  218. Against the Syrian king, who to surprise
  219. One man, assassin-like, had levied war,
  220. War unproclaimed. The princely hierarch
  221. In their bright stand there left his powers, to seize
  222. Possession of the garden; he alone,
  223. To find where Adam sheltered, took his way,
  224. Not unperceived of Adam; who to Eve,
  225. While the great visitant approached, thus spake.
  226. Eve, now expect great tidings, which perhaps
  227. Of us will soon determine, or impose
  228. New laws to be observed; for I descry,
  229. From yonder blazing cloud that veils the hill,
  230. One of the heavenly host; and, by his gait,
  231. None of the meanest; some great potentate
  232. Or of the Thrones above; such majesty
  233. Invests him coming, yet not terrible,
  234. That I should fear; nor sociably mild,
  235. As Raphael, that I should much confide;
  236. But solemn and sublime; whom not to offend,
  237. With reverence I must meet, and thou retire.
  238. He ended: and the archangel soon drew nigh,
  239. Not in his shape celestial, but as man
  240. Clad to meet man; over his lucid arms
  241. A military vest of purple flowed,
  242. Livelier than Meliboean, or the grain
  243. Of Sarra, worn by kings and heroes old
  244. In time of truce; Iris had dipped the woof;
  245. His starry helm unbuckled showed him prime
  246. In manhood where youth ended; by his side,
  247. As in a glistering zodiac, hung the sword,
  248. Satan's dire dread; and in his hand the spear.
  249. Adam bowed low; he, kingly, from his state
  250. Inclined not, but his coming thus declared.
  251. Adam, Heaven's high behest no preface needs:
  252. Sufficient that thy prayers are heard; and Death,
  253. Then due by sentence when thou didst transgress,
  254. Defeated of his seizure many days
  255. Given thee of grace; wherein thou mayest repent,
  256. And one bad act with many deeds well done
  257. Mayest cover: Well may then thy Lord, appeased,
  258. Redeem thee quite from Death's rapacious claim;
  259. But longer in this Paradise to dwell
  260. Permits not: to remove thee I am come,
  261. And send thee from the garden forth to till
  262. The ground whence thou wast taken, fitter soil.
  263. He added not; for Adam at the news
  264. Heart-struck with chilling gripe of sorrow stood,
  265. That all his senses bound; Eve, who unseen
  266. Yet all had heard, with audible lament
  267. Discovered soon the place of her retire.
  268. Oh unexpected stroke, worse than of death!
  269. Must I thus leave thee, Paradise? thus leave
  270. Thee, native soil, these happy walks and shades,
  271. Fit haunt of Gods? where I had hope to spend,
  272. Quiet though sad, the respite of that day
  273. That must be mortal to us both. Oh flowers,
  274. That never will in other climate grow,
  275. My early visitation, and my last
  276. At even, which I bred up with tender hand
  277. From the first opening bud, and gave ye names.
  278. Who now shall rear ye to the sun, or rank
  279. Your tribes, and water from the ambrosial fount?
  280. Thee lastly, nuptial bower, by me adorned
  281. With what to sight or smell was sweet, from thee
  282. How shall I part, and whither wander down
  283. Into a lower world; to this obscure
  284. And wild? how shall we breathe in other air
  285. Less pure, accustomed to immortal fruits?
  286. Whom thus the angel interrupted mild.
  287. Lament not, Eve, but patiently resign
  288. What justly thou hast lost, nor set thy heart,
  289. Thus over-fond, on that which is not thine:
  290. Thy going is not lonely; with thee goes
  291. Thy husband; whom to follow thou art bound;
  292. Where he abides, think there thy native soil.
  293. Adam, by this from the cold sudden damp
  294. Recovering, and his scattered spirits returned,
  295. To Michael thus his humble words addressed.
  296. Celestial, whether among the Thrones, or named
  297. Of them the highest; for such of shape may seem
  298. Prince above princes, gently hast thou told
  299. Thy message, which might else in telling wound,
  300. And in performing end us; what besides
  301. Of sorrow, and dejection, and despair,
  302. Our frailty can sustain, thy tidings bring,
  303. Departure from this happy place, our sweet
  304. Recess, and only consolation left
  305. Familiar to our eyes, all places else
  306. Inhospitable appear, and desolate;
  307. Nor knowing us, nor known: And, if by prayer
  308. Incessant I could hope to change the will
  309. Of Him who all things can, I would not cease
  310. To weary him with my assiduous cries:
  311. But prayer against his absolute decree
  312. No more avails than breath against the wind,
  313. Blown stifling back on him that breathes it forth:
  314. Therefore to his great bidding I submit.
  315. This most afflicts me, that, departing hence,
  316. As from his face I shall be hid, deprived
  317. His blessed countenance: Here I could frequent
  318. With worship place by place where he vouchsafed
  319. Presence Divine; and to my sons relate,
  320. 'On this mount he appeared; under this tree
  321. 'Stood visible; among these pines his voice
  322. 'I heard; here with him at this fountain talked:
  323. So many grateful altars I would rear
  324. Of grassy turf, and pile up every stone
  325. Of luster from the brook, in memory,
  326. Or monument to ages; and thereon
  327. Offer sweet-smelling gums, and fruits, and flowers:
  328. In yonder nether world where shall I seek
  329. His bright appearances, or foot-step trace?
  330. For though I fled him angry, yet recalled
  331. To life prolonged and promised race, I now
  332. Gladly behold though but his utmost skirts
  333. Of glory; and far off his steps adore.
  334. To whom thus Michael with regard benign.
  335. Adam, thou knowest Heaven his, and all the Earth;
  336. Not this rock only; his Omnipresence fills
  337. Land, sea, and air, and every kind that lives,
  338. Fomented by his virtual power and warmed:
  339. All the earth he gave thee to possess and rule,
  340. No despicable gift; surmise not then
  341. His presence to these narrow bounds confined
  342. Of Paradise, or Eden: this had been
  343. Perhaps thy capital seat, from whence had spread
  344. All generations; and had hither come
  345. From all the ends of the earth, to celebrate
  346. And reverence thee, their great progenitor.
  347. But this pre-eminence thou hast lost, brought down
  348. To dwell on even ground now with thy sons:
  349. Yet doubt not but in valley, and in plain,
  350. God is, as here; and will be found alike
  351. Present; and of his presence many a sign
  352. Still following thee, still compassing thee round
  353. With goodness and paternal love, his face
  354. Express, and of his steps the track divine.
  355. Which that thou mayest believe, and be confirmed
  356. Ere thou from hence depart; know, I am sent
  357. To show thee what shall come in future days
  358. To thee, and to thy offspring: good with bad
  359. Expect to hear; supernal grace contending
  360. With sinfulness of men; thereby to learn
  361. True patience, and to temper joy with fear
  362. And pious sorrow; equally inured
  363. By moderation either state to bear,
  364. Prosperous or adverse: so shalt thou lead
  365. Safest thy life, and best prepared endure
  366. Thy mortal passage when it comes. Ascend
  367. This hill; let Eve (for I have drenched her eyes)
  368. Here sleep below; while thou to foresight wakest;
  369. As once thou sleptst, while she to life was formed.
  370. To whom thus Adam gratefully replied.
  371. Ascend, I follow thee, safe Guide, the path
  372. Thou leadest me; and to the hand of Heaven submit,
  373. However chastening; to the evil turn
  374. My obvious breast; arming to overcome
  375. By suffering, and earn rest from labor won,
  376. If so I may attain. So both ascend
  377. In the visions of God. It was a hill,
  378. Of Paradise the highest; from whose top
  379. The hemisphere of earth, in clearest ken,
  380. Stretched out to the amplest reach of prospect lay.
  381. Not higher that hill, nor wider looking round,
  382. Whereon, for different cause, the Tempter set
  383. Our second Adam, in the wilderness;
  384. To show him all Earth's kingdoms, and their glory.
  385. His eye might there command wherever stood
  386. City of old or modern fame, the seat
  387. Of mightiest empire, from the destined walls
  388. Of Cambalu, seat of Cathaian Can,
  389. And Samarchand by Oxus, Temir's throne,
  390. To Paquin of Sinaean kings; and thence
  391. To Agra and Lahor of great Mogul,
  392. Down to the golden Chersonese; or where
  393. The Persian in Ecbatan sat, or since
  394. In Hispahan; or where the Russian Czar
  395. In Moscow; or the Sultan in Bizance,
  396. Turkestan-born; nor could his eye not ken
  397. The empire of Negus to his utmost port
  398. Ercoco, and the less maritime kings
  399. Mombaza, and Quiloa, and Melind,
  400. And Sofala, thought Ophir, to the realm
  401. Of Congo, and Angola farthest south;
  402. Or thence from Niger flood to Atlas mount
  403. The kingdoms of Almansor, Fez and Sus,
  404. Morocco, and Algiers, and Tremisen;
  405. On Europe thence, and where Rome was to sway
  406. The world: in spirit perhaps he also saw
  407. Rich Mexico, the seat of Montezuma,
  408. And Cusco in Peru, the richer seat
  409. Of Atabalipa; and yet unspoiled
  410. Guiana, whose great city Geryon's sons
  411. Call El Dorado. But to nobler sights
  412. Michael from Adam's eyes the film removed,
  413. Which that false fruit that promised clearer sight
  414. Had bred; then purged with euphrasy and rue
  415. The visual nerve, for he had much to see;
  416. And from the well of life three drops instilled.
  417. So deep the power of these ingredients pierced,
  418. Even to the inmost seat of mental sight,
  419. That Adam, now enforced to close his eyes,
  420. Sunk down, and all his spirits became entranced;
  421. But him the gentle angel by the hand
  422. Soon raised, and his attention thus recalled.
  423. Adam, now open thine eyes; and first behold
  424. The effects, which thy original crime hath wrought
  425. In some to spring from thee; who never touched
  426. The excepted tree; nor with the snake conspired;
  427. Nor sinned thy sin; yet from that sin derive
  428. Corruption, to bring forth more violent deeds.
  429. His eyes he opened, and beheld a field,
  430. Part arable and tilth, whereon were sheaves
  431. New reaped; the other part sheep-walks and folds;
  432. I' the midst an altar as the land-mark stood,
  433. Rustic, of grassy sord; thither anon
  434. A sweaty reaper from his tillage brought
  435. First fruits, the green ear, and the yellow sheaf,
  436. Unculled, as came to hand; a shepherd next,
  437. More meek, came with the firstlings of his flock,
  438. Choicest and best; then, sacrificing, laid
  439. The inwards and their fat, with incense strowed,
  440. On the cleft wood, and all due rights performed:
  441. His offering soon propitious fire from Heaven
  442. Consumed with nimble glance, and grateful steam;
  443. The other's not, for his was not sincere;
  444. Whereat he inly raged, and, as they talked,
  445. Smote him into the midriff with a stone
  446. That beat out life; he fell; and, deadly pale,
  447. Groaned out his soul with gushing blood effused.
  448. Much at that sight was Adam in his heart
  449. Dismayed, and thus in haste to the angel cried.
  450. Oh teacher, some great mischief hath befallen
  451. To that meek man, who well had sacrificed;
  452. Is piety thus and pure devotion paid?
  453. To whom Michael thus, he also moved, replied.
  454. These two are brethren, Adam, and to come
  455. Out of thy loins; the unjust the just hath slain,
  456. For envy that his brother's offering found
  457. From Heaven acceptance; but the bloody fact
  458. Will be avenged; and the other's faith, approved,
  459. Lose no reward; though here thou see him die,
  460. Rolling in dust and gore. To which our sire.
  461. Alas, both for the deed, and for the cause!
  462. But have I now seen Death? Is this the way
  463. I must return to native dust? Oh sight
  464. Of terror, foul and ugly to behold,
  465. Horrid to think, how horrible to feel!
  466. To whom thus Michael. Death thou hast seen
  467. In his first shape on Man; but many shapes
  468. Of Death, and many are the ways that lead
  469. To his grim cave, all dismal; yet to sense
  470. More terrible at the entrance, than within.
  471. Some, as thou sawest, by violent stroke shall die;
  472. By fire, flood, famine, by intemperance more
  473. In meats and drinks, which on the earth shall bring
  474. Diseases dire, of which a monstrous crew
  475. Before thee shall appear; that thou mayest know
  476. What misery the inabstinence of Eve
  477. Shall bring on Men. Immediately a place
  478. Before his eyes appeared, sad, noisome, dark;
  479. A lazar-house it seemed; wherein were laid
  480. Numbers of all diseased; all maladies
  481. Of ghastly spasm, or racking torture, qualms
  482. Of heart-sick agony, all feverous kinds,
  483. Convulsions, epilepsies, fierce catarrhs,
  484. Intestine stone and ulcer, colic-pangs,
  485. Demoniac frenzy, moping melancholy,
  486. And moon-struck madness, pining atrophy,
  487. Marasmus, and wide-wasting pestilence,
  488. Dropsies, and asthmas, and joint-racking rheums.
  489. Dire was the tossing, deep the groans; Despair
  490. Tended the sick busiest from couch to couch;
  491. And over them triumphant Death his dart
  492. Shook, but delayed to strike, though oft invoked
  493. With vows, as their chief good, and final hope.
  494. Sight so deform what heart of rock could long
  495. Dry-eyed behold? Adam could not, but wept,
  496. Though not of woman born; compassion quelled
  497. His best of man, and gave him up to tears
  498. A space, till firmer thoughts restrained excess;
  499. And, scarce recovering words, his plaint renewed.
  500. Oh miserable mankind, to what fall
  501. Degraded, to what wretched state reserved!
  502. Better end here unborn. Why is life given
  503. To be thus wrested from us? rather, why
  504. Obtruded on us thus? who, if we knew
  505. What we receive, would either no accept
  506. Life offered, or soon beg to lay it down;
  507. Glad to be so dismissed in peace. Can thus
  508. The image of God in Man, created once
  509. So goodly and erect, though faulty since,
  510. To such unsightly sufferings be debased
  511. Under inhuman pains? Why should not Man,
  512. Retaining still divine similitude
  513. In part, from such deformities be free,
  514. And, for his Maker's image sake, exempt?
  515. Their Maker's image, answered Michael, then
  516. Forsook them, when themselves they vilified
  517. To serve ungoverned Appetite; and took
  518. His image whom they served, a brutish vice,
  519. Inductive mainly to the sin of Eve.
  520. Therefore so abject is their punishment,
  521. Disfiguring not God's likeness, but their own;
  522. Or if his likeness, by themselves defaced;
  523. While they pervert pure Nature's healthful rules
  524. To loathsome sickness; worthily, since they
  525. God's image did not reverence in themselves.
  526. I yield it just, said Adam, and submit.
  527. But is there yet no other way, besides
  528. These painful passages, how we may come
  529. To death, and mix with our connatural dust?
  530. There is, said Michael, if thou well observe
  531. The rule of Not too much; by temperance taught,
  532. In what thou eatest and drinkest; seeking from thence
  533. Due nourishment, not gluttonous delight,
  534. Till many years over thy head return:
  535. So mayest thou live; till, like ripe fruit, thou drop
  536. Into thy mother's lap; or be with ease
  537. Gathered, nor harshly plucked; for death mature:
  538. This is Old Age; but then, thou must outlive
  539. Thy youth, thy strength, thy beauty; which will change
  540. To withered, weak, and gray; thy senses then,
  541. Obtuse, all taste of pleasure must forego,
  542. To what thou hast; and, for the air of youth,
  543. Hopeful and cheerful, in thy blood will reign
  544. A melancholy damp of cold and dry
  545. To weigh thy spirits down, and last consume
  546. The balm of life. To whom our ancestor.
  547. Henceforth I fly not death, nor would prolong
  548. Life much; bent rather, how I may be quit,
  549. Fairest and easiest, of this cumbrous charge;
  550. Which I must keep till my appointed day
  551. Of rendering up, and patiently attend
  552. My dissolution. Michael replied.
  553. Nor love thy life, nor hate; but what thou livest
  554. Live well; how long, or short, permit to Heaven:
  555. And now prepare thee for another sight.
  556. He looked, and saw a spacious plain, whereon
  557. Were tents of various hue; by some, were herds
  558. Of cattle grazing; others, whence the sound
  559. Of instruments, that made melodious chime,
  560. Was heard, of harp and organ; and, who moved
  561. Their stops and chords, was seen; his volant touch,
  562. Instinct through all proportions, low and high,
  563. Fled and pursued transverse the resonant fugue.
  564. In other part stood one who, at the forge
  565. Laboring, two massy clods of iron and brass
  566. Had melted, (whether found where casual fire
  567. Had wasted woods on mountain or in vale,
  568. Down to the veins of earth; thence gliding hot
  569. To some cave's mouth; or whether washed by stream
  570. From underground;) the liquid ore he drained
  571. Into fit moulds prepared; from which he formed
  572. First his own tools; then, what might else be wrought
  573. Fusil or graven in metal. After these,
  574. But on the hither side, a different sort
  575. From the high neighboring hills, which was their seat,
  576. Down to the plain descended; by their guise
  577. Just men they seemed, and all their study bent
  578. To worship God aright, and know his works
  579. Not hid; nor those things last, which might preserve
  580. Freedom and peace to Men; they on the plain
  581. Long had not walked, when from the tents, behold,
  582. A bevy of fair women, richly gay
  583. In gems and wanton dress; to the harp they sung
  584. Soft amorous ditties, and in dance came on:
  585. The men, though grave, eyed them; and let their eyes
  586. Rove without rein; till, in the amorous net
  587. Fast caught, they liked; and each his liking chose;
  588. And now of love they treat, till the evening-star,
  589. Love's harbinger, appeared; then, all in heat
  590. They light the nuptial torch, and bid invoke
  591. Hymen, then first to marriage rites invoked:
  592. With feast and music all the tents resound.
  593. Such happy interview, and fair event
  594. Of love and youth not lost, songs, garlands, flowers,
  595. And charming symphonies, attached the heart
  596. Of Adam, soon inclined to admit delight,
  597. The bent of nature; which he thus expressed.
  598. True opener of mine eyes, prime angel blest;
  599. Much better seems this vision, and more hope
  600. Of peaceful days portends, than those two past;
  601. Those were of hate and death, or pain much worse;
  602. Here Nature seems fulfilled in all her ends.
  603. To whom thus Michael. Judge not what is best
  604. By pleasure, though to nature seeming meet;
  605. Created, as thou art, to nobler end
  606. Holy and pure, conformity divine.
  607. Those tents thou sawest so pleasant, were the tents
  608. Of wickedness, wherein shall dwell his race
  609. Who slew his brother; studious they appear
  610. Of arts that polish life, inventers rare;
  611. Unmindful of their Maker, though his Spirit
  612. Taught them; but they his gifts acknowledged none.
  613. Yet they a beauteous offspring shall beget;
  614. For that fair female troop thou sawest, that seemed
  615. Of Goddesses, so blithe, so smooth, so gay,
  616. Yet empty of all good wherein consists
  617. Woman's domestic honor and chief praise;
  618. Bred only and completed to the taste
  619. Of lustful appetence, to sing, to dance,
  620. To dress, and troll the tongue, and roll the eye:
  621. To these that sober race of men, whose lives
  622. Religious titled them the sons of God,
  623. Shall yield up all their virtue, all their fame
  624. Ignobly, to the trains and to the smiles
  625. Of these fair atheists; and now swim in joy,
  626. Erelong to swim at large; and laugh, for which
  627. The world erelong a world of tears must weep.
  628. To whom thus Adam, of short joy bereft.
  629. Oh pity and shame, that they, who to live well
  630. Entered so fair, should turn aside to tread
  631. Paths indirect, or in the mid way faint.
  632. But still I see the tenor of Man's woe
  633. Holds on the same, from Woman to begin.
  634. From Man's effeminate slackness it begins,
  635. Said the angel, who should better hold his place
  636. By wisdom, and superior gifts received.
  637. But now prepare thee for another scene.
  638. He looked, and saw wide territory spread
  639. Before him, towns, and rural works between;
  640. Cities of men with lofty gates and towers,
  641. Concourse in arms, fierce faces threatening war,
  642. Giants of mighty bone and bold emprise;
  643. Part wield their arms, part curb the foaming steed,
  644. Single or in array of battle ranged
  645. Both horse and foot, nor idly mustering stood;
  646. One way a band select from forage drives
  647. A herd of beeves, fair oxen and fair kine,
  648. From a fat meadow ground; or fleecy flock,
  649. Ewes and their bleating lambs over the plain,
  650. Their booty; scarce with life the shepherds fly,
  651. But call in aid, which makes a bloody fray;
  652. With cruel tournament the squadrons join;
  653. Where cattle pastured late, now scattered lies
  654. With carcasses and arms the ensanguined field,
  655. Deserted: Others to a city strong
  656. Lay siege, encamped; by battery, scale, and mine,
  657. Assaulting; others from the wall defend
  658. With dart and javelin, stones, and sulfurous fire;
  659. On each hand slaughter, and gigantic deeds.
  660. In other part the sceptered heralds call
  661. To council, in the city-gates; anon
  662. Gray-headed men and grave, with warriors mixed,
  663. Assemble, and harangues are heard; but soon,
  664. In factious opposition; till at last,
  665. Of middle age one rising, eminent
  666. In wise deport, spake much of right and wrong,
  667. Of justice, or religion, truth, and peace,
  668. And judgment from above: him old and young
  669. Exploded, and had seized with violent hands,
  670. Had not a cloud descending snatched him thence
  671. Unseen amid the throng: so violence
  672. Proceeded, and oppression, and sword-law,
  673. Through all the plain, and refuge none was found.
  674. Adam was all in tears, and to his guide
  675. Lamenting turned full sad; Oh what are these,
  676. Death's ministers, not men? who thus deal death
  677. Inhumanly to men, and multiply
  678. Ten thousandfold the sin of him who slew
  679. His brother: for of whom such massacre
  680. Make they, but of their brethren; men of men
  681. But who was that just man, whom had not Heaven
  682. Rescued, had in his righteousness been lost?
  683. To whom thus Michael. These are the product
  684. Of those ill-mated marriages thou sawest;
  685. Where good with bad were matched, who of themselves
  686. Abhor to join; and, by imprudence mixed,
  687. Produce prodigious births of body or mind.
  688. Such were these giants, men of high renown;
  689. For in those days might only shall be admired,
  690. And velour and heroic virtue called;
  691. To overcome in battle, and subdue
  692. Nations, and bring home spoils with infinite
  693. Man-slaughter, shall be held the highest pitch
  694. Of human glory; and for glory done
  695. Of triumph, to be styled great conquerors
  696. Patrons of mankind, Gods, and sons of Gods;
  697. Destroyers rightlier called, and plagues of men.
  698. Thus fame shall be achieved, renown on earth;
  699. And what most merits fame, in silence hid.
  700. But he, the seventh from thee, whom thou beheldst
  701. The only righteous in a world perverse,
  702. And therefore hated, therefore so beset
  703. With foes, for daring single to be just,
  704. And utter odious truth, that God would come
  705. To judge them with his Saints; him the Most High
  706. Rapt in a balmy cloud with winged steeds
  707. Did, as thou sawest, receive, to walk with God
  708. High in salvation and the climes of bliss,
  709. Exempt from death; to show thee what reward
  710. Awaits the good; the rest what punishment;
  711. Which now direct thine eyes and soon behold.
  712. He looked, and saw the face of things quite changed;
  713. The brazen throat of war had ceased to roar;
  714. All now was turned to jollity and game,
  715. To luxury and riot, feast and dance;
  716. Marrying or prostituting, as befell,
  717. Rape or adultery, where passing fair
  718. Allured them; thence from cups to civil broils.
  719. At length a reverend sire among them came,
  720. And of their doings great dislike declared,
  721. And testified against their ways; he oft
  722. Frequented their assemblies, whereso met,
  723. Triumphs or festivals; and to them preached
  724. Conversion and repentance, as to souls
  725. In prison, under judgments imminent:
  726. But all in vain: which when he saw, he ceased
  727. Contending, and removed his tents far off;
  728. Then, from the mountain hewing timber tall,
  729. Began to build a vessel of huge bulk;
  730. Measured by cubit, length, and breadth, and heighth;
  731. Smeared round with pitch; and in the side a door
  732. Contrived; and of provisions laid in large,
  733. For man and beast: when lo, a wonder strange!
  734. Of every beast, and bird, and insect small,
  735. Came sevens, and pairs; and entered in as taught
  736. Their order: last the sire and his three sons,
  737. With their four wives; and God made fast the door.
  738. Mean while the south-wind rose, and, with black wings
  739. Wide-hovering, all the clouds together drove
  740. From under Heaven; the hills to their supply
  741. Vapor, and exhalation dusk and moist,
  742. Sent up amain; and now the thickened sky
  743. Like a dark ceiling stood; down rushed the rain
  744. Impetuous; and continued, till the earth
  745. No more was seen: the floating vessel swum
  746. Uplifted, and secure with beaked prow
  747. Rode tilting o'er the waves; all dwellings else
  748. Flood overwhelmed, and them with all their pomp
  749. Deep under water rolled; sea covered sea,
  750. Sea without shore; and in their palaces,
  751. Where luxury late reigned, sea-monsters whelped
  752. And stabled; of mankind, so numerous late,
  753. All left, in one small bottom swum imbarked.
  754. How didst thou grieve then, Adam, to behold
  755. The end of all thy offspring, end so sad,
  756. Depopulation! Thee another flood,
  757. Of tears and sorrow a flood, thee also drowned,
  758. And sunk thee as thy sons; till, gently reared
  759. By the angel, on thy feet thou stoodest at last,
  760. Though comfortless; as when a father mourns
  761. His children, all in view destroyed at once;
  762. And scarce to the angel utteredst thus thy plaint.
  763. Oh visions ill foreseen! Better had I
  764. Lived ignorant of future, so had borne
  765. My part of evil only, each day's lot
  766. Enough to bear; those now, that were dispensed
  767. The burden of many ages, on me light
  768. At once, by my foreknowledge gaining birth
  769. Abortive, to torment me ere their being,
  770. With thought that they must be. Let no man seek
  771. Henceforth to be foretold, what shall befall
  772. Him or his children; evil he may be sure,
  773. Which neither his foreknowing can prevent;
  774. And he the future evil shall no less
  775. In apprehension than in substance feel,
  776. Grievous to bear: but that care now is past,
  777. man is not whom to warn: those few escaped
  778. Famine and anguish will at last consume,
  779. Wandering that watery desert: I had hope,
  780. When violence was ceased, and war on earth,
  781. All would have then gone well; peace would have crowned
  782. With length of happy days the race of Man;
  783. But I was far deceived; for now I see
  784. Peace to corrupt no less than war to waste.
  785. How comes it thus? unfold, celestial Guide,
  786. And whether here the race of man will end.
  787. To whom thus Michael. Those, whom last thou sawest
  788. In triumph and luxurious wealth, are they
  789. First seen in acts of prowess eminent
  790. And great exploits, but of true virtue void;
  791. Who, having spilt much blood, and done much wast
  792. Subduing nations, and achieved thereby
  793. Fame in the world, high titles, and rich prey;
  794. Shall change their course to pleasure, ease, and sloth,
  795. Surfeit, and lust; till wantonness and pride
  796. Raise out of friendship hostile deeds in peace.
  797. The conquered also, and enslaved by war,
  798. Shall, with their freedom lost, all virtue lose
  799. And fear of God; from whom their piety feigned
  800. In sharp contest of battle found no aid
  801. Against invaders; therefore, cooled in zeal,
  802. Thenceforth shall practice how to live secure,
  803. Worldly or dissolute, on what their lords
  804. Shall leave them to enjoy; for the earth shall bear
  805. More than enough, that temperance may be tried:
  806. So all shall turn degenerate, all depraved;
  807. Justice and temperance, truth and faith, forgot;
  808. One man except, the only son of light
  809. In a dark age, against example good,
  810. Against allurement, custom, and a world
  811. Offended: fearless of reproach and scorn,
  812. The grand-child, with twelve sons increased, departs
  813. From Canaan, to a land hereafter called
  814. Egypt, divided by the river Nile;
  815. See where it flows, disgorging at seven mouths
  816. Into the sea: To sojourn in that land
  817. He comes, invited by a younger son
  818. In time of dearth; a son, whose worthy deeds
  819. Raise him to be the second in that realm
  820. Of Pharaoh: There he dies, and leaves his race
  821. Growing into a nation, and now grown
  822. Suspected to a sequent king, who seeks
  823. To stop their overgrowth, as inmate guests
  824. Or violence, he of their wicked ways
  825. Shall them admonish; and before them set
  826. The paths of righteousness, how much more safe
  827. And full of peace; denouncing wrath to come
  828. On their impenitence; and shall return
  829. Of them derided, but of God observed
  830. The one just man alive; by his command
  831. Shall build a wondrous ark, as thou beheldst,
  832. To save himself, and household, from amidst
  833. A world devote to universal wrack.
  834. No sooner he, with them of man and beast
  835. Select for life, shall in the ark be lodged,
  836. And sheltered round; but all the cataracts
  837. Of Heaven set open on the Earth shall pour
  838. Rain, day and night; all fountains of the deep,
  839. Broke up, shall heave the ocean to usurp
  840. Beyond all bounds; till inundation rise
  841. Above the highest hills: Then shall this mount
  842. Of Paradise by might of waves be moved
  843. Out of his place, pushed by the horned flood,
  844. With all his verdure spoiled, and trees adrift,
  845. Down the great river to the opening gulf,
  846. And there take root an island salt and bare,
  847. The haunt of seals, and orcs, and sea-mews' clang:
  848. To teach thee that God attributes to place
  849. No sanctity, if none be thither brought
  850. By men who there frequent, or therein dwell.
  851. And now, what further shall ensue, behold.
  852. He looked, and saw the ark hull on the flood,
  853. Which now abated; for the clouds were fled,
  854. Driven by a keen north-wind, that, blowing dry,
  855. Wrinkled the face of deluge, as decayed;
  856. And the clear sun on his wide watery glass
  857. Gazed hot, and of the fresh wave largely drew,
  858. As after thirst; which made their flowing shrink
  859. From standing lake to tripping ebb, that stole
  860. With soft foot towards the deep; who now had stopped
  861. His sluices, as the Heaven his windows shut.
  862. The ark no more now floats, but seems on ground,
  863. Fast on the top of some high mountain fixed.
  864. And now the tops of hills, as rocks, appear;
  865. With clamor thence the rapid currents drive,
  866. Towards the retreating sea, their furious tide.
  867. Forthwith from out the ark a raven flies,
  868. And after him, the surer messenger,
  869. A dove sent forth once and again to spy
  870. Green tree or ground, whereon his foot may light:
  871. The second time returning, in his bill
  872. An olive-leaf he brings, pacific sign:
  873. Anon dry ground appears, and from his ark
  874. The ancient sire descends, with all his train;
  875. Then with uplifted hands, and eyes devout,
  876. Grateful to Heaven, over his head beholds
  877. A dewy cloud, and in the cloud a bow
  878. Conspicuous with three lifted colors gay,
  879. Betokening peace from God, and covenant new.
  880. Whereat the heart of Adam, erst so sad,
  881. Greatly rejoiced; and thus his joy broke forth.
  882. Oh thou, who future things canst represent
  883. As present, heavenly Instructor, I revive
  884. At this last sight; assured that man shall live,
  885. With all the creatures, and their seed preserve.
  886. Far less I now lament for one whole world
  887. Of wicked sons destroyed, than I rejoice
  888. For one man found so perfect, and so just,
  889. That God vouchsafes to raise another world
  890. From him, and all his anger to forget.
  891. But say, what mean those colored streaks in Heaven
  892. Distended, as the brow of God appeased?
  893. Or serve they, as a flowery verge, to bind
  894. The fluid skirts of that same watery cloud,
  895. Lest it again dissolve, and shower the earth?
  896. To whom the archangel. Dexterously thou aimest;
  897. So willingly doth God remit his ire,
  898. Though late repenting him of man depraved;
  899. Grieved at his heart, when looking down he saw
  900. The whole earth filled with violence, and all flesh
  901. Corrupting each their way; yet, those removed,
  902. Such grace shall one just man find in his sight,
  903. That he relents, not to blot out mankind;
  904. And makes a covenant never to destroy
  905. The earth again by flood; nor let the sea
  906. Surpass his bounds; nor rain to drown the world,
  907. With man therein or beast; but, when he brings
  908. Over the earth a cloud, will therein set
  909. His triple-colored bow, whereon to look,
  910. And call to mind his covenant: Day and night,
  911. Seed-time and harvest, heat and hoary frost,
  912. Shall hold their course; till fire purge all things new,
  913. Both Heaven and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell.

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~ BOOK XII ~

  1. As one who in his journey bates at noon,
  2. Though bent on speed; so here the archangel paused
  3. Betwixt the world destroyed and world restored,
  4. If Adam aught perhaps might interpose;
  5. Then, with transition sweet, new speech resumes.
  6. Thus thou hast seen one world begin, and end;
  7. And Man, as from a second stock, proceed.
  8. Much thou hast yet to see; but I perceive
  9. Thy mortal sight to fail; objects divine
  10. Must needs impair and weary human sense:
  11. Henceforth what is to come I will relate;
  12. Thou therefore give due audience, and attend.
  13. This second source of Men, while yet but few,
  14. And while the dread of judgment past remains
  15. Fresh in their minds, fearing the Deity,
  16. With some regard to what is just and right
  17. Shall lead their lives, and multiply apace;
  18. Laboring the soil, and reaping plenteous crop,
  19. Corn, wine, and oil; and, from the herd or flock,
  20. Oft sacrificing bullock, lamb, or kid,
  21. With large wine-offerings poured, and sacred feast,
  22. Shall spend their days in joy unblamed; and dwell
  23. Long time in peace, by families and tribes,
  24. Under paternal rule: till one shall rise
  25. Of proud ambitious heart; who, not content
  26. With fair equality, fraternal state,
  27. Will arrogate dominion undeserved
  28. Over his brethren, and quite dispossess
  29. Concord and law of nature from the earth;
  30. Hunting (and men not beasts shall be his game)
  31. With war, and hostile snare, such as refuse
  32. Subjection to his empire tyrannous:
  33. A mighty hunter thence he shall be styled
  34. Before the Lord; as in despite of Heaven,
  35. Or from Heaven, claiming second sovereignty;
  36. And from rebellion shall derive his name,
  37. Though of rebellion others he accuse.
  38. He with a crew, whom like ambition joins
  39. With him or under him to tyrannize,
  40. Marching from Eden towards the west, shall find
  41. The plain, wherein a black bituminous gorge
  42. Boils out from underground, the mouth of Hell:
  43. Of brick, and of that stuff, they cast to build
  44. A city and tower, whose top may reach to Heaven;
  45. And get themselves a name; lest, far dispersed
  46. In foreign lands, their memory be lost;
  47. Regardless whether good or evil fame.
  48. But God, who oft descends to visit men
  49. Unseen, and through their habitations walks
  50. To mark their doings, them beholding soon,
  51. Comes down to see their city, ere the tower
  52. Obstruct Heaven-towers, and in derision sets
  53. Upon their tongues a various spirit, to Ďrase
  54. Quite out their native language; and, instead,
  55. To sow a jangling noise of words unknown:
  56. Forthwith a hideous gabble rises loud,
  57. Among the builders; each to other calls
  58. Not understood; till hoarse, and all in rage,
  59. As mocked they storm: great laughter was in Heaven,
  60. And looking down, to see the hubbub strange,
  61. And hear the din: Thus was the building left
  62. Ridiculous, and the work Confusion named.
  63. Whereto thus Adam, fatherly displeased.
  64. Oh execrable son, so to aspire
  65. Above his brethren; to himself assuming
  66. Authority usurped, from God not given:
  67. He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl,
  68. Dominion absolute; that right we hold
  69. By his donation; but man over men
  70. He made not lord; such title to himself
  71. Reserving, human left from human free.
  72. But this usurper his encroachment proud
  73. Stays not on Man; to God his tower intends
  74. Siege and defiance: Wretched man! what food
  75. Will he convey up thither, to sustain
  76. Himself and his rash army; where thin air
  77. Above the clouds will pine his entrails gross,
  78. And famish him of breath, if not of bread?
  79. To whom thus Michael. Justly thou abhorest
  80. That son, who on the quiet state of men
  81. Such trouble brought, affecting to subdue
  82. Rational liberty; yet know withal,
  83. Since thy original lapse, true liberty
  84. Is lost, which always with right reason dwells
  85. Twinned, and from her hath no dividual being:
  86. Reason in man obscured, or not obeyed,
  87. Immediately inordinate desires,
  88. And upstart passions, catch the government
  89. From reason; and to servitude reduce
  90. Man, till then free. Therefore, since he permits
  91. Within himself unworthy powers to reign
  92. Over free reason, God, in judgment just,
  93. Subjects him from without to violent lords;
  94. Who oft as undeservedly enthrall
  95. His outward freedom: Tyranny must be;
  96. Though to the tyrant thereby no excuse.
  97. Yet sometimes nations will decline so low
  98. From virtue, which is reason, that no wrong,
  99. But justice, and some fatal curse annexed,
  100. Deprives them of their outward liberty;
  101. Their inward lost: Witness the irreverent son
  102. Of him who built the ark; who, for the shame
  103. Done to his father, heard this heavy curse,
  104. Servant of servants, on his vicious race.
  105. Thus will this latter, as the former world,
  106. Still tend from bad to worse; till God at last,
  107. Wearied with their iniquities, withdraw
  108. His presence from among them, and avert
  109. His holy eyes; resolving from thenceforth
  110. To leave them to their own polluted ways;
  111. And one peculiar nation to select
  112. From all the rest, of whom to be invoked,
  113. A nation from one faithful man to spring:
  114. Him on this side Euphrates yet residing,
  115. Bred up in idol-worship: Oh, that men
  116. (Canst thou believe?) should be so stupid grown,
  117. While yet the patriarch lived, who 'scaped the flood,
  118. As to forsake the living God, and fall
  119. To worship their own work in wood and stone
  120. For Gods! Yet him God the Most High vouchsafes
  121. To call by vision, from his father's house,
  122. His kindred, and false Gods, into a land
  123. Which he will show him; and from him will raise
  124. A mighty nation; and upon him shower
  125. His benediction so, that in his seed
  126. All nations shall be blest: he straight obeys;
  127. Not knowing to what land, yet firm believes:
  128. I see him, but thou canst not, with what faith
  129. He leaves his Gods, his friends, and native soil,
  130. Ur of Chaldaea, passing now the ford
  131. To Haran; after him a cumbrous train
  132. Of herds and flocks, and numerous servitude;
  133. Not wandering poor, but trusting all his wealth
  134. With God, who called him, in a land unknown.
  135. Canaan he now attains; I see his tents
  136. Pitched about Sechem, and the neighboring plain
  137. Of Moreh; there by promise he receives
  138. Gift to his progeny of all that land,
  139. From Hameth northward to the Desert south;
  140. (Things by their names I call, though yet unnamed;)
  141. From Hermon east to the great western Sea;
  142. Mount Hermon, yonder sea; each place behold
  143. In prospect, as I point them; on the shore
  144. Mount Carmel; here, the double-founted stream,
  145. Jordan, true limit eastward; but his sons
  146. Shall dwell to Senir, that long ridge of hills.
  147. This ponder, that all nations of the earth
  148. Shall in his seed be blessed: By that seed
  149. Is meant thy great Deliverer, who shall bruise
  150. The Serpent's head; whereof to thee anon
  151. Plainlier shall be revealed. This patriarch blest,
  152. Whom faithful Abraham due time shall call,
  153. A son, and of his son a grand-child, leaves;
  154. Like him in faith, in wisdom, and renown:
  155. The grandchild, with twelve sons increased, departs
  156. From Canaan to a land hereafter called
  157. Egypt, divided by the river Nile
  158. See where it flows, disgorging at seven mouths
  159. Into the sea. To sojourn in that land
  160. He comes, invited by a younger son
  161. In time of dearth, a son whose worthy deeds
  162. Raise him to be the second in that realm
  163. Of Pharaoh. There he dies, and leaves his race
  164. Growing into a nation, and now grown
  165. Suspected to a sequent king, who seeks
  166. To stop their overgrowth, as inmate guests
  167. Too numerous; whence of guests he makes them slaves
  168. Inhospitably, and kills their infant males:
  169. Till by two brethren (these two brethren call
  170. Moses and Aaron) sent from God to claim
  171. His people from enthrallment, they return,
  172. With glory and spoil, back to their promised land.
  173. But first, the lawless tyrant, who denies
  174. To know their God, or message to regard,
  175. Must be compelled by signs and judgments dire;
  176. To blood unshed the rivers must be turned;
  177. Frogs, lice, and flies, must all his palace fill
  178. With loathed intrusion, and fill all the land;
  179. His cattle must of rot and murren die;
  180. Botches and blains must all his flesh emboss,
  181. And all his people; thunder mixed with hail,
  182. Hail mixed with fire, must rend the Egyptians sky,
  183. And wheel on the earth, devouring where it rolls;
  184. What it devours not, herb, or fruit, or grain,
  185. A darksome cloud of locusts swarming down
  186. Must eat, and on the ground leave nothing green;
  187. Darkness must overshadow all his bounds,
  188. Palpable darkness, and blot out three days;
  189. Last, with one midnight stroke, all the first-born
  190. Of Egypt must lie dead. Thus with ten wounds
  191. The river-dragon tamed at length submits
  192. To let his sojourners depart, and oft
  193. Humbles his stubborn heart; but still, as ice
  194. More hardened after thaw; till, in his rage
  195. Pursuing whom he late dismissed, the sea
  196. Swallows him with his host; but them lets pass,
  197. As on dry land, between two crystal walls;
  198. Awed by the rod of Moses so to stand
  199. Divided, till his rescued gain their shore:
  200. Such wondrous power God to his saint will lend,
  201. Though present in his angel; who shall go
  202. Before them in a cloud, and pillar of fire;
  203. By day a cloud, by night a pillar of fire;
  204. To guide them in their journey, and remove
  205. Behind them, while the obdurate king pursues:
  206. All night he will pursue; but his approach
  207. Darkness defends between till morning watch;
  208. Then through the fiery pillar, and the cloud,
  209. God looking forth will trouble all his host,
  210. And craze their chariot-wheels: when by command
  211. Moses once more his potent rod extends
  212. Over the sea; the sea his rod obeys;
  213. On their embattled ranks the waves return,
  214. And overwhelm their war: The race elect
  215. Safe toward Canaan from the shore advance
  216. Through the wild Desert, not the readiest way;
  217. Lest, entering on the Canaanite alarmed,
  218. War terrify them inexpert, and fear
  219. Return them back to Egypt, choosing rather
  220. Inglorious life with servitude; for life
  221. To noble and ignoble is more sweet
  222. Untrained in arms, where rashness leads not on.
  223. This also shall they gain by their delay
  224. In the wide wilderness; there they shall found
  225. Their government, and their great senate choose
  226. Through the twelve tribes, to rule by laws ordained:
  227. God from the mount of Sinai, whose gray top
  228. Shall tremble, he descending, will himself
  229. In thunder, lightning, and loud trumpets' sound,
  230. Ordain them laws; part, such as appertain
  231. To civil justice; part, religious rites
  232. Of sacrifice; informing them, by types
  233. And shadows, of that destined Seed to bruise
  234. The Serpent, by what means he shall achieve
  235. Mankind's deliverance. But the voice of God
  236. To mortal ear is dreadful: They beseech
  237. That Moses might report to them his will,
  238. And terror cease; he grants what they besought,
  239. Instructed that to God is no access
  240. Without Mediator, whose high office now
  241. Moses in figure bears; to introduce
  242. One greater, of whose day he shall foretell,
  243. And all the Prophets in their age the times
  244. Of great Messiah shall sing. Thus, laws and rites
  245. Established, such delight hath God in Men
  246. Obedient to his will, that he vouchsafes
  247. Among them to set up his tabernacle;
  248. The Holy One with mortal Men to dwell:
  249. By his prescript a sanctuary is framed
  250. Of cedar, overlaid with gold; therein
  251. An ark, and in the ark his testimony,
  252. The records of his covenant; over these
  253. A mercy-seat of gold, between the wings
  254. Of two bright Cherubim; before him burn
  255. Seven lamps as in a zodiac representing
  256. The heavenly fires; over the tent a cloud
  257. Shall rest by day, a fiery gleam by night;
  258. Save when they journey, and at length they come,
  259. Conducted by his angel, to the land
  260. Promised to Abraham and his seed: The rest
  261. Were long to tell; how many battles fought
  262. How many kings destroyed; and kingdoms won;
  263. Or how the sun shall in mid Heaven stand still
  264. A day entire, and night's due course adjourn,
  265. Man's voice commanding, 'Sun, in Gibeon stand,
  266. 'And thou moon in the vale of Aialon,
  267. 'Till Israel overcome, so call the third
  268. From Abraham, son of Isaac; and from him
  269. His whole descent, who thus shall Canaan win.
  270. Here Adam interposed. Oh sent from Heaven,
  271. Enlightener of my darkness, gracious things
  272. Thou hast revealed; those chiefly, which concern
  273. Just Abraham and his seed: now first I find
  274. Mine eyes true-opening, and my heart much eased;
  275. Erewhile perplexed with thoughts, what would become
  276. Of me and all mankind: But now I see
  277. His day, in whom all nations shall be blest;
  278. Favor unmerited by me, who sought
  279. Forbidden knowledge by forbidden means.
  280. This yet I apprehend not, why to those
  281. Among whom God will deign to dwell on earth
  282. So many and so various laws are given;
  283. So many laws argue so many sins
  284. Among them; how can God with such reside?
  285. To whom thus Michael. Doubt not but that sin
  286. Will reign among them, as of thee begot;
  287. And therefore was law given them, to evince
  288. Their natural pravity, by stirring up
  289. Sin against law to fight: that when they see
  290. Law can discover sin, but not remove,
  291. Save by those shadowy expiations weak,
  292. The blood of bulls and goats, they may conclude
  293. Some blood more precious must be paid for Man;
  294. Just for unjust; that, in such righteousness
  295. To them by faith imputed, they may find
  296. Justification towards God, and peace
  297. Of conscience; which the law by ceremonies
  298. Cannot appease; nor man the mortal part
  299. Perform; and, not performing, cannot live.
  300. So law appears imperfect; and but given
  301. With purpose to resign them, in full time,
  302. Up to a better covenant; disciplined
  303. From shadowy types to truth; from flesh to spirit;
  304. From imposition of strict laws to free
  305. Acceptance of large grace; from servile fear
  306. To filial; works of law to works of faith.
  307. And therefore shall not Moses, though of God
  308. Highly beloved, being but the minister
  309. Of law, his people into Canaan lead;
  310. But Joshua, whom the Gentiles Jesus call,
  311. His name and office bearing, who shall quell
  312. The adversary-Serpent, and bring back
  313. Through the world's wilderness long-wandered man
  314. Safe to eternal Paradise of rest.
  315. Mean while they, in their earthly Canaan placed,
  316. Long time shall dwell and prosper, but when sins
  317. National interrupt their public peace,
  318. Provoking God to raise them enemies;
  319. From whom as oft he saves them penitent
  320. By Judges first, then under Kings; of whom
  321. The second, both for piety renowned
  322. And puissant deeds, a promise shall receive
  323. Irrevocable, that his regal throne
  324. For ever shall endure; the like shall sing
  325. All Prophecy, that of the royal stock
  326. Of David (so I name this king) shall rise
  327. A Son, the Woman's seed to thee foretold,
  328. Foretold to Abraham, as in whom shall trust
  329. All nations; and to kings foretold, of kings
  330. The last; for of his reign shall be no end.
  331. But first, a long succession must ensue;
  332. And his next son, for wealth and wisdom famed,
  333. The clouded ark of God, till then in tents
  334. Wandering, shall in a glorious temple enshrine.
  335. Such follow him, as shall be registered
  336. Part good, part bad; of bad the longer scroll;
  337. Whose foul idolatries, and other faults
  338. Heaped to the popular sum, will so incense
  339. God, as to leave them, and expose their land,
  340. Their city, his temple, and his holy ark,
  341. With all his sacred things, a scorn and prey
  342. To that proud city, whose high walls thou sawest
  343. Left in confusion; Babylon thence called.
  344. There in captivity he lets them dwell
  345. The space of seventy years; then brings them back,
  346. Remembering mercy, and his covenant sworn
  347. To David, stablished as the days of Heaven.
  348. Returned from Babylon by leave of kings
  349. Their lords, whom God disposed, the house of God
  350. They first re-edify; and for a while
  351. In mean estate live moderate; till, grown
  352. In wealth and multitude, factious they grow;
  353. But first among the priests dissention springs,
  354. Men who attend the altar, and should most
  355. Endeavor peace: their strife pollution brings
  356. Upon the temple itself: at last they seize
  357. The scepter, and regard not David's sons;
  358. Then lose it to a stranger, that the true
  359. Anointed King Messiah might be born
  360. Barred of his right; yet at his birth a star,
  361. Unseen before in Heaven, proclaims him come;
  362. And guides the eastern sages, who inquire
  363. His place, to offer incense, myrrh, and gold:
  364. His place of birth a solemn angel tells
  365. To simple shepherds, keeping watch by night;
  366. They gladly thither haste, and by a quire
  367. Of squadroned angels hear his carol sung.
  368. A virgin is his mother, but his sire
  369. The power of the Most High: He shall ascend
  370. The throne hereditary, and bound his reign
  371. With Earth's wide bounds, his glory with the Heavens.
  372. He ceased, discerning Adam with such joy
  373. Surcharged, as had like grief been dewed in tears,
  374. Without the vent of words; which these he breathed.
  375. Oh prophet of glad tidings, finisher
  376. Of utmost hope, now clear I understand
  377. What oft my steadiest thoughts have searched in vain;
  378. Why our great Expectation should be called
  379. The seed of Woman: Virgin Mother, hail,
  380. High in the love of Heaven; yet from my loins
  381. Thou shalt proceed, and from thy womb the Son
  382. Of God Most High: so God with man unites!
  383. Needs must the Serpent now his capital bruise
  384. Expect with mortal pain: Say where and when
  385. Their fight, what stroke shall bruise the victor's heel.
  386. To whom thus Michael. Dream not of their fight,
  387. As of a duel, or the local wounds
  388. Of head or heel: Not therefore joins the Son
  389. Manhood to Godhead, with more strength to foil
  390. Thy enemy; nor so is overcome
  391. Satan, whose fall from Heaven, a deadlier bruise,
  392. Disabled, not to give thee thy death's wound:
  393. Which he, who comes thy Savior, shall recur,
  394. Not by destroying Satan, but his works
  395. In thee, and in thy seed: Nor can this be,
  396. But by fulfilling that which thou didst want,
  397. Obedience to the law of God, imposed
  398. On penalty of death, and suffering death;
  399. The penalty to thy transgression due,
  400. And due to theirs which out of thine will grow:
  401. So only can high Justice rest appaid.
  402. The law of God exact he shall fulfill
  403. Both by obedience and by love, though love
  404. Alone fulfill the law; thy punishment
  405. He shall endure, by coming in the flesh
  406. To a reproachful life, and cursed death;
  407. Proclaiming life to all who shall believe
  408. In his redemption; and that his obedience,
  409. Imputed, becomes theirs by faith; his merits
  410. To save them, not their own, though legal, works.
  411. For this he shall live hated, be blasphemed,
  412. Seized on by force, judged, and to death condemned
  413. A shameful and accursed, nailed to the cross
  414. By his own nation; slain for bringing life:
  415. But to the cross he nails thy enemies,
  416. The law that is against thee, and the sins
  417. Of all mankind, with him there crucified,
  418. Never to hurt them more who rightly trust
  419. In this his satisfaction; so he dies,
  420. But soon revives; Death over him no power
  421. Shall long usurp; ere the third dawning light
  422. Return, the stars of morn shall see him rise
  423. Out of his grave, fresh as the dawning light,
  424. Thy ransom paid, which man from death redeems,
  425. His death for Man, as many as offered life
  426. Neglect not, and the benefit embrace
  427. By faith not void of works: This God-like act
  428. Annuls thy doom, the death thou shouldest have died,
  429. In sin for ever lost from life; this act
  430. Shall bruise the head of Satan, crush his strength,
  431. Defeating Sin and Death, his two main arms;
  432. And fix far deeper in his head their stings
  433. Than temporal death shall bruise the victor's heel,
  434. Or theirs whom he redeems; a death, like sleep,
  435. A gentle wafting to immortal life.
  436. Nor after resurrection shall he stay
  437. Longer on earth, than certain times to appear
  438. To his disciples, men who in his life
  439. Still followed him; to them shall leave in charge
  440. To teach all nations what of him they learned
  441. And his salvation; them who shall believe
  442. Baptizing in the profluent stream, the sign
  443. Of washing them from guilt of sin to life
  444. Pure, and in mind prepared, if so befall,
  445. For death, like that which the Redeemer died.
  446. All nations they shall teach; for, from that day,
  447. Not only to the sons of Abraham's loins
  448. Salvation shall be preached, but to the sons
  449. Of Abraham's faith wherever through the world;
  450. So in his seed all nations shall be blest.
  451. Then to the Heaven of Heavens he shall ascend
  452. With victory, triumphing through the air
  453. Over his foes and thine; there shall surprise
  454. The Serpent, prince of air, and drag in chains
  455. Through all his realm, and there confounded leave;
  456. Then enter into glory, and resume
  457. His seat at God's right hand, exalted high
  458. Above all names in Heaven; and thence shall come,
  459. When this world's dissolution shall be ripe,
  460. With glory and power to judge both quick and dead;
  461. To judge the unfaithful dead, but to reward
  462. His faithful, and receive them into bliss,
  463. Whether in Heaven or Earth; for then the Earth
  464. Shall all be Paradise, far happier place
  465. Than this of Eden, and far happier days.
  466. So spake the archangel Michael; then paused,
  467. As at the world's great period; and our sire,
  468. Replete with joy and wonder, thus replied.
  469. Oh goodness infinite, goodness immense!
  470. That all this good of evil shall produce,
  471. And evil turn to good; more wonderful
  472. Than that which by creation first brought forth
  473. Light out of darkness! Full of doubt I stand,
  474. Whether I should repent me now of sin
  475. By me done, and occasioned; or rejoice
  476. Much more, that much more good thereof shall spring;
  477. To God more glory, more good-will to men
  478. From God, and over wrath grace shall abound.
  479. But say, if our Deliverer up to Heaven
  480. Must re-ascend, what will betide the few
  481. His faithful, left among the unfaithful herd,
  482. The enemies of truth? Who then shall guide
  483. His people, who defend? Will they not deal
  484. Worse with his followers than with him they dealt?
  485. Be sure they will, said the angel; but from Heaven
  486. He to his own a comforter will send,
  487. The promise of the Father, who shall dwell
  488. His Spirit within them; and the law of faith,
  489. Working through love, upon their hearts shall write,
  490. To guide them in all truth; and also arm
  491. With spiritual armor, able to resist
  492. Satan's assaults, and quench his fiery darts;
  493. What man can do against them, not afraid,
  494. Though to the death; against such cruelties
  495. With inward consolations recompensed,
  496. And oft supported so as shall amaze
  497. Their proudest persecutors: For the Spirit,
  498. Poured first on his Apostles, whom he sends
  499. To evangelize the nations, then on all
  500. Baptized, shall them with wondrous gifts endue
  501. To speak all tongues, and do all miracles,
  502. As did their Lord before them. Thus they win
  503. Great numbers of each nation to receive
  504. With joy the tidings brought from Heaven: At length
  505. Their ministry performed, and race well run,
  506. Their doctrine and their story written left,
  507. They die; but in their room, as they forewarn,
  508. Wolves shall succeed for teachers, grievous wolves,
  509. Who all the sacred mysteries of Heaven
  510. To their own vile advantages shall turn
  511. Of lucre and ambition; and the truth
  512. With superstitions and traditions taint,
  513. Left only in those written records pure,
  514. Though not but by the Spirit understood.
  515. Then shall they seek to avail themselves of names,
  516. Places, and titles, and with these to join
  517. Secular power; though feigning still to act
  518. By spiritual, to themselves appropriating
  519. The Spirit of God, promised alike and given
  520. To all believers; and, from that pretence,
  521. Spiritual laws by carnal power shall force
  522. On every conscience; laws which none shall find
  523. Left them inrolled, or what the Spirit within
  524. Shall on the heart engrave. What will they then
  525. But force the Spirit of Grace itself, and bind
  526. His consort Liberty? what, but unbuild
  527. His living temples, built by faith to stand,
  528. Their own faith, not another's? for, on earth,
  529. Who against faith and conscience can be heard
  530. Infallible? yet many will presume:
  531. Whence heavy persecution shall arise
  532. On all, who in the worship persevere
  533. Of spirit and truth; the rest, far greater part,
  534. Will deem in outward rites and specious forms
  535. Religion satisfied; Truth shall retire
  536. Bestuck with slanderous darts, and works of faith
  537. Rarely be found: So shall the world go on,
  538. To good malignant, to bad men benign;
  539. Under her own weight groaning; till the day
  540. Appear of respiration to the just,
  541. And vengeance to the wicked, at return
  542. Of him so lately promised to thy aid,
  543. The Woman's Seed; obscurely then foretold,
  544. Now ampler known thy Savior and thy Lord;
  545. Last, in the clouds, from Heaven to be revealed
  546. In glory of the Father, to dissolve
  547. Satan with his perverted world; then raise
  548. From the conflagrant mass, purged and refined,
  549. New Heavens, new Earth, ages of endless date,
  550. Founded in righteousness, and peace, and love;
  551. To bring forth fruits, joy and eternal bliss.
  552. He ended; and thus Adam last replied.
  553. How soon hath thy prediction, Seer blest,
  554. Measured this transient world, the race of time,
  555. Till time stand fixed. Beyond is all abyss,
  556. Eternity, whose end no eye can reach.
  557. Greatly-instructed I shall hence depart;
  558. Greatly in peace of thought; and have my fill
  559. Of knowledge, what this vessel can contain;
  560. Beyond which was my folly to aspire.
  561. Henceforth I learn, that to obey is best,
  562. And love with fear the only God; to walk
  563. As in his presence; ever to observe
  564. His providence; and on him sole depend,
  565. Merciful over all his works, with good
  566. Still overcoming evil, and by small
  567. Accomplishing great things, by things deemed weak
  568. Subverting worldly strong, and worldly wise
  569. By simply meek: that suffering for truth's sake
  570. Is fortitude to highest victory,
  571. And, to the faithful, death the gate of life;
  572. Taught this by his example, whom I now
  573. Acknowledge my Redeemer ever blest.
  574. To whom thus also the angel last replied.
  575. This having learned, thou hast attained the sum
  576. Of wisdom; hope no higher, though all the stars
  577. Thou knewest by name, and all the ethereal powers,
  578. All secrets of the deep, all Nature's works,
  579. Or works of God in Heaven, air, earth, or sea,
  580. And all the riches of this world enjoyedst,
  581. And all the rule, one empire; only add
  582. Deeds to thy knowledge answerable; add faith,
  583. Add virtue, patience, temperance; add love,
  584. By name to come called charity, the soul
  585. Of all the rest: then wilt thou not be loath
  586. To leave this Paradise, but shalt possess
  587. A Paradise within thee, happier far.
  588. Let us descend now therefore from this top
  589. Of speculation; for the hour precise
  590. Exacts our parting hence; and see the guards,
  591. By me encamped on yonder hill, expect
  592. Their motion; at whose front a flaming sword,
  593. In signal of remove, waves fiercely round:
  594. We may no longer stay: go, waken Eve;
  595. Her also I with gentle dreams have calmed
  596. Portending good, and all her spirits composed
  597. To meek submission: thou, at season fit,
  598. Let her with thee partake what thou hast heard;
  599. Chiefly what may concern her faith to know,
  600. The great deliverance by her seed to come
  601. (For by the Woman's seed) on all mankind:
  602. That ye may live, which will be many days,
  603. Both in one faith unanimous, though sad,
  604. With cause, for evils past; yet much more cheered
  605. With meditation on the happy end.
  606. He ended, and they both descend the hill;
  607. Descended, Adam to the bower, where Eve
  608. Lay sleeping, ran before; but found her waked;
  609. And thus with words not sad she him received.
  610. Whence thou returnest, and whither wentest, I know;
  611. For God is also in sleep; and dreams advise,
  612. Which he hath sent propitious, some great good
  613. Presaging, since with sorrow and heart's distress
  614. Wearied I fell asleep: But now lead on;
  615. In me is no delay; with thee to go,
  616. Is to stay here; without thee here to stay,
  617. Is to go hence unwilling; thou to me
  618. Art all things under Heaven, all places thou,
  619. Who for my willful crime art banished hence.
  620. This further consolation yet secure
  621. I carry hence; though all by me is lost,
  622. Such favor I unworthy am vouchsafed,
  623. By me the Promised Seed shall all restore.
  624. So spake our mother Eve; and Adam heard
  625. Well pleased, but answered not: For now, too nigh
  626. The archangel stood; and, from the other hill
  627. To their fixed station, all in bright array
  628. The Cherubim descended; on the ground
  629. Gliding meteorous, as evening-mist
  630. Risen from a river o'er the marsh glides,
  631. And gathers ground fast at the laborerís heel
  632. Homeward returning. High in front advanced,
  633. The brandished sword of God before them blazed,
  634. Fierce as a comet; which with torrid heat,
  635. And vapor as the Libyan air adust,
  636. Began to parch that temperate clime; whereat
  637. In either hand the hastening angel caught
  638. Our lingering parents, and to the eastern gate
  639. Led them direct, and down the cliff as fast
  640. To the subjected plain; then disappeared.
  641. They, looking back, all the eastern side beheld
  642. Of Paradise, so late their happy seat,
  643. Waved over by that flaming brand; the gate
  644. With dreadful faces thronged, and fiery arms:
  645. Some natural tears they dropt, but wiped them soon;
  646. The world was all before them, where to choose
  647. Their place of rest, and Providence their guide:
  648. They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow,
  649. Through Eden took their solitary way.