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Louisiana Anthology

John Milton.
Paradise Lost. Excerpts.


Of Mans First Disobedience, and the Fruit

Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal tast

Brought Death into the World, and all our woe,

With loss of EDEN, till one greater Man

Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat,

Sing Heav’nly Muse, that on the secret top

Of OREB, or of SINAI, didst inspire

That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen Seed,

In the Beginning how the Heav’ns and Earth

Rose out of CHAOS: Or if SION Hill

Delight thee more, and SILOA’S Brook that flow’d

Fast by the Oracle of God; I thence

Invoke thy aid to my adventrous Song,

That with no middle flight intends to soar

Above th’ AONIAN Mount, while it pursues

Things unattempted yet in Prose or Rhime.

And chiefly Thou O Spirit, that dost prefer

Before all Temples th’ upright heart and pure,

Instruct me, for Thou know’st; Thou from the first

Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread

Dove-like satst brooding on the vast Abyss

And mad’st it pregnant: What in me is dark

Illumine, what is low raise and support;

That to the highth of this great Argument

I may assert th’ Eternal Providence,

And justifie the wayes of God to men.

    Say first, for Heav’n hides nothing from thy view

Nor the deep Tract of Hell, say first what cause

Mov’d our Grand Parents in that happy State,

Favour’d of Heav’n so highly, to fall off

From their Creator, and transgress his Will

For one restraint, Lords of the World besides?

Who first seduc’d them to that fowl revolt?

Th’ infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile

Stird up with Envy and Revenge, deceiv’d

The Mother of Mankinde, what time his Pride

Had cast him out from Heav’n, with all his Host

Of Rebel Angels, by whose aid aspiring

To set himself in Glory above his Peers,

He trusted to have equal’d the most High,

If he oppos’d; and with ambitious aim

Against the Throne and Monarchy of God

Rais’d impious War in Heav’n and Battel proud

With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power

Hurld headlong flaming from th’ Ethereal Skie

With hideous ruine and combustion down

To bottomless perdition, there to dwell

In Adamantine Chains and penal Fire,

Who durst defie th’ Omnipotent to Arms.

Nine times the Space that measures Day and Night

To mortal men, he with his horrid crew

Lay vanquisht, rowling in the fiery Gulfe

Confounded though immortal: But his doom

Reserv’d him to more wrath; for now the thought

Both of lost happiness and lasting pain

Torments him; round he throws his baleful eyes

That witness’d huge affliction and dismay

Mixt with obdurate pride and stedfast hate:

At once as far as Angels kenn he views

The dismal Situation waste and wilde,

A Dungeon horrible, on all sides round

As one great Furnace flam’d, yet from those flames

No light, but rather darkness visible

Serv’d only to discover sights of woe,

Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace

And rest can never dwell, hope never comes

That comes to all; but torture without end

Still urges, and a fiery Deluge, fed

With ever-burning Sulphur unconsum’d:

Such place Eternal Justice had prepar’d

For those rebellious, here their Prison ordain’d

In utter darkness, and their portion set

As far remov’d from God and light of Heav’n

As from the Center thrice to th’ utmost Pole.

O how unlike the place from whence they fell!

There the companions of his fall, o’rewhelm’d

With Floods and Whirlwinds of tempestuous fire,

He soon discerns, and weltring by his side

One next himself in power, and next in crime,

Long after known in PALESTINE, and nam’d

BEELZEBUB. To whom th’ Arch-Enemy,

And thence in Heav’n call’d Satan, with bold words

Breaking the horrid silence thus began.

    If thou beest he; But O how fall’n! how chang’d

From him, who in the happy Realms of Light

Cloth’d with transcendent brightnes didst outshine

Myriads though bright: If he whom mutual league,

United thoughts and counsels, equal hope,

And hazard in the Glorious Enterprize,

Joynd with me once, now misery hath joynd

In equal ruin: into what Pit thou seest

From what highth fal’n, so much the stronger provd

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 chang’d in outward lustre; that fixt mind

And high disdain, from sence of injur’d merit,

That with the mightiest rais’d me to contend,

And to the fierce contention brought along

Innumerable force of Spirits arm’d

That durst dislike his reign, and me preferring,

His utmost power with adverse power oppos’d

In dubious Battel on the Plains of Heav’n,

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 deifie his power

Who from the terrour 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 substance cannot fail,

Since through experience of this great event

In Arms not worse, in foresight much advanc’t,

We may with more successful hope resolve

To wage by force or guile eternal Warr

Irreconcileable, to our grand Foe,

Who now triumphs, and in th’ excess of joy

Sole reigning holds the Tyranny of Heav’n.

    So spake th’ Apostate Angel, though in pain,

Vaunting aloud, but rackt with deep despare:

And him thus answer’d soon his bold Compeer.

    O Prince, O Chief of many Throned Powers,

That led th’ imbattelld Seraphim to Warr

Under thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds

Fearless, endanger’d Heav’ns 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 Heav’n, and all this mighty Host

In horrible destruction laid thus low,

As far as Gods and Heav’nly Essences

Can Perish: for the mind and spirit remains

Invincible, and vigour soon returns,

Though all our Glory extinct, and happy state

Here swallow’d up in endless misery.

But what if he our Conquerour, (whom I now

Of force believe Almighty, since no less

Then such could hav orepow’rd such force as ours)

Have left us this our spirit and strength intire

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 Warr, what e’re his business be

Here in the heart of Hell to work in Fire,

Or do his Errands in the gloomy Deep;

What can it then avail though yet we feel

Strength undiminisht, or eternal being

To undergo eternal punishment?

Whereto with speedy words th’ Arch-fiend reply’d.

    Fall’n Cherube, to be weak is miserable

Doing or Suffering: but of this be sure,

To do ought 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 oft times may succeed, so as perhaps

Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb

His inmost counsels from their destind aim.

But see the angry Victor hath recall’d

His Ministers of vengeance and pursuit

Back to the Gates of Heav’n: The Sulphurous Hail

Shot after us in storm, oreblown hath laid

The fiery Surge, that from the Precipice

Of Heav’n receiv’d us falling, and the Thunder,

Wing’d 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 wilde,

The seat of desolation, voyd 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 reassembling 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 despare.

    Thus Satan talking to his neerest Mate

With Head up-lift above the wave, and Eyes

That sparkling blaz’d, 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 warr’d on JOVE,

BRIARIOS 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 slumbring on the NORWAY foam

The Pilot of some small night-founder’d Skiff,

Deeming some Island, oft, as Sea-men tell,

With fixed Anchor in his skaly rind

Moors by his side under the Lee, while Night

Invests the Sea, and wished Morn delayes:

So stretcht out huge in length the Arch-fiend lay

Chain’d on the burning Lake, nor ever thence

Had ris’n or heav’d 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 enrag’d might see

How all his malice serv’d but to bring forth

Infinite goodness, grace and mercy shewn

On Man by him seduc’t, but on himself

Treble confusion, wrath and vengeance pour’d.

Forthwith upright he rears from off the Pool

His mighty Stature; on each hand the flames

Drivn backward slope their pointing spires, & rowld

In billows, leave i’th’ midst a horrid Vale.

Then with expanded wings he stears his flight

Aloft, incumbent on the dusky Air

That felt unusual weight, till on dry Land

He lights, if it were Land that ever burn’d

With solid, as the Lake with liquid fire;

And such appear’d in hue, as when the force

Of subterranean wind transports a Hill

Torn from PELORUS, or the shatter’d side

Of thundring AETNA, whose combustible

And fewel’d entrals thence conceiving Fire,

Sublim’d with Mineral fury, aid the Winds,

And leave a singed bottom all involv’d

With stench and smoak: Such resting found the sole

Of unblest feet. Him followed his next Mate,

Both glorying to have scap’t the STYGIAN flood

As Gods, and by their own recover’d strength,

Not by the sufferance of supernal Power.

    Is this the Region, this the Soil, the Clime,

Said then the lost Arch Angel, this the seat

That we must change for Heav’n, this mournful gloom

For that celestial light? Be it so, since hee

Who now is Sovran can dispose and bid

What shall be right: fardest from him is best

Whom reason hath equald, force hath made supream

Above his equals. Farewel happy Fields

Where Joy for ever dwells: Hail horrours, hail

Infernal world, and thou profoundest Hell

Receive thy new Possessor: One who brings

A mind not to be chang’d by Place or Time.

The mind is its own place, and in it self

Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.

What matter where, if I be still the same,

And what I should be, all but less then hee

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 reign secure, and in my choyce

To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:

Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav’n.

But wherefore let we then our faithful friends,

Th’ associates and copartners of our loss

Lye thus astonisht 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

Regaind in Heav’n, or what more lost in Hell?

    So SATAN spake, and him BEELZEBUB

Thus answer’d. Leader of those Armies bright,

Which but th’ Omnipotent none could have foyld,

If once they hear that voyce, their liveliest pledge

Of hope in fears and dangers, heard so oft

In worst extreams, and on the perilous edge

Of battel when it rag’d, in all assaults

Their surest signal, they will soon resume

New courage and revive, though now they lye

Groveling and prostrate on yon Lake of Fire,

As we erewhile, astounded and amaz’d,




  High on a Throne of Royal State, which far

Outshon the wealth of ORMUS and of IND,

Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand

Showrs on her Kings BARBARIC Pearl & Gold,

Satan exalted sat, by merit rais’d

To that bad eminence; and from despair

Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires

Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue

Vain Warr with Heav’n, and by success untaught

His proud imaginations thus displaid.

    Powers and Dominions, Deities of Heav’n,

For since no deep within her gulf can hold

Immortal vigor, though opprest and fall’n,

I give not Heav’n for lost. From this descent

Celestial vertues rising, will appear

More glorious and more dread then from no fall,

And trust themselves to fear no second fate:

Mee though just right, and the fixt Laws of Heav’n

Did first create your Leader, next, free choice,

With what besides, in Counsel or in Fight,

Hath bin achievd of merit, yet this loss

Thus farr at least recover’d, hath much more

Establisht in a safe unenvied Throne

Yeilded with full consent. The happier state

In Heav’n, which follows dignity, might draw

Envy from each inferior; but who here

Will envy whom the highest place exposes

Formost to stand against the Thunderers aime

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 then can be in Heav’n, we now return

To claim our just inheritance of old,

Surer to prosper then prosperity

Could have assur’d us; and by what best way,

Whether of open Warr or covert guile,

We now debate; who can advise, may speak.

    He ceas’d, and next him MOLOC, Scepter’d King

Stood up, the strongest and the fiercest Spirit

That fought in Heav’n; now fiercer by despair:

His trust was with th’ Eternal to be deem’d

Equal in strength, and rather then be less

Car’d not to be at all; with that care lost

Went all his fear: of God, or Hell, or worse

He reckd not, and these words thereafter spake.

    My sentence is for open Warr: 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 lingring here

Heav’ns fugitives, and for thir dwelling place

Accept this dark opprobrious Den of shame,

The Prison of his Tyranny who Reigns

By our delay? no, let us rather choose

Arm’d with Hell flames and fury all at once

O’re Heav’ns high Towrs to force resistless way,

Turning our Tortures into horrid Arms

Against the Torturer; when to meet the noise

Of his Almighty Engin he shall hear

Infernal Thunder, and for Lightning see

Black fire and horror shot with equal rage

Among his Angels; and his Throne it self

Mixt 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 benumme not still,

That in our proper 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 brok’n Rear

Insulting, and pursu’d us through the Deep,

With what compulsion and laborious flight

We sunk thus low? Th’ ascent is easie then;

Th’ event is fear’d; 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 destroy’d: what can be worse

Then to dwell here, driv’n out from bliss, condemn’d

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 houre

Calls us to Penance? More destroy’d then thus

We should be quite abolisht and expire.

What fear we then? what doubt we to incense

His utmost ire? which to the highth enrag’d,

Will either quite consume us, and reduce

To nothing this essential, happier farr

Then 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 Heav’n,

And with perpetual inrodes to Allarme,

Though inaccessible, his fatal Throne:

Which if not Victory is yet Revenge.

    He ended frowning, and his look denounc’d

Desperate revenge, and Battel dangerous

To less then Gods. On th’ other side up rose

BELIAL, in act more graceful and humane;

A fairer person lost not Heav’n; he seemd

For dignity compos’d and high exploit:

But all was false and hollow; though his Tongue

Dropt 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 pleas’d the eare,

And with perswasive accent thus began.

    I should be much for open Warr, O Peers,

As not behind in hate; if what was urg’d

Main reason to perswade immediate Warr,

Did not disswade 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 Towrs of Heav’n are fill’d

With Armed watch, that render all access

Impregnable; oft on the bordering Deep

Encamp thir Legions, or with obscure wing

Scout farr and wide into the Realm of night,

Scorning surprize. Or could we break our way

By force, and at our heels all Hell should rise

With blackest Insurrection, to confound

Heav’ns purest Light, yet our great Enemie

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 repuls’d, 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 loose,

Though full of pain, this intellectual being,

Those thoughts that wander through Eternity,

To perish rather, swallowd 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 thir wish, and end

Them in his anger, whom his anger saves

To punish endless? wherefore cease we then?

Say they who counsel Warr, we are decreed,

Reserv’d and destin’d 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, pursu’d and strook

With Heav’ns afflicting Thunder, and besought

The Deep to shelter us? this Hell then seem’d

A refuge from those wounds: or when we lay

Chain’d on the burning Lake? that sure was worse.

What if the breath that kindl’d those grim fires

Awak’d should blow them into sevenfold rage

And plunge us in the Flames? or from above

Should intermitted vengeance Arme again

His red right hand to plague us? what if all

Her stores were op’n’d, and this Firmament

Of Hell should spout her Cataracts of Fire,

Impendent horrors, threatning hideous fall

One day upon our heads; while we perhaps

Designing or exhorting glorious Warr,

Caught in a fierie Tempest shall be hurl’d

Each on his rock transfixt, the sport and prey

Of racking whirlwinds, or for ever sunk

Under yon boyling Ocean, wrapt in Chains;

There to converse with everlasting groans,

Unrespited, unpitied, unrepreevd,

Ages of hopeless end; this would be worse.

Warr therefore, open or conceal’d, alike

My voice disswades; for what can force or guile

With him, or who deceive his mind, whose eye

Views all things at one view? he from heav’ns highth

All these our motions vain, sees and derides;

Not more Almighty to resist our might

Then wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles.

Shall we then live thus vile, the race of Heav’n

Thus trampl’d, thus expell’d to suffer here

Chains & these Torments? better these then worse

By my advice; since fate inevitable

Subdues us, and Omnipotent Decree,

The Victors will. To suffer, as to doe,

Our strength is equal, nor the Law unjust

That so ordains: this was at first resolv’d,

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 vent’rous, if that fail them, shrink and fear

What yet they know must follow, to endure

Exile, or ignominy, or bonds, or pain,

The sentence of thir Conquerour: This is now

Our doom; which if we can sustain and bear,

Our Supream Foe in time may much remit

His anger, and perhaps thus farr remov’d

Not mind us not offending, satisfi’d

With what is punish’t; whence these raging fires

Will slack’n, if his breath stir not thir flames.

Our purer essence then will overcome

Thir noxious vapour, or enur’d not feel,

Or chang’d at length, and to the place conformd

In temper and in nature, will receive

Familiar the fierce heat, and void of pain;

This horror will grow milde, 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 appeers

For happy though but ill, for ill not worst,

If we procure not to our selves more woe.

    Thus BELIAL with words cloath’d in reasons garb

Counsel’d ignoble ease, and peaceful sloath,

Not peace: and after him thus MAMMON spake.

    Either to disinthrone the King of Heav’n

We warr, if warr be best, or to regain

Our own right lost: him to unthrone we then

May hope, when everlasting Fate shall yeild

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 Heav’ns bound, unless Heav’ns Lord supream

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 impos’d, to celebrate his Throne

With warbl’d Hymns, and to his Godhead sing

Forc’t Halleluiah’s; while he Lordly sits

Our envied Sovran, and his Altar breathes

Ambrosial Odours and Ambrosial Flowers,

Our servile offerings. This must be our task

In Heav’n, this our delight; how wearisom

Eternity so spent in worship paid

To whom we hate. Let us not then pursue

By force impossible, by leave obtain’d

Unacceptable, though in Heav’n, our state

Of splendid vassalage, but rather seek

Our own good from our selves, and from our own

Live to our selves, though in this vast recess,

Free, and to none accountable, preferring

Hard liberty before the easie 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 so e’re

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 Heav’ns all-ruling Sire

Choose to reside, his Glory unobscur’d,

And with the Majesty of darkness round

Covers his Throne; from whence deep thunders roar

Must’ring thir rage, and Heav’n resembles Hell?

As he our Darkness, cannot we his Light

Imitate when we please? This Desart soile

Wants not her hidden lustre, Gemms and Gold;

Nor want we skill or art, from whence to raise

Magnificence; and what can Heav’n shew more?

Our torments also may in length of time

Become our Elements, these piercing Fires

As soft as now severe, our temper chang’d

Into their temper; which must needs remove

The sensible of pain. All things invite

To peaceful Counsels, and the settl’d 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 Warr: ye have what I advise.

    He scarce had finisht, when such murmur filld

Th’ Assembly, as when hollow Rocks retain

The sound of blustring winds, which all night long

Had rous’d the Sea, now with hoarse cadence lull

Sea-faring men orewatcht, whose Bark by chance

Or Pinnace anchors in a craggy Bay

After the Tempest: Such applause was heard

As MAMMON ended, and his Sentence pleas’d,

Advising peace: for such another Field

They dreaded worse then 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 pollicy, and long process of time,

In emulation opposite to Heav’n.

Which when BEELZEBUB perceiv’d, then whom,

SATAN except, none higher sat, with grave

Aspect he rose, and in his rising seem’d

A Pillar of State; deep on his Front engraven

Deliberation sat and publick care;

And Princely counsel in his face yet shon,

Majestick 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 Summers Noon-tide air, while thus he spake.

    Thrones and imperial Powers, off-spring of heav’n,

Ethereal Vertues; or these Titles now

Must we renounce, and changing stile be call’d

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 Heav’n hath doom’d

This place our dungeon, not our safe retreat

Beyond his Potent arm, to live exempt

From Heav’ns high jurisdiction, in new League

Banded against his Throne, but to remaine

In strictest bondage, though thus far remov’d,

Under th’ inevitable curb, reserv’d

His captive multitude: For he, be sure,

In highth or depth, still first and last will Reign

Sole King, and of his Kingdom loose no part

By our revolt, but over Hell extend

His Empire, and with Iron Scepter rule

Us here, as with his Golden those in Heav’n.

What sit we then projecting Peace and Warr?

Warr hath determin’d us, and foild with loss

Irreparable; tearms of peace yet none

Voutsaf’t or sought; for what peace will be giv’n

To us enslav’d, but custody severe,

And stripes, and arbitrary punishment

Inflicted? and what peace can we return,

But to our power hostility and hate,

Untam’d reluctance, and revenge though slow,

Yet ever plotting how the Conquerour least

May reap his conquest, and may least rejoyce

In doing what we most in suffering feel?

Nor will occasion want, nor shall we need

With dangerous expedition to invade

Heav’n, whose high walls fear no assault or Siege,

Or ambush from the Deep. What if we find

Some easier enterprize? There is a place

(If ancient and prophetic fame in Heav’n

Err not) another World, the happy seat

Of som new Race call’d MAN, about this time

To be created like to us, though less

In power and excellence, but favour’d more

Of him who rules above; so was his will

Pronounc’d among the Gods, and by an Oath,

That shook Heav’ns whol circumference, confirm’d.

Thither let us bend all our thoughts, to learn

What creatures there inhabit, of what mould,

Or substance, how endu’d, and what thir Power,

And where thir weakness, how attempted best,

By force or suttlety: Though Heav’n be shut,

And Heav’ns high Arbitrator sit secure

In his own strength, this place may lye expos’d

The utmost border of his Kingdom, left

To their defence who hold it: here perhaps

Som advantagious act may be achiev’d

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 punie habitants, or if not drive,

Seduce them to our Party, that thir God

May prove thir 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

Hurl’d headlong to partake with us, shall curse

Thir frail Originals, 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 devis’d

By SATAN, and in part propos’d: 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 Creatour? But thir spite still serves

His glory to augment. The bold design

Pleas’d highly those infernal States, and joy

Sparkl’d in all thir eyes; with full assent

They vote: whereat his speech he thus renews.

    Well have ye judg’d, well ended long debate,

Synod of Gods, and like to what ye are,

Great things resolv’d; which from the lowest deep

Will once more lift us up, in spight of Fate,

Neerer our ancient Seat; perhaps in view

Of those bright confines, whence with neighbouring Arms

And opportune excursion we may chance

Re-enter Heav’n; or else in some milde Zone

Dwell not unvisited of Heav’ns fair Light

Secure, and at the brightning Orient beam

Purge off this gloom; the soft delicious Air,

To heal the scarr of these corrosive Fires

Shall breath her balme. But first whom shall we send

In search of this new world, whom shall we find

Sufficient? who shall tempt with wandring feet

The dark unbottom’d infinite Abyss

And through the palpable obscure find out

His uncouth way, or spread his aerie flight

Upborn with indefatigable wings

Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive

The happy Ile; 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 suspence, awaiting who appeer’d

To second, or oppose, or undertake

The perilous attempt: but all sat mute,

Pondering the danger with deep thoughts; & each

In others count’nance red his own dismay

Astonisht: none among the choice and prime

Of those Heav’n-warring Champions could be found

So hardie as to proffer or accept

Alone the dreadful voyage; till at last

SATAN, whom now transcendent glory rais’d

Above his fellows, with Monarchal pride

Conscious of highest worth, unmov’d thus spake.

    O Progeny of Heav’n, Empyreal Thrones,

With reason hath deep silence and demurr

Seis’d us, though undismaid: long is the way

And hard, that out of Hell leads up to Light;

Our prison strong, this huge convex of Fire,

Outrageous to devour, immures us round

Ninefold, and gates of burning Adamant

Barr’d over us prohibit all egress.

These past, if any pass, the void profound

Of unessential Night receives him next

Wide gaping, and with utter loss of being

Threatens him, plung’d in that abortive gulf.

If thence he scape into what ever world,

Or unknown Region, what remains him less

Then unknown dangers and as hard escape.

But I should ill become this Throne, O Peers,

And this Imperial Sov’ranty, adorn’d

With splendor, arm’d with power, if aught propos’d

And judg’d of public moment, in the shape

Of difficulty or danger could deterre

Me from attempting. Wherefore do I assume

These Royalties, and not refuse to Reign,

Refusing to accept as great a share

Of hazard as of honour, due alike

To him who Reigns, and so much to him due

Of hazard more, as he above the rest

High honourd sits? Go therfore mighty powers,

Terror of Heav’n, though fall’n; intend at home,

While here shall be our home, what best may ease

The present misery, and render Hell

More tollerable; if there be cure or charm

To respite or deceive, or slack the pain

Of this ill Mansion: intermit no watch

Against a wakeful Foe, while I abroad

Through all the coasts of dark destruction seek

Deliverance for us all: this enterprize

None shall partake with me. Thus saying rose

The Monarch, and prevented all reply,

Prudent, least from his resolution rais’d

Others among the chief might offer now

(Certain to be refus’d) what erst they feard;

And so refus’d might in opinion stand

His rivals, winning cheap the high repute

Which he through hazard huge must earn. But they

Dreaded not more th’ adventure then his voice

Forbidding; and at once with him they rose;

Thir rising all at once was as the sound

Of Thunder heard remote. Towards him they bend

With awful reverence prone; and as a God

Extoll him equal to the highest in Heav’n:

Nor fail’d they to express how much they prais’d,

That for the general safety he despis’d

His own: for neither do the Spirits damn’d

Loose all thir vertue; least bad men should boast

Thir specious deeds on earth, which glory excites,

Or close ambition varnisht o’re with zeal.

Thus they thir doubtful consultations dark

Ended rejoycing in thir matchless Chief:

As when from mountain tops the dusky clouds

Ascending, while the North wind sleeps, o’respread

Heav’ns chearful face, the lowring Element

Scowls ore the dark’nd lantskip Snow, or showre;

If chance the radiant Sun with farewell sweet

Extend his ev’ning beam, the fields revive,

The birds thir notes renew, and bleating herds

Attest thir joy, that hill and valley rings.

O shame to men! Devil with Devil damn’d

Firm concord holds, men onely disagree

Of Creatures rational, though under hope

Of heavenly Grace: and God proclaiming peace,

Yet live in hatred, enmitie, and strife

Among themselves, and levie cruel warres,

Wasting the Earth, each other to destroy:

As if (which might induce us to accord)

Man had not hellish foes anow besides,

That day and night for his destruction waite.

    The STYGIAN Councel thus dissolv’d; and forth

In order came the grand infernal Peers,

Midst came thir mighty Paramount, and seemd

Alone th’ Antagonist of Heav’n, nor less

Then Hells dread Emperour with pomp Supream,

And God-like imitated State; him round

A Globe of fierie Seraphim inclos’d

With bright imblazonrie, and horrent Arms.

Then of thir Session ended they bid cry

With Trumpets regal sound the great result:

Toward the four winds four speedy Cherubim

Put to thir mouths the sounding Alchymie

By Haralds voice explain’d: the hollow Abyss

Heard farr and wide, and all the host of Hell

With deafning shout, return’d them loud acclaim.

Thence more at ease thir minds and somwhat rais’d

By false presumptuous hope, the ranged powers

Disband, and wandring, each his several way

Pursues, as inclination or sad choice

Leads him perplext, 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 thir fierie Steeds, or shun the Goal

With rapid wheels, or fronted Brigads form.

As when to warn proud Cities warr appears

Wag’d in the troubl’d Skie, and Armies rush

To Battel in the Clouds, before each Van

Pric forth the Aerie Knights, and couch thir spears

Till thickest Legions close; with feats of Arms

From either end of Heav’n 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 wilde uproar.

As when ALCIDES from OEALIA Crown’d

With conquest, felt th’ envenom’d 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 milde,

Retreated in a silent valley, sing

With notes Angelical to many a Harp

Thir own Heroic deeds and hapless fall

By doom of Battel; and complain that Fate

Free Vertue should enthrall to Force or Chance.

Thir 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 retir’d,

In thoughts more elevate, and reason’d high

Of Providence, Foreknowledge, Will, and Fate,

Fixt Fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute,

And found no end, in wandring mazes lost.

Of good and evil much they argu’d then,

Of happiness and final misery,

Passion and Apathie, and glory and shame,

Vain wisdom all, and false Philosophie:

Yet with a pleasing sorcerie could charm

Pain for a while or anguish, and excite

Fallacious hope, or arm th’ obdured brest

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 yeild them easier habitation, bend

Four ways thir flying March, along the Banks

Of four infernal Rivers that disgorge

Into the burning Lake thir baleful streams;

Abhorred STYX the flood of deadly hate,

Sad ACHERON of sorrow, black and deep;

COCYTUS, nam’d of lamentation loud

Heard on the ruful stream; fierce PHLEGETON

Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage.

Farr off from these a slow and silent stream,

LETHE the River of Oblivion roules

Her watrie 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 wilde, 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 hail’d,

At certain revolutions all the damn’d

Are brought: and feel by turns the bitter change

Of fierce extreams, extreams by change more fierce,

From Beds of raging Fire to starve in Ice

Thir soft Ethereal warmth, and there to pine

Immovable, infixt, and frozen round,

Periods of time, thence hurried back to fire.

They ferry over this LETHEAN Sound

Both to and fro, thir sorrow to augment,

And wish and struggle, as they pass, to reach

The tempting stream, with one small drop to loose

In sweet forgetfulness all pain and woe,

All in one moment, and so neer the brink;

But fate withstands, and to oppose th’ attempt

MEDUSA with GORGONIAN terror guards

The Ford, and of it self the water flies

All taste of living wight, as once it fled

The lip of TANTALUS. Thus roving on

In confus’d march forlorn, th’ adventrous Bands

With shuddring horror pale, and eyes agast

View’d first thir lamentable lot, and found

No rest: through many a dark and drearie Vaile

They pass’d, and many a Region dolorous,

O’re many a Frozen, many a Fierie Alpe,

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,

Abominable, inutterable, and worse

Then Fables yet have feign’d, or fear conceiv’d,


    Mean while the Adversary of God and Man,

SATAN with thoughts inflam’d of highest design,

Puts on swift wings, and toward the Gates of Hell

Explores his solitary flight; som times

He scours the right hand coast, som times the left,

Now shaves with level wing the Deep, then soares

Up to the fiery concave touring high.

As when farr off at Sea a Fleet descri’d

Hangs in the Clouds, by AEQUINOCTIAL Winds

Close sailing from BENGALA, or the Iles

Of TERNATE and TIDORE, whence Merchants bring

Thir spicie Drugs: they on the trading Flood

Through the wide ETHIOPIAN to the Cape

Ply stemming nightly toward the Pole. So seem’d

Farr off the flying Fiend: at last appeer

Hell bounds high reaching to the horrid Roof,

And thrice threefold the Gates; three folds were Brass

Three Iron, three of Adamantine Rock,

Impenitrable, impal’d with circling fire,

Yet unconsum’d. Before the Gates there sat

On either side a formidable shape;

The one seem’d Woman to the waste, and fair,

But ended foul in many a scaly fould

Voluminous and vast, a Serpent arm’d

With mortal sting: about her middle round

A cry of Hell Hounds never ceasing bark’d

With wide CERBEREAN mouths full loud, and rung

A hideous Peal: yet, when they list, would creep,

If aught disturb’d thir noyse, into her woomb,

And kennel there, yet there still bark’d and howl’d

Within unseen. Farr less abhorrd then these

Vex’d SCYLLA bathing in the Sea that parts

CALABRIA from the hoarce TRINACRIAN shore:

Nor uglier follow the Night-Hag, when call’d

In secret, riding through the Air she comes

Lur’d with the smell of infant blood, to dance

With LAPLAND Witches, while the labouring Moon

Eclipses at thir charms. The other shape,

If shape it might be call’d that shape had none

Distinguishable in member, joynt, or limb,

Or substance might be call’d that shadow seem’d,

For each seem’d either; black it stood as Night,

Fierce as ten Furies, terrible as Hell,

And shook a dreadful Dart; what seem’d his head

The likeness of a Kingly Crown had on.

SATAN was now at hand, and from his seat

The Monster moving onward came as fast,

With horrid strides, Hell trembled as he strode.

Th’ undaunted Fiend what this might be admir’d,

Admir’d, not fear’d; God and his Son except,

Created thing naught vallu’d he nor shun’d;

And with disdainful look thus first began.

    Whence and what art thou, execrable shape,

That dar’st, though grim and terrible, advance

Thy miscreated Front athwart my way

To yonder Gates? through them I mean to pass,

That be assur’d, without leave askt of thee:

Retire, or taste thy folly, and learn by proof,

Hell-born, not to contend with Spirits of Heav’n.

    To whom the Goblin full of wrauth reply’d,

Art thou that Traitor Angel, art thou hee,

Who first broke peace in Heav’n and Faith, till then

Unbrok’n, and in proud rebellious Arms

Drew after him the third part of Heav’ns Sons

Conjur’d against the highest, for which both Thou

And they outcast from God, are here condemn’d

To waste Eternal daies in woe and pain?

And reck’n’st thou thy self with Spirits of Heav’n,

Hell-doomd, and breath’st defiance here and scorn,

Where I reign King, and to enrage thee more,

Thy King and Lord? Back to thy punishment,

False fugitive, and to thy speed add wings,

Least with a whip of Scorpions I pursue

Thy lingring, or with one stroke of this Dart

Strange horror seise thee, and pangs unfelt before.

    So spake the grieslie terrour, and in shape,

So speaking and so threatning, grew ten fold

More dreadful and deform: on th’ other side

Incenc’t with indignation SATAN stood

Unterrifi’d, and like a Comet burn’d,

That fires the length of OPHIUCUS huge

In th’ Artick Sky, and from his horrid hair

Shakes Pestilence and Warr. Each at the Head

Level’d his deadly aime; thir fatall hands

No second stroke intend, and such a frown

Each cast at th’ other, as when two black Clouds

With Heav’ns Artillery fraught, come rattling on

Over the CASPIAN, then stand front to front

Hov’ring a space, till Winds the signal blow

To joyn thir dark Encounter in mid air:

So frownd the mighty Combatants, that Hell

Grew darker at thir frown, so matcht they stood;

For never but once more was either like

To meet so great a foe: and now great deeds

Had been achiev’d, whereof all Hell had rung,

Had not the Snakie Sorceress that sat

Fast by Hell Gate, and kept the fatal Key,

Ris’n, and with hideous outcry rush’d between.

    O Father, what intends thy hand, she cry’d,

Against thy only Son? What fury O Son,

Possesses thee to bend that mortal Dart

Against thy Fathers head? and know’st for whom;

For him who sits above and laughs the while

At thee ordain’d his drudge, to execute

What e’re his wrath, which he calls Justice, bids,

His wrath which one day will destroy ye both.

    She spake, and at her words the hellish Pest

Forbore, then these to her SATAN return’d:

    So strange thy outcry, and thy words so strange

Thou interposest, that my sudden hand

Prevented spares to tell thee yet by deeds

What it intends; till first I know of thee,

What thing thou art, thus double-form’d, and why

In this infernal Vaile first met thou call’st

Me Father, and that Fantasm call’st my Son?

I know thee not, nor ever saw till now

Sight more detestable then him and thee.

    T’ whom thus the Portress of Hell Gate reply’d;

Hast thou forgot me then, and do I seem

Now in thine eye so foul, once deemd so fair

In Heav’n, when at th’ Assembly, and in sight

Of all the Seraphim with thee combin’d

In bold conspiracy against Heav’ns King,

All on a sudden miserable pain

Surpris’d thee, dim thine eyes, and dizzie swumm

In darkness, while thy head flames thick and fast

Threw forth, till on the left side op’ning wide,

Likest to thee in shape and count’nance bright,

Then shining heav’nly fair, a Goddess arm’d

Out of thy head I sprung: amazement seis’d

All th’ Host of Heav’n; back they recoild affraid

At first, and call’d me SIN, and for a Sign

Portentous held me; but familiar grown,

I pleas’d, and with attractive graces won

The most averse, thee chiefly, who full oft

Thy self in me thy perfect image viewing

Becam’st enamour’d, and such joy thou took’st

With me in secret, that my womb conceiv’d

A growing burden. Mean while Warr arose,

And fields were fought in Heav’n; wherein remaind

(For what could else) to our Almighty Foe

Cleer Victory, to our part loss and rout

Through all the Empyrean: down they fell

Driv’n 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 hand was giv’n, with charge to keep

These Gates for ever shut, which none can pass

Without my op’ning. 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

Transform’d: but he my inbred enemie

Forth issu’d, brandishing his fatal Dart

Made to destroy: I fled, and cry’d out DEATH;

Hell trembl’d at the hideous Name, and sigh’d

From all her Caves, and back resounded DEATH.

I fled, but he pursu’d (though more, it seems,

Inflam’d with lust then rage) and swifter far,

Me overtook his mother all dismaid,

And in embraces forcible and foule

Ingendring with me, of that rape begot

These yelling Monsters that with ceasless cry

Surround me, as thou sawst, hourly conceiv’d

And hourly born, with sorrow infinite

To me, for when they list into the womb

That bred them they return, and howle and gnaw

My Bowels, their repast; then bursting forth

Afresh with conscious terrours vex me round,

That rest or intermission none I find.

Before mine eyes in opposition sits

Grim DEATH my Son and foe, who sets them on,

And me his Parent would full soon devour

For want of other prey, but that he knows

His end with mine involvd; and knows that I

Should prove a bitter Morsel, and his bane,

When ever that shall be; so Fate pronounc’d.

But thou O Father, I forewarn thee, shun

His deadly arrow; neither vainly hope

To be invulnerable in those bright Arms,

Though temper’d heav’nly, for that mortal dint,

Save he who reigns above, none can resist.

    She finish’d, and the suttle Fiend his lore

Soon learnd, now milder, and thus answerd smooth.

Dear Daughter, since thou claim’st me for thy Sire,

And my fair Son here showst me, the dear pledge

Of dalliance had with thee in Heav’n, and joys

Then sweet, now sad to mention, through dire change

Befalln us unforeseen, unthought of, know

I come no enemie, but to set free

From out this dark and dismal house of pain,

Both him and thee, and all the heav’nly Host

Of Spirits that in our just pretenses arm’d

Fell with us from on high: from them I go

This uncouth errand sole, and one for all

My self expose, with lonely steps to tread

Th’ unfounded deep, & through the void immense

To search with wandring quest a place foretold

Should be, and, by concurring signs, ere now

Created vast and round, a place of bliss

In the Pourlieues of Heav’n, and therein plac’t

A race of upstart Creatures, to supply

Perhaps our vacant room, though more remov’d,

Least Heav’n surcharg’d with potent multitude

Might hap to move new broiles: Be this or aught

Then this more secret now design’d, 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, imbalm’d

With odours; there ye shall be fed and fill’d

Immeasurably, all things shall be your prey.

He ceas’d, for both seemd highly pleasd, and Death

Grinnd horrible a gastly smile, to hear

His famine should be fill’d, and blest his mawe

Destin’d to that good hour: no less rejoyc’d

His mother bad, and thus bespake her Sire.

    The key of this infernal Pit by due,

And by command of Heav’ns 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’rematcht by living might.

But what ow 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 confin’d,

Inhabitant of Heav’n, and heav’nlie-born,

Here in perpetual agonie and pain,

With terrors and with clamors compasst 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 rouling her bestial train,

Forthwith the huge Porcullis high up drew,

Which but her self not all the STYGIAN powers

Could once have mov’d; then in the key-hole turns

Th’ intricate wards, and every Bolt and Bar

Of massie Iron or sollid Rock with ease

Unfast’ns: on a sudden op’n flie

With impetuous recoile and jarring sound

Th’ infernal dores, and on thir hinges great

Harsh Thunder, that the lowest bottom shook

Of EREBUS. She op’nd, but to shut

Excel’d her power; the Gates wide op’n stood,

That with extended wings a Bannerd Host

Under spread Ensigns marching might pass through

With Horse and Chariots rankt in loose array;

So wide they stood, and like a Furnace mouth

Cast forth redounding smoak and ruddy flame.

Before thir eyes in sudden view appear

The secrets of the hoarie deep, a dark

Illimitable Ocean without bound,

Without dimension, where length, breadth, and highth,

And time and place are lost; where eldest Night

And CHAOS, Ancestors of Nature, hold

Eternal ANARCHIE, amidst the noise

Of endless warrs and by confusion stand.

For hot, cold, moist, and dry, four Champions fierce

Strive here for Maistrie, and to Battel bring

Thir embryon Atoms; they around the flag

Of each his faction, in thir several Clanns,

Light-arm’d or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift or slow,

Swarm populous, unnumber’d as the Sands

Of BARCA or CYRENE’S torrid soil,

Levied to side with warring Winds, and poise

Thir lighter wings. To whom these most adhere,

Hee rules a moment; CHAOS Umpire sits,

And by decision more imbroiles the fray

By which he Reigns: next him high Arbiter

CHANCE governs all. Into this wilde Abyss,

The Womb of nature and perhaps her Grave,

Of neither Sea, nor Shore, nor Air, nor Fire,

But all these in thir pregnant causes mixt

Confus’dly, and which thus must ever fight,

Unless th’ Almighty Maker them ordain

His dark materials to create more Worlds,

Into this wilde Abyss the warie fiend

Stood on the brink of Hell and look’d a while,

Pondering his Voyage; for no narrow frith

He had to cross. Nor was his eare less peal’d

With noises loud and ruinous (to compare

Great things with small) then when BELLONA storms,

With all her battering Engines bent to rase

Som Capital City, or less then if this frame

Of Heav’n were falling, and these Elements

In mutinie had from her Axle torn

The stedfast Earth. At last his Sail-broad Vannes

He spreads for flight, and in the surging smoak

Uplifted spurns the ground, thence many a League

As in a cloudy Chair ascending rides

Audacious, but that seat soon failing, meets

A vast vacuitie: all unawares

Fluttring his pennons vain plumb down he drops

Ten thousand fadom deep, and to this hour

Down had been falling, had not by ill chance

The strong rebuff of som tumultuous cloud

Instinct with Fire and Nitre hurried him

As many miles aloft: that furie stay’d,

Quencht in a Boggie SYRTIS, neither Sea,

Nor good dry Land: nigh founderd on he fares,

Treading the crude consistence, half on foot,

Half flying; behoves him now both Oare and Saile.

As when a Gryfon through the Wilderness

With winged course ore Hill or moarie Dale,

Pursues the ARIMASPIAN, who by stelth

Had from his wakeful custody purloind

The guarded Gold: So eagerly the fiend

Ore 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 flyes:

At length a universal hubbub wilde

Of stunning sounds and voices all confus’d

Born through the hollow dark assaults his eare

With loudest vehemence: thither he plyes,

Undaunted to meet there what ever power

Or Spirit of the nethermost Abyss

Might in that noise reside, of whom to ask

Which way the neerest coast of darkness lyes

Bordering on light; when strait behold the Throne

Of CHAOS, and his dark Pavilion spread

Wide on the wasteful Deep; with him Enthron’d

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; Rumor next and Chance,

And Tumult and Confusion all imbroild,

And Discord with a thousand various mouths.

    T’ whom SATAN turning boldly, thus. Ye Powers

And Spirits of this nethermost Abyss,

CHAOS and ANCIENT NIGHT, I come no Spie,

With purpose to explore or to disturb

The secrets of your Realm, but by constraint

Wandring this darksome desart, 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 gloomie bounds

Confine with Heav’n; or if som other place

From your Dominion won, th’ Ethereal King

Possesses lately, thither to arrive

I travel this profound, direct my course;

Directed, no mean recompence it brings

To your behoof, if I that Region lost,

All usurpation thence expell’d, reduce

To her original darkness and your sway

(Which is my present journey) and once more

Erect the Standerd there of ANCIENT NIGHT;

Yours be th’ advantage all, mine the revenge.

    Thus SATAN; and him thus the Anarch old

With faultring speech and visage incompos’d

Answer’d. I know thee, stranger, who thou art,

That mighty leading Angel, who of late

Made head against Heav’ns 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 Heav’n Gates

Pourd out by millions her victorious Bands

Pursuing. I upon my Frontieres here

Keep residence; if all I can will serve,

That little which is left so to defend

Encroacht on still through our intestine broiles

Weakning the Scepter of old Night: first Hell

Your dungeon stretching far and wide beneath;

Now lately Heaven and Earth, another World

Hung ore my Realm, link’d in a golden Chain

To that side Heav’n from whence your Legions fell:

If that way be your walk, you have not farr;

So much the neerer danger; goe and speed;

Havock and spoil and ruin are my gain.

    He ceas’d; and SATAN staid not to reply,

But glad that now his Sea should find a shore,

With fresh alacritie and force renew’d

Springs upward like a Pyramid of fire

Into the wilde expanse, and through the shock

Of fighting Elements, on all sides round

Environ’d wins his way; harder beset

And more endanger’d, then when ARGO pass’d

Through BOSPORUS betwixt the justling Rocks:

Or when ULYSSES on the Larbord shunnd

CHARYBDIS, and by th’ other whirlpool steard.

So he with difficulty and labour hard

Mov’d on, with difficulty and labour hee;

But hee once past, soon after when man fell,

Strange alteration! Sin and Death amain

Following his track, such was the will of Heav’n,

Pav’d after him a broad and beat’n way

Over the dark Abyss, whose boiling Gulf

Tamely endur’d a Bridge of wondrous length

From Hell continu’d reaching th’ utmost Orbe

Of this frail World; by which the Spirits perverse

With easie 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 Heav’n

Shoots farr into the bosom of dim Night

A glimmering dawn; here Nature first begins

Her fardest verge, and CHAOS to retire

As from her outmost works a brok’n 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 leasure to behold

Farr off th’ Empyreal Heav’n, extended wide

In circuit, undetermind square or round,

With Opal Towrs and Battlements adorn’d

Of living Saphire, once his native Seat;

And fast by hanging in a golden Chain

This pendant world, in bigness as a Starr

Of smallest Magnitude close by the Moon.

Thither full fraught with mischievous revenge,

Accurst, and in a cursed hour he hies.




    Hail holy light, ofspring of Heav’n first-born,

Or of th’ Eternal Coeternal beam

May I express thee unblam’d? since God is light,

And never but in unapproached light

Dwelt from Eternitie, dwelt then in thee,

Bright effluence of bright essence increate.

Or hear’st thou rather pure Ethereal stream,

Whose Fountain who shall tell? before the Sun,

Before the Heavens thou wert, and at the voice

Of God, as with a Mantle didst invest

The rising world of waters dark and deep,

Won from the void and formless infinite.

Thee I re-visit now with bolder wing,

Escap’t the STYGIAN Pool, though long detain’d

In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight

Through utter and through middle darkness borne

With other notes then to th’ ORPHEAN Lyre


Taught by the heav’nly Muse to venture down

The dark descent, and up to reascend,

Though hard and rare: thee I revisit safe,

And feel thy sovran vital Lamp; but thou

Revisit’st not these eyes, that rowle in vain

To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;

So thick a drop serene hath quencht thir Orbs,

Or dim suffusion veild. Yet not the more

Cease I to wander where the Muses haunt

Cleer Spring, or shadie Grove, or Sunnie Hill,

Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief

Thee SION and the flowrie Brooks beneath

That wash thy hallowd feet, and warbling flow,

Nightly I visit: nor somtimes forget

Those other two equal’d with me in Fate,

So were I equal’d with them in renown,


And TIRESIAS and PHINEUS Prophets old.

Then feed on thoughts, that voluntarie move

Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful Bird

Sings darkling, and in shadiest Covert hid

Tunes her nocturnal Note. Thus with the Year

Seasons return, but not to me returns

Day, or the sweet approach of Ev’n or Morn,

Or sight of vernal bloom, or Summers Rose,

Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;

But cloud in stead, and ever-during dark

Surrounds me, from the chearful waies of men

Cut off, and for the book of knowledg fair

Presented with a Universal blanc

Of Natures works to mee expung’d and ras’d,

And wisdome at one entrance quite shut out.

So much the rather thou Celestial light

Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers

Irradiate, there plant eyes, all mist from thence

Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell

Of things invisible to mortal sight.

    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 Starrs, and from his sight receiv’d

Beatitude past utterance; on his right

The radiant image of his Glory sat,

His onely Son; On Earth he first beheld

Our two first Parents, yet the onely two

Of mankind, in the happie Garden plac’t,

Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love,

Uninterrupted joy, unrivald love

In blissful solitude; he then survey’d

Hell and the Gulf between, and SATAN there

Coasting the wall of Heav’n 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 onely 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 Heav’n, 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 shon

Substantially express’d, and in his face

Divine compassion visibly appeerd,

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 sentence, that Man should find grace;

For which both Heav’n and Earth shall high extoll

Thy praises, with th’ 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 joynd

With his own folly? that be from thee farr,

That farr be from thee, Father, who art Judge

Of all things made, and judgest onely right.

Or shall the Adversarie thus obtain

His end, and frustrate thine, shall he fulfill

His malice, and thy goodness bring to naught,

Or proud return though to his heavier doom,

Yet with revenge accomplish’t and to Hell

Draw after him the whole Race of mankind,

By him corrupted? or wilt thou thy self

Abolish thy Creation, and unmake,

For him, what for thy glorie thou hast made?

So should thy goodness and thy greatness both

Be questiond and blaspheam’d without defence.

    To whom the great Creatour thus reply’d.

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 spok’n 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 voutsaft; 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 fall’n condition is, and to me ow

All his deliv’rance, 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 warnd

Thir sinful state, and to appease betimes

Th’ incensed Deitie, while offerd grace

Invites; for I will cleer thir senses dark,

What may suffice, and soft’n stonie hearts

To pray, repent, and bring obedience due.

To prayer, repentance, and obedience due,

Though but endevord with sincere intent,

Mine eare 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 hard’nd, 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 don; Man disobeying,

Disloyal breaks his fealtie, and sinns

Against the high Supremacie of Heav’n,

Affecting God-head, and so loosing all,

To expiate his Treason hath naught left,

But to destruction sacred and devote,

He with his whole posteritie must die,

Die hee or Justice must; unless for him

Som other able, and as willing, pay

The rigid satisfaction, death for death.

Say Heav’nly Powers, where shall we find such love,

Which of ye will be mortal to redeem

Mans mortal crime, and just th’ unjust to save,

Dwels in all Heaven charitie so deare?

    He ask’d, but all the Heav’nly Quire stood mute,

And silence was in Heav’n: on mans behalf

Patron or Intercessor none appeerd,

Much less that durst upon his own head draw

The deadly forfeiture, and ransom set.

And now without redemption all mankind

Must have bin lost, adjudg’d to Death and Hell

By doom severe, had not the Son of God,

In whom the fulness dwels of love divine,

His dearest mediation thus renewd.

    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,

Happie for man, so coming; he her aide

Can never seek, once dead in sins and lost;

Attonement for himself or offering meet,

Indebted and undon, hath none to bring:

Behold mee then, mee for him, life for life

I offer, on mee let thine anger fall;

Account mee man; I for his sake will leave

Thy bosom, and this glorie next to thee

Freely put off, and for him lastly die

Well pleas’d, on me let Death wreck all his rage;

Under his gloomie power I shall not long

Lie vanquisht; thou hast givn me to possess

Life in my self for ever, by thee I live,

Though now to Death I yeild, and am his due

All that of me can die, yet that debt paid,

Thou wilt not leave me in the loathsom grave

His prey, nor suffer my unspotted Soule

For ever with corruption there to dwell;

But I shall rise Victorious, and subdue

My Vanquisher, spoild of his vanted spoile;

Death his deaths wound shall then receive, & stoop

Inglorious, of his mortall sting disarm’d.

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

Pleas’d, out of Heaven shalt look down and smile,

While by thee rais’d I ruin all my Foes,

Death last, and with his Carcass glut the Grave:

Then with the multitude of my redeemd

Shall enter Heaven long absent, and returne,

Father, to see thy face, wherein no cloud

Of anger shall remain, but peace assur’d,

And reconcilement; wrauth shall be no more

Thenceforth, but in thy presence Joy entire.

    His words here ended, but his meek aspect

Silent yet spake, and breath’d immortal love

To mortal men, above which only shon

Filial obedience: as a sacrifice

Glad to be offer’d, he attends the will

Of his great Father. Admiration seis’d

All Heav’n, what this might mean, & whither tend

Wondring; but soon th’ Almighty thus reply’d:

    O thou in Heav’n and Earth the only peace

Found out for mankind under wrauth, 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 loosing thee a while, the whole Race lost.

Thou therefore whom thou only canst redeeme,

Thir Nature also to thy Nature joyne;

And be thy self Man among men on Earth,

Made flesh, when time shall be, of Virgin seed,

By wondrous birth: Be thou in ADAMS room

The Head of all mankind, though ADAMS Son.

As in him perish all men, so in thee

As from a second root shall be restor’d,

As many as are restor’d, without thee none.

His crime makes guiltie all his Sons, thy merit

Imputed shall absolve them who renounce

Thir own both righteous and unrighteous deeds,

And live in thee transplanted, and from thee

Receive new life. So Man, as is most just,

Shall satisfie for Man, be judg’d and die,

And dying rise, and rising with him raise

His Brethren, ransomd with his own dear life.

So Heav’nly love shal outdoo Hellish hate,

Giving to death, and dying to redeeme,

So dearly to redeem what Hellish hate

So easily destroy’d, and still destroyes

In those who, when they may, accept not grace.

Nor shalt thou by descending to assume

Mans Nature, less’n or degrade thine owne.

Because thou hast, though Thron’d 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 then Birthright Son of God,

Found worthiest to be so by being Good,

Farr more then Great or High; because in thee

Love hath abounded more then Glory abounds,

Therefore thy Humiliation shall exalt

With thee thy Manhood also to this Throne;

Here shalt thou sit incarnate, here shalt Reigne

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 Supream

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 Heav’n

Shalt in the Skie appeer, and from thee send

The summoning Arch-Angels to proclaime

Thy dread Tribunal: forthwith from all Windes

The living, and forthwith the cited dead

Of all past Ages to the general Doom

Shall hast’n, such a peal shall rouse thir sleep.

Then all thy Saints assembl’d, thou shalt judge

Bad men and Angels, they arraignd 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 Heav’n and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell

And after all thir tribulations long

See golden days, fruitful of golden deeds,

With Joy and Love 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 mee.

  No sooner had th’ Almighty ceas’t, but all

The multitude of Angels with a shout

Loud as from numbers without number, sweet

As from blest voices, uttering joy, Heav’n rung

With Jubilee, and loud Hosanna’s fill’d

Th’ eternal Regions: lowly reverent

Towards either Throne they bow, & to the ground

With solemn adoration down they cast

Thir Crowns inwove with Amarant and Gold,

Immortal Amarant, a Flour which once

In Paradise, fast by the Tree of Life

Began to bloom, but soon for mans offence

To Heav’n remov’d where first it grew, there grows,

And flours aloft shading the Fount of Life,

And where the river of Bliss through midst of Heavn

Rowls o’re ELISIAN Flours her Amber stream;

With these that never fade the Spirits Elect

Bind thir resplendent locks inwreath’d with beams,

Now in loose Garlands thick thrown off, the bright

Pavement that like a Sea of Jasper shon

Impurpl’d with Celestial Roses smil’d.

Then Crown’d again thir gold’n Harps they took,

Harps ever tun’d, that glittering by their side

Like Quivers hung, and with Praeamble sweet

Of charming symphonie they introduce

Thir sacred Song, and waken raptures high;

No voice exempt, no voice but well could joine

Melodious part, such concord is in Heav’n.

    Thee Father first they sung Omnipotent,

Immutable, Immortal, Infinite,

Eternal King; thee Author of all being,

Fountain of Light, thy self invisible

Amidst the glorious brightness where thou sit’st

Thron’d inaccessible, but when thou shad’st

The full blaze of thy beams, and through a cloud

Drawn round about thee like a radiant Shrine,

Dark with excessive bright thy skirts appeer,

Yet dazle Heav’n, that brightest Seraphim

Approach not, but with both wings veil thir eyes.

Thee next they sang of all Creation first,

Begotten Son, Divine Similitude,

In whose conspicuous count’nance, without cloud

Made visible, th’ Almighty Father shines,

Whom else no Creature can behold; on thee

Impresst the effulgence of his Glorie abides,

Transfus’d on thee his ample Spirit rests.

Hee Heav’n of Heavens and all the Powers therein

By thee created, and by thee threw down

Th’ aspiring Dominations: thou that day

Thy Fathers dreadful Thunder didst not spare,

Nor stop thy flaming Chariot wheels, that shook

Heav’ns everlasting Frame, while o’re the necks

Thou drov’st of warring Angels disarraid.

Back from pursuit thy Powers with loud acclaime

Thee only extold, Son of thy Fathers might,

To execute fierce vengeance on his foes,

Not so on Man; him through their malice fall’n,

Father of Mercie and Grace, thou didst not doome

So strictly, but much more to pitie encline:

No sooner did thy dear and onely Son

Perceive thee purpos’d not to doom frail Man

So strictly, but much more to pitie enclin’d,

He to appease thy wrauth, and end the strife

Of Mercy and Justice in thy face discern’d,

Regardless of the Bliss wherein hee sat

Second to thee, offerd himself to die

For mans offence. O unexampl’d love,

Love no where to be found less then Divine!

Hail Son of God, Saviour of Men, thy Name

Shall be the copious matter of my Song

Henceforth, and never shall my Harp thy praise

Forget, nor from thy Fathers praise disjoine.

    So spake the false dissembler unperceivd;

For neither Man nor Angel can discern

Hypocrisie, the only evil that walks

Invisible, except to God alone,

By his permissive will, through Heav’n and Earth:

And oft though wisdom wake, suspicion sleeps

At wisdoms Gate, and to simplicitie

Resigns her charge, while goodness thinks no ill

Where no ill seems: Which now for once beguil’d

URIEL, though Regent of the Sun, and held

The sharpest sighted Spirit of all in Heav’n;

Who to the fraudulent Impostor foule

In his uprightness answer thus returnd.

Faire Angel, thy desire which tends to know

The works of God, thereby to glorifie

The great Work-Maister, 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 heare onely in heav’n:

For wonderful indeed are all his works,

Pleasant to know, and worthiest to be all

Had in remembrance alwayes with delight;

But what created mind can comprehend

Thir number, or the wisdom infinite

That brought them forth, but hid thir causes deep.

I saw when at his Word the formless Mass,

This worlds material mould, came to a heap:

Confusion heard his voice, and wilde uproar

Stood rul’d, stood vast infinitude confin’d;

Till at his second bidding darkness fled,

Light shon, and order from disorder sprung:

Swift to thir several Quarters hasted then

The cumbrous Elements, Earth, Flood, Aire, Fire,

And this Ethereal quintessence of Heav’n

Flew upward, spirited with various forms,

That rowld orbicular, and turnd to Starrs

Numberless, as thou seest, and how they move;

Each had his place appointed, each his course,

The rest in circuit walles 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 th’ other Hemisphere

Night would invade, but there the neighbouring Moon

(So call that opposite fair Starr) her aide

Timely interposes, and her monthly round

Still ending, still renewing, through mid Heav’n;

With borrowd light her countenance triform

Hence fills and empties to enlighten th’ Earth,

And in her pale dominion checks the night.

That spot to which I point is PARADISE,

ADAMS abode, those loftie shades his Bowre.

Thy way thou canst not miss, me mine requires.

Thus said, he turnd, and SATAN bowing low,

As to superior Spirits is wont in Heaven,

Where honour due and reverence none neglects,

Took leave, and toward the coast of Earth beneath,

Down from th’ Ecliptic, sped with hop’d success,

Throws his steep flight with many an Aerie wheele,

Nor staid, till on NIPHATES top he lights.




    Now to th’ ascent of that steep savage Hill

SATAN had journied on, pensive and slow;

But further way found none, so thick entwin’d,

As one continu’d brake, the undergrowth

Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplext

All path of Man or Beast that past that way:

One Gate there onely was, and that look’d East

On th’ other side: which when th’ arch-fellon saw

Due entrance he disdaind, and in contempt,

At one slight bound high overleap’d all bound

Of Hill or highest Wall, and sheer within

Lights on his feet. As when a prowling Wolfe,

Whom hunger drives to seek new haunt for prey,

Watching where Shepherds pen thir Flocks at eeve

In hurdl’d Cotes amid the field secure,

Leaps o’re the fence with ease into the Fould:

Or as a Thief bent to unhoord the cash

Of some rich Burgher, whose substantial dores,

Cross-barrd and bolted fast, fear no assault,

In at the window climbes, or o’re the tiles;

So clomb this first grand Thief into Gods Fould:

So since into his Church lewd Hirelings climbe.

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 regaind, but sat devising Death

To them who liv’d; nor on the vertue thought

Of that life-giving Plant, but only us’d

For prospect, what well us’d had bin the pledge

Of immortalitie. So little knows

Any, but God alone, to value right

The good before him, but perverts best things

To worst abuse, or to thir meanest use.

Beneath him with new wonder now he views

To all delight of human sense expos’d

In narrow room Natures 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 stretchd her Line

From AURAN Eastward to the Royal Towrs

Of great SELEUCIA, built by GRECIAN Kings,

Or where the Sons of EDEN long before

Dwelt in TELASSAR: in this pleasant soile

His farr more pleasant Garden God ordaind;

Out of the fertil ground he caus’d 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 chang’d his course, but through the shaggie hill

Pass’d underneath ingulft, for God had thrown

That Mountain as his Garden mould high rais’d

Upon the rapid current, which through veins

Of porous Earth with kindly thirst up drawn,

Rose a fresh Fountain, and with many a rill

Waterd the Garden; thence united fell

Down the steep glade, and met the neather Flood,

Which from his darksom passage now appeers,

And now divided into four main Streams,

Runs divers, wandring many a famous Realme

And Country whereof here needs no account,

But rather to tell how, if Art could tell,

How from that Saphire Fount the crisped Brooks,

Rowling on Orient Pearl and sands of Gold,

With mazie error under pendant shades

Ran Nectar, visiting each plant, and fed

Flours worthy of Paradise which not nice Art

In Beds and curious Knots, but Nature boon

Powrd forth profuse on Hill and Dale and Plaine,

Both where the morning Sun first warmly smote

The open field, and where the unpierc’t shade

Imbround the noontide Bowrs: Thus was this place,

A happy rural seat of various view;

Groves whose rich Trees wept odorous Gumms and Balme,

Others whose fruit burnisht with Golden Rinde

Hung amiable, HESPERIAN Fables true,

If true, here onely, and of delicious taste:

Betwixt them Lawns, or level Downs, and Flocks

Grasing the tender herb, were interpos’d,

Or palmie hilloc, or the flourie lap

Of som irriguous Valley spread her store,

Flours of all hue, and without Thorn the Rose:

Another side, umbrageous Grots and Caves

Of coole recess, o’re which the mantling Vine

Layes forth her purple Grape, and gently creeps

Luxuriant; mean while murmuring waters fall

Down the slope hills, disperst, or in a Lake,

That to the fringed Bank with Myrtle crownd,

Her chrystall mirror holds, unite thir streams.

The Birds thir quire apply; aires, vernal aires,

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 th’ Eternal Spring. Not that faire field

Of ENNA, where PROSERPIN gathring flours

Her self a fairer Floure by gloomie DIS

Was gatherd, which cost CERES all that pain

To seek her through the world; nor that sweet Grove

Of DAPHNE by ORONTES, and th’ inspir’d

CASTALIAN Spring might with this Paradise

Of EDEN strive; nor that NYSEIAN Ile

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 thir issue Guard,

Mount AMARA, though this by som suppos’d

True Paradise under the ETHIOP Line

By NILUS head, enclos’d with shining Rock,

A whole dayes 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 Majestie seemd Lords of all,

And worthie seemd, for in thir looks Divine

The image of thir glorious Maker shon,

Truth, Wisdome, Sanctitude severe and pure,

Severe, but in true filial freedom plac’t;

Whence true autoritie in men; though both

Not equal, as thir sex not equal seemd;

For contemplation hee and valour formd,

For softness shee and sweet attractive Grace,

Hee for God only, shee for God in him:

His fair large Front and Eye sublime declar’d

Absolute rule; and Hyacinthin Locks

Round from his parted forelock manly hung

Clustring, but not beneath his shoulders broad:

Shee as a vail down to the slender waste

Her unadorned golden tresses wore

Dissheveld, but in wanton ringlets wav’d

As the Vine curles her tendrils, which impli’d

Subjection, but requir’d with gentle sway,

And by her yeilded, by him best receivd,

Yeilded with coy submission, modest pride,

And sweet reluctant amorous delay.

Nor those mysterious parts were then conceald,

Then was not guiltie shame, dishonest shame

Of natures works, honor dishonorable,

Sin-bred, how have ye troubl’d all mankind

With shews instead, meer shews of seeming pure,

And banisht from mans life his happiest life,

Simplicitie and spotless innocence.

So passd they naked on, nor shund the sight

Of God or Angel, for they thought no ill:

So hand in hand they passd, the lovliest pair

That ever since in loves imbraces met,

ADAM the goodliest man of men since borne

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 thir sweet Gardning labour then suffic’d

To recommend coole ZEPHYR, and made ease

More easie, wholsom thirst and appetite

More grateful, to thir Supper Fruits they fell,

Nectarine Fruits which the compliant boughes

Yeilded them, side-long as they sat recline

On the soft downie Bank damaskt with flours:

The savourie pulp they chew, and in the rinde

Still as they thirsted scoop the brimming stream;

Nor gentle purpose, nor endearing smiles

Wanted, nor youthful dalliance as beseems

Fair couple, linkt in happie nuptial League,

Alone as they. About them frisking playd

All Beasts of th’ Earth, since wilde, and of all chase

In Wood or Wilderness, Forrest or Den;

Sporting the Lion rampd, and in his paw

Dandl’d the Kid; Bears, Tygers, Ounces, Pards

Gambold before them, th’ unwieldy Elephant

To make them mirth us’d all his might, & wreathd

His Lithe Proboscis; close the Serpent sly

Insinuating, wove with Gordian twine

His breaded train, and of his fatal guile

Gave proof unheeded; others on the grass

Coucht, and now fild with pasture gazing sat,

Or Bedward ruminating: for the Sun

Declin’d was hasting now with prone carreer

To th’ Ocean Iles, and in th’ ascending Scale

Of Heav’n the Starrs that usher Evening rose:

When SATAN still in gaze, as first he stood,

Scarce thus at length faild speech recoverd sad.

    O Hell! what doe mine eyes with grief behold,

Into our room of bliss thus high advanc’t

Creatures of other mould, earth-born perhaps,

Not Spirits, yet to heav’nly Spirits bright

Little inferior; whom my thoughts pursue

With wonder, and could love, so lively shines

In them Divine resemblance, and such grace

The hand that formd them on thir shape hath pourd.

Ah gentle pair, yee 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;

Happie, but for so happie ill secur’d

Long to continue, and this high seat your Heav’n

Ill fenc’t for Heav’n to keep out such a foe

As now is enterd; yet no purpos’d foe

To you whom I could pittie thus forlorne

Though I unpittied: League with you I seek,

And mutual amitie so streight, 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 Makers work; he gave it me,

Which I as freely give; Hell shall unfould,

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 ofspring; if no better place,

Thank him who puts me loath to this revenge

On you who wrong me not for him who wrongd.

And should I at your harmless innocence

Melt, as I doe, yet public reason just,

Honour and Empire with revenge enlarg’d,

By conquering this new World, compels me now

To do what else though damnd I should abhorre.

    So spake the Fiend, and with necessitie,

The Tyrants plea, excus’d his devilish deeds.

Then from his loftie stand on that high Tree

Down he alights among the sportful Herd

Of those fourfooted kindes, himself now one,

Now other, as thir shape servd best his end

Neerer to view his prey, and unespi’d

To mark what of thir state he more might learn

By word or action markt: about them round

A Lion now he stalkes with fierie glare,

Then as a Tiger, who by chance hath spi’d

In some Purlieu two gentle Fawnes at play,

Strait couches close, then rising changes oft

His couchant watch, as one who chose his ground

Whence rushing he might surest seise them both

Grip’t in each paw: when ADAM first of men

To first of women EVE thus moving speech,

Turnd him all eare to heare new utterance flow.

    Sole partner and sole part of all these joyes,

Dearer thy self then all; needs must the Power

That made us, and for us this ample World

Be infinitly good, and of his good

As liberal and free as infinite,

That rais’d us from the dust and plac’t us here

In all this happiness, who at his hand

Have nothing merited, nor can performe

Aught whereof hee hath need, hee who requires

From us no other service then to keep

This one, this easie charge, of all the Trees

In Paradise that beare delicious fruit

So various, not to taste that onely Tree

Of knowledge, planted by the Tree of Life,

So neer grows Death to Life, what ere Death is,

Som dreadful thing no doubt; for well thou knowst

God hath pronounc’t it death to taste that Tree,

The only sign of our obedience left

Among so many signes of power and rule

Conferrd upon us, and Dominion giv’n

Over all other Creatures that possesse

Earth, Aire, and Sea. Then let us not think hard

One easie prohibition, who enjoy

Free leave so large to all things else, and choice

Unlimited of manifold delights:

But let us ever praise him, and extoll

His bountie, following our delightful task

To prune these growing Plants, & tend these Flours,

Which were it toilsom, yet with thee were sweet.

    To whom thus Eve repli’d. O thou for whom

And from whom I was formd flesh of thy flesh,

And without whom am to no end, my Guide

And Head, what thou hast said is just and right.

For wee to him indeed all praises owe,

And daily thanks, I chiefly who enjoy

So farr the happier Lot, enjoying thee

Preeminent by so much odds, while thou

Like consort to thy self canst no where find.

That day I oft remember, when from sleep

I first awak’t, and found my self repos’d

Under a shade on flours, much wondring where

And what I was, whence thither brought, and how.

Not distant far from thence a murmuring sound

Of waters issu’d from a Cave and spread

Into a liquid Plain, then stood unmov’d

Pure as th’ expanse of Heav’n; I thither went

With unexperienc’t thought, and laid me downe

On the green bank, to look into the cleer

Smooth Lake, that to me seemd another Skie.

As I bent down to look, just opposite,

A Shape within the watry gleam appeerd

Bending to look on me, I started back,

It started back, but pleasd I soon returnd,

Pleas’d it returnd as soon with answering looks

Of sympathie and love, there I had fixt

Mine eyes till now, and pin’d with vain desire,

Had not a voice thus warnd me, What thou seest,

What there thou seest fair Creature is thy self,

With thee it came and goes: but follow me,

And I will bring thee where no shadow staies

Thy coming, and thy soft imbraces, hee

Whose image thou art, him thou shall enjoy

Inseparablie thine, to him shalt beare

Multitudes like thy self, and thence be call’d

Mother of human Race: what could I doe,

But follow strait, invisibly thus led?

Till I espi’d thee, fair indeed and tall,

Under a Platan, yet methought less faire,

Less winning soft, less amiablie milde,

Then that smooth watry image; back I turnd,

Thou following cryd’st aloud, Return fair EVE,

Whom fli’st thou? whom thou fli’st, of him thou art,

His flesh, his bone; to give thee being I lent

Out of my side to thee, neerest 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

Seisd mine, I yeilded, and from that time see

How beauty is excelld by manly grace

And wisdom, which alone is truly fair.

    So spake our general Mother, and with eyes

Of conjugal attraction unreprov’d,

And meek surrender, half imbracing leand

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

Smil’d with superior Love, as JUPITER

On JUNO smiles, when he impregns the Clouds

That shed MAY Flowers; and press’d her Matron lip

With kisses pure: aside the Devil turnd

For envie, yet with jealous leer maligne

Ey’d them askance, and to himself thus plaind.

    Sight hateful, sight tormenting! thus these two

Imparadis’t in one anothers arms

The happier EDEN, shall enjoy thir 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 unfulfill’d with pain of longing pines;

Yet let me not forget what I have gain’d

From thir own mouths; all is not theirs it seems:

One fatal Tree there stands of Knowledge call’d,

Forbidden them to taste: Knowledge forbidd’n?

Suspicious, reasonless. Why should thir Lord

Envie them that? can it be sin to know,

Can it be death? and do they onely stand

By Ignorance, is that thir happie state,

The proof of thir obedience and thir faith?

O fair foundation laid whereon to build

Thir ruine! Hence I will excite thir minds

With more desire to know, and to reject

Envious commands, invented with designe

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 unspi’d;

A chance but chance may lead where I may meet

Some wandring Spirit of Heav’n, by Fountain side,

Or in thick shade retir’d, from him to draw

What further would be learnt. Live while ye may,

Yet happie pair; enjoy, till I return,

Short pleasures, for long woes are to succeed.

    When ADAM thus to EVE: Fair Consort, th’ hoursd

  Of night, and all things now retir’d 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 unimploid, and less need rest;

Man hath his daily work of body or mind

Appointed, which declares his Dignitie,

And the regard of Heav’n on all his waies;

While other Animals unactive range,

And of thir doings God takes no account.

Tomorrow ere fresh Morning streak the East

With first approach of light, we must be ris’n,

And at our pleasant labour, to reform

Yon flourie Arbors, yonder Allies green,

Our walks at noon, with branches overgrown,

That mock our scant manuring, and require

More hands then ours to lop thir wanton growth:

Those Blossoms also, and those dropping Gumms,

That lie bestrowne 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 perfet beauty adornd.

My Author and Disposer, what thou bidst

Unargu’d I obey; so God ordains,

God is thy Law, thou mine: to know no more

Is womans happiest knowledge and her praise.

With thee conversing I forget all time,

All seasons and thir 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 flour,

Glistring with dew; fragrant the fertil earth

After soft showers; and sweet the coming on

Of grateful Eevning milde, then silent Night

With this her solemn Bird and this fair Moon,

And these the Gemms of Heav’n, her starrie train:

But neither breath of Morn when she ascends

With charm of earliest Birds, nor rising Sun

On this delightful land, nor herb, fruit, floure,

Glistring with dew, nor fragrance after showers,

Nor grateful Evening mild, nor silent Night

With this her solemn Bird, nor walk by Moon,

Or glittering Starr-light without thee is sweet.

But wherfore all night long shine these, for whom

This glorious sight, when sleep hath shut all eyes?

    To whom our general Ancestor repli’d.

Daughter of God and Man, accomplisht EVE,

Those have thir course to finish, round the Earth,

By morrow Eevning, and from Land to Land

In order, though to Nations yet unborn,

Ministring light prepar’d, they set and rise;

Least total darkness should by Night regaine

Her old possession, and extinguish life

In Nature and all things, which these soft fires

Not only enlighten, but with kindly heate

Of various influence foment and warme,

Temper or nourish, or in part shed down

Thir stellar vertue on all kinds that grow

On Earth, made hereby apter to receive

Perfection from the Suns more potent Ray.

These then, though unbeheld in deep of night,

Shine not in vain, nor think, though men were none,

That heav’n 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 ceasless 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 thir great Creator: oft in bands

While they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk

With Heav’nly touch of instrumental sounds

In full harmonic number joind, thir songs

Divide the night, and lift our thoughts to Heaven.

    Thus talking hand in hand alone they pass’d

On to thir blissful Bower; it was a place

Chos’n by the sovran Planter, when he fram’d

All things to mans delightful use; the roofe

Of thickest covert was inwoven shade

Laurel and Mirtle, and what higher grew

Of firm and fragrant leaf; on either side

ACANTHUS, and each odorous bushie shrub

Fenc’d up the verdant wall; each beauteous flour,

IRIS all hues, Roses, and Gessamin

Rear’d high thir flourisht heads between, and wrought

Mosaic; underfoot the Violet,

Crocus, and Hyacinth with rich inlay

Broiderd the ground, more colour’d then with stone

Of costliest Emblem: other Creature here

Beast, Bird, Insect, or Worm durst enter none;

Such was thir awe of man. In shadier Bower

More sacred and sequesterd, though but feignd,

PAN or SILVANUS never slept, nor Nymph,

Nor FAUNUS haunted. Here in close recess

With Flowers, Garlands, and sweet-smelling Herbs

Espoused EVE deckt first her Nuptial Bed,

And heav’nly Quires the Hymenaean sung,

What day the genial Angel to our Sire

Brought her in naked beauty more adorn’d,

More lovely then PANDORA, whom the Gods

Endowd with all thir gifts, and O too like

In sad event, when to the unwiser Son

Of JAPHET brought by HERMES, she ensnar’d

Mankind with her faire looks, to be aveng’d

On him who had stole JOVES authentic fire.

    Thus at thir shadie Lodge arriv’d, both stood,

Both turnd, and under op’n Skie ador’d

The God that made both Skie, Air, Earth & Heav’n

Which they beheld, the Moons resplendent Globe

And starrie Pole: Thou also mad’st the Night,

Maker Omnipotent, and thou the Day,

Which we in our appointed work imployd

Have finisht happie in our mutual help

And mutual love, the Crown of all our bliss

Ordain’d by thee, and this delicious place

For us too large, where thy abundance wants

Partakers, and uncropt falls to the ground.

But thou hast promis’d from us two a Race

To fill the Earth, who shall with us extoll

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 thir inmost bower

Handed they went; and eas’d the putting off

These troublesom disguises which wee wear,

Strait side by side were laid, nor turnd I weene

ADAM from his fair Spouse, nor EVE the Rites

Mysterious of connubial Love refus’d:

Whatever Hypocrites austerely talk

Of puritie and place and innocence,

Defaming as impure what God declares

Pure, and commands to som, leaves free to all.

Our Maker bids increase, who bids abstain

But our Destroyer, foe to God and Man?

Haile wedded Love, mysterious Law, true source

Of human ofspring, sole proprietie,

In Paradise of all things common else.

By thee adulterous lust was driv’n from men

Among the bestial herds to raunge, by thee

Founded in Reason, Loyal, Just, and Pure,

Relations dear, and all the Charities

Of Father, Son, and Brother first were known.

Farr be it, that I should write thee sin or blame,

Or think thee unbefitting holiest place,

Perpetual Fountain of Domestic sweets,

Whose Bed is undefil’d and chast pronounc’t,

Present, or past, as Saints and Patriarchs us’d.

Here Love his golden shafts imploies, here lights

His constant Lamp, and waves his purple wings,

Reigns here and revels; not in the bought smile

Of Harlots, loveless, joyless, unindeard,

Casual fruition, nor in Court Amours

Mixt Dance, or wanton Mask, or Midnight Bal,

Or Serenate, which the starv’d Lover sings

To his proud fair, best quitted with disdain.

These lulld by Nightingales imbraceing slept,

And on thir naked limbs the flourie roof

Showrd Roses, which the Morn repair’d. Sleep on,

Blest pair; and O yet happiest if ye seek

No happier state, and know to know no more.




  Now Morn her rosie steps in th’ Eastern Clime

Advancing, sow’d the Earth with Orient Pearle,

When ADAM wak’t, so customd, for his sleep

Was Aerie light, from pure digestion bred,

And temperat vapors bland, which th’ only sound

Of leaves and fuming rills, AURORA’s fan,

Lightly dispers’d, and the shrill Matin Song

Of Birds on every bough; so much the more

His wonder was to find unwak’nd EVE

With Tresses discompos’d, and glowing Cheek,

As through unquiet rest: he on his side

Leaning half-rais’d, with looks of cordial Love

Hung over her enamour’d, and beheld

Beautie, which whether waking or asleep,

Shot forth peculiar Graces; then with voice

Milde, as when ZEPHYRUS on FLORA breathes,

Her hand soft touching, whisperd thus. Awake

My fairest, my espous’d, my latest found,

Heav’ns last best gift, my ever new delight,

Awake, the morning shines, and the fresh field

Calls us, we lose the prime, to mark how spring

Our tended Plants, how blows the Citron Grove,

What drops the Myrrhe, & what the balmie Reed,

How Nature paints her colours, how the Bee

Sits on the Bloom extracting liquid sweet.

    Such whispering wak’d her, but with startl’d eye

On ADAM, whom imbracing, thus she spake.

    O Sole in whom my thoughts find all repose,

My Glorie, my Perfection, glad I see

Thy face, and Morn return’d, for I this Night,

Such night till this I never pass’d, have dream’d,

If dream’d, not as I oft am wont, of thee,

Works of day pass’t, or morrows next designe,

But of offence and trouble, which my mind

Knew never till this irksom night; methought

Close at mine ear one call’d me forth to walk

With gentle voice, I thought it thine; it said,

Why sleepst thou EVE? now is the pleasant time,

The cool, the silent, save where silence yields

To the night-warbling Bird, that now awake

Tunes sweetest his love-labor’d song; now reignes

Full Orb’d the Moon, and with more pleasing light

Shadowie sets off the face of things; in vain,

If none regard; Heav’n wakes with all his eyes,

Whom to behold but thee, Natures desire,

In whose sight all things joy, with ravishment

Attracted by thy beauty still to gaze.

I rose as at thy call, but found thee not;

To find thee I directed then my walk;

And on, methought, alone I pass’d through ways

That brought me on a sudden to the Tree

Of interdicted Knowledge: fair it seem’d,

Much fairer to my Fancie then by day:

And as I wondring lookt, beside it stood

One shap’d & wing’d like one of those from Heav’n

By us oft seen; his dewie locks distill’d

Ambrosia; on that Tree he also gaz’d;

And O fair Plant, said he, with fruit surcharg’d,

Deigns none to ease thy load and taste thy sweet,

Nor God, nor Man; is Knowledge so despis’d?

Or envie, or what reserve forbids to taste?

Forbid who will, none shall from me withhold

Longer thy offerd good, why else set here?

This said he paus’d not, but with ventrous Arme

He pluckt, he tasted; mee damp horror chil’d

At such bold words voucht with a deed so bold:

But he thus overjoy’d, O Fruit Divine,

Sweet of thy self, but much more sweet thus cropt,

Forbidd’n here, it seems, as onely fit

For Gods, yet able to make Gods of Men:

And why not Gods of Men, since good, the more

Communicated, more abundant growes,

The Author not impair’d, but honourd more?

Here, happie Creature, fair Angelic EVE,

Partake thou also; happie though thou art,

Happier thou mayst be, worthier canst not be:

Taste this, and be henceforth among the Gods

Thy self a Goddess, not to Earth confind,

But somtimes in the Air, as wee, somtimes

Ascend to Heav’n, by merit thine, and see

What life the Gods live there, and such live thou.

So saying, he drew nigh, and to me held,

Even to my mouth of that same fruit held part

Which he had pluckt; the pleasant savourie smell

So quick’nd appetite, that I, methought,

Could not but taste. Forthwith up to the Clouds

With him I flew, and underneath beheld

The Earth outstretcht immense, a prospect wide

And various: wondring at my flight and change

To this high exaltation; suddenly

My Guide was gon, and I, me thought, sunk down,

And fell asleep; but O how glad I wak’d

To find this but a dream! Thus EVE her Night

Related, and thus ADAM answerd sad.

    Best Image of my self and dearer half,

The trouble of thy thoughts this night in sleep

Affects me equally; nor can I like

This uncouth dream, of evil sprung I fear;

Yet evil whence? in thee can harbour none,

Created pure. But know that in the Soule

Are many lesser Faculties that serve

Reason as chief; among these Fansie next

Her office holds; of all external things,

Which the five watchful Senses represent,

She forms Imaginations, Aerie shapes,

Which Reason joyning or disjoyning, frames

All what we affirm or what deny, and call

Our knowledge or opinion; then retires

Into her private Cell when Nature rests.

Oft in her absence mimic Fansie wakes

To imitate her; but misjoyning shapes,

Wilde work produces oft, and most in dreams,

Ill matching words and deeds long past or late.

Som such resemblances methinks I find

Of our last Eevnings talk, in this thy dream,

But with addition strange; yet be not sad.

Evil into the mind of God or Man

May come and go, so unapprov’d, and leave

No spot or blame behind: Which gives me hope

That what in sleep thou didst abhorr to dream,

Waking thou never wilt consent to do.

Be not disheart’nd then, nor cloud those looks

That wont to be more chearful and serene

Then when fair Morning first smiles on the World,

And let us to our fresh imployments rise

Among the Groves, the Fountains, and the Flours

That open now thir choicest bosom’d smells

Reservd from night, and kept for thee in store.

    So cheard he his fair Spouse, and she was cheard,

But silently a gentle tear let fall

From either eye, and wip’d them with her haire;

Two other precious drops that ready stood,

Each in thir chrystal sluce, hee ere they fell

Kiss’d as the gracious signs of sweet remorse

And pious awe, that feard to have offended.

  Neerer his presence ADAM though not awd,

  Yet with submiss approach and reverence meek,

As to a superior Nature, bowing low,

    Thus said. Native of Heav’n, for other place

None can then Heav’n such glorious shape contain;

Since by descending from the Thrones above,

Those happie places thou hast deignd a while

To want, and honour these, voutsafe with us

Two onely, who yet by sov’ran gift possess

This spacious ground, in yonder shadie Bowre

To rest, and what the Garden choicest bears

To sit and taste, till this meridian heat

Be over, and the Sun more coole decline.

    Whom thus the Angelic Vertue answerd milde.

ADAM, I therefore came, nor art thou such

Created, or such place hast here to dwell,

As may not oft invite, though Spirits of Heav’n

To visit thee; lead on then where thy Bowre

Oreshades; for these mid-hours, till Eevning rise

I have at will. So to the Silvan Lodge

They came, that like POMONA’S Arbour smil’d

With flourets deck’t and fragrant smells; but EVE

Undeckt, save with her self more lovely fair

Then Wood-Nymph, or the fairest Goddess feign’d

Of three that in Mount IDA naked strove,

Stood to entertain her guest from Heav’n; no vaile

Shee needed, Vertue-proof, no thought infirme

Alterd her cheek. On whom the Angel HAILE

Bestowd, the holy salutation us’d

Long after to blest MARIE, second EVE.

    Haile Mother of Mankind, whose fruitful Womb

Shall fill the World more numerous with thy Sons

Then with these various fruits the Trees of God

Have heap’d this Table. Rais’d of grassie terf

Thir Table was, and mossie seats had round,

And on her ample Square from side to side

All AUTUMN pil’d, though SPRING and AUTUMN here

Danc’d hand in hand. A while discourse they hold;

No fear lest Dinner coole; when thus began

Our Authour. Heav’nly stranger, please to taste

These bounties which our Nourisher, from whom

All perfet good unmeasur’d out, descends,

To us for food and for delight hath caus’d

The Earth to yeild; unsavourie food perhaps

To spiritual Natures; only this I know,

That one Celestial Father gives to all.

    To whom the Angel. Therefore what he gives

(Whose praise be ever sung) to man in part

Spiritual, may of purest Spirits be found

No ingrateful food: and food alike those pure

Intelligential substances require

As doth your Rational; and both contain

Within them every lower facultie

Of sense, whereby they hear, see, smell, touch, taste,

Tasting concoct, digest, assimilate,

And corporeal to incorporeal turn.

For know, whatever was created, needs

To be sustaind and fed; of Elements

The grosser feeds the purer, earth the sea,

Earth and the Sea feed Air, the Air those Fires

Ethereal, and as lowest first the Moon;

Whence in her visage round those spots, unpurg’d

Vapours not yet into her substance turnd.

Nor doth the Moon no nourishment exhale

From her moist Continent to higher Orbes.

The Sun that light imparts to all, receives

From all his alimental recompence

In humid exhalations, and at Even

Sups with the Ocean: though in Heav’n the Trees

Of life ambrosial frutage bear, and vines

Yeild Nectar, though from off the boughs each Morn

We brush mellifluous Dewes, and find the ground

Cover’d with pearly grain: yet God hath here

Varied his bounty so with new delights,

As may compare with Heaven; and to taste

Think not I shall be nice. So down they sat,

And to thir viands fell, nor seemingly

The Angel, nor in mist, the common gloss

Of Theologians, but with keen dispatch

Of real hunger, and concoctive heate

To transubstantiate; what redounds, transpires

Through Spirits with ease; nor wonder; if by fire

Of sooty coal the Empiric Alchimist

Can turn, or holds it possible to turn

Metals of drossiest Ore to perfet Gold

As from the Mine. Mean while at Table EVE

Ministerd naked, and thir flowing cups

With pleasant liquors crown’d: O innocence

Deserving Paradise! if ever, then,

Then had the Sons of God excuse to have bin

Enamour’d at that sight; but in those hearts

Love unlibidinous reign’d, nor jealousie

Was understood, the injur’d Lovers Hell.

    Thus when with meats & drinks they had suffic’d,

Not burd’nd Nature, sudden mind arose

In ADAM, not to let th’ occasion pass

Given him by this great Conference to know

Of things above his World, and of thir being

Who dwell in Heav’n, whose excellence he saw

Transcend his own so farr, whose radiant forms

Divine effulgence, whose high Power so far

Exceeded human, and his wary speech

Thus to th’ Empyreal Minister he fram’d.

    Inhabitant with God, now know I well

Thy favour, in this honour done to man,

Under whose lowly roof thou hast voutsaf’t

To enter, and these earthly fruits to taste,

Food not of Angels, yet accepted so,

As that more willingly thou couldst not seem

At Heav’ns high feasts to have fed: yet what compare?

     To whom the winged Hierarch repli’d.

O ADAM, one Almightie is, from whom

All things proceed, and up to him return,

If not deprav’d from good, created all

Such to perfection, one first matter all,

Indu’d with various forms, various degrees

Of substance, and in things that live, of life;

But more refin’d, more spiritous, and pure,

As neerer to him plac’t or neerer tending

Each in thir several active Sphears assignd,

Till body up to spirit work, in bounds

Proportiond to each kind. So from the root

Springs lighter the green stalk, from thence the leaves

More aerie, last the bright consummate floure

Spirits odorous breathes: flours and thir fruit

Mans nourishment, by gradual scale sublim’d

To vital Spirits aspire, to animal,

To intellectual, give both life and sense,

Fansie and understanding, whence the soule

Reason receives, and reason is her being,

Discursive, or Intuitive; discourse

Is oftest yours, the latter most is ours,

Differing but in degree, of kind the same.

Wonder not then, what God for you saw good

If I refuse not, but convert, as you,

To proper substance; time may come when men

With Angels may participate, and find

No inconvenient Diet, nor too light Fare:

And from these corporal nutriments perhaps

Your bodies may at last turn all to Spirit

Improv’d by tract of time, and wingd ascend

Ethereal, as wee, or may at choice

Here or in Heav’nly Paradises dwell;

If ye be found obedient, and retain

Unalterably firm his love entire

Whose progenie you are. Mean while enjoy

Your fill what happiness this happie state

Can comprehend, incapable of more.

    To whom the Patriarch of mankind repli’d.

O favourable spirit, propitious guest,

Well hast thou taught the way that might direct

Our knowledge, and the scale of Nature set

From center to circumference, whereon

In contemplation of created things

By steps we may ascend to God. But say,

What meant that caution joind, IF YE BE FOUND

OBEDIENT? can wee want obedience then

To him, or possibly his love desert

Who formd us from the dust, and plac’d us here

Full to the utmost measure of what bliss

Human desires can seek or apprehend?

    To whom the Angel. Son of Heav’n and Earth,

Attend: That thou art happie, owe to God;

That thou continu’st such, owe to thy self,

That is, to thy obedience; therein stand.

This was that caution giv’n thee; be advis’d.

God made thee perfet, not immutable;

And good he made thee, but to persevere

He left it in thy power, ordaind thy will

By nature free, not over-rul’d by Fate

Inextricable, or strict necessity;

Our voluntarie service he requires,

Not our necessitated, such with him

Findes no acceptance, nor can find, for how

Can hearts, not free, be tri’d whether they serve

Willing or no, who will but what they must

By Destinie, and can no other choose?

My self and all th’ Angelic Host that stand

In sight of God enthron’d, our happie state

Hold, as you yours, while our obedience holds;

On other surety none; freely we serve.

Because wee freely love, as in our will

To love or not; in this we stand or fall:

And som are fall’n, to disobedience fall’n,

And so from Heav’n to deepest Hell; O fall

From what high state of bliss into what woe!





Raphael continues to relate how Michael and Gabriel were sent forth to battel against Satan and his Angels. The first Fight describ’d: Satan and his Powers retire under Night: He calls a Councel, invents devilish Engines, which in the second dayes Fight put Michael and his Angels to some disorder; But, they at length pulling up Mountains overwhelm’d both the force and Machins of Satan: Yet the Tumult not so ending, God on the third day sends Messiah his Son, for whom he had reserv’d the glory of that Victory: Hee in the Power of his Father coming to the place, and causing all his Legions to stand still on either side, with his Chariot and Thunder driving into the midst of his Enemies, pursues them unable to resist towards the wall of Heaven; which opening, they leap down with horrour and confusion into the place of punishment prepar’d for them in the Deep: Messiah returns with triumph to his Father.

End of Book VI.



  Descend from Heav’n URANIA, by that name

If rightly thou art call’d, whose Voice divine

Following, above th’ OLYMPIAN Hill I soare,

Above the flight of PEGASEAN wing.

The meaning, not the Name I call: for thou

Nor of the Muses nine, nor on the top

Of old OLYMPUS dwell’st, but Heav’nlie borne,

Before the Hills appeerd, or Fountain flow’d,

Thou with Eternal wisdom didst converse,

Wisdom thy Sister, and with her didst play

In presence of th’ Almightie Father, pleas’d

With thy Celestial Song. Up led by thee

Into the Heav’n of Heav’ns I have presum’d,

An Earthlie Guest, and drawn Empyreal Aire,

Thy tempring; with like safetie guided down

Return me to my Native Element:

Least from this flying Steed unrein’d, (as once

BELLEROPHON, though from a lower Clime)

Dismounted, on th’ ALEIAN Field I fall

Erroneous, there to wander and forlorne.

Half yet remaines unsung, but narrower bound

Within the visible Diurnal Spheare;

Standing on Earth, not rapt above the Pole,

More safe I Sing with mortal voice, unchang’d

To hoarce or mute, though fall’n on evil dayes,

On evil dayes though fall’n, and evil tongues;

In darkness, and with dangers compast rouud,

And solitude; yet not alone, while thou

Visit’st my slumbers Nightly, or when Morn

Purples the East: still govern thou my Song,

URANIA, and fit audience find, though few.

But drive farr off the barbarous dissonance

Of BACCHUS and his Revellers, the Race

Of that wilde Rout that tore the THRACIAN Bard

In RHODOPE, where Woods and Rocks had Eares

To rapture, till the savage clamor dround

Both Harp and Voice; nor could the Muse defend

Her Son. So fail not thou, who thee implores:

For thou art Heav’nlie, shee an empty dreame.

    Say Goddess, what ensu’d when RAPHAEL,

The affable Arch-angel, had forewarn’d

ADAM by dire example to beware

Apostasie, by what befell in Heaven

To those Apostates, least the like befall

In Paradise to ADAM or his Race,

Charg’d not to touch the interdicted Tree,

If they transgress, and slight that sole command,

So easily obeyd amid the choice

Of all tasts else to please thir appetite,

Though wandring. He with his consorted EVE

The storie heard attentive, and was fill’d

With admiration, and deep Muse to heare

Of things so high and strange, things to thir thought

So unimaginable as hate in Heav’n,

And Warr so neer the Peace of God in bliss

With such confusion: but the evil soon

Driv’n back redounded as a flood on those

From whom it sprung, impossible to mix

With Blessedness. Whence ADAM soon repeal’d

The doubts that in his heart arose: and now

Led on, yet sinless, with desire to know

What neerer might concern him, how this World

Of Heav’n and Earth conspicuous first began,

When, and whereof created, for what cause,

What within EDEN or without was done

Before his memorie, as one whose drouth

Yet scarce allay’d still eyes the current streame,

Whose liquid murmur heard new thirst excites,

Proceeded thus to ask his Heav’nly Guest.




Pleased with thy words no less than thou with mine.

So spake the Godlike Power, and thus our Sire.

For Man to tell how human life began

Is hard; for who himself beginning knew

Desire with thee still longer to converse

Induced me. As new waked from soundest sleep,

Soft on the flowery herb I found me laid,

In balmy sweat; which with his beams the sun

Soon dried, and on the reeking moisture fed.

Straight toward Heaven my wondering eyes I turned,

And gazed a while the ample sky; till, raised

By quick instinctive motion, up I sprung,

As thitherward endeavouring, and upright

Stood on my feet: about me round I saw

Hill, dale, and shady woods, and sunny plains,

And liquid lapse of murmuring streams; by these,

Creatures that lived and moved, and walked, or flew;

Birds on the branches warbling; all things smiled;

With fragrance and with joy my heart o’erflowed.

Myself I then perused, and limb by limb

Surveyed, and sometimes went, and sometimes ran

With supple joints, as lively vigour led:

But who I was, or where, or from what cause,

Knew not; to speak I tried, and forthwith spake;

My tongue obeyed, and readily could name

Whate’er I saw. Thou Sun, said I, fair light,

And thou enlightened Earth, so fresh and gay,

Ye Hills, and Dales, ye Rivers, Woods, and Plains,

And ye that live and move, fair Creatures, tell,

Tell, if ye saw, how I came thus, how here?--

Not of myself;--by some great Maker then,

In goodness and in power pre-eminent:

Tell me, how may I know him, how adore,

From whom I have that thus I move and live,

And feel that I am happier than I know.--

While thus I called, and strayed I knew not whither,

From where I first drew air, and first beheld

This happy light; when, answer none returned,

On a green shady bank, profuse of flowers,

Pensive I sat me down: There gentle sleep

First found me, and with soft oppression seised

My droused sense, untroubled, though I thought

I then was passing to my former state

Insensible, and forthwith to dissolve:

When suddenly stood at my head a dream,

Whose inward apparition gently moved

My fancy to believe I yet had being,

And lived: One came, methought, of shape divine,

And said, ’Thy mansion wants thee, Adam; rise,

’First Man, of men innumerable ordained

’First Father! called by thee, I come thy guide

’To the garden of bliss, thy seat prepared.’

So saying, by the hand he took me raised,

And over fields and waters, as in air

Smooth-sliding without step, last led me up

A woody mountain; whose high top was plain,

A circuit wide, enclosed, with goodliest trees

Planted, with walks, and bowers; that what I saw

Of Earth before scarce pleasant seemed. Each tree,

Loaden with fairest fruit that hung to the eye

Tempting, stirred in me sudden appetite

To pluck and eat; whereat I waked, and found

Before mine eyes all real, as the dream

Had lively shadowed: Here had new begun

My wandering, had not he, who was my guide

Up hither, from among the trees appeared,

Presence Divine. Rejoicing, but with awe,

In adoration at his feet I fell

Submiss: He reared me, and ’Whom thou soughtest I am,’

Said mildly, ’Author of all this thou seest

’Above, or round about thee, or beneath.

’This Paradise I give thee, count it thine

’To till and keep, and of the fruit to eat:

’Of every tree that in the garden grows

’Eat freely with glad heart; fear here no dearth:

’But of the tree whose operation brings

’Knowledge of good and ill, which I have set

’The pledge of thy obedience and thy faith,

’Amid the garden by the tree of life,

’Remember what I warn thee, shun to taste,

’And shun the bitter consequence: for know,

’The day thou eatest thereof, my sole command

’Transgressed, inevitably thou shalt die,

’From that day mortal; and this happy state

’Shalt lose, expelled from hence into a world

’Of woe and sorrow.’ Sternly he pronounced

The rigid interdiction, which resounds

Yet dreadful in mine ear, though in my choice

Not to incur; but soon his clear aspect

Returned, and gracious purpose thus renewed.

’Not only these fair bounds, but all the Earth

’To thee and to thy race I give; as lords

’Possess it, and all things that therein live,

’Or live in sea, or air; beast, fish, and fowl.

’In sign whereof, each bird and beast behold

’After their kinds; I bring them to receive

’From thee their names, and pay thee fealty

’With low subjection; understand the same

’Of fish within their watery residence,

’Not hither summoned, since they cannot change

’Their element, to draw the thinner air.’

As thus he spake, each bird and beast behold

Approaching two and two; these cowering low

With blandishment; each bird stooped on his wing.

I named them, as they passed, and understood

Their nature, with such knowledge God endued

My sudden apprehension: But in these

I found not what methought I wanted still;

And to the heavenly Vision thus presumed.

O, by what name, for thou above all these,

Above mankind, or aught than mankind higher,

Surpassest far my naming; how may I

Adore thee, Author of this universe,

And all this good to man? for whose well being

So amply, and with hands so liberal,

Thou hast provided all things: But with me

I see not who partakes. In solitude

What happiness, who can enjoy alone,

Or, all enjoying, what contentment find?

Thus I presumptuous; and the Vision bright,

As with a smile more brightened, thus replied.

What callest thou solitude? Is not the Earth

With various living creatures, and the air

Replenished, and all these at thy command

To come and play before thee? Knowest thou not

Their language and their ways? They also know,

And reason not contemptibly: With these

Find pastime, and bear rule; thy realm is large.

So spake the Universal Lord, and seemed

So ordering: I, with leave of speech implored,

And humble deprecation, thus replied.

Let not my words offend thee, Heavenly Power;

My Maker, be propitious while I speak.

Hast thou not made me here thy substitute,

And these inferiour far beneath me set?

Among unequals what society

Can sort, what harmony, or true delight?

Which must be mutual, in proportion due

Given and received; but, in disparity

The one intense, the other still remiss,

Cannot well suit with either, but soon prove

Tedious alike: Of fellowship I speak

Such as I seek, fit to participate

All rational delight: wherein the brute

Cannot be human consort: They rejoice

Each with their kind, lion with lioness;

So fitly them in pairs thou hast combined:

Much less can bird with beast, or fish with fowl

So well converse, nor with the ox the ape;

Worse then can man with beast, and least of all.

Whereto the Almighty answered, not displeased.

A nice and subtle happiness, I see,

Thou to thyself proposest, in the choice

Of thy associates, Adam! and wilt taste

No pleasure, though in pleasure, solitary.

What thinkest thou then of me, and this my state?

Seem I to thee sufficiently possessed

Of happiness, or not? who am alone

From all eternity; for none I know

Second to me or like, equal much less.

How have I then with whom to hold converse,

Save with the creatures which I made, and those

To me inferiour, infinite descents

Beneath what other creatures are to thee?

He ceased; I lowly answered. To attain

The highth and depth of thy eternal ways

All human thoughts come short, Supreme of things!

Thou in thyself art perfect, and in thee

Is no deficience found: Not so is Man,

But in degree; the cause of his desire

By conversation with his like to help

Or solace his defects. No need that thou

Shouldst propagate, already Infinite;

And through all numbers absolute, though One:

But Man by number is to manifest

His single imperfection, and beget

Like of his like, his image multiplied,

In unity defective; which requires

Collateral love, and dearest amity.

Thou in thy secresy although alone,

Best with thyself accompanied, seekest not

Social communication; yet, so pleased,

Canst raise thy creature to what highth thou wilt

Of union or communion, deified:

I, by conversing, cannot these erect

From prone; nor in their ways complacence find.

Thus I emboldened spake, and freedom used

Permissive, and acceptance found; which gained

This answer from the gracious Voice Divine.

Thus far to try thee, Adam, I was pleased;

And find thee knowing, not of beasts alone,

Which thou hast rightly named, but of thyself;

Expressing well the spirit within thee free,

My image, not imparted to the brute;

Whose fellowship therefore unmeet for thee

Good reason was thou freely shouldst dislike;

And be so minded still: I, ere thou spakest,

Knew it not good for Man to be alone;

And no such company as then thou sawest

Intended thee; for trial only brought,

To see how thou couldest judge of fit and meet:

What next I bring shall please thee, be assured,

Thy likeness, thy fit help, thy other self,

Thy wish exactly to thy heart’s desire.

He ended, or I heard no more; for now

My earthly by his heavenly overpowered,

Which it had long stood under, strained to the highth

In that celestial colloquy sublime,

As with an object that excels the sense

Dazzled and spent, sunk down; and sought repair

Of sleep, which instantly fell on me, called

By Nature as in aid, and closed mine eyes.

Mine eyes he closed, but open left the cell

Of fancy, my internal sight; by which,

Abstract as in a trance, methought I saw,

Though sleeping, where I lay, and saw the shape

Still glorious before whom awake I stood:

Who stooping opened my left side, and took

From thence a rib, with cordial spirits warm,

And life-blood streaming fresh; wide was the wound,

But suddenly with flesh filled up and healed:

The rib he formed and fashioned with his hands;

Under his forming hands a creature grew,

Man-like, but different sex; so lovely fair,

That what seemed fair in all the world, seemed now

Mean, or in her summed up, in her contained

And in her looks; which from that time infused

Sweetness into my heart, unfelt before,

And into all things from her air inspired

The spirit of love and amorous delight.

She disappeared, and left me dark; I waked

To find her, or for ever to deplore

Her loss, and other pleasures all abjure:

When out of hope, behold her, not far off,

Such as I saw her in my dream, adorned

With what all Earth or Heaven could bestow

To make her amiable: On she came,

Led by her heavenly Maker, though unseen,

And guided by his voice; nor uninformed

Of nuptial sanctity, and marriage rites:

Grace was in all her steps, Heaven in her eye,

In every gesture dignity and love.

I, overjoyed, could not forbear aloud.

This turn hath made amends; thou hast fulfilled

Thy words, Creator bounteous and benign,

Giver of all things fair! but fairest this

Of all thy gifts! nor enviest. I now see

Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, myself

Before me: Woman is her name;of Man

Extracted: for this cause he shall forego

Father and mother, and to his wife adhere;

And they shall be one flesh, one heart, one soul.

She heard me thus; and though divinely brought,

Yet innocence, and virgin modesty,

Her virtue, and the conscience of her worth,

That would be wooed, and not unsought be won,

Not obvious, not obtrusive, but, retired,

The more desirable; or, to say all,

Nature herself, though pure of sinful thought,

Wrought in her so, that, seeing me, she turned:

I followed her; she what was honour knew,

And with obsequious majesty approved

My pleaded reason. To the nuptial bower

I led her blushing like the morn: All Heaven,

And happy constellations, on that hour

Shed their selectest influence; the Earth

Gave sign of gratulation, and each hill;

Joyous the birds; fresh gales and gentle airs

Whispered it to the woods, and from their wings

Flung rose, flung odours from the spicy shrub,

Disporting, till the amorous bird of night

Sung spousal, and bid haste the evening-star

On his hill top, to light the bridal lamp.

End of Book X

Paradise Lost

Book IX

No more of talk where God or Angel guest

With Man, as with his friend, familiar us’d,

To sit indulgent, and with him partake

Rural repast; permitting him the while

Venial discourse unblam’d. I now must change

Those notes to tragick; foul distrust, and breach

Disloyal on the part of Man, revolt,

And disobedience: on the part of Heaven

Now alienated, distance and distaste,

Anger and just rebuke, and judgement given,

That brought into this world a world of woe,

Sin and her shadow Death, and Misery

Death’s harbinger: Sad talk!yet argument

Not less but more heroick than the wrath

Of stern Achilles on his foe pursued

Thrice fugitive about Troy wall; or rage

Of Turnus for Lavinia disespous’d;

Or Neptune’s ire, or Juno’s, that so long

Perplexed the Greek, and Cytherea’s son:

If answerable style I can obtain

Of my celestial patroness, who deigns

Her nightly visitation unimplor’d,

And dictates to me slumbering; or inspires

Easy my unpremeditated verse:

Since first this subject for heroick song

Pleas’d me long choosing, and beginning late;

Not sedulous by nature to indite

Wars, hitherto the only argument

Heroick deem’d chief mastery to dissect

With long and tedious havock fabled knights

In battles feign’d; the better fortitude

Of patience and heroick martyrdom

Unsung; or to describe races and games,

Or tilting furniture, imblazon’d shields,

Impresses quaint, caparisons and steeds,

Bases and tinsel trappings, gorgeous knights

At joust and tournament; then marshall’d feast

Serv’d up in hall with sewers and seneshals;

The skill of artifice or office mean,

Not that which justly gives heroick name

To person, or to poem. Me, of these

Nor skill’d nor studious, higher argument

Remains; sufficient of itself to raise

That name, unless an age too late, or cold

Climate, or years, damp my intended wing

Depress’d; and much they may, if all be mine,

Not hers, who brings it nightly to my ear.

The sun was sunk, and after him the star

Of Hesperus, whose office is to bring

Twilight upon the earth, short arbiter

"twixt day and night, and now from end to end

Night’s hemisphere had veil’d the horizon round:

When satan, who late fled before the threats

Of Gabriel out of Eden, now improv’d

In meditated fraud and malice, bent

On Man’s destruction, maugre what might hap

Of heavier on himself, fearless returned

From compassing the earth; cautious of day,

Since Uriel, regent of the sun, descried

His entrance, and foreworned the Cherubim

That kept their watch; thence full of anguish driven,

The space of seven continued nights he rode

With darkness; thrice the equinoctial line

He circled; four times crossed the car of night

From pole to pole, traversing each colure;

On the eighth returned; and, on the coast averse

From entrance or Cherubick watch, by stealth

Found unsuspected way. There was a place,

Now not, though sin, not time, first wrought the change,

Where Tigris, at the foot of Paradise,

Into a gulf shot under ground, till part

Rose up a fountain by the tree of life:

In with the river sunk, and with it rose

Satan, involved in rising mist; then sought

Where to lie hid; sea he had searched, and land,

From Eden over Pontus and the pool

Maeotis, up beyond the river Ob;

Downward as far antarctick; and in length,

West from Orontes to the ocean barred

At Darien ; thence to the land where flows

Ganges and Indus: Thus the orb he roamed

With narrow search; and with inspection deep

Considered every creature, which of all

Most opportune might serve his wiles; and found

The Serpent subtlest beast of all the field.

Him after long debate, irresolute

Of thoughts revolved, his final sentence chose

Fit vessel, fittest imp of fraud, in whom

To enter, and his dark suggestions hide

From sharpest sight: for, in the wily snake

Whatever sleights, none would suspicious mark,

As from his wit and native subtlety

Proceeding; which, in other beasts observed,

Doubt might beget of diabolick power

Active within, beyond the sense of brute.

Thus he resolved, but first from inward grief

His bursting passion into plaints thus poured.

More justly, seat worthier of Gods, as built

With second thoughts, reforming what was old!

O Earth, how like to Heaven, if not preferred

For what God, after better, worse would build?

Terrestrial Heaven, danced round by other Heavens

That shine, yet bear their bright officious lamps,

Light above light, for thee alone, as seems,

In thee concentring all their precious beams

Of sacred influence! As God in Heaven

Is center, yet extends to all; so thou,

Centring, receivest from all those orbs: in thee,

Not in themselves, all their known virtue appears

Productive in herb, plant, and nobler birth

Of creatures animate with gradual life

Of growth, sense, reason, all summed up in Man.

With what delight could I have walked thee round,

If I could joy in aught, sweet interchange

Of hill, and valley, rivers, woods, and plains,

Now land, now sea and shores with forest crowned,

Rocks, dens, and caves! But I in none of these

Find place or refuge; and the more I see

Pleasures about me, so much more I feel

Torment within me, as from the hateful siege

Of contraries: all good to me becomes

Bane, and in Heaven much worse would be my state.

But neither here seek I, no nor in Heaven

To dwell, unless by mastering Heaven’s Supreme;

Nor hope to be myself less miserable

By what I seek, but others to make such

As I, though thereby worse to me redound:

For only in destroying I find ease

To my relentless thoughts; and, him destroyed,

Or won to what may work his utter loss,

For whom all this was made, all this will soon

Follow, as to him linked in weal or woe;

In woe then; that destruction wide may range:

To me shall be the glory sole among

The infernal Powers, in one day to have marred

What he, Almighty styled, six nights and days

Continued making; and who knows how long

Before had been contriving? though perhaps

Not longer than since I, in one night, freed

From servitude inglorious well nigh half

The angelick name, and thinner left the throng

Of his adorers: He, to be avenged,

And to repair his numbers thus impaired,

Whether such virtue spent of old now failed

More Angels to create, if they at least

Are his created, or, to spite us more,

Determined to advance into our room

A creature formed of earth, and him endow,

Exalted from so base original,

With heavenly spoils, our spoils: What he decreed,

He effected; Man he made, and for him built

Magnificent this world, and earth his seat,

Him lord pronounced; and, O indignity!

Subjected to his service angel-wings,

And flaming ministers to watch and tend

Their earthly charge: Of these the vigilance

I dread; and, to elude, thus wrapt in mist

Of midnight vapour glide obscure, and pry

In every bush and brake, where hap may find

The serpent sleeping; in whose mazy folds

To hide me, and the dark intent I bring.

O foul descent! that I, who erst contended

With Gods to sit the highest, am now constrained

Into a beast; and, mixed with bestial slime,

This essence to incarnate and imbrute,

That to the highth of Deity aspired!

But what will not ambition and revenge

Descend to? Who aspires, must down as low

As high he soared; obnoxious, first or last,

To basest things. Revenge, at first though sweet,

Bitter ere long, back on itself recoils:

Let it; I reck not, so it light well aimed,

Since higher I fall short, on him who next

Provokes my envy, this new favourite

Of Heaven, this man of clay, son of despite,

Whom, us the more to spite, his Maker raised

From dust: Spite then with spite is best repaid.

So saying, through each thicket dank or dry,

Like a black mist low-creeping, he held on

His midnight-search, where soonest he might find

The serpent; him fast-sleeping soon he found

In labyrinth of many a round self-rolled,

His head the midst, well stored with subtile wiles:

Not yet in horrid shade or dismal den,

Nor nocent yet; but, on the grassy herb,

Fearless unfeared he slept: in at his mouth

The Devil entered; and his brutal sense,

In heart or head, possessing, soon inspired

With act intelligential; but his sleep

Disturbed not, waiting close the approach of morn.

Now, when as sacred light began to dawn

In Eden on the humid flowers, that breathed

Their morning incense, when all things, that breathe,

From the Earth’s great altar send up silent praise

To the Creator, and his nostrils fill

With grateful smell, forth came the human pair,

And joined their vocal worship to the quire

Of creatures wanting voice; that done, partake

The season prime for sweetest scents and airs:

Then commune, how that day they best may ply

Their growing work: for much their work out-grew

The hands’ dispatch of two gardening so wide,

And Eve first to her husband thus began.

Adam, well may we labour still to dress

This garden, still to tend plant, herb, and flower,

Our pleasant task enjoined; but, till more hands

Aid us, the work under our labour grows,

Luxurious by restraint; what we by day

Lop overgrown, or prune, or prop, or bind,

One night or two with wanton growth derides

Tending to wild. Thou therefore now advise,

Or bear what to my mind first thoughts present:

Let us divide our labours; thou, where choice

Leads thee, or where most needs, whether to wind

The woodbine round this arbour, or direct

The clasping ivy where to climb; while I,

In yonder spring of roses intermixed

With myrtle, find what to redress till noon:

For, while so near each other thus all day

Our task we choose, what wonder if so near

Looks intervene and smiles, or object new

Casual discourse draw on; which intermits

Our day’s work, brought to little, though begun

Early, and the hour of supper comes unearned?

To whom mild answer Adam thus returned.

Sole Eve, associate sole, to me beyond

Compare above all living creatures dear!

Well hast thou motioned, well thy thoughts employed,

How we might best fulfil the work which here

God hath assigned us; nor of me shalt pass

Unpraised: for nothing lovelier can be found

In woman, than to study houshold good,

And good works in her husband to promote.

Yet not so strictly hath our Lord imposed

Labour, as to debar us when we need

Refreshment, whether food, or talk between,

Food of the mind, or this sweet intercourse

Of looks and smiles; for smiles from reason flow,

To brute denied, and are of love the food;

Love, not the lowest end of human life.

For not to irksome toil, but to delight,

He made us, and delight to reason joined.

These paths and bowers doubt not but our joint hands

Will keep from wilderness with ease, as wide

As we need walk, till younger hands ere long

Assist us; But, if much converse perhaps

Thee satiate, to short absence I could yield:

For solitude sometimes is best society,

And short retirement urges sweet return.

But other doubt possesses me, lest harm

Befall thee severed from me; for thou knowest

What hath been warned us, what malicious foe

Envying our happiness, and of his own

Despairing, seeks to work us woe and shame

By sly assault; and somewhere nigh at hand

Watches, no doubt, with greedy hope to find

His wish and best advantage, us asunder;

Hopeless to circumvent us joined, where each

To other speedy aid might lend at need:

Whether his first design be to withdraw

Our fealty from God, or to disturb

Conjugal love, than which perhaps no bliss

Enjoyed by us excites his envy more;

Or this, or worse, leave not the faithful side

That gave thee being, still shades thee, and protects.

The wife, where danger or dishonour lurks,

Safest and seemliest by her husband stays,

Who guards her, or with her the worst endures.

To whom the virgin majesty of Eve,

As one who loves, and some unkindness meets,

With sweet austere composure thus replied.

Offspring of Heaven and Earth, and all Earth’s Lord!

That such an enemy we have, who seeks

Our ruin, both by thee informed I learn,

And from the parting Angel over-heard,

As in a shady nook I stood behind,

Just then returned at shut of evening flowers.

But, that thou shouldst my firmness therefore doubt

To God or thee, because we have a foe

May tempt it, I expected not to hear.

His violence thou fearest not, being such

As we, not capable of death or pain,

Can either not receive, or can repel.

His fraud is then thy fear; which plain infers

Thy equal fear, that my firm faith and love

Can by his fraud be shaken or seduced;

Thoughts, which how found they harbour in thy breast,

Adam, mis-thought of her to thee so dear?

To whom with healing words Adam replied.

Daughter of God and Man, immortal Eve!

For such thou art; from sin and blame entire:

Not diffident of thee do I dissuade

Thy absence from my sight, but to avoid

The attempt itself, intended by our foe.

For he who tempts, though in vain, at least asperses

The tempted with dishonour foul; supposed

Not incorruptible of faith, not proof

Against temptation: Thou thyself with scorn

And anger wouldst resent the offered wrong,

Though ineffectual found: misdeem not then,

If such affront I labour to avert

From thee alone, which on us both at once

The enemy, though bold, will hardly dare;

Or daring, first on me the assault shall light.

Nor thou his malice and false guile contemn;

Subtle he needs must be, who could seduce

Angels; nor think superfluous other’s aid.

I, from the influence of thy looks, receive

Access in every virtue; in thy sight

More wise, more watchful, stronger, if need were

Of outward strength; while shame, thou looking on,

Shame to be overcome or over-reached,

Would utmost vigour raise, and raised unite.

Why shouldst not thou like sense within thee feel

When I am present, and thy trial choose

With me, best witness of thy virtue tried?

So spake domestick Adam in his care

And matrimonial love; but Eve, who thought

Less attributed to her faith sincere,

Thus her reply with accent sweet renewed.

If this be our condition, thus to dwell

In narrow circuit straitened by a foe,

Subtle or violent, we not endued

Single with like defence, wherever met;

How are we happy, still in fear of harm?

But harm precedes not sin: only our foe,

Tempting, affronts us with his foul esteem

Of our integrity: his foul esteem

Sticks no dishonour on our front, but turns

Foul on himself; then wherefore shunned or feared

By us? who rather double honour gain

From his surmise proved false; find peace within,

Favour from Heaven, our witness, from the event.

And what is faith, love, virtue, unassayed

Alone, without exteriour help sustained?

Let us not then suspect our happy state

Left so imperfect by the Maker wise,

As not secure to single or combined.

Frail is our happiness, if this be so,

And Eden were no Eden, thus exposed.

To whom thus Adam fervently replied.

O Woman, best are all things as the will

Of God ordained them: His creating hand

Nothing imperfect or deficient left

Of all that he created, much less Man,

Or aught that might his happy state secure,

Secure from outward force; within himself

The danger lies, yet lies within his power:

Against his will he can receive no harm.

But God left free the will; for what obeys

Reason, is free; and Reason he made right,

But bid her well be ware, and still erect;

Lest, by some fair-appearing good surprised,

She dictate false; and mis-inform the will

To do what God expressly hath forbid.

Not then mistrust, but tender love, enjoins,

That I should mind thee oft; and mind thou me.

Firm we subsist, yet possible to swerve;

Since Reason not impossibly may meet

Some specious object by the foe suborned,

And fall into deception unaware,

Not keeping strictest watch, as she was warned.

Seek not temptation then, which to avoid

Were better, and most likely if from me

Thou sever not: Trial will come unsought.

Wouldst thou approve thy constancy, approve

First thy obedience; the other who can know,

Not seeing thee attempted, who attest?

But, if thou think, trial unsought may find

Us both securer than thus warned thou seemest,

Go; for thy stay, not free, absents thee more;

Go in thy native innocence, rely

On what thou hast of virtue; summon all!

For God towards thee hath done his part, do thine.

So spake the patriarch of mankind; but Eve

Persisted; yet submiss, though last, replied.

With thy permission then, and thus forewarned

Chiefly by what thy own last reasoning words

Touched only; that our trial, when least sought,

May find us both perhaps far less prepared,

The willinger I go, nor much expect

A foe so proud will first the weaker seek;

So bent, the more shall shame him his repulse.

Thus saying, from her husband’s hand her hand

Soft she withdrew; and, like a Wood-Nymph light,

Oread or Dryad, or of Delia’s train,

Betook her to the groves; but Delia’s self

In gait surpassed, and Goddess-like deport,

Though not as she with bow and quiver armed,

But with such gardening tools as Art yet rude,

Guiltless of fire, had formed, or Angels brought.

To Pales, or Pomona, thus adorned,

Likest she seemed, Pomona when she fled

Vertumnus, or to Ceres in her prime,

Yet virgin of Proserpina from Jove.

Her long with ardent look his eye pursued

Delighted, but desiring more her stay.

Oft he to her his charge of quick return

Repeated; she to him as oft engaged

To be returned by noon amid the bower,

And all things in best order to invite

Noontide repast, or afternoon’s repose.

O much deceived, much failing, hapless Eve,

Of thy presumed return! event perverse!

Thou never from that hour in Paradise

Foundst either sweet repast, or sound repose;

Such ambush, hid among sweet flowers and shades,

Waited with hellish rancour imminent

To intercept thy way, or send thee back

Despoiled of innocence, of faith, of bliss!

For now, and since first break of dawn, the Fiend,

Mere serpent in appearance, forth was come;

And on his quest, where likeliest he might find

The only two of mankind, but in them

The whole included race, his purposed prey.

In bower and field he sought, where any tuft

Of grove or garden-plot more pleasant lay,

Their tendance, or plantation for delight;

By fountain or by shady rivulet

He sought them both, but wished his hap might find

Eve separate; he wished, but not with hope

Of what so seldom chanced; when to his wish,

Beyond his hope, Eve separate he spies,

Veiled in a cloud of fragrance, where she stood,

Half spied, so thick the roses blushing round

About her glowed, oft stooping to support

Each flower of slender stalk, whose head, though gay

Carnation, purple, azure, or specked with gold,

Hung drooping unsustained; them she upstays

Gently with myrtle band, mindless the while

Herself, though fairest unsupported flower,

From her best prop so far, and storm so nigh.

Nearer he drew, and many a walk traversed

Of stateliest covert, cedar, pine, or palm;

Then voluble and bold, now hid, now seen,

Among thick-woven arborets, and flowers

Imbordered on each bank, the hand of Eve:

Spot more delicious than those gardens feigned

Or of revived Adonis, or renowned

Alcinous, host of old Laertes’ son;

Or that, not mystick, where the sapient king

Held dalliance with his fair Egyptian spouse.

Much he the place admired, the person more.

As one who long in populous city pent,

Where houses thick and sewers annoy the air,

Forth issuing on a summer’s morn, to breathe

Among the pleasant villages and farms

Adjoined, from each thing met conceives delight;

The smell of grain, or tedded grass, or kine,

Or dairy, each rural sight, each rural sound;

If chance, with nymph-like step, fair virgin pass,

What pleasing seemed, for her now pleases more;

She most, and in her look sums all delight:

Such pleasure took the Serpent to behold

This flowery plat, the sweet recess of Eve

Thus early, thus alone: Her heavenly form

Angelick, but more soft, and feminine,

Her graceful innocence, her every air

Of gesture, or least action, overawed

His malice, and with rapine sweet bereaved

His fierceness of the fierce intent it brought:

That space the Evil-one abstracted stood

From his own evil, and for the time remained

Stupidly good; of enmity disarmed,

Of guile, of hate, of envy, of revenge:

But the hot Hell that always in him burns,

Though in mid Heaven, soon ended his delight,

And tortures him now more, the more he sees

Of pleasure, not for him ordained: then soon

Fierce hate he recollects, and all his thoughts

Of mischief, gratulating, thus excites.

Thoughts, whither have ye led me! with what sweet

Compulsion thus transported, to forget

What hither brought us! hate, not love;nor hope

Of Paradise for Hell, hope here to taste

Of pleasure; but all pleasure to destroy,

Save what is in destroying; other joy

To me is lost. Then, let me not let pass

Occasion which now smiles; behold alone

The woman, opportune to all attempts,

Her husband, for I view far round, not nigh,

Whose higher intellectual more I shun,

And strength, of courage haughty, and of limb

Heroick built, though of terrestrial mould;

Foe not informidable! exempt from wound,

I not; so much hath Hell debased, and pain

Enfeebled me, to what I was in Heaven.

She fair, divinely fair, fit love for Gods!

Not terrible, though terrour be in love

And beauty, not approached by stronger hate,

Hate stronger, under show of love well feigned;

The way which to her ruin now I tend.

So spake the enemy of mankind, enclosed

In serpent, inmate bad! and toward Eve

Addressed his way: not with indented wave,

Prone on the ground, as since; but on his rear,

Circular base of rising folds, that towered

Fold above fold, a surging maze! his head

Crested aloft, and carbuncle his eyes;

With burnished neck of verdant gold, erect

Amidst his circling spires, that on the grass

Floated redundant: pleasing was his shape

And lovely; never since of serpent-kind

Lovelier, not those that in Illyria changed,

Hermione and Cadmus, or the god

In Epidaurus; nor to which transformed

Ammonian Jove, or Capitoline, was seen;

He with Olympias; this with her who bore

Scipio, the highth of Rome. With tract oblique

At first, as one who sought access, but feared

To interrupt, side-long he works his way.

As when a ship, by skilful steersmen wrought

Nigh river’s mouth or foreland, where the wind

Veers oft, as oft so steers, and shifts her sail:

So varied he, and of his tortuous train

Curled many a wanton wreath in sight of Eve,

To lure her eye; she, busied, heard the sound

Of rusling leaves, but minded not, as used

To such disport before her through the field,

From every beast; more duteous at her call,

Than at Circean call the herd disguised.

He, bolder now, uncalled before her stood,

But as in gaze admiring: oft he bowed

His turret crest, and sleek enamelled neck,

Fawning; and licked the ground whereon she trod.

His gentle dumb expression turned at length

The eye of Eve to mark his play; he, glad

Of her attention gained, with serpent-tongue

Organick, or impulse of vocal air,

His fraudulent temptation thus began.

Wonder not, sovran Mistress, if perhaps

Thou canst, who art sole wonder! much less arm

Thy looks, the Heaven of mildness, with disdain,

Displeased that I approach thee thus, and gaze

Insatiate; I thus single;nor have feared

Thy awful brow, more awful thus retired.

Fairest resemblance of thy Maker fair,

Thee all things living gaze on, all things thine

By gift, and thy celestial beauty adore

With ravishment beheld! there best beheld,

Where universally admired; but here

In this enclosure wild, these beasts among,

Beholders rude, and shallow to discern

Half what in thee is fair, one man except,

Who sees thee? and what is one? who should be seen

A Goddess among Gods, adored and served

By Angels numberless, thy daily train.

So glozed the Tempter, and his proem tuned:

Into the heart of Eve his words made way,

Though at the voice much marvelling; at length,

Not unamazed, she thus in answer spake.

What may this mean? language of man pronounced

By tongue of brute, and human sense expressed?

The first, at least, of these I thought denied

To beasts; whom God, on their creation-day,

Created mute to all articulate sound:

The latter I demur; for in their looks

Much reason, and in their actions, oft appears.

Thee, Serpent, subtlest beast of all the field

I knew, but not with human voice endued;

Redouble then this miracle, and say,

How camest thou speakable of mute, and how

To me so friendly grown above the rest

Of brutal kind, that daily are in sight?

Say, for such wonder claims attention due.

To whom the guileful Tempter thus replied.

Empress of this fair world, resplendent Eve!

Easy to me it is to tell thee all

What thou commandest; and right thou shouldst be obeyed:

I was at first as other beasts that graze

The trodden herb, of abject thoughts and low,

As was my food; nor aught but food discerned

Or sex, and apprehended nothing high:

Till, on a day roving the field, I chanced

A goodly tree far distant to behold

Loaden with fruit of fairest colours mixed,

Ruddy and gold: I nearer drew to gaze;

When from the boughs a savoury odour blown,

Grateful to appetite, more pleased my sense

Than smell of sweetest fennel, or the teats

Of ewe or goat dropping with milk at even,

Unsucked of lamb or kid, that tend their play.

To satisfy the sharp desire I had

Of tasting those fair apples, I resolved

Not to defer; hunger and thirst at once,

Powerful persuaders, quickened at the scent

Of that alluring fruit, urged me so keen.

About the mossy trunk I wound me soon;

For, high from ground, the branches would require

Thy utmost reach or Adam’s: Round the tree

All other beasts that saw, with like desire

Longing and envying stood, but could not reach.

Amid the tree now got, where plenty hung

Tempting so nigh, to pluck and eat my fill

I spared not; for, such pleasure till that hour,

At feed or fountain, never had I found.

Sated at length, ere long I might perceive

Strange alteration in me, to degree

Of reason in my inward powers; and speech

Wanted not long; though to this shape retained.

Thenceforth to speculations high or deep

I turned my thoughts, and with capacious mind

Considered all things visible in Heaven,

Or Earth, or Middle; all things fair and good:

But all that fair and good in thy divine

Semblance, and in thy beauty’s heavenly ray,

United I beheld; no fair to thine

Equivalent or second! which compelled

Me thus, though importune perhaps, to come

And gaze, and worship thee of right declared

Sovran of creatures, universal Dame!

So talked the spirited sly Snake; and Eve,

Yet more amazed, unwary thus replied.

Serpent, thy overpraising leaves in doubt

The virtue of that fruit, in thee first proved:

But say, where grows the tree? from hence how far?

For many are the trees of God that grow

In Paradise, and various, yet unknown

To us; in such abundance lies our choice,

As leaves a greater store of fruit untouched,

Still hanging incorruptible, till men

Grow up to their provision, and more hands

Help to disburden Nature of her birth.

To whom the wily Adder, blithe and glad.

Empress, the way is ready, and not long;

Beyond a row of myrtles, on a flat,

Fast by a fountain, one small thicket past

Of blowing myrrh and balm: if thou accept

My conduct, I can bring thee thither soon

Lead then, said Eve. He, leading, swiftly rolled

In tangles, and made intricate seem straight,

To mischief swift. Hope elevates, and joy

Brightens his crest; as when a wandering fire,

Compact of unctuous vapour, which the night

Condenses, and the cold environs round,

Kindled through agitation to a flame,

Which oft, they say, some evil Spirit attends,

Hovering and blazing with delusive light,

Misleads the amazed night-wanderer from his way

To bogs and mires, and oft through pond or pool;

There swallowed up and lost, from succour far.

So glistered the dire Snake, and into fraud

Led Eve, our credulous mother, to the tree

Of prohibition, root of all our woe;

Which when she saw, thus to her guide she spake.

Serpent, we might have spared our coming hither,

Fruitless to me, though fruit be here to excess,

The credit of whose virtue rest with thee;

Wonderous indeed, if cause of such effects.

But of this tree we may not taste nor touch;

God so commanded, and left that command

Sole daughter of his voice; the rest, we live

Law to ourselves; our reason is our law.

To whom the Tempter guilefully replied.

Indeed! hath God then said that of the fruit

Of all these garden-trees ye shall not eat,

Yet Lords declared of all in earth or air$?

To whom thus Eve, yet sinless. Of the fruit

Of each tree in the garden we may eat;

But of the fruit of this fair tree amidst

The garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat

Thereof, nor shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

She scarce had said, though brief, when now more bold

The Tempter, but with show of zeal and love

To Man, and indignation at his wrong,

New part puts on; and, as to passion moved,

Fluctuates disturbed, yet comely and in act

Raised, as of some great matter to begin.

As when of old some orator renowned,

In Athens or free Rome, where eloquence

Flourished, since mute! to some great cause addressed,

Stood in himself collected; while each part,

Motion, each act, won audience ere the tongue;

Sometimes in highth began, as no delay

Of preface brooking, through his zeal of right:

So standing, moving, or to highth up grown,

The Tempter, all impassioned, thus began.

O sacred, wise, and wisdom-giving Plant,

Mother of science! now I feel thy power

Within me clear; not only to discern

Things in their causes, but to trace the ways

Of highest agents, deemed however wise.

Queen of this universe! do not believe

Those rigid threats of death: ye shall not die:

How should you? by the fruit? it gives you life

To knowledge; by the threatener? look on me,

Me, who have touched and tasted; yet both live,

And life more perfect have attained than Fate

Meant me, by venturing higher than my lot.

Shall that be shut to Man, which to the Beast

Is open? or will God incense his ire

For such a petty trespass? and not praise

Rather your dauntless virtue, whom the pain

Of death denounced, whatever thing death be,

Deterred not from achieving what might lead

To happier life, knowledge of good and evil;

Of good, how just? of evil, if what is evil

Be real, why not known, since easier shunned?

God therefore cannot hurt ye, and be just;

Not just, not God; not feared then, nor obeyed:

Your fear itself of death removes the fear.

Why then was this forbid? Why, but to awe;

Why, but to keep ye low and ignorant,

His worshippers? He knows that in the day

Ye eat thereof, your eyes that seem so clear,

Yet are but dim, shall perfectly be then

Opened and cleared, and ye shall be as Gods,

Knowing both good and evil, as they know.

That ye shall be as Gods, since I as Man,

Internal Man, is but proportion meet;

I, of brute, human; ye, of human, Gods.

So ye shall die perhaps, by putting off

Human, to put on Gods; death to be wished,

Though threatened, which no worse than this can bring.

And what are Gods, that Man may not become

As they, participating God-like food?

The Gods are first, and that advantage use

On our belief, that all from them proceeds:

I question it; for this fair earth I see,

Warmed by the sun, producing every kind;

Them, nothing: if they all things, who enclosed

Knowledge of good and evil in this tree,

That whoso eats thereof, forthwith attains

Wisdom without their leave? and wherein lies

The offence, that Man should thus attain to know?

What can your knowledge hurt him, or this tree

Impart against his will, if all be his?

Or is it envy? and can envy dwell

In heavenly breasts? These, these, and many more

Causes import your need of this fair fruit.

Goddess humane, reach then, and freely taste!

He ended; and his words, replete with guile,

Into her heart too easy entrance won:

Fixed on the fruit she gazed, which to behold

Might tempt alone; and in her ears the sound

Yet rung of his persuasive words, impregned

With reason, to her seeming, and with truth:

Mean while the hour of noon drew on, and waked

An eager appetite, raised by the smell

So savoury of that fruit, which with desire,

Inclinable now grown to touch or taste,

Solicited her longing eye; yet first

Pausing a while, thus to herself she mused.

Great are thy virtues, doubtless, best of fruits,

Though kept from man, and worthy to be admired;

Whose taste, too long forborn, at first assay

Gave elocution to the mute, and taught

The tongue not made for speech to speak thy praise:

Thy praise he also, who forbids thy use,

Conceals not from us, naming thee the tree

Of knowledge, knowledge both of good and evil;

Forbids us then to taste! but his forbidding

Commends thee more, while it infers the good

By thee communicated, and our want:

For good unknown sure is not had; or, had

And yet unknown, is as not had at all.

In plain then, what forbids he but to know,

Forbids us good, forbids us to be wise?

Such prohibitions bind not. But, if death

Bind us with after-bands, what profits then

Our inward freedom? In the day we eat

Of this fair fruit, our doom is, we shall die!

How dies the Serpent? he hath eaten and lives,

And knows, and speaks, and reasons, and discerns,

Irrational till then. For us alone

Was death invented? or to us denied

This intellectual food, for beasts reserved?

For beasts it seems: yet that one beast which first

Hath tasted envies not, but brings with joy

The good befallen him, author unsuspect,

Friendly to man, far from deceit or guile.

What fear I then? rather, what know to fear

Under this ignorance of good and evil,

Of God or death, of law or penalty?

Here grows the cure of all, this fruit divine,

Fair to the eye, inviting to the taste,

Of virtue to make wise: What hinders then

To reach, and feed at once both body and mind?

So saying, her rash hand in evil hour

Forth reaching to the fruit, she plucked, she eat!

Earth felt the wound; and Nature from her seat,

Sighing through all her works, gave signs of woe,

That all was lost. Back to the thicket slunk

The guilty Serpent; and well might;for Eve,

Intent now wholly on her taste, nought else

Regarded; such delight till then, as seemed,

In fruit she never tasted, whether true

Or fancied so, through expectation high

Of knowledge; not was Godhead from her thought.

Greedily she ingorged without restraint,

And knew not eating death: Satiate at length,

And hightened as with wine, jocund and boon,

Thus to herself she pleasingly began.

O sovran, virtuous, precious of all trees

In Paradise! of operation blest

To sapience, hitherto obscured, infamed.

And thy fair fruit let hang, as to no end

Created; but henceforth my early care,

Not without song, each morning, and due praise,

Shall tend thee, and the fertile burden ease

Of thy full branches offered free to all;

Till, dieted by thee, I grow mature

In knowledge, as the Gods, who all things know;

Though others envy what they cannot give:

For, had the gift been theirs, it had not here

Thus grown. Experience, next, to thee I owe,

Best guide; not following thee, I had remained

In ignorance; thou openest wisdom’s way,

And givest access, though secret she retire.

And I perhaps am secret: Heaven is high,

High, and remote to see from thence distinct

Each thing on Earth; and other care perhaps

May have diverted from continual watch

Our great Forbidder, safe with all his spies

About him. But to Adam in what sort

Shall I appear? shall I to him make known

As yet my change, and give him to partake

Full happiness with me, or rather not,

But keeps the odds of knowledge in my power

Without copartner? so to add what wants

In female sex, the more to draw his love,

And render me more equal; and perhaps,

A thing not undesirable, sometime

Superiour; for, inferiour, who is free

This may be well: But what if God have seen,

And death ensue? then I shall be no more!

And Adam, wedded to another Eve,

Shall live with her enjoying, I extinct;

A death to think! Confirmed then I resolve,

Adam shall share with me in bliss or woe:

So dear I love him, that with him all deaths

I could endure, without him live no life.

So saying, from the tree her step she turned;

But first low reverence done, as to the Power

That dwelt within, whose presence had infused

Into the plant sciential sap, derived

From nectar, drink of Gods. Adam the while,

Waiting desirous her return, had wove

Of choicest flowers a garland, to adorn

Her tresses, and her rural labours crown;

As reapers oft are wont their harvest-queen.

Great joy he promised to his thoughts, and new

Solace in her return, so long delayed:

Yet oft his heart, divine of something ill,

Misgave him; he the faltering measure felt;

And forth to meet her went, the way she took

That morn when first they parted: by the tree

Of knowledge he must pass; there he her met,

Scarce from the tree returning; in her hand

A bough of fairest fruit, that downy smiled,

New gathered, and ambrosial smell diffused.

To him she hasted; in her face excuse

Came prologue, and apology too prompt;

Which, with bland words at will, she thus addressed.

Hast thou not wondered, Adam, at my stay?

Thee I have missed, and thought it long, deprived

Thy presence; agony of love till now

Not felt, nor shall be twice; for never more

Mean I to try, what rash untried I sought,

The pain of absence from thy sight. But strange

Hath been the cause, and wonderful to hear:

This tree is not, as we are told, a tree

Of danger tasted, nor to evil unknown

Opening the way, but of divine effect

To open eyes, and make them Gods who taste;

And hath been tasted such: The serpent wise,

Or not restrained as we, or not obeying,

Hath eaten of the fruit; and is become,

Not dead, as we are threatened, but thenceforth

Endued with human voice and human sense,

Reasoning to admiration; and with me

Persuasively hath so prevailed, that I

Have also tasted, and have also found

The effects to correspond; opener mine eyes,

Dim erst, dilated spirits, ampler heart,

And growing up to Godhead; which for thee

Chiefly I sought, without thee can despise.

For bliss, as thou hast part, to me is bliss;

Tedious, unshared with thee, and odious soon.

Thou therefore also taste, that equal lot

May join us, equal joy, as equal love;

Lest, thou not tasting, different degree

Disjoin us, and I then too late renounce

Deity for thee, when Fate will not permit.

Thus Eve with countenance blithe her story told;

But in her cheek distemper flushing glowed.

On the other side Adam, soon as he heard

The fatal trespass done by Eve, amazed,

Astonied stood and blank, while horrour chill

Ran through his veins, and all his joints relaxed;

From his slack hand the garland wreathed for Eve

Down dropt, and all the faded roses shed:

Speechless he stood and pale, till thus at length

First to himself he inward silence broke.

O fairest of Creation, last and best

Of all God’s works, Creature in whom excelled

Whatever can to sight or thought be formed,

Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet!

How art thou lost! how on a sudden lost,

Defaced, deflowered, and now to death devote!

Rather, how hast thou yielded to transgress

The strict forbiddance, how to violate

The sacred fruit forbidden! Some cursed fraud

Of enemy hath beguiled thee, yet unknown,

And me with thee hath ruined; for with thee

Certain my resolution is to die:

How can I live without thee! how forego

Thy sweet converse, and love so dearly joined,

To live again in these wild woods forlorn!

Should God create another Eve, and I

Another rib afford, yet loss of thee

Would never from my heart: no, no!I feel

The link of Nature draw me: flesh of flesh,

Bone of my bone thou art, and from thy state

Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe.

So having said, as one from sad dismay

Recomforted, and after thoughts disturbed

Submitting to what seemed remediless,

Thus in calm mood his words to Eve he turned.

Bold deed thou hast presumed, adventurous Eve,

And peril great provoked, who thus hast dared,

Had it been only coveting to eye

That sacred fruit, sacred to abstinence,

Much more to taste it under ban to touch.

But past who can recall, or done undo?

Not God Omnipotent, nor Fate; yet so

Perhaps thou shalt not die, perhaps the fact

Is not so heinous now, foretasted fruit,

Profaned first by the serpent, by him first

Made common, and unhallowed, ere our taste;

Nor yet on him found deadly; yet he lives;

Lives, as thou saidst, and gains to live, as Man,

Higher degree of life; inducement strong

To us, as likely tasting to attain

Proportional ascent; which cannot be

But to be Gods, or Angels, demi-Gods.

Nor can I think that God, Creator wise,

Though threatening, will in earnest so destroy

Us his prime creatures, dignified so high,

Set over all his works; which in our fall,

For us created, needs with us must fail,

Dependant made; so God shall uncreate,

Be frustrate, do, undo, and labour lose;

Not well conceived of God, who, though his power

Creation could repeat, yet would be loth

Us to abolish, lest the Adversary

Triumph, and say; "Fickle their state whom God

"Most favours; who can please him long? Me first

"He ruined, now Mankind; whom will he next?"

Matter of scorn, not to be given the Foe.

However I with thee have fixed my lot,

Certain to undergo like doom: If death

Consort with thee, death is to me as life;

So forcible within my heart I feel

The bond of Nature draw me to my own;

My own in thee, for what thou art is mine;

Our state cannot be severed; we are one,

One flesh; to lose thee were to lose myself.

So Adam; and thus Eve to him replied.

O glorious trial of exceeding love,

Illustrious evidence, example high!

Engaging me to emulate; but, short

Of thy perfection, how shall I attain,

Adam, from whose dear side I boast me sprung,

And gladly of our union hear thee speak,

One heart, one soul in both; whereof good proof

This day affords, declaring thee resolved,

Rather than death, or aught than death more dread,

Shall separate us, linked in love so dear,

To undergo with me one guilt, one crime,

If any be, of tasting this fair fruit;

Whose virtue for of good still good proceeds,

Direct, or by occasion, hath presented

This happy trial of thy love, which else

So eminently never had been known?

Were it I thought death menaced would ensue

This my attempt, I would sustain alone

The worst, and not persuade thee, rather die

Deserted, than oblige thee with a fact

Pernicious to thy peace; chiefly assured

Remarkably so late of thy so true,

So faithful, love unequalled: but I feel

Far otherwise the event; not death, but life

Augmented, opened eyes, new hopes, new joys,

Taste so divine, that what of sweet before

Hath touched my sense, flat seems to this, and harsh.

On my experience, Adam, freely taste,

And fear of death deliver to the winds.

So saying, she embraced him, and for joy

Tenderly wept; much won, that he his love

Had so ennobled, as of choice to incur

Divine displeasure for her sake, or death.

In recompence for such compliance bad

Such recompence best merits from the bough

She gave him of that fair enticing fruit

With liberal hand: he scrupled not to eat,

Against his better knowledge; not deceived,

But fondly overcome with female charm.

Earth trembled from her entrails, as again

In pangs; and Nature gave a second groan;

Sky loured; and, muttering thunder, some sad drops

Wept at completing of the mortal sin

Original: while Adam took no thought,

Eating his fill; nor Eve to iterate

Her former trespass feared, the more to sooth

Him with her loved society; that now,

As with new wine intoxicated both,

They swim in mirth, and fancy that they feel

Divinity within them breeding wings,

Wherewith to scorn the earth: But that false fruit

Far other operation first displayed,

Carnal desire inflaming; he on Eve

Began to cast lascivious eyes; she him

As wantonly repaid; in lust they burn:

Till Adam thus ’gan Eve to dalliance move.

Eve, now I see thou art exact of taste,

And elegant, of sapience no small part;

Since to each meaning savour we apply,

And palate call judicious; I the praise

Yield thee, so well this day thou hast purveyed.

Much pleasure we have lost, while we abstained

From this delightful fruit, nor known till now

True relish, tasting; if such pleasure be

In things to us forbidden, it might be wished,

For this one tree had been forbidden ten.

But come, so well refreshed, now let us play,

As meet is, after such delicious fare;

For never did thy beauty, since the day

I saw thee first and wedded thee, adorned

With all perfections, so inflame my sense

With ardour to enjoy thee, fairer now

Than ever; bounty of this virtuous tree!

So said he, and forbore not glance or toy

Of amorous intent; well understood

Of Eve, whose eye darted contagious fire.

Her hand he seised; and to a shady bank,

Thick over-head with verdant roof imbowered,

He led her nothing loth; flowers were the couch,

Pansies, and violets, and asphodel,

And hyacinth; Earth’s freshest softest lap.

There they their fill of love and love’s disport

Took largely, of their mutual guilt the seal,

The solace of their sin; till dewy sleep

Oppressed them, wearied with their amorous play,

Soon as the force of that fallacious fruit,

That with exhilarating vapour bland

About their spirits had played, and inmost powers

Made err, was now exhaled; and grosser sleep,

Bred of unkindly fumes, with conscious dreams

Incumbered, now had left them; up they rose

As from unrest; and, each the other viewing,

Soon found their eyes how opened, and their minds

How darkened; innocence, that as a veil

Had shadowed them from knowing ill, was gone;

Just confidence, and native righteousness,

And honour, from about them, naked left

To guilty Shame; he covered, but his robe

Uncovered more. So rose the Danite strong,

Herculean Samson, from the harlot-lap

Of Philistean Dalilah, and waked

Shorn of his strength. They destitute and bare

Of all their virtue: Silent, and in face

Confounded, long they sat, as strucken mute:

Till Adam, though not less than Eve abashed,

At length gave utterance to these words constrained.

O Eve, in evil hour thou didst give ear

To that false worm, of whomsoever taught

To counterfeit Man’s voice; true in our fall,

False in our promised rising; since our eyes

Opened we find indeed, and find we know

Both good and evil; good lost, and evil got;

Bad fruit of knowledge, if this be to know;

Which leaves us naked thus, of honour void,

Of innocence, of faith, of purity,

Our wonted ornaments now soiled and stained,

And in our faces evident the signs

Of foul concupiscence; whence evil store;

Even shame, the last of evils; of the first

Be sure then.--How shall I behold the face

Henceforth of God or Angel, erst with joy

And rapture so oft beheld? Those heavenly shapes

Will dazzle now this earthly with their blaze

Insufferably bright. O! might I here

In solitude live savage; in some glade

Obscured, where highest woods, impenetrable

To star or sun-light, spread their umbrage broad

And brown as evening: Cover me, ye Pines!

Ye Cedars, with innumerable boughs

Hide me, where I may never see them more!--

But let us now, as in bad plight, devise

What best may for the present serve to hide

The parts of each from other, that seem most

To shame obnoxious, and unseemliest seen;

Some tree, whose broad smooth leaves together sewed,

And girded on our loins, may cover round

Those middle parts; that this new comer, Shame,

There sit not, and reproach us as unclean.

So counselled he, and both together went

Into the thickest wood; there soon they chose

The fig-tree; not that kind for fruit renowned,

But such as at this day, to Indians known,

In Malabar or Decan spreads her arms

Branching so broad and long, that in the ground

The bended twigs take root, and daughters grow

About the mother tree, a pillared shade

High over-arched, and echoing walks between:

There oft the Indian herdsman, shunning heat,

Shelters in cool, and tends his pasturing herds

At loop-holes cut through thickest shade: Those leaves

They gathered, broad as Amazonian targe;

And, with what skill they had, together sewed,

To gird their waist; vain covering, if to hide

Their guilt and dreaded shame! O, how unlike

To that first naked glory! Such of late

Columbus found the American, so girt

With feathered cincture; naked else, and wild

Among the trees on isles and woody shores.

Thus fenced, and, as they thought, their shame in part

Covered, but not at rest or ease of mind,

They sat them down to weep; nor only tears

Rained at their eyes, but high winds worse within

Began to rise, high passions, anger, hate,

Mistrust, suspicion, discord; and shook sore

Their inward state of mind, calm region once

And full of peace, now tost and turbulent:

For Understanding ruled not, and the Will

Heard not her lore; both in subjection now

To sensual Appetite, who from beneath

Usurping over sovran Reason claimed

Superiour sway: From thus distempered breast,

Adam, estranged in look and altered style,

Speech intermitted thus to Eve renewed.

Would thou hadst hearkened to my words, and staid

With me, as I besought thee, when that strange

Desire of wandering, this unhappy morn,

I know not whence possessed thee; we had then

Remained still happy; not, as now, despoiled

Of all our good; shamed, naked, miserable!

Let none henceforth seek needless cause to approve

The faith they owe; when earnestly they seek

Such proof, conclude, they then begin to fail.

To whom, soon moved with touch of blame, thus Eve.

What words have passed thy lips, Adam severe!

Imputest thou that to my default, or will

Of wandering, as thou callest it, which who knows

But might as ill have happened thou being by,

Or to thyself perhaps? Hadst thou been there,

Or here the attempt, thou couldst not have discerned

Fraud in the Serpent, speaking as he spake;

No ground of enmity between us known,

Why he should mean me ill, or seek to harm.

Was I to have never parted from thy side?

As good have grown there still a lifeless rib.

Being as I am, why didst not thou, the head,

Command me absolutely not to go,

Going into such danger, as thou saidst?

Too facile then, thou didst not much gainsay;

Nay, didst permit, approve, and fair dismiss.

Hadst thou been firm and fixed in thy dissent,

Neither had I transgressed, nor thou with me.

To whom, then first incensed, Adam replied.

Is this the love, is this the recompence

Of mine to thee, ingrateful Eve! expressed

Immutable, when thou wert lost, not I;

Who might have lived, and joyed immortal bliss,

Yet willingly chose rather death with thee?

And am I now upbraided as the cause

Of thy transgressing? Not enough severe,

It seems, in thy restraint: What could I more

I warned thee, I admonished thee, foretold

The danger, and the lurking enemy

That lay in wait; beyond this, had been force;

And force upon free will hath here no place.

But confidence then bore thee on; secure

Either to meet no danger, or to find

Matter of glorious trial; and perhaps

I also erred, in overmuch admiring

What seemed in thee so perfect, that I thought

No evil durst attempt thee; but I rue

The errour now, which is become my crime,

And thou the accuser. Thus it shall befall

Him, who, to worth in women overtrusting,

Lets her will rule: restraint she will not brook;

And, left to herself, if evil thence ensue,

She first his weak indulgence will accuse.

Thus they in mutual accusation spent

The fruitless hours, but neither self-condemning;

And of their vain contest appeared no end.

End of Book IX

Paradise Lost

Book X

Mean while the heinous and despiteful act

Of Satan, done in Paradise; and how

He, in the serpent, had perverted Eve,

Her husband she, to taste the fatal fruit,

Was known in Heaven; for what can ’scape the eye

Of God all-seeing, or deceive his heart

Omniscient? who, in all things wise and just,

Hindered not Satan to attempt the mind

Of Man, with strength entire and free will armed,

Complete to have discovered and repulsed

Whatever wiles of foe or seeming friend.

For still they knew, and ought to have still remembered,

The high injunction, not to taste that fruit,

Whoever tempted; which they not obeying,

(Incurred what could they less?) the penalty;

And, manifold in sin, deserved to fall.

Up into Heaven from Paradise in haste

The angelick guards ascended, mute, and sad,

For Man; for of his state by this they knew,

Much wondering how the subtle Fiend had stolen

Entrance unseen. Soon as the unwelcome news

From Earth arrived at Heaven-gate, displeased

All were who heard; dim sadness did not spare

That time celestial visages, yet, mixed

With pity, violated not their bliss.

About the new-arrived, in multitudes

The ethereal people ran, to hear and know

How all befel: They towards the throne supreme,

Accountable, made haste, to make appear,

With righteous plea, their utmost vigilance

And easily approved; when the Most High

Eternal Father, from his secret cloud,

Amidst in thunder uttered thus his voice.

Assembled Angels, and ye Powers returned

From unsuccessful charge; be not dismayed,

Nor troubled at these tidings from the earth,

Which your sincerest care could not prevent;

Foretold so lately what would come to pass,

When first this tempter crossed the gulf from Hell.

I told ye then he should prevail, and speed

On his bad errand; Man should be seduced,

And flattered out of all, believing lies

Against his Maker; no decree of mine

Concurring to necessitate his fall,

Or touch with lightest moment of impulse

His free will, to her own inclining left

In even scale. But fallen he is; and now

What rests, but that the mortal sentence pass

On his transgression,--death denounced that day?

Which he presumes already vain and void,

Because not yet inflicted, as he feared,

By some immediate stroke; but soon shall find

Forbearance no acquittance, ere day end.

Justice shall not return as bounty scorned.

But whom send I to judge them? whom but thee,

Vicegerent Son? To thee I have transferred

All judgement, whether in Heaven, or Earth, or Hell.

Easy it may be seen that I intend

Mercy colleague with justice, sending thee

Man’s friend, his Mediator, his designed

Both ransom and Redeemer voluntary,

And destined Man himself to judge Man fallen.

So spake the Father; and, unfolding bright

Toward the right hand his glory, on the Son

Blazed forth unclouded Deity: He full

Resplendent all his Father manifest

Expressed, and thus divinely answered mild.

Father Eternal, thine is to decree;

Mine, both in Heaven and Earth, to do thy will

Supreme; that thou in me, thy Son beloved,

Mayest ever rest well pleased. I go to judge

On earth these thy transgressours; but thou knowest,

Whoever judged, the worst on me must light,

When time shall be; for so I undertook

Before thee; and, not repenting, this obtain

Of right, that I may mitigate their doom

On me derived; yet I shall temper so

Justice with mercy, as may illustrate most

Them fully satisfied, and thee appease.

Attendance none shall need, nor train, where none

Are to behold the judgement, but the judged,

Those two; the third best absent is condemned,

Convict by flight, and rebel to all law:

Conviction to the serpent none belongs.

Thus saying, from his radiant seat he rose

Of high collateral glory: Him Thrones, and Powers,

Princedoms, and Dominations ministrant,

Accompanied to Heaven-gate; from whence

Eden, and all the coast, in prospect lay.

Down he descended straight; the speed of Gods

Time counts not, though with swiftest minutes winged.

Now was the sun in western cadence low

From noon, and gentle airs, due at their hour,

To fan the earth now waked, and usher in

The evening cool; when he, from wrath more cool,

Came the mild Judge, and Intercessour both,

To sentence Man: The voice of God they heard

Now walking in the garden, by soft winds

Brought to their ears, while day declined; they heard,

And from his presence hid themselves among

The thickest trees, both man and wife; till God,

Approaching, thus to Adam called aloud.

Where art thou, Adam, wont with joy to meet

My coming seen far off? I miss thee here,

Not pleased, thus entertained with solitude,

Where obvious duty ere while appeared unsought:

Or come I less conspicuous, or what change

Absents thee, or what chance detains?--Come forth!

He came; and with him Eve, more loth, though first

To offend; discountenanced both, and discomposed;

Love was not in their looks, either to God,

Or to each other; but apparent guilt,

And shame, and perturbation, and despair,

Anger, and obstinacy, and hate, and guile.

Whence Adam, faltering long, thus answered brief.

I heard thee in the garden, and of thy voice

Afraid, being naked, hid myself. To whom

The gracious Judge without revile replied.

My voice thou oft hast heard, and hast not feared,

But still rejoiced; how is it now become

So dreadful to thee? That thou art naked, who

Hath told thee? Hast thou eaten of the tree,

Whereof I gave thee charge thou shouldst not eat?

To whom thus Adam sore beset replied.

O Heaven! in evil strait this day I stand

Before my Judge; either to undergo

Myself the total crime, or to accuse

My other self, the partner of my life;

Whose failing, while her faith to me remains,

I should conceal, and not expose to blame

By my complaint: but strict necessity

Subdues me, and calamitous constraint;

Lest on my head both sin and punishment,

However insupportable, be all

Devolved; though should I hold my peace, yet thou

Wouldst easily detect what I conceal.--

This Woman, whom thou madest to be my help,

And gavest me as thy perfect gift, so good,

So fit, so acceptable, so divine,

That from her hand I could suspect no ill,

And what she did, whatever in itself,

Her doing seemed to justify the deed;

She gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

To whom the Sovran Presence thus replied.

Was she thy God, that her thou didst obey

Before his voice? or was she made thy guide,

Superiour, or but equal, that to her

Thou didst resign thy manhood, and the place

Wherein God set thee above her made of thee,

And for thee, whose perfection far excelled

Hers in all real dignity? Adorned

She was indeed, and lovely, to attract

Thy love, not thy subjection; and her gifts

Were such, as under government well seemed;

Unseemly to bear rule; which was thy part

And person, hadst thou known thyself aright.

So having said, he thus to Eve in few.

Say, Woman, what is this which thou hast done?

To whom sad Eve, with shame nigh overwhelmed,

Confessing soon, yet not before her Judge

Bold or loquacious, thus abashed replied.

The Serpent me beguiled, and I did eat.

Which when the Lord God heard, without delay

To judgement he proceeded on the accused

Serpent, though brute; unable to transfer

The guilt on him, who made him instrument

Of mischief, and polluted from the end

Of his creation; justly then accursed,

As vitiated in nature: More to know

Concerned not Man, (since he no further knew)

Nor altered his offence; yet God at last

To Satan first in sin his doom applied,

Though in mysterious terms, judged as then best:

And on the Serpent thus his curse let fall.

Because thou hast done this, thou art accursed

Above all cattle, each beast of the field;

Upon thy belly groveling thou shalt go,

And dust shalt eat all the days of thy life.

Between thee and the woman I will put

Enmity, and between thine and her seed;

Her seed shall bruise thy head, thou bruise his heel.

So spake this oracle, then verified

When Jesus, Son of Mary, second Eve,

Saw Satan fall, like lightning, down from Heaven,

Prince of the air; then, rising from his grave

Spoiled Principalities and Powers, triumphed

In open show; and, with ascension bright,

Captivity led captive through the air,

The realm itself of Satan, long usurped;

Whom he shall tread at last under our feet;

Even he, who now foretold his fatal bruise;

And to the Woman thus his sentence turned.

Thy sorrow I will greatly multiply

By thy conception; children thou shalt bring

In sorrow forth; and to thy husband’s will

Thine shall submit; he over thee shall rule.

On Adam last thus judgement he pronounced.

Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife,

And eaten of the tree, concerning which

I charged thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat thereof:

Cursed is the ground for thy sake; thou in sorrow

Shalt eat thereof, all the days of thy life;

Thorns also and thistles it shall bring thee forth

Unbid; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,

Till thou return unto the ground; for thou

Out of the ground wast taken, know thy birth,

For dust thou art, and shalt to dust return.

So judged he Man, both Judge and Saviour sent;

And the instant stroke of death, denounced that day,

Removed far off; then, pitying how they stood

Before him naked to the air, that now

Must suffer change, disdained not to begin

Thenceforth the form of servant to assume;

As when he washed his servants feet; so now,

As father of his family, he clad

Their nakedness with skins of beasts, or slain,

Or as the snake with youthful coat repaid;

And thought not much to clothe his enemies;

Nor he their outward only with the skins

Of beasts, but inward nakedness, much more.

Opprobrious, with his robe of righteousness,

Arraying, covered from his Father’s sight.

To him with swift ascent he up returned,

Into his blissful bosom reassumed

In glory, as of old; to him appeased

All, though all-knowing, what had passed with Man

Recounted, mixing intercession sweet.

End of Book 11

Paradise Lost

Book 11

The Son of God presents to his Father the prayers of our first parents now repenting, and intercedes for them. God accepts them, but declares that they must no longer abide in Paradise; sends Michael with a band of cherubim to dispossess them, but first to reveal to Adam future things; Michael’s coming down. Adam shows to Eve certain ominous signs; he discerns Michael’s approach; goes out to meet him; the angel denounces their departure; Eve’s lamentation. Adam pleads, but submits; the angel leads him up a high hill; sets before him in vision what shall happen till the flood.

End of Book 11

Paradise Lost

Book 12

We may no longer stay: go, waken Eve;

Her also I with gentle dreams have calmed

Portending good, and all her spirits composed

To meek submission: thou, at season fit,

Let her with thee partake what thou hast heard;

Chiefly what may concern her faith to know,

The great deliverance by her seed to come

(For by the Woman’s seed) on all mankind:

That ye may live, which will be many days,

Both in one faith unanimous, though sad,

With cause, for evils past; yet much more cheered

With meditation on the happy end.

He ended, and they both descend the hill;

Descended, Adam to the bower, where Eve

Lay sleeping, ran before; but found her waked;

And thus with words not sad she him received.

Whence thou returnest, and whither wentest, I know;

For God is also in sleep; and dreams advise,

Which he hath sent propitious, some great good

Presaging, since with sorrow and heart’s distress

Wearied I fell asleep: But now lead on;

In me is no delay; with thee to go,

Is to stay here; without thee here to stay,

Is to go hence unwilling; thou to me

Art all things under $Heaven, all places thou,

Who for my wilful crime art banished hence.

This further consolation yet secure

I carry hence; though all by me is lost,

Such favour I unworthy am vouchsafed,

By me the Promised Seed shall all restore.

So spake our mother Eve; and Adam heard

Well pleased, but answered not: For now, too nigh

The Arch-Angel stood; and, from the other hill

To their fixed station, all in bright array

The Cherubim descended; on the ground

Gliding meteorous, as evening-mist

Risen from a river o’er the marish glides,

And gathers ground fast at the labourer’s heel

Homeward returning. High in front advanced,

The brandished sword of God before them blazed,

Fierce as a comet; which with torrid heat,

And vapour as the Libyan air adust,

Began to parch that temperate clime; whereat

In either hand the hastening Angel caught

Our lingering parents, and to the eastern gate

Led them direct, and down the cliff as fast

To the subjected plain; then disappeared.

They, looking back, all the eastern side beheld

Of Paradise, so late their happy seat,

Waved over by that flaming brand; the gate

With dreadful faces thronged, and fiery arms:

Some natural tears they dropt, but wiped them soon;

The world was all before them, where to choose

Their place of rest, and Providence their guide:

They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow,

Through Eden took their solitary way.

End of Book 12

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