Paradise Lost, by John Milton

Book I

The Argument

This first Book proposes first in brief the whole Subject, Mans disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise wherein he was plac’t: Then touches the prime cause of his fall, the Serpent, or rather Satan in the Serpent; who revolting from God, and drawing to his side many Legions of Angels, was by the command of God driven out of Heaven with all his Crew into the great Deep. Which action past over, the Poem hasts into the midst of things, presenting Satan with his Angels now fallen into Hell, describ’d here, not in the Center (for Heaven and Earth may be suppos’d as yet not made, certainly not yet accurst) but in a place of utter darknesse, fitliest call’d Chaos: Here Satan with his Angels lying on the burning Lake, thunder-struck and, astonisht, after a certain space recovers, as from confusion, calls up him who next in Order and Dignity lay by him; they confer of thir miserable fall. Satan awakens all his Legions, who lay till then in the same manner confounded; They rise, thir Numbers, array of Battel, thir chief Leaders nam’d, according to the Idols known afterwards in Canaan and the Countries adjoyning. To these Satan directs his Speech, comforts them with hope yet of regaining Heaven, but tells them lastly of a new World and new kind of Creature to be created, according to an ancient Prophesie or report in Heaven; for that Angels were long before this visible Creation, was the opinion of many ancient Fathers. To find out the truth of this Prophesie, and what to determin thereon he refers to a full Councell. What his Associates thence attempt. Pandemonium the Palace of Satan rises, suddenly built out of the Deep: The infernal Peers there sit in Counsel.

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 Eternal Providence,

And justifie the wayes of God to men.

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Him the Almighty Power
Hurld headlong flaming from th’ Ethereal Skie.

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 brightness 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 War

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 an 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 billow 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-horn, 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.

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Forthwith upright he rears from off the Pool

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 Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.

What matter where, if I be still the same,

And what I should be, all but less than 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’ o blivious Pool,

And call them not to share with us their part

In this unhappy Mansion, or once more

With rallied Arms to try what may be yet

Regained in 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’ Onmipotent 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,

No wonder, fall’n such a pernicious highth.

He scarce had ceas’t when the superior Fiend

Was moving toward the shore; his ponderous shield

Ethereal temper, massy, large and round,

Behind him cast; the broad circumference

Hung on his shoulders like the Moon, whose Orb

Through Optic Glass the Tuscan Artist views

At Ev’ning from the top of Fesole,

Or in Valdarno, to descry new Lands,

Rivers or Mountains in her spotty Globe.

His Spear, to equal which the tallest Pine

Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the Mast

Of some great Ammiral, were but a wand,

He walkt with to support uneasie steps

Over the burning Marle, not like those steps

On Heavens Azure, and the torrid Clime

Smote on him sore besides, vaulted with Fire;

Nathless he so endur’d, till on the Beach

Of that inflamed Sea, he stood and call’d

His Legions, Angel Forms, who lay intrans’t

Thick as Autumnal Leaves that strow the Brooks

In Vallombrosa, where th’ Etrurian shades

High overarch’t imbowr; or scatterd sedge

Afloat, when with fierce Winds Orion arm’d

Hath vext the Red-Sea Coast, whose waves orethrew

Busiris and his Memphian Chivalrie,

While with perfidious hatred they pursu’d

The Sojourners of Goshen, who beheld

From the safe shore their floating Carkases

And broken Chariot Wheels, so thick bestrown

Abject and lost lay these, covering the Flood,

Under amazement of their hideous change.

He call’d so loud, that all the hollow Deep

Of Hell resounded. Princes, Potentates,

Warriers, the Flowr of Heav’n, once yours, now lost,

If such astonishment as this can sieze

Eternal spirits; or have ye chos’n this place

After the toyl of Battel to repose

Your wearied vertue, for the ease you find

To slumber here, as in the Vales of Heav’n?

Or in this abject posture have ye sworn

To adore the Conquerour? who now beholds

Cherube and Seraph rowling in the Flood

With scatter’d Arms and Ensigns, till anon

His swift pursuers from Heav’n Gates discern

Th’ advantage, and descending tread us down

Thus drooping, or with linked Thunderbolts

Transfix us to the bottom of this Gulfe.

Awake, arise, or be for ever fall’n.

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They heard, and were abasht, and up they sprung

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So numberless were those bad Angels seen

They heard, and were abasht, and up they sprung

Upon the wing, as when men wont to watch

On duty, sleeping found by whom they dread,

Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake.

Nor did they not perceave the evil plight

In which they were, or the fierce pains not feel;

Yet to their Generals Voyce they soon obeyd

Innumerable. As when the potent Rod

Of Amrams Son in Egypts evill day

Wav’d round the Coast, up call’d a pitchy cloud

Of Locusts, warping on the Eastern Wind,

That ore the Realm of impious Pharaoh hung

Like Night, and darken’d all the Land of Nile:

So numberless were those bad Angels seen

Hovering on wing under the Cope of Hell

‘Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding Fires;

Till, as a signal giv’n, th’ uplifted Spear

Of their great Sultan waving to direct

Thir course, in even ballance down they light

On the firm brimstone, and fill all the Plain;

A multitude, like which the populous North

Pour’d never from her frozen loyns, to pass

Rhene or the Danaw, when her barbarous Sons

Came like a Deluge on the South, and spread

Beneath Gibraltar to the Lybian sands.

Forthwith from every Squadron and each Band

The Heads and Leaders thither hast where stood

Their great Commander; Godlike shapes and forms

Excelling human, Princely Dignities,

And Powers that earst in Heaven sat on Thrones;

Though of their Names in heav’nly Records now

Be no memorial, blotted out and ras’d

By thir Rebellion, from the Books of Life.

Nor had they yet among the Sons of Eve

Got them new Names, till wandring ore the Earth,

Through Gods high sufferance for the tryal of man,

By falsities and lyes the greatest part

Of Mankind they corrupted to forsake

God their Creator, and th’ invisible

Glory of him, that made them, to transform

Oft to the Image of a Brute, adorn’d

With gay Religions full of Pomp and Gold,

And Devils to adore for Deities:

Then were they known to men by various Names,

And various Idols through the Heathen World.

Say, Muse, their Names then known, who first, who last,

Rous’d from the slumber, on that fiery Couch,

At thir great Emperors call, as next in worth

Came singly where he stood on the bare strand,

While the promiscuous croud stood yet aloof?

The chief were those who from the Pit of Hell

Roaming to seek their prey on earth, durst fix

Their Seats long after next the Seat of God,

Their Altars by his Altar, Gods ador’d

Among the Nations round, and durst abide

Jehovah thundring out of Sion, thron’d

Between the Cherubim; yea, often plac’d

Within his Sanctuary it self their Shrines,

Abominations; and with cursed things

His holy Rites, and solemn Feasts profan’d,

And with their darkness durst affront his light.

First Moloch, horrid King besmear’d with blood

Of human sacrifice, and parents tears,

Though for the noyse of Drums and Timbrels loud

Their childrens cries unheard, that past through fire

To his grim Idol. Him the Ammonite

Worshipt in Rabba and her watry Plain,

In Argob and in Basan, to the stream

Of utmost Arnon. Nor content with such

Audacious neighbourhood, the wisest heart

Of Solomon he led by fraud to build

His Temple right against the Temple of God

On that opprobrious Hill, and made his Grove

The pleasant Vally of Hinnom, Tophet thence

And black Gehenna call’d, the Type of Hell.

Next hemos, th’ obscene dread of Moabs Sons,

From Aroer to Nebo, and the wild

Of Southmost Abarim; in Hesebon

And Horonaim, Seons Realm, beyond

The flowry Dale of Sibma clad with Vines,

And Eleale to th’ Asphaltick Pool.

Peor his other Name, when he entic’d

Israel in Sittim on their march from Nile

To do him wanton rites, which cost them woe.

Yet thence his lustful Orgies he enlarg’d

Even to that Hill of scandal, by the Grove

Of Moloch homicide, lust hard by hate;

Till good Josiah drove them thence to Hell.

With these came they, who from the bordring flood

Of old Euphrates to the Brook that parts

Egypt from Syrian ground, had general Names

Of Baalim and Ashtaroth, those male,

These Feminine. For Spirits when they please

Can either Sex assume, or both; so soft

And uncompounded is their Essence pure,

Not ti’d or manacl’d with joynt or limb,

Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones,

Like cumbrous flesh; but in what shape they choose

Dilated or condens’t, bright or obscure,

Can execute their aerie purposes,

And works of love or enmity fulfill.

For those the Race of Israel oft forsook

Their living strength, and unfrequented left

His righteous Altar, bowing lowly down

To bestial Gods; for which their heads as low

Bow’d down in Battel, sunk before the Spear

Of despicable foes. With these in troop

Came Astoreth, whom the Phoenicians call’d

Astarte, Queen of Heav’n, with crescent Horns;

To whose bright Image nightly by the Moon

Sidonian Virgins paid their Vows and Songs,

In Sion also not unsung, where stood

Her Temple on th’ offensive Mountain, built

By that uxorious King, whose heart though large,

Beguil’d by fair Idolatresses, fell

To Idols foul. Thammuz came next behind,

Whose annual wound in Lebanon allur’d

The Syrian Damsels to lament his fate

In amorous dittyes all a Summers day,

While smooth Adonis from his native Rock

Ran purple to the Sea, suppos’d with blood

Of Thammuz yearly wounded: the Love-tale

Infected Sions daughters with like heat,

Whose wanton passions in the sacred Porch

Ezekiel saw, when by the Vision led

His eye survay’d the dark Idolatries

Of alienated Judah. Next came one

Who mourn’d in earnest, when the Captive Ark

Maim’d his brute Image, head and hands lopt of

In his own Temple, on the grunsel edge,

Where he fell flat, and sham’d his Worshipers:

Dagon his Name, Sea Monster, upward Man

And downward Fish: yet had his Temple high

Rear’d in Azotus, dreaded through the Coast

Of Palestine, in Gath and Ascalon,

And Accaron and Gaza’s frontier bounds.

Him follow’d Rimmon, whose delightful Seat

Was fair Damascus, on the fertil Banks

Of Abbana and Pharphar, lucid streams.

He also against the house of God was bold:

A Leper once he lost and gain’d a King,

Ahaz his sottish Conquerour, whom he drew

Gods Altar to disparage and displace

For one of Syrian mode, whereon to burn

His odious offrings, and adore the Gods

Whom he had vanquisht. After these appear’d

A crew who under Names of old Renown,

Osiris, Isis, Orus and their Train

With monstrous shapes and sorceries abus’d

Fanatic Egypt and her Priests, to seek

Thir wandring Gods disguis’d in brutish forms

Rather then human. Nor did Israel scape

Th’ infection when their borrow’d Gold compos’d

The Calf in Oreb: and the Rebel King

Doubl’d that sin in Bethel and in Dan,

Lik’ning his Maker to the Grazed Ox,

Jehovah, who in one Night when he pass’d

From Egypt marching, equal’d with one stroke

Both her first born and all her bleating Gods.

Belial came last, then whom a Spirit more lewd

Fell not from Heaven, or more gross to love

Vice for it self: To him no Temple stood

Or Altar smoak’d; yet who more oft then hee

In Temples and at Altars, when the Priest

Turns Atheist, as did Elys Sons, who fill’d

With lust and violence the house of God.

In Courts and Palaces he also Reigns

And in luxurious Cities, where the noyse

Of riot ascends above thir loftiest Towrs,

And injury and outrage: And when Night

Darkens the Streets, then wander forth the Sons

Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine.

Witness the Streets of Sodom, and that night

In Gibeah, when hospitable Dores

Yielded thir Matrons to prevent worse rape.

These were the prime in order and in might;

The rest were long to tell, though far renown’d,

Th’ Ionian Gods, of Javans Issue held

Gods, yet confest later then Heav’n and Earth

Thir boasted Parents; Titan Heav’ns first born

With his enormous brood, and birthright seis’d

By younger Saturn, he from mightier Jove

His own and Rhea’s Son like measure found;

So love usurping reign’d: these first in Creet

And Ida known, thence on the Snowy top

Of cold Olympus rul’d the middle Air

Thir highest Heav’n; or on the Delphian Cliff,

Or in Dodona, and through all the bounds

Of Doric Land; or who with Saturn old

Fled over Adria to th’ Hesperian Fields,

And ore the Celtic roam’d the utmost Isles.

All these and more came flocking; but with looks

Down cast and damp, yet such wherein appear’d

Obscure som glimps of joy, to have found thir chief

Not in despair, to have found themselves not lost

In loss it self; which on his count’nance cast

Like doubtful hue: but he his wonted pride

Soon recollecting, with high words, that bore

Semblance of worth not substance, gently rais’d

Their fainted courage, and dispel’d their fears.

Then strait commands that at the warlike sound

Of Trumpets loud and Clarions be upreard

His mighty Standard; that proud honour claim’d

Azazel as his right, a Cherube tall:

Who forthwith from the glittering Staff unfurld

Th’ Imperial Ensign, which full high advanc’t

Shon like a Meteor streaming to the Wind

With Gemms and Golden lustre rich imblaz’d,

Seraphic arms and Trophies: all the while

Sonorous mettal blowing Martial sounds:

At which the universal Host upsent

A shout that tore Hells Concave, and beyond

Frighted the Reign of Chaos and old Night.

All in a moment through the gloom were seen

Ten thousand Banners rise into the Air

With Orient Colours waving: with them rose

A Forrest huge of Spears: and thronging Helms

Appear’d, and serried shields in thick array

Of depth immeasurable: Anon they move

In perfect Phalanx to the Dorian mood

Of flutes and soft Recorders; such as rais’d

To highth of noblest temper Hero’s old

Arming to Battel, and in stead of rage

Deliberate valour breath’d, firm and unmov’d

With dread of death to flight or foul retreat,

Nor wanting power to mitigate and swage

With solemn touches, troubl’d thoughts, and chase

Anguish and doubt and fear and sorrow and pain

From mortal or immortal minds. Thus they

Breathing united force with fixed thought

Mov’d on in silence to soft Pipes that charm’d

Thir painful steps o’re the burnt soyle; and now

Advanc’t in view they stand, a horrid Front

Of dreadful length and dazling Arms, in guise

Of Warriers old with order’d Spear and Shield,

Awaiting what command thir mighty Chief

Had to impose: He through the armed Files

Darts his experienc’t eye, and soon traverse

The whole Battalion views, thir order due,

Thir visages and stature as of Gods,

Thir number last he summs. And now his heart

Distends with pride, and hardning in his strength

Glories: For never since created man,

Met such imbodied force, as nam’d with these

Could merit more then that small infantry

Warr’d on by Cranes: though all the Giant brood

Of Phlegra with th’ Heroic Race were joyn’d

That fought at Theb’s and Ilium, on each side

Mixt with auxiliar Gods; and what resounds

In Fable or Romance of Uthers Son

Begirt with British and Armoric Knights;

And all who since, Baptiz’d or Infidel

Jousted in Aspramont or Montalban,

Damasco, or Marocco, or Trebisond,

Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore

When Charlemain with all his Peerage fell

By Fontarabbia. Thus far these beyond

Compare of mortal prowess, yet observ’d

Thir dread Commander: he above the rest

In shape and gesture proudly eminent

Stood like a Towr; his form had yet not lost

All her Original brightness, nor appear’d

Less then Arch Angel ruind, and th’ excess

Of Glory obscur’d: As when the Sun new ris’n

Looks through the Horizontal misty Air

Shorn of his Beams, or from behind the Moon

In dim Eclips disastrous twilight sheds

On half the Nations, and with fear of change

Perplexes Monarchs. Dark’n’d so, yet shon

Above them all th’ Arch Angel: but his face

Deep scars of Thunder had intrencht, and care

Sat on his faded cheek, but under Browes

Of dauntless courage, and considerate Pride

Waiting revenge: cruel his eye, but cast

Signs of remorse and passion to behold

The fellows of his crime, the followers

(Far other once beheld in bliss) condemn’d

For ever now to have their lot in pain,

Millions of Spirits for his fault amerc’t

Of Heav’n, and from Eternal Splendors flung

For his revolt, yet faithfull how they stood,

Thir Glory witherd. As when Heavens Fire

Hath scath’ d the Forrest Oaks, or Mountain Pines,

With singed top their stately growth though bare

Stands on the blasted Heath. He now prepar’d

To speak; whereat their doubl’d Ranks they bend

From Wing to Wing, and half enclose him round

With all his Peers: attention held them mute.

Thrice he assayd, and thrice in spite of scorn,

Tears such as Angels weep, burst forth: at last

Words interwove with sighs found out their way.

O Myriads of immortal Spirits, O Powers

Matchless, but with th’ Almighty, and that strife

Was not inglorious, though th’ event was dire,

As this place testifies, and this dire change

Hateful to utter: but what power of mind

Foreseeing or presaging, from the Depth

Of knowledge past or present, could have fear’d,

How such united force of Gods, how such

As stood like these, could ever know repulse?

For who can yet beleeve, though after loss,

That all these puissant Legions, whose exile

Hath emptied Heav’n, shall faile to re-ascend

Self-rais’d, and repossess their native seat?

For me, be witness all the Host of Heav’n,

If counsels different, or danger shun’d

By me, have lost our hopes. But he who reigns

Monarch in Heav’n, till then as one secure

Sat on his Throne, upheld by old repute,

Consent or custome, and his Regal State

Put forth at full, but still his strength conceal’d,

Which tempted our attempt, and wrought our fall.

Henceforth his might we know, and know our own

So as not either to provoke, or dread

New warr, provok’t; our better part remains

To work in close design, by fraud or guile

What force effected not: that he no less

At length from us may find, who overcomes

By force, hath overcome but half his foe.

Space may produce new Worlds; whereof so rife

There went a fame in Heav’n that he ere long

Intended to create, and therein plant

A generation, whom his choice regard

Should favour equal to the Sons of Heaven:

Thither, if but to prie, shall be perhaps

Our first eruption, thither or elsewhere:

For this Infernal Pit shall never hold

Caelestial Spirits in Bondage, nor th’ Abysse

Long under darkness cover. But these thoughts

Full Counsel must mature: Peace is despaird,

For who can think Submission! Warr then, Warr

Open or understood must be resolv’d.

He spake: and to confirm his words, out-flew

Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs

Of mighty Cherubim; the sudden blaze

Far round illumin’d hell: highly they rag’d

Against the Highest, and fierce with grasped arm’s

Clash’d on their sounding shields the din of war,

Hurling defiance toward the vault of Heav’n.

There stood a Hill not far whose griesly top

Belch’d fire and rowling smoak; the rest entire

Shon with a glossie scurff, undoubted sign

That in his womb was hid metallic Ore,

The work of Sulphur. Thither wing’d with speed

A numerous Brigad hasten’d. As when bands

Of Pioners with Spade and Pickaxe arm’d

Forerun the Royal Camp, to trench a Field,

Or cast a Rampart. Mammon led them on,

Mammon, the least erected Spirit that fell

From heav’n, for ev’n in heav’n his looks and thoughts

Were always downward bent, admiring more

The riches of Heav’ns pavement, trod’n Gold,

Then aught divine or holy else enjoy’d

In vision beatific: by him first

Men also, and by his suggestion taught,

Ransack’d the Center, and with impious hands

Rifl’d the bowels of their mother Earth

For Treasures better hid. Soon had his crew

Op’nd into the Hill a spacious wound

And dig’d out ribs of Gold. Let none admire

That riches grow in Hell; that soyle may best

Deserve the pretious bane. And here let those

Who boast in mortal things, and wondring tell

Of Babel, and the works Memphian Kings,

Learn how thir greatest Monuments of Fame,

And Strength and Art are easily outdone

By Spirits reprobate, and in an hour

What in an age they with incessant toyle

And hands innumerable scarce perform.

Nigh on the Plain in many cells prepar’d,

That underneath had veins of liquid fire

Sluc’d from the Lake, a second multitude

With wondrous Art founded the massie Ore,

Severing each kinde, and scum’d the Bullion dross:

A third as soon had form’d within the ground

A various mould, and from the boyling cells

By strange conveyance fill’d each hollow nook,

As in an Organ from one blast of wind

To many a row of Pipes the sound-board breaths.

Anon out of the earth a Fabrick huge

Rose like an Exhalation, with the sound

Of Dulcet Symphonies and voices sweet,

Built like a Temple, where Pilasters round

Were set, and Doric pillars overlaid

With Golden Architrave; nor did there want

Cornice or Freeze, with bossy Sculptures grav’n,

The Roof was fretted Gold. Not Babilon,

Nor great Alcairo such magnificence

Equal’d in all thir glories, to inshrine

Belus or Serapis thir Gods, or seat

Thir Kings, when AEgypt with Assyria strove

In wealth and luxurie. Th’ ascending pile

Stood fixt her stately highth, and strait the dores

Op’ning thir brazen foulds discover wide

Within, her ample spaces, o’re the smooth

And level pavement: from the arched roof

Pendant by suttle Magic many a row

Of Starry Lamps and blazing Cressets fed

With Naphtha and Asphaltus yeilded light

As from a sky. The hasty multitude

Admiring enter’d and the work some praise

And some the Architect: his hand was known

In Heav’n by many a Towred structure high,

Where Scepter’d Angels held thir residence,

And sat as Princes, whom the supreme King

Exalted to such power, and gave to rule,

Each in his Herarchie, the Orders bright.

Nor was his name unheard or unador’d

In ancient Greece; and in Ausonian land

Men called him Mulciber; and how he fell

From Heav’n, they fabl’d, thrown by angry Jove

Sheer o’re the Chrystal Battlements: from Morn

To Noon he fell, from Noon to dewy Eve,

A Summers day; and with the setting Sun

Dropt from the Zenith like a falling Star,

On Lemnos th’ AEgean Ile: thus they relate,

Erring; for he with this rebellious rout

Fell long before; nor aught avail’d him now

To have built in Heav’n high Towrs; nor did he scape

By all his Engins, but was headlong sent

With his industrious crew to build in hell.

Mean while the winged Haralds by command

Of Sovran power, with awful Ceremony

And Trumpets sound throughout the Host proclaim

A solemn Councel forthwith to be held

At Pandaemonium, the high Capital

Of Satan and his Peers: thir summons call’d

From every Band and squared Regiment

By place or choice the worthiest; they anon

With hunderds and with thousands trooping came

Attended: all access was throng’d, the Gates

And Porches wide, but chief the spacious Hall

(Though like a cover’d field, where Champions bold

Wont ride in arm’d, and at the Soldans chair

Defi’d the best of Panim chivalry

To mortal combat or carreer with Lance)

Thick swarm’d, both on the ground and in the air,

Brusht with the hiss of russling wings. As Bees

In spring time, when the Sun with Taurus rides,

Poure forth thir populous youth about the Hive

In clusters; they among fresh dews and flowers

Flie to and fro, or on the smoothed Plank,

The suburb of thir Straw-built Cittadel,

New rub’d with Baume, expatiate and confer

Thir State affairs. So thick the aerie crowd

Swann’d and were straitn’d; till the Signal giv’n,

Behold a wonder! they but now who seemd

In bigness to surpass Earths Giant Sons

Now less then smallest Dwarfs, in narrow room

Throng numberless, like that Pigmean Race

Beyond the Indian Mount, or Faerie Elves,

Whose midnight Revels, by a Forrest side

Or Fountain some belated Peasant sees,

Or dreams he sees, while over head the Moon

Sits Arbitress, and neerer to the Earth

Wheels her pale course, they on thir mirth & dance

Intent, with jocond Music charm his ear;

At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.

Thus incorporeal Spirits to smallest forms

Reduc’d thir shapes immense, and were at large,

Though without number still amidst the Hall

Of that infernal Court. But far within

And in thir own dimensions like themselves

The great Seraphic Lords and Cherubim

In close recess and secret conclave sat

A thousand Demy-Gods on golden seat’s,

Frequent and full. After short silence then

And summons read, the great consult began.

plate05
  Thir summons call’d
From every Band and squared Regiment
By place or choice the worthiest;

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/m/milton/john/paradise/book1.html

Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 23:09