Paradise Lost, by John Milton

Book III

The Argument

God sitting on his Throne sees Satan flying towards this world, then newly created; shews him to the Son who sat at his right hand; foretells the success of Satan in perverting mankind; clears his own justice and Wisdom from all imputation, having created Man free and able enough to have withstood his Tempter; yet declares his Purpose of grace towards him, in regard he fell not of his own malice, as did Satan, but by him seduc’t. The Son of God renders praises to his Father for the manifestation of his gracious purpose towards Man; but God again declares, that Grace cannot be extended towards Man without the satisfaction of divine justice; Man hath offended the majesty of God by aspiring to Godhead, and therefore with all his Progeny devoted to death must dye, unless some one can be found sufficient to answer for his offence, and undergoe his Punishment. The Son of God freely offers himself a Ransome for Man: the Father accepts him, ordains his incarnation, pronounces his exaltation above all Names in Heaven and Earth; commands all the Angels to adore him; they obey, and hymning to their Harps in full Quire, celebrate the Father and the Son. Mean while Satan alights upon the bare convex of this Worlds outermost Orb; where wandring he first finds a place since call’d The Lymbo of Vanity; what persons and things fly up thither; thence comes to the Gate of Heaven, describ’d ascending by stairs, and the waters above the Firmament that flow about it: His passage thence to the Orb of the Sun; he finds there Uriel the Regent of that Orb, but first changes himself into the shape of a meaner Angel; and pretending a zealous desire to behold the new Creation and Man whom God had plac’t here, inquires of him the place of his habitation, and is directed; alights first on Mount Niphates.

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

I sung of Chaos and Eternal Night,

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 yeild. 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,

Blind Thamyris and blind Maeonides,

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 knowledge 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 formed 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 ever 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 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 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 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 lust,

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 shall 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 Hosannas 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 thir 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.

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Heav’n rung
With Jubilee, and loud Hosannas fill’d
Th’ eternal Regions

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 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.

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and many more too long,
Embryos, and Idiots, Eremits and Friers

Thus they in Heav’n, above the starry Sphear,

Thir happie hours in joy and hymning spent.

Mean while upon the firm opacous Globe

Of this round World, whose first convex divides

The luminous inferior Orbs, enclos’d

From Chaos and th’ inroad of Darkness old,

Satan alighted walks: a Globe farr off

It seem’d, now seems a boundless Continent

Dark, waste, and wild, under the frown of Night

Starless expos’d, and ever-threatning storms

Of Chaos blustring round, inclement skie;

Save on that side which from the wall of Heav’n

Though distant farr som small reflection gaines

Of glimmering air less vext with tempest loud:

Here walk’d the Fiend at large in spacious field.

As when a Vultur on Imaus bred,

Whose snowie ridge the roving Tartar bounds,

Dislodging from a Region scarce of prey

To gorge the flesh of Lambs or yeanling Kids

On Hills where Flocks are fed, flies toward the Springs

Of Ganges or Hydaspes, Indian streams;

But in his way lights on the barren plaines

Of Sericana, where Chineses drive

With Sails and Wind thir canie Waggons light:

So on this windie Sea of Land, the Fiend

Walk’d up and down alone bent on his prey,

Alone, for other Creature in this place

Living or liveless to be found was none,

None yet, but store hereafter from the earth

Up hither like Aereal vapours flew

Of all things transitorie and vain, when Sin

With vanity had filld the works of men:

Both all things vain, and all who in vain things

Built their fond hopes of Glorie or lasting fame,

Or happiness in this or th’ other life;

All who have thir reward on Earth, the fruits

Of painful Superstition and blind Zeal,

Naught seeking but the praise of men, here find

Fit retribution, emptie as thir deeds;

All th’ unaccomplisht works of Natures hand,

Abortive, monstrous, or unkindly mixt,

Dissolvd on earth, fleet hither, and in vain,

Till final dissolution, wander here,

Not in the neighbouring Moon, as some have dreamd;

Those argent Fields more likely habitants,

Translated Saints, or middle Spirits hold

Betwixt th’ Angelical and Human kinde:

Hither of ill-joynd Sons and Daughters born

First from the ancient World those Giants came

With many a vain exploit, though then renownd:

The builders next of Babel on the Plain

Of Sennaar, and still with vain designe

New Babels, had they wherewithall, would build:

Others came single; hee who to be deemd

A God, leap’d fondly into AEtna flames

Empedocles, and hee who to enjoy

Plato’s Elysium, leap’d into the Sea,

Cleombrotus, and many more too long,

Embryos, and Idiots, Eremits and Friers

White, Black and Grey, with all thir trumperie.

Here Pilgrims roam, that stray’d so farr to seek

In Golgotha him dead, who lives in Heav’n;

And they who to be sure of Paradise

Dying put on the weeds of Dominic,

Or in Franciscan think to pass disguis’d;

They pass the Planets seven, and pass the fixt,

And that Crystalline Sphear whose ballance weighs

The Trepidation talkt, and that first mov’d;

And now Saint Peter at Heav’ns Wicket seems

To wait them with his Keys, and now at foot

Of Heav’ns ascent they lift thir Feet, when loe

A violent cross wind from either Coast

Blows them transverse ten thousand Leagues awry

Into the devious Air; then might ye see

Cowles, Hoods and Habits with thir wearers tost

And flutterd into Raggs, then Reliques, Beads,

Indulgences, Dispenses, Pardons, Bulls,

The sport of Winds: all these upwhirld aloft

Fly o’re the backside of the World farr of

Into a Limbo large and broad, since calld

The Paradise of Fools, to few unknown

Long after, now unpeopl’d, and untrod;

All this dark Globe the Fiend found as he pass’d,

And long he wanderd, till at last a gleame

Of dawning light turnd thither-ward in haste

His travell’d steps; farr distant hee descries

Ascending by degrees magnificent

Up to the wall of Heaven a Structure high,

At top whereof, but farr more rich appeerd

The work as of a Kingly Palace Gate

With Frontispice of Diamond and Gold

Imbellisht, thick with sparkling orient Gemmes

The Portal shon, inimitable on Earth

By Model, or by shading Pencil drawn.

The Stairs were such as whereon Jacob saw

Angels ascending and descending, bands

Of Guardians bright, when he from Esau fled

To Padan-Aram in the field of Luz,

Dreaming by night under the open Skie,

And waking cri’d, This is the Gate of Heav’n.

Each Stair mysteriously was meant, nor stood

There alwaies, but drawn up to Heav’n somtimes

Viewless, and underneath a bright Sea flow’d

Of Jasper, or of liquid Pearle, whereon

Who after came from Earth, sayling arriv’d,

Wafted by Angels, or flew o’re the Lake

Rapt in a Chariot drawn by fiery Steeds.

The Stairs were then let down, whether to dare

The Fiend by easie ascent, or aggravate

His sad exclusion from the dores of Bliss.

Direct against which op’nd from beneath,

Just o’re the blissful selt of Paradise,

A passage down to th’ Earth, a passage wide,

Wider by farr then that of after-times

Over Mount Sion, and, though that were large,

Over the Promis’d Land to God so dear,

By which, to visit oft those happy Tribes,

On high behests his Angels to and fro

Pass’d frequent, and his eye with choice regard

From Paneas the fount of Jordans flood

To Beersaba, where the Holy Land

Borders on Egypt and the Arabian shoare;

So wide the op’ning seemd, where bounds were set

To darkness, such as bound the Ocean wave.

Satan from hence now on the lower stair

That scal’d by steps of Gold to Heav’n Gate

Looks down with wonder at the sudden view

Of all this World at once. As when a Scout

Through dark and desart wayes with peril gone

All night; at last by break of chearful dawne

Obtains the brow of some high-climbing Hill,

Which to his eye discovers unaware

The goodly prospect of some forein land

First seen, or some renownd Metropolis

With glistering Spires and Pinnacles adornd,

Which now the Rising Sun guilds with his beams.

Such wonder seis’d, though after Heaven seen,

The Spirit maligne, but much more envy seis’d

At sight of all this World beheld so faire.

Round he surveys, and well might, where he stood

So high above the circling Canopie

Of Nights extended shade; from Eastern Point

Of Libra to the fleecie Starr that bears

Andromeda farr off Atlantick Seas

Beyond th’ Horizon; then from Pole to Pole

He views in bredth, and without longer pause

Down right into the Worlds first Region throws

His flight precipitant, and windes with ease

Through the pure marble Air his oblique way

Amongst innumerable Starrs, that shon

Stars distant, but nigh hand seemd other Worlds,

Or other Worlds they seemd, or happy Iles,

Like those Hesperian Gardens of old,

Fortunate Fields, and Groves and flourie Vales,

Thrice happy Iles, but who dwelt happy there

He stayd to enquire: above them all

The golden Sun in splendor likest Heaven

Allur’d his eye: Thither his course he bends

Through the calm Firmament; but up or downe

By center, or eccentric, hard to tell,

Or Longitude, where the great Luminarie

Alooff the vulgar Constellations thick,

That from his Lordly eye keep distance due,

Dispenses Light from farr; they as they move

Thir Starry dance in numbers that compute

Days, months, and years, towards his all-chearing Lamp

Turn swift their various motions, or are turnd

By his Magnetic beam, that gently warms

The Univers, and to each inward part

With gentle penetration, though unseen,

Shoots invisible vertue even to the deep:

So wondrously was set his Station bright.

There lands the Fiend, a spot like which perhaps

Astronomer in the Sun’s lucent Orbe

Through his glaz’d Optic Tube yet never saw.

The place he found beyond expression bright,

Compar’d with aught on Earth, Medal or Stone;

Not all parts like, but all alike informd

With radiant light, as glowing Iron with fire;

If mettal, part seemd Gold, part Silver cleer;

If stone, Carbuncle most or Chrysolite,

Rubie or Topaz, to the Twelve that shon

In Aarons Brestplate, and a stone besides

Imagind rather oft then elsewhere seen,

That stone, or like to that which here below

Philosophers in vain so long have sought,

In vain, though by thir powerful Art they binde

Volatil Hermes, and call up unbound

In various shapes old Proteus from the Sea,

Draind throuhh a Limbec to his Native forme.

What wonder then if fields and regions here

Breathe forth Elixir pure, and Rivers run

Potable Gold, when with one vertuous touch

Th’ Arch-chimic Sun so farr from us remote

Produces with Terrestrial Humor mixt

Here in the dark so many precious things

Of colour glorious and effect so rare?

Here matter new to gaze the Devil met

Undazl’d, fair and wide his eye commands,

For sight no obstacle found here, nor shade,

But all Sun-shine, as when his Beams at Noon

Culminate from th’ AEquator, as they now

Shot upward still direct, whence no way round

Shadow from body opaque can fall, and the Aire,

No where so cleer, sharp’nd his visual ray

To objects distant farr, whereby he soon

Saw within kenn a glorious Angel stand,

The same whom John saw also in the Sun:

His back was turnd, but not his brightness hid;

Of beaming sunnie Raies, a golden tiar

Circl’d his Head, nor less his Locks behind

Illustrious on his Shoulders fledge with wings

Lay waving round; on som great charge imploy’d

Hee seemd, or fixt in cogitation deep.

Glad was the Spirit impure; as now in hope

To find who might direct his wandring flight

To Paradise the happie seat of Man,

His journies end and our beginning woe.

But first he casts to change his proper shape,

Which else might work him danger or delay:

And now a stripling Cherube he appeers,

Not of the prime, yet such as in his face

Youth smil’d Celestial, and to every Limb

Sutable grace diffus’d, so well he feignd;

Under a Coronet his flowing haire

In curles on either cheek plaid, wings he wore

Of many a colourd plume sprinkl’d with Gold,

His habit fit for speed succinct, and held

Before his decent steps a Silver wand.

He drew not nigh unheard, the Angel bright,

Ere he drew nigh, his radiant visage turnd,

Admonisht by his eare, and strait was known

Th’ Arch-Angel Uriel, one of the seav’n

Who in God’s presence, neerest to his Throne

Stand ready at command, and are his Eyes

That run through all the Heav’ns, or down to th’ Earth

Bear his swift errands over moist and dry,

O’re Sea and Land; him Satan thus accostes.

Uriel, for thou of those seav’n Spirits that stand

In sight of Gods high Throne, gloriously bright,

The first art wont his great authentic will

Interpreter through highest Heav’n to bring,

Where all his Sons thy Embassie attend;

And here art likeliest by supream decree

Like honour to obtain, and as his Eye

To visit oft this new Creation round;

Unspeakable desire to see, and know

All these his wondrous works, but chiefly Man,

His chief delight and favour, him for whom

All these his works so wondrous he ordaind,

Hath brought me from the Quires of Cherubim

Alone thus wandring. Brightest Seraph tell

In which of all these shining Orbes hath Man

His fixed seat, or fixed seat hath none,

But all these shining Orbes his choice to dwell;

That I may find him, and with secret gaze,

Or open admiration him behold

On whom the great Creator hath bestowd

Worlds, and on whom hath all these graces powrd;

That both in him and all things, as is meet,

The Universal Maker we may praise;

Who justly hath drivn out his Rebell Foes

To deepest Hell, and to repair that loss

Created this new happie Race of Men

To serve him better: wise are all his wayes.

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 Che 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 the 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 Heav’n,

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 in many an Aerie wheele,

Nor staid, till on Niphates top he lights.

plate12
Toward the coast of Earth beneath,
Down from th’ Ecliptic, sped with hop’d success,
Throws his steep flight in many an Aerie wheele

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/m/milton/john/paradise/book3.html

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