Paradise Lost by John Milton - HTML preview

PLEASE NOTE: This is an HTML preview only and some elements such as links or page numbers may be incorrect.
Download the book in PDF, ePub, Kindle for a complete version.

Paradise Lost

Book I ................................................................................................................................................. 3

 

Book II .............................................................................................................................................. 25

 

Book III ............................................................................................................................................. 51

 

Book IV............................................................................................................................................. 72

 

Book V............................................................................................................................................102

 

Book VI...........................................................................................................................................129

 

Book VII..........................................................................................................................................156

 

Book VIII.........................................................................................................................................206

 

Book IX...........................................................................................................................................241 Book X............................................................................................................................................271

Book I

"If thou beest he--but O how fallen! how changed From him who, in the happy realms of light Clothed with transcendent brightness, didst outshine Myriads, though bright!--if he whom mutual league, United thoughts and counsels, equal hope
And hazard in the glorious enterprise
Joined with me once, now misery hath joined In equal ruin; into what pit thou seest
From what height fallen: so much the stronger proved He with his thunder; and till then who knew The force of those dire arms? Yet not for those, Nor what the potent Victor in his rage
Can else inflict, do I repent, or change,
Though changed in outward lustre, that fixed mind, And high disdain from sense of injured merit, That with the Mightiest raised me to contend, And to the fierce contentions brought along Innumerable force of Spirits armed,
That durst dislike his reign, and, me preferring, His utmost power with adverse power opposed In dubious battle on the plains of Heaven,
And shook his throne. What though the field be lost? All is not lost--the unconquerable will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield:
And what is else not to be overcome?
That glory never shall his wrath or might
Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace
With suppliant knee, and deify his power
Who, from the terror of this arm, so late
Doubted his empire--that were low indeed;
That were an ignominy and shame beneath This downfall; since, by fate, the strength of Gods, And this empyreal sybstance, cannot fail; Since, through experience of this great event, In arms not worse, in foresight much advanced, We may with more successful hope resolve To wage by force or guile eternal war,
Irreconcilable to our grand Foe,
Who now triumphs, and in th' excess of joy Sole reigning holds the tyranny of Heaven."

So spake th' apostate Angel, though in pain, Vaunting aloud, but racked with deep despair; And him thus answered soon his bold compeer:--

"O Prince, O Chief of many throned Powers
That led th' embattled Seraphim to war
Under thy conduct, and, in dreadful deeds
Fearless, endangered Heaven's perpetual King, And put to proof his high supremacy,
Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate, Too well I see and rue the dire event
That, with sad overthrow and foul defeat,
Hath lost us Heaven, and all this mighty host In horrible destruction laid thus low,
As far as Gods and heavenly Essences
Can perish: for the mind and spirit remains
Invincible, and vigour soon returns,
Though all our glory extinct, and happy state Here swallowed up in endless misery.
But what if he our Conqueror (whom I now
Of force believe almighty, since no less
Than such could have o'erpowered such force as ours) Have left us this our spirit and strength entire, Strongly to suffer and support our pains,
That we may so suffice his vengeful ire, Or do him mightier service as his thralls By right of war, whate'er his business be, Here in the heart of Hell to work in fire, Or do his errands in the gloomy Deep? What can it the avail though yet we feel Strength undiminished, or eternal being To undergo eternal punishment?"

Whereto with speedy words th' Arch-Fiend replied:--

"Fallen Cherub, to be weak is miserable, Doing or suffering: but of this be sure--
To do aught good never will be our task, But ever to do ill our sole delight,
As being the contrary to his high will
Whom we resist. If then his providence
Out of our evil seek to bring forth good,
Our labour must be to pervert that end,
And out of good still to find means of evil; Which ofttimes may succeed so as perhaps Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb His inmost counsels from their destined aim. But see! the angry Victor hath recalled
His ministers of vengeance and pursuit
Back to the gates of Heaven: the sulphurous hail, Shot after us in storm, o'erblown hath laid The fiery surge that from the precipice
Of Heaven received us falling; and the thunder, Winged with red lightning and impetuous rage, Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now To bellow through the vast and boundless Deep. Let us not slip th' occasion, whether scorn Or satiate fury yield it from our Foe.
Seest thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild, The seat of desolation, void of light,
Save what the glimmering of these livid flames Casts pale and dreadful? Thither let us tend From off the tossing of these fiery waves; There rest, if any rest can harbour there; And, re-assembling our afflicted powers, Consult how we may henceforth most offend Our enemy, our own loss how repair,
How overcome this dire calamity,
What reinforcement we may gain from hope, If not, what resolution from despair."

Thus Satan, talking to his nearest mate, With head uplift above the wave, and eyes That sparkling blazed; his other parts besides Prone on the flood, extended long and large, Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge As whom the fables name of monstrous size, Titanian or Earth-born, that warred on Jove, Briareos or Typhon, whom the den
By ancient Tarsus held, or that sea-beast Leviathan, which God of all his works
Created hugest that swim th' ocean-stream. Him, haply slumbering on the Norway foam, The pilot of some small night-foundered skiff, Deeming some island, oft, as seamen tell, With fixed anchor in his scaly rind,
Moors by his side under the lee, while night Invests the sea, and wished morn delays. So stretched out huge in length the Arch-fiend lay, Chained on the burning lake; nor ever thence Had risen, or heaved his head, but that the will And high permission of all-ruling Heaven Left him at large to his own dark designs, That with reiterated crimes he might
Heap on himself damnation, while he sought Evil to others, and enraged might see
How all his malice served but to bring forth
Infinite goodness, grace, and mercy, shewn On Man by him seduced, but on himself
Treble confusion, wrath, and vengeance poured. Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool
His mighty stature; on each hand the flames Driven backward slope their pointing spires, and,rolled In billows, leave i' th' midst a horrid vale.
Then with expanded wings he steers his flight Aloft, incumbent on the dusky air,
That felt unusual weight; till on dry land
He lights--if it were land that ever burned
With solid, as the lake with liquid fire,
And such appeared in hue as when the force Of subterranean wind transprots a hill
Torn from Pelorus, or the shattered side
Of thundering Etna, whose combustible
And fuelled entrails, thence conceiving fire, Sublimed with mineral fury, aid the winds,
And leave a singed bottom all involved
With stench and smoke. Such resting found the sole Of unblest feet. Him followed his next mate; Both glorying to have scaped the Stygian flood As gods, and by their own recovered strength, Not by the sufferance of supernal Power.

"Is this the region, this the soil, the clime,"
Said then the lost Archangel, "this the seat
That we must change for Heaven?--this mournful gloom For that celestial light? Be it so, since he
Who now is sovereign can dispose and bid
What shall be right: farthest from him is best Whom reason hath equalled, force hath made supreme Above his equals. Farewell, happy fields,
Where joy for ever dwells! Hail, horrors! hail, Infernal world! and thou, profoundest Hell,
Receive thy new possessor--one who brings A mind not to be changed by place or time.
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven. What matter where, if I be still the same,
And what I should be, all but less than he
Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at least We shall be free; th' Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
Here we may reigh secure; and, in my choice, To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.
But wherefore let we then our faithful friends, Th' associates and co-partners of our loss,
Lie thus astonished on th' oblivious pool,
And call them not to share with us their part
In this unhappy mansion, or once more
With rallied arms to try what may be yet
Regained in Heaven, or what more lost in Hell?"

So Satan spake; and him Beelzebub
Thus answered:--"Leader of those armies bright Which, but th' Omnipotent, none could have foiled! If once they hear that voice, their liveliest pledge Of hope in fears and dangers--heard so oft In worst extremes, and on the perilous edge Of battle, when it raged, in all assaults
Their surest signal--they will soon resume New courage and revive, though now they lie Grovelling and prostrate on yon lake of fire, As we erewhile, astounded and amazed; No wonder, fallen such a pernicious height!"

He scare had ceased when the superior Fiend Was moving toward the shore; his ponderous shield, Ethereal temper, massy, large, and round,
Behind him cast. The broad circumference
Hung on his shoulders like the moon, whose orb Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views
At evening, from the top of Fesole,
Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands,
Rivers, or mountains, in her spotty globe.
His spear--to equal which the tallest pine
Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mast
Of some great ammiral, were but a wand--
He walked with, to support uneasy steps
Over the burning marl, not like those steps
On Heaven's azure; and the torrid clime
Smote on him sore besides, vaulted with fire. Nathless he so endured, till on the beach
Of that inflamed sea he stood, and called
His legions--Angel Forms, who lay entranced Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks In Vallombrosa, where th' Etrurian shades
High over-arched embower; or scattered sedge Afloat, when with fierce winds Orion armed
Hath vexed the Red-Sea coast, whose waves o'erthrew Busiris and his Memphian chivalry,
While with perfidious hatred they pursued
The sojourners of Goshen, who beheld
From the safe shore their floating carcases
And broken chariot-wheels. So thick bestrown, Abject and lost, lay these, covering the flood, Under amazement of their hideous change. He called so loud that all the hollow deep
Of Hell resounded:--"Princes, Potentates,
Warriors, the Flower of Heaven--once yours; now lost, If such astonishment as this can seize
Eternal Spirits! Or have ye chosen this place After the toil of battle to repose
Your wearied virtue, for the ease you find
To slumber here, as in the vales of Heaven? Or in this abject posture have ye sworn
To adore the Conqueror, who now beholds
Cherub and Seraph rolling in the flood
With scattered arms and ensigns, till anon
His swift pursuers from Heaven-gates discern Th' advantage, and, descending, tread us down Thus drooping, or with linked thunderbolts
Transfix us to the bottom of this gulf?
Awake, arise, or be for ever fallen!"

They heard, and were abashed, and up they sprung Upon the wing, as when men wont to watch On duty, sleeping found by whom they dread, Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake. Nor did they not perceive the evil plight
In which they were, or the fierce pains not feel; Yet to their General's voice they soon obeyed Innumerable. As when the potent rod
Of Amram's son, in Egypt's evil day,
Waved round the coast, up-called a pitchy cloud Of locusts, warping on the eastern wind,
That o'er the realm of impious Pharaoh hung Like Night, and darkened all the land of Nile; So numberless were those bad Angels seen Hovering on wing under the cope of Hell,
'Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding fires; Till, as a signal given, th' uplifted spear
Of their great Sultan waving to direct
Their course, in even balance down they light On the firm brimstone, and fill all the plain:
A multitude like which the populous North
Poured never from her frozen loins to pass Rhene or the Danaw, when her barbarous sons Came like a deluge on the South, and spread Beneath Gibraltar to the Libyan sands.
Forthwith, form every squadron and each band, The heads and leaders thither haste where stood Their great Commander--godlike Shapes, and Forms Excelling human; princely Dignities;
And Powers that erst in Heaven sat on thrones, Though on their names in Heavenly records now Be no memorial, blotted out and rased
By their rebellion from the Books of Life.
Nor had they yet among the sons of Eve
Got them new names, till, wandering o'er the earth, Through God's high sufferance for the trial of man, By falsities and lies the greatest part
Of mankind they corrupted to forsake
God their Creator, and th' invisible
Glory of him that made them to transform
Oft to the image of a brute, adorned
With gay religions full of pomp and gold,
And devils to adore for deities:
Then were they known to men by various names, And various idols through the heathen world.

Say, Muse, their names then known, who first, who last, Roused from the slumber on that fiery couch, At their great Emperor's call, as next in worth Came singly where he stood on the bare strand, While the promiscuous crowd stood yet aloof? The chief were those who, from the pit of Hell Roaming to seek their prey on Earth, durst fix Their seats, long after, next the seat of God, Their altars by his altar, gods adored
Among the nations round, and durst abide
Jehovah thundering out of Sion, throned
Between the Cherubim; yea, often placed
Within his sanctuary itself their shrines,
Abominations; and with cursed things
His holy rites and solemn feasts profaned,
And with their darkness durst affront his light. First, Moloch, horrid king, besmeared with blood Of human sacrifice, and parents' tears;
Though, for the noise of drums and timbrels loud, Their children's cries unheard that passed through fire To his grim idol. Him the Ammonite
Worshiped in Rabba and her watery plain,
In Argob and in Basan, to the stream
Of utmost Arnon. Nor content with such
Audacious neighbourhood, the wisest heart Of Solomon he led by fraoud to build
His temple right against the temple of God
On that opprobrious hill, and made his grove The pleasant valley of Hinnom, Tophet thence And black Gehenna called, the type of Hell. Next Chemos, th' obscene dread of Moab's sons, From Aroar to Nebo and the wild
Of southmost Abarim; in Hesebon
And Horonaim, Seon's real, beyond
The flowery dale of Sibma clad with vines,
And Eleale to th' Asphaltic Pool:
Peor his other name, when he enticed
Israel in Sittim, on their march from Nile,
To do him wanton rites, which cost them woe. Yet thence his lustful orgies he enlarged
Even to that hill of scandal, by the grove
Of Moloch homicide, lust hard by hate,
Till good Josiah drove them thence to Hell. With these came they who, from the bordering flood Of old Euphrates to the brook that parts
Egypt from Syrian ground, had general names Of Baalim and Ashtaroth--those male,
These feminine. For Spirits, when they please, Can either sex assume, or both; so soft
And uncompounded is their essence pure, Not tried or manacled with joint or limb,
Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones, Like cumbrous flesh; but, in what shape they choose, Dilated or condensed, bright or obscure,
Can execute their airy purposes,
And works of love or enmity fulfil.
For those the race of Israel oft forsook
Their Living Strength, and unfrequented left His righteous altar, bowing lowly down
To bestial gods; for which their heads as low Bowed down in battle, sunk before the spear Of despicable foes. With these in troop
Came Astoreth, whom the Phoenicians called Astarte, queen of heaven, with crescent horns; To whose bright image nigntly by the moon Sidonian virgins paid their vows and songs; In Sion also not unsung, where stood
Her temple on th' offensive mountain, built
By that uxorious king whose heart, though large, Beguiled by fair idolatresses, fell
To idols foul. Thammuz came next behind, Whose annual wound in Lebanon allured The Syrian damsels to lament his fate
In amorous ditties all a summer's day,
While smooth Adonis from his native rock Ran purple to the sea, supposed with blood Of Thammuz yearly wounded: the love-tale Infected Sion's daughters with like heat, Whose wanton passions in the sacred proch Ezekiel saw, when, by the vision led,
His eye surveyed the dark idolatries
Of alienated Judah. Next came one
Who mourned in earnest, when the captive ark Maimed his brute image, head and hands lopt off, In his own temple, on the grunsel-edge, Where he fell flat and shamed his worshippers: Dagon his name, sea-monster,upward man And downward fish; yet had his temple high Reared in Azotus, dreaded through the coast Of Palestine, in Gath and Ascalon,
And Accaron and Gaza's frontier bounds. Him followed Rimmon, whose delightful seat Was fair Damascus, on the fertile banks Of Abbana and Pharphar, lucid streams. He also against the house of God was bold: A leper once he lost, and gained a king-- Ahaz, his sottish conqueror, whom he drew God's altar to disparage and displace
For one of Syrian mode, whereon to burn His odious offerings, and adore the gods Whom he had vanquished. After these appeared A crew who, under names of old renown-- Osiris, Isis, Orus, and their train--
With monstrous shapes and sorceries abused Fanatic Egypt and her priests to seek
Their wandering gods disguised in brutish forms Rather than human. Nor did Israel scape Th' infection, when their borrowed gold composed The calf in Oreb; and the rebel king
Doubled that sin in Bethel and in Dan,
Likening his Maker to the grazed ox--
Jehovah, who, in one night, when he passed From Egypt marching, equalled with one stroke Both her first-born and all her bleating gods. Belial came last; than whom a Spirit more lewd Fell not from Heaven, or more gross to love Vice for itself. To him no temple stood
Or altar smoked; yet who more oft than he In temples and at altars, when the priest Turns atheist, as did Eli's sons, who filled With lust and violence the house of God? In courts and palaces he also reigns,
And in luxurious cities, where the noise
Of riot ascends above their loftiest towers, And injury and outrage; and, when night Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine. Witness the streets of Sodom, and that night In Gibeah, when the hospitable door
Exposed a matron, to avoid worse rape.

These were the prime in order and in might: The rest were long to tell; though far renowned Th' Ionian gods--of Javan's issue held
Gods, yet confessed later than Heaven and Earth, Their boasted parents;--Titan, Heaven's first-born, With his enormous brood, and birthright seized By younger Saturn: he from mightier Jove, His own and Rhea's son, like measure found; So Jove usurping reigned. These, first in Crete And Ida known, thence on the snowy top Of cold Olympus ruled the middle air, Their highest heaven; or on the Delphian cliff, Or in Dodona, and through all the bounds Of Doric land; or who with Saturn old Fled over Adria to th' Hesperian fields, And o'er the Celtic roamed the utmost Isles.

All these and more came flocking; but with looks Downcast and damp; yet such wherein appeared Obscure some glimpse of joy to have found their Chief Not in despair, to have found themselves not lost In loss itself; which on his countenance cast Like doubtful hue. But he, his wonted pride
Soon recollecting, with high words, that bore Semblance of worth, not substance, gently raised Their fainting courage, and dispelled their fears. Then straight commands that, at the warlike sound Of trumpets loud and clarions, be upreared
His mighty standard. That proud honour claimed Azazel as his right, a Cherub tall:
Who forthwith from the glittering staff unfurled Th' imperial ensign; which, full high advanced, Shone like a meteor streaming to the wind,
With gems and golden lustre rich emblazed, Seraphic arms and trophies; all the while
Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds:
At which the universal host up-sent
A shout that tore Hell's concave, and beyond Frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night.
All in a moment through the gloom were seen Ten thousand banners rise into the air,
With orient colours waving: with them rose
A forest huge of spears; and thronging helms Appeared, and serried shields in thick array Of depth immeasurable. Anon they move In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood
Of flutes and soft recorders--such as raised To height of noblest temper heroes old
Arming to battle, and instead of rage
Deliberate valour breathed, firm, and unmoved With dread of death to flight or foul retreat; Nor wanting power to mitigate and swage With solemn touches troubled thoughts, and chase Anguish and doubt and fear and sorrow and pain From mortal or immortal minds. Thus they, Breathing united force with fixed thought, Moved on in silence to soft pipes that charmed Their painful steps o'er the burnt soil. And now Advanced in view they stand--a horrid front Of dreadful length and dazzling arms, in guise Of warriors old, with ordered spear and shield, Awaiting what command their mighty Chief Had to impose. He through the armed files Darts his experienced eye, and soon traverse The whole battalion views--their order due, Their visages and stature as of gods;
Their number last he sums. And now his heart Distends with pride, and, hardening in his strength, Glories: for never, since created Man,
Met such embodied force as, named with these, Could merit more than that small infantry Warred on by cranes--though all the giant brood Of Phlegra with th' heroic race were joined That fought at Thebes and Ilium, on each side Mixed with auxiliar gods; and what resounds In fable or romance of Uther's son,
Begirt with British and Armoric knights;
And all who since, baptized or infidel,
Jousted in Aspramont, or Montalban,
Damasco, or Marocco, or Trebisond,
Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore
When Charlemain with all his peerage fell By Fontarabbia. Thus far these beyond Compare of mortal prowess, yet observed Their dread Commander. He, above the rest In shape and gesture proudly eminent,
Stood like a tower. His form had yet not lost All her original brightness, nor appeared Less than Archangel ruined, and th' excess Of glory obscured: as when the sun new-risen Looks through the horizontal misty air
Shorn of his beams, or, from behind the moon, In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds On half the nations, and with fear of change Perplexes monarchs. Darkened so, yet shone Above them all th' Archangel: but his face Deep scars of thunder had intrenched, and care Sat on his faded cheek, but under brows Of dauntless courage, and considerate pride Waiting revenge. Cruel his eye, but cast Signs of remorse and passion, to behold The fellows of his crime, the followers rather (Far other once beheld in bliss), condemned For ever now to have their lot in pain--
Millions of Spirits for his fault amerced
Of Heaven, and from eteranl splendours flung For his revolt--yet faithful how they stood, Their glory withered; as, when heaven's fire Hath scathed the forest oaks or mountain pines, With singed top their stately growth, though bare, Stands on the blasted heath. He now prepared To speak; whereat their doubled ranks they bend From wing to wing, and half enclose him round With all his peers: attention held them mute. Thrice he assayed, and thrice, in spite of scorn, Tears, such as Angels weep, burst forth: at last Words interwove with sighs found out their way:--

"O myriads of immortal Spirits! O Powers Matchless, but with th' Almighth!--and that strife Was not inglorious, though th' event was dire, As this place testifies, and this dire change, Hateful to utter. But what power of mind, Forseeing or presaging, from the depth
Of knowledge past or present, could have feared How such united force of gods, how such As stood like these, could ever know repulse? For who can yet believe, though after loss, That all these puissant legions, whose exile Hath emptied Heaven, shall fail to re-ascend, Self-raised, and repossess their native seat? For me, be witness all the host of Heaven, If counsels different, or danger shunned
By me, have lost our hopes. But he who reigns Monarch in Heaven till then as one secure Sat on his throne, upheld by old repute,
Consent or custom, and his regal state
Put forth at full, but still his strength concealed-- Which tempted our attempt, and wrought our fall. Henceforth his might we know, and know our own, So as not either to provoke, or dread
New war provoked: our better part remains To work in close design, by fraud or guile, What force effected not; that he no less
At length from us may find, who overcomes By force hath overcome but half his foe. Space may produce new Worlds; whereof so rife There went a fame in Heaven that he ere long Intended to create, and therein plant
A generation whom his choice regard
Should favour equal to the Sons of Heaven. Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhaps
Our first eruption--thither, or elsewhere; For this infernal pit shall never hold
Celestial Spirits in bondage, nor th' Abyss Long under darkness cover. But these thoughts Full counsel must mature. Peace is despaired; For who can think submission? War, then, war Open or understood, must be resolved."

He spake; and, to confirm his words, outflew Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs Of mighty Cherubim; the sudden blaze
Far round illumined Hell. Highly they raged Against the Highest, and fierce with grasped arms Clashed on their sounding shields the din of war, Hurling defiance toward the vault of Heaven.

There stood a hill not far, whose grisly top
Belched fire and rolling smoke; the rest entire Shone with a glossy scurf--undoubted sign
That in his womb was hid metallic ore,
The work of sulphur. Thither, winged with speed, A numerous brigade hastened: as when bands Of pioneers, with spade and pickaxe armed,
Forerun the royal camp, to trench a field,
Or cast a rampart. Mammon led them on--
Mammon, the least erected Spirit that fell
From Heaven; for even in Heaven his looks and thoughts Were always downward bent, admiring more The riches of heaven's pavement, trodden gold, Than aught divine or holy else enjoyed
In vision beatific. By him first
Men also, and by his suggestion taught,
Ransacked the centre, and with impious hands Rifled the bowels of their mother Earth
For treasures better hid. Soon had his crew Opened into the hill a spacious wound,
And digged out ribs of gold. Let none admire That riches grow in Hell; that soil may best Deserve the precious bane. And here let those Who boast in mortal things, and wondering tell Of Babel, and the works of Memphian kings, Learn how their greatest monuments of fame And strength, and art, are easily outdone
By Spirits reprobate, and in an hour
What in an age they, with incessant toil
And hands innumerable, scarce perform.
Nigh on the plain, in many cells prepared,
That underneath had veins of liquid fire
Sluiced from the lake, a second multitude
With wondrous art founded the massy ore, Severing each kind, and scummed the bullion-dross. A third as soon had formed within the ground A various mould, and from the boiling cells By strange conveyance filled each hollow nook; As in an organ, from one blast of wind,
To many a row of pipes the sound-board breathes. Anon out of the earth a fabric huge
Rose like an exhalation, with the sound
Of dulcet symphonies and voices sweet--
Built like a temple, where pilasters round
Were set, and Doric pillars overlaid
With golden architrave; nor did there want
Cornice or frieze, with bossy sculptures graven; The roof was fretted gold. Not Babylon
Nor great Alcairo such magnificence
Equalled in all their glories, to enshrine
Belus or Serapis their gods, or seat
Their kings, when Egypt with Assyria strove In wealth and luxury. Th' ascending pile
Stood fixed her stately height, and straight the doors, Opening their brazen folds, discover, wide Within, her ample spaces o'er the smooth
And level pavement: from the arched roof, Pendent by subtle magic, many a row
Of starry lamps and blazing cressets, fed
With naptha and asphaltus, yielded light
As from a sky. The hasty multitude
Admiring entered; and the work some praise, And some the architect. His hand was known In Heaven by many a towered structure high, Where sceptred Angels held their residence, And sat as Princes, whom the supreme King Exalted to such power, and gave to rule,
Each in his Hierarchy, the Orders bright.
Nor was his name unheard or unadored
In ancient Greece; and in Ausonian land
Men called him Mulciber; and how he fell
From Heaven they fabled, thrown by angry Jove Sheer o'er the crystal battlements: from morn To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve,
A summer's day, and with the setting sun
Dropt from the zenith, like a falling star,
On Lemnos, th' Aegaean isle. Thus they relate, Erring; for he with this rebellious rout
Fell long before; nor aught aviled him now
To have built in Heaven high towers; nor did he scape By all his engines, but was headlong sent,
With his industrious crew, to build in Hell.

Meanwhile the winged Heralds, by command Of sovereign power, with awful ceremony And trumpet's sound, throughout the host proclaim A solemn council forthwith to be held
At Pandemonium, the high capital
Of Satan and his peers. Their summons called From every band and squared regiment
By place or choice the worthiest: they anon With hundreds and with thousands trooping came Attended. All access was thronged; the gates And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall (Though like a covered field, where champions bold Wont ride in armed, and at the Soldan's chair Defied the best of Paynim chivalry
To mortal combat, or career with lance),
Thick swarmed, both on the ground and in the air, Brushed with the hiss of rustling wings. As bees In spring-time, when the Sun with Taurus rides. Pour forth their populous youth about the hive In clusters; they among fresh dews and flowers Fly to and fro, or on the smoothed plank,
The suburb of their straw-built citadel,
New rubbed with balm, expatiate, and confer Their state-affairs: so thick the airy crowd Swarmed and were straitened; till, the signal given, Behold a wonder! They but now who seemed In bigness to surpass Earth's giant sons,
Now less than smallest dwarfs, in narrow room Throng numberless--like that pygmean race Beyond the Indian mount; or faery elves,
Whose midnight revels, by a forest-side
Or fountain, some belated peasant sees,
Or dreams he sees, while overhead the Moon Sits arbitress, and nearer to the Earth
Wheels her pale course: they, on their mirth and dance Intent, with jocund music charm his ear;
At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds. Thus incorporeal Spirits to smallest forms
Reduced their shapes immense, and were at large, Though without number still, amidst the hall
Of that infernal court. But far within,
And in their own dimensions like themselves, The great Seraphic Lords and Cherubim
In close recess and secret conclave sat,
A thousand demi-gods on golden seats,
Frequent and full. After short silence then,
And summons read, the great consult began.

Book II

"Powers and Dominions, Deities of Heaven!-- For, since no deep within her gulf can hold Immortal vigour, though oppressed and fallen, I give not Heaven for lost: from this descent Celestial Virtues rising will appear
More glorious and more dread than from no fall, And trust themselves to fear no second fate!-- Me though just right, and the fixed laws of Heaven, Did first create your leader--next, free choice With what besides in council or in fight
Hath been achieved of merit--yet this loss, Thus far at least recovered, hath much more Established in a safe, unenvied throne,
Yielded with full consent. The happier state In Heaven, which follows dignity, might draw Envy from each inferior; but who here
Will envy whom the highest place exposes Foremost to stand against the Thunderer's aim Your bulwark, and condemns to greatest share Of endless pain? Where there is, then, no good For which to strive, no strife can grow up there From faction: for none sure will claim in Hell Precedence; none whose portion is so small Of present pain that with ambitious mind
Will covet more! With this advantage, then, To union, and firm faith, and firm accord, More than can be in Heaven, we now return To claim our just inheritance of old,
Surer to prosper than prosperity
Could have assured us; and by what best way, Whether of open war or covert guile,
We now debate. Who can advise may speak."

He ceased; and next him Moloch, sceptred king, Stood up--the strongest and the fiercest Spirit That fought in Heaven, now fiercer by despair. His trust was with th' Eternal to be deemed Equal in strength, and rather than be less Cared not to be at all; with that care lost
Went all his fear: of God, or Hell, or worse, He recked not, and these words thereafter spake:--

"My sentence is for open war. Of wiles,
More unexpert, I boast not: them let those Contrive who need, or when they need; not now. For, while they sit contriving, shall the rest-- Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait The signal to ascend--sit lingering here,
Heaven's fugitives, and for their dwelling-place Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame, The prison of his ryranny who reigns
By our delay? No! let us rather choose,
Armed with Hell-flames and fury, all at once O'er Heaven's high towers to force resistless way, Turning our tortures into horrid arms
Against the Torturer; when, to meet the noise Of his almighty engine, he shall hear
Infernal thunder, and, for lightning, see
Black fire and horror shot with equal rage Among his Angels, and his throne itself
Mixed with Tartarean sulphur and strange fire, His own invented torments. But perhaps The way seems difficult, and steep to scale With upright wing against a higher foe!
Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench Of that forgetful lake benumb not still,
That in our porper motion we ascend
Up to our native seat; descent and fall
To us is adverse. Who but felt of late,
When the fierce foe hung on our broken rear Insulting, and pursued us through the Deep, With what compulsion and laborious flight
We sunk thus low? Th' ascent is easy, then; Th' event is feared! Should we again provoke Our stronger, some worse way his wrath may find To our destruction, if there be in Hell
Fear to be worse destroyed! What can be worse Than to dwell here, driven out from bliss, condemned In this abhorred deep to utter woe!
Where pain of unextinguishable fire
Must exercise us without hope of end
The vassals of his anger, when the scourge Inexorably, and the torturing hour,
Calls us to penance? More destroyed than thus, We should be quite abolished, and expire.
What fear we then? what doubt we to incense His utmost ire? which, to the height enraged, Will either quite consume us, and reduce
To nothing this essential--happier far
Than miserable to have eternal being!--
Or, if our substance be indeed divine,
And cannot cease to be, we are at worst
On this side nothing; and by proof we feel
Our power sufficient to disturb his Heaven, And with perpetual inroads to alarm,
Though inaccessible, his fatal throne:
Which, if not victory, is yet revenge."
He ended frowning, and his look denounced Desperate revenge, and battle dangerous To less than gods. On th' other side up rose Belial, in act more graceful and humane.
A fairer person lost not Heaven; he seemed For dignity composed, and high exploit.
But all was false and hollow; though his tongue Dropped manna, and could make the worse appear The better reason, to perplex and dash
Maturest counsels: for his thoughts were low--

To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds
Timorous and slothful. Yet he pleased the ear, And with persuasive accent thus began:--

"I should be much for open war, O Peers,
As not behind in hate, if what was urged
Main reason to persuade immediate war
Did not dissuade me most, and seem to cast Ominous conjecture on the whole success; When he who most excels in fact of arms, In what he counsels and in what excels
Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair And utter dissolution, as the scope
Of all his aim, after some dire revenge.
First, what revenge? The towers of Heaven are filled With armed watch, that render all access
Impregnable: oft on the bodering Deep
Encamp their legions, or with obscure wing Scout far and wide into the realm of Night, Scorning surprise. Or, could we break our way By force, and at our heels all Hell should rise With blackest insurrection to confound
Heaven's purest light, yet our great Enemy, All incorruptible, would on his throne
Sit unpolluted, and th' ethereal mould,
Incapable of stain, would soon expel
Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire, Victorious. Thus repulsed, our final hope
Is flat despair: we must exasperate
Th' Almighty Victor to spend all his rage;
And that must end us; that must be our cure-- To be no more. Sad cure! for who would lose, Though full of pain, this intellectual being, Those thoughts that wander through eternity, To perish rather, swallowed up and lost
In the wide womb of uncreated Night,
Devoid of sense and motion? And who knows, Let this be good, whether our angry Foe
Can give it, or will ever? How he can
Is doubtful; that he never will is sure.
Will he, so wise, let loose at once his ire,
Belike through impotence or unaware,
To give his enemies their wish, and end
Them in his anger whom his anger saves To punish endless? 'Wherefore cease we, then?' Say they who counsel war; 'we are decreed, Reserved, and destined to eternal woe;
Whatever doing, what can we suffer more, What can we suffer worse?' Is this, then, worst-- Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms? What when we fled amain, pursued and struck With Heaven's afflicting thunder, and besought The Deep to shelter us? This Hell then seemed A refuge from those wounds. Or when we lay Chained on the burning lake? That sure was worse. What if the breath that kindled those grim fires, Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold rage, And plunge us in the flames; or from above Should intermitted vengeance arm again
His red right hand to plague us? What if all
Her stores were opened, and this firmament Of Hell should spout her cataracts of fire,
Impendent horrors, threatening hideous fall
One day upon our heads; while we perhaps, Designing or exhorting glorious war,
Caught in a fiery tempest, shall be hurled,
Each on his rock transfixed, the sport and prey Or racking whirlwinds, or for ever sunk
Under yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains,
There to converse with everlasting groans,
Unrespited, unpitied, unreprieved,
Ages of hopeless end? This would be worse. War, therefore, open or concealed, alike
My voice dissuades; for what can force or guile With him, or who deceive his mind, whose eye Views all things at one view? He from Heaven's height All these our motions vain sees and derides, Not more almighty to resist our might
Than wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles. Shall we, then, live thus vile--the race of Heaven Thus trampled, thus expelled, to suffer here Chains and these torments? Better these than worse, By my advice; since fate inevitable
Subdues us, and omnipotent decree,
The Victor's will. To suffer, as to do,
Our strength is equal; nor the law unjust
That so ordains. This was at first resolved,
If we were wise, against so great a foe
Contending, and so doubtful what might fall. I laugh when those who at the spear are bold And venturous, if that fail them, shrink, and fear What yet they know must follow--to endure
Exile, or igominy, or bonds, or pain,
The sentence of their Conqueror. This is now Our doom; which if we can sustain and bear, Our Supreme Foe in time may much remit His anger, and perhaps, thus far removed, Not mind us not offending, satisfied
With what is punished; whence these raging fires Will slacken, if his breath stir not their flames. Our purer essence then will overcome
Their noxious vapour; or, inured, not feel;
Or, changed at length, and to the place conformed In temper and in nature, will receive
Familiar the fierce heat; and, void of pain,
This horror will grow mild, this darkness light; Besides what hope the never-ending flight Of future days may bring, what chance, what change Worth waiting--since our present lot appears For happy though but ill, for ill not worst,
If we procure not to ourselves more woe."

Thus Belial, with words clothed in reason's garb, Counselled ignoble ease and peaceful sloth, Not peace; and after him thus Mammon spake:--

"Either to disenthrone the King of Heaven
We war, if war be best, or to regain
Our own right lost. Him to unthrone we then
May hope, when everlasting Fate shall yield
To fickle Chance, and Chaos judge the strife. The former, vain to hope, argues as vain
The latter; for what place can be for us
Within Heaven's bound, unless Heaven's Lord supreme We overpower? Suppose he should relent
And publish grace to all, on promise made
Of new subjection; with what eyes could we
Stand in his presence humble, and receive Strict laws imposed, to celebrate his throne With warbled hymns, and to his Godhead sing Forced hallelujahs, while he lordly sits
Our envied sovereign, and his altar breathes Ambrosial odours and ambrosial flowers,
Our servile offerings? This must be our task In Heaven, this our delight. How wearisome Eternity so spent in worship paid
To whom we hate! Let us not then pursue, By force impossible, by leave obtained
Unacceptable, though in Heaven, our state Of splendid vassalage; but rather seek
Our own good from ourselves, and from our own Live to ourselves, though in this vast recess, Free and to none accountable, preferring
Hard liberty before the easy yoke
Of servile pomp. Our greatness will appear Then most conspicuous when great things of small, Useful of hurtful, prosperous of adverse,
We can create, and in what place soe'er
Thrive under evil, and work ease out of pain Through labour and endurance. This deep world Of darkness do we dread? How oft amidst Thick clouds and dark doth Heaven's all-ruling Sire Choose to reside, his glory unobscured,
And with the majesty of darkness round
Covers his throne, from whence deep thunders roar. Mustering their rage, and Heaven resembles Hell! As he our darkness, cannot we his light
Imitate when we please? This desert soil
Wants not her hidden lustre, gems and gold; Nor want we skill or art from whence to raise Magnificence; and what can Heaven show more? Our torments also may, in length of time, Become our elements, these piercing fires As soft as now severe, our temper changed Into their temper; which must needs remove The sensible of pain. All things invite To peaceful counsels, and the settled state Of order, how in safety best we may Compose our present evils, with regard Of what we are and where, dismissing quite All thoughts of war. Ye have what I advise."

He scarce had finished, when such murmur filled Th' assembly as when hollow rocks retain The sound of blustering winds, which all night long Had roused the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull Seafaring men o'erwatched, whose bark by chance Or pinnace, anchors in a craggy bay
After the tempest. Such applause was heard As Mammon ended, and his sentence pleased, Advising peace: for such another field
They dreaded worse than Hell; so much the fear Of thunder and the sword of Michael
Wrought still within them; and no less desire To found this nether empire, which might rise, By policy and long process of time,
In emulation opposite to Heaven.
Which when Beelzebub perceived--than whom, Satan except, none higher sat--with grave Aspect he rose, and in his rising seemed A pillar of state. Deep on his front engraven Deliberation sat, and public care;
And princely counsel in his face yet shone, Majestic, though in ruin. Sage he stood
With Atlantean shoulders, fit to bear
The weight of mightiest monarchies; his look Drew audience and attention still as night Or summer's noontide air, while thus he spake:--

"Thrones and Imperial Powers, Offspring of Heaven, Ethereal Virtues! or these titles now
Must we renounce, and, changing style, be called Princes of Hell? for so the popular vote
Inclines--here to continue, and build up here A growing empire; doubtless! while we dream, And know not that the King of Heaven hath doomed This place our dungeon, not our safe retreat Beyond his potent arm, to live exempt
From Heaven's high jurisdiction, in new league Banded against his throne, but to remain
In strictest bondage, though thus far removed, Under th' inevitable curb, reserved
His captive multitude. For he, to be sure,
In height or depth, still first and last will reign Sole king, and of his kingdom lose no part By our revolt, but over Hell extend
His empire, and with iron sceptre rule
Us here, as with his golden those in Heaven. What sit we then projecting peace and war? War hath determined us and foiled with loss Irreparable; terms of peace yet none
Vouchsafed or sought; for what peace will be given To us enslaved, but custody severe,
And stripes and arbitrary punishment
Inflicted? and what peace can we return,
But, to our power, hostility and hate,
Untamed reluctance, and revenge, though slow, Yet ever plotting how the Conqueror least May reap his conquest, and may least rejoice In doing what we most in suffering feel?
Nor will occasion want, nor shall we need
With dangerous expedition to invade
Heaven, whose high walls fear no assault or siege, Or ambush from the Deep. What if we find
Some easier enterprise? There is a place
(If ancient and prophetic fame in Heaven
Err not)--another World, the happy seat
Of some new race, called Man, about this time To be created like to us, though less
In power and excellence, but favoured more Of him who rules above; so was his will
Pronounced among the Gods, and by an oath That shook Heaven's whole circumference confirmed. Thither let us bend all our thoughts, to learn What creatures there inhabit, of what mould Or substance, how endued, and what their power And where their weakness: how attempted best, By force of subtlety. Though Heaven be shut, And Heaven's high Arbitrator sit secure
In his own strength, this place may lie exposed, The utmost border of his kingdom, left
To their defence who hold it: here, perhaps, Some advantageous act may be achieved
By sudden onset--either with Hell-fire
To waste his whole creation, or possess
All as our own, and drive, as we were driven, The puny habitants; or, if not drive,
Seduce them to our party, that their God
May prove their foe, and with repenting hand Abolish his own works. This would surpass Common revenge, and interrupt his joy
In our confusion, and our joy upraise
In his disturbance; when his darling sons,
Hurled headlong to partake with us, shall curse Their frail original, and faded bliss--
Faded so soon! Advise if this be worth
Attempting, or to sit in darkness here
Hatching vain empires." Thus beelzebub Pleaded his devilish counsel--first devised By Satan, and in part proposed: for whence, But from the author of all ill, could spring So deep a malice, to confound the race Of mankind in one root, and Earth with Hell To mingle and involve, done all to spite The great Creator? But their spite still serves His glory to augment. The bold design
Pleased highly those infernal States, and joy Sparkled in all their eyes: with full assent They vote: whereat his speech he thus renews:--

"Well have ye judged, well ended long debate,
Synod of Gods, and, like to what ye are,
Great things resolved, which from the lowest deep Will once more lift us up, in spite of fate,
Nearer our ancient seat--perhaps in view
Of those bright confines, whence, with neighbouring arms, And opportune excursion, we may chance
Re-enter Heaven; or else in some mild zone
Dwell, not unvisited of Heaven's fair light,
Secure, and at the brightening orient beam
Purge off this gloom: the soft delicious air,
To heal the scar of these corrosive fires,
Shall breathe her balm. But, first, whom shall we send In search of this new World? whom shall we find Sufficient? who shall tempt with wandering feet The dark, unbottomed, infinite Abyss,
And through the palpable obscure find out
His uncouth way, or spread his airy flight, Upborne with indefatigable wings
Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive
The happy Isle? What strength, what art, can then Suffice, or what evasion bear him safe,
Through the strict senteries and stations thick Of Angels watching round? Here he had need All circumspection: and we now no less
Choice in our suffrage; for on whom we send The weight of all, and our last hope, relies."

This said, he sat; and expectation held
His look suspense, awaiting who appeared To second, or oppose, or undertake
The perilous attempt. But all sat mute,
Pondering the danger with deep thoughts; and each In other's countenance read his own dismay, Astonished. None among the choice and prime Of those Heaven-warring champions could be found So hardy as to proffer or accept,
Alone, the dreadful voyage; till, at last,
Satan, whom now transcendent glory raised Above his fellows, with monarchal pride
Conscious of highest worth, unmoved thus spake:--

The Stygian council thus dissolved; and forth In order came the grand infernal Peers: Midst came their mighty Paramount, and seemed Alone th' antagonist of Heaven, nor less Than Hell's dread Emperor, with pomp supreme, And god-like imitated state: him round
A globe of fiery Seraphim enclosed
With bright emblazonry, and horrent arms. Then of their session ended they bid cry With trumpet's regal sound the great result: Toward the four winds four speedy Cherubim Put to their mouths the sounding alchemy,
By herald's voice explained; the hollow Abyss Heard far adn wide, and all the host of Hell
With deafening shout returned them loud acclaim. Thence more at ease their minds, and somewhat raised By false presumptuous hope, the ranged Powers Disband; and, wandering, each his several way Pursues, as inclination or sad choice
Leads him perplexed, where he may likeliest find Truce to his restless thoughts, and entertain
The irksome hours, till his great Chief return. Part on the plain, or in the air sublime,
Upon the wing or in swift race contend,
As at th' Olympian games or Pythian fields;
Part curb their fiery steeds, or shun the goal
With rapid wheels, or fronted brigades form:
As when, to warn proud cities, war appears
Waged in the troubled sky, and armies rush
To battle in the clouds; before each van
Prick forth the airy knights, and couch their spears, Till thickest legions close; with feats of arms
From either end of heaven the welkin burns.
Others, with vast Typhoean rage, more fell,
Rend up both rocks and hills, and ride the air In whirlwind; Hell scarce holds the wild uproar:-- As when Alcides, from Oechalia crowned
With conquest, felt th' envenomed robe, and tore Through pain up by the roots Thessalian pines, And Lichas from the top of Oeta threw
Into th' Euboic sea. Others, more mild,
Retreated in a silent valley, sing
With notes angelical to many a harp
Their own heroic deeds, and hapless fall
By doom of battle, and complain that Fate Free Virtue should enthrall to Force or Chance. Their song was partial; but the harmony
(What could it less when Spirits immortal sing?) Suspended Hell, and took with ravishment The thronging audience. In discourse more sweet (For Eloquence the Soul, Song charms the Sense) Others apart sat on a hill retired,
In thoughts more elevate, and reasoned high Of Providence, Foreknowledge, Will, and Fate-- Fixed fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute, And found no end, in wandering mazes lost. Of good and evil much they argued then, Of happiness and final misery,
Passion and apathy, and glory and shame: Vain wisdom all, and false philosophy!--
Yet, with a pleasing sorcery, could charm Pain for a while or anguish, and excite
Fallacious hope, or arm th' obdured breast With stubborn patience as with triple steel. Another part, in squadrons and gross bands, On bold adventure to discover wide
That dismal world, if any clime perhaps
Might yield them easier habitation, bend
Four ways their flying march, along the banks Of four infernal rivers, that disgorge
Into the burning lake their baleful streams-- Abhorred Styx, the flood of deadly hate;
Sad Acheron of sorrow, black and deep; Cocytus, named of lamentation loud
Heard on the rueful stream; fierce Phlegeton, Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage. Far off from these, a slow and silent stream, Lethe, the river of oblivion, rolls
Her watery labyrinth, whereof who drinks
Forthwith his former state and being forgets-- Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain. Beyond this flood a frozen continent
Lies dark and wild, beat with perpetual storms Of whirlwind and dire hail, which on firm land Thaws not, but gathers heap, and ruin seems Of ancient pile; all else deep snow and ice, A gulf profound as that Serbonian bog
Betwixt Damiata and Mount Casius old,
Where armies whole have sunk: the parching air Burns frore, and cold performs th' effect of fire. Thither, by harpy-footed Furies haled,
At certain revolutions all the damned
Are brought; and feel by turns the bitter change Of fierce extremes, extremes by change more fierce, From beds of raging fire to starve in ice
Their soft ethereal warmth, and there to pine Immovable, infixed, and frozen round
Periods of time,--thence hurried back to fire. They ferry over this Lethean sound
Both to and fro, their sorrow to augment,
And wish and struggle, as they pass, to reach The tempting stream, with one small drop to lose In sweet forgetfulness all pain and woe,
All in one moment, and so near the brink;
But Fate withstands, and, to oppose th' attempt, Medusa with Gorgonian terror guards
The ford, and of itself the water flies
All taste of living wight, as once it fled
The lip of Tantalus. Thus roving on
In confused march forlorn, th' adventurous bands, With shuddering horror pale, and eyes aghast, Viewed first their lamentable lot, and found No rest. Through many a dark and dreary vale
They passed, and many a region dolorous,
O'er many a frozen, many a fiery alp,
Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens, and shades of death-- A universe of death, which God by curse
Created evil, for evil only good;
Where all life dies, death lives, and Nature breeds, Perverse, all monstrous, all prodigious things,
Obominable, inutterable, and worse
Than fables yet have feigned or fear conceived,
Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimeras dire.

T' whom thus the Portress of Hell-gate replied:-- "Hast thou forgot me, then; and do I seem Now in thine eye so foul?--once deemed so fair In Heaven, when at th' assembly, and in sight Of all the Seraphim with thee combined In bold conspiracy against Heaven's King, All on a sudden miserable pain
Surprised thee, dim thine eyes and dizzy swum In darkness, while thy head flames thick and fast Threw forth, till on the left side opening wide, Likest to thee in shape and countenance bright, Then shining heavenly fair, a goddess armed, Out of thy head I sprung. Amazement seized All th' host of Heaven; back they recoiled afraid At first, and called me Sin, and for a sign Portentous held me; but, familiar grown, I pleased, and with attractive graces won The most averse--thee chiefly, who, full oft Thyself in me thy perfect image viewing, Becam'st enamoured; and such joy thou took'st With me in secret that my womb conceived A growing burden. Meanwhile war arose, And fields were fought in Heaven: wherein remained (For what could else?) to our Almighty Foe Clear victory; to our part loss and rout
Through all the Empyrean. Down they fell, Driven headlong from the pitch of Heaven, down Into this Deep; and in the general fall
I also: at which time this powerful key
Into my hands was given, with charge to keep These gates for ever shut, which none can pass Without my opening. Pensive here I sat
Alone; but long I sat not, till my womb,
Pregnant by thee, and now excessive grown, Prodigious motion felt and rueful throes.
At last this odious offspring whom thou seest, Thine own begotten, breaking violent way, Tore through my entrails, that, with fear and pain Distorted, all my nether shape thus grew
Transformed: but he my inbred enemy
Forth issued, brandishing his fatal dart,
Made to destroy. I fled, and cried out Death! Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sighed From all her caves, and back resounded Death! I fled; but he pursued (though more, it seems, Inflamed with lust than rage), and, swifter far, Me overtook, his mother, all dismayed,
And, in embraces forcible and foul
Engendering with me, of that rape begot
These yelling monsters, that with ceaseless cry Surround me, as thou saw'st--hourly conceived And hourly born, with sorrow infinite
To me; for, when they list, into the womb
That bred them they return, and howl, and gnaw My bowels, their repast; then, bursting forth Afresh, with conscious terrors vex me round, That rest or intermission none I find.
Before mine eyes in opposition sits
Grim Death, my son and foe, who set them on, And me, his parent, would full soon devour For want of other prey, but that he knows His end with mine involved, and knows that I Should prove a bitter morsel, and his bane, Whenever that shall be: so Fate pronounced. But thou, O father, I forewarn thee, shun His deadly arrow; neither vainly hope
To be invulnerable in those bright arms, Through tempered heavenly; for that mortal dint, Save he who reigns above, none can resist."

She finished; and the subtle Fiend his lore

 

Soon learned, now milder, and thus answered smooth:--

"Dear daughter--since thou claim'st me for thy sire, And my fair son here show'st me, the dear pledge Of dalliance had with thee in Heaven, and joys Then sweet, now sad to mention, through dire change Befallen us unforeseen, unthought-of--know, I come no enemy, but to set free
From out this dark and dismal house of pain Both him and thee, and all the heavenly host Of Spirits that, in our just pretences armed,
Fell with us from on high. From them I go
This uncouth errand sole, and one for all
Myself expose, with lonely steps to tread
Th' unfounded Deep, and through the void immense To search, with wandering quest, a place foretold Should be--and, by concurring signs, ere now Created vast and round--a place of bliss
In the purlieus of Heaven; and therein placed A race of upstart creatures, to supply
Perhaps our vacant room, though more removed, Lest Heaven, surcharged with potent multitude, Might hap to move new broils. Be this, or aught Than this more secret, now designed, I haste To know; and, this once known, shall soon return, And bring ye to the place where thou and Death Shall dwell at ease, and up and down unseen Wing silently the buxom air, embalmed
With odours. There ye shall be fed and filled Immeasurably; all things shall be your prey."

He ceased; for both seemed highly pleased, and Death Grinned horrible a ghastly smile, to hear
His famine should be filled, and blessed his maw Destined to that good hour. No less rejoiced His mother bad, and thus bespake her sire:--

"The key of this infernal Pit, by due
And by command of Heaven's all-powerful King, I keep, by him forbidden to unlock
These adamantine gates; against all force Death ready stands to interpose his dart, Fearless to be o'ermatched by living might. But what owe I to his commands above, Who hates me, and hath hither thrust me down Into this gloom of Tartarus profound,
To sit in hateful office here confined,
Inhabitant of Heaven and heavenly born-- Here in perpetual agony and pain,
With terrors and with clamours compassed round Of mine own brood, that on my bowels feed? Thou art my father, thou my author, thou My being gav'st me; whom should I obey But thee? whom follow? Thou wilt bring me soon To that new world of light and bliss, among The gods who live at ease, where I shall reign At thy right hand voluptuous, as beseems Thy daughter and thy darling, without end."

Thus saying, from her side the fatal key,
Sad instrument of all our woe, she took;
And, towards the gate rolling her bestial train, Forthwith the huge portcullis high up-drew,
Which, but herself, not all the Stygian Powers Could once have moved; then in the key-hole turns Th' intricate wards, and every bolt and bar
Of massy iron or solid rock with ease
Unfastens. On a sudden open fly,
With impetuous recoil and jarring sound,
Th' infernal doors, and on their hinges grate Harsh thunder, that the lowest bottom shook Of Erebus. She opened; but to shut
Excelled her power: the gates wide open stood, That with extended wings a bannered host, Under spread ensigns marching, mibht pass through With horse and chariots ranked in loose array; So wide they stood, and like a furnace-mouth Cast forth redounding smoke and ruddy flame. Before their eyes in sudden view appear
The secrets of the hoary Deep--a dark
Illimitable ocean, without bound,
Without dimension; where length, breadth, and height, And time, and place, are lost; where eldest Night And Chaos, ancestors of Nature, hold
Eternal anarchy, amidst the noise
Of endless wars, and by confusion stand.
For Hot, Cold, Moist, and Dry, four champions fierce, Strive here for mastery, and to battle bring
Their embryon atoms: they around the flag
Of each his faction, in their several clans, Light-armed or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift, or slow, Swarm populous, unnumbered as the sands Of Barca or Cyrene's torrid soil,
Levied to side with warring winds, and poise Their lighter wings. To whom these most adhere He rules a moment: Chaos umpire sits,
And by decision more embroils the fray
By which he reigns: next him, high arbiter, Chance governs all. Into this wild Abyss,
The womb of Nature, and perhaps her grave, Of neither sea, nor shore, nor air, nor fire, But all these in their pregnant causes mixed Confusedly, and which thus must ever fight, Unless th' Almighty Maker them ordain
His dark materials to create more worlds-- Into this wild Abyss the wary Fiend
Stood on the brink of Hell and looked a while, Pondering his voyage; for no narrow frith
He had to cross. Nor was his ear less pealed With noises loud and ruinous (to compare Great things with small) than when Bellona storms With all her battering engines, bent to rase Some capital city; or less than if this frame Of Heaven were falling, and these elements In mutiny had from her axle torn
The steadfast Earth. At last his sail-broad vans He spread for flight, and, in the surging smoke Uplifted, spurns the ground; thence many a league, As in a cloudy chair, ascending rides
Audacious; but, that seat soon failing, meets A vast vacuity. All unawares,
Fluttering his pennons vain, plumb-down he drops Ten thousand fathom deep, and to this hour Down had been falling, had not, by ill chance, The strong rebuff of some tumultuous cloud, Instinct with fire and nitre, hurried him
As many miles aloft. That fury stayed--
Quenched in a boggy Syrtis, neither sea,
Nor good dry land--nigh foundered, on he fares, Treading the crude consistence, half on foot, Half flying; behoves him now both oar and sail. As when a gryphon through the wilderness
With winged course, o'er hill or moory dale,
Pursues the Arimaspian, who by stealth
Had from his wakeful custody purloined
The guarded gold; so eagerly the Fiend
O'er bog or steep, through strait, rough, dense, or rare, With head, hands, wings, or feet, pursues his way, And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies. At length a universal hubbub wild
Of stunning sounds, and voices all confused, Borne through the hollow dark, assaults his ear With loudest vehemence. Thither he plies
Undaunted, to meet there whatever Power
Or Spirit of the nethermost Abyss
Might in that noise reside, of whom to ask
Which way the nearest coast of darkness lies Bordering on light; when straight behold the throne Of Chaos, and his dark pavilion spread
Wide on the wasteful Deep! With him enthroned Sat sable-vested Night, eldest of things,
The consort of his reign; and by them stood
Orcus and Ades, and the dreaded name
Of Demogorgon; Rumour next, and Chance, And Tumult, and Confusion, all embroiled,
And Discord with a thousand various mouths. T' whom Satan, turning boldly, thus:--"Ye Powers And Spirtis of this nethermost Abyss,
Chaos and ancient Night, I come no spy
With purpose to explore or to disturb
The secrets of your realm; but, by constraint Wandering this darksome desert, as my way Lies through your spacious empire up to light, Alone and without guide, half lost, I seek,
What readiest path leads where your gloomy bounds Confine with Heaven; or, if some other place, From your dominion won, th' Ethereal King Possesses lately, thither to arrive
I travel this profound. Direct my course:
Directed, no mean recompense it brings
To your behoof, if I that region lost,
All usurpation thence expelled, reduce
To her original darkness and your sway
(Which is my present journey), and once more Erect the standard there of ancient Night.
Yours be th' advantage all, mine the revenge!"

Thus Satan; and him thus the Anarch old,
With faltering speech and visage incomposed, Answered: "I know thee, stranger, who thou art-- *** That mighty leading Angel, who of late
Made head against Heaven's King, though overthrown. I saw and heard; for such a numerous host
Fled not in silence through the frighted Deep, With ruin upon ruin, rout on rout,
Confusion worse confounded; and Heaven-gates Poured out by millions her victorious bands, Pursuing. I upon my frontiers here
Keep residence; if all I can will serve
That little which is left so to defend,
Encroached on still through our intestine broils Weakening the sceptre of old Night: first, Hell, Your dungeon, stretching far and wide beneath; Now lately Heaven and Earth, another world Hung o'er my realm, linked in a golden chain To that side Heaven from whence your legions fell! If that way be your walk, you have not far; So much the nearer danger. Go, and speed; Havoc, and spoil, and ruin, are my gain."

He ceased; and Satan stayed not to reply, But, glad that now his sea should find a shore, With fresh alacrity and force renewed
Springs upward, like a pyramid of fire,
Into the wild expanse, and through the shock Of fighting elements, on all sides round Environed, wins his way; harder beset
And more endangered than when Argo passed Through Bosporus betwixt the justling rocks, Or when Ulysses on the larboard shunned Charybdis, and by th' other whirlpool steered. So he with difficulty and labour hard
Moved on, with difficulty and labour he; But, he once passed, soon after, when Man fell, Strange alteration! Sin and Death amain, Following his track (such was the will of Heaven) Paved after him a broad and beaten way Over the dark Abyss, whose boiling gulf Tamely endured a bridge of wondrous length, From Hell continued, reaching th' utmost orb Of this frail World; by which the Spirits perverse With easy intercourse pass to and fro
To tempt or punish mortals, except whom God and good Angels guard by special grace. But now at last the sacred influence
Of light appears, and from the walls of Heaven Shoots far into the bosom of dim Night A glimmering dawn. Here Nature first begins Her farthest verge, and Chaos to retire, As from her outmost works, a broken foe, With tumult less and with less hostile din; That Satan with less toil, and now with ease, Wafts on the calmer wave by dubious light, And, like a weather-beaten vessel, holds Gladly the port, though shrouds and tackle torn; Or in the emptier waste, resembling air, Weighs his spread wings, at leisure to behold Far off th' empyreal Heaven, extended wide In circuit, undetermined square or round, With opal towers and battlements adorned Of living sapphire, once his native seat; And, fast by, hanging in a golden chain, This pendent World, in bigness as a star Of smallest magnitude close by the moon. Thither, full fraught with mischievous revenge, Accursed, and in a cursed hour, he hies.

Book III

Now had the Almighty Father from above, From the pure empyrean where he sits High thron'd above all highth, bent down his eye His own works and their works at once to view: About him all the Sanctities of Heaven Stood thick as stars, and from his sight receiv'd Beatitude past utterance; on his right
The radiant image of his glory sat,
His only son; on earth he first beheld
Our two first parents, yet the only two
Of mankind in the happy garden plac'd Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love, Uninterrupted joy, unrivall'd love,
In blissful solitude; he then survey'd
Hell and the gulf between, and Satan there Coasting the wall of Heaven on this side Night In the dun air sublime, and ready now
To stoop with wearied wings, and willing feet, On the bare outside of this world, that seem'd Firm land imbosom'd, without firmament, Uncertain which, in ocean or in air.
Him God beholding from his prospect high, Wherein past, present, future, he beholds, Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake:--

Onely begotten Son, seest thou what rage Transports our adversarie, whom no bounds Prescrib'd, no barrs of Hell, nor all the chains Heapt on him there, nor yet the main Abyss Wide interrupt can hold; so bent he seems On desperat revenge, that shall redound Upon his own rebellious head. And now
Through all restraint broke loose he wings his way Not farr off Heav'n, in the Precincts of light, Directly towards the new created World,
And Man there plac't, with purpose to assay If him by force he can destroy, or worse,
By som false guile pervert; and shall pervert; For man will heark'n to his glozing lyes,
And easily transgress the sole Command,
Sole pledge of his obedience: So will fall
Hee and his faithless Progenie: whose fault? Whose but his own? ingrate, he had of mee All he could have; I made him just and right, Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall. Such I created all th' Ethereal Powers
And Spirits, both them who stood & them who faild; Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell. Not free, what proof could they have givn sincere Of true allegiance, constant Faith or Love,
Where onely what they needs must do, appeard, Not what they would? what praise could they receive? What pleasure I from such obedience paid, When Will and Reason (Reason also is choice) Useless and vain, of freedom both despoild, Made passive both, had servd necessitie,
Not mee. They therefore as to right belongd, So were created, nor can justly accuse
Thir maker, or thir making, or thir Fate;
As if Predestination over-rul'd
Thir will, dispos'd by absolute Decree
Or high foreknowledge; they themselves decreed Thir own revolt, not I: if I foreknew,
Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault, Which had no less prov'd certain unforeknown. So without least impulse or shadow of Fate, Or aught by me immutablie foreseen,
They trespass, Authors to themselves in all Both what they judge and what they choose; for so I formd them free, and free they must remain, Till they enthrall themselves: I else must change Thir nature, and revoke the high Decree
Unchangeable, Eternal, which ordain'd
Thir freedom, they themselves ordain'd thir fall. The first sort by thir own suggestion fell,
Self-tempted, self-deprav'd: Man falls deceiv'd By the other first: Man therefore shall find grace, The other none: in Mercy and Justice both, Through Heav'n and Earth, so shall my glorie excel, But Mercy first and last shall brightest shine.

Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance fill'd All Heaven, and in the blessed Spirits elect Sense of new joy ineffable diffus'd.
Beyond compare the Son of God was seen Most glorious; in him all his Father shone Substantially express'd; and in his face Divine compassion visibly appear'd,
Love without end, and without measure grace, Which uttering, thus he to his Father spake.

O Father, gracious was that word which clos'd Thy sovran command, that Man should find grace; For which both Heaven and earth shall high extol Thy praises, with the innumerable sound Of hymns and sacred songs, wherewith thy throne Encompass'd shall resound thee ever blest. For should Man finally be lost, should Man, Thy creature late so lov'd, thy youngest son, Fall circumvented thus by fraud, though join'd With his own folly? that be from thee far, That far be from thee, Father, who art judge Of all things made, and judgest only right. Or shall the Adversary thus obtain
His end, and frustrate thine? shall he fulfill His malice, and thy goodness bring to nought, Or proud return, though to his heavier doom, Yet with revenge accomplish'd, and to Hell Draw after him the whole race of mankind, By him corrupted? or wilt thou thyself Abolish thy creation, and unmake
For him, what for thy glory thou hast made? So should thy goodness and thy greatness both Be question'd and blasphem'd without defence.

To whom the great Creator thus replied. O son, in whom my soul hath chief delight, Son of my bosom, Son who art alone. My word, my wisdom, and effectual might, All hast thou spoken as my thoughts are, all As my eternal purpose hath decreed;
Man shall not quite be lost, but sav'd who will; Yet not of will in him, but grace in me
Freely vouchsaf'd; once more I will renew His lapsed powers, though forfeit; and enthrall'd By sin to foul exorbitant desires;
Upheld by me, yet once more he shall stand On even ground against his mortal foe; By me upheld, that he may know how frail His fallen condition is, and to me owe
All his deliverance, and to none but me. Some I have chosen of peculiar grace, Elect above the rest; so is my will:
The rest shall hear me call, and oft be warn'd Their sinful state, and to appease betimes
The incensed Deity, while offer'd grace
Invites; for I will clear their senses dark,
What may suffice, and soften stony hearts
To pray, repent, and bring obedience due.
To prayer, repentance, and obedience due, Though but endeavour'd with sincere intent, Mine ear shall not be slow, mine eye not shut. And I will place within them as a guide,
My umpire Conscience; whom if they will hear, Light after light, well us'd, they shall attain,
And to the end, persisting, safe arrive.
This my long sufferance, and my day of grace, They who neglect and scorn, shall never taste; But hard be harden'd, blind be blinded more, That they may stumble on, and deeper fall;
And none but such from mercy I exclude.
But yet all is not done; Man disobeying,
Disloyal, breaks his fealty, and sins
Against the high supremacy of Heaven,
Affecting God-head, and, so losing all,
To expiate his treason hath nought left,
But to destruction sacred and devote,
He, with his whole posterity, must die,
Die he or justice must; unless for him
Some other able, and as willing, pay
The rigid satisfaction, death for death.
Say, heavenly Powers, where shall we find such love? Which of you will be mortal, to redeem
Man's mortal crime, and just the unjust to save? Dwells in all Heaven charity so dear?

He ask'd, but all the heavenly quire stood mute, Patron or intercessour none appear'd,
Much less that durst upon his own head draw The deadly forfeiture, and ransom set. And now without redemption all mankind Must have been lost, adjudg'd to Death and Hell By doom severe, had not the Son of God, In whom the fulness dwells of love divine, His dearest mediation thus renew'd.

Father, thy word is past, Man shall find grace; And shall grace not find means, that finds her way, The speediest of thy winged messengers, To visit all thy creatures, and to all
Comes unprevented, unimplor'd, unsought? Happy for Man, so coming; he her aid
Can never seek, once dead in sins, and lost; Atonement for himself, or offering meet,
Indebted and undone, hath none to bring; Behold me then: me for him, life for life
I offer: on me let thine anger fall;
Account me Man; I for his sake will leave Thy bosom, and this glory next to thee
Freely put off, and for him lastly die
Well pleased; on me let Death wreak all his rage. Under his gloomy power I shall not long
Lie vanquished. Thou hast given me to possess Life in myself for ever; by thee I live;
Though now to Death I yield, and am his due, All that of me can die, yet, that debt paid, Thou wilt not leave me in the loathsome grave His prey, nor suffer my unspotted soul
For ever with corruption there to dwell;
But I shall rise victorious, and subdue
My vanquisher, spoiled of his vaunted spoil. Death his death's wound shall then receive, and stoop Inglorious, of his mortal sting disarmed;
I through the ample air in triumph high
Shall lead Hell captive maugre Hell, and show The powers of darkness bound. Thou, at the sight Pleased, out of Heaven shalt look down and smile, While, by thee raised, I ruin all my foes;
Death last, and with his carcase glut the grave; Then, with the multitude of my redeemed,
Shall enter Heaven, long absent, and return, Father, to see thy face, wherein no cloud
Of anger shall remain, but peace assured
And reconcilement: wrath shall be no more
Thenceforth, but in thy presence joy entire.

His words here ended; but his meek aspect Silent yet spake, and breathed immortal love To mortal men, above which only shone
Filial obedience: as a sacrifice
Glad to be offered, he attends the will
Of his great Father. Admiration seized
All Heaven, what this might mean, and whither tend, Wondering; but soon th' Almighty thus replied.

O thou in Heaven and Earth the only peace Found out for mankind under wrath, O thou My sole complacence! Well thou know'st how dear To me are all my works; nor Man the least, Though last created, that for him I spare Thee from my bosom and right hand, to save, By losing thee a while, the whole race lost. Thou, therefore, whom thou only canst redeem, Their nature also to thy nature join;
And be thyself Man among men on Earth, Made flesh, when time shall be, of virgin seed, By wondrous birth; be thou in Adam's room The head of all mankind, though Adam's son. As in him perish all men, so in thee,
As from a second root, shall be restored
As many as are restored, without thee none. His crime makes guilty all his sons; thy merit, Imputed, shall absolve them who renounce Their own both righteous and unrighteous deeds, And live in thee transplanted, and from thee Receive new life. So Man, as is most just, Shall satisfy for Man, be judged and die,
And dying rise, and rising with him raise
His brethren, ransomed with his own dear life. So heavenly love shall outdo hellish hate, Giving to death, and dying to redeem,
So dearly to redeem what hellish hate
So easily destroyed, and still destroys
In those who, when they may, accept not grace. Nor shalt thou, by descending to assume Man's nature, lessen or degrade thine own. Because thou hast, though throned in highest bliss Equal to God, and equally enjoying
God-like fruition, quitted all, to save
A world from utter loss, and hast been found By merit more than birthright Son of God, Found worthiest to be so by being good,
Far more than great or high; because in thee Love hath abounded more than glory abounds; Therefore thy humiliation shall exalt
With thee thy manhood also to this throne: Here shalt thou sit incarnate, here shalt reign Both God and Man, Son both of God and Man, Anointed universal King; all power
I give thee; reign for ever, and assume
Thy merits; under thee, as head supreme, Thrones, Princedoms, Powers, Dominions, I reduce: All knees to thee shall bow, of them that bide In Heaven, or Earth, or under Earth in Hell. When thou, attended gloriously from Heaven, Shalt in the sky appear, and from thee send The summoning Arch-Angels to proclaim
Thy dread tribunal; forthwith from all winds, The living, and forthwith the cited dead
Of all past ages, to the general doom
Shall hasten; such a peal shall rouse their sleep. Then, all thy saints assembled, thou shalt judge Bad Men and Angels; they, arraigned, shall sink Beneath thy sentence; Hell, her numbers full, Thenceforth shall be for ever shut. Mean while The world shall burn, and from her ashes spring New Heaven and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell, And, after all their tribulations long,
See golden days, fruitful of golden deeds,
With joy and peace triumphing, and fair truth. Then thou thy regal scepter shalt lay by,
For regal scepter then no more shall need, God shall be all in all. But, all ye Gods,
Adore him, who to compass all this dies;
Adore the Son, and honour him as me.

No sooner had the Almighty ceased, but all The multitude of Angels, with a shout
Loud as from numbers without number, sweet As from blest voices, uttering joy, Heaven rung With jubilee, and loud Hosannas filled
The eternal regions: Lowly reverent
Towards either throne they bow, and to the ground With solemn adoration down they cast
Their crowns inwove with amarant and gold; Immortal amarant, a flower which once
In Paradise, fast by the tree of life,
Began to bloom; but soon for man's offence To Heaven removed, where first it grew, there grows, And flowers aloft shading the fount of life,
And where the river of bliss through midst of Heaven Rolls o'er Elysian flowers her amber stream; With these that never fade the Spirits elect Bind their resplendent locks inwreathed with beams; Now in loose garlands thick thrown off, the bright Pavement, that like a sea of jasper shone,
Impurpled with celestial roses smiled.
Then, crowned again, their golden harps they took, Harps ever tuned, that glittering by their side Like quivers hung, and with preamble sweet Of charming symphony they introduce
Their sacred song, and waken raptures high; No voice exempt, no voice but well could join Melodious part, such concord is in Heaven.

Thee, Father, first they sung Omnipotent, Immutable, Immortal, Infinite,
Eternal King; the Author of all being,
Fonntain of light, thyself invisible
Amidst the glorious brightness where thou sit'st Throned inaccessible, but when thou shadest The full blaze of thy beams, and, through a cloud Drawn round about thee like a radiant shrine, Dark with excessive bright thy skirts appear, Yet dazzle Heaven, that brightest Seraphim Approach not, but with both wings veil their eyes. Thee next they sang of all creation first, Begotten Son, Divine Similitude,
In whose conspicuous countenance, without cloud Made visible, the Almighty Father shines, Whom else no creature can behold; on thee Impressed the effulgence of his glory abides, Transfused on thee his ample Spirit rests. He Heaven of Heavens and all the Powers therein By thee created; and by thee threw down The aspiring Dominations: Thou that day Thy Father's dreadful thunder didst not spare, Nor stop thy flaming chariot-wheels, that shook Heaven's everlasting frame, while o'er the necks Thou drovest of warring Angels disarrayed. Back from pursuit thy Powers with loud acclaim Thee only extolled, Son of thy Father's might, To execute fierce vengeance on his foes, Not so on Man: Him through their malice fallen, Father of mercy and grace, thou didst not doom So strictly, but much more to pity incline: No sooner did thy dear and only Son
Perceive thee purposed not to doom frail Man So strictly, but much more to pity inclined, He to appease thy wrath, and end the strife Of mercy and justice in thy face discerned, Regardless of the bliss wherein he sat
Second to thee, offered himself to die
For Man's offence. O unexampled love, Love no where to be found less than Divine! Hail, Son of God, Saviour of Men! Thy name Shall be the copious matter of my song
Henceforth, and never shall my heart thy praise Forget, nor from thy Father's praise disjoin.

Thus they in Heaven, above the starry sphere, Their happy hours in joy and hymning spent. Mean while upon the firm opacous globe
Of this round world, whose first convex divides The luminous inferiour orbs, enclosed
From Chaos, and the inroad of Darkness old, Satan alighted walks: A globe far off
It seemed, now seems a boundless continent Dark, waste, and wild, under the frown of Night Starless exposed, and ever-threatening storms Of Chaos blustering round, inclement sky;
Save on that side which from the wall of Heaven, Though distant far, some small reflection gains Of glimmering air less vexed with tempest loud: Here walked the Fiend at large in spacious field. As when a vultur on Imaus bred,
Whose snowy ridge the roving Tartar bounds, Dislodging from a region scarce of prey
To gorge the flesh of lambs or yeanling kids, On hills where flocks are fed, flies toward the springs Of Ganges or Hydaspes, Indian streams;
But in his way lights on the barren plains
Of Sericana, where Chineses drive
With sails and wind their cany waggons light: So, on this windy sea of land, the Fiend
Walked up and down alone, bent on his prey; Alone, for other creature in this place,
Living or lifeless, to be found was none;
None yet, but store hereafter from the earth Up hither like aereal vapours flew
Of all things transitory and vain, when sin
With vanity had filled the works of men:
Both all things vain, and all who in vain things Built their fond hopes of glory or lasting fame, Or happiness in this or the other life;
All who have their reward on earth, the fruits Of painful superstition and blind zeal,
Nought seeking but the praise of men, here find Fit retribution, empty as their deeds;
All the unaccomplished works of Nature's hand, Abortive, monstrous, or unkindly mixed,
Dissolved on earth, fleet hither, and in vain,
Till final dissolution, wander here;
Not in the neighbouring moon as some have dreamed; Those argent fields more likely habitants,
Translated Saints, or middle Spirits hold
Betwixt the angelical and human kind.
Hither of ill-joined sons and daughters born
First from the ancient world those giants came With many a vain exploit, though then renowned: The builders next of Babel on the plain
Of Sennaar, and still with vain design,
New Babels, had they wherewithal, would build: Others came single; he, who, to be deemed A God, leaped fondly into Aetna flames,
Empedocles; and he, who, to enjoy
Plato's Elysium, leaped into the sea,
Cleombrotus; and many more too long,
Embryos, and idiots, eremites, and friars
White, black, and gray, with all their trumpery. Here pilgrims roam, that strayed so far to seek In Golgotha him dead, who lives in Heaven; And they, who to be sure of Paradise,
Dying, put on the weeds of Dominick,
Or in Franciscan think to pass disguised;
They pass the planets seven, and pass the fixed, And that crystalling sphere whose balance weighs The trepidation talked, and that first moved;
And now Saint Peter at Heaven's wicket seems To wait them with his keys, and now at foot
Of Heaven's ascent they lift their feet, when lo A violent cross wind from either coast
Blows them transverse, ten thousand leagues awry Into the devious air: Then might ye see
Cowls, hoods, and habits, with their wearers, tost And fluttered into rags; then reliques, beads, Indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls,
The sport of winds: All these, upwhirled aloft, Fly o'er the backside of the world far off
Into a Limbo large and broad, since called The Paradise of Fools, to few unknown
Long after; now unpeopled, and untrod.
All this dark globe the Fiend found as he passed, And long he wandered, till at last a gleam Of dawning light turned thither-ward in haste His travelled steps: far distant he descries Ascending by degrees magnificent
Up to the wall of Heaven a structure high; At top whereof, but far more rich, appeared The work as of a kingly palace-gate,
With frontispiece of diamond and gold
Embellished; thick with sparkling orient gems The portal shone, inimitable on earth
By model, or by shading pencil, drawn.
These stairs were such as whereon Jacob saw Angels ascending and descending, bands Of guardians bright, when he from Esau fled To Padan-Aram, in the field of Luz
Dreaming by night under the open sky
And waking cried, This is the gate of Heaven. Each stair mysteriously was meant, nor stood There always, but drawn up to Heaven sometimes Viewless; and underneath a bright sea flowed Of jasper, or of liquid pearl, whereon
Who after came from earth, failing arrived
Wafted by Angels, or flew o'er the lake
Rapt in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds.
The stairs were then let down, whether to dare The Fiend by easy ascent, or aggravate
His sad exclusion from the doors of bliss:
Direct against which opened from beneath, Just o'er the blissful seat of Paradise,
A passage down to the Earth, a passage wide, Wider by far than that of after-times
Over mount Sion, and, though that were large, Over the Promised Land to God so dear;
By which, to visit oft those happy tribes,
On high behests his angels to and fro
Passed frequent, and his eye with choice regard From Paneas, the fount of Jordan's flood,
To Beersaba, where the Holy Land
Borders on Egypt and the Arabian shore;
So wide the opening seemed, where bounds were set To darkness, such as bound the ocean wave. Satan from hence, now on the lower stair,
That scaled by steps of gold to Heaven-gate, Looks down with wonder at the sudden view Of all this world at once. As when a scout,
Through dark?;nd desart ways with?oeril gone All?might,?;t?kast by break of cheerful dawn Obtains the brow of some high-climbing hill, Which to his eye discovers unaware
The goodly prospect of some foreign land
First seen, or some renowned metropolis
With glistering spires and pinnacles adorned, Which now the rising sun gilds with his beams: Such wonder seised, though after Heaven seen, The Spirit malign, but much more envy seised, At sight of all this world beheld so fair.
Round he surveys (and well might, where he stood So high above the circling canopy
Of night's extended shade,) from eastern point Of Libra to the fleecy star that bears
Andromeda far off Atlantick seas
Beyond the horizon; then from pole to pole
He views in breadth, and without longer pause Down right into the world's first region throws His flight precipitant, and winds with ease
Through the pure marble air his oblique way Amongst innumerable stars, that shone
Stars distant, but nigh hand seemed other worlds; Or other worlds they seemed, or happy isles, Like those Hesperian gardens famed of old,
Fortunate fields, and groves, and flowery vales, Thrice happy isles; but who dwelt happy there He staid not to inquire: Above them all
The golden sun, in splendour likest Heaven,
Allured his eye; thither his course he bends
Through the calm firmament, (but up or down, By center, or eccentrick, hard to tell,
Or longitude,) where the great luminary
Aloof the vulgar constellations thick,
That from his lordly eye keep distance due,
Dispenses light from far; they, as they move
Their starry dance in numbers that compute
Days, months, and years, towards his all-cheering lamp Turn swift their various motions, or are turned By his magnetick beam, that gently warms
The universe, and to each inward part
With gentle penetration, though unseen,
Shoots invisible virtue even to the deep;
So wonderously was set his station bright.
There lands the Fiend, a spot like which perhaps Astronomer in the sun's lucent orb
Through his glazed optick tube yet never saw. The place he found beyond expression bright, Compared with aught on earth, metal or stone; Not all parts like, but all alike informed
With radiant light, as glowing iron with fire; If metal, part seemed gold, part silver clear; If stone, carbuncle most or chrysolite,
Ruby or topaz, to the twelve that shone In Aaron's breast-plate, and a stone besides Imagined rather oft than elsewhere seen, That stone, or like to that which here below Philosophers in vain so long have sought, In vain, though by their powerful art they bind Volatile Hermes, and call up unbound
In various shapes old Proteus from the sea, Drained through a limbeck to his native form. What wonder then if fields and regions here Breathe forth Elixir pure, and rivers run Potable gold, when with one virtuous touch The arch-chemick sun, so far from us remote, Produces, with terrestrial humour mixed, Here in the dark so many precious things Of colour glorious, and effect so rare?
Here matter new to gaze the Devil met Undazzled; far and wide his eye commands; For sight no obstacle found here, nor shade, But all sun-shine, as when his beams at noon Culminate from the equator, as they now Shot upward still direct, whence no way round Shadow from body opaque can fall; and the air, No where so clear, sharpened his visual ray To objects distant far, whereby he soon Saw within ken a glorious Angel stand,
The same whom John saw also in the sun:
His back was turned, but not his brightness hid; Of beaming sunny rays a golden tiar
Circled his head, nor less his locks behind
Illustrious on his shoulders fledge with wings Lay waving round; on some great charge employed He seemed, or fixed in cogitation deep.
Glad was the Spirit impure, as now in hope
To find who might direct his wandering flight To Paradise, the happy seat of Man,
His journey's end and our beginning woe.
But first he casts to change his proper shape, Which else might work him danger or delay: And now a stripling Cherub he appears,
Not of the prime, yet such as in his face
Youth smiled celestial, and to every limb
Suitable grace diffused, so well he feigned:
Under a coronet his flowing hair
In curls on either cheek played; wings he wore Of many a coloured plume, sprinkled with gold; His habit fit for speed succinct, and held
Before his decent steps a silver wand.
He drew not nigh unheard; the Angel bright, Ere he drew nigh, his radiant visage turned, Admonished by his ear, and straight was known The Arch-Angel Uriel, one of the seven
Who in God's presence, nearest to his throne, Stand ready at command, and are his eyes
That run through all the Heavens, or down to the Earth Bear his swift errands over moist and dry,
O'er sea and land: him Satan thus accosts.
Uriel, for thou of those seven Spirits that stand In sight of God's high throne, gloriously bright, The first art wont his great authentick will
Interpreter through highest Heaven to bring, Where all his sons thy embassy attend;
And here art likeliest by supreme decree
Like honour to obtain, and as his eye
To visit oft this new creation round;
Unspeakable desire to see, and know
All these his wonderous works, but chiefly Man, His chief delight and favour, him for whom All these his works so wonderous he ordained, Hath brought me from the quires of Cherubim Alone thus wandering. Brightest Seraph, tell In which of all these shining orbs hath Man His fixed seat, or fixed seat hath none,
But all these shining orbs his choice to dwell; That I may find him, and with secret gaze Or open admiration him behold,
On whom the great Creator hath bestowed Worlds, and on whom hath all these graces poured; That both in him and all things, as is meet, The universal Maker we may praise;
Who justly hath driven out his rebel foes
To deepest Hell, and, to repair that loss,
Created this new happy race of Men
To serve him better: Wise are all his ways.

So spake the false dissembler unperceived; For neither Man nor Angel can discern
Hypocrisy, the only evil that walks
Invisible, except to God alone,
By his permissive will, through Heaven and Earth: And oft, though wisdom wake, suspicion sleeps At wisdom's gate, and to simplicity
Resigns her charge, while goodness thinks no ill Where no ill seems: Which now for once beguiled Uriel, though regent of the sun, and held
The sharpest-sighted Spirit of all in Heaven; Who to the fraudulent impostor foul,
In his uprightness, answer thus returned. Fair Angel, thy desire, which tends to know The works of God, thereby to glorify
The great Work-master, leads to no excess That reaches blame, but rather merits praise The more it seems excess, that led thee hither From thy empyreal mansion thus alone,
To witness with thine eyes what some perhaps, Contented with report, hear only in Heaven: For wonderful indeed are all his works,
Pleasant to know, and worthiest to be all
Had in remembrance always with delight; But what created mind can comprehend
Their number, or the wisdom infinite
That brought them forth, but hid their causes deep? I saw when at his word the formless mass, This world's material mould, came to a heap: Confusion heard his voice, and wild uproar Stood ruled, stood vast infinitude confined; Till at his second bidding Darkness fled,
Light shone, and order from disorder sprung: Swift to their several quarters hasted then The cumbrous elements, earth, flood, air, fire; And this ethereal quintessence of Heaven Flew upward, spirited with various forms, That rolled orbicular, and turned to stars
Numberless, as thou seest, and how they move; Each had his place appointed, each his course; The rest in circuit walls this universe.
Look downward on that globe, whose hither side With light from hence, though but reflected, shines; That place is Earth, the seat of Man; that light His day, which else, as the other hemisphere, Night would invade; but there the neighbouring moon So call that opposite fair star) her aid
Timely interposes, and her monthly round
Still ending, still renewing, through mid Heaven, With borrowed light her countenance triform Hence fills and empties to enlighten the Earth, And in her pale dominion checks the night. That spot, to which I point, is Paradise,
Adam's abode; those lofty shades, his bower. Thy way thou canst not miss, me mine requires.

Thus said, he turned; and Satan, bowing low, As to superiour Spirits is wont in Heaven, Where honour due and reverence none neglects, Took leave, and toward the coast of earth beneath, Down from the ecliptick, sped with hoped success, Throws his steep flight in many an aery wheel; Nor staid, till on Niphates' top he lights.

Book IV

O thou, that, with surpassing glory crowned, Lookest from thy sole dominion like the God Of this new world; at whose sight all the stars Hide their diminished heads; to thee I call,
But with no friendly voice, and add thy name, Of Sun! to tell thee how I hate thy beams,
That bring to my remembrance from what state I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere;
Till pride and worse ambition threw me down Warring in Heaven against Heaven's matchless King: Ah, wherefore! he deserved no such return From me, whom he created what I was
In that bright eminence, and with his good
Upbraided none; nor was his service hard. What could be less than to afford him praise, The easiest recompence, and pay him thanks, How due! yet all his good proved ill in me,
And wrought but malice; lifted up so high
I sdeined subjection, and thought one step higher Would set me highest, and in a moment quit The debt immense of endless gratitude,
So burdensome still paying, still to owe,
Forgetful what from him I still received,
And understood not that a grateful mind
By owing owes not, but still pays, at once
Indebted and discharged; what burden then O, had his powerful destiny ordained
Me some inferiour Angel, I had stood
Then happy; no unbounded hope had raised Ambition! Yet why not some other Power
As great might have aspired, and me, though mean, Drawn to his part; but other Powers as great Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within
Or from without, to all temptations armed.
Hadst thou the same free will and power to stand? Thou hadst: whom hast thou then or what to accuse, But Heaven's free love dealt equally to all? Be then his love accursed, since love or hate, To me alike, it deals eternal woe.
Nay, cursed be thou; since against his thy will Chose freely what it now so justly rues.
Me miserable! which way shall I fly
Infinite wrath, and infinite despair?
Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell;
And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep
Still threatening to devour me opens wide,
To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heaven. O, then, at last relent: Is there no place
Left for repentance, none for pardon left?
None left but by submission; and that word Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame Among the Spirits beneath, whom I seduced With other promises and other vaunts
Than to submit, boasting I could subdue
The Omnipotent. Ay me! they little know
How dearly I abide that boast so vain,
Under what torments inwardly I groan,
While they adore me on the throne of Hell. With diadem and scepter high advanced,
The lower still I fall, only supreme
In misery: Such joy ambition finds.
But say I could repent, and could obtain,
By act of grace, my former state; how soon Would highth recall high thoughts, how soon unsay What feigned submission swore? Ease would recant Vows made in pain, as violent and void.
For never can true reconcilement grow,
Where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep: Which would but lead me to a worse relapse And heavier fall: so should I purchase dear Short intermission bought with double smart. This knows my Punisher; therefore as far
From granting he, as I from begging, peace; All hope excluded thus, behold, in stead
Mankind created, and for him this world.
So farewell, hope; and with hope farewell, fear; Farewell, remorse! all good to me is lost;
Evil, be thou my good; by thee at least
Divided empire with Heaven's King I hold,
By thee, and more than half perhaps will reign; As Man ere long, and this new world, shall know.

Thus while he spake, each passion dimmed his face Thrice changed with pale, ire, envy, and despair; Which marred his borrowed visage, and betrayed Him counterfeit, if any eye beheld.
For heavenly minds from such distempers foul Are ever clear. Whereof he soon aware,
Each perturbation smoothed with outward calm, Artificer of fraud; and was the first
That practised falsehood under saintly show, Deep malice to conceal, couched with revenge: Yet not enough had practised to deceive
Uriel once warned; whose eye pursued him down The way he went, and on the Assyrian mount Saw him disfigured, more than could befall Spirit of happy sort; his gestures fierce
He marked and mad demeanour, then alone, As he supposed, all unobserved, unseen. So on he fares, and to the border comes
Of Eden, where delicious Paradise,
Now nearer, crowns with her enclosure green, As with a rural mound, the champaign head
Of a steep wilderness, whose hairy sides
Access denied; and overhead upgrew
Insuperable height of loftiest shade,
Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm, A sylvan scene, and, as the ranks ascend,
Shade above shade, a woody theatre
Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops
The verdurous wall of Paradise upsprung; Which to our general sire gave prospect large Into his nether empire neighbouring round.
And higher than that wall a circling row
Of goodliest trees, loaden with fairest fruit,
Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue,
Appeared, with gay enamelled colours mixed: On which the sun more glad impressed his beams Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow,
When God hath showered the earth; so lovely seemed That landskip: And of pure now purer air
Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires Vernal delight and joy, able to drive
All sadness but despair: Now gentle gales,
Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole Those balmy spoils. As when to them who fail Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past
Mozambick, off at sea north-east winds blow
Sabean odours from the spicy shore
Of Araby the blest; with such delay
Well pleased they slack their course, and many a league Cheered with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles: So entertained those odorous sweets the Fiend, Who came their bane; though with them better pleased Than Asmodeus with the fishy fume
That drove him, though enamoured, from the spouse Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent
From Media post to Egypt, there fast bound.

Now to the ascent of that steep savage hill Satan had journeyed on, pensive and slow; But further way found none, so thick entwined, As one continued brake, the undergrowth Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplexed All path of man or beast that passed that way. One gate there only was, and that looked east On the other side: which when the arch-felon saw, Due entrance he disdained; and, in contempt, At one flight bound high over-leaped all bound Of hill or highest wall, and sheer within
Lights on his feet. As when a prowling wolf, Whom hunger drives to seek new haunt for prey, Watching where shepherds pen their flocks at eve In hurdled cotes amid the field secure,
Leaps o'er the fence with ease into the fold: Or as a thief, bent to unhoard the cash
Of some rich burgher, whose substantial doors, Cross-barred and bolted fast, fear no assault, In at the window climbs, or o'er the tiles: So clomb this first grand thief into God's fold; So since into his church lewd hirelings climb. Thence up he flew, and on the tree of life, The middle tree and highest there that grew, Sat like a cormorant; yet not true life
Thereby regained, but sat devising death To them who lived; nor on the virtue thought Of that life-giving plant, but only used
For prospect, what well used had been the pledge Of immortality. So little knows
Any, but God alone, to value right
The good before him, but perverts best things To worst abuse, or to their meanest use.
Beneath him with new wonder now he views, To all delight of human sense exposed,
In narrow room, Nature's whole wealth, yea more, A Heaven on Earth: For blissful Paradise Of God the garden was, by him in the east Of Eden planted; Eden stretched her line
From Auran eastward to the royal towers
Of great Seleucia, built by Grecian kings,
Of where the sons of Eden long before
Dwelt in Telassar: In this pleasant soil
His far more pleasant garden God ordained; Out of the fertile ground he caused to grow All trees of noblest kind for sight, smell, taste; And all amid them stood the tree of life,
High eminent, blooming ambrosial fruit
Of vegetable gold; and next to life,
Our death, the tree of knowledge, grew fast by, Knowledge of good bought dear by knowing ill. Southward through Eden went a river large, Nor changed his course, but through the shaggy hill Passed underneath ingulfed; for God had thrown That mountain as his garden-mould high raised Upon the rapid current, which, through veins Of porous earth with kindly thirst up-drawn, Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill Watered the garden; thence united fell
Down the steep glade, and met the nether flood, Which from his darksome passage now appears, And now, divided into four main streams,
Runs diverse, wandering many a famous realm And country, whereof here needs no account; But rather to tell how, if Art could tell,
How from that sapphire fount the crisped brooks, Rolling on orient pearl and sands of gold,
With mazy errour under pendant shades
Ran nectar, visiting each plant, and fed
Flowers worthy of Paradise, which not nice Art In beds and curious knots, but Nature boon
Poured forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain, Both where the morning sun first warmly smote The open field, and where the unpierced shade Imbrowned the noontide bowers: Thus was this place A happy rural seat of various view;
Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and balm, Others whose fruit, burnished with golden rind, Hung amiable, Hesperian fables true,
If true, here only, and of delicious taste:
Betwixt them lawns, or level downs, and flocks Grazing the tender herb, were interposed,
Or palmy hillock; or the flowery lap
Of some irriguous valley spread her store,
Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose: Another side, umbrageous grots and caves
Of cool recess, o'er which the mantling vine
Lays forth her purple grape, and gently creeps Luxuriant; mean while murmuring waters fall Down the slope hills, dispersed, or in a lake, That to the fringed bank with myrtle crowned Her crystal mirrour holds, unite their streams. The birds their quire apply; airs, vernal airs,
Breathing the smell of field and grove, attune The trembling leaves, while universal Pan,
Knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance, Led on the eternal Spring. Not that fair field Of Enna, where Proserpine gathering flowers, Herself a fairer flower by gloomy Dis
Was gathered, which cost Ceres all that pain To seek her through the world; nor that sweet grove Of Daphne by Orontes, and the inspired
Castalian spring, might with this Paradise Of Eden strive; nor that Nyseian isle
Girt with the river Triton, where old Cham, Whom Gentiles Ammon call and Libyan Jove, Hid Amalthea, and her florid son
Young Bacchus, from his stepdame Rhea's eye; Nor where Abassin kings their issue guard, Mount Amara, though this by some supposed True Paradise under the Ethiop line
By Nilus' head, enclosed with shining rock, A whole day's journey high, but wide remote From this Assyrian garden, where the Fiend Saw, undelighted, all delight, all kind
Of living creatures, new to sight, and strange Two of far nobler shape, erect and tall,
Godlike erect, with native honour clad
In naked majesty seemed lords of all:
And worthy seemed; for in their looks divine The image of their glorious Maker shone,
Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure, (Severe, but in true filial freedom placed,) Whence true authority in men; though both Not equal, as their sex not equal seemed; For contemplation he and valour formed;
For softness she and sweet attractive grace; He for God only, she for God in him:
His fair large front and eye sublime declared Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks
Round from his parted forelock manly hung Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad: She, as a veil, down to the slender waist Her unadorned golden tresses wore
Dishevelled, but in wanton ringlets waved As the vine curls her tendrils, which implied Subjection, but required with gentle sway, And by her yielded, by him best received, Yielded with coy submission, modest pride, And sweet, reluctant, amorous delay.
Nor those mysterious parts were then concealed; Then was not guilty shame, dishonest shame Of nature's works, honour dishonourable, Sin-bred, how have ye troubled all mankind With shows instead, mere shows of seeming pure, And banished from man's life his happiest life, Simplicity and spotless innocence!
So passed they naked on, nor shunned the sight Of God or Angel; for they thought no ill:
So hand in hand they passed, the loveliest pair, That ever since in love's embraces met;
Adam the goodliest man of men since born His sons, the fairest of her daughters Eve. Under a tuft of shade that on a green
Stood whispering soft, by a fresh fountain side They sat them down; and, after no more toil Of their sweet gardening labour than sufficed To recommend cool Zephyr, and made ease More easy, wholesome thirst and appetite More grateful, to their supper-fruits they fell, Nectarine fruits which the compliant boughs Yielded them, side-long as they sat recline On the soft downy bank damasked with flowers: The savoury pulp they chew, and in the rind, Still as they thirsted, scoop the brimming stream; Nor gentle purpose, nor endearing smiles
Wanted, nor youthful dalliance, as beseems Fair couple, linked in happy nuptial league, Alone as they. About them frisking played
All beasts of the earth, since wild, and of all chase In wood or wilderness, forest or den;
Sporting the lion ramped, and in his paw
Dandled the kid; bears, tigers, ounces, pards, Gambolled before them; the unwieldy elephant, To make them mirth, used all his might, and wreathed His?kithetmroboscis; close the serpent sly,
Insinuating, wove with Gordian twine
His braided train, and of his fatal guile
Gave proof unheeded; others on the grass
Couched, and now filled with pasture gazing sat, Or bedward ruminating; for the sun,
Declined, was hasting now with prone career To the ocean isles, and in the ascending scale Of Heaven the stars that usher evening rose: When Satan still in gaze, as first he stood,
Scarce thus at length failed speech recovered sad.

O Hell! what do mine eyes with grief behold!
Into our room of bliss thus high advanced
Creatures of other mould, earth-born perhaps, Not Spirits, yet to heavenly Spirits bright
Little inferiour; whom my thoughts pursue
With wonder, and could love, so lively shines In them divine resemblance, and such grace The hand that formed them on their shape hath poured. Ah! gentle pair, ye little think how nigh
Your change approaches, when all these delights Will vanish, and deliver ye to woe;
More woe, the more your taste is now of joy; Happy, but for so happy ill secured
Long to continue, and this high seat your Heaven Ill fenced for Heaven to keep out such a foe As now is entered; yet no purposed foe To you, whom I could pity thus forlorn,
Though I unpitied: League with you I seek, And mutual amity, so strait, so close,
That I with you must dwell, or you with me Henceforth; my dwelling haply may not please, Like this fair Paradise, your sense; yet such Accept your Maker's work; he gave it me, Which I as freely give: Hell shall unfold, To entertain you two, her widest gates,
And send forth all her kings; there will be room, Not like these narrow limits, to receive
Your numerous offspring; if no better place, Thank him who puts me loth to this revenge On you who wrong me not for him who wronged. And should I at your harmless innocence Melt, as I do, yet publick reason just,
Honour and empire with revenge enlarged, By conquering this new world, compels me now To do what else, though damned, I should abhor.

So spake the Fiend, and with necessity, The tyrant's plea, excused his devilish deeds. Then from his lofty stand on that high tree Down he alights among the sportful herd Of those four-footed kinds, himself now one, Now other, as their shape served best his end Nearer to view his prey, and, unespied, To mark what of their state he more might learn, By word or action marked. About them round A lion now he stalks with fiery glare;
Then as a tiger, who by chance hath spied In some purlieu two gentle fawns at play, Straight couches close, then, rising, changes oft His couchant watch, as one who chose his ground, Whence rushing, he might surest seize them both, Griped in each paw: when, Adam first of men To first of women Eve thus moving speech, Turned him, all ear to hear new utterance flow.

Sole partner, and sole part, of all these joys, Dearer thyself than all; needs must the Power That made us, and for us this ample world, Be infinitely good, and of his good
As liberal and free as infinite;
That raised us from the dust, and placed us here In all this happiness, who at his hand
Have nothing merited, nor can perform
Aught whereof he hath need; he who requires From us no other service than to keep
This one, this easy charge, of all the trees In Paradise that bear delicious fruit
So various, not to taste that only tree
Of knowledge, planted by the tree of life;
So near grows death to life, whate'er death is, Some dreadful thing no doubt; for well thou knowest God hath pronounced it death to taste that tree, The only sign of our obedience left,
Among so many signs of power and rule
Conferred upon us, and dominion given
Over all other creatures that possess
Earth, air, and sea. Then let us not think hard One easy prohibition, who enjoy
Free leave so large to all things else, and choice Unlimited of manifold delights:
But let us ever praise him, and extol
His bounty, following our delightful task,
To prune these growing plants, and tend these flowers, Which were it toilsome, yet with thee were sweet.

To whom thus Eve replied. O thou for whom And from whom I was formed, flesh of thy flesh, And without whom am to no end, my guide And head! what thou hast said is just and right. For we to him indeed all praises owe,
And daily thanks; I chiefly, who enjoy
So far the happier lot, enjoying thee
Pre-eminent by so much odds, while thou Like consort to thyself canst no where find. That day I oft remember, when from sleep I first awaked, and found myself reposed Under a shade on flowers, much wondering where And what I was, whence thither brought, and how. Not distant far from thence a murmuring sound Of waters issued from a cave, and spread Into a liquid plain, then stood unmoved
Pure as the expanse of Heaven; I thither went With unexperienced thought, and laid me down On the green bank, to look into the clear Smooth lake, that to me seemed another sky. As I bent down to look, just opposite
A shape within the watery gleam appeared, Bending to look on me: I started back,
It started back; but pleased I soon returned, Pleased it returned as soon with answering looks Of sympathy and love: There I had fixed Mine eyes till now, and pined with vain desire, Had not a voice thus warned me; 'What thou seest, 'What there thou seest, fair Creature, is thyself; 'With thee it came and goes: but follow me, 'And I will bring thee where no shadow stays 'Thy coming, and thy soft embraces, he
'Whose image thou art; him thou shalt enjoy 'Inseparably thine, to him shalt bear
'Multitudes like thyself, and thence be called 'Mother of human race.' What could I do,
But follow straight, invisibly thus led?
Till I espied thee, fair indeed and tall,
Under a platane; yet methought less fair,
Less winning soft, less amiably mild,
Than that smooth watery image: Back I turned; Thou following cryedst aloud, 'Return, fair Eve; 'Whom flyest thou? whom thou flyest, of him thou art, 'His flesh, his bone; to give thee being I lent 'Out of my side to thee, nearest my heart,
'Substantial life, to have thee by my side
'Henceforth an individual solace dear;
'Part of my soul I seek thee, and thee claim 'My other half:' With that thy gentle hand
Seised mine: I yielded;and from that time see How beauty is excelled by manly grace,
And wisdom, which alone is truly fair.

So spake our general mother, and with eyes Of conjugal attraction unreproved,
And meek surrender, half-embracing leaned On our first father; half her swelling breast Naked met his, under the flowing gold Of her loose tresses hid: he in delight Both of her beauty, and submissive charms, Smiled with superiour love, as Jupiter On Juno smiles, when he impregns the clouds That shed Mayflowers; and pressed her matron lip With kisses pure: Aside the Devil turned For envy; yet with jealous leer malign
Eyed them askance, and to himself thus plained.

Sight hateful, sight tormenting! thus these two, Imparadised in one another's arms,
The happier Eden, shall enjoy their fill
Of bliss on bliss; while I to Hell am thrust, Where neither joy nor love, but fierce desire, Among our other torments not the least,
Still unfulfilled with pain of longing pines.
Yet let me not forget what I have gained
From their own mouths: All is not theirs, it seems; One fatal tree there stands, of knowledge called, Forbidden them to taste: Knowledge forbidden Suspicious, reasonless. Why should their Lord Envy them that? Can it be sin to know?
Can it be death? And do they only stand By ignorance? Is that their happy state,
The proof of their obedience and their faith? O fair foundation laid whereon to build
Their ruin! hence I will excite their minds
With more desire to know, and to reject
Envious commands, invented with design To keep them low, whom knowledge might exalt Equal with Gods: aspiring to be such,
They taste and die: What likelier can ensue But first with narrow search I must walk round This garden, and no corner leave unspied; A chance but chance may lead where I may meet Some wandering Spirit of Heaven by fountain side, Or in thick shade retired, from him to draw What further would be learned. Live while ye may, Yet happy pair; enjoy, till I return,
Short pleasures, for long woes are to succeed!

So saying, his proud step he scornful turned,
But with sly circumspection, and began
Through wood, through waste, o'er hill, o'er dale, his roam Mean while in utmost longitude, where Heaven With earth and ocean meets, the setting sun
Slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise
Levelled his evening rays: It was a rock
Of alabaster, piled up to the clouds,
Conspicuous far, winding with one ascent
Accessible from earth, one entrance high;
The rest was craggy cliff, that overhung
Still as it rose, impossible to climb.
Betwixt these rocky pillars Gabriel sat,
Chief of the angelick guards, awaiting night;
About him exercised heroick games
The unarmed youth of Heaven, but nigh at hand Celestial armoury, shields, helms, and spears,
Hung high with diamond flaming, and with gold. Thither came Uriel, gliding through the even
On a sun-beam, swift as a shooting star
In autumn thwarts the night, when vapours fired Impress the air, and shows the mariner
From what point of his compass to beware
Impetuous winds: He thus began in haste.

Gabriel, to thee thy course by lot hath given Charge and strict watch, that to this happy place No evil thing approach or enter in.
This day at highth of noon came to my sphere A Spirit, zealous, as he seemed, to know More of the Almighty's works, and chiefly Man, God's latest image: I described his way Bent all on speed, and marked his aery gait; But in the mount that lies from Eden north, Where he first lighted, soon discerned his looks Alien from Heaven, with passions foul obscured: Mine eye pursued him still, but under shade Lost sight of him: One of the banished crew, I fear, hath ventured from the deep, to raise New troubles; him thy care must be to find.

To whom the winged warriour thus returned. Uriel, no wonder if thy perfect sight,
Amid the sun's bright circle where thou sitst, See far and wide: In at this gate none pass The vigilance here placed, but such as come Well known from Heaven; and since meridian hour No creature thence: If Spirit of other sort, So minded, have o'er-leaped these earthly bounds On purpose, hard thou knowest it to exclude Spiritual substance with corporeal bar.
But if within the circuit of these walks,
In whatsoever shape he lurk, of whom
Thou tellest, by morrow dawning I shall know.

So promised he; and Uriel to his charge
Returned on that bright beam, whose point now raised Bore him slope downward to the sun now fallen Beneath the Azores; whether the prime orb, Incredible how swift, had thither rolled
Diurnal, or this less volubil earth,
By shorter flight to the east, had left him there Arraying with reflected purple and gold
The clouds that on his western throne attend. Now came still Evening on, and Twilight gray Had in her sober livery all things clad;
Silence accompanied; for beast and bird, They to their grassy couch, these to their nests Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale; She all night long her amorous descant sung; Silence was pleased: Now glowed the firmament With living sapphires: Hesperus, that led The starry host, rode brightest, till the moon, Rising in clouded majesty, at length
Apparent queen unveiled her peerless light, And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw.

When Adam thus to Eve. Fair Consort, the hour Of night, and all things now retired to rest, Mind us of like repose; since God hath set Labour and rest, as day and night, to men Successive; and the timely dew of sleep, Now falling with soft slumbrous weight, inclines Our eye-lids: Other creatures all day long Rove idle, unemployed, and less need rest; Man hath his daily work of body or mind Appointed, which declares his dignity,
And the regard of Heaven on all his ways; While other animals unactive range,
And of their doings God takes no account. To-morrow, ere fresh morning streak the east With first approach of light, we must be risen, And at our pleasant labour, to reform
Yon flowery arbours, yonder alleys green, Our walk at noon, with branches overgrown, That mock our scant manuring, and require More hands than ours to lop their wanton growth: Those blossoms also, and those dropping gums, That lie bestrown, unsightly and unsmooth, Ask riddance, if we mean to tread with ease; Mean while, as Nature wills, night bids us rest.

To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adorned My Author and Disposer, what thou bidst Unargued I obey: So God ordains;
God is thy law, thou mine: To know no more Is woman's happiest knowledge, and her praise. With thee conversing I forget all time;
All seasons, and their change, all please alike. Sweet is the breath of Morn, her rising sweet, With charm of earliest birds: pleasant the sun, When first on this delightful land he spreads His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower, Glistering with dew; fragrant the fertile earth After soft showers; and sweet the coming on Of grateful Evening mild; then silent Night, With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon, And these the gems of Heaven, her starry train: But neither breath of Morn, when she ascends With charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower, Glistering with dew; nor fragrance after showers; Nor grateful Evening mild; nor silent Night, With this her solemn bird, nor walk by moon, Or glittering star-light, without thee is sweet. But wherefore all night long shine these? for whom This glorious sight, when sleep hath shut all eyes?

To whom our general ancestor replied.
Daughter of God and Man, accomplished Eve, These have their course to finish round the earth, By morrow evening, and from land to land In order, though to nations yet unborn,
Ministring light prepared, they set and rise; Lest total Darkness should by night regain
Her old possession, and extinguish life
In Nature and all things; which these soft fires Not only enlighten, but with kindly heat
Of various influence foment and warm,
Temper or nourish, or in part shed down
Their stellar virtue on all kinds that grow
On earth, made hereby apter to receive
Perfection from the sun's more potent ray.
These then, though unbeheld in deep of night, Shine not in vain; nor think, though men were none, That Heaven would want spectators, God want praise: Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep: All these with ceaseless praise his works behold Both day and night: How often from the steep Of echoing hill or thicket have we heard
Celestial voices to the midnight air,
Sole, or responsive each to others note,
Singing their great Creator? oft in bands
While they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk, With heavenly touch of instrumental sounds In full harmonick number joined, their songs Divide the night, and lift our thoughts to Heaven.

Thus talking, hand in hand alone they passed On to their blissful bower: it was a place
Chosen by the sovran Planter, when he framed All things to Man's delightful use; the roof
Of thickest covert was inwoven shade
Laurel and myrtle, and what higher grew
Of firm and fragrant leaf; on either side
Acanthus, and each odorous bushy shrub, Fenced up the verdant wall; each beauteous flower, Iris all hues, roses, and jessamin,
Reared high their flourished heads between, and wrought Mosaick; underfoot the violet,
Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlay
Broidered the ground, more coloured than with stone Of costliest emblem: Other creature here,
Bird, beast, insect, or worm, durst enter none, Such was their awe of Man. In shadier bower More sacred and sequestered, though but feigned, Pan or Sylvanus never slept, nor Nymph
Nor Faunus haunted. Here, in close recess,
With flowers, garlands, and sweet-smelling herbs, Espoused Eve decked first her nuptial bed;
And heavenly quires the hymenaean sung,
What day the genial Angel to our sire
Brought her in naked beauty more adorned,
More lovely, than Pandora, whom the Gods
Endowed with all their gifts, and O! too like
In sad event, when to the unwiser son
Of Japhet brought by Hermes, she ensnared
Mankind with her fair looks, to be avenged
On him who had stole Jove's authentick fire.

Thus, at their shady lodge arrived, both stood, Both turned, and under open sky adored
The God that made both sky, air, earth, and heaven, Which they beheld, the moon's resplendent globe, And starry pole: Thou also madest the night, Maker Omnipotent, and thou the day,
Which we, in our appointed work employed, Have finished, happy in our mutual help
And mutual love, the crown of all our bliss Ordained by thee; and this delicious place For us too large, where thy abundance wants Partakers, and uncropt falls to the ground. But thou hast promised from us two a race To fill the earth, who shall with us extol Thy goodness infinite, both when we wake, And when we seek, as now, thy gift of sleep.

This said unanimous, and other rites
Observing none, but adoration pure
Which God likes best, into their inmost bower Handed they went; and, eased the putting off These troublesome disguises which we wear, Straight side by side were laid; nor turned, I ween, Adam from his fair spouse, nor Eve the rites Mysterious of connubial love refused:
Whatever hypocrites austerely talk
Of purity, and place, and innocence,
Defaming as impure what God declares
Pure, and commands to some, leaves free to all. Our Maker bids encrease; who bids abstain But our Destroyer, foe to God and Man? Hail, wedded Love, mysterious law, true source Of human offspring, sole propriety
In Paradise of all things common else!
By thee adulterous Lust was driven from men Among the bestial herds to range; by thee Founded in reason, loyal, just, and pure, Relations dear, and all the charities
Of father, son, and brother, first were known. Far be it, that I should write thee sin or blame, Or think thee unbefitting holiest place,
Perpetual fountain of domestick sweets, Whose bed is undefiled and chaste pronounced, Present, or past, as saints and patriarchs used. Here Love his golden shafts employs, here lights His constant lamp, and waves his purple wings, Reigns here and revels; not in the bought smile Of harlots, loveless, joyless, unendeared,
Casual fruition; nor in court-amours,
Mixed dance, or wanton mask, or midnight ball, Or serenate, which the starved lover sings
To his proud fair, best quitted with disdain. These, lulled by nightingales, embracing slept, And on their naked limbs the flowery roof
Showered roses, which the morn repaired. Sleep on, Blest pair; and O!yet happiest, if ye seek
No happier state, and know to know no more.

Now had night measured with her shadowy cone Half way up hill this vast sublunar vault,
And from their ivory port the Cherubim,
Forth issuing at the accustomed hour, stood armed To their night watches in warlike parade;
When Gabriel to his next in power thus spake.

Uzziel, half these draw off, and coast the south With strictest watch; these other wheel the north; Our circuit meets full west. As flame they part, Half wheeling to the shield, half to the spear. From these, two strong and subtle Spirits he called That near him stood, and gave them thus in charge.

Ithuriel and Zephon, with winged speed
Search through this garden, leave unsearched no nook; But chiefly where those two fair creatures lodge, Now laid perhaps asleep, secure of harm.
This evening from the sun's decline arrived,
Who tells of some infernal Spirit seen
Hitherward bent (who could have thought?) escaped The bars of Hell, on errand bad no doubt: Such, where ye find, seise fast, and hither bring.

So saying, on he led his radiant files,
Dazzling the moon; these to the bower direct In search of whom they sought: Him there they found Squat like a toad, close at the ear of Eve,
Assaying by his devilish art to reach
The organs of her fancy, and with them forge Illusions, as he list, phantasms and dreams; Or if, inspiring venom, he might taint
The animal spirits, that from pure blood arise Like gentle breaths from rivers pure, thence raise At least distempered, discontented thoughts, Vain hopes, vain aims, inordinate desires,
Blown up with high conceits ingendering pride. Him thus intent Ithuriel with his spear
Touched lightly; for no falshood can endure Touch of celestial temper, but returns
Of force to its own likeness: Up he starts
Discovered and surprised. As when a spark Lights on a heap of nitrous powder, laid
Fit for the tun some magazine to store
Against a rumoured war, the smutty grain,
With sudden blaze diffused, inflames the air; So started up in his own shape the Fiend.
Back stept those two fair Angels, half amazed So sudden to behold the grisly king;
Yet thus, unmoved with fear, accost him soon.

Which of those rebel Spirits adjudged to Hell Comest thou, escaped thy prison? and, transformed, Why sat'st thou like an enemy in wait,
Here watching at the head of these that sleep? Know ye not then said Satan, filled with scorn, Know ye not me? ye knew me once no mate For you, there sitting where ye durst not soar: Not to know me argues yourselves unknown, The lowest of your throng; or, if ye know,
Why ask ye, and superfluous begin
Your message, like to end as much in vain? To whom thus Zephon, answering scorn with scorn. Think not, revolted Spirit, thy shape the same, Or undiminished brightness to be known,
As when thou stoodest in Heaven upright and pure; That glory then, when thou no more wast good, Departed from thee; and thou resemblest now Thy sin and place of doom obscure and foul. But come, for thou, be sure, shalt give account To him who sent us, whose charge is to keep This place inviolable, and these from harm.

So spake the Cherub; and his grave rebuke, Severe in youthful beauty, added grace Invincible: Abashed the Devil stood,
And felt how awful goodness is, and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely; saw, and pined His loss; but chiefly to find here observed His lustre visibly impaired; yet seemed Undaunted. If I must contend, said he, Best with the best, the sender, not the sent, Or all at once; more glory will be won, Or less be lost. Thy fear, said Zephon bold, Will save us trial what the least can do Single against thee wicked, and thence weak.

The Fiend replied not, overcome with rage; But, like a proud steed reined, went haughty on, Champing his iron curb: To strive or fly He held it vain; awe from above had quelled His heart, not else dismayed. Now drew they nigh The western point, where those half-rounding guards Just met, and closing stood in squadron joined, A waiting next command. To whom their Chief, Gabriel, from the front thus called aloud.

O friends! I hear the tread of nimble feet Hasting this way, and now by glimpse discern Ithuriel and Zephon through the shade; And with them comes a third of regal port, But faded splendour wan; who by his gait And fierce demeanour seems the Prince of Hell, Not likely to part hence without contest; Stand firm, for in his look defiance lours.

He scarce had ended, when those two approached, And brief related whom they brought, where found, How busied, in what form and posture couched.

To whom with stern regard thus Gabriel spake. Why hast thou, Satan, broke the bounds prescribed To thy transgressions, and disturbed the charge Of others, who approve not to transgress By thy example, but have power and right To question thy bold entrance on this place; Employed, it seems, to violate sleep, and those Whose dwelling God hath planted here in bliss!

To whom thus Satan with contemptuous brow. Gabriel? thou hadst in Heaven the esteem of wise, And such I held thee; but this question asked Puts me in doubt. Lives there who loves his pain! Who would not, finding way, break loose from Hell, Though thither doomed! Thou wouldst thyself, no doubt And boldly venture to whatever place
Farthest from pain, where thou mightst hope to change Torment with ease, and soonest recompense Dole with delight, which in this place I sought; To thee no reason, who knowest only good, But evil hast not tried: and wilt object
His will who bounds us! Let him surer bar
His iron gates, if he intends our stay
In that dark durance: Thus much what was asked. The rest is true, they found me where they say; But that implies not violence or harm.

Thus he in scorn. The warlike Angel moved, Disdainfully half smiling, thus replied.
O loss of one in Heaven to judge of wise Since Satan fell, whom folly overthrew,
And now returns him from his prison 'scaped, Gravely in doubt whether to hold them wise Or not, who ask what boldness brought him hither Unlicensed from his bounds in Hell prescribed; So wise he judges it to fly from pain
However, and to 'scape his punishment! So judge thou still, presumptuous! till the wrath, Which thou incurrest by flying, meet thy flight Sevenfold, and scourge that wisdom back to Hell, Which taught thee yet no better, that no pain Can equal anger infinite provoked.
But wherefore thou alone? wherefore with thee Came not all hell broke loose? or thou than they Less hardy to endure? Courageous Chief! The first in flight from pain! hadst thou alleged To thy deserted host this cause of flight, Thou surely hadst not come sole fugitive. To which the Fiend thus answered, frowning stern. Not that I less endure, or shrink from pain, Insulting Angel! well thou knowest I stood Thy fiercest, when in battle to thy aid
The blasting vollied thunder made all speed, And seconded thy else not dreaded spear. But still thy words at random, as before,
Argue thy inexperience what behoves
From hard assays and ill successes past A faithful leader, not to hazard all
Through ways of danger by himself untried: I, therefore, I alone first undertook
To wing the desolate abyss, and spy
This new created world, whereof in Hell
Fame is not silent, here in hope to find
Better abode, and my afflicted Powers
To settle here on earth, or in mid air;
Though for possession put to try once more What thou and thy gay legions dare against; Whose easier business were to serve their Lord High up in Heaven, with songs to hymn his throne, And practised distances to cringe, not fight.

To whom the warriour Angel soon replied. To say and straight unsay, pretending first Wise to fly pain, professing next the spy, Argues no leader but a liear traced,
Satan, and couldst thou faithful add? O name, O sacred name of faithfulness profaned! Faithful to whom? to thy rebellious crew? Army of Fiends, fit body to fit head.
Was this your discipline and faith engaged, Your military obedience, to dissolve
Allegiance to the acknowledged Power supreme? And thou, sly hypocrite, who now wouldst seem Patron of liberty, who more than thou
Once fawned, and cringed, and servily adored Heaven's awful Monarch? wherefore, but in hope To dispossess him, and thyself to reign? But mark what I arreed thee now, Avant; Fly neither whence thou fledst! If from this hour Within these hallowed limits thou appear, Back to the infernal pit I drag thee chained, And seal thee so, as henceforth not to scorn The facile gates of Hell too slightly barred.

So threatened he; but Satan to no threats Gave heed, but waxing more in rage replied.

Then when I am thy captive talk of chains, Proud limitary Cherub! but ere then
Far heavier load thyself expect to feel
From my prevailing arm, though Heaven's King Ride on thy wings, and thou with thy compeers, Us'd to the yoke, drawest his triumphant wheels In progress through the road of Heaven star-paved.

While thus he spake, the angelick squadron bright Turned fiery red, sharpening in mooned horns Their phalanx, and began to hem him round With ported spears, as thick as when a field Of Ceres ripe for harvest waving bends
Her bearded grove of ears, which way the wind Sways them; the careful plowman doubting stands, Left on the threshing floor his hopeless sheaves Prove chaff. On the other side, Satan, alarmed, Collecting all his might, dilated stood,
Like Teneriff or Atlas, unremoved:
His stature reached the sky, and on his crest Sat Horrour plumed; nor wanted in his grasp
What seemed both spear and shield: Now dreadful deeds Might have ensued, nor only Paradise
In this commotion, but the starry cope
Of Heaven perhaps, or all the elements
At least had gone to wrack, disturbed and torn With violence of this conflict, had not soon
The Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray,
Hung forth in Heaven his golden scales, yet seen Betwixt Astrea and the Scorpion sign,
Wherein all things created first he weighed,
The pendulous round earth with balanced air
In counterpoise, now ponders all events,
Battles and realms: In these he put two weights, The sequel each of parting and of fight:
The latter quick up flew, and kicked the beam, Which Gabriel spying, thus bespake the Fiend.

Satan, I know thy strength, and thou knowest mine; Neither our own, but given: What folly then
To boast what arms can do? since thine no more Than Heaven permits, nor mine, though doubled now To trample thee as mire: For proof look up,
And read thy lot in yon celestial sign;
Where thou art weighed, and shown how light, how weak, If thou resist. The Fiend looked up, and knew
His mounted scale aloft: Nor more;but fled
Murmuring, and with him fled the shades of night.