Paradise Lost


John Milton

Illustrated by Gustave Doré

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First published in 1667.

This web edition published by eBooks@Adelaide.

Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 22:40.

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The University of Adelaide Library
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Table of Contents

Book I

Book II

Book III

Book IV

Book V

Book VI

Book VII

Book VIII

Book IX

Book X

Book XI

Book XII

List of Illustrations

  1. Him the Almighty Power
    Hurld headlong flaming from th’ Ethereal Skie.
  2. Forthwith upright he rears from off the Pool
  3. They heard, and were abasht, and up they sprung
  4. So numberless were those bad Angels seen
  5.   Thir summons call’d
    From every Band and squared Regiment
    By place or choice the worthiest;
  6. High on a Throne of Royal State, which far
    Outshon the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,
  7. Gorgons and Hydra’s, and Chimera’s dire.
  8. Before the Gates there sat
    On either side a formidable shape;
  9. With head, hands, wings, or feet pursues his way,
    And swims or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flyes
  10. Heav’n rung
    With Jubilee, and loud Hosannas fill’d
    Th’ eternal Regions
  11. and many more too long,
    Embryos, and Idiots, Eremits and Friers
  12. Toward the coast of Earth beneath,
    Down from th’ Ecliptic, sped with hop’d success,
    Throws his steep flight in many an Aerie wheele
  13. Me miserable! which way shall I flie
    Infinite wrauth, and infinite despaire?
  14. Now to th’ ascent of that steep savage Hill
    Satan had journied on, pensive and slow
  15. A happy rural seat of various view
  16. The savourie pulp they chew, and in the rinde
    Still as they thirsted scoop the brimming stream
  17. So promis’d hee, and Uriel to his charge
    Returnd
  18. these to the Bower direct
    In search of whom they sought
  19. Nor more; but fled
    Murmuring, and with him fled the shades of night.
  20. Leaning half-rals’d, with looks of cordial Love
    Hung over her enamour’d.
  21. Eastward among those Trees, what glorious shape
    Comes this way moving
  22. To whom the winged Hierarch repli’d.
    O Adam, one Almightie is, from whom
    All things proceed
  23. This greeting on thy impious Crest receive.
  24. Then Satan first knew pain,
    And writh’ d him to and fro.
  25. Now Night her course began
  26. On the foughten field
    Michael and his Angels prevalent
    Encamping, plac’d in Guard thir Watches round
  27. Nine dayes they fell
  28. Hell at last
    Yawning receavd them whole.
  29. Wave rowling after Wave, where way they found,
    If steep, with torrent rapture
  30. And God said, let the Waters generate
    Reptil with Spawn abundant, living Soule:
    And let Fowle flie above the Earth.
  31. And seems a moving Land, and at his Gilles
    Draws in, and at his Trunck spouts out a Sea.
  32. Meanwhile the tepid Caves, and Fens and shoares
    Thir Brood as numerous hatch
  33. And now on Earth the Seaventh
    Eev’ning arose in Eden
  34. So parted they, the Angel up to Heav’n
    From the thick shade, and Adam to his Bowre.
  35. In with the River sunk, and with it rose
    Satan.
  36. O Earth, how like to Heav’n, if not preferr’d
    More justly.
  37. Him fast sleeping soon he found
    In Labyrinth of many a round self-rowld.
  38. Neerer he drew, and many a walk traversd
    Of stateliest Covert, Cedar, Pine, or Palme.
  39. Back to the Thicket slunk
    The guiltie Serpent.
  40. Nor onely Teares
    Raind at thir Eyes, but high Winds worse within
    Began to rise
  41. They heard
    And from his presence hid themselves among
    The thickest Trees.
  42. And now expecting
    Each hour thir great adventurer from the search
    Of Forrein Worlds.
  43. Dreadful was the din
    Of hissing through the Hall, thick swarming now
    With complicated monsters.
  44. This said, they both betook them several wayes.
  45. The heav’nly Bands
    Down from a Skie of Jasper lighted now
    In Paradise.
  46. Began to build a Vessel of huge bulk.
  47. All dwellings else
    Flood overwhelm’d, and them with all thir pomp
    Deep under water rould.
  48. They beseech
    That Moses might report to them his will,
    And terror cease.
  49. Som natural tears they drop’d, but wip’d them soon.

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.

plate01
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;

Book II

The Argument

The Consultation begun, Satan debates whether another Battel be to be hazarded for the recovery of Heaven: some advise it, others dissuade: A third proposal is prefer’d, mention’d before by Satan, to search the truth of that Prophesie or Tradition in Heaven concerning another world, and another kind of creature equal or not much inferiour to themselves, about this time to be created: Thir doubt who shall be sent on this difficult search: Satan thir chief undertakes alone the voyage, is honourd and applauded. The Councel thus ended, the rest betake them several wayes and to several imployments, as thir inclinations lead them, to entertain the time till Satan return. He passes on his journey to Hell Gates, finds them shut, and who sat there to guard them, by whom at length they are op’nd, and discover to him the great Gulf between Hell and Heaven; with what difficulty he passes through, directed by Chaos, the Power of that place, to the sight of this new World which he sought.

plate06
High on a Throne of Royal State, which far
Outshon the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,

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

Yielded 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

Incapible of stain would soon expel

Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire

Victorious. Thus repurs’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 and 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 Halleluiahs; 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 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 policy, 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 Hell fire

To waste his whole Creation, or posses

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 and faded bliss,

Faded so soon. Advise if this be worth

Attempting, or to sit in darkness here

Hatching or 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 wee 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; and 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 demur

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

Heavn’s 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,

Gorgons and Hydra’s, and Chimera’s dire.

plate07
Gorgons and Hydra’s, and Chimera’s dire.

plate08
Before the Gates there sat
On either side a formidable shape;

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

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 assured, without leave askt of thee:

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

Hell-born, not to contend with 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 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 swum

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

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 Portcullis 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 grate

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 wild 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 on consistence, half on foot,

Half both 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.

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With head, hands, wings, or feet pursues his way,
And swims or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flyes

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 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 wide stretching far and wide beneath;

Now another World 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 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 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.

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.

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

Book IV

The Argument

Satan now in prospect of Eden, and nigh the place where he must now attempt the bold enterprize which he undertook alone against God and Man, falls into many doubts with himself, and many passions, fear, envy, and despare; but at length confirms himself in evil, journeys on to Paradise, whose outward prospect and scituation is described, overleaps the bounds, sits in the shape of a Cormormant on the Tree of life, as highest in the Garden to look about him. The Garden describ’d; Satans first sight of Adam and Eve; his wonder at thir excellent form and happy state, but with resolution to work thir fall; overhears thir discourse, thence gathers that the Tree of knowledge was forbidden them to eat of, under penalty of death; and thereon intends to found his temptation, by seducing them to transgress: then leaves them a while, to know further of thir state by some other means. Mean while Uriel descending on a Sun-beam warns Gabriel, who had in charge the Gate of Paradise, that some evil spirit had escap’d the Deep, and past at Noon by his Sphere in the shape of a good Angel down to Paradise, discovered after by his furious gestures in the Mount. Gabriel promises to find him out ere morning. Night coming on, Adam and Eve discourse of going to thir rest: thir Bower describ’d; thir Evening worship. Gabriel drawing forth his Bands of Night-watch to walk the round of Paradise, appoints two strong Angels to Adams Bower, least the evil spirit should be there doing some harm to Adam or Eve sleeping; there they find him at the ear of Eve, tempting her in a dream, and bring him, though unwilling, to Gabriel; by whom question’d, he scornfully answers, prepares resistance, but hinder’d by a Sign from Heaven, flies out of Paradise.

O For that warning voice, which he who saw

Th’ Apocalyps, heard cry in Heav’n aloud,

Then when the Dragon, put to second rout,

Came furious down to be reveng’d on men,

Wo to the inhabitants on Earth! that now,

While time was, our first Parents had bin warnd

The coming of thir secret foe, and scap’d

Haply so scap’d his mortal snare; for now

Satan, now first inflam’d with rage came down,

The Tempter ere th’ Accuser of man-kind,

To wreck on innocent frail man his loss

Of that first Battel, and his flight to Hell:

Yet not rejoycing in his speed, though bold,

Far off and fearless, nor with cause to boast,

Begins his dire attempt, which nigh the birth

Now rowling, boiles in his tumultuous brest,

And like a devillish Engine back recoiles

Upon himself; horror and doubt distract

His troubl’d thoughts, and from the bottom stir

The Hell within him, for within him Hell

He brings, and round about him, nor from Hell

One step no more then from himself can fly

By change of place: Now conscience wakes despair

That slumberd, wakes the bitter memorie

Of what he was, what is, and what must be

Worse; of worse deeds worse sufferings must ensue.

Sometimes towards Eden which now in his view

Lay pleasant, his grievd look he fixes sad,

Sometimes towards Heav’n and the full-blazing Sun,

Which now sat high in his Meridian Towre:

Then much revolving, thus in sighs began.

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Me miserable! which way shall I flie
Infinite wrauth, and infinite despaire?

O thou that with surpassing Glory crownd,

Look’st from thy sole Dominion like the God

Of this new World; at whose sight all the Starrs

Hide thir diminisht heads; to thee I call,

But with no friendly voice, and add thy name

O Sun, to tell thee how I hate thy beams

That bring to my remembrance from what state

I fell, how glorious once above thy Spheare;

Till Pride and worse Ambition threw me down

Warring in Heav’n against Heav’ns matchless King:

Ah wherefore! he deservd no such return

From me, whom he created what I was

In that bright eminence, and with his good

Upbraided none; nor was his service hard.

What could be less then to afford him praise,

The easiest recompence, and pay him thanks,

How due! yet all his good prov’d ill in me,

And wrought but malice; lifted up so high

I ‘sdeind subjection, and thought one step higher

Would set me highest, and in a moment quit

The debt immense of endless gratitude,

So burthensome, still paying, still to ow;

Forgetful what from him I still receivd,

And understood not that a grateful mind

By owing owes not, but still pays, at once

Indebted and discharged; what burden then?

O had his powerful Destiny ordaind

Me some inferiour Angel, I had stood

Then happie; no unbounded hope had rais’d

Ambition. Yet why not? som other Power

As great might have aspir’d, and me though mean

Drawn to his part; but other Powers as great

Fell not, but stand unshak’n, from within

Or from without, to all temptations arm’d.

Hadst thou the same free Will and Power to stand?

Thou hadst: whom hast thou then or what to accuse,

But Heav’ns free Love dealt equally to all?

Be then his Love accurst, since love or hate,

To me alike, it deals eternal woe.

Nay curs’d be thou; since against his thy will

Chose freely what it now so justly rues.

Me miserable! which way shall I flie

Infinite wrauth, and infinite despaire?

Which way I flie is Hell; my self am Hell;

And in the lowest deep a lower deep

Still threatning to devour me opens wide,

To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heav’n.

O then at last relent: is there no place

Left for Repentance, none for Pardon left?

None left but by submission; and that word

Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame

Among the spirits beneath, whom I seduc’d

With other promises and other vaunts

Then to submit, boasting I could subdue

Th’ Omnipotent. Ay me, they little know

How dearly I abide that boast so vaine,

Under what torments inwardly I groane:

While they adore me on the Throne of Hell,

With Diadem and Scepter high advancd

The lower still I fall, onely Supream

In miserie; such joy Ambition findes.

But say I could repent and could obtaine

By Act of Grace my former state; how soon

Would highth recal high thoughts, how soon unsay

What feign’d submission swore: ease would recant

Vows made in pain, as violent and void.

For never can true reconcilement grow

Where wounds of deadly hate have peirc’d so deep:

Which would but lead me to a worse relapse,

And heavier fall: so should I purchase deare

Short intermission bought with double smart.

This knows my punisher; therefore as far

From granting hee, as I from begging peace:

All hope excluded thus, behold in stead

Of us out-cast, exil’d, his new delight,

Mankind created, and for him this World.

So farwel Hope, and with Hope farwel Fear,

Farwel Remorse: all Good to me is lost;

Evil be thou my Good; by thee at least

Divided Empire with Heav’ns King I hold

By thee, and more then half perhaps will reigne;

As Man ere long, and this new World shall know.

Thus while he spake, each passion dimm’d his face

Thrice chang’d with pale, ire, envie and despair,

Which marrd his borrow’d visage, and betraid

Him counterfet, if any eye beheld.

For heav’nly mindes from such distempers foule

Are ever cleer. Whereof hee soon aware,

Each perturbation smooth’d with outward calme,

Artificer of fraud; and was the first

That practis’d falshood under saintly shew,

Deep malice to conceale, couch’t with revenge:

Yet not anough had practis’d to deceive

Uriel once warnd; whose eye pursu’d him down

The way he went, and on th’ Assyrian mount

Saw him disfigur’d, more then could befall

Spirit of happie sort: his gestures fierce

He markd and mad demeanour, then alone,

As he suppos’d all unobserv’d, unseen.

So on he fares, and to the border comes

Of Eden, where delicious Paradise,

Now nearer, Crowns with her enclosure green,

As with a rural mound the champain head

Of a steep wilderness, whose hairie sides

With thicket overgrown, grottesque and wilde,

Access deni’d; and over head up grew

Insuperable highth of loftiest shade,

Cedar, and Pine, and Firr, and branching Palm

A Silvan Scene, and as the ranks ascend

Shade above shade, a woodie Theatre

Of stateliest view. Yet higher then thir tops

The verdurous wall of Paradise up sprung:

Which to our general Sire gave prospect large

Into his neather Empire neighbouring round.

And higher then that wall circling row

Of goodliest Trees loaden with fairest Fruit,

Blossoms and Fruits at once of golden hue

Appeerd, with gay enameld colours mixt:

On which the Sun more glad impress’d his beams

Then in fair Evening Cloud, or humid Bow,

When God hath showrd the earth; so lovely seemd

That Lantskip: And of pure now purer aire

Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires

Vernal delight and joy, able to drive

All sadness but despair: now gentle gales

Fanning thir odoriferous wings dispense

Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole

Those balmie spoiles. As when to them who sail

Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past

Mozambic, off at Sea North-East windes blow

Sabean Odours from the spicie shoare

Of Arabie the blest, with such delay

Well pleas’d they slack thir course, and many a League

Cheard with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles.

So entertaind those odorous sweets the Fiend

Who came thir bane, though with them better pleas’d

Then Asmodeus with the fishie fume,

That drove him, though enamourd, from the Spouse

Of Tobits Son, and with a vengeance sent

From Media post to AEgypt, there fast bound.

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Now to th’ ascent of that steep savage Hill
Satan had journied on, pensive and slow

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 their 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 born

His Sons, the fairest of her Daughters Eve.

Under a tuft of shade that on a green

Stood whispering soft, by a fresh Fountain side

They sat them down, and after no more toil

Of 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, and 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 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.

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A happy rural seat of various view

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The savourie pulp they chew, and in the rinde
Still as they thirsted scoop the brimming stream

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 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

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 his loftie stand on that high Tree

Down he alights among the sportful Herd

Of those four footed 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 Erst 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 heare 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 return’d 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 heare

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 elight

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 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.

So saying, his proud step he scornful turn’d,

But with sly circumspection, and began

Through wood, through waste, o’re hill, o’re dale his roam.

Mean while in utmost Longitude, where Heav’n

With Earth and Ocean meets, the setting Sun

Slowly descended, and with right aspect

Against the eastern Gate of Paradise

Leveld his eevning Rayes: it was a Rock

Of Alabaster, pil’d up to the Clouds,

Conspicuous farr, winding with one ascent

Accessible from Earth, one entrance high;

The rest was craggie cliff, that overhung

Still as it rose, impossible to climbe.

Betwixt these rockie Pillars Gabriel sat

Chief of th’ Angelic Guards, awaiting night;

About him exercis’d Heroic Games

Th’ unarmed Youth of Heav’n, but nigh at hand

Celestial Armourie, Shields, Helmes, and Speares

Hung high with Diamond flaming, and with Gold.

Thither came Uriel, gliding through the Eeven

On a Sun beam, swift as a shooting Star

In Autumn thwarts the night, when vapors fir’d

Impress the Air, and shews the Mariner.

From what point of his Compass to beware

Impetuous winds: he thus began in haste.

Gabriel, to thee thy cours by Lot hath giv’n

Charge and strict watch that to this happie place

No evil thing approach or enter in;

This day at highth of Noon came to my Spheare

A Spirit, zealous, as he seem’d, to know

More of th’ Almighties works, and chiefly Man

Gods latest Image: I describ’d his way

Bent all on speed, and markt his Aerie Gate;

But in the Mount that lies from Eden North,

Where he first lighted, soon discernd his looks

Alien from Heav’n, with passions foul obscur’d:

 Mine eye pursu’d him still, but under shade

Lost sight of him; one of the banisht crew

I fear, hath ventur’d from the deep, to raise

New troubles; him thy care must be to find.

To whom the winged Warriour thus returnd:

Uriel, no wonder if thy perfet sight,

Amid the Suns bright circle where thou sitst,

See farr and wide: in at this Gate none pass

The vigilance here plac’t, but such as come

Well known from Heav’n; and since Meridian hour

No Creature thence: if Spirit of other sort,

So minded, have oreleapt these earthie bounds

On purpose, hard thou knowst it to exclude

Spiritual substance with corporeal barr.

But if within the circuit of these walks

In whatsoever shape he lurk, of whom

Thou telst, by morrow dawning I shall know.

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So promis’d hee, and Uriel to his charge
Returnd

So promis’d hee, and Uriel to his charge

Returnd on that bright beam, whose point now raisd

Bore him slope downward to the Sun now fall’n

Beneath th’ Azores; whither the prime Orb,

Incredible how swift, had thither rowl’d

Diurnal, or this less volubil Earth

By shorter flight to th’ East, had left him there

Arraying with reflected Purple and Gold

The Clouds that on his Western Throne attend:

Now came still Eevning on, and Twilight gray

Had in her sober Liverie all things clad;

Silence accompanied, for Beast and Bird,

They to thir grassie Couch, these to thir Nests

Were slunk, all but the wakeful Nightingale;

She all night long her amorous descant sung;

Silence was pleas’d: now glow’d the Firmament

With living Saphirs: Hesperus that led

The starrie Host, rode brightest, till the Moon

Rising in clouded Majestie, at length

Apparent Queen unvaild her peerless light,

And o’re the dark her Silver Mantle threw.

When Adam thus to Eve: Fair Consort, th’ hour

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.

To morrow 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 than 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 sourse

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 had night measur’d with her shaddowie Cone

Half way up Hill this vast Sublunar Vault,

And from thir Ivorie Port the Cherubim

Forth issuing at th’ accustomd hour stood armd

To thir night watches in warlike Parade,

When Gabriel to his next in power thus spake.

Uzziel, half these draw off, and coast the South

With strictest watch; these other wheel the North,

Our circuit meets full West. As flame they part

Half wheeling to the Shield, half to the Spear.

From these, two strong and suttle Spirits he calld

That neer him stood, and gave them thus in charge.

Ithuriel and Zephon, with wingd speed

Search through this Garden, leav unsearcht no nook,

But chiefly where those two fair Creatures Lodge,

Now laid perhaps asleep secure of harme.

This Eevning from the Sun’s decline arriv’d

Who tells of som infernal Spirit seen

Hitherward bent (who could have thought?) escap’d

The barrs of Hell, on errand bad no doubt:

Such where ye find, seise fast, and hither bring.

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these to the Bower direct
In search of whom they sought

So saying, on he led his radiant Files,

Daz’ling the Moon; these to the Bower direct

In search of whom they sought: him there they found

Squat like a Toad, close at the eare of Eve;

Assaying by his Devilish art to reach

The Organs of her Fancie, and with them forge

Illusions as he list, Phantasms and Dreams,

Or if, inspiring venom, he might taint

Th’ animal Spirits that from pure blood arise

Like gentle breaths from Rivers pure, thence raise

At least distemperd, discontented thoughts,

Vain hopes, vain aimes, inordinate desires

Blown up with high conceits ingendring pride.

Him thus intent Ithuriel with his Spear

Touch’d lightly; for no falshood can endure

Touch of Celestial temper, but returns

Of force to its own likeness: up he starts

Discoverd and surpriz’d. As when a spark

Lights on a heap of nitrous Powder, laid

Fit for the Tun som Magazin to store

Against a rumord Warr, the Smuttie graine

With sudden blaze diffus’d, inflames the Aire:

So started up in his own shape the Fiend.

Back stept those two fair Angels half amaz’d

So sudden to behold the grieslie King;

Yet thus, unmovd with fear, accost him soon.

Which of those rebell Spirits adjudg’d to Hell

Com’st thou, escap’d thy prison, and transform’d,

Why satst thou like an enemie in waite

Here watching at the head of these that sleep?

Know yet not then said Satan, filld with scorn

Know ye not me? ye knew me once no mate

For you, there sitting where ye durst not soare;

Not to know mee argues your selves unknown,

The lowest of your throng; or if ye know,

Why ask ye, and superfluous begin

Your message, like to end as much in vain?

To whom thus Zephon, answering scorn with scorn.

Think not, revolted Spirit, thy shape the same,

Or undiminisht brightness, to be known

As when thou stoodst in Heav’n upright and pure;

That Glorie then, when thou no more wast good,

Departed from thee, and thou resembl’st now

Thy sin and place of doom obscure and foule.

But come, for thou, besure, shalt give account

To him who sent us, whose charge is to keep

This place inviolable, and these from harm.

So spake the Cherube, and his grave rebuke

Severe in youthful beautie, added grace

Invincible: abasht the Devil stood,

And felt how awful goodness is, and saw

Vertue in her shape how lovly, saw, and pin’d

His loss; but chiefly to find here observd

His lustre visibly impar’d; yet seemd

Undaunted. If I must contend, said he,

Best with the best, the Sender not the sent,

Or all at once; more glorie will be wonn,

Or less be lost. Thy fear, said Zephon bold,

Will save us trial what the least can doe

Single against thee wicked, and thence weak.

The Fiend repli’d not, overcome with rage;

But like a proud Steed reind, went hautie on,

Chaumping his iron curb: to strive or flie

He held it vain; awe from above had quelld

His heart, not else dismai’d. Now drew they nigh

The western point, where those half-rounding guards

Just met, & closing stood in squadron joind

Awaiting next command. To whom thir Chief

Gabriel from the Front thus calld aloud.

O friends, I hear the tread of nimble feet

Hasting this way, and now by glimps discerne

Ithuriel and Zephon now through the shade,

And with them comes a third of Regal port,

But faded splendor wan; who by his gate

And fierce demeanour seems the Prince of Hell,

Not likely to part hence without contest;

Stand firm, for in his look defiance lours.

He scarce had ended, when those two approachd

And brief related whom they brought, wher found,

How busied, in what form and posture coucht.

To whom with stern regard thus Gabriel spake.

Why hast thou, Satan, broke the bounds prescrib’d

To thy transgressions, and disturbd the charge

Of others, who approve not to transgress

By thy example, but have power and right

To question thy bold entrance on this place;

Imploi’d it seems to violate sleep, and those

Whose dwelling God hath planted here in bliss?

To whom thus Satan with contemptuous brow.

Gabriel, thou hadst in Heav’n th’ esteem of wise,

And such I held thee; but this question askt

Puts me in doubt. Lives ther who loves his pain?

Who would not, finding way, break loose from Hell,

Though thither doomd? Thou wouldst thy self, no doubt,

And boldly venture to whatever place

Farthest from pain, where thou mightst hope to change

Torment with ease, & soonest recompence

Dole with delight, which in this place I sought;

To thee no reason; who knowst only good,

But evil hast not tri’d: and wilt object

His will who bound us? let him surer barr

His Iron Gates, if he intends our stay

In that dark durance: thus much what was askt.

The rest is true, they found me where they say;

But that implies not violence or harme.

Thus hee in scorn. The warlike Angel mov’d,

Disdainfully half smiling thus repli’d.

O loss of one in Heav’n to judge of wise,

Since Satan fell, whom follie overthrew,

And now returns him from his prison scap’t,

Gravely in doubt whether to hold them wise

Or not, who ask what boldness brought him hither

Unlicenc’t from his bounds in Hell prescrib’d;

So wise he judges it to fly from pain

However, and to scape his punishment.

So judge thou still, presumptuous, till the wrauth,

Which thou incurr’st by flying, meet thy flight

Seavenfold, and scourge that wisdom back to Hell,

Which taught thee yet no better, that no pain

Can equal anger infinite provok’t.

But wherefore thou alone? wherefore with thee

Came not all Hell broke loose? is pain to them

Less pain, less to be fled, or thou then they

Less hardie to endure? courageous Chief,

The first in flight from pain, had’st thou alleg’d

To thy deserted host this cause of flight,

Thou surely hadst not come sole fugitive.

To which the Fiend thus answerd frowning stern.

Not that I less endure, or shrink from pain,

Insulting Angel, well thou knowst I stood

Thy fiercest, when in Battel to thy aide

The blasting volied Thunder made all speed

And seconded thy else not dreaded Spear.

But still thy words at random, as before,

Argue thy inexperience what behooves

From hard assaies and ill successes past

A faithful Leader, not to hazard all

Through wayes of danger by himself untri’d.

I therefore, I alone first undertook

To wing the desolate Abyss, and spie

This new created World, whereof in Hell

Fame is not silent, here in hope to find

Better abode, and my afflicted Powers

To settle here on Earth, or in mid Aire;

Though for possession put to try once more

What thou and thy gay Legions dare against;

Whose easier business were to serve thir Lord

High up in Heav’n, with songs to hymne his Throne,

And practis’d distances to cringe, not fight.

To whom the warriour Angel soon repli’d.

To say and strut away, pretending dirst

Wise to flie pain, professing next the Spie,

Argues no Leader, but a lyar trac’t,

Satan, and couldst thou faithful add? O name,

O sacred name of faithfulness profan’d!

Faithful to whom? to thy rebellious crew?

Armie of Fiends, fit body to fit head;

Was this your discipline and faith ingag’d.

Your military obedience, to dissolve

Allegeance to th’ acknowledg’d Power

And thou sly hypocrite, who now wouldst seem

Patron of liberty, who more then thou

Once fawn’d, and cring’d, and servilly ador’d

Heav’ns awful Monarch? wherefore but in hope

To dispossess him, and thy self to reigne?

But mark what I arreede thee now, avant;

Flie thither whence thou fledst: if from this houre

Within these hallowd limits thou appeer,

Back to th’ infernal pit I drag thee chaind,

And Seale thee so, as henceforth not to scorne

The facil gates of hell too slightly barrd.

So threatn’d hee, but Satan to no threats

Gave heed, but waxing more in rage repli’d.

Then when I am thy captive talk of chaines,

Proud limitarie Cherube, but ere then

Farr heavier load thy self expect to feel

From my prevailing arme, though Heavens King

Ride on thy wings, and thou with thy Compeers,

Us’d to the yoak, draw’st his triumphant wheels

In progress through the rode of Heav’n Star-pav’d.

While thus he spake, th’ Angelic Squadron bright

Turnd fierie red, sharpning in mooned hornes

Thir Phalanx, and began to hemm him round

With ported Spears, as thick as when a field

Of Ceres ripe for harvest waving bends

Her bearded Grove of ears, which way the wind

Swayes them; the careful Plowman doubting stands

Least on the threshing floore his hopeful sheaves

Prove chaff. On th’ other side Satan allarm’d

Collecting all his might dilated stood,

Like Teneriff or Atlas unremov’d:

His stature reacht the Skie, and on his Crest

Sat horror Plum’d; nor wanted in his graspe

What seemd both Spear and Shield: now dreadful deeds

Might have ensu’d, nor onely Paradise

In this commotion, but the Starrie Cope

Of Heav’n perhaps, or all the Elements

At least had gon to rack, disturbd and torne

With violence of this conflict, had not soon

Th’ Eternal to prevent such horrid fray

Hung forth in Heav’n his golden Scales, yet seen

Betwixt Astrea and the Scorpion signe,

Wherein all things created first he weighd,

The pendulous round Earth with ballanc’t Aire

In counterpoise, now ponders all events,

Battels and Realms: in these he put two weights

The sequel each of parting and of fight;

The latter quick up flew, and kickt the beam;

Which Gabriel spying, thus bespake the Fiend.

Satan, I know thy strength, and thou knowst mine,

Neither our own but giv’n; what follie then

To boast what Arms can doe, since thine no more

Then Heav’n permits, nor mine, though doubld now

To trample thee as mire: for proof look up,

And read thy Lot in yon celestial Sign

Where thou art weigh’d, & shown how light, how weak,

If thou resist. The Fiend lookt up and knew

His mounted scale aloft: nor more; but fled

Murmuring, and with him fled the shades of night.

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Nor more; but fled
Murmuring, and with him fled the shades of night.

Book V

THE ARGUMENT

Morning approach’t, Eve relates to Adam her troublesome dream; he likes it not, yet comforts her: They come forth to thir day labours: Their Morning Hymn at the Door of their Bower. God to render Man inexcusable sends Raphael to admonish him of his obedience, of his free estate, of his enemy near at hand; who he is, and why his enemy, and whatever else may avail Adam to know. Raphael comes down to Paradise, his appearance describ’d, his coming discern’d by Adam afar off sitting at the door of his Bower; he goes out to meet him, brings him to his lodge, entertains him with the choycest fruits of Paradise got together by Eve; their discourse at Table: Raphael performs his message, minds Adam of his state and of his enemy; relates at Adams request who that enemy is, and how he came to be so, beginning from his first revolt in Heaven, and the occasion thereof; how he drew his Legions after him to the parts of the North, and there incited them to rebel with him, perswading all but only Abdiel a Seraph, who in Argument diswades and opposes him, then forsakes him.

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-rals’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.

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Leaning half-rals’d, with looks of cordial Love
Hung over her enamour’d.

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 and 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 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.

So all was cleard, and to the Field they haste.

But first from under shadie arborous roof,

Soon as they forth were come to open sight

Of day-spring, and the Sun, who scarce up risen

With wheels yet hov’ring o’re the Ocean brim,

Shot parallel to the earth his dewie ray,

Discovering in wide Lantskip all the East

Of Paradise and Edens happie Plains,

Lowly they bow’d adoring, and began

Thir Orisons, each Morning duly paid

In various style, for neither various style

Nor holy rapture wanted they to praise

Thir Maker, in fit strains pronounc’t or sung

Unmeditated, such prompt eloquence

Flowd from thir lips, in Prose or numerous Verse,

More tuneable then needed Lute or Harp

To add more sweetness, and they thus began.

These are thy glorious works Parent of good,

Almightie, thine this universal Frame,

Thus wondrous fair; thy self how wondrous then!

Unspeakable, who sitst above these Heavens

To us invisible or dimly seen

In these thy lowest works, yet these declare

Thy goodness beyond thought, and Power Divine:

Speak yee who best can tell, ye Sons of light,

Angels, for yee behold him, and with songs

And choral symphonies, Day without Night,

Circle his Throne rejoycing, yee in Heav’n,

On Earth joyn all yee Creatures to extoll

Him first, him last, him midst, and without end.

Fairest of Starrs, last in the train of Night,

If better thou belong not to the dawn,

Sure pledge of day, that crownst the smiling Morn

With in bright Circlet, praise him in thy Spheare

While day arises, that sweet hour of Prime.

Thou Sun, of this great World both Eye and Soule,

Acknowledge him thy Greater, sound his praise

In thy eternal course, both when thou climb’st,

And when high Noon hast gaind, & when thou fallst.

Moon, that now meetst the orient Sun, now fli’st

With the fixt Starrs, fixt in thir Orb that flies,

And yee five other wandring Fires that move

In mystic Dance not without Song, resound

His praise, who out of Darkness call’d up Light.

Aire, and ye Elements the eldest birth

Of Natures Womb, that in quaternion run

Perpetual Circle, multiform; and mix

And nourish all things, let your ceasless change

Varie to our great Maker still new praise.

Ye Mists and Exhalations that now rise

From Hill or steaming Lake, duskie or grey,

Till the Sun paint your fleecie skirts with Gold,

In honour to the Worlds great Author rise,

Whether to deck with Clouds the uncolourd skie,

Or wet the thirstie Earth with falling showers,

Rising or falling still advance his praise.

His praise ye Winds, that from four Quarters blow,

Breathe soft or loud; and wave your to ye Pines,

With every Plant, in sign of Worship wave.

Fountains and yee, that warble, as ye flow,

Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise.

Joyn voices all ye living Souls, ye Birds,

That singing up to Heaven Gate ascend,

Bear on your wings and in your notes his praise;

Yee that in Waters glide, and yee that walk

The Earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep;

Witness if I be silent, Morn or Eeven,

To Hill, or Valley, Fountain, or fresh shade

Made vocal by my Song, and taught his praise.

Hail universal Lord, be bounteous still

To give us onely good; and if the night

Have gathered aught of evil or conceald,

Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark.

So pray’d they innocent, and to thir thoughts

Firm peace recoverd soon and wonted calm.

On to thir mornings rural work they haste

Among sweet dewes and flours; where any row

Of Fruit-trees overwoodie reachd too far

Thir pamperd boughes, and needed hands to check

Fruitless imbraces: or they led the Vine

To wed her Elm; she spous’d about him twines

Her mariageable arms, and with her brings

Her dowr th’ adopted Clusters, to adorn

His barren leaves. Them thus imploid beheld

With pittie Heav’ns high King, and to him call’d

Raphael, the sociable Spirit, that deign’d

To travel with Tobias, and secur’d

His marriage with the seaventimes-wedded Maid.

Raphael, said hee, thou hear’st what stir on Earth

Satan from Hell scap’t through the darksom Gulf

Hath raisd in Paradise, and how disturbd

This night the human pair, how he designes

In them at once to ruin all mankind.

Go therefore, half this day as friend with friend

Converse with Adam, in what Bowre or shade

Thou find’st him from the heat of Noon retir’d,

To respit his day-labour with repast,

Or with repose; and such discourse bring on,

As may advise him of his happie state,

Happiness in his power left free to will,

Left to his own free Will, his Will though free,

Yet mutable, whence wame him to beware

He swerve not too secure: tell him withall

His danger, and from whom, what enemie

Late falln himself from Heaven, is plotting now

The fall of others from like state of bliss;

By violence, no, for that shall be withstood,

But by deceit and lies; this let him know,

Least wilfully transgressing he pretend

Surprisal, unadmonisht, unforewarnd.

So spake th’ Eternal Father, and fulfilld

All Justice: nor delaid the winged Saint

After his charge receivd; but from among

Thousand Celestial Ardors, where he stood

Vaild with his gorgeous wings, up springing light

Flew through the midst of Heav’n; th’ angelic Quires

On each hand parting, to his speed gave way

Through all th’ Empyreal road; till at the Gate

Of Heav’n arriv’d, the gate self-opend wide

On golden Hinges turning, as by work

Divine the sov’ran Architect had fram’d.

From hence, no cloud, or, to obstruct his sight,

Starr interpos’d, however small he sees,

Not unconform to other shining Globes,

Earth and the Gard’n of God, with Cedars crownd

Above all Hills. As when by night the Glass

Of Galileo, less assur’d, observes

Imagind Lands and Regions in the Moon:

Or Pilot from amidst the Cyclades

Delos or Samos first appeering kenns

A cloudy spot. Down thither prone in flight

He speeds, and through the vast Ethereal Skie

Sailes between worlds & worlds, with steddie wing

Now on the polar windes, then with quick Fann

Winnows the buxom Air; till within soare

Of Towring Eagles, to all the Fowles he seems

A Phoenix, gaz’d by all, as that sole Bird

When to enshrine his reliques in the Sun’s

Bright Temple, to AEgyptian Theb’s he flies.

At once on th’ Eastern cliff of Paradise

He lights, and to his proper shape returns

A Seraph wingd; six wings he wore, to shade

His lineaments Divine; the pair that clad

Each shoulder broad, came mantling o’re his brest

With regal Ornament; the middle pair

Girt like a Starrie Zone his waste, and round

Skirted his loines and thighes with downie Gold

And colours dipt in Heav’n; the third his feet

Shaddowd from either heele with featherd maile

Skie-tinctur’d grain. Like Maia’s son he stood,

And shook his Plumes, that Heav’nly fragrance filld

The circuit wide. Strait knew him am the Bands

Of Angels under watch; and to his state,

And to his message high in honour rise;

For on som message high they guessd him bound.

Thir glittering Tents he passd, and now is come

Into the blissful field, through Groves of Myrrhe,

And flouring Odours, Cassia, Nard, and Balme;

A Wilderness of sweets; for Nature here

Wantond as in her prime, and plaid at will

Her Virgin Fancies, pouring forth more sweet,

Wilde above rule or art; enormous bliss.

Him through the spicie Forrest onward com

Adam discernd, as in the dore he sat

Of his coole Bowre, while now the mounted Sun

Shot down direct his fervid Raies, to warme

Earths inmost womb, more warmth then Adam needs

And Eve within, due at her hour prepar’d

For dinner savourie fruits, of taste to please

True appetite, and not disrelish thirst

Of nectarous draughts between, from milkie stream,

Berrie or Grape: to whom thus Adam call’d.

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Eastward among those Trees, what glorious shape
Comes this way moving

Haste hither Eve, and worth thy sight behold

Eastward among those Trees, what glorious shape

Comes this way moving; seems another Morn

Ris’n on mid-noon; som great behest from Heav’n

To us perhaps he brings, and will voutsafe

This day to be our Guest. But goe with speed,

And what thy stores contain, bring forth and poure

Abundance, fit to honour and receive

Our Heav’nly stranger; well we may afford

Our givers thir own gifts, and large bestow

From large bestowd, where Nature multiplies

Her fertil growth, and by disburd’ning grows

More fruitful, which instructs us not to spare.

To whom thus Eve. Adam, earths hallowd mould,

Of God inspir’d, small store will serve, where store,

All seasons, ripe for use hangs on the stalk;

Save what by frugal storing firmness gains

To nourish, and superfluous moist consumes:

But I will haste and from each bough and break,

Each Plant & juciest Gourd will pluck such choice

To entertain our Angel guest, as he

Beholding shall confess that here on Earth

God hath dispenst his bounties as in Heav’n.

So saying, with looks in haste

She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent

What choice to chuse for delicacie best,

What order, so contriv’d as not to mix

Tastes, not well joynd, inelegant, but bring

Taste after taste upheld with kindliest change,

Bestirs her then, and from each tender stalk

Whatever Earth all-bearing Mother yields

In India East or West, or middle shoare

In Pontus or the Punic Coast, or where

Alcinous reign’d, fruit of all kindes, in coate,

Rough, or smooth rin’d, or bearded husk, or shell

She gathers, Tribute large, and on the board

Heaps with unsparing hand; for drink the Grape

She crushes, inoffensive moust, and meathes

From many a berrie, and from sweet kernels prest

She tempers dulcet creams, nor these to hold

Wants her fit vessels pure, then strews the ground

With Rose and Odours from the shrub unfum’d.

Mean while our Primitive great Sire, to meet

His god-like Guest, walks forth, without more train

Accompani’d then with his own compleat

Perfections, in himself was all his state,

More solemn then the tedious pomp that waits

On Princes, when thir rich Retinue long

Of Horses led, and Grooms besmeard with Gold

Dazles the croud, and sets them all agape.

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 answered 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 turn’d.

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: 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?

plate22
To whom the winged Hierarch repli’d.
O Adam, one Almightie is, from whom
All things proceed

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, no? 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!

To whom our great Progenitor. Thy words

Attentive, and with more delighted eare

Divine instructer, I have heard, then when

Cherubic Songs by night from neighbouring Hills

Aereal Music send: nor knew I not

To be both will and deed created free;

Yet that we never shall forget to love

Our maker, and obey him whose command

Single, is yet so just, constant thoughts

Assur’d me and still assure: though what thou tellst

Hath past in Heav’n, som doubt within me move,

But more desire to hear, if thou consent,

The full relation, which must needs be strange,

Worthy of Sacred silence to be heard;

And we have yet large day, for scarce the Sun

Hath finisht half his journey, and scarce begins

His other half in the great Zone of Heav’n.

Thus Adam made request, and Raphael

After short pause assenting, thus began.

High matter thou injoinst me, O prime of men,

Sad task and hard, for how shall I relate

To human sense th’ invisible exploits

Of warring Spirits; how without remorse

The ruin of so many glorious once

And perfet while they stood; how last unfould

The secrets of another world, perhaps

Not lawful to reveal? yet for thy good

This is dispenc’t, and what surmounts the reach

Of human sense, I shall delineate so,

By lik’ning spiritual to corporal forms,

As may express them best, though what if Earth

Be but the shaddow of Heav’n, and things therein

Each to other like, more then on earth is thought?

As yet this world was not, and Chaos wilde

Reignd where these Heav’ns now rowl, where Earth now rests

Upon her Center pois’d, when on a day

(For Time, though in Eternitie, appli’d

To motion, measures all things durable

By present, past, and future) on such day

As Heav’ns great Year brings forth, th’ Empyreal Host

Of Angels by Imperial summons call’d,

Innumerable before th’ Almighties Throne

Forthwith from all the ends of Heav’n appeerd

Under thir Hierarchs in orders bright

Ten thousand thousand Ensignes high advanc’d,

Standards, and Gonfalons twixt Van and Reare

Streame in the Aire, and for distinction serve

Of Hierarchies, of Orders, and Degrees;

Or in thir glittering Tissues bear imblaz’d

Holy Memorials, acts of Zeale and Love

Recorded eminent. Thus when in Orbes

Of circuit inexpressible they stood,

Orb within Orb, the Father infinite,

By whom in bliss imbosom’d sat the Son,

A midst as from a flaming Mount, whose top

Brightness had made invisible, thus spake.

Hear all ye Angels, Progenie of Light,

Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Vertues, Powers,

Hear my Decree, which unrevok’t shall stand.

This day I have begot whom I declare

My onely Son, and on this holy Hill

Him have anointed, whom ye now behold

At my right hand; your Head I him appoint;

And by my Self have sworn to him shall bow

All knees in Heav’n, and shall confess him Lord:

Under his great Vice-gerent Reign abide

United as one individual Soule

For ever happie: him who disobeyes

Mee disobeyes, breaks union and that day

Cast out from God and blessed vision, falls

Into utter darkness, deep ingulft, his place

Ordaind without redemption, without end.

So spake th’ Omnipotent, and with his words

All seemd well pleas’d, all seem’d but were not all.

That day, as other solem dayes, they spent

In song and dance about the sacred Hill,

Mystical dance, which yonder starrie Spheare

Of Planets and of fixt in all her Wheeles

Resembles nearest, mazes intricate,

Eccentric, intervolv’d, yet regular

Then most, when most irregular they seem:

And in thir motions harmonie Divine

So smooths her charming tones, that Gods own ear

Listens delighted. Eevning approachd

(For we have also our Eevning and our Morn,

We ours for change delectable, not need)

Forthwith from dance to sweet repast they turn

Desirous, all in Circles as they stood,

Tables are set, and on a sudden pil’d

With Angels Food, and rubied-Nectar flows:

In Pearl, in Diamond, and massie Gold,

Fruit of delicious Vines, the growth of Heav’n.

They eat, they drink, and with refection sweet

Are fill’d before th’ all bounteous King, who showrd

With copious hand, rejoycing in thir joy.

Now when ambrosial Night with Clouds exhal’d

From that high mount of God, whence light & shade

Spring both, the face of brightest Heav’n had changd

To grateful Twilight (for Night comes not there

In darker veile) and roseat Dews dispos’d

All but the unsleeping eyes of God to rest,

Wide over all the Plain, and wider farr

Then all this globous Earth in Plain outspred,

(Such are the Courts of God) Th’ Angelic throng

Disperst in Bands and Files thir Camp extend

By living Streams among the Trees of Life,

Pavilions numberless, and sudden reard,

Celestial Tabernacles, where they slept

Fannd with coole Winds, save those who in thir course

Melodious Hymns about the sovran Throne

Alternate all night long: but not so wak’d

Satan, so call him now, his former name

Is heard no more in Heav’n; he of the first,

If not the first Arch-Angel, great in Power,

In favour and preaeminence, yet fraught

With envie against the Son of God, that day

Honourd by his great Father, and proclaimd

Messiah King anointed, could not beare

Through pride that sight, and thought himself impaird.

Deep malice thence conceiving & disdain,

Soon as midnight brought on the duskie houre

Friendliest to sleep and silence, he resolv’d

With all his Legions to dislodge, and leave

Unworshipt, unobey’d the Throne supream

Contemptuous, and his next subordinate

Awak’ning, thus to him in secret spake.

Sleepst thou, Companion dear, what sleep can close

Thy eye-lids? and remembrest what Decree

Of yesterday, so late hath past the lips

Of Heav’ns Almightie. Thou to me thy thoughts

Wast wont, I mine to thee was wont to impart;

Both waking we were one; how then can now

Thy sleep dissent? new Laws thou seest impos’d;

New Laws from him who reigns, new minds may raise

In us who serve, new Counsels, to debate

What doubtful may ensue, more in this place

To utter is not safe. Assemble thou

Of all those Myriads which we lead the chief;

Tell them that by command, ere yet dim Night

Her shadowie Cloud withdraws, I am to haste,

And all who under me thir Banners wave,

Homeward with flying march where we possess

The Quarters of the North, there to prepare

Fit entertainment to receive our King

The great Messiah, and his new commands,

Who speedily through all the Hierarchies

Intends to pass triumphant, and give Laws.

So spake the false Arch-Angel, and infus’d

Bad influence into th’ unwarie brest

Of his Associate; hee together calls,

Or several one by one, the Regent Powers,

Under him Regent, tells, as he was taught,

That the most High commanding, now ere Night,

Now ere dim Night had disincumberd Heav’n,

The great Hierarchal Standard was to move;

Tells the suggested cause, and casts between

Ambiguous words and jealousies, to sound

Or taint integritie; but all obey’d

The wonted signal, and superior voice

Of thir great Potentate; for great indeed

His name, and high was his degree in Heav’n;

His count’nance, as the Morning Starr that guides

The starrie flock, allur’d them, and with lyes

Drew after him the third part of Heav’ns Host:

Mean while th’ Eternal eye, whose sight discernes

Abstrusest thoughts, from forth his holy Mount

And from within the golden Lamps that burne

Nightly before him, saw without thir light

Rebellion rising, saw in whom, how spred

Among the sons of Morn, what multitudes

Were banded to oppose his high Decree;

And smiling to his onely Son thus said.

Son, thou in whom my glory I behold

In full resplendence, Heir of all my might,

Neerly it now concernes us to be sure

Of our Omnipotence, and with what Arms

We mean to hold what anciently we claim

Of Deitie or Empire, such a foe

Is rising, who intends to erect his Throne

Equal to ours, throughout the spacious North;

Nor so content, hath in his thought to trie

In battel, what our Power is, or our right.

Let us advise, and to this hazard draw

With speed what force is left, and all imploy

In our defence, lest unawares we lose

This our high place, our Sanctuarie, our Hill.

To whom the Son with calm aspect and cleer

Light’ning Divine, ineffable, serene,

Made answer. Mightie Father, thou thy foes

Justly hast in derision, and secure

Laugh’st at thir vain designes and tumults vain,

Matter to mee of Glory, whom thir hate

Illustrates, when they see all Regal Power

Giv’n me to quell thir pride, and in event

Know whether I be dextrous to subdue

Thy Rebels, or be found the worst in Heav’n.

So spake the Son, but Satan with his Powers

Farr was advanc’t on winged speed, an Host

Innumerable as the Starrs of Night,

Or Starrs of Morning, Dew-drops, which the Sun

Impearls on every leaf and every flouer.

Regions pass’d, the mightie Regencies

Of Seraphim and Potentates and Thrones

In thir triple Degrees, Regions to which

All thy Dominion, Adam, is no more

Then what this Garden is to all the Earth,

And all the Sea, from one entire globose

Stretcht into Longitude; which having pass’d

At length into the limits of the North

They came, and Satan to his Royal seat

High on a Hill, far blazing, as a Mount

Rais’d on a Mount, with Pyramids and Towrs

From Diamond Quarries hew’n, & Rocks of Gold,

The Palace of great Lucifer, (so call

That Structure in the Dialect of men

Interpreted) which not long after, hee

Affecting all equality with God,

In imitation of that Mount whereon

Messiah was declar’d in sight of Heav’n,

The Mountain of the Congregation call’d;

For thither he assembl’d all his Train,

Pretending so commanded to consult

About the great reception of thir King,

Thither to come, and with calumnious Art

Of counterfeted truth thus held thir ears.

Thrones, Dominations, Princedomes, Vertues, Powers,

If these magnific Titles yet remain

Not meerly titular, since by Decree

Another now hath to himself ingross’t

All Power, and us eclipst under the name

Of King anointed, for whom an this haste

Of midnight march, and hurried meeting here,

This onely to consult how we may best

With what may be devis’d of honours new

Receive him coming to receive from us

Knee-tribute yet unpaid, prostration vile,

Too much to one, but double how endur’d,

To one and to his image now proclaim’d?

But what if better counsels might erect

Our minds and teach us to cast off this Yoke?

Will ye submit your necks, and chuse to bend

The supple knee? ye will not, if I trust

To know ye right; or if ye know your selves

Natives and Sons of Heav’n possest before

By none, and if not equal all, yet free,

Equally free; for Orders and Degrees

Jarr not with liberty, but well consist.

Who can in reason then or right assume

Monarchie over such as live by right

His equals, if in power and splendor less,

In freedome equal? or can introduce

Law and Edict on us, who without law

Erre not, much less for this to be our Lord,

And look for adoration to th’ abuse

Of those Imperial Titles which assert

Our being ordain’d to govern, not to serve?

Thus farr his bold discourse without controule

Had audience, when among the Seraphim

Abdiel, then whom none with more zeale ador’d

The Deitie, and divine commands obei’d,

Stood up, and in a flame of zeale severe

The current of his fury thus oppos’d.

O argument blasphemous, false and proud!

Words which no eare ever to hear in Heav’n

Expected, least of all from thee, ingrate

In place thy self so high above thy Peeres.

Canst thou with impious obloquie condemne

The just Decree of God, pronounc’t and sworn,

That to his only Son by right endu’d

With Regal Scepter, every Soule in Heav’n

Shall bend the knee, and in that honour due

Confess him rightful King? unjust thou saist

Flatly unjust, to binde with Laws the free,

And equal over equals to let Reigne,

One over all with unsucceeded power.

Shalt thou give Law to God, shalt thou dispute

With him the points of libertie, who made

Thee what thou art, & formd the Pow’rs of Heav’n

Such as he pleasd, and circumscrib’d thir being?

Yet by experience taught we know how good,

And of our good, and of our dignitie

How provident he is, how farr from thought

To make us less, bent rather to exalt

Our happie state under one Head more neer

United. But to grant it thee unjust,

That equal over equals Monarch Reigne:

Thy self though great & glorious dost thou count,

Or all Angelic Nature joind in one,

Equal to him begotten Son, by whom

As by his Word the mighty Father made

All things, ev’n thee, and all the Spirits of Heav’n

By him created in thir bright degrees,

Crownd them with Glory, & to thir Glory nam’d

Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Vertues, Powers,

Essential Powers, nor by his Reign obscur’d,

But more illustrious made, since he the Head

One of our number thus reduc’t becomes,

His Laws our Laws, all honour to him done

Returns our own. Cease then this impious rage,

And tempt not these; but hast’n to appease

Th’ incensed Father, and th’ incensed Son,

While Pardon may be found in time besought.

So spake the fervent Angel, but his zeale

None seconded, as out of season judg’d,

Or singular and rash, whereat rejoic’d

Th’ Apostat, and more haughty thus repli’d.

That we were formd then saist thou? & the work

Of secondarie hands, by task transferd

From Father to his Son? strange point and new!

Doctrin which we would know whence learnt: who saw

When this creation was? rememberst thou

Thy making, while the Maker gave thee being?

We know no time when we were not as now;

Know none before us, self-begot, self-rais’d

By our own quick’ning power, when fatal course

Had circl’d his full Orbe, the birth mature

Of this our native Heav’n, Ethereal Sons.

Our puissance is our own, our own right hand

Shall teach us highest deeds, by proof to try

Who is our equal: then thou shalt behold

Whether by supplication we intend

Address, and to begirt th’ Almighty Throne

Beseeching or besieging. This report,

These tidings carrie to th’ anointed King;

And fly, ere evil intercept thy flight.

He said, and as the sound of waters deep

Hoarce murmur echo’d to his words applause

Through the infinite Host, nor less for that

The flaming Seraph fearless, though alone

Encompass’d round with foes, thus answerd bold.

O alienate from God, O spirit accurst,

Forsak’n of all good; I see thy fall

Determind, and thy hapless crew involv’d

In this perfidious fraud, contagion spred

Both of thy crime and punishment: henceforth

No more be troubl’d how to quit the yoke

Of Gods Messiah: those indulgent Laws

Will not now be voutsaf’t, other Decrees

Against thee are gon forth without recall;

That Golden Scepter which thou didst reject

Is now an Iron Rod to bruise and breake

Thy disobedience. Well thou didst advise,

Yet not for thy advise or threats I fly

These wicked Tents devoted, least the wrauth

Impendent, raging into sudden flame

Distinguish not: for soon expect to feel

His Thunder on thy head, devouring fire.

Then who created thee lamenting learne,

When who can uncreate thee thou shalt know.

So spake the Seraph Abdiel faithful found,

Among the faithless, faithful only hee;

Among innumerable false, unmov’d,

Unshak’n, unseduc’d, unterrifi’d

His Loyaltie he kept, his Love, his Zeale;

Nor number, nor example with him wrought

To swerve from truth, or change his constant mind

Though single. From amidst them forth he passd,

Long way through hostile scorn, which he susteind

Superior, nor of violence fear’d aught;

And with retorted scorn his back he turn’d

On those proud Towrs to swift destruction doom’d.

Book VI

The Argument

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.

All night the dreadless Angel unpursu’d

Through Heav’ns wide Champain held his way, till Morn,

Wak’t by the circling Hours, with rosie hand

Unbarr’d the gates of Light. There is a Cave

Within the Mount of God, fast by his Throne,

Where light and darkness in perpetual round

Lodge and dislodge by turns, which makes through Heav’n

Grateful vicissitude, like Day and Night;

Light issues forth, and at the other dore

Obsequious darkness enters, till her houre

To veile the Heav’n, though darkness there might well

Seem twilight here; and now went forth the Morn

Such as in highest Heav’n, arrayd in Gold

Empyreal, from before her vanisht Night,

Shot through with orient Beams: when all the Plain

Coverd with thick embatteld Squadrons bright,

Chariots and flaming Armes, and fierie Steeds

Reflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view:

Warr he perceav’d, warr in procinct, and found

Already known what he for news had thought

To have reported: gladly then he mixt

Among those friendly Powers who him receav’d

With joy and acclamations loud, that one

That of so many Myriads fall’n, yet one

Returnd not lost: On to the sacred hill

They led him high applauded, and present

Before the seat supream; from whence a voice

From midst a Golden Cloud thus milde was heard.

Servant of God, well done, well hast thou fought

The better fight, who single hast maintaind

Against revolted multitudes the Cause

Of Truth, in word mightier then they in Armes;

And for the testimonie of Truth hast born

Universal reproach, far worse to heare

Then violence: for this was all thy care

To stand approv’d in sight of God, though Worlds

Judg’d thee perverse: the easier conquest now

Remains thee, aided by this host of friends,

Back on thy foes more glorious to return

Then scornd thou didst depart, and to subdue

By force, who reason for thir Law refuse,

Right reason for thir Law, and for thir King

Messiah, who by right of merit Reigns.

Goe Michael of Celestial Armies Prince,

And thou in Military prowess next

Gabriel, lead forth to Battel these my Sons

Invincible, lead forth my armed Saints

By Thousands and by Millions rang’d for fight;

Equal in number to that Godless crew

Rebellious, them with Fire and hostile Arms

Fearless assault, and to the brow of Heav’n

Pursuing drive them out from God and bliss,

Into thir place of punishment, the Gulf

Of Tartarus, which ready opens wide

His fiery Chaos to receave thir fall.

So spake the Sovran voice, and Clouds began

To darken all the Hill, and smoak to rowl

In duskie wreathes, reluctant flames, the signe

Of wrauth awak’t: nor with less dread the loud

Ethereal Trumpet from on high gan blow:

At which command the Powers Militant,

That stood for Heav’n, in mighty Quadrate joyn’d

Of Union irresistible, mov’d on

In silence thir bright Legions, to the sound

Of instrumental Harmonie that breath’ d

Heroic Ardor to advent’rous deeds

Under thir God-like Leaders, in the Cause

Of God and his Messiah. On they move

Indissolubly firm; nor obvious Hill,

Nor streit’ning Vale, nor Wood, nor Stream divides

Thir perfet ranks; for high above the ground

Thir march was, and the passive Air upbore

Thir nimble tread; as when the total kind

Of Birds in orderly array on wing

Came summond over Eden to receive

Thir names of thee; so over many a tract

Of Heav’n they march’d, and many a Province wide

Tenfold the length of this terrene: at last

Farr in th’ Horizon to the North appeer’d

From skirt to skirt a fierie Region, stretcht

In battailous aspect, and neerer view

Bristl’d with upright beams innumerable

Of rigid Spears, and Helmets throng’d, and Shields

Various, with boastful Argument portraid,

The banded Powers of Satan hasting on

With furious expedition; for they weend

That self same day by fight, or by surprize

To win the Mount of God, and on his Throne

To set the envier of his State, the proud

Aspirer, but thir thoughts prov’d fond and and vain

In the mid way: though strange to us it seemd

At first, that Angel should with Angel warr,

And in fierce hosting meet, who wont to meet

So oft in Festivals of joy and love

Unanimous, as sons of one great Sire

Hymning th’ Eternal Father: but the shout

Of Battel now began, and rushing sound

Of onset ended soon each milder thought.

High in the midst exalted as a God

Th’ Apostat in his Sun-bright Chariot sate

Idol of Majestie Divine, enclos’d

With Flaming Cherubim, and golden Shields;

Then lighted from his gorgeous Throne, for now

‘Twixt Host and Host but narrow space was left,

A dreadful interval, and Front to Front

Presented stood in terrible array

Of hideous length: before the cloudie Van,

On the rough edge of battel ere it joyn’d,

Satan with vast and haughtie strides advanc’t,

Came towring, armd in Adamant and Gold;

Abdiel that sight endur’d not, where he stood

Among the mightiest, bent on highest deeds,

And thus his own undaunted heart explores.

O Heav’n! that such resemblance of the Highest

Should yet remain, where faith and realtie

Remain not; wherefore should not strength & might

There fail where Vertue fails, or weakest prove

Where boldest; though to sight unconquerable?

His puissance, trusting in th’ Almightie’s aide,

I mean to try, whose Reason I have tri’d

Unsound and false; nor is it aught but just,

That he who in debate of Truth hath won,

Should win in Arms, in both disputes alike

Victor; though brutish that contest and foule,

When Reason hath to deal with force, yet so

Most reason is that Reason overcome.

So pondering, and from his armed Peers

way stepping opposite, half way he met

His daring foe, at this prevention more

Incens’t, and thus securely him defi’d.

Proud, art thou met? thy hope was to have reacht

The highth of thy aspiring unoppos’d,

The Throne of God unguarded, and his side

Abandoned at the terror of thy Power

Or potent tongue; fool, not to think how vain

Against th’ Omnipotent to rise in Arms;

Who out of smallest things could without end

Have rais’d incessant Armies to defeat

Thy folly; or with solitarie hand

Reaching beyond all limit, at one blow

Unaided could have finisht thee, and whelmd

Thy Legions under darkness; but thou seest

All are not of thy Train; there be who Faith

Prefer, and Pietie to God, though then

To thee not visible, when I alone

Seemed in thy World erroneous to dissent

From all: my Sect thou seest, now learn too late

How few somtimes may know, when thousands err.

Whom the grand foe with scornful eye askance

Thus answerd. Ill for thee, but in wisht houre

Of my revenge, first sought for thou returnst

From flight, seditious Angel, to receave

Thy merited reward, the first assay

Of this right hand provok’t, since first that tongue

Inspir’d with contradiction durst oppose

A third part of the Gods, in Synod met

Thir Deities to assert, who while they feel

Vigour Divine within them, can allow

Omnipotence to none. But well thou comst

Before thy fellows, ambitious to win

From me som Plume, that thy success may show

Destruction to the rest: this pause between

(Unanswerd least thou boast) to let thee know;

At first I thought that Libertie and Heav’n

To heav’nly Soules had bin all one; but now

I see that most through sloth had rather serve,

Ministring Spirits, trained up in Feast and Song;

Such hast thou arm’d, the Minstrelsie of Heav’n,

Servilitie with freedom to contend,

As both thir deeds compar’d this day shall prove.

To whom in brief thus Abdiel stern repli’d.

Apostat still thou errst, nor end wilt find

Of erring, from the path of truth remote:

Unjustly thou deprav’st it with the name

Of Servitude to serve whom God ordains,

Or Nature; God and Nature bid the same,

When he who rules is worthiest, and excells

Them whom he governs. This is servitude,

To serve th’ unwise, or him who hath rebelld

Against his worthier, as thine now serve thee,

Thy self not free, but to thy self enthrall’d;

Yet leudly dar’st our ministring upbraid.

Reign thou in Hell thy Kingdom, let mee serve

In Heav’n God ever blest, and his Divine

Behests obey, worthiest to be obey’d,

Yet Chains in Hell, not Realms expect: mean while

From mee returnd, as erst thou saidst, from flight,

This greeting on thy impious Crest receive.

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This greeting on thy impious Crest receive.

So saying, a noble stroke he lifted high,

Which hung not, but so swift with tempest fell

On the proud Crest of Satan, that no sight,

Nor motion of swift thought, less could his Shield

Such ruin intercept: ten paces huge

He back recoild; the tenth on bended knee

His massie Spear upstaid; as if on Earth

Winds under ground or waters forcing way

Sidelong, had push’t a Mountain from his seat

Half sunk with all his Pines. Amazement seis’d

The Rebel Thrones, but greater rage to see

Thus foil’d thir mightiest, ours joy filld, and shout,

Presage of Victorie and fierce desire

Of Battel: whereat Michael bid sound

Th’ Arch-angel trumpet; through the vast of Heav’n

It sounded, and the faithful Armies rung

Hosanna to the Highest: nor stood at gaze

The adverse Legions, nor less hideous joyn’d

The horrid shock: now storming furie rose,

And clamour such as heard in Heav’n till now

Was never, Arms on Armour clashing bray’d

Horrible discord, and the madding Wheeles

Of brazen Chariots rag’d; dire was the noise

Of conflict; over head the dismal hiss

Of fiery Darts in flaming volies flew,

And flying vaulted either Host with fire.

So under fierie Cope together rush’d

Both Battels maine, with ruinous assault

And inextinguishable rage; all Heav’n

Resounded, and had Earth bin then, all Earth

Had to her Center shook. What wonder? when

Millions of fierce encountring Angels fought

On either side, the least of whom could weild

These Elements, and arm him with the force

Of all thir Regions: how much more of Power

Armie against Armie numberless to raise

Dreadful combustion warring, and disturb,

Though not destroy, thir happie Native seat;

Had not th’ Eternal King Omnipotent

From his strong hold of Heav’n high over-rul’d

And limited thir might; though numberd such

As each divided Legion might have seemed

A numerous Host, in strength each armed hand

A Legion; led in fight, yet Leader seemd

Each Warriour single as in Chief, expert

When to advance, or stand, or turn the sway

Of Battel, open when, and when to close

The ridges of grim Warr; no thought of flight,

None of retreat, no unbecoming deed

That argu’d fear; each on himself reli’d,

As onely in his arm the moment lay

Of victorie; deeds of eternal fame

Were don, but infinite: for wide was spred

That Warr and various; somtimes on firm ground

A standing fight, then soaring on main wing

Tormented all the Air; all Air seemd then

Conflicting Fire: long time in eeven scale

The Battel hung; till Satan, who that day

Prodigious power had shewn, and met in Armes

No equal, raunging through the dire attack

Of fighting Seraphim confus’d, at length

Saw where the Sword of Michael smote, and fell’d

Squadrons at once, with huge two-handed sway

Brandisht aloft the horrid edge came down

Wide wasting; such destruction to withstand

He hasted, and oppos’d the rockie Orb

Of tenfold Adamant, his ample Shield

A vast circumference: At his approach

The great Arch-Angel from his warlike toile

Surceas’d, and glad as hoping here to end

Intestine War in Heav’n, the arch foe subdu’d

Or Captive drag’d in Chains, with hostile frown

And visage all enflam’d first thus began.

Author of evil, unknown till thy revolt,

Unnam’d in Heav’n, now plenteous, as thou seest

These Acts of hateful strife, hateful to all,

Though heaviest by just measure on thy self

And thy adherents: how hast thou disturb’d

Heav’ns blessed peace, and into Nature brought

Miserie, uncreated till the crime

Of thy Rebellion? how hast thou instill’d

Thy malice into thousands, once upright

And faithful, now prov’d false. But think not here

To trouble Holy Rest; Heav’n casts thee out

From all her Confines. Heav’n the seat of bliss

Brooks not the works of violence and Warr.

Hence then, and evil go with thee along

Thy ofspring, to the place of evil, Hell,

Thou and thy wicked crew; there mingle broiles,

Ere this avenging Sword begin thy doome,

Or som more sudden vengeance wing’d from God

Precipitate thee with augmented paine.

So spake the Prince of Angels; to whom thus

The Adversarie. Nor think thou with wind

Of airie threats to aw whom yet with deeds

Thou canst not. Hast thou turnd the least of these

To flight, or if to fall, but that they rise

Unvanquisht, easier to transact with mee

That thou shouldst hope, imperious, & with threats

To chase me hence? erre not that so shall end

The strife which thou call’st evil, but wee style

The strife of Glorie: which we mean to win,

Or turn this Heav’n it self into the Hell

Thou fablest, here however to dwell free,

If not to reign: mean while thy utmost force,

And join him nam’d Almightie to thy aid,

I flie not, but have sought thee farr and nigh.

They ended parle, and both addrest for fight

Unspeakable; for who, though with the tongue

Of Angels, can relate, or to what things

Liken on Earth conspicuous, that may lift

Human imagination to such highth

Of Godlike Power: for likest Gods they seemd,

Stood they or mov’d, in stature, motion, arms

Fit to decide the Empire of great Heav’n.

Now wav’d thir fierie Swords, and in the Aire

Made horrid Circles; two broad Suns thir Shields

Blaz’d opposite, while expectation stood

In horror; from each hand with speed retir’d

Where erst was thickest fight, th’ Angelic throng,

And left large field, unsafe within the wind

Of such commotion, such as to set forth

Great things by small, if Natures concord broke,

Among the Constellations warr were sprung,

Two Planets rushing from aspect maligne

Of fiercest opposition in mid Skie,

Should combat, and thir jarring Sphears confound.

Together both with next to Almightie Arme,

Uplifted imminent one stroke they aim’d

That might determine, and not need repeate,

As not of power, at once; nor odds appeerd

In might or swift prevention; but the sword

Of Michael from the Armorie of God

Was giv’n him temperd so, that neither keen

Nor solid might resist that edge: it met

The sword of Satan with steep force to smite

Descending, and in half cut sheere, nor staid,

But with swift wheele reverse, deep entring shar’d

All his right side; then Satan first knew pain,

And writh’ d him to and fro convolv’d; so sore

The griding sword with discontinuous wound

Pass’d through him, but th’ Ethereal substance clos’d

Not long divisible, and from the gash

A stream of Nectarous humor issuing flow’d

Sanguin, such as Celestial Spirits may bleed,

And all his Armour staind ere while so bright.

Forthwith on all sides to his aide was run

By Angels many and strong, who interpos’d

Defence, while others bore him on thir Shields

Back to his Chariot; where it stood retir’d

From off the files of warr: there they him laid

Gnashing for anguish and despite and shame

To find himself not matchless, and his pride

Humbl’d by such rebuke, so farr beneath

His confidence to equal God in power.

Yet soon he heal’d; for Spirits that live throughout

Vital in every part, not as frail man

In Entrailes, Heart or Head, Liver or Reines,

Cannot but by annihilating die;

Nor in thir liquid texture mortal wound

Receive, no more then can the fluid Aire:

All Heart they live, all Head, all Eye, all Eare,

All Intellect, all Sense, and as they please,

They Limb themselves, and colour, shape or size

Assume, as likes them best, condense or rare.

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Then Satan first knew pain,
And writh’ d him to and fro.

Mean while in other parts like deeds deservd

Memorial, where the might of Gabriel fought,

And with fierce Ensignes pierc’d the deep array

Of Moloc furious King, who him defi’d

And at his Chariot wheeles to drag him bound

Threatn’d, nor from the Holie One of Heav’n

Refrein’d his tongue blasphemous; but anon

Down clov’n to the waste, with shatterd Armes

And uncouth paine fled bellowing. On each wing

Uriel and Raphael his vaunting foe,

Though huge, and in a Rock of Diamond Armd,

Vanquish’d Adramelec, and Asmadai,

Two potent Thrones, that to be less then Gods

Disdain’d, but meaner thoughts learnd in thir flight,

Mangl’d with gastly wounds through Plate and Maile.

Nor stood unmindful Abdiel to annoy

The Atheist crew, but with redoubl’d blow

Ariel and Arioc, and the violence

Of Ramiel scorcht and blasted overthrew.

I might relate of thousands, and thir names

Eternize here on Earth; but those elect

Angels contented with thir fame in Heav’n

Seek not the praise of men; the other sort

In might though wondrous and in Acts of Warr,

Nor of Renown less eager, yet by doome

Canceld from Heav’n and sacred memorie,

Nameless in dark oblivion let them dwell.

For strength from Truth divided and from Just,

Illaudable, naught merits but dispraise

And ignomime, yet to glorie aspires

Vain glorious, and through infamie seeks fame:

Therfore Eternal silence be thir doome.

And now thir mightiest quelld, the battel swerv’d,

With many an inrode gor’d; deformed rout

Enter’d, and foul disorder; all the ground

With shiverd armour strow’n, and on a heap

Chariot and Charioter lay overturnd

And fierie foaming Steeds; what stood, recoyld

Orewearied, through the faint Satanic Host

Defensive scarce, or with pale fear surpris’d,

Then first with fear surpris’d and sense of paine

Fled ignominious, to such evil brought

By sinne of disobedience, till that hour

Not liable to fear or flight or paine.

Far otherwise th’ inviolable Saints

In Cubic Phalanx firm advanc’t entire,

Invulnerable, impenitrably arm’d:

Such high advantages thir innocence

Gave them above thir foes, not to have sinnd,

Not to have disobei’d; in fight they stood

Unwearied, unobnoxious to be pain’d

By wound, though from thir place by violence mov’d.

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Now Night her course began

Now Night her course began, and over Heav’n

Inducing darkness, grateful truce impos’d,

And silence on the odious dinn of Warr:

Under her Cloudie covert both retir’d,

Victor and Vanquisht: on the foughten field

Michael and his Angels prevalent

Encamping, plac’d in Guard thir Watches round,

Cherubic waving fires: on th’ other part

Satan with his rebellious disappeerd,

Far in the dark dislodg’d, and void of rest,

His Potentates to Councel call’d by night;

And in the midst thus undismai’d began.

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On the foughten field
Michael and his Angels prevalent
Encamping, plac’d in Guard thir Watches round

O now in danger tri’d, now known in Armes

Not to be overpower’d, Companions deare,

Found worthy not of Libertie alone,

Too mean pretense, but what we more affect,

Honour, Dominion, Glorie, and renowne,

Who have sustaind one day in doubtful fight,

(And if one day, why not Eternal dayes?)

What Heavens Lord had powerfullest to send

Against us from about his Throne, and judg’d

Sufficient to subdue us to his will,

But proves not so: then fallible, it seems,

Of future we may deem him, though till now

Omniscient thought. True is, less firmly arm’d,

Some disadvantage we endur’d and paine,

Till now not known, but known as soon contemnd,

Since now we find this our Empyreal forme

Incapable of mortal injurie

Imperishable, and though peirc’d with wound,

Soon closing, and by native vigour heal’d.

Of evil then so small as easie think

The remedie; perhaps more valid Armes,

Weapons more violent, when next we meet,

May serve to better us, and worse our foes,

Or equal what between us made the odds,

In Nature none: if other hidden cause

Left them Superiour, while we can preserve

Unhurt our mindes, and understanding sound,

Due search and consultation will disclose.

He sat; and in th’ assembly next upstood

Nisroc, of Principalities the prime;

As one he stood escap’t from cruel fight,

Sore toild, his riv’n Armes to havoc hewn,

And cloudie in aspect thus answering spake.

Deliverer from new Lords, leader to free

Enjoyment of our right as Gods; yet hard

For Gods, and too unequal work we find

Against unequal armes to fight in paine,

Against unpaind, impassive; from which evil

Ruin must needs ensue; for what availes

Valour or strength, though matchless, quelld with pain

Which all subdues, and makes remiss the hands

Of Mightiest. Sense of pleasure we may well

Spare out of life perhaps, and not repine,

But live content, which is the calmest life:

But pain is perfet miserie, the worst

Of evils, and excessive, overturnes

All patience. He who therefore can invent

With what more forcible we may offend

Our yet unwounded Enemies, or arme

Our selves with like defence, to mee deserves

No less then for deliverance what we owe.

Whereto with look compos’d Satan repli’d.

Not uninvented that, which thou aright

Beleivst so main to our success, I bring;

Which of us who beholds the bright surface

Of this Ethereous mould whereon we stand,

This continent of spacious Heav’n, adornd

With Plant, Fruit, Flour Ambrosial, Gemms & Gold,

Whose Eye so superficially surveyes

These things, as not to mind from whence they grow

Deep under ground, materials dark and crude,

Of spiritous and fierie spume, till toucht

With Heav’ns ray, and temperd they shoot forth

So beauteous, op’ning to the ambient light.

These in thir dark Nativitie the Deep

Shall yeild us, pregnant with infernal flame,

Which into hollow Engins long and round

Thick-rammd, at th’ other bore with touch of fire

Dilated and infuriate shall send forth

From far with thundring noise among our foes

Such implements of mischief as shall dash

To pieces, and orewhelm whatever stands

Adverse, that they shall fear we have disarmd

The Thunderer of his only dreaded bolt.

Nor long shall be our labour, yet ere dawne,

Effect shall end our wish. Mean while revive;

Abandon fear; to strength and counsel joind

Think nothing hard, much less to be despaird.

He ended, and his words thir drooping chere

Enlightn’d, and thir languisht hope reviv’d.

Th’ invention all admir’d, and each, how hee

To be th’ inventer miss’d, so easie it seemd

Once found, which yet unfound most would have thought

Impossible: yet haply of thy Race

In future dayes, if Malice should abound,

Some one intent on mischief, or inspir’d

With dev’lish machination might devise

Like instrument to plague the Sons of men

For sin, on warr and mutual slaughter bent.

Forthwith from Councel to the work they flew,

None arguing stood, innumerable hands

Were ready, in a moment up they turnd

Wide the Celestial soile, and saw beneath

Th’ originals of Nature in thir crude

Conception; Sulphurous and Nitrous Foame

They found, they mingl’d, and with suttle Art,

Concocted and adusted they reduc’d

To blackest grain, and into store conveyd:

Part hidd’n veins diggd up (nor hath this Earth

Entrails unlike) of Mineral and Stone,

Whereof to found thir Engins and thir Balls

Of missive ruin; part incentive reed

Provide, pernicious with one touch to fire.

So all ere day-spring, under conscious Night

Secret they finish’d, and in order set,

With silent circumspection unespi’d.

Now when fair Morn Orient in Heav’n appeerd

Up rose the Victor Angels, and to Arms

The matin Trumpet Sung: in Arms they stood

Of Golden Panoplie, refulgent Host,

Soon banded; others from the dawning Hills

Lookd round, and Scouts each Coast light-armed scoure,

Each quarter, to descrie the distant foe,

Where lodg’d, or whither fled, or if for fight,

In motion or in alt: him soon they met

Under spred Ensignes moving nigh, in slow

But firm Battalion; back with speediest Sail

Zophiel, of Cherubim the swiftest wing,

Came flying, and in mid Aire aloud thus cri’d.

Arme, Warriours, Arme for fight, the foe at hand,

Whom fled we thought, will save us long pursuit

This day, fear not his flight; so thick a Cloud

He comes, and settl’d in his face I see

Sad resolution and secure: let each

His Adamantine coat gird well, and each

Fit well his Helme, gripe fast his orbed Shield,

Born eevn or high, for this day will pour down,

If I conjecture aught, no drizling showr,

But ratling storm of Arrows barbd with fire.

So warnd he them aware themselves, and soon

In order, quit of all impediment;

Instant without disturb they took Allarm,

And onward move Embattelld; when behold

Not distant far with heavie pace the Foe

Approaching gross and huge; in hollow Cube

Training his devilish Enginrie, impal’d

On every side with shaddowing Squadrons Deep,

To hide the fraud. At interview both stood

A while, but suddenly at head appeerd

Satan: And thus was heard Commanding loud.

Vangard, to Right and Left the Front unfould;

That all may see who hate us, how we seek

Peace and composure, and with open brest

Stand readie to receive them, if they like

Our overture, and turn not back perverse;

But that I doubt, however witness Heaven,

Heav’n witness thou anon, while we discharge

Freely our part: yee who appointed stand

Do as you have in charge, and briefly touch

What we propound, and loud that all may hear.

So scoffing in ambiguous words, he scarce

Had ended; when to Right and Left the Front

Divided, and to either Flank retir’d.

Which to our eyes discoverd new and strange,

A triple-mounted row of Pillars laid

On Wheels (for like to Pillars most they seem’d

Or hollow’d bodies made of Oak or Fir

With branches lopt, in Wood or Mountain fell’d)

Brass, Iron, Stonie mould, had not thir mouthes

With hideous orifice gap’t on us wide.

Portending behind truce; at each behind

A Seraph stood, and in his hand a Reed

Stood waving tipt with fire; while we suspense,

Collected stood within our thoughts amus’d,

Not long, for sudden all at once thir Reeds

Put forth, and to a narrow vent appli’d

With nicest touch. Immediate in a flame,

But soon obscurd with smoak, all Heav’n appeerd,

From those deep-throated Engins belcht, whose roar

Emboweld with outragious noise the Air,

And all her entrails tore, disgorging foule

Thir devillish glut, chaind Thunderbolts and Hail

Of Iron Globes, which on the Victor Host

Level’d, with such impetuous furie smote,

That whom they hit, none on thir feet might stand,

Though standing else as Rocks, but down they fell

By thousands, Angel on Arch-Angel rowl’d;

The sooner for thir Arms, unarm’d they might

Have easily as Spirits evaded swift

By quick contraction or remove; but now

Foule dissipation should and forc’t rout;

Nor serv’d it to relax thir serried files.

What should they do? if on they rusht, repulse

Repeated, and indecent overthrow

Doubl’d, would render them yet more despis’d,

And to thir foes a laughter; for in view

Stood rankt of Seraphim another row

In posture to displode thir second tire

Of Thunder: back defeated to return

They worse abhorr’d. Satan beheld thir plight,

And to his Mates thus in derision call’d.

O Friends, why come not on these Victors proud?

Ere while they fierce were coming, and when wee,

To entertain them fair with open Front

And Brest, (what could we more?) propounded terms

Of composition, strait they chang’d thir minds,

Flew off, and into strange vagaries fell,

As they would dance, yet for a dance they seemd

Somwhat extravagant and wilde, perhaps

For suppose of offerd peace: but suppose

If our proposals once again were heard

We should compel them to a quick result.

To whom thus Belial in like gamesom mood.

Leader, the terms we sent were terms of weight,

Of hard contents, and full of force urg’d home,

Such as we might perceive amus’d them all,

And stumbl’d many, who receives them right,

Had need from head to foot well understand;

Not understood, this gift they have besides,

They shew us when our foes walk not upright.

So they among themselves in pleasant veine

Stood scoffing, highthn’d in thir thoughts beyond

All doubt of Victorie, eternal might

To match with thir inventions they presum’d

So easie, and of his Thunder made a scorn,

And all his Host derided, while they stood

A while in trouble; but they stood not long,

Rage prompted them at length, & found them arms

Against such hellish mischief fit to oppose.

Forthwith (behold the excellence, the power

Which God hath in his mighty Angels plac’d)

Thir Arms away they threw, and to the Hills

(For Earth hath this variety from Heav’n

Of pleasure situate in Hill and Dale)

Light as the Lightning glimps they ran, they flew,

From thir foundations loosning to and fro

They pluckt the seated Hills with all thir load,

Rocks, Waters, Woods, and by the shaggie tops

Up lifting bore them in thir hands: Amaze,

Be sure, and terrour seis’d the rebel Host,

When coming towards them so dread they saw

The bottom of the Mountains upward turn’d,

Till on those cursed Engins triple-row

They saw them whelmd, and all thir confidence

Under the weight Mountains buried deep,

Themselves invaded next, and on thir heads

Main Promontories flung, which in the Air

Came shadowing, and opprest whole Legions arm’d,

Thir armor help’d their harm, crush’t in and brus’d

Into thir substance pent, which wrought them pain

Implacable, and many a dolorous groan,

Long strugling underneath, ere they could wind

Out of such prison, though Spirits of purest light,

Purest at first, now gross by sinning grown.

The rest in imitation to like Armes

Betook them, and the neighbouring Hills uptore;

So Hills amid the Air encountered Hills

Hurl’d to and fro with jaculation dire,

That under ground they fought in dismal shade;

Infernal noise; Warr seem’d a civil Game

To this uproar; horrid confusion heapt

Upon confusion rose: and now all Heav’n

Had gone to wrack, with ruin overspred,

Had not th’ Almightie Father where he sits

Shrin’d in his Sanctuarie of Heav’n secure,

Consulting on the sum of things, foreseen

This tumult, and permitted all, advis’d:

That his great purpose he might so fulfill,

To honour his Anointed Son aveng’d

Upon his enemies, and to declare

All power on him transferr’d: whence to his Son

Th’ Assessor of his Throne he thus began.

Effulgence of my Glorie, Son belov’d,

Son in whose face invisible is beheld

Visibly, what by Deitie I am,

And in whose hand what by Decree I doe,

Second Omnipotence, two dayes are past,

Two dayes, as we compute the dayes of Heav’n,

Since Michael and his Powers went forth to tame

These disobedient; sore hath been thir fight,

As likeliest was, when two such Foes met arm’d;

For to themselves I left them, and thou knowst,

Equal in their Creation they were form’d,

Save what sin hath impaird, which yet hath wrought

Insensibly, for I suspend thir doom;

Whence in perpetual fight they needs must last

Endless, and no solution will be found:

Warr wearied hath perform’d what Warr can do,

And to disorder’d rage let loose the reines,

With Mountains as with Weapons arm’d, which makes

Wild work in Heav’n, and dangerous to the maine.

Two dayes are therefore past, the third is thine;

For thee I have ordain’d it, and thus farr

Have sufferd, that the Glorie may be thine

Of ending this great Warr, since none but Thou

Can end it. Into thee such Vertue and Grace

Immense I have transfus’d, that all may know

In Heav’n and Hell thy Power above compare,

And this perverse Commotion governd thus,

To manifest thee worthiest to be Heir

Of all things, to be Heir and to be King

By Sacred Unction, thy deserved right.

Go then thou Mightiest in thy Fathers might,

Ascend my Chariot, guide the rapid Wheeles

That shake Heav’ns basis, bring Warr, all my Warr.

My Bow and Thunder, my Almightie Arms

Gird on, and Sword upon thy puissant Thigh;

Pursue these sons of Darkness, drive them out

From all Heav’ns bounds into the utter Deep:

There let them learn, as likes them, to despise

God and Messiah his anointed King.

He said, and on his Son with Rayes direct

Shon full, he all his Father full exprest

Ineffably into his face receiv’d,

And thus the filial Godhead answering spake.

O Father, O Supream of heav’nly Thrones,

First, Highest, Holiest, Best, thou alwayes seekst

To glorifie thy Son, I alwayes thee,

As is most just; this I my Glorie account,

My exaltation, and my whole delight,

That thou in me well pleas’d declarst thy will

Fulfill’d, which to fulfil is all my bliss.

Scepter and Power, thy giving, I assume,

And gladlier shall resign, when in the end

Thou shalt be All in All, and I in thee

For ever, and in mee all whom thou lov’st;

But whom thou hat’st, I hate, and can put on

Thy terrors, as put thy mildness on,

Image of thee in all things; and shall soon,

In with these might, rid heav’n of these rebell’d,

To thir prepar’d ill Mansion driven down

To chains of and Darkness and th’ undying Worm,

That from thy just obedience could revolt,

Whom to obey is happiness entire.

Then shall thy Saints unmixt, and from th’ impure

Farr separate, circling thy holy Mount

Unfained Halleluiahs to thee sing,

Hymns of high praise, and I among them chief.

So said, he o’re his Scepter bowing, rose

From the right hand of Glorie where he sate,

And the third sacred Morn began to shine

Dawning through Heav’n: forth rush’d with whirl-wind sound

The Chariot of Paternal Deitie,

Flashing thick flames, Wheele within Wheele undrawn,

It self instinct with Spirit, but convoyd

By four Cherubic shapes, four Faces each

Had wondrous, as with Starrs thir bodies all

And Wings were set with Eyes, with Eyes the Wheels

Of Beril, and careering Fires between;

Over thir heads a chrystal Firmament,

Whereon a Saphir Throne, inlaid with pure

Amber, and colours of the showrie Arch.

Hee in Celestial Panoplie all armd

Of radiant Urim, work divinely wrought,

Ascended, at his right hand Victorie

Sate Eagle-wing’d, beside him hung his Bow

And Quiver with three-bolted Thunder stor’d,

And from about him fierce Effusion rowld

Of smoak and bickering flame, and sparkles dire;

Attended with ten thousand thousand Saints,

He onward came, farr off his coming shon,

And twentie thousand (I thir number heard)

Chariots of God, half on each hand were seen:

Hee on the wings of Cherub rode sublime

On the Crystallin Skie, in Saphir Thron’d.

Illustrious farr and wide, but by his own

First seen, them unexpected joy surpriz’d,

When the great Ensign of Messiah blaz’d

Aloft by Angels born, his Sign in Heav’n:

Under whose Conduct Michael soon reduc’d

His Armie, circumfus’d on either Wing,

Under thir Head imbodied all in one.

Before him Power Divine his way prepar’d;

At his command the uprooted Hills retir’d

Each to his place, they heard his voice and went

Obsequious, Heav’n his wonted face renewed,

And with fresh Flourets Hill and Valley smil’d.

This saw his hapless Foes, but stood obdur’d,

And to rebellious fight rallied thir Powers

Insensate, hope conceiving from despair.

In heav’nly Spirits could such perverseness dwell?

But to convince the proud what Signs availe,

Or Wonders move th’ obdurate to relent?

They hard’nd more by what might most reclame,

Grieving to see his Glorie, at the sight

Took envie, and aspiring to his highth,

Stood reimbattell’d fierce, by force or fraud

Weening to prosper, and at length prevaile

Against God and Messiah, or to fall

In universal ruin last, and now

To final Battel drew, disdaining flight,

Or faint retreat; when the great Son of God

To all his Host on either hand thus spake.

Stand still in bright array ye Saints, here stand

Ye Angels arm’d, this day from Battel rest;

Faithful hath been your Warfare, and of God

Accepted, fearless in his righteous Cause,

And as ye have receivd, so have ye don

Invincibly: but of this cursed crew

The punishment to other hand belongs,

Vengeance is his, or whose he sole appoints;

Number to this dayes work is not ordain’d

Nor multitude, stand onely and behold

Gods indignation on these Godless pourd

By mee; not you but mee they have despis’d,

Yet envied; against mee is all thir rage,

Because the Father, t’whom in Heav’n supream

Kingdom and Power and Glorie appertains,

Hath honourd me according to his will.

Therefore to mee thir doom he hath assig’n’d;

That they may have thir wish, to trie with me

In Battel which the stronger proves, they all,

Or I alone against them, since by strength

They measure all, of other excellence

Not emulous, nor care who them excells;

Nor other strife with them do I voutsafe.

So spake the Son, and into terrour chang’d

His count’nance too severe to be beheld

And full of wrauth bent on his Enemies.

At once the Four spred out thir Starrie wings

With dreadful shade contiguous, and the Orbes

Of his fierce Chariot rowld, as with the sound

Of torrent Floods, or of a numerous Host.

Hee on his impious Foes right onward drove,

Gloomie as Night; under his burning Wheeles

The stedfast Empyrean shook throughout,

All but the Throne it self of God. Full soon

Among them he arriv’d; in his right hand

Grasping ten thousand Thunders, which he sent

Before him, such as in thir Soules infix’d

Plagues; they astonisht all resistance lost,

All courage; down thir idle weapons drop’d;

O’re Shields and Helmes, and helmed heads he rode

Of Thrones and mighty Seraphim prostrate,

That wish’d the Mountains now might be again

Thrown on them as a shelter from his ire.

Nor less on either side tempestuous fell

His arrows, from the fourfold-visag’d Foure,

Distinct with eyes, and from the living Wheels,

Distinct alike with multitude of eyes,

One Spirit in them rul’d, and every eye

Glar’d lightning, and shot forth pernicious fire

Among th’ accurst, that witherd all thir strength,

And of thir wonted vigour left them draind,

Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fall’n.

Yet half his strength he put not forth, but check’d

His Thunder in mid Volie, for he meant

Not to destroy, but root them out of Heav’n:

The overthrown he rais’d, and as a Heard

Of Goats or timerous flock together throngd

Drove them before him Thunder-struck, pursu’d

With terrors and with furies to the bounds

And Chrystall wall of Heav’n, which op’ning wide,

Rowld inward, and a spacious Gap disclos’d

Into the wastful Deep; the monstrous sight

Strook them with horror backward, but far worse

Urg’d them behind; headlong themselvs they threw

Down from the verge of Heav’n, Eternal wrauth

Burnt after them to the bottomless pit.

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Nine dayes they fell

Hell heard th’ unsufferable noise, Hell saw

Heav’n ruining from Heav’n, and would have fled

Affrighted; but strict Fate had cast too deep

Her dark foundations, and too fast had bound.

Nine dayes they fell; confounded Chaos roard,

And felt tenfold confusion in thir fall

Through his wilde Anarchie, so huge a rout

Incumberd him with ruin: Hell at last

Yawning receavd them whole, and on them clos’d,

Hell thir fit habitation fraught with fire

Unquenchable, the house of woe and paine.

Disburd’nd Heav’n rejoic’d, and soon repaird

Her mural breach, returning whence it rowld.

Sole Victor from th’ expulsion of his Foes

Messiah his triumphal Chariot turnd:

To meet him all his Saints, who silent stood

Eye witnesses of his Almightie Acts,

With jubilie advanc’d; and as they went,

Shaded with branching Palme, each order bright,

Sung Triumph, and him sung Victorious King,

Son, Heire, and Lord, to him Dominion giv’n,

Worthiest to Reign: he celebrated rode

Triumphant through mid Heav’n, into the Courts

And Temple of his mightie Father Thron’d

On high; who into Glorie him receav’d,

Where now he sits at the right hand of bliss.

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Hell at last
Yawning receavd them whole.

Thus measuring things in Heav’n by things on Earth

At thy request, and that thou maist beware

By what is past, to thee I have reveal’d

What might have else to human Race bin hid:

The discord which befel, and Warr in Heav’n

Among th’ Angelic Powers, and the deep fall

Of those too high aspiring, who rebelld

With Satan, hee who envies now thy state,

Who now is plotting how he may seduce

Thee also from obedience, that with him

Bereavd of happiness thou maist partake

His punishment, Eternal miserie;

Which would be all his solace and revenge,

As a despite don against the most High,

Thee once to gaine Companion of his woe.

But list’n not to his Temptations, warne

Thy weaker; let it profit thee to have heard

By terrible Example the reward

Of disobedience; firm they might have stood,

Yet fell; remember, and fear to transgress.

Book VII

The Argument

Raphael at the request of Adam relates how and wherefore this world was first created; that God, after the expelling of Satan and his Angels out of Heaven, declar’d his pleasure to create another World and other Creatures to dwell therein; sends his Son with Glory and attendance of Angels to perform the work of Creation in six dayes: the Angels celebrate with Hymns the performance thereof, and his re-ascention into Heaven.

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 round,

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 trangress, 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.

Great things, and full of wonder in our eares,

Farr differing from this World, thou hast reveal’d

Divine Interpreter, by favour sent

Down from the Empyrean to forewarne

Us timely of what might else have bin our loss,

Unknown, which human knowledge could not reach:

For which to the infinitly Good we owe

Immortal thanks, and his admonishment

Receave with solemne purpose to observe

Immutably his sovran will, the end

Of what we are. But since thou hast voutsaf’t

Gently for our instruction to impart

Things above Earthly thought, which yet concernd

Our knowing, as to highest wisdom seemd,

Deign to descend now lower, and relate

What may no less perhaps availe us known,

How first began this Heav’n which we behold

Distant so high, with moving Fires adornd

Innumerable, and this which yeelds or fills

All space, the ambient Aire wide interfus’d

Imbracing round this florid Earth, what cause

Alov’d the Creator in his holy Rest

Through all Eternitie so late to build

In Chaos, and the work begun, how soon

Absolv’d, if unforbid thou maist unfould

What wee, not to explore the secrets aske

Of his Eternal Empire, but the more

To magnifie his works, the more we know.

And the great Light of Day yet wants to run

Much of his Race though steep, suspens in Heav’n

Held by thy voice, thy potent voice he heares,

And longer will delay to heare thee tell

His Generation, and the rising Birth

Of Nature from the unapparent Deep:

Or if the Starr of Eevning and the Moon

Haste to thy audience, Night with her will bring

Silence, and Sleep listning to thee will watch,

Or we can bid his absence, till thy Song

End, and dismiss thee ere the Morning shine.

Thus Adam his illustrious Guest besought:

And thus the Godlike Angel answerd milde.

This also thy request with caution askt

Obtaine: though to recount Almightie works

What words or tongue of Seraph can suffice,

Or heart of man suffice to comprehend?

Yet what thou canst attain, which best may serve

To glorifie the Maker, and inferr

Thee also happier, shall not be withheld

Thy hearing, such Commission from above

I have receav’d, to answer thy desire

Of knowledge within bounds; beyond abstain

To ask, nor let thine own inventions hope

Things not reveal’d which th’ invisible King,

Onely Omniscient hath supprest in Night,

To none communicable in Earth or Heaven:

Anough is left besides to search and know.

But Knowledge is as food, and needs no less

Her Temperance over Appetite, to know

In measure what the mind may well contain,

Oppresses else with Surfet, and soon turns

Wisdom to Folly, as Nourishment to Winde.

Know then, that after Lucifer from Heav’n

(So call him, brighter once amidst the Host

Of Angels, then that Starr the Starrs among)

Fell with his flaming Legions through the Deep

Into his place, and the great Son returnd

Victorious with his Saints, th’ Omnipotent

Eternal Father from his Throne beheld

Thir multitude, and to his Son thus spake.

At least our envious Foe hath fail’d, who thought

All like himself rebellious, by whose aid

This inaccessible high strength, the seat

Of Deitie supream, us dispossest,

He trusted to have seis’d, and into fraud

Drew many, whom thir place knows here no more;

Yet farr the greater part have kept, I see,

Thir station, Heav’n yet populous retaines

Number sufficient to possess her Realmes

Though wide, and this high Temple to frequent

With Ministeries due and solemn Rites:

But least his heart exalt him in the harme

Already done, to have dispeopl’d Heav’n,

My damage fondly deem’d, I can repaire

That detriment, if such it be to lose

Self-lost, and in a moment will create

Another World, out of one man a Race

Of men innumerable, there to dwell,

Not here, till by degrees of merit rais’d

They open to themselves at length the way

Up hither, under long obedience tri’d,

And Earth be chang’d to Heavn, & Heav’n to Earth,

One Kingdom, Joy and Union without end.

Mean while inhabit laxe, ye Powers of Heav’n,

And by my Word, begotten Son, by thee

This be perform, speak thou, and be it don:

My overshadowing Spirit and might with the

I send along, ride forth, and bid the Deep

Within appointed bounds be Heav’n and Earth,

Boundless the Deep, because I am who fill

Infinitude, nor vacuous the space.

Though I uncircumscrib’d my self retire,

And put not forth my goodness, which is free

To act or not, Necessitie and Chance

Approach not mee, and what I will is Fate.

So spake th’ Almightie, and to what he spake

His Word, the Filial Godhead, gave effect.

Immediate are the Acts of God, more swift

Then time or motion, but to human ears

Cannot without process of speech be told,

So told as earthly notion can receave.

Great triumph and rejoycing was in Heav’n

When such was heard declar’d the Almightie’s will;

Glorie they sung to the most High, good will

To future men, and in thir dwellings peace:

Glorie to him whose just avenging ire

Had driven out th’ ungodly from his sight

And th’ habitations of the just; to him

Glorie and praise, whose wisdom had ordain’d

Good out of evil to create, in stead

Of Spirits maligne a better Race to bring

Into thir vacant room, and thence diffuse

His good to Worlds and Ages infinite.

So sang the Hierarchies: Mean while the Son

On his great Expedition now appeer’d,

Girt with Omnipotence, with Radiance crown’d

Of Majestie Divine, Sapience and Love

Immense, and all his Father in him shon.

About his Chariot numberless were pour’d

Cherub and Seraph, Potentates and Thrones,

And Vertues, winged Spirits, and Chariots wing’d,

From the Armoury of God, where stand of old

Myriads between two brazen Mountains lodg’d

Against a solemn day, harnest at hand,

Celestial Equipage; and now came forth

Spontaneous, for within them Spirit livd,

Attendant on thir Lord: Heav’n op’nd wide

Her ever during Gates, Harmonious sound

On golden Hinges moving, to let forth

The King of Glorie in his powerful Word

And Spirit coming to create new Worlds.

On heav’nly ground they stood, and from the shore

They view’d the vast immeasurable Abyss

Outrageous as a Sea, dark, wasteful, wilde,

Up from the bottom turn’d by furious windes

And surging waves, as Mountains to assault

Heav’ns higth, and with the Center mix the Pole.

Silence, ye troubl’d waves, and thou Deep, peace,

Said then th’ Omnific Word, your discord end:

Nor staid, but on the Wings of Cherubim

Uplifted, in Paternal Glorie rode

Farr into Chaos, and the World unborn;

For Chaos heard his voice: him all his Traine

Follow’d in bright procession to behold

Creation, and the wonders of his might.

Then staid the fervid Wheeles, and in his hand

He took the golden Compasses, prepar’d

In Gods Eternal store, to circumscribe

This Universe, and all created things:

One foot he center’d, and the other turn’d

Round through the vast profunditie obscure,

And said, thus farr extend, thus farr thy bounds,

This be thy just Circumference, O World.

Thus God the Heav’n created, thus the Earth,

Matter unform’d and void: Darkness profound

Cover’d th’ Abyss: but on the watrie calme

His brooding wings the Spirit of God outspred,

And vital vertue infus’d, and vital warmth

Throughout the fluid Mass, but downward purg’d

The black tartareous cold infernal dregs

Adverse to life; then founded, then conglob’d

Like things to like, the rest to several place

Disparted, and between spun out the Air,

And Earth self-ballanc’t on her Center hung.

Let ther be Light, said God, and forthwith Light

Ethereal, first of things, quintessence pure

Sprung from the Deep, and from her Native East

To journie through the airie gloom began,

Sphear’d in a radiant Cloud, for yet the Sun

Was not; shee in a cloudie Tabernacle

Sojourn’d the while. God saw the Light was good;

And light from darkness by the Hemisphere

Divided: Light the Day, and Darkness Night

He nam’d. Thus was the first Day Eev’n and Morn:

Nor past uncelebrated, nor unsung

By the Celestial Quires, when Orient Light

Exhaling first from Darkness they beheld:

Birth-day of Heav’n and Earth; with joy and shout

The hollow Universal Orb they fill’d,

And touch’t thir Golden Harps, & hymning prais’d

God and his works, Creatour him they sung,

Both when first Eevning was, and when first Morn.

Again, God said, let ther be Firmament

Amid the Waters, and let it divide

The Waters from the Waters: and God made

The Firmament, expanse of liquid, pure,

Transparent, Elemental Air, diffus’d

In circuit to the uttermost convex

Of this great Round: partition firm and sure,

The Waters underneath from those above

Dividing: for as Earth, so hee the World

Built on circumfluous Waters calme, in wide

Crystallin Ocean, and the loud misrule

Of Chaos farr remov’d, least fierce extreames

Contiguous might distemper the whole frame:

And Heav’n he nam’d the Firmament: So Eev’n

And Morning Chorus sung the second Day.

The Earth was form’d, but in the Womb as yet

Of Waters, Embryon immature involv’d,

Appeer’d not: over all the face of Earth

Main Ocean flow’d, not idle, but with warme

Prolific humour soft’ning all her Globe,

Fermented the great Mother to conceave,

Satiate with genial moisture, when God said

Be gather’d now ye Waters under Heav’n

Into one place, and let dry Land appeer.

Immediately the Mountains huge appeer

Emergent, and thir broad bare backs upheave

Into the Clouds, thir tops ascend the Skie:

So high as heav’d the tumid Hills, so low

Down sunk a hollow bottom broad and deep,

Capacious bed of Waters: thither they

Hasted with glad precipitance, uprowld

As drops on dust conglobing from the drie;

Part rise in crystal Wall, or ridge direct,

For haste; such flight the great command impress’d

On the swift flouds: as Armies at the call

Of Trumpet (for of Armies thou hast heard)

Troop to thir Standard, so the watrie throng,

Wave rowling after Wave, where way they found,

If steep, with torrent rapture, if through Plaine,

Soft-ebbing; nor withstood them Rock or Hill,

But they, or under ground, or circuit wide

With Serpent errour wandring, found thir way,

And on the washie Oose deep Channels wore;

Easie, e’re God had bid the ground be drie,

All but within those banks, where Rivers now

Stream, and perpeutal draw thir humid traine.

The dry Land, Earth, and the great receptacle

Of congregated Waters he call’d Seas:

And saw that it was good, and said, Let th’ Earth

Put forth the verdant Grass, Herb yeilding Seed,

And Fruit Tree yeilding Fruit after her kind;

Whose Seed is in her serf upon the Earth.

He scarce had said, when the bare Earth, till then

Desert and bare, unsightly, unadorn’d,

Brought forth the tender Grass, whose verdure clad

Her Universal Face with pleasant green,

Then Herbs of every leaf, that sudden flour’d

Op’ning thir various colours, and made gay

Her bosom smelling sweet: and these scarce blown,

Forth flourish’t thick the clustring Vine, forth crept

The smelling Gourd, up stood the cornie Reed

Embattell’d in her field: add the humble Shrub,

And Bush with frizl’d hair implicit: last

Rose as in Dance the stately Trees, and spred

Thir branches hung with copious Fruit: or gemm’d

Thir Blossoms: with high Woods the Hills were crownd,

With tufts the vallies & each fountain side,

With borders long the Rivers. That Earth now

Seemd like to Heav’n, a seat where Gods might dwell,

Or wander with delight, and love to haunt

Her sacred shades: though God had yet not rain’d

Upon the Earth, and man to till the ground

None was, but from the Earth a dewie Mist

Went up and waterd all the ground, and each

Plant of the field, which e’re it was in the Earth

God made, and every Herb, before it grew

On the green stemm; God saw that it was good:

So Eev’n and Morn recorded the Third Day.

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Wave rowling after Wave, where way they found,
If steep, with torrent rapture

Again th’ Almightie spake: Let there be Lights

High in th’ expanse of Heaven to, divide

The Day from Night; and let them be for Signes,

For Seasons, and for Dayes, and circling Years,

And let them be for Lights as I ordaine

Thir Office in the Firmament of Heav’n

To give Light on the Earth; and it was so.

And God made two great Lights, great for thir use

To Man, the greater to have rule by Day,

The less by Night alterne: and made the Starrs,

And set them in the Firmament of Heav’n

To illuminate the Earth, and rule the Day

In thir vicissitude, and rule the Night,

And Light from Darkness to divide. God saw,

Surveying his great Work, that it was good:

For of Celestial Bodies first the Sun

A mightie Spheare he fram’d, unlightsom first,

Though of Ethereal Mould: then form’d the Moon

Globose, and everie magnitude of Starrs,

And sowd with Starrs the Heav’n thick as a field:

Of Light by farr the greater part he took,

Transplanted from her cloudie Shrine, and plac’d

In the Suns Orb, made porous to receive

And drink the liquid Light, firm to retaine

Her gather’d beams, great Palace now of Light.

Hither as to thir Fountain other Starrs

Repairing, in thir gold’n Urns draw Light,

And hence the Morning Planet guilds his horns;

By tincture or reflection they augment

Thir small peculiar, though from human sight

So farr remote, with diminution seen.

First in his East the glorious Lamp was seen,

Regent of Day, and all th’ Horizon round

Invested with bright Rayes, jocond to run

His Longitude through Heav’ns high rode: the gray

Dawn, and the Pleiades before him danc’d

Shedding sweet influence: less bright the Moon,

But opposite in leveld West was set

His mirror with full face borrowing her Light

From him, for other light she needed none

In that aspect, and still that distance keepes

Till night, then in the East her turn she shines,

Revolvd on Heav’ns great Axle, and her Reign

With thousand lesser Lights dividual holds,

With thousand thousand Starres, that then appeer’d

Spangling the Hemisphere: then first adornd

With thir bright Luminaries that Set and Rose,

Glad Eevning & glad Morn crownd the fourth day.

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And God said, let the Waters generate
Reptil with Spawn abundant, living Soule:
And let Fowle flie above the Earth.

And God said, let the Waters generate

Reptil with Spawn abundant, living Soule:

And let Fowle flie above the Earth, with wings

Displayd on the op’n Firmament of Heav’n.

And God created the great Whales, and each

Soul living, each that crept, which plenteously

The waters generated by thir kindes,

And every Bird of wing after his kinde;

And saw that it was good, and bless’d them, saying,

Be fruitful, multiply, and in the Seas

And Lakes and running Streams the waters fill;

And let the Fowle be multiply’d on the Earth.

Forthwith the Sounds and Seas, each Creek & Bay

With Frie innumerable swarme, and Shoales

Of Fish that with thir Finns & shining Scales

Glide under green Wave, in Sculles that oft

Bank the mid Sea: part single or with mate

Graze the Sea weed thir pasture, & through Groves

Of Coral stray, or with quick glance

Show to the Sun thir wavd coats dropt with Gold,

Or in thir Pearlie shells at ease, attend

Moist nutriment, or under Rocks thir food

In jointed Armour watch: on smooth the Seale,

And bended Dolphins play: part huge of bulk

Wallowing unweildie, enormous in thir Gate

Tempest the Ocean: there Leviathan

Hugest of living Creatures, on the Deep

Stretcht like a Promontorie sleeps or swimmes,

And seems a moving Land, and at his Gilles

Draws in, and at his Trunck spouts out a Sea.

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And seems a moving Land, and at his Gilles
Draws in, and at his Trunck spouts out a Sea.

Meanwhile the tepid Caves, and Fens and shoares

Thir Brood as numerous hatch, from the Egg that soon

Bursting with kindly rupture forth disclos’d

Thir callow young, but featherd soon and fledge

They summ’d thir Penns, and soaring th’ air sublime

With clang despis’d the ground, under a cloud

In prospect; there the Eagle and the Stork

On Cliffs and Cedar tops thir Eyries build:

Part loosly wing the Region, part more wise

In common, rang’d in figure wedge thir way,

Intelligent of seasons, and set forth

Thir Aierie Caravan high over Sea’s

Flying, and over Lands with mutual wing

Easing thir flight; so stears the prudent Crane

Her annual Voiage, born on Windes; the Aire

Floats, as they pass, fann’d with unnumber’d plumes:

From Branch to Branch the smaller Birds with song

Solac’d the Woods, and spred thir painted wings

Till Ev’n, nor then the solemn Nightingal

Ceas’d warbling, but all night tun’d her soft layes:

Others on Silver Lakes and Rivers Bath’ d

Thir downie Brest; the Swan with Arched neck

Between her white wings mantling proudly, Rowes

Her state with Oarie feet: yet oft they quit

The Dank, and rising on stiff Pennons, towre

The mid Aereal Skie: Others on ground

Walk’d firm; the crested Cock whose clarion sounds

The silent hours, and th’ other whose gay Traine

Adorns him, colour’d with the Florid hue

Of Rainbows and Starrie Eyes. The Waters thus

With Fish replenisht, and the Aire with Fowle,

Ev’ning and Morn solemniz’d the Fift day.

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Meanwhile the tepid Caves, and Fens and shoares
Thir Brood as numerous hatch

The Sixt, and of Creation last arose

With Eevning Harps and Mattin, when God said,

Let th’ Earth bring forth Fowle living in her kinde,

Cattel and Creeping things, and Beast of the Earth,

Each in thir kinde. The Earth obey’d, and strait

Op’ning her fertil Woomb teem’d at a Birth

Innumerous living Creatures, perfet formes,

Limb’d and full grown: out of the ground up rose

As from his Laire the wilde Beast where he wonns

In Forrest wilde, in Thicket, Brake, or Den;

Among the Trees in Pairs they rose, they walk’d:

The Cattel in the Fields and Meddowes green:

Those rare and solitarie, these in flocks

Pasturing at once, and in broad Herds upsprung.

The grassie Clods now Calv’d, now half appeer’d

The Tawnie Lion, pawing to get free

His hinder parts, then springs as broke from Bonds,

And Rampant shakes his Brinded main; the Ounce,

The Libbard, and the Tyger, as the Moale

Rising, the crumbl’d Earth above them threw

In Hillocks; the swift Stag from under ground

Bore up his branching head: scarse from his mould

Behemoth biggest born of Earth upheav’d

His vastness: Fleec’t the Flocks and bleating rose,

As Plants: ambiguous between Sea and Land

The River Horse and scalie Crocodile.

At once came forth whatever creeps the ground,

Insect or Worme; those wav’d thir limber fans

For wings, and smallest Lineaments exact

In all the Liveries dect of Summers pride

With spots of Gold and Purple, azure and green:

These as a line thir long dimension drew,

Streaking the ground with sinuous trace; not all

Minims of Nature; some of Serpent kinde

Wondrous in length and corpulence involv’d

Thir Snakie foulds, and added wings. First crept

The Parsimonious Emmet, provident

Of future, in small room large heart enclos’d,

Pattern of just equalitie perhaps

Hereafter, join’d in her popular Tribes

Of Commonaltie: swarming next appeer’d

The Femal Bee that feeds her Husband Drone

Deliciously, and builds her waxen Cells

With Honey stor’d: the rest are numberless,

And thou thir Natures know’st, and gav’st them Names,

Needless to thee repeated; nor unknown

The Serpent suttl’st Beast of all the field,

Of huge extent somtimes, with brazen Eyes

And hairie Main terrific, though to thee

Not noxious, but obedient at thy call.

Now Heav’n in all her Glorie shon, and rowld

Her motions, as the great first-Movers hand

First wheeld thir course; Earth in her rich attire

Consummate lovly smil’d; Aire, Water, Earth,

By Fowl, Fish, Beast, was flown, was swum, was walkt

Frequent; and of the Sixt day yet remain’d;

There wanted yet the Master work, the end

Of all yet don; a Creature who not prone

And Brute as other Creatures, but endu’d

With Sanctitie of Reason, might erect

His Stature, and upright with Front serene

Govern the rest, self-knowing, and from thence

Magnanimous to correspond with Heav’n,

But grateful to acknowledge whence his good

Descends, thither with heart and voice and eyes

Directed in Devotion, to adore

And worship God Supream, who made him chief

Of all his works: therefore the Omnipotent

Eternal Father (For where is not hee

Present) thus to his Son audibly spake.

Let us make now Man in our image, Man

In our similitude, and let them rule

Over the Fish and Fowle of Sea and Aire,

Beast of the Field, and over all the Earth,

And every creeping thing that creeps the ground.

This said, he formd thee, Adam, thee O Man

Dust of the ground, and in thy nostrils breath’ d

The breath of Life; in his own Image hee

Created thee, in the Image of God

Express, and thou becam’st a living Soul.

Male he created thee, but thy consort

Femal for Race; then bless’d Mankinde, and said,

Be fruitful, multiplie, and fill the Earth,

Subdue it, and throughout Dominion hold

Over Fish of the Sea, and Fowle of the Aire,

And every living thing that moves on the Earth.

Wherever thus created, for no place

Is yet distinct by name, thence, as thou know’st

He brought thee into this delicious Grove,

This Garden, planted with the Trees of God,

Delectable both to behold and taste;

And freely all thir pleasant fruit for food

Gave thee all sorts are here that all Earth yeelds,

Varietie without end; but of the Tree

Which tasted works knowledge of Good and Evil,

Thou mai’st not; in the day thou eat’st, thou di’st;

Death is the penaltie impos’d, beware,

And govern well thy appetite, least sin

Surprise thee, and her black attendant Death.

Here finish’d hee, and all that he had made

View’d, and behold all was entirely good;

So Ev’n and Morn accomplish’t the Sixt day:

Yet not till the Creator from his work

Desisting, though unwearied, up returnd

Up to the Heav’n of Heav’ns his high abode,

Thence to behold this new created World

Th’ addition of his Empire, how it shew’d

In prospect from his Throne, how good, how faire,

Answering his great Idea. Up he rode

Followd with acclamation and the sound

Symphonious of ten thousand Harpes that tun’d

Angelic harmonies: the Earth, the Aire

Resounded, (thou remember’st for thou heardst)

The Heav’ns and all the Constellations rung,

The Planets in thir stations list’ning stood,

While the bright Pomp ascended jubilant.

Open, ye everlasting Gates, they sung,

Open, ye Heav’ns, your living dores; let in

The great Creator from his work return’d

Magnificent, his Six days work, a World;

Open, and henceforth oft; for God will deigne

To visit oft the dwellings of just Men

Delighted, and with frequent intercourse

Thither will send his winged Messengers

On errands of supernal Grace. So sung

The glorious Train ascending: He through Heav’n,

That open’d wide her blazing portals, led

To Gods Eternal house direct the way,

A broad and ample rode, whose dust is Gold

And pavement Starrs, as Starrs to thee appeer,

Seen in the Galaxie, that Milkie way

Which nightly as a circling Zone thou seest

Pouderd with Starrs. And now on Earth the Seaventh

Eev’ning arose in Eden, for the Sun

Was set, and twilight from the East came on,

Forerunning Night; when at the holy mount

Of Heav’ns high-seated top, th’ Impereal Throne

Of Godhead, fixt for ever firm and sure,

The Filial Power arriv’d, and sate him down

With his great Father, for he also went

Invisible, yet staid (such priviledge

Hath Omnipresence) and the work ordain’d,

Author and end of all things, and from work

Now resting, bless’d and hallowd the Seav’nth day,

As resting on that day from all his work,

But not in silence holy kept; the Harp

Had work and rested not, the solemn Pipe,

And Dulcimer, all Organs of sweet stop,

All sounds on Fret by String or Golden Wire

Temper’d soft Tunings, intermixt with Voice

Choral or Unison; of incense Clouds

Fuming from Golden Censers hid the Mount.

Creation and the Six dayes acts they sung,

Great are thy works, Jehovah, infinite

Thy power; what thought can measure thee or tongue

Relate thee; greater now in thy return

Then from the Giant Angels; thee that day

Thy Thunders magnifi’d; but to create

Is greater then created to destroy.

Who can impair thee, mighty King, or bound

Thy Empire? easily the proud attempt

Of Spirits apostat and thir Counsels vaine

Thou hast repeld, while impiously they thought

Thee to diminish, and from thee withdraw

The number of thy worshippers. Who seekes

To lessen thee, against his purpose serves

To manifest the more thy might: his evil

Thou usest, and from thence creat’st more good.

Witness this new-made World, another Heav’n

From Heaven Gate not farr, founded in view

On the cleer Hyaline, the Glassie Sea;

Of amplitude almost immense, with Starr’s

Numerous, and every Starr perhaps a World

Of destind habitation; but thou know’st

Thir seasons: among these the seat of men,

Earth with her nether Ocean circumfus’d,

Thir pleasant dwelling place. Thrice happie men,

And sons of men, whom God hath thus advanc’t,

Created in his Image, there to dwell

And worship him, and in reward to rule

Over his Works, on Earth, in Sea, or Air,

And multiply a Race of Worshippers

Holy and just: thrice happie if they know

Thir happiness, and persevere upright.

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And now on Earth the Seaventh
Eev’ning arose in Eden

So sung they, and the Empyrean rung,

With Halleluiahs: Thus was Sabbath kept.

And thy request think now fulfill’d, that ask’d

How first this World and face of things began,

And what before thy memorie was don

From the beginning, that posteritie

Informd by thee might know; if else thou seek’st

Aught, not surpassing human measure, say.

Book VIII

The Argument

Adam inquires concerning celestial Motions, is doubtfully answer’d, and exhorted to search rather things more worthy of knowledge: Adam assents, and still desirous to detain Raphael, relates to him what he remember’d since his own Creation, his placing in Paradise, his talk with God concerning solitude and fit society, his first meeting and Nuptials with Eve, his discourse with the Angel thereupon; who after admonitions repeated departs.

The angel ended, and in Adams Eare

So Charming left his voice, that he a while

Thought him still speaking, still stood fixt to hear;

Then as new wak’t thus gratefully repli’d.

What thanks sufficient, or what recompence

Equal have I to render thee, Divine

Hystorian, who thus largely hast allayd

The thirst I had of knowledge, and voutsaf’t

This friendly condescention to relate

Things else by me unsearchable, now heard

With wonder, but delight, and, as is due,

With glorie attributed to the high

Creator; some thing yet of doubt remaines,

Which onely thy solution can resolve.

When I behold this goodly Frame, this World

Of Heav’n and Earth consisting, and compute,

Thir magnitudes, this Earth a spot, a graine,

An Atom, with the Firmament compar’d

And all her numberd Starrs, that seem to rowle

Spaces incomprehensible (for such

Thir distance argues and thir swift return

Diurnal) meerly to officiate light

Round this opacous Earth, this punctual spot,

One day and night; in all thir vast survey

Useless besides, reasoning I oft admire,

How Nature wise and frugal could commit

Such disproportions, with superfluous hand

So many nobler Bodies to create,

Greater so manifold to this one use,

For aught appeers, and on thir Orbs impose

Such restless revolution day by day

Repeated, while the sedentarie Earth,

That better might with farr less compass move,

Serv’d by more noble then her self, attaines

Her end without least motion, and receaves,

As Tribute such a sumless journey brought

Of incorporeal speed, her warmth and light;

Speed, to describe whose swiftness Number failes.

So spake our Sire, and by his count’nance seemd

Entring on studious thoughts abstruse, which Eve

Perceaving where she sat retir’d in sight,

With lowliness Majestic from her seat,

And Grace that won who saw to wish her stay,

Rose, and went forth among her Fruits and Flours,

To visit how they prosper’d, bud and bloom,

Her Nurserie; they at her coming sprung

And toucht by her fair tendance gladlier grew.

Yet went she not, as not with such discourse

Delighted, or not capable her care

Of what was high: such pleasure she reserv’d,

Adam relating, she sole Auditress;

Her Husband the Relater she preferr’d

Before the Angel, and of him to ask

Chose rather: hee, she knew would intermix

Grateful digressions, and solve high dispute

With conjugal Caresses, from his Lip

Not Words alone forth her. O when meet now

Such pairs, in Love and mutual Honour joyn’d?

With Goddess-like demeanour forth she went;

Not unattended, for on her as Queen

A pomp of winning Graces waited still,

And from about her shot Darts of desire

Into all Eyes to wish her still in sight.

And Raphael now to Adam’s doubt propos’d

Benevolent and facil thus repli’d.

To ask or search I blame thee not, for Heav’n

Is as the Book of God before thee set,

Wherein to read his wondrous Works, and learne

His Seasons, Hours, or Days, or Months, or Yeares;

This to attain, whether Heav’n move or Earth,

Imports not, if thou reck’n right, the rest

From Man or Angel the great Architect

Did wisely to conceal, and not divulge

His secrets to be scann’d by them who ought

Rather admire; or if they list to try

Conjecture, he his Fabric of the Heav’ns

Hath left to thir disputes, perhaps to move

His laughter at thir quaint Opinions wide

Hereafter, when they come to model Heav’n

And calculate the Starrs, how they will weild

The mightie frame, how build, unbuild, contrive

To save appeerances, how gird the Sphear

With Centric and Eccentric scribl’d o’re,

Cycle and Epicycle, Orb in Orb:

Alreadie by thy reasoning this I guess,

Who art to lead thy ofspring, and supposest

That Bodies bright and greater should not serve

The less not bright, nor Heav’n such journies run,

Earth sitting still, when she alone receaves

The benefit: consider first, that Great

Or Bright inferrs not Excellence: the Earth

Though, in comparison of Heav’n so small,

Nor glistering, may of solid good containe

More plenty then the Sun that barren shines,

Whose vertue on it self workes no effect,

But in the fruitful Earth; there first receavd

His beams, unactive else, thir vigor find.

Yet not to Earth are those bright Luminaries

Officious, but to thee Earths habitant.

And for the Heav’ns wide Circuit, let it speak

The Makers high magnificence, who built

So spacious, and his Line stretcht out so farr;

That Man may know he dwells not in his own;

An Edifice too large for him to fill,

Lodg’d in a small partition, and the rest

Ordain’d for uses to his Lord best known.

The swiftness of those Circles attribute,

Though numberless, to his Omnipotence,

That to corporeal substances could adde

Speed almost Spiritual; mee thou thinkst not slow,

Who since the Morning hour set out from Heav’n

Where God resides, and ere mid-day arriv’d

In Eden, distance inexpressible

By Numbers that have name. But this I urge,

Admitting Motion in the Heav’ns, to shew

Invalid that which thee to doubt it mov’d;

Not that I so affirm, though so it seem

To thee who hast thy dwelling here on Earth.

God to remove his wayes from human sense,

Plac’d Heav’n from Earth so farr, that earthly sight,

If it presume, might erre in things too high,

And no advantage gaine. What if the Sun

Be Center to the World, and other Starrs

By his attractive vertue and thir own

Incited, dance about him various rounds?

Thir wandring course now high, now low, then hid,

Progressive, retrograde, or standing still,

In six thou seest, and what if to these

The Planet Earth, so stedfast though she seem,

Insensibly three different Motions move?

Which else to several Sphears thou must ascribe,

Mov’d contrarie with thwart obliquities,

Or save the Sun his labour, and that swift

Nocturnal and Diurnal rhomb suppos’d,

Invisible else above all Starrs, the Wheele

Of Day and Night; which needs not thy beleefe,

If Earth industrious of her self fetch Day

Travelling East, and with her part averse

From the Suns beam meet Night, her other part

Still luminous by his ray. What if that light

Sent from her through the wide transpicuous aire,

To the terrestrial Moon be as a Star

Enlightning her by Day, as she by Night

This Earth? reciprocal, if Land be there,

Feilds and Inhabitants: Her spots thou seest

As Clouds, and Clouds may rain, and Rain produce

Fruits in her soft’nd Soile, for some to eate

Allotted there; and other Suns perhaps

With thir attendant Moons thou wilt descrie

Communicating Male and Female Light,

Which two great Sexes animate the World,

Stor’d in each Orb perhaps with some that live.

For such vast room in Nature unpossest

By living Soule, desert and desolate,

Onely to shine, yet scarce to contribute

Each Orb a glimps of Light, conveyd so far

Down to this habitable, which returnes

Light back to them, is obvious to dispute.

But whether thus these things, or whether not,

Whether the Sun predominant in Heav’n

Rise on the Earth, or Earth rise on the Sun,

Hee from the East his flaming rode begin,

Or Shee from West her silent course advance

With inoffensive pace that spinning sleeps

On her soft Axle, while she paces Eev’n,

And bears thee soft with the smooth Air along,

Sollicit not thy thoughts with matters hid,

Leave them to God above, him serve and feare;

Of other Creatures, as him pleases best,

Wherever plac’t, let him dispose: joy thou

In what he gives to thee, this Paradise

And thy fair Eve: Heav’n is for thee too high

To know what passes there; be lowlie wise:

Think onely what concernes thee and thy being;

Dream not of other Worlds, what Creatures there

Live, in what state, condition or degree,

Contented that thus farr hath been reveal’d

Not of Earth onely but of highest Heav’n.

To whom thus Adam cleerd of doubt, repli’d.

How fully hast thou satisfi’d mee, pure

Intelligence of Heav’n, Angel serene,

And freed from intricacies, taught to live,

The easiest way, nor with perplexing thoughts

To interrupt the sweet of Life, from which

God hath bid dwell farr off all anxious cares,

And not molest us, unless we our selves

Seek them with wandring thoughts, and notions vaine.

But apte the Mind or Fancie is to roave

Uncheckt, and of her roaving is no end;

Till warn’d, or by experience taught, she learn

That not to know at large of things remote

From use, obscure and suttle, but to know

That which before us lies in daily life,

Is the prime Wisdom, what is more, is fume,

Or emptiness, or fond impertinence,

And renders us in things that most concerne

Unpractis’d, unprepar’d, and still to seek.

Therefore from this high pitch let us descend

A lower flight, and speak of things at hand

Useful, whence haply mention may arise

Of somthing not unseasonable to ask

By sufferance, and thy wonted favour deign’d.

Thee I have heard relating what was don

Ere my remembrance: now hear mee relate

My Storie, which perhaps thou hast not heard;

And Day is yet not spent; till then thou seest

How suttly to detaine thee I devise,

Inviting thee to hear while I relate,

Fond, were it not in hope of thy reply:

For while I sit with thee, I seem in Heav’n,

And sweeter thy discourse is to my eare

Then Fruits of Palm-tree pleasantest to thirst

And hunger both, from labour, at the houre

Of sweet repast; they satiate, and soon fill,

Though pleasant, but thy words with Grace Divine

Imbu’d, bring to thir sweetness no satietie.

To whom thus Raphael answer’d heav’nly meek.

Nor are thy lips ungraceful, Sire of men,

Nor tongue ineloquent; for God on thee

Abundantly his gifts hath also pour’d

Inward and outward both, his image faire:

Speaking or mute all comliness and grace

Attends thee, and each word, each motion formes

Nor less think wee in Heav’n of thee on Earth

Then of our fellow servant, and inquire

Gladly into the wayes of God with Man:

For God we see hath honour’d thee, and set

On Man his equal Love: say therefore on;

For I that Day was absent, as befell,

Bound on a voyage uncouth and obscure,

Farr on excursion toward the Gates of Hell;

Squar’d in full Legion (such command we had)

To see that none thence issu’d forth a spie,

Or enemie, while God was in his work,

Least hee incenst at such eruption bold,

Destruction with Creation might have mixt.

Not that they durst without his leave attempt,

But us he sends upon his high behests

For state, as Sovran King, and to enure

Our prompt obedience. Fast we found, fast shut

The dismal Gates, and barricado’d strong;

But long ere our approaching heard within

Noise, other then the sound of Dance or Song,

Torment, and lowd lament, and furious rage.

Glad we return’d up to the coasts of Light

Ere Sabbath Eev’ning: so we had in charge.

But thy relation now; for I attend,

Pleas’d with thy words no less then 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

Induc’d me. As new wak’t from soundest sleep

Soft on the flourie herb I found me laid

In Balmie Sweat, which with his Beames the Sun

Soon dri’d, and on the reaking moisture fed.

Strait toward Heav’n my wondring Eyes I turnd,

And gaz’d a while the ample Skie, till rais’d

By quick instinctive motion up I sprung,

As thitherward endevoring, and upright

Stood on my feet; about me round I saw

Hill, Dale, and shadie Woods, and sunnie Plaines,

And liquid Lapse of murmuring Streams, by these,

Creatures that livd, and movd, and walk’d, or flew,

Birds on the branches warbling; all things smil’d,

With fragrance and with joy my heart oreflow’d.

My self I then perus’d, and Limb by Limb

Survey’d, 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 tri’d, and forthwith spake,

My Tongue obey’d and readily could name

What e’re I saw. Thou Sun, said I, faire Light,

And thou enlight’nd Earth, so fresh and gay,

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

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

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

Not of my self; by some great Maker then,

In goodness and in power praeeminent;

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 then I know.

While thus I call’d, and stray’d I knew not whither,

From where I first drew Aire, and first beheld

This happie Light, when answer none return’d,

On a green shadie Bank profuse of Flours

Pensive I sate me down; there gentle sleep

First found me, and with soft oppression seis’d

My droused sense, untroubl’d, 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 mov’d

My Fancy to believe I yet had being,

And livd: One came, methought, of shape Divine,

And said, thy Mansion wants thee, Adam, rise,

First Man, of Men innumerable ordain’d

First Father, call’d by thee I come thy Guide

To the Garden of bliss, thy seat prepar’d.

So saying, by the hand he took me rais’d,

And over Fields and Waters, as in Aire

Smooth sliding without step, last led me up

A woodie Mountain; whose high top was plaine,

A Circuit wide, enclos’d, with goodliest Trees

Planted, with Walks, and Bowers, that what I saw

Of Earth before scarce pleasant seemd. Each Tree

Load’n with fairest Fruit, that hung to the Eye

Tempting, stirr’d in me sudden appetite

To pluck and eate; whereat I wak’d, and found

Before mine Eyes all real, as the dream

Had lively shadowd: Here had new begun

My wandring, had not hee who was my Guide

Up hither, from among the Trees appeer’d,

Presence Divine. Rejoycing, but with aw

In adoration at his feet I fell

Submiss: he rear’d me, & Whom thou soughtst I am,

Said mildely, 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 eate:

Of every Tree that in the Garden growes

Eate freely with glad heart; fear here no dearth:

But of the Tree whose operation brings

Knowledg 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 warne thee, shun to taste,

And shun the bitter consequence: for know,

The day thou eat’st thereof, my sole command

Transgrest, inevitably thou shalt dye;

From that day mortal, and this happie State

Shalt loose, expell’d from hence into a World

Of woe and sorrow. Sternly he pronounc’d

The rigid interdiction, which resounds

Yet dreadful in mine eare, though in my choice

Not to incur; but soon his cleer aspect

Return’d and gratious purpose thus renew’d.

Not onely 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 Aire, Beast, Fish, and Fowle

In signe whereof each Bird and Beast behold

After thir kindes; I bring them to receave

From thee thir Names, and pay thee fealtie

With low subjection; understand the same

Of Fish within thir watry residence,

Not hither summond, since they cannot change

Thir Element to draw the thinner Aire.

As thus he spake, each Bird and Beast behold

Approaching two and two, These cowring low

With blandishment, each Bird stoop’d on his wing.

I nam’d them, as they pass’d, and understood

Thir Nature, with such knowledge God endu’d

My sudden apprehension: but in these

I found not what me thought I wanted still;

And to the Heav’nly vision thus presum’d.

O by what Name, for thou above all these,

Above mankinde, or aught then mankinde higher,

Surpassest farr 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 mee

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 bright’nd, thus repli’d.

What call’st thou solitude, is not the Earth

With various living creatures, and the Aire

Replenisht, and all these at thy command

To come and play before thee, know’st thou not

Thir language and thir wayes, they also know,

And reason not contemptibly; with these

Find pastime, and heare rule; thy Realm is large.

So spake the Universal Lord, and seem’d

So ordering. I with leave of speech implor’d,

And humble deprecation thus repli’d.

Let not my words offend thee, Heav’nly Power,

My Maker, be propitious while I speak.

Hast thou not made me here thy substitute,

And these inferiour farr beneath me set?

Among unequals what societie

Can sort, what harmonie or true delight?

Which must be mutual, in proportion due

Giv’n and receiv’d; but in disparitie

The one intense, the other still remiss

Cannot well suite 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 rejoyce

Each with thir kinde, Lion with Lioness;

So fitly them in pairs thou hast combin’d;

Much less can Bird with Beast, or Fish with Fowle

So well converse, nor with the Ox the Ape;

Wors then can Man with Beast, and least of all.

Whereto th’ Almighty answer’d, not displeas’d.

A nice and suttle happiness I see

Thou to thy self proposest, in the choice

Of thy Associates, Adam, and wilt taste

No pleasure, though in pleasure, solitarie.

What thinkst thou then of mee, and this my State,

Seem I to thee sufficiently possest

Of happiness, or not? who am alone

From all Eternitie, for none I know

Second to mee 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 ceas’d, I lowly answer’d. To attaine

The higth and depth of thy Eternal wayes

All human thoughts come short, Supream of things;

Thou in thy self art perfet, 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 propagat, 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, this Image multipli’d,

In unitie defective, which requires

Collateral love, and deerest amitie.

Thou in thy secresie although alone,

Best with thy self accompanied, seek’st not

Social communication, yet so pleas’d,

Canst raise thy Creature to what highth thou wilt

Of Union or Communion, deifi’d;

I by conversing cannot these erect

From prone, nor in thir wayes complacence find.

Thus I embold’nd spake, and freedom us’d

Permissive, and acceptance found, which gain’d

This answer from the gratious voice Divine.

Thus farr to try thee Adam, I was pleas’d,

And finde thee knowing not of Beasts alone,

Which thou hast rightly nam’d, but of thy self,

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 spak’st,

Knew it not good for Man to be alone,

And no such companie as then thou saw’st

Intended thee, for trial onely brought,

To see how thou could’st judge of fit and meet:

What next I bring shall please thee, be assur’d,

Thy likeness, thy fit help, thy other self,

Thy wish, exactly to thy hearts desire.

Hee ended, or I heard no more, for now

My earthly by his Heav’nly overpower’d,

Which it had long stood under, streind to the highth

In that celestial Colloquie sublime,

As with an object that excels the sense,

Dazl’d and spent, sunk down, and sought repair

Of sleep, which instantly fell on me, call’d

By Nature as in aide, and clos’d mine eyes.

Mine eyes he clos’d, but op’n left the Cell

Of Fancie my internal sight, by which

Abstract as in a transe methought I saw,

Though sleeping, where I lay, and saw the shape

Still glorious before whom awake I stood;

Who stooping op’nd my left side, and took

From thence a Rib, with cordial spirits warme,

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

But suddenly with flesh fill’d up & heal’d:

The Rib he formd and fashond with his hands;

Under his forming hands a Creature grew,

Manlike, but different sex, so lovly faire,

That what seemd fair in all the World, seemd now

Mean, or in her summd up, in her containd

And in her looks, which from that time infus’d

Sweetness into my heart, unfelt before,

And into all things from her Aire inspir’d

The spirit of love and amorous delight.

She disappeerd, and left me dark, I Wak’d

To find her, or for ever to deplore

Her loss, and other pleasures all abjure:

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

Such as I saw her in my dream, adornd

With what all Earth or Heaven could bestow

To make her amiable: On she came,

Led by her Heav’nly Maker, though unseen,

And guided by his voice, nor uninformd

Of nuptial Sanctitie and marriage Rites:

Grace was in all her steps, Heav’n in her Eye,

In every gesture dignitie and love.

I overjoy’d could not forbear aloud.

This turn hath made amends; thou hast fulfill’d

Thy words, Creator bounteous and benigne,

Giver of all things faire, but fairest this

Of all thy gifts, nor enviest. I now see

Bone of my Bone, Flesh of my Flesh, my Self

Before me; Woman is her Name, of Man

Extracted; for this cause he shall forgoe

Father and Mother, and to his Wife adhere;

And they shall be one Flesh, one Heart, one Soule.

She heard me thus, and though divinely brought,

Yet Innocence and Virgin Modestie,

Her vertue and the conscience of her worth,

That would be woo’d, and not unsought be won,

Not obvious, not obtrusive, but retir’d,

The more desirable, or to say all,

Nature her self, though pure of sinful thought,

Wrought in her so, that seeing me, she turn’d;

I follow’d her, she what was Honour knew,

And with obsequious Majestie approv’d

My pleaded reason. To the Nuptial Bowre

I led her blushing like the Morn: all Heav’n,

And happie Constellations on that houre

Shed thir selectest influence; the Earth

Gave sign of gratulation, and each Hill;

Joyous the Birds; fresh Gales and gentle Aires

Whisper’d it to the Woods, and from thir wings

Flung Rose, flung Odours from the spicie Shrub,

Disporting, till the amorous Bird of Night

Sung Spousal, and bid haste the Eevning Star

On his Hill top, to light the bridal Lamp.

Thus I have told thee all my State, and brought

My Storie to the sum of earthly bliss

Which I enjoy, and must confess to find

In all things else delight indeed, but such

As us’d or not, works in the mind no change,

Nor vehement desire, these delicacies

I mean of Taste, Sight, Smell, Herbs, Fruits & Flours,

Walks, and the melodie of Birds; but here

Farr otherwise, transported I behold,

Transported touch; here passion first I felt,

Commotion strange, in all enjoyments else

Superiour and unmov’d, here onely weake

Against the charm of Beauties powerful glance.

Or Nature faild in mee, and left some part

Not proof enough such Object to sustain,

Or from my side subducting, took perhaps

More then enough; at least on her bestow’d

Too much of Ornament, in outward shew

Elaborate, of inward less exact.

For well I understand in the prime end

Of Nature her th’ inferiour, in the mind

And inward Faculties, which most excell,

In outward also her resembling less

His Image who made both, and less expressing

The character of that Dominion giv’n

O’re other Creatures; yet when I approach

Her loveliness, so absolute she seems

And in her self compleat, so well to know

Her own, that what she wills to do or say,

Seems wisest, vertuousest, discreetest, best;

All higher knowledge in her presence falls

Degraded, Wisdom in discourse with her

Looses discount’nanc’t, and like folly shewes;

Authoritie and Reason on her waite,

As one intended first, not after made

Occasionally; and to consummate all,

Greatness of mind and nobleness thir seat

Build in her loveliest, and create an awe

About her, as a guard Angelic plac’t.

To whom the Angel with contracted brow.

Accuse not Nature, she hath don her part;

Do thou but thine, and be not diffident

Of Wisdom, she deserts thee not, if thou

Dismiss not her, when most thou needst her nigh,

By attributing overmuch to things

Less excellent, as thou thy self perceav’st.

For what admir’st thou, what transports thee so,

An outside? fair no doubt, and worthy well

Thy cherishing, thy honouring, and thy love,

Not thy subjection: weigh with her thy self;

Then value: Oft times nothing profits more

Then self-esteem, grounded on just and right

Well manag’d; of that skill the more thou know’st,

The more she will acknowledge thee her Head,

And to realities yeild all her shows;

Made so adorn for thy delight the more,

So awful, that with honour thou maist love

Thy mate, who sees when thou art seen least wise.

But if the sense of touch whereby mankind

Is propagated seem such dear delight

Beyond all other, think the same voutsaf’t

To Cattel and each Beast; which would not be

To them made common & divulg’d, if aught

Therein enjoy’d were worthy to subdue

The Soule of Man, or passion in him move.

What higher in her societie thou findst

Attractive, human, rational, love

In loving thou dost well, in passion not,

Wherein true Love consists not; love refines

The thoughts, and heart enlarges, hath his seat

In Reason, and is judicious, is the scale

By which to heav’nly Love thou maist ascend,

Not sunk in carnal pleasure, for which cause

Among the Beasts no Mate for thee was found.

To whom thus half abash’t Adam repli’d.

Neither her out-side formd so fair, nor aught

In procreation common to all kindess

(Though higher of the genial Bed by far,

And with mysterious reverence I deem)

So much delights me, as those graceful acts,

Those thousand decencies that daily flow

From all her words and actions, mixt with Love

And sweet compliance, which declare unfeign’d

Union of Mind, or in us both one Soule:

Harmonie to behold in wedded pair

More grateful then harmonious sound to the eare.

Yet these subject not; I to thee disclose

What inward thence I feel, not therefore foild,

Who meet with various objects, from the sense

Variously representing; yet still free

Approve the best, and follow what I approve.

To love thou blam’st me not, for love thou saist

Leads up to Heav’n, is both the way and guide;

Bear with me then, if lawful what I ask;

Love not the heav’nly Spirits, and how thir Love

Express they, by looks onely, or do they mix

Irradiance, virtual or immediate touch?

To whom the Angel with a smile that glow’d

Celestial rosie red, Loves proper hue,

Answer’d. Let it suffice thee that thou know’st

Us happie, and without Love no happiness.

Whatever pure thou in the body enjoy’st

(And pure thou wert created) we enjoy

In eminence, and obstacle find none

Of membrane, joynt, or limb, exclusive barrs:

Easier then Air with Air, if Spirits embrace,

Total they mix, Union of Pure with Pure

Desiring; nor restrain’d conveyance need

As Flesh to mix with Flesh, or Soul with Soul.

But I can now no more; the parting Sun

Beyond the Earths green Cape and verdant Isles

Hesperean sets my Signal to depart.

Be strong, live happie, and love, but first of all

Him whom to love is to obey, and keep

His great command; take heed least Passion sway

Thy Judgement to do aught, which else free Will

Would not admit; thine and of all thy Sons

The weal or woe in thee is plac’t; beware.

I in thy persevering shall rejoyce,

And all the Blest: stand fast; to stand or fall

Free in thine own Arbitrement it lies.

Perfect within, no outward aid require;

And all temptation to transgress repel.

So saying, he arose; whom Adam thus

Follow’d with benediction. Since to part,

Go heavenly Guest, Ethereal Messenger,

Sent from whose sovran goodness I adore.

Gentle to me and affable hath been

Thy condescension, and shall be honour’d ever

With grateful Memorie: thou to mankind

Be good and friendly still, and oft return.

So parted they, the Angel up to Heav’n

From the thick shade, and Adam to his Bowre.

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So parted they, the Angel up to Heav’n
From the thick shade, and Adam to his Bowre.

Book IX

The Argument

Satan having compast the Earth, with meditated guile returns as a mist by Night into Paradise, enters into the Serpent sleeping. Adam and Eve in the Morning go forth to thir labours, which Eve proposes to divide in several places, each labouring apart: Adam consents not, alledging the danger, lest that Enemy, of whom they were forewarn’d, should attempt her found alone: Eve loath to be thought not circumspect or firm enough, urges her going apart, the rather desirous to make tryal of her strength; Adam at last yields: The Serpent finds her alone; his subtle approach, first gazing, then speaking, with much flattery extolling Eve above all other Creatures. Eve wondring to hear the Serpent speak, asks how he attain’d to human speech and such understanding not till now; the Serpent answers, that by tasting of a certain Tree in the Garden he attain’d both to Speech and Reason, till then void of both: Eve requires him to bring her to that Tree, and finds it to be the Tree of Knowledge forbidden: The Serpent now grown bolder, with many wiles and arguments induces her at length to eat; she pleas’d with the taste deliberates awhile whether to impart thereof to Adam or not, at last brings him of the Fruit, relates what persuaded her to eat thereof: Adam at first amaz’d, but perceiving her lost, resolves through vehemence of love to perish with her; and extenuating the trespass, eats also of the Fruit: The effects thereof in them both; they seek to cover thir nakedness, then fall to variance and accusation of one another.

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 Tragic; foul distrust, and breach

Disloyal on the part of Man, revolt,

And disobedience: On the part of Heav’n

Now alienated, distance and distaste,

Anger and just rebuke, and judgement giv’n

That brought into this World a world of woe,

Sinne and her shadow Death, and Miserie

Deaths Harbinger: Sad task, yet argument

Not less but more Heroic then the wrauth

Of stern Achilles on his Foe pursu’d

Thrice Fugitive about Troy Wall; or rage

Of Turnus for Lavinia disespous’d,

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

Perplex’d the Greek and Cytherea’s Son;

If answerable style I can obtaine

Of my Celestial Patroness, who deignes

Her nightly visitation unimplor’d,

And dictates to me slumbring, or inspires

Easie my unpremeditated Verse:

Since first this Subject for Heroic Song

Pleas’d me long choosing, and beginning late

Not sedulous by Nature to indite

Warrs, hitherto the onely Argument

Heroic deem’d, chief maistrie to dissect

With long and tedious havoc fabl’d Knights

In Battels feign’d; the better fortitude

Of Patience and Heroic Martyrdom

Unsung; or to describe Races and Games,

Or tilting Furniture, emblazon’d Shields,

Impreses quaint, Caparisons and Steeds

Bases and tinsel Trappings, gorgious Knights

At joust and Torneament; then marshal’d Feast

Serv’d up in Hall with Sewers, and Seneshals;

The skill of Artifice or Office mean,

Not that which justly gives Heroic name

To Person or to Poem. Mee of these

Nor skilld nor studious, higher Argument

Remaines, sufficient of it self to raise

That name, unless an age too late, or cold

Climat, or Years damp may intended wing

Deprest, 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 Starr

Of Hesperus, whose Office is to bring

Twilight upon the Earth, short Arbiter

Twixt Day and Night, and now from end to end

Nights Hemisphere had veild 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 mans destruction, maugre what might hap

Of heavier on himself, fearless return’d.

By Night he fled, and at Midnight return’d

From compassing the Earth, cautious of day,

Since Uriel Regent of the Sun descri’d

His entrance, and forewarnd the Cherubim

That kept thir watch; thence full of anguish driv’n,

The space of of seven continu’d Nights he rode

With darkness, thrice the Equinoctial Line

He circl’d, four times cross’d the Carr of Night

From Pole to Pole, traversing each Colure;

On the eighth return’d, and on the Coast averse

From entrance or Cherubic Watch, by stealth

Found unsuspected way. There was a place,

Now not, though Sin, not Time, first wraught 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 involv’d in rising Mist, then sought

Where to lie hid; Sea he had searcht and Land

From Eden over Pontus, and the Poole

Maeotis, up beyond the River Ob;

Downward as farr Antartic; and in length

West from Orontes to the Ocean barr’d

At Darien, thence to the Land where flowes

Ganges and Indus: thus the Orb he roam’d

With narrow search; and with inspection deep

Consider’d every Creature, which of all

Most opportune might serve his Wiles, and found

The Serpent suttlest Beast of all the Field.

Him after long debate, irresolute.

Of thoughts revolv’d, his final sentance chose

Fit Vessel, fittest Imp of fraud, in whom

To enter, and his dark suggestions hide

From sharpest sight: for in the wilie Snake,

Whatever sleights none would suspicious mark,

As from his wit and native suttletie

Proceeding, which in other Beasts observ’d

Doubt might beget of Diabolic pow’r

Active within beyond the sense of brute.

Thus he resolv’d, but first from inward griefe

His bursting passion into plaints thus pour’d:

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In with the River sunk, and with it rose
Satan.

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O Earth, how like to Heav’n, if not preferr’d
More justly.

O Earth, how like to Heav’n, if not preferr’d

More justly, Seat worthier of Gods, as built

With second thoughts, reforming what was old!

For what God after better worse would build?

Terrestrial Heav’n, danc’t round by other Heav’ns

That shine, yet bear thir bright officious Lamps,

Light above Light, for thee alone, as seems,

In thee concentring all thir precious beams

Of sacred influence: As God in Heav’n

Is Center yet extends to all, so thou

Centring receav’st from all those Orbs; in thee,

Not in Themselves, all thir known vertue appeers

Productive in Herb, Plant, and nobler birth

Of Creatures animate with gradual life

Of Growth, Sense, Reason, all summ’d up in Man.

With what delight could I have walk’t thee round

If I could joy in aught, sweet interchange

Of Hill and Vallie, Rivers, Woods and Plaines,

Now Land, now Sea, & Shores with Forrest crownd,

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 Heav’n much worse would be my state.

But neither here seek I, no nor in Heav’n

To dwell, unless by maistring Heav’ns Supreame;

Nor hope to be my self less miserable

By what I seek, but others to make such

As I, though thereby worse to me redound:

For onely in destroying I finde ease

To my relentless thoughts; and him destroyd,

Or won to what may work his utter loss,

For whom all this was made, all this will soon

Follow, as to him linkt in weal or woe,

In wo then; that destruction wide may range:

To mee shall be the glorie sole among

The infernal Powers, in one day to have marr’d

What he Almightie styl’d, six Nights and Days

Continu’d making, and who knows how long

Before had bin contriving, though perhaps

Not longer then since I in one Night freed

From servitude inglorious welnigh half

Th’ Angelic Name, and thinner left the throng

Of his adorers: hee to be aveng’d,

And to repaire his numbers thus impair’d,

Whether such vertue spent of old now faild

More Angels to Create, if they at least

Are his Created or to spite us more,

Determin’d to advance into our room

A Creature form’d of Earth, and him endow,

Exalted from so base original,

With Heav’nly spoils, our spoils; What he decreed

He effected; Man he made, and for him built

Magnificent this World, and Earth his seat,

Him Lord pronounc’d, and, O indignitie!

Subjected to his service Angel wings,

And flaming Ministers to watch and tend

Thir earthie Charge: Of these the vigilance

I dread, and to elude, thus wrapt in mist

Of midnight vapor glide obscure, and prie

In every Bush and Brake, where hap may finde

The Serpent sleeping, in whose mazie foulds

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 constraind

Into a Beast, and mixt with bestial slime,

This essence to incarnate and imbrute,

That to the hight of Deitie aspir’d;

But what will not Ambition and Revenge

Descend to? who aspires must down as low

As high he soard, obnoxious first or last

To basest things. Revenge, at first though sweet,

Bitter ere long back on it self recoiles;

Let it; I reck not, so it light well aim’d,

Since higher I fall short, on him who next

Provokes my envie, this new Favorite

Of Heav’n, this Man of Clay, Son of despite,

Whom us the more to spite his Maker rais’d

From dust: spite then with spite is best repaid.

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Him fast sleeping soon he found
In Labyrinth of many a round self-rowld.

So saying, through each Thicket Danck or Drie,

Like a black mist low creeping, he held on

His midnight search, where soonest he might finde

The Serpent: him fast sleeping soon he found

In Labyrinth of many a round self-rowld,

His head the midst, well stor’d with suttle wiles:

Not yet in horrid Shade or dismal Den,

Not nocent yet, but on the grassie Herbe

Fearless unfeard he slept: in at his Mouth

The Devil enterd, and his brutal sense,

In heart or head, possessing soon inspir’d

With act intelligential; but his sleep

Disturb’d not, waiting close th’ approach of Morn.

Now whenas sacred Light began to dawne

In Eden on the humid Flours, that breathd

Thir morning Incense, when all things that breath,

From th’ Earths great Altar send up silent praise

To the Creator, and his Nostrils fill

With, gratefull Smell, forth came the human pair

And joynd thir vocal Worship to the Quire

Of Creatures wanting voice, that done, partake

The season, prime for sweetest Sents and Aires:

Then commune how that day they best may ply

Thir growing work: for much thir work outgrew

The hands dispatch of two Gardning 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 Flour.

Our pleasant task enjoyn’d, 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 wilde. Thou therefore now advise

Or hear 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 Ivie where to climb, while I

In yonder Spring of Roses intermixt

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 dayes work brought to little, though begun

Early, and th’ hour of Supper comes unearn’d.

To whom mild answer Adam thus return’d.

Sole Eve, Associate sole, to me beyond

Compare above an living Creatures deare,

Well hast thou motion’d, wel thy thoughts imployd

How we might best fulfill the work which here

God hath assign’d us, nor of me shalt pass

Unprais’d: for nothing lovelier can be found

In woman, then to studie houshold good,

And good workes in her Husband to promote.

Yet not so strictly hath our Lord impos’d

Labour, as to debarr 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 deni’d, and are of Love the food,

Love not the lowest end of human life.

For not to irksom toile, but to delight

He made us, and delight to Reason joyn’d.

These paths and Bowers doubt not but our joynt 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 yeild.

For solitude somtimes is best societie,

And short retirement urges sweet returne.

But other doubt possesses me, least harm

Befall thee severd from me; for thou knowst

What hath bin warn’d us, what malicious Foe

Envying our happiness, and of his own

Despairing, and to work us woe and shame

By sly assault; and somwhere nigh at hand

Watches, no doubt, with greedy hope to find

His wish and best advantage, us asunder,

Hopeless to circumvent us joynd, where each

To other speedie aide might lend at need;

Whether his first design be to withdraw

Our fealtie from God, or to disturb

Conjugal Love, then which perhaps no bliss

Enjoy’d by us excites his envie more;

Or this, or worse, leave not the faithful side

That gave thee being, stil shades thee and protects.

The Wife, where danger or dishonour lurks,

Safest and seemliest by her Husband staies,

Who guards her, or with her the worst endures.

To whom the Virgin Majestie of Eve,

As one who loves, and some unkindness meets,

With sweet austeer composure thus reply’d.

Ofspring of Heav’n and Earth, and all Earths Lord,

That such an Enemie we have, who seeks

Our ruin, both by thee informd I learne,

And from the parting Angel over-heard

As in a shadie nook I stood behind,

Just then return’d at shut of Evening Flours.

But that thou shouldst my firmness therfore doubt

To God or thee, because we have a foe

May tempt it, I expected not to hear.

His violence thou fearst not, being such,

As wee, not capable of death or paine,

Can either not receave, or can repell.

His fraud is then thy fear, which-plain inferrs

Thy equal fear that my firm Faith and Love

Can by his fraud be shak’n or seduc’t;

Thoughts, which how found they harbour in thy brest,

Adam, missthought of her to thee so dear?

To whom with healing words Adam reply’d.

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

Th’ attempt it self, intended by our Foe.

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

The tempted with dishonour foul, suppos’d

Not incorruptible of Faith, not prooff

Against temptation: thou thy self with scorne

And anger wouldst resent the offer’d wrong,

Though ineffectual found: misdeem not then,

If such affront I labour to avert

From thee alone, which on us both at once

The Enemie, though bold, will hardly dare,

Or daring, first on mee th’ assault shall light.

Nor thou his malice and false guile contemn;

Suttle he needs must be, who could seduce

Angels, nor think superfluous others aid.

I from the influence of thy looks receave

Access in every Vertue, 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-reacht

Would utmost vigor raise, and rais’d unite.

Why shouldst not thou like sense within thee feel

When I am present, and thy trial choose

With me, best witness of thy Vertue tri’d.

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 renewd.

If this be our condition, thus to dwell

In narrow circuit strait’nd by a Foe,

Suttle or violent, we not endu’d

Single with like defence, wherever met,

How are we happie, still in fear of harm?

But harm precedes not sin: onely our Foe

Tempting affronts us with his foul esteem

Of our integritie: his foul esteeme

Sticks no dishonor on our Front, but turns

Foul on himself; then wherfore shund or feard

By us? who rather double honour gaine

From his surmise prov’d false, finde peace within,

Favour from Heav’n, our witness from th’ event.

And what is Faith, Love, Vertue unassaid

Alone, without exterior help sustaind?

Let us not then suspect our happie State

Left so imperfet by the Maker wise,

As not secure to single or combin’d.

Fraile is our happiness, if this be so,

And Eden were no Eden thus expos’d.

To whom thus Adam fervently repli’d.

O Woman, best are all things as the will

Of God ordaind them, his creating hand

Nothing imperfet or deficient left

Of all that he Created, much less Man,

Or ought that might his happie State secure,

Secure from outward force; within himself

The danger lies, yet lies within his power:

Against his will he can receave no harme.

But God left free the Will, for what obeyes

Reason, is free, and Reason he made right

But bid her well beware, and still erect,

Least by some faire appeering good surpris’d

She dictate false, and misinformed the Will

To do what God expressly hath forbid.

Not then mistrust, but tender love enjoynes,

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 subornd,

And fall into deception unaware,

Not keeping strictest watch, as she was warnd

Seek not temptation then, which to avoide

Were better, and most likelie if from mee

Thou sever not: Trial will come unsought.

Wouldst thou approve thy constancie, approve

First thy obedience; th’ other who can know,

Not seeing thee attempted, who attest?

But if thou think, trial unsought may finde

Us both securer then thus warnd thou seemst,

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

Go in thy native innocence, relie

On what thou hast of vertue, summon all,

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

So spake the Patriarch of Mankinde, but Eve

Persisted, yet submiss, though last, repli’d.

With thy permission then, and thus forewarnd

Chiefly by what thy own last reasoning words

Touchd onely, that our trial, when least sought,

May finde us both perhaps farr less prepar’d,

The willinger I goe, nor much expect

A Foe so will first the weaker seek;

So bent, the more shall shame him his repulse.

Thus saying, from her Husbands hand her hand

Soft she withdrew, and like a Wood-Nymph light

Oread or Dryad, or of Delia’s Traine,

Betook her to the Groves, but Delia’s self

In gate surpass’d and Goddess-like deport,

Though not as shee with Bow and Quiver armd,

But with such Gardning Tools as Art yet rude,

Guiltless of fire had formd, or Angels brought.

To Pales, or Pomona, thus adornd,

Likest she seemd, Pomona when she fled

Vertumnus, or to Ceres in her Prime,

Yet Virgin of Proserpina from Jove.

Her long with ardent look his Eye pursu’d

Delighted, but desiring more her stay.

Oft he to her his charge of quick returne

Repeated, shee to him as oft engag’d

To be returnd by Noon amid the Bowre,

And all things in best order to invite

Noontide repast, or Afternoons repose.

O much deceav much failing, hapless Eve,

Of thy presum’d return! event perverse!

Thou never from that houre in Paradise

Foundst either sweet repast, or sound repose;

Such ambush hid among sweet Flours and Shades

Waited with hellish rancor imminent

To intercept thy way, or send thee back

Despoild of Innocence, of Faith, of Bliss.

For now, and since first break of dawne the Fiend.

Meer Serpent in appearance, forth was come,

And on his Quest, Where likeliest he might finde

The onely two of Mankinde, but in them

The whole included Race, his purposd prey.

In Bowre and Field he sought, where any tuft

Of Grove or Garden-Plot more pleasant lay,

Thir tendance or Plantation for delight,

By Fountain or by shadie Rivulet

He sought them both, but wish’d his hap might find

Eve separate, he wish’d, but not with hope

Of what so seldom chanc’d, when to his wish,

Beyond his hope, Eve separate he spies,

Veil’d in a Cloud of Fragrance, where she stood,

Half spi’d, so thick the Roses bushing round

About her glowd, oft stooping to support

Each Flour slender stalk, whose head though gay

Carnation, Purple, Azure, or spect with Gold,

Hung drooping unsustained, them she upstaies

Gently with Mirtle band, mindless the while,

Her self, though fairest unsupported Flour,

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

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Neerer he drew, and many a walk traversd
Of stateliest Covert, Cedar, Pine, or Palme.

Neerer he drew, and many a walk traversd

Of stateliest Covert, Cedar, Pine, or Palme,

Then voluble and bold, now hid, now seen

Among thick-wov’n Arborets and Flours

Imborderd on each Bank, the hand of Eve:

Spot more delicious then those Gardens feign’d

Or of reviv’d Adonis, or renownd

Alcinous, host of old Laertes Son,

Or that, not Mystic, where the Sapient King

Held dalliance with his faire Egyptian Spouse.

Much hee the Place admir’d, the Person more.

As one who long in populous City pent,

Where Houses thick and Sewers annoy the Aire,

Forth issuing on a Summers Morn to breathe

Among the pleasant Villages and Farmes

Adjoynd, from each thing met conceaves delight,

The smell of Grain, or tedded Grass, or Kine.

Or Dairie, each rural sight, each rural sound;

If chance with Nymphlike step fair Virgin pass,

What pleasing seemd, for her now pleases more,

She most, and her looks summs all Delight.

Such Pleasure took the Serpent to behold

This Flourie Plat, the sweet recess of Eve

Thus earlie, thus alone; her Heav’nly forme

Angelic, but more soft, and Feminine,

Her graceful Innocence, her every Aire

Of gesture or lest action overawd

His Malice, and with rapine sweet bereav’d

His fierceness of the fierce intent it brought:

That space the Evil one abstracted stood

From his own evil and for the time remaind

Stupidly good, of enmitie disarm’d,

Of guile, of hate, of envie, of revenge;

But the hot Hell that alwayes in him burnes,

Though in mid Heav’n, soon ended his delight,

And tortures him now more, the more he sees

Of pleasure not for him ordain’d: 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, nor 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 hautie, and of limb

Heroic built, though of terrestrial mould,

Foe not informidable, exempt from wound,

I not; so much hath Hell debas’d, and paine

Infeebl’d me, to what I was in Heav’n.

Shee fair, divinely fair, fit Love for Gods,

Not terrible, though terrour be in Love

And beautie, not approacht by stronger hate,

Hate stronger, under shew of Love well feign’d,

The way which to her ruin now I tend.

So spake the Enemie of Mankind, enclos’d

In Serpent, Inmate bad, and toward Eve

Address’d his way, not with indented wave,

Prone on the ground, as since, but on his reare,

Circular base of rising foulds, that tour’d

Fould above fould a surging Maze, his Head

Crested aloft, and Carbuncle his Eyes;

With burnisht Neck of verdant Gold, erect

Amidst his circling Spires, that on the grass

Floted redundant: pleasing was his shape,

And lovely, never since of Serpent kind

Lovelier, not those that in Illyria chang’d

Hermione and Cadmus, or the God

In Epidaurus; nor to which transformd

Ammonian Jove, or Capitoline was seen,

Hee with Olympias, this with her who bore

Scipio the highth of Rome. With tract oblique

At first, as one who sought access, but feard

To interrupt, side-long he works his way.

As when a Ship by skilful Stearsman wrought

Nigh Rivers mouth or Foreland, where the Wind

Veres oft, as oft so steers, and shifts her Saile;

So varied hee, and of his tortuous Traine

Curld many a wanton wreath in sight of Eve,

To lure her Eye; shee busied heard the sound

Of rusling Leaves, but minded not, as us’d

To such disport before her through the Field,

From every Beast, more duteous at her call,

Then at Circean call the Herd disguis’d.

Hee boulder now, uncall’d before her stood;

But as in gaze admiring: Oft he bowd

His turret Crest, and sleek enamel’d Neck,

Fawning, and lick’d the ground whereon she trod.

His gentle dumb expression turn’d at length

The Eye of Eve to mark his play; he glad

Of her attention gaind, with Serpent Tongue

Organic, 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 Heav’n of mildness, with disdain,

Displeas’d that I approach thee thus, and gaze

Insatiate, I thus single, nor have feard

Thy awful brow, more awful thus retir’d.

Fairest resemblance of thy Maker faire,

Thee all things living gaze on, all things thine

By gift, and thy Celestial Beautie adore

With ravishment beheld, there best beheld

Where universally admir’d: but here

In this enclosure wild, these Beasts among,

Beholders rude, and shallow to discerne

Half what in thee is fair, one man except,

Who sees thee? (and what is one?) who shouldst be seen

A Goddess among Gods, ador’d and serv’d

By Angels numberless, thy daily Train.

So gloz’d the Tempter, and his Proem tun’d;

Into the Heart of Eve his words made way,

Though at the voice much marveling; at length

Not unamaz’d she thus in answer spake.

What may this mean? Language of Man pronounc’t

By Tongue of Brute, and human sense exprest?

The first at lest of these I thought deni’d

To Beasts, whom God on thir Creation-Day

Created mute to all articulat sound;

The latter I demurre, for in thir looks

Much reason, and in thir actions oft appeers.

Thee, Serpent, suttlest beast of all the field

I knew, but not with human voice endu’d;

Redouble then this miracle, and say,

How cam’st 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 reply’d.

Empress of this fair World, resplendent Eve,

Easie to mee it is to tell thee all

What thou commandst and right thou shouldst be obeyd:

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 discern’d

Or Sex, and apprehended nothing high:

Till on a day roaving the field, I chanc’d

A goodly Tree farr distant to behold

Loaden with fruit of fairest colours mixt,

Ruddie and Gold: I nearer drew to gaze;

When from the boughes a savorie odour blow’n,

Grateful to appetite, more pleas’d my sense

Then smell of sweetest Fenel, or the Teats

Of Ewe or Goat dropping with Milk at Eevn,

Unsuckt of Lamb or Kid, that tend thir play.

To satisfie the sharp desire I had

Of tasting those fair Apples, I resolv’d

Not to deferr; hunger and thirst at once,

Powerful perswaders, quick’nd at the scent

Of that alluring fruit, urg’d me so keene.

About the Mossie Trunk I wound me soon,

For high from ground the branches would require

Thy utmost reach or Adams: 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 plentie hung

Tempting eat my to pluck and eat my fill

I spar’d not, for such pleasure till that hour

At Feed or Fountain never had I found.

Sated at length, ere long I might perceave

Strange alteration in me, to degree

Of Reason in my inward Powers, and Speech

Wanted not long, though to this shape retaind.

Thenceforth to Speculations high or deep

I turnd my thoughts, and with capacious mind

Considerd all things visible in Heav’n,

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

But all that fair and good in thy Divine

Semblance, and in thy Beauties heav’nly Ray

United I beheld; no Fair to thine

Equivalent or second, which compel’d

Mee thus, though importune perhaps, to come

And gaze, and worship thee of right declar’d

Sovran of Creatures, universal Dame.

So talk’d the spirited sly Snake; and Eve

Yet more amaz’d unwarie thus reply’d.

Serpent, thy overpraising leaves in doubt

The vertue of that Fruit, in thee first prov’d:

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 untoucht,

Still more incorruptible, till men

Grow up to thir provision, and more hands

Help to disburden Nature of her Bearth.

To whom the wilie Adder, blithe and glad.

Empress, the way is readie, and not long,

Beyond a row of Myrtles, on a Flat,

Fast by a Fountain, one small Thicket past

Of blowing Myrrh and Balme; if thou accept

My conduct, I can bring thee thither soon.

Lead then, said Eve. Hee leading swiftly rowld

In tangles, and made intricate seem strait,

To mischief swift. Hope elevates, and joy

Bright’ns his Crest, as when a wandring Fire

Compact of unctuous vapor, which the Night

Condenses, and the cold invirons round,

Kindl’d through agitation to a Flame,

Which oft, they say, some evil Spirit attends,

Hovering and blazing with delusive Light,

Misleads th’ amaz’d Night-wanderer from his way

To Boggs and Mires, & oft through Pond or Poole,

There swallow’d up and lost, from succour farr.

So glister’d 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 spar’d our coming hither,

Fruitless to me, though Fruit be here to excess,

The credit of whose vertue rest with thee,

Wondrous 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 our selves, our Reason is our Law.

To whom the Tempter guilefully repli’d.

Indeed? hath God then said that of the Fruit

Of all these Garden Trees ye shall not eate,

Yet Lords declar’d of all in Earth or Aire?

To whom thus Eve yet sinless. Of the Fruit

Of each Tree in the Garden we may eate,

But of the Fruit of this fair Tree amidst

The Garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eate

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

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

The Tempter, but with shew of Zeale and Love

To Man, and indignation at his wrong,

New part puts on, and as to passion mov’d,

Fluctuats disturbd, yet comely, and in act

Rais’d, as of som great matter to begin.

As when of old som Orator renound

In Athens or free Rome, where Eloquence

Flourishd, since mute, to som great cause addrest,

Stood in himself collected, while each part,

Motion, each act won audience ere the tongue,

Somtimes in highth began, as no delay

Of Preface brooking through his Zeal of Right.

So standing, moving, or to highth upgrown

The Tempter all impassiond thus began.

O Sacred, Wise, and Wisdom-giving Plant,

Mother of Science, Now I feel thy Power

Within me cleere, not onely to discerne

Things in thir Causes, but to trace the wayes

Of highest Agents, deemd however wise.

Queen of this Universe, doe not believe

Those rigid threats of Death; ye shall not Die:

How should ye? by the Fruit? it gives you Life

To Knowledge: By the Threatner? look on mee,

Mee who have touch’d and tasted, yet both live,

And life more perfet have attaind then Fate

Meant mee, by ventring higher then 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 vertue, whom the pain

Of Death denounc’t, whatever thing Death be,

Deterrd not from atchieving what might leade

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 shunnd?

God therefore cannot hurt ye, and be just;

Not just, not God; not feard then, nor obeid:

Your feare it self of Death removes the feare.

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 Eate thereof, your Eyes that seem so cleere,

Yet are but dim, shall perfetly be then

Op’nd and cleerd, and ye shall be as Gods,

Knowing both Good and Evil as they know.

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

Internal Man, is but proportion meet,

I of brute human, yee of human Gods.

So ye shall die perhaps, by putting off

Human, to put on Gods, death to be wisht,

Though threat’nd, which no worse then 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,

Warm’d by the Sun, producing every kind,

Them nothing: If they all things, who enclos’d

Knowledge of Good and Evil in this Tree,

That whoso eats thereof, forthwith attains

Wisdom without their leave? and wherein lies

Th’ 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 envie, and can envie dwell

In heav’nly brests? 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 easie entrance won:

Fixt on the Fruit she gaz’d, which to behold

Might tempt alone, and in her ears the sound

Yet rung of his perswasive words, impregn’d

With Reason, to her seeming, and with Truth;

Meanwhile the hour of Noon drew on, and wak’d

An eager appetite, rais’d by the smell

So savorie of that Fruit, which with desire,

Inclinable now grown to touch or taste,

Sollicited her longing eye; yet first

Pausing a while, thus to her self she mus’d.

Great are thy Vertues, doubtless, best of Fruits,

Though kept from Man, & worthy to be admir’d,

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 hee also who forbids thy use,

Conceales 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 inferrs 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 binde not. But if Death

Bind us with after-bands, what profits then

Our inward freedom? In the day we eate

Of this fair Fruit, our doom is, shall die.

How dies the Serpent? hee hath eat’n and lives,

And knows, and speaks, and reasons, and discernes,

Irrational till then. For us alone

Was death invented? or to us deni’d

This intellectual food, for beasts reserv’d?

For Beasts it seems: yet that one Beast which first

Hath tasted, envies not, but brings with joy

The good befall’n him, Author unsuspect,

Friendly to man, farr from deceit or guile.

What fear I then, rather what know to feare

Under this ignorance of Good and Evil,

Of God or Death, of Law or Penaltie?

Here grows the Cure of all, this Fruit Divine,

Fair to the Eye, inviting to the Taste,

Of vertue to make wise: what hinders then

To reach, and feed at once both Bodie and Mind?

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Back to the Thicket slunk
The guiltie Serpent.

So saying, her rash hand in evil hour

Forth reaching to the Fruit, she pluck’d, 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 guiltie Serpent, and well might, for Eve

Intent now wholly on her taste, naught else

Regarded, such dilight till then, as seemd,

In Fruit she never tasted, whether true

Or fansied so, through expectation high

Of knowledge, nor was God-head from her thought.

Greedily she ingore’d without restraint,

And knew not eating Death: Satiate at length,

And hight’nd as with Wine, jocond’and boon,

Thus to her self she pleasingly began.

O Sovran, vertuous, precious of all Trees

In Paradise, of operation blest

To Sapience, hitherto obscur’d, infam’d,

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 fertil burden ease

Of thy full branches offer’d free to all;

Till dieted by thee I grow mature

In knowledge, as the Gods who all things know;

Though others envie what they cannot give;

For had the gift bin theirs, it had not here

Thus grown. Experience, next to thee I owe,

Best guide; not following thee, I had remaind

In ignorance, thou op’nst Wisdoms way,

And giv’st access, though secret she retire.

And I perhaps am secret; Heav’n 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 appeer? shall I to him make known

As yet my change, and give him to partake

Full happiness with mee, or rather not,

But keep the odds of Knowledge in my power

Without Copartner? so to add what wants

In Femal Sex, the more to draw his Love,

And render me more equal, and perhaps,

A thing not undesirable, somtime

Superior: for inferior 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. Confirm’d 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 turnd,

But first low Reverence don, as to the power

That dwelt within, whose presence had infus’d

Into the plant sciential sap, deriv’d

From Nectar, drink of Gods. Adam the while

Waiting desirous her return, had wove

Of choicest Flours a Garland to adorne

Her Tresses, and her rural labours crown

As Reapers oft are wont thir Harvest Queen.

Great joy he promis’d to his thoughts, and new

Solace in her return, so long delay’d;

Yet oft his heart, divine of somthing ill,

Misgave him; hee the faultring 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,

Scarse from the Tree returning; in her hand

A bough of fairest fruit that downie smil’d,

New gatherd, and ambrosial smell diffus’d.

To him she hasted, in her face excuse

Came Prologue, and Apologie to prompt,

Which with bland words at will she thus addrest.

Hast thou not wonderd, Adam, at my stay?

Thee I have misst, and thought it long, depriv’d

Thy presence, agonie of love till now

Not felt, nor shall be twice, for never more

Mean I to trie, what rash untri’d I sought,

The paine of absence from thy sight. But strange

Hath the cause, and wonderful to heare:

This Tree is not as we are told, a Tree

Of danger tasted, nor to evil unknown

Op’ning the way, but of Divine effect

To open Eyes, and make them Gods who taste;

And hath bin tasted such: the Serpent wise,

Or not restraind as wee, or not obeying,

Hath eat’n of the fruit, and is become,

Not dead, as we are threatn’d, but thenceforth

Endu’d with human voice and human sense,

Reasoning to admiration, and with me

Perswasively hath so prevaild, that I

Have also tasted, and have also found

Th’ effects to correspond, opener mine Eyes

Dimm 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, unshar’d with thee, and odious soon.

Thou therfore also taste, that equal Lot

May joyne us, equal Joy, as equal Love;

Least thou not tasting, different degree

Disjoyne us, and I then too late renounce

Deitie for thee, when Fate will not permit.

Thus Eve with Countnance blithe her storie told;

But in her Cheek distemper flushing glowd.

On th’ other side, Adam, soon as he heard

The fatal Trespass done by Eve, amaz’d,

Astonied stood and Blank, while horror chill

Ran through his veins, and all his joynts relax’d;

From his slack hand the Garland wreath’ d for Eve

Down drop’d, 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 Gods Works, Creature in whom excell’d

Whatever can to sight or thought be formd,

Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet!

How art thou lost, how on a sudden lost,

Defac’t, deflourd, and now to Death devote?

Rather how hast thou yeelded to transgress

The strict forbiddance, how to violate

The sacred Fruit forbidd’n! som cursed fraud

Of Enemie hath beguil’d thee, yet unknown,

And mee with thee hath ruind, for with thee

Certain my resolution is to Die;

How can I live without thee, how forgoe

Thy sweet Converse and Love so dearly joyn’d,

To live again in these wilde 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 disturbd

Submitting to what seemd remediless,

Thus in calme mood his Words to Eve he turnd.

Bold deed thou hast presum’d, adventrous Eve

And peril great provok’t, who thus hast dar’d

Had it bin onely coveting to Eye

That sacred Fruit, sacred to abstinence,

Much more to taste it under banne to touch.

But past who can recall, or don undoe?

Not God Omnipotent, nor Fate, yet so

Perhaps thou shalt not Die, perhaps the Fact

Is not so hainous now, foretasted Fruit,

Profan’d first by the Serpent, by him first

Made common and unhallowd ere our taste;

Nor yet on him found deadly, he yet lives,

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

Higher degree of Life, inducement strong

To us, as likely tasting to attaine

Proportional ascent, which cannot be

But to be Gods, or Angels Demi-gods.

Nor can I think that God, Creator wise,

Though threatning, will in earnest so destroy

Us his prime Creatures, dignifi’d so high,

Set over all his Works, which in our Fall,

For us created, needs with us must faile,

Dependent made; so God shall uncreate,

Be frustrate, do, undo, and labour loose,

Not well conceav’d of God, who though his Power

Creation could repeate, yet would be loath

Us to abolish, least the Adversary

Triumph and say; Fickle their State whom God

Most Favors, who can please him long? Mee first

He ruind, now Mankind; whom will he next?

Matter of scorne, not to be given the Foe.

However I with thee have fixt my Lot,

Certain to undergoe like doom, if Death

Consort with thee, Death is to mee as Life;

So forcible within my heart I feel

The Bond of Nature draw me to my owne,

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

Our State cannot be severd, we are one,

One Flesh; to loose thee were to loose my self.

So Adam, and thus Eve to him repli’d.

O glorious trial of exceeding Love,

Illustrious evidence, example high!

Ingaging me to emulate, but short

Of thy perfection, how shall I attaine,

Adam, from whose deare side I boast me sprung,

And gladly of our Union heare thee speak,

One Heart, one Soul in both; whereof good proof

This day affords, declaring thee resolvd,

Rather then Death or aught then Death more dread

Shall separate us, linkt in Love so deare,

To undergoe with mee one Guilt, one Crime,

If any be, of tasting this fair Fruit,

Whose vertue, for of good still good proceeds,

Direct, or by occasion hath presented

This happie trial of thy Love, which else

So eminently never had bin known.

Were it I thought Death menac’t would ensue

This my attempt, I would sustain alone

The worst, and not perswade thee, rather die

Deserted, then oblige thee with a fact

Pernicious to thy Peace, chiefly assur’d

Remarkably so late of thy so true,

So faithful Love unequald; but feel

Farr otherwise th’ event, not Death, but Life

Augmented, op’nd Eyes, new Hopes, new Joyes,

Taste so Divine, that what of sweet before

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

On my experience, Adam, freely taste,

And fear of Death deliver to the Windes.

So saying, she embrac’d him, and for joy

Tenderly wept, much won that he his Love

Had so enobl’d, 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 scrupl’d not to eat

Against his better knowledge, not deceav’d,

But fondly overcome with Femal charm.

Earth trembl’d from her entrails, as again

In pangs, and Nature gave a second groan,

Skie lowr’d, and muttering Thunder, som sad drops

Wept at compleating of the mortal Sin

Original; while Adam took no thought,

Eating his fill, nor Eve to iterate

Her former trespass fear’d, the more to soothe

Him with her lov’d societie, that now

As with new Wine intoxicated both

They swim in mirth, and fansie that they feel

Divinitie within them breeding wings

Wherewith to scorn the Earth: but that false Fruit

Farr other operation first displaid,

Carnal desire enflaming, hee on Eve

Began to cast lascivious Eyes, she him

As wantonly repaid; in Lust they burne:

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

Yeild thee, so well this day thou hast purvey’d.

Much pleasure we have lost, while we abstain’d

From this delightful Fruit, nor known till now

True relish, tasting; if such pleasure be

In things to us forbidden, it might be wish’d,

For this one Tree had bin forbidden ten.

But come, so well refresh’t, now let us play,

As meet is, after such delicious Fare;

For never did thy Beautie since the day

I saw thee first and wedded thee, adorn’d

With all perfections, so enflame my sense

With ardor to enjoy thee, fairer now

Than ever, bountie of this vertuous 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 seis’d, and to a shadie bank,

Thick overhead with verdant roof imbowr’d

He led her nothing loath; Flours were the Couch,

Pansies, and Violets, and Asphodel,

And Hyacinth, Earths freshest softest lap.

There they thir fill of Love and Loves disport

Took largely, of thir mutual guilt the Seale,

The solace of thir sin, till dewie sleep

Oppress’d them, wearied with thir amorous play.

Soon as the force of that fallacious Fruit,

That with exhilerating vapour bland

About thir spirits had plaid, and inmost powers

Made erre, was now exhal’d, and grosser sleep

Bred of unkindly fumes, with conscious dreams

Encumberd, now had left them, up they rose

As from unrest, and each the other viewing,

Soon found thir Eyes how op’nd, and thir minds

How dark’nd; innocence, that as a veile

Had shadow’d them from knowing ill, was gon,

Just confidence, and native righteousness,

And honour from about them, naked left

To guiltie shame hee cover’d, but his Robe

Uncover’d more. So rose the Danite strong

Herculean Samson from the Harlot-lap

Of Philistean Dalilah, and wak’d

Shorn of his strength, They destitute and bare

Of all thir vertue: silent, and in face

Confounded long they sate, as struck’n mute,

Till Adam, though not less then Eve abasht,

At length gave utterance to these words constraind.

O Eve, in evil hour thou didst give eare

To that false Worm, of whomsoever taught

To counterfet Mans voice, true in our Fall,

False in our promis’d Rising; since our Eyes

Op’nd 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 Puritie,

Our wonted Ornaments now soild and staind,

And in our Faces evident the signes

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, earst with joy

And rapture so oft beheld? those heav’nly shapes

Will dazle now this earthly, with thir blaze

Insufferably bright. O might I here

In solitude live, savage, in some glade

Obscur’d, where highest Woods impenetrable

To Starr or Sun-light, spread thir 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 sowd,

And girded on our loyns, may cover round

Those midde parts, that this new commer, Shame,

There sit not and reproach us as unclean.

So counsel’d hee, and both together went

Into the thickest Wood, there soon they chose

The Figtree, not that kind for Fruit renown’d,

But such as at this day to Indians known

In Malabar or Decan spreds her Armes

Braunching so broad and long, that in the ground

The bended Twigs take root, and Daughters grow

About the Mother Tree, a Pillard shade

High overarch’t, and echoing Walks between;

There oft the Indian Herdsman shunning heate

Shelters in coole, and tends his pasturing Herds

At Loopholes cut through thickest shade: Those Leaves

They gatherd, broad as Amazonian Targe,

And with what skill they had, together sowd,

To gird thir waste, vain Covering if to hide

Thir guilt and dreaded shame; O how unlike

To that first naked Glorie. Such of late

Columbus found th’ American so girt

With featherd Cincture, naked else and wilde

Among the Trees on Iles and woodie Shores.

Thus fenc’t, and as they thought, thir shame in part

Coverd, but not at rest or ease of Mind,

They sate them down to weep, nor onely Teares

Raind at thir Eyes, but high Winds worse within

Began to rise, high Passions, Anger, Hate,

Mistrust, Suspicion, Discord, and shook sore

Thir inward State of Mind, calme Region once

And full of Peace, now tost and turbulent:

For Understanding rul’d not, and the Will

Heard not her lore, both in subjection now

To sensual Appetite, who from beneathe

Usurping over sovran Reason claimd

Superior sway: From thus distemperd brest,

Adam, estrang’d in look and alterd stile,

Speech intermitted thus to Eve renewd.

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Nor onely Teares
Raind at thir Eyes, but high Winds worse within
Began to rise

Would thou hadst heark’nd to my words, & stai’d

With me, as I besought thee, when that strange

Desire of wandring this unhappie Morn,

I know not whence possessd thee; we had then

Remaind still happie, not as now, despoild

Of all our good, sham’d, 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 faile.

To whom soon mov’d with touch of blame thus Eve.

What words have past thy Lips, Adam severe,

Imput’st thou that to my default, or will

Of wandering, as thou call’st it, which who knows

But might as ill have happ’nd thou being by,

Or to thy self perhaps: hadst thou bin there,

Or here th’ attempt, thou could’st not have discernd

Fraud in the Serpent, speaking as he spake;

No ground of enmitie between us known,

Why hee should mean me ill, or seek to harme.

Was I to have never parted from thy side?

As good have grown there still a liveless 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 facil then thou didst not much gainsay,

Nay, didst permit, approve, and fair dismiss.

Hadst thou bin firm and fixt in thy dissent,

Neither had I transgress’d, nor thou with mee.

To whom then first incenst Adam repli’d.

Is this the Love, is this the recompence

Of mine to thee, ingrateful Eve, exprest

Immutable when thou wert lost, not I,

Who might have liv’d and joyd 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 warn’d thee, I admonish’d thee, foretold

The danger, and the lurking Enemie

That had in wait; beyond this had bin force,

And force upon free Will hath here no place.

But confidence then bore thee on, secure

Either to meet no danger, or to finde

Matter of glorious trial; and perhaps

I also err’d in overmuch admiring

What seemd in thee so perfet, that I thought

No evil durst attempt thee, but I rue

That errour now, which is become my crime,

And thou th’ accuser. Thus it shall befall

Him who to worth in Women overtrusting

Lets her Will rule; restraint she will not brook,

And left to her self, if evil thence ensue,

Shee first his weak indulgence will accuse.

Thus they in mutual accusation spent

The fruitless hours, but neither self-condemning,

And of thir vain contest appeer’d no end.

Book X

The Argument

Mans transgression known, the Guardian Angels forsake Paradise, and return up to Heaven to approve thir vigilance, and are approvd, God declaring that The entrance of Satan could not be by them prevented. He sends his Son to judge the Transgressors, who descends and gives Sentence accordingly; then in pity cloaths them both, and reascends. Sin and Death sitting till then at the Gates of Hell, by wondrous sympathie feeling the success of Satan in this new World, and the sin by Man there committed, resolve to sit no longer confin’d in Hell, but to follow Satan thir Sire up to the place of Man: To make the way easier from Hell to this World to and fro, they pave a broad Highway or Bridge over Chaos, according to the Track that Satan first made; then preparing for Earth, they meet him proud of his success returning to Hell; thir mutual gratulation. Satan arrives at Pandemonium, in full assembly relates with boasting his success against Man; instead of applause is entertained with a general hiss by all his audience, transform’d with himself also suddenly into Serpents, according to his doom giv’n in Paradise; then deluded with shew of the forbidden Tree springing up before them, they greedily reaching to take of the Fruit, chew dust and bitter ashes. The proceedings of Sin and Death; God foretels the final Victory of his Son over them, and the renewing of all things; but for the present commands his Angels to make several alterations in the Heavens and Elements. Adam more and more perceiving his fall’n condition heavily bewailes, rejects the condolement of Eve; she persists and at length appeases him: then to evade the Curse likely to fall on thir Ofspring, proposes to Adam violent wayes, which he approves not, but conceiving better hope, puts her in mind of the late Promise made them, that her Seed should be reveng’d on the Serpent, and exhorts her with him to seek Peace of the offended Deity, by repentance and supplication.

Meanwhile the hainous and despightfull act

Of Satan done in Paradise, and how

Hee in the Serpent had perverted Eve,

Her Husband shee, to taste the fatall fruit,

Was known in Heav’n; for what can scape the Eye

Of God All-seeing, or deceave his Heart

Omniscient, who in all things wise and just,

Hinder’d not Satan to attempt the minde

Of Man, with strength entire, and free Will arm’d,

Complete to have discover’d and repulst

Whatever wiles of Foe or seeming Friend.

For still they knew, and ought to have still remember’d

The high Injunction not to taste that Fruit,

Whoever tempted; which they not obeying,

Incurr’d, what could they less, the penaltie,

And manifold in sin, deserv’d to fall.

Up into Heav’n from Paradise in hast

Th’ Angelic Guards ascended, mute and sad

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

Much wondring how the suttle Fiend had stoln

Entrance unseen. Soon as th’ unwelcome news

From Earth arriv’d at Heaven Gate, displeas’d

All were who heard, dim sadness did not spare

That time Celestial visages, yet mixt

With pitie, violated not thir bliss.

About the new-arriv’d, in multitudes

Th’ ethereal People ran, to hear and know

How all befell: they towards the Throne Supream

Accountable made haste to make appear

With righteous plea, thir utmost vigilance,

And easily approv’d; when the most High

Eternal Father from his secret Cloud,

Amidst in Thunder utter’d thus his voice.

Assembl’d Angels, and ye Powers return’d

From unsuccessful charge, be not dismaid,

Nor troubl’d 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 cross’d the Gulf from Hell

I told ye then he should prevail and speed

On his bad Errand, Man should be seduc’t

And flatter’d 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 fall’n he is, and now

What rests, but that the mortal Sentence pass

On his trangression, Death denounc’t that day,

Which he presumes already vain and void,

Because not yet inflicted, as he fear’d,

By some immediate stroak; but soon shall find

Forbearance no acquittance ere day end.

Justice shall not return as bountie scorn’d.

But whom send I to judge them? whom but thee

Vicegerent Son, to thee I have transferr’d

All Judgement, whether in Heav’n, or Earth, or Hell.

Easie it may be seen that I intend

Mercie collegue with Justice, sending thee

Mans Friend, his Mediator, his design’d

Both Ransom and Redeemer voluntarie,

And destin’d Man himself to judge Man fall’n.

So spake the Father, and unfoulding bright

Toward the right hand his Glorie, the Son

Blaz’d forth unclouded Deitie; he full

Resplendent all his Father manifest

Express’d, and thus divinely answer’d milde.

Father Eternal, thine is to decree,

Mine both in Heav’n and Earth to do thy will

Supream, that thou in mee thy Son belov’d

Mayst ever rest well pleas’d. I go to judge

On Earth these thy transgressors, but thou knowst,

Whoever judg’d, the worst on mee must light,

When time shall be, for so I undertook

Before thee; and not repenting, this obtaine

Of right, that I may mitigate thir doom

On me deriv’d, yet I shall temper so

Justice with Mercie, 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 judg’d,

Those two; the third best absent is condemn’d,

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 glorie: 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 strait; the speed of Gods

Time counts not, though with swiftest minutes wing’d.

Now was the Sun in Western cadence low

From Noon, and gentle Aires due at thir hour

To fan the Earth now wak’d, and usher in

The Eevning coole when he from wrauth more coole

Came the mild Judge and Intercessor both

To sentence Man: the voice of God they heard

Now walking in the Garden, by soft windes

Brought to thir Ears, while day declin’d, they heard

And from his presence hid themselves among

The thickest Trees, both Man and Wife, till God

Approaching, thus to Adam call’d aloud.

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They heard
And from his presence hid themselves among
The thickest Trees.

Where art thou Adam, wont with joy to meet

My coming seen far off? I miss thee here,

Not pleas’d, thus entertaind with solitude,

Where obvious dutie erewhile appear’d unsaught:

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, discount’nanc’t both, and discompos’d;

Love was not in thir looks, either to God

Or to each other, but apparent guilt,

And shame, and perturbation, and despaire,

Anger, and obstinacie, and hate, and guile.

Whence Adam faultring long, thus answer’d brief.

I heard thee in the Garden, and of thy voice

Affraid, being naked, hid my self. To whom

The gracious Judge without revile repli’d.

My voice thou oft hast heard and hast not fear’d,

But still rejoyc’t, 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 repli’d.

O Heav’n! in evil strait this day I stand

Before my Judge, either to undergoe

My self the total Crime, or to accuse

My other self, the partner of my life;

Whose failing, while her Faith to me remaines,

I should conceal, and not expose to blame

By my complaint; but strict necessitie

Subdues me, and calamitous constraint,

Least on my head both sin and punishment,

However insupportable, be all

Devolv’d; though should I hold my peace, yet thou

Wouldst easily detect what I conceale.

This Woman whom thou mad’st to be my help,

And gav’st me as thy perfet gift, so good,

So fit, so acceptable, so Divine,

That from her hand I could suspect no ill,

And what she did, whatever in it self,

Her doing seem’d to justifie the deed;

Shee gave me of the Tree, and I did eate.

To whom the sovran Presence thus repli’d.

Was shee thy God, that her thou didst obey

Before his voice, or was shee made thy guide,

Superior, or but equal, that to her

Thou did’st resigne thy Manhood, and the Place

Wherein God set thee above her made of thee,

And for thee, whose perfection farr excell’d

Hers in all real dignitie: Adornd

She was indeed, and lovely to attract

Thy Love, not thy Subjection, and her Gifts

Were such as under Government well seem’d,

Unseemly to heare rule, which was thy part

And person, had’st thou known thy self 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 overwhelm’d,

Confessing soon, yet not before her Judge

Bold or loquacious, thus abasht repli’d.

The Serpent me beguil’d and I did eate.

Which when the Lord God heard, without delay

To Judgement he proceeded on th’ accus’d

Serpent though brute, unable to transferre

The Guilt on him who made him instrument

Of mischief, and polluted from the end

Of his Creation; justly then accurst,

As vitiated in Nature: more to know

Concern’d not Man (since he no further knew)

Nor alter’d his offence; yet God at last

To Satan first in sin his doom apply’d

Though in mysterious terms, judg’d as then best:

And on the Serpent thus his curse let fall.

Because thou hast done this, thou art accurst

Above all Cattel, each Beast of the Field;

Upon thy Belly groveling thou shalt goe,

And dust shalt eat all the days of thy Life.

Between Thee and the Woman I will put

Enmitie, and between thine and her Seed;

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

So spake this Oracle, then verifi’d

When Jesus son of Mary second Eve,

Saw Satan fall like Lightning down from Heav’n,

Prince of the Aire; then rising from his Grave

Spoild Principalities and Powers, triumpht

In open shew, and with ascention bright

Captivity led captive through the Aire,

The Realme it self of Satan long usurpt,

Whom he shall tread at last under our feet;

Eevn hee who now foretold his fatal bruise,

And to the Woman thus his Sentence turn’d.

Thy sorrow I will greatly multiplie

By thy Conception; Childern thou shalt bring

In sorrow forth, and to thy Husbands will

Thine shall submit, hee over thee shall rule.

On Adam last thus judgement he pronounc’d.

Because thou has heark’nd to the voice of thy Wife,

And eaten of the Tree concerning which

I charg’d thee, saying: Thou shalt not eate thereof,

Curs’d is the ground for thy sake, thou in sorrow

Shalt eate thereof all the days of thy Life;

Thornes also and Thistles it shall bring thee forth

Unbid, and thou shalt eate th’ Herb of th’ Field,

In the sweat of thy Face shalt thou eate 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 returne.

So judg’d he Man, both Judge and Saviour sent,

And th’ instant stroke of Death denounc’t that day

Remov’d farr off; then pittying how they stood

Before him naked to the aire, that now

Must suffer change, disdain’d not to begin

Thenceforth the forme of servant to assume,

As when he wash’d his servants feet, so now

As Father of his Familie he clad

Thir nakedness with Skins of Beasts, or slain,

Or as the Snake with youthful Coate repaid;

And thought not much to cloath his Enemies:

Nor hee thir outward onely with the Skins

Of Beasts, but inward nakedness, much more

Opprobrious, with his Robe of righteousness,

Araying cover’d from his Fathers sight.

To him with swift ascent he up return’d,

Into his blissful bosom reassum’d

In glory as of old, to him appeas’d

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

Recounted, mixing intercession sweet.

Meanwhile ere thus was sin’d and judg’d on Earth,

Within the Gates of Hell sate Sin and Death,

In counterview within the Gates, that now

Stood open wide, belching outrageous flame

Farr into Chaos, since the Fiend pass’d through,

Sin opening, who thus now to Death began.

O Son, why sit we here each other viewing

Idlely, while Satan our great Author thrives

In other Worlds, and happier Seat provides

For us his ofspring deare? It cannot be

But that success attends him; if mishap,

Ere this he had return’d, with fury driv’n

By his Avenger, since no place like this

Can fit his punishment, or their revenge.

Methinks I feel new strength within me rise,

Wings growing, and Dominion giv’n me large

Beyond this Deep; whatever drawes me on,

Or sympathie, or som connatural force

Powerful at greatest distance to unite

With secret amity things of like kinde

By secretest conveyance. Thou my Shade

Inseparable must with mee along:

For Death from Sin no power can separate.

But least the difficultie of passing back

Stay his returne perhaps over this Gulfe

Impassable, impervious, let us try

Adventrous work, yet to thy power and mine

Not unagreeable, to found a path

Over this Maine from Hell to that new World

Where Satan now prevailes, a Monument

Of merit high to all th’ infernal Host,

Easing thir passage hence, for intercourse,

Or transmigration, as thir lot shall lead.

Nor can I miss the way, so strongly drawn

By this new felt attraction and instinct.

Whom thus the meager Shadow answerd soon.

Goe whither Fate and inclination strong

Leads thee, I shall not lag behinde, nor erre

The way, thou leading, such a sent I draw

Of carnage, prey innumerable, and taste

The savour of Death from all things there that live:

Nor shall I to the work thou enterprisest

Be wanting, but afford thee equal aid.

So saying, with delight he snuff’d the smell

Of mortal change on Earth. As when a flock

Of ravenous Fowl, though many a League remote,

Against the day of Battel, to a Field,

Where Armies lie encampt, come flying, lur’d

With sent of living Carcasses design’d

For death, the following day, in bloodie fight.

So sented the grim Feature, and upturn’d

His Nostril wide into the murkie Air,

Sagacious of his Quarrey from so farr.

Then Both from out Hell Gates into the waste

Wide Anarchie of Chaos damp and dark

Flew divers, & with Power (thir Power was great)

Hovering upon the Waters; what they met

Solid or slimie, as in raging Sea

Tost up and down, together crowded drove

From each side shoaling towards the mouth of Hell.

As when two Polar Winds blowing adverse

Upon the Cronian Sea, together drive

Mountains of Ice, that stop th’ imagin’d way

Beyond Petsora Eastward, to the rich

Cathaian Coast. The aggregated Soyle

Death with his Mace petrific, cold and dry,

As with a Trident smote, and fix’t as firm

As Delos floating once; the rest his look

Bound with Gorgonian rigor not to move,

And with Asphaltic slime; broad as the Gate,

Deep to the Roots of Hell the gather’d beach

They fasten’d, and the Mole immense wraught on

Over the foaming deep high Archt, a Bridge

Of length prodigious joyning to the Wall

Immoveable of this now fenceless world

Forfeit to Death; from hence a passage broad,

Smooth, easie, inoffensive down to Hell.

So, if great things to small may be compar’d,

Xerxes, the Libertie of Greece to yoke,

From Susa his Memnonian Palace high

Came to the Sea, and over Hellespont

Bridging his way, Europe with Asia joyn’d,

And scourg’d with many a stroak th’ indignant waves.

Now had they brought the work by wondrous Art

Pontifical, a ridge of Pendent Rock

Over the vext Abyss, following the track

Of Satan, to the self same place where hee

First lighted from his Wing, and landed safe

From out of Chaos to the outside bare

Of this round World: with Pinns of Adamant

And Chains they made all fast, too fast they made

And durable; and now in little space

The Confines met of Empyrean Heav’n

And of this World, and on the left hand Hell

With long reach interpos’d; three sev’ral wayes

In sight, to each of these three places led.

And now thir way to Earth they had descri’d,

To Paradise first tending, when behold

Satan in likeness of an Angel bright

Betwixt the Centaure and the Scorpion stearing

His Zenith, while the Sun in Aries rose:

Disguis’d he came, but those his Childern dear

Thir Parent soon discern’d, though in disguise.

Hee, after Eve seduc’t, unminded slunk

Into the Wood fast by, and changing shape

To observe the sequel, saw his guileful act

By Eve, though all unweeting, seconded

Upon her Husband, saw thir shame that sought

Vain covertures; but when he saw descend

The Son of God to judge them, terrifi’d

Hee fled, not hoping to escape, but shun

The present, fearing guiltie what his wrauth

Might suddenly inflict; that past, return’d

By Night, and listning where the hapless Paire

Sate in thir sad discourse, and various plaint,

Thence gatherd his own doom, which understood

Not instant, but of future time. With joy

And tidings fraught, to Hell he now return’d,

And at the brink of Chaos, neer the foot

Of this new wondrous Pontifice, unhop’t

Met who to meet him came, his Ofspring dear.

Great joy was at thir meeting, and at sight

Of that stupendious Bridge his joy encreas’d.

Long hee admiring stood, till Sin, his faire

Inchanting Daughter, thus the silence broke.

O Parent, these are thy magnific deeds,

Thy Trophies, which thou view’st as not thine own,

Thou art thir Author and prime Architect:

For I no sooner in my Heart divin’d,

My Heart, which by a secret harmonie

Still moves with thine, joyn’d in connexion sweet,

That thou on Earth hadst prosper’d, which thy looks

Now also evidence, but straight I felt

Though distant from thee Worlds between, yet felt

That I must after thee with this thy Son;

Such fatal consequence unites us three:

Hell could no longer hold us in her bounds,

Nor this unvoyageable Gulf obscure

Detain from following thy illustrious track.

Thou hast atchiev’d our libertie, confin’d

Within Hell Gates till now, thou us impow’rd

To fortifie thus farr, and overlay

With this portentous Bridge the dark Abyss.

Thine now is all this World, thy vertue hath won

What thy hands builded not, thy Wisdom gain’d

With odds what Warr hath lost, and fully aveng’d

Our foile in Heav’n; here thou shalt Monarch reign,

There didst not; there let him still Victor sway,

As Battel hath adjudg’d, from this new World

Retiring, by his own doom alienated,

And henceforth Monarchie with thee divide

Of all things, parted by th’ Empyreal bounds,

His Quadrature, from thy Orbicular World,

Or trie thee now more dang’rous to his Throne.

Whom thus the Prince of Darkness answerd glad.

Fair Daughter, and thou Son and Grandchild both,

High proof ye now have giv’n to be the Race

Of Satan (for I glorie in the name,

Antagonist of Heav’ns Almightie King)

Amply have merited of me, of all

Th’ Infernal Empire, that so neer Heav’ns dore

Triumphal with triumphal act have met,

Mine with this glorious Work, & made one Realm

Hell and this World, one Realm, one Continent

Of easie thorough-fare. Therefore while I

Descend through Darkness, on your Rode with ease

To my associate Powers, them to acquaint

With these successes, and with them rejoyce,

You two this way, among those numerous Orbs

All yours, right down to Paradise descend;

There dwell & Reign in bliss, thence on the Earth

Dominion exercise and in the Aire,

Chiefly on Man, sole Lord of all declar’d,

Him first make sure your thrall, and lastly kill.

My Substitutes I send ye, and Create

Plenipotent on Earth, of matchless might

Issuing from mee: on your joynt vigor now

My hold of this new Kingdom all depends,

Through Sin to Death expos’d by my exploit.

If your joynt power prevaile, th’ affaires of Hell

No detriment need feare, goe and be strong.

So saying he dismiss’d them, they with speed

Thir course through thickest Constellations held

Spreading thir bane; the blasted Starrs lookt wan,

And Planets, Planet-strook, real Eclips

Then sufferd. Th’ other way Satan went down

The Causey to Hell Gate; on either side

Disparted Chaos over built exclaimd,

And with rebounding surge the barrs assaild,

That scorn’d his indignation: through the Gate,

Wide open and unguarded, Satan pass’d,

And all about found desolate; for those

Appointed to sit there, had left thir charge,

Flown to the upper World; the rest were all

Farr to the inland retir’d, about the walls

Of Pandemonium, Citie and proud seate

Of Lucifer, so by allusion calld,

Of that bright Starr to Satan paragond.

There kept hir Watch the Legions, while the Grand

In Council sate, sollicitous what chance

Might intercept thir Emperiour sent, so hee

Departing gave command, and they observ’d.

As when the Tartar from his Russian Foe

By Astracan over the Snowie Plaines

Retires, or Bactrian Sophi from the hornes

Of Turkish Crescent, leaves all waste beyond

The Realme of Aladule, in his retreate

To Tauris or Casheen. So these the late

Heav’n-banisht Host, left desert utmost Hell

Many a dark League, reduc’t in careful Watch

Round thir Metropolis, and now expecting

Each hour thir great adventurer from the search

Of Forrein Worlds: he through the midst unmarkt,

In shew plebeian Angel militant

Of lowest order, past; and from the dore

Of that Plutonian Hall, invisible

Ascended his high Throne, which under state

Of richest texture spred, at th’ upper end

Was plac’t in regal lustre. Down a while

He sate, and round about him saw unseen:

At last as from a Cloud his fulgent head

And shape Starr-bright appeer’d, or brighter, clad

With what permissive glory since his fall

Was left him, or false glitter: All amaz’d

At that so sudden blaze the Stygian throng

Bent thir aspect, and whom they wish’d beheld,

Thir mighty Chief returnd: loud was th’ acclaime:

Forth rush’d in haste the great consulting Peers,

Rais’d from thir dark Divan, and with like joy

Congratulant approach’d him, who with hand

Silence, and with these words attention won.

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And now expecting
Each hour thir great adventurer from the search
Of Forrein Worlds.

Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Vertues, Powers,

For in possession such, not onely of right,

I call ye and declare ye now, returnd

Successful beyond hope, to lead ye forth

Triumphant out of this infernal Pit

Abominable, accurst, the house of woe,

And Dungeon of our Tyrant: Now possess,

As Lords, a spacious World, to our native Heaven

Little inferiour, by my adventure hard

With peril great atchiev’d. Long were to tell

What I have don, what sufferd, with what paine

Voyag’d th’ unreal, vast, unbounded deep

Of horrible confusion, over which

By Sin and Death a broad way now is pav’d

To expedite your glorious march; but I

Toild out my uncouth passage, forc’t to ride

Th’ untractable Abysse, plung’d in the womb

Of unoriginal Night and Chaos wilde,

That jealous of thir secrets fiercely oppos’d

My journey strange, with clamorous uproare

Protesting Fate supreame; thence how I found

The new created World, which fame in Heav’n

Long had foretold, a Fabrick wonderful

Of absolute perfection, therein Man

Plac’t in a Paradise, by our exile

Made happie: Him by fraud I have seduc’d

From his Creator, and the more to increase

Your wonder, with an Apple; he thereat

Offended, worth your laughter, hath giv’n up

Both his beloved Man and all his World,

To Sin and Death a prey, and so to us,

Without our hazard, labour, or allarme,

To range in, and to dwell, and over Man,

To rule, as over all he should have rul’d.

True is, mee also he hath judg’d, or rather

Mee not, but the brute Serpent in whose shape

Man I deceav’d: that which to mee belongs,

Is enmity, which he will put between

Mee and Mankinde; I am to bruise his heel;

His Seed, when is not set, shall bruise my head:

A World who would not purchase with a bruise,

Or much more grievous pain? Ye have th’ account

Of my performance: What remaines, ye Gods,

But up and enter now into full bliss.

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Dreadful was the din
Of hissing through the Hall, thick swarming now
With complicated monsters.

So having said, a while he stood, expecting

Thir universal shout and high applause

To fill his eare, when contrary he hears

On all sides, from innumerable tongues

A dismal universal hiss, the sound

Of public scorn; he wonderd, but not long

Had leasure, wondring at himself now more;

His Visage drawn he felt to sharp and spare,

His Armes clung to his Ribs, his Leggs entwining

Each other, till supplanted down he fell

A monstrous Serpent on his Belly prone,

Reluctant, but in vaine, a greater power

Now rul’d him, punisht in the shape he sin’d,

According to his doom: he would have spoke,

But hiss for hiss returnd with forked tongue

To forked tongue, for now were all transforrn’d

Alike, to Serpents all as accessories

To his bold Riot: dreadful was the din

Of hissing through the Hall, thick swarming now

With complicated monsters, head and taile,

Scorpion and Asp and Amphisbaena dire,

Cerastes hornd, Hydrus, and Ellops drear,

And Dipsas (Not so thick swarm’d once the Soil

Bedropt with blood of Gorgon, or the Isle

Ophiusa) but still greatest hee the midst,

Now Dragon grown, larger then whom the Sun

Ingenderd in the Pythian Vale on slime,

Huge Python, and his Power no less he seem’d

Above the rest still to retain; they all

Him follow’d issuing forth to th’ open Field,

Where all yet left of that revolted Rout

Heav’n-fall’n, in station stood or just array,

Sublime with expectation when to see

In Triumph issuing forth thir glorious Chief;

They saw, but other sight instead, a crowd

Of ugly Serpents; horror on them fell,

And horrid sympathie; for what they saw,

They felt themselvs now changing; down thir arms,

Down fell both Spear and Shield, down they as fast,

And the dire hiss renew’d, and the dire form

Catcht by Contagion, like in punishment,

As in thir crime. Thus was th’ applause they meant,

Turnd to exploding hiss, triumph to shame

Cast on themselves from thir own mouths. There stood

A Grove hard by, sprung up with this thir change,

His will who reigns above, to aggravate

Thir penance, laden with fair Fruit, like that

Which grew in Paradise, the bait of Eve

Us’d by the Tempter: on that prospect strange

Thir earnest eyes they fix’d, imagining

For one forbidden Tree a multitude

Now ris’n, to work them furder woe or shame;

Yet parcht with scalding thurst and hunger fierce,

Though to delude them sent, could not obstain,

But on they rould in heaps, and up the Trees

Climbing, sat thicker than the snakie locks

That curld Megaera: greedily they pluck’d

The Frutage fair to sight, like that which grew

Neer that bituminous Lake where Sodom flam’d;

This more delusive, not the touch, but taste

Deceav’d; they fondly thinking to allay

Thir appetite with gust, instead of Fruit

Chewd bitter Ashes, which th’ offended taste

With spattering noise rejected: oft they assayd,

Hunger and thirst constraining, drugd as oft,

With hatefullest disrelish writh’d thir jaws

With soot and cinders fill’d; so oft they fell

Into the same illusion, not as Man

Whom they triumph’d once lapst. Thus were they plagu’d

And worn with Famin, long and ceasless hiss,

Till thir lost shape, permitted, they resum’d,

Yearly enjoynd, some say, to undergo

This annual humbling certain number’d days,

To dash thir pride, and joy for Man seduc’t.

However some tradition they dispers’d

Among the Heathen of thir purchase got,

And Fabl’d how the Serpent, whom they calld

Ophion with Eurynome, the wide-

Encroaching Eve perhaps, had first the rule

Of high Olympus, thence by Saturn driv’n

And Ops, ere yet Dictaean Jove was born.

Mean while in Paradise the hellish pair

Too soon arriv’d, Sin there in power before,

Once actual, now in body, and to dwell

Habitual habitant; behind her Death

Close following pace for pace, not mounted yet

On his pale Horse: to whom Sin thus began.

Second of Satan sprung, all conquering Death,

What thinkst thou of our Empire now, though earnd

With travail difficult, not better farr

Then stil at Hels dark threshold to have sate watch,

Unnam’d, undreaded, and thy self half starv’d?

Whom thus the Sin-born Monster answerd soon.

To mee, who with eternal Famin pine,

Alike is Hell, or Paradise, or Heaven,

There best, where most with ravin I may meet;

Which here, though plenteous, all too little seems

To stuff this Maw, this vast unhide-bound Corps.

To whom th’ incestuous Mother thus repli’d.

Thou therefore on these Herbs, and Fruits, & Flours

Feed first, on each Beast next, and Fish, and Fowle,

No homely morsels, and whatever thing

The Sithe of Time mowes down, devour unspar’d,

Till I in Man residing through the Race,

His thoughts, his looks, words, actions all infect,

And season him thy last and sweetest prey.

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This said, they both betook them several wayes.

This said, they both betook them several wayes,

Both to destroy, or unimmortal make

All kinds, and for destruction to mature

Sooner or later; which th’ Almightie seeing

From his transcendent Seat the Saints among,

To those bright Orders uttered thus his voice.

See with what heat these Dogs of Hell advance

To waste and havoc yonder World, which I

So fair and good created, and had still

Kept in that state, had not the folly of Man

Let in these wastful Furies, who impute

Folly to mee, so doth the Prince of Hell

And his Adherents, that with so much ease

I suffer them to enter and posses

A place so heav’nly, and conniving seem

To gratifie my scornful Enemies,

That laugh, as if transported with some fit

Of Passion, I to them had quitted all,

At random yeilded up to their misrule;

And know not that I call’d and drew them thither

My Hell-hounds, to lick up the draff and filth

Which mans polluting Sin with taint hath shed

On what was pure, till cramm’d and gorg’d, nigh burst

With suckt and glutted offal, at one sling

Of thy victorious Arm, well-pleasing Son.

Both Sin, and Death, and yawning Grave at last

Through Chaos hurld, obstruct the mouth of Hell

For ever, and seal up his ravenous Jawes.

Then Heav’n and Earth renewd shall be made pure

To sanctitie that shall receive no staine:

Till then the Curse pronounc’t on both precedes.

Hee ended, and th heav’nly Audience loud

Sung Halleluia, as the sound of Seas,

Through multitude that sung: Just are thy ways,

Righteous are thy Decrees on all thy Works;

Who can extenuate thee? Next, to the Son,

Destin’d restorer of Mankind, by whom

New Heav’n and Earth shall to the Ages rise,

Or down from Heav’n descend. Such thir song,

While the Creator calling forth by name

His mightie Angels gave them several charge,

As sorted best with present things. The Sun

Had first his precept so to move, so shine,

As might affect the Earth with cold and heat

Scarce tollerable, and from the North to call

Decrepit Winter, from the South to bring

Solstitial summers heat. To the blanc Moone

Her office they rescrib’d, to th’ other five

Thir planetarie motions and aspects

In Sextile, Square, and Trine, and Opposite,

Of noxious efficacie, and when to joyne

In Synod unbenigne, and taught the fixt

Thir influence malignant when to showre,

Which of them rising with the Sun, or falling,

Should prove tempestuous: To the Winds they set

Thir corners, when with bluster to confound

Sea, Aire, and Shoar, the Thunder when to rowle

With terror through the dark Aereal Hall.

Some say he bid his Angels turne ascanse

The Poles of Earth twice ten degrees and more

From the Suns Axle; they with labour push’d

Oblique the Centric Globe: Som say the Sun

Was bid turn Reines from th’ Equinoctial Rode

Like distant breadth to Taurus with the Heav’n

Atlantick Sisters, and the Spartan Twins

Up to the Tropic Crab; thence down amaine

By Leo and the Virgin and the Scales,

As deep as Capricorne, to bring in change

Of Seasons to each Clime; else had the Spring

Perpetual smil’d on Earth with vernant Flours,

Equal in Days and Nights, except to those

Beyond the Polar Circles; to them Day

Had unbenighted shon, while the low Sun

To recompence his distance, in thir sight

Had rounded still th’ Horizon, and not known

Or East or West, which had forbid the Snow

From cold Estotiland, and South as far

Beneath Magellan. At that tasted Fruit

The Sun, as from Thyestean Banquet, turn’d

His course intended; else how had the World

Inhabited, though sinless, more then now,

Avoided pinching cold and scorching heate?

These changes in the Heav’ns, though slow, produc’d

Like change on Sea and Land, sideral blast,

Vapour, and Mist, and Exhalation hot,

Corrupt and Pestilent: Now from the North

Of Norumbega, and the Samoed shoar

Bursting thir brazen Dungeon, armd with ice

And snow and haile and stormie gust and flaw,

Boreas and Caecias and Argestes loud

And Thrascias rend the Woods and Seas upturn;

With adverse blast up-turns them from the South

Notus and Afer black with thundrous Clouds

From Serraliona; thwart of these as fierce

Forth rush the Levant and the Ponent Windes

Eurus and Zephir with thir lateral noise,

Sirocco, and Libecchio. Thus began

Outrage from liveless things; but Discord first

Daughter of Sin, among th’ irrational,

Death introduc’d through fierce antipathie:

Beast now with Beast gan war, & Fowle with Fowle,

And Fish with Fish; to graze the Herb all leaving,

Devourd each other; nor stood much in awe

Of Man, but fled him, or with count’nance grim

Glar’d on him passing: these were from without

The growing miseries, which Adam saw

Alreadie in part, though hid in gloomiest shade,

To sorrow abandond, but worse felt within,

And in a troubl’d Sea of passion tost,

Thus to disburd’n sought with sad complaint.

O miserable of happie! is this the end

Of this new glorious World, and mee so late

The Glory of that Glory, who now becom

Accurst of blessed, hide me from the face

Of God, whom to behold was then my highth

Of happiness: yet well, if here would end

The miserie, I deserv’d it, and would heare

My own deservings; but this will not serve;

All that I eate or drink, or shall beget,

Is propagated curse. O voice once heard

Delightfully, Encrease and multiply,

Now death to heare! for what can I encrease

Or multiplie, but curses on my head?

Who of all Ages to succeed, but feeling

The evil on him brought by me, will curse

My Head, Ill fare our Ancestor impure,

For this we may thank Adam; but his thanks

Shall be the execration; so besides

Mine own that bide upon me, all from me

Shall with a fierce reflux on mee redound,

On mee as on thir natural center light

Heavie, though in thir place. O fleeting joyes

Of Paradise, deare bought with lasting woes!

Did I request thee, Maker, from my Clay

To mould me Man, did I sollicite thee

From darkness to promote me, or here place

In this delicious Garden? as my Will

Concurd not to my being, it were but right

And equal to reduce me to my dust,

Desirous to resigne, and render back

All I receav’d, unable to performe

Thy terms too hard, by which I was to hold

The good I sought not. To the loss of that,

Sufficient penaltie, why hast thou added

The sense of endless woes? inexplicable

Thy Justice seems; yet to say truth, too late,

I thus contest; then should have been refusd

Those terms whatever, when they were propos’d:

Thou didst accept them; wilt thou enjoy the good,

Then cavil the conditions? and though God

Made thee without thy leave, what if thy Son

Prove disobedient, and reprov’d, retort,

Wherefore didst thou beget me? I sought it not:

Wouldst thou admit for his contempt of thee

That proud excuse? yet him not thy election,

But Natural necessity begot.

God made thee of choice his own, and of his own

To serve him, thy reward was of his grace,

Thy punishment then justly is at his Will.

Be it so, for I submit, his doom is fair,

That dust I am, and shall to dust returne:

O welcom hour whenever! why delayes

His hand to execute what his Decree

Fixd on this day? why do I overlive,

Why am I mockt with death, and length’nd out

To deathless pain? how gladly would I meet

Mortalitie my sentence, and be Earth

Insensible, how glad would lay me down

As in my Mothers lap? there I should rest

And sleep secure; his dreadful voice no more

Would Thunder in my ears, no fear of worse

To mee and to my ofspring would torment me

With cruel expectation. Yet one doubt

Pursues me still, least all I cannot die,

Least that pure breath of Life, the Spirit of Man

Which God inspir’d, cannot together perish

With this corporeal Clod; then in the Grave,

Or in some other dismal place, who knows

But I shall die a living Death? O thought

Horrid, if true! yet why? it was but breath

Of Life that sinn’d; what dies but what had life

And sin? the Bodie properly hath neither.

All of me then shall die: let this appease

The doubt, since humane reach no further knows.

For though the Lord of all be infinite,

Is his wrauth also? be it, man is not so,

But mortal doom’d. How can he exercise

Wrath without end on Man whom Death must end?

Can he make deathless Death? that were to make

Strange contradiction, which to God himself

Impossible is held, as Argument

Of weakness, not of Power. Will he draw out,

For angers sake, finite to infinite

In punisht man, to satisfie his rigour

Satisfi’d never; that were to extend

His Sentence beyond dust and Natures Law,

By which all Causes else according still

To the reception of thir matter act,

Not to th’ extent of thir own Spheare. But say

That Death be not one stroak, as I suppos’d,

Bereaving sense, but endless miserie

From this day onward, which I feel begun

Both in me, and without me, and so last

To perpetuitie; Ay me, that fear

Comes thundring back with dreadful revolution

On my defensless head; both Death and I

Am found Eternal, and incorporate both,

Nor I on my part single, in mee all

Posteritie stands curst: Fair Patrimonie

That I must leave ye, Sons; O were I able

To waste it all my self, and leave ye none!

So disinherited how would ye bless

Me now your Curse! Ah, why should all mankind

For one mans fault thus guiltless be condemn’d,

If guiltless? But from mee what can proceed,

But all corrupt, both Mind and Will deprav’d,

Not to do onely, but to will the same

With me; how can they acquitted stand

In sight of God? Him after all Disputes

Forc’t I absolve: all my evasions vain

And reasonings, though through Mazes, leads me still

But to my own conviction: first and last

On mee, mee onely, as the sourse and spring

Of all corruption, all the blame lights due;

So might the wrauth. Fond wish! couldst thou support

That burden heavier then the Earth to bear,

Then all the World much heavier, though divided

With that bad Woman? Thus what thou desir’st,

And what thou fearst, alike destroyes all hope

Of refuge, and concludes thee miserable

Beyond all past example and future,

To Satan onely like both crime and doom.

O Conscience, into what Abyss of fears

And horrors hast thou driv’n me; out of which

I find no way, from deep to deeper plung’d!

Thus Adam to himself lamented loud

Through the still Night, not now, as ere man fell,

Wholsom and cool, and mild, but with black Air

Accompanied, with damps and dreadful gloom,

Which to his evil Conscience represented

All things with double terror: On the ground

Outstretcht he lay, on the cold ground, and oft

Curs’d his Creation, Death as oft accus’d

Of tardie execution, since denounc’t

The day of his offence. Why comes not Death,

Said hee, with one thrice acceptable stroke

To end me? Shall Truth fail to keep her word,

Justice Divine not hast’n to be just?

But Death comes not at call, justice Divine

Mends not her slowest pace for prayers or cries.

O Woods, O Fountains, Hillocks, Dales and Bowrs,

With other echo late I taught your Shades

To answer, and resound farr other Song.

Whom thus afflicted when sad Eve beheld,

Desolate where she sate, approaching nigh,

Soft words to his fierce passion she assay’d:

But her with stern regard he thus repell’d.

Out of my sight, thou Serpent, that name best

Befits thee with him leagu’d, thy self as false

And hateful; nothing wants, but that thy shape,

Like his, and colour Serpentine may shew

Thy inward fraud, to warn all Creatures from thee

Henceforth; least that too heav’nly form, pretended

To hellish falshood, snare them. But for thee

I had persisted happie, had not thy pride

And wandring vanitie, when lest was safe,

Rejected my forewarning, and disdain’d

Not to be trusted, longing to be seen

Though by the Devil himself, him overweening

To over-reach, but with the Serpent meeting

Fool’d and beguil’d, by him thou, I by thee,

To trust thee from my side, imagin’d wise,

Constant, mature, proof against all assaults,

And understood not all was but a shew

Rather then solid vertu, all but a Rib

Crooked by nature, bent, as now appears,

More to the part sinister from me drawn,

Well if thrown out, as supernumerarie

To my just number found. O why did God,

Creator wise, that peopl’d highest Heav’n

With Spirits Masculine, create at last

This noveltie on Earth, this fair defect

Of Nature, and not fill the World at once

With Men as Angels without Feminine,

Or find some other way to generate

Mankind? this mischief had not then befall’n,

And more that shall befall, innumerable

Disturbances on Earth through Femal snares,

And straight conjunction with this Sex: for either

He never shall find out fit Mate, but such

As some misfortune brings him, or mistake,

Or whom he wishes most shall seldom gain

Through her perverseness, but shall see her gaind

By a farr worse, or if she love, withheld

By Parents, or his happiest choice too late

Shall meet, alreadie linkt and Wedlock-bound

To a fell Adversarie, his hate or shame:

Which infinite calamitie shall cause

To Humane life, and houshold peace confound.

He added not, and from her turn’d, but Eve

Not so repulst, with Tears that ceas’d not flowing,

And tresses all disorderd, at his feet

Fell humble, and imbracing them, besaught

His peace, and thus proceeded in her plaint.

Forsake me not thus, Adam, witness Heav’n

What love sincere, and reverence in my heart

I beare thee, and unweeting have offended,

Unhappilie deceav’d; thy suppliant

I beg, and clasp thy knees; bereave me not,

Whereon I live, thy gentle looks, thy aid,

Thy counsel in this uttermost distress,

My onely strength and stay: forlorn of thee,

Whither shall I betake me, where subsist?

While yet we live, scarse one short hour perhaps,

Between us two let there be peace, both joyning,

As joyn’d in injuries, one enmitie

Against a Foe by doom express assign’d us,

That cruel Serpent: On me exercise not

Thy hatred for this miserie befall’n,

On me already lost, mee, then thy self

More miserable; both have sin’d, but thou

Against God onely, I against God and thee,

And to the place of judgement will return,

There with my cries importune Heaven, that all

The sentence from thy head remov’d may light

On me, sole cause to thee of all this woe,

Mee mee onely just object of his ire.

She ended weeping, and her lowlie plight,

Immoveable till peace obtain’d from fault

Acknowledg’d and deplor’d, in Adam wraught

Commiseration; soon his heart relented

Towards her, his life so late and sole delight,

Now at his feet submissive in distress,

Creature so faire his reconcilement seeking,

His counsel whom she had displeas’d, his aide;

As one disarm’d, his anger all he lost,

And thus with peaceful words uprais’d her soon.

Unwarie, and too desirous, as before,

So now of what thou knowst not, who desir’st

The punishment all on thy self; alas,

Beare thine own first, ill able to sustaine

His full wrauth whose thou feelst as yet lest part,

And my displeasure hearst so ill. If Prayers

Could alter high Decrees, I to that place

Would speed before thee, and be louder heard,

That on my head all might be visited,

Thy frailtie and infirmer Sex forgiv’n,

To me committed and by me expos’d.

But rise, let us no more contend, nor blame

Each other, blam’d enough elsewhere, but strive

In offices of Love, how we may light’n

Each others burden in our share of woe;

Since this days Death denounc’t, if ought I see,

Will prove no sudden, but a slow-pac’t evill,

A long days dying to augment our paine,

And to our Seed (O hapless Seed!) deriv’d.

To whom thus Eve, recovering heart, repli’d.

Adam, by sad experiment I know

How little weight my words with thee can finde,

Found so erroneous, thence by just event

Found so unfortunate; nevertheless,

Restor’d by thee, vile as I am, to place

Of new acceptance, hopeful to regaine

Thy Love, the sole contentment of my heart,

Living or dying from thee I will not hide

What thoughts in my unquiet brest are ris’n,

Tending to som relief of our extremes,

Or end, though sharp and sad, yet tolerable,

As in our evils, and of easier choice.

If care of our descent perplex us most,

Which must be born to certain woe, devourd

By Death at last, and miserable it is

To be to others cause of misery,

Our own begotten, and of our Loines to bring

Into this cursed World a woful Race,

That after wretched Life must be at last

Food for so foule a Monster, in thy power

It lies, yet ere Conception to prevent

The Race unblest, to being yet unbegot.

Childless thou art, Childless remaine:

So Death shall be deceav’d his glut, and with us two

Be forc’d to satisfie his Rav’nous Maw.

But if thou judge it hard and difficult,

Conversing, looking, loving, to abstain

From Loves due Rites, Nuptial embraces sweet,

And with desire to languish without hope,

Before the present object languishing

With like desire, which would be miserie

And torment less then none of what we dread,

Then both our selves and Seed at once to free

From what we fear for both, let us make short,

Let us seek Death, or hee not found, supply

With our own hands his Office on our selves;

Why stand we longer shivering under feares,

That shew no end but Death, and have the power,

Of many wayes to die the shortest choosing,

Destruction with destruction to destroy.

She ended heer, or vehement despaire

Broke off the rest; so much of Death her thoughts

Had entertaind, as di’d her Cheeks with pale.

But Adam with such counsel nothing sway’d,

To better hopes his more attentive minde

Labouring had rais’d, and thus to Eve repli’d.

Eve, thy contempt of life and pleasure seems

To argue in thee somthing more sublime

And excellent then what thy minde contemnes;

But self-destruction therefore saught, refutes

That excellence thought in thee, and implies,

Not thy contempt, but anguish and regret

For loss of life and pleasure overlov’d.

Or if thou covet death, as utmost end

Of miserie, so thinking to evade

The penaltie pronounc’t, doubt not but God

Hath wiselier arm’d his vengeful ire then so

To be forestall’d; much more I fear least Death

So snatcht will not exempt us from the paine

We are by doom to pay; rather such acts

Of contumacie will provoke the highest

To make death in us live: Then let us seek

Som safer resolution, which methinks

I have in view, calling to minde with heed

Part of our Sentence, that thy Seed shall bruise

The Serpents head; piteous amends, unless

Be meant, whom I conjecture, our grand Foe

Satan, who in the Serpent hath contriv’d

Against us this deceit: to crush his head

Would be revenge indeed; which will be lost

By death brought on our selves, or childless days

Resolv’d, as thou proposest; so our Foe

Shall scape his punishment ordain’d, and wee

Instead shall double ours upon our heads.

No more be mention’d then of violence

Against our selves, and wilful barrenness,

That cuts us off from hope, and savours onely

Rancor and pride, impatience and despite,

Reluctance against God and his just yoke

Laid on our Necks. Remember with what mild

And gracious temper he both heard and judg’d

Without wrauth or reviling; wee expected

Immediate dissolution, which we thought

Was meant by Death that day, when lo, to thee

Pains onely in Child-bearing were foretold,

And bringing forth, soon recompenc’t with joy,

Fruit of thy Womb: On mee the Curse aslope

Glanc’d on the ground, with labour I must earne

My bread; what harm? Idleness had bin worse;

My labour will sustain me; and least Cold

Or Heat should injure us, his timely care

Hath unbesaught provided, and his hands

Cloath’ d us unworthie, pitying while he judg’d;

How much more, if we pray him, will his ear

Be open, and his heart to pitie incline,

And teach us further by what means to shun

Th’ inclement Seasons, Rain, Ice, Hail and Snow,

Which now the Skie with various Face begins

To shew us in this Mountain, while the Winds

Blow moist and keen, shattering the graceful locks

Of these fair spreading Trees; which bids us seek

Som better shroud, som better warmth to cherish

Our Limbs benumm’d, ere this diurnal Star

Leave cold the Night, how we his gather’d beams

Reflected, may with matter sere foment,

Or by collision of two bodies grinde

The Air attrite to Fire, as late the Clouds

Justling or pusht with Winds rude in thir shock

Tine the slant Lightning, whose thwart flame driv’n down

Kindles the gummie bark of Firr or Pine,

And sends a comfortable heat from farr,

Which might supply the Sun: such Fire to use,

And what may else be remedie or cure

To evils which our own misdeeds have wrought,

Hee will instruct us praying, and of Grace

Beseeching him, so as we need not fear

To pass commodiously this life, sustain’d

By him with many comforts, till we end

In dust, our final rest and native home.

What better can we do, then to the place

Repairing where he judg’d us, prostrate fall

Before him reverent, and there confess

Humbly our faults, and pardon beg, with tears

Watering the ground, and with our sighs the Air

Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign

Of sorrow unfeign’d, and humiliation meek.

Undoubtedly he will relent and turn

From his displeasure; in whose look serene,

When angry most he seem’d and most severe,

What else but favor, grace, and mercie shon?

So spake our Father penitent, nor Eve

Felt less remorse: they forthwith to the place

Repairing where he judg’d them prostrate fell

Before him reverent, and both confess’d

Humbly thir faults, and pardon beg’d, with tears

Watering the ground, and with thir sighs the Air

Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign

Of sorrow unfeign’d, and humiliation meek.

Book XI

The Argument

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: Michaels coming down. Adam shews to Eve certain ominous signs; he discerns Michaels approach, goes out to meet him: the Angel denounces thir departure. Eve’s Lamentation. Adam pleads, but submits: The Angel leads him up to a high Hill, sets before him in vision what shall happ’n till the Flood.

Thus they in lowliest plight repentant stood

Praying, for from the Mercie-seat above

Prevenient Grace descending had remov’d

The stonie from thir hearts, and made new flesh

Regenerate grow instead, that sighs now breath’d

Unutterable, which the Spirit of prayer

Inspir’d, and wing’d for Heav’n with speedier flight

Then loudest Oratorie: yet thir port

Not of mean suiters, nor important less

Seem’d thir Petition, then when th’ ancient Pair

In Fables old, less ancient yet then these,

Deucalion and chaste Pyrrha to restore

The Race of Mankind drownd, before the Shrine

Of Themis stood devout. To Heav’n hir prayers

Flew up, nor missd the way, by envious windes

Blow’n vagabond or frustrate: in they passd

Dimentionless through Heav’nly dores; then clad

With incense, where the Golden Altar fum’d,

By thir great Intercessor, came in sight

Before the Fathers Throne: Them the glad Son

Presenting, thus to intercede began.

See Father, what first fruits on Earth are sprung

From thy implanted Grace in Man, these Sighs

And Prayers, which in this Golden Censer, mixt

With Incense, I thy Priest before thee bring,

Fruits of more pleasing savour from thy seed

Sow’n with contrition in his heart, then those

Which his own hand manuring all the Trees

Of Paradise could have produc’t, ere fall’n

From innocence. Now therefore bend thine eare

To supplication, heare his sighs though mute;

Unskilful with what words to pray, let me

Interpret for him, mee his Advocate

And propitiation, all his works on me

Good or not good ingraft, my Merit those

Shall perfet, and for these my Death shall pay.

Accept me, and in mee from these receave

The smell of peace toward Mankinde, let him live

Before thee reconcil’d, at least his days

Numberd, though sad, till Death, his doom (which I

To mitigate thus plead, not to reverse)

To better life shall yeeld him, where with mee

All my redeemd may dwell in joy and bliss,

Made one with me as I with thee am one.

To whom the Father, without Cloud, serene.

All thy request for Man, accepted Son,

Obtain, all thy request was my Decree:

But longer in that Paradise to dwell,

The Law I gave to Nature him forbids:

Those pure immortal Elements that know

No gross, no unharmoneous mixture foule,

Eject him tainted now, and purge him off

As a distemper, gross to aire as gross,

And mortal food, as may dispose him best

For dissolution wrought by Sin, that first

Distemperd all things, and of incorrupt

Corrupted. I at first with two fair gifts

Created him endowd, with Happiness

And Immortalitie: that fondly lost,

This other serv’d but to eternize woe;

Till I provided Death; so Death becomes

His final remedie, and after Life

Tri’d in sharp tribulation, and refin’d

By Faith and faithful works, to second Life,

Wak’t in the renovation of the just,

Resignes him up with Heav’n and Earth renewd.

But let us call to Synod all the Blest

Through Heavn’s wide bounds; from them I will not hide

My judgments, how with Mankind I proceed,

As how with peccant Angels late they saw;

And in thir state, though firm, stood more confirmd.

He ended, and the Son gave signal high

To the bright Minister that watch’d, hee blew

His Trumpet, heard in Oreb since perhaps

When God descended, and perhaps once more

To sound at general doom. Th’ Angelic blast

Filld all the Regions: from thir blissful Bowrs

Of Amarantin Shade, Fountain or Spring,

By the waters of Life, where ere they sate

In fellowships of joy: the Sons of Light

Hasted, resorting to the Summons high,

And took thir Seats; till from his Throne supream

Th’ Almighty thus pronounc’d his sovran Will.

O Sons, like one of us Man is become

To know both Good and Evil, since his taste

Of that defended Fruit; but let him boast

His knowledge of Good lost, and Evil got,

Happier, had suffic’d him to have known

Good by it self, and Evil not at all.

He sorrows now, repents, and prayes contrite,

My motions in him, longer then they move,

His heart I know, how variable and vain

Self-left. Least therefore his now bolder hand

Reach also of the Tree of Life, and eat,

And live for ever, dream at least to live

For ever, to remove him I decree,

And send him from the Garden forth to Till

The Ground whence he was taken, fitter soile.

Michael, this my behest have thou in charge,

Take to thee from among the Cherubim

Thy choice of flaming Warriours, least the Fiend

Or in behalf of Man, or to invade

Vacant possession som new trouble raise:

Hast thee, and from the Paradise of God

Without remorse drive out the sinful Pair,

From hallowd ground th’ unholie, and denounce

To them and to thir Progenie from thence

Perpetual banishment. Yet least they faint

At the sad Sentence rigorously urg’d,

For I behold them soft’nd and with tears

Bewailing thir excess, all terror hide.

if patiently thy bidding they obey,

Dismiss them not disconsolate; reveale

To Adam what shall come in future dayes,

As I shall thee enlighten, intermix

My Cov’nant in the Womans seed renewd;

So send them forth, though sorrowing, yet in peace:

And on the East side of the Garden place,

Where entrance up from Eden easiest climbes,

Cherubic watch, and of a Sword the flame

Wide waving, all approach farr off to fright,

And guard all passage to the Tree of Life:

Least Paradise a receptacle prove

To Spirits foule, and all my Trees thir prey,

With whose stol’n Fruit Man once more to delude.

He ceas’d; and th’ Archangelic Power prepar’d

For swift descent, with him the Cohort bright

Of watchful Cherubim; four faces each

Had, like a double Janus, all thir shape

Spangl’d with eyes more numerous then those

Of Argus, and more wakeful then to drouze,

Charm’d with Arcadian Pipe, the Pastoral Reed

Of Hermes, or his opiate Rod. Mean while

To resalute the World with sacred Light

Leucothea wak’d, and with fresh dews imbalmd

The Earth, when Adam and first Matron Eve

Had ended now thir Orisons, and found,

Strength added from above, new hope to spring

Out of despaire, joy, but with fear yet linkt;

Which thus to Eve his welcome words renewd.

Eve, easily may Faith admit, that all

The good which we enjoy, from Heav’n descends

But that from us ought should ascend to Heav’n

So prevalent as to concerne the mind

Of God high-blest, or to incline his will,

Hard to belief may seem; yet this will Prayer,

Or one short sigh of humane breath, up-borne

Ev’n to the Seat of God. For since I saught

By Prayer th’ offended Deitie to appease,

Kneel’d and before him humbl’d all my heart,

Methought I saw him placable and mild,

Bending his eare; perswasion in me grew

That I was heard with favour; peace return’d

Home to my brest, and to my memorie

His promise, that thy Seed shall bruise our Foe;

Which then not minded in dismay, yet now

Assures me that the bitterness of death

Is past, we shall live. Whence Haile to thee

Eve rightly call’d, Mother of all Mankind,

Mother of all things living, since by thee

Man is to live, and all things live for Man.

To whom thus Eve with sad demeanour meek.

Ill worthie I such title should belong

To me transgressour, who for thee ordaind

A help, became thy snare; to mee reproach

Rather belongs, distrust and all dispraise:

But infinite in pardon was my Judge,

That I who first brought Death on all, am grac’t

The sourse of life; next favourable thou,

Who highly thus to entitle me voutsaf’st,

Farr other name deserving. But the Field

To labour calls us now with sweat impos’d,

Though after sleepless Night; for see the Morn,

All unconcern’d with our unrest, begins

Her rosie progress smiling; let us forth,

I never from thy side henceforth to stray,

Wherere our days work lies, though now enjoind

Laborious, till day droop; while here we dwell,

What can be toilsom in these pleasant Walkes?

Here let us live, though in fall’n state, content.

So spake, so wish’d much humbl’d Eve, but Fate

Subscrib’d not; Nature first gave Signs, imprest

On Bird, Beast, Aire, Aire suddenly eclips’d

After short blush of Morn; nigh in her sight

The Bird of Jove, stoopt from his aerie tour,

Two Birds of gayest plume before him drove:

Down from a Hill the Beast that reigns in Woods,

First Hunter then, pursu’d a gentle brace,

Goodliest of all the Forrest, Hart and Hinde;

Direct to th’ Eastern Gate was bent thir flight.

Adam observ’d, and with his Eye the chase

Pursuing, not unmov’d to Eve thus spake.

O Eve, some furder change awaits us nigh,

Which Heav’n by these mute signs in Nature shews

Forerunners of his purpose, or to warn

Us haply too secure of our discharge

From penaltie, because from death releast

Some days; how long, and what till then our life,

Who knows, or more then this, that we are dust,

And thither must return and be no more.

Why else this double object in our sight

Of flight pursu’d in th’ Air and ore the ground

One way the self-same hour? why in the East

Darkness ere Dayes mid-course, and Morning light

More orient in yon Western Cloud that draws

O’re the blew Firmament a radiant white,

And slow descends, with thing heav’nly fraught.

plate45
The heav’nly Bands
Down from a Skie of Jasper lighted now
In Paradise.

He err’d not, for by this the heav’nly Bands

Down from a Skie of Jasper lighted now

In Paradise, and on a Hill made alt,

A glorious Apparition, had not doubt

And carnal fear that day dimm’d Adams eye.

Not that more glorious, when the Angels met

Jacob in Mahanaim, where he saw

The field Pavilion’d with his Guardians bright;

Nor that which on the flaming Mount appeerd

In Dothan, cover’d with a Camp of Fire,

Against the Syrian King, who to surprize

One man, Assassin-like had levied Warr,

Warr unproclam’d. The Princely Hierarch

In thir bright stand, there left his Powers to seise

Possession of the Garden; hee alone,

To finde where Adam shelterd, took his way,

Not unperceav’d of Adam, who to Eve,

While the great Visitant approachd, thus spake.

Eve, now expect great tidings, which perhaps

Of us will soon determin, or impose

New Laws to be observ’d; for I descrie

From yonder blazing Cloud that veils the Hill

One or the heav’nly Host, and by his Gate

None of the meanest, some great Potentate

Or of the Thrones above, such Majestie

Invests him coming; yet not terrible,

That I should fear, nor sociably mild,

As Raphael, that I should much confide,

But solemn and sublime, whom not to offend,

With reverence I must meet, and thou retire.

He ended; and th’ Arch-Angel soon drew nigh,

Not in his shape Celestial, but as Man

Clad to meet Man; over his lucid Armes

A militarie Vest of purple flowd

Livelier then Melibaean, or the graine

Of Sarra, worn by Kings and Hero’s old

In time of Truce; Iris had dipt the woof

His starrie Helme unbuckl’d shew’d him prime

In Manhood where Youth ended; by his side

As in a glistering Zodiac hung the Sword,

Satans dire dread, and in his hand the Spear,

Adam bowd low, hee Kingly from his State

Inclin’d not, but his coming thus declar’d.

Adam, Heav’ns high behest no Preface needs:

Sufficient that thy Prayers are heard, and Death,

Then due by sentence when thou didst transgress,

Defeated of his seisure many dayes

Giv’n thee of Grace, wherein thou may’st repent,

And one bad act with many deeds well done

Mayst cover: well may then thy Lord appeas’d

Redeem thee quite from Deaths rapacious claime;

But longer in this Paradise to dwell

Permits not; to remove thee I am come,

And send thee from the Garden forth to till

The ground whence thou wast tak’n, fitter Soile.

He added not, for Adam at the newes

Heart-strook with chilling gripe of sorrow stood,

That all his senses bound; Eve, who unseen

Yet all had heard, with audible lament

Discover’d soon the place of her retire.

O unexspected stroke, worse then of Death!

Must I thus leave thee Paradise? thus leave

Thee Native Soile, these happie Walks and Shades,

Fit haunt of Gods? where I had hope to spend,

Quiet though sad, the respit of that day

That must be mortal to us both. O flours,

That never will in other Climate grow,

My early visitation, and my last

At Eev’n, which I bred up with tender hand

From the first op’ning bud, and gave ye Names,

Who now shall reare ye to the Sun, or ranke

Your Tribes, and water from th’ ambrosial Fount?

Thee lastly nuptial Bowre, by mee adornd

With what to sight or smell was sweet; from thee

How shall I part, and whither wander down

Into a lower World, to this obscure

And wilde, how shall we breath in other Aire

Less pure, accustomd to immortal Fruits?

Whom thus the Angel interrupted milde.

Lament not Eve, but patiently resigne

What justly thou hast lost; nor set thy heart,

Thus over fond, on that which is not thine;

Thy going is not lonely, with thee goes

Thy Husband, him to follow thou art bound;

Where he abides, think there thy native soile.

Adam by this from the cold sudden damp

Recovering, and his scatterd spirits returnd,

To Michael thus his humble words addressd.

Celestial, whether among the Thrones, or nam’d

Of them the Highest, for such of shape may seem

Prince above Princes, gently hast thou tould

Thy message, which might else in telling wound,

And in performing end us; what besides

Of sorrow and dejection and despair

Our frailtie can sustain, thy tidings bring,

Departure from this happy place, our sweet

Recess, and onely consolation left

Familiar to our eyes, all places else

Inhospitable appeer and desolate,

Nor knowing us nor known: and if by prayer

Incessant I could hope to change the will

Of him who all things can, I would not cease

To wearie him with my assiduous cries:

But prayer against his absolute Decree

No more availes then breath against the winde,

Blown stifling back on him that breaths it forth:

Therefore this great bidding I submit.

This most afflicts me, that departing hence,

As from his face I shall be hid, deprivd

His blessed count’nance; here I could frequent,

With worship, place by place where he voutsaf’d

Presence Divine, and to my Sons relate;

On this Mount he appeerd, under this Tree

Stood visible, among these Pines his voice

I heard, here with him at this Fountain talk’d:

So many grateful Altars I would reare

Of grassie Terfe, and pile up every Stone

Of lustre from the brook, in memorie,

Or monument to Ages, and thereon

Offer sweet smelling Gumms & Fruits and Flours:

In yonder nether World where shall I seek

His bright appearances, or footstep trace?

For though I fled him angrie, yet recall’d

To life prolongd and promisd Race, I now

Gladly behold though but his utmost skirts

Of glory, and farr off his steps adore.

To whom thus Michael with regard benigne.

Adam, thou know’st Heav’n his, and all the Earth,

Not this Rock onely; his Omnipresence fills

Land, Sea, and Aire, and every kinde that lives,

Fomented by his virtual power and warmd:

All th’ Earth he gave thee to possess and rule,

No despicable gift; surmise not then

His presence to these narrow bounds confin’d

Of Paradise or Eden: this had been

Perhaps thy Capital Seate, from whence had spred

All generations, and had hither come

From all the ends of th’ Earth, to celebrate

And reverence thee thir great Progenitor.

But this proceminence thou hast lost, brought down

To dwell on eeven ground now with thy Sons:

Yet doubt not but in Vallie and in Plaine

God is as here, and will be found alike

Present, and of his presence many a signe

Still following thee, still compassing thee round

With goodness and paternal Love, his Face

Express, and of his steps the track Divine.

Which that thou mayst beleeve, and be confirmd,

Ere thou from hence depart, know I am sent

To shew thee what shall come in future dayes

To thee and to thy ofspring; good with bad

Expect to hear, supernal Grace contending

With sinfulness of Men; thereby to learn

True patience, and to temper joy with fear

And pious sorrow, equally enur’d

By moderation either state to heare,

Prosperous or adverse: so shalt thou lead

Safest thy life, and best prepar’d endure

Thy mortal passage when it comes. Ascend

This Hill; let Eve (for I have drencht her eyes)

Here sleep below while thou to foresight wak’st,

As once thou slepst, while Shee to life was formd.

To whom thus Adam gratefully repli’d.

Ascend, I follow thee, safe Guide, the path

Thou lead’st me, and to the hand of Heav’n submit,

However chast’ning, to the evil turne

My obvious breast, arming to overcom

By suffering, and earne rest from labour won,

If so I may attain. So both ascend

In the Visions of God: It was a Hill

Of Paradise the highest, from whose top

The Hemisphere of Earth in cleerest Ken

Stretcht out to amplest reach of prospect lay.

Not higher that Hill nor wider looking round,

Whereon for different cause the Tempter set

Our second Adam in the Wilderness,

To shew him all Earths Kingdomes and thir Glory.

His Eye might there command wherever stood

City of old or modern Fame, the Seat

Of mightiest Empire, from the destind Walls

Of Cambalu, seat of Cathaian Can

And Samarchand by Oxus, Temirs Throne,

To Paquin of Sinean Kings, and thence

To Agra and Lahor of great Mogul

Down to the golden Chersonese, or where

The Persian in Ecbatan sate, or since

In Hispahan, or where the Russian Ksar

In Mosco, or the Sultan in Bizance,

Turchestan-born; nor could his eye not ken

Th’ Empire of Negus to his utmost Port

Ercoco and the less Maritine Kings

Mombaza, and Quiloa, and Melind,

And Sofala thought Ophir, to the Realme

Of Congo, and Angola fardest South;

Or thence from Niger Flood to Atlas Mount

The Kingdoms of Almansor, Fez and Sus,

Marocco and Algiers, and Tremisen;

On Europe thence, and where Rome was to sway

The World: in Spirit perhaps he also saw

Rich Mexico the seat of Motezume,

And Cusco in Peru, the richer seat

Of Atabalipa, and yet unspoil’d

Guiana, whose great Citie Geryons Sons

Call El Dorado: but to nobler sights

Michael from Adams eyes the Filme remov’d

Which that false Fruit that promis’d clearer sight

Had bred; then purg’d with Euphrasie and Rue

The visual Nerve, for he had much to see;

And from the Well of Life three drops instill’d.

So deep the power of these Ingredients pierc’d,

Eeven to the inmost seat of mental sight,

That Adam now enforc’t to close his eyes,

Sunk down and all his Spirits became intranst:

But him the gentle Angel by the hand

Soon rais’d, and his attention thus recall’d.

Adam, now ope thine eyes, and first behold

Th’ effects which thy original crime hath wrought

In some to spring from thee, who never touch’d

Th’ excepted Tree, nor with the Snake conspir’d,

Nor sinn’d thy sin, yet from that sin derive

Corruption to bring forth more violent deeds.

His eyes he op’nd, and beheld a field,

Part arable and tilth, whereon were Sheaves

New reapt, the other part sheep-walks and foulds;

Ith’ midst an Altar as the Land-mark stood

Rustic, of grassie sord; thither anon

A sweatie Reaper from his Tillage brought

First Fruits, the green Eare, and the yellow Sheaf,

Uncull’d, as came to hand; a Shepherd next

More meek came with the Firstlings of his Flock

Choicest and best; then sacrificing, laid

The Inwards and thir Fat, with Incense strew’d,

On the cleft Wood, and all due Rites perform’d.

His Offring soon propitious Fire from Heav’n

Consum’d with nimble glance, and grateful steame;

The others not, for his was not sincere;

Whereat hee inlie rag’d, and as they talk’d,

Smote him into the Midriff with a stone

That beat out life; he fell, and deadly pale

Groand out his Soul with gushing bloud effus’d.

Much at that sight was Adam in his heart

Dismai’d, and thus in haste to th’ Angel cri’d.

O Teacher, some great mischief hath befall’n

To that meek man, who well had sacrific’d;

Is Pietie thus and pure Devotion paid?

T’ whom Michael thus, hee also mov’d, repli’d,

These two are Brethren, Adam, and to come

Out of thy loyns; th’ unjust the just hath slain,

For envie that his Brothers Offering found

From Heav’n acceptance; but the bloodie Fact

Will be aveng’d, and th’ others Faith approv’d

Loose no reward, though here thou see him die,

Rowling in dust and gore. To which our Sire.

Alas, both for theaeed and for the cause!

But have I now seen Death? Is this the way

I must return to native dust? O sight

Of terrour, foul and ugly to behold,

Horrid to think, how horrible to feel!

To whom thus Michael. Death thou hast seen

In his first shape on man; but many shapes

Of Death, and many are the wayes that lead

To his grim Cave, all dismal; yet to sense

More terrible at th’ entrance then within.

Some, as thou saw’st, by violent stroke shall die,

By Fire, Flood, Famin, by Intemperance more

In Meats and Drinks, which on the Earth shall bring

Diseases dire, of which a monstrous crew

Before thee shall appear; that thou mayst know

What miserie th’ inabstinence of Eve

Shall bring on men. Immediately a place

Before his eyes appeard, sad, noysom, dark,

A Lazar-house it seemd, wherein were laid

Numbers of all diseas’d, all maladies

Of gastly Spasm, or racking torture, qualmes

Of heart-sick Agonie, all feavorous kinds,

Convulsions, Epilepsies, fierce Catarrhs,

Intestin Stone and Ulcer, Colic pangs,

Dropsies, and Asthma’s, and Joint-racking Rheums.

Dire was the tossing, deep the groans, despair

Tended the sick busiest from Couch to Couch;

And over them triumphant Death his Dart

Shook, but delaid to strike, though oft invokt

With vows, as thir chief good, and final hope.

Sight so deform what heart of Rock could long

Drie-ey’d behold? Adam could not, but wept,

Though not of Woman born; compassion quell’d

His best of Man, and gave him up to tears

A space, till firmer thoughts restraind excess,

And scarce recovering words his plaint renew’d.

O miserable Mankind, to what fall

Degraded, to what wretched state reserv’d!

Better end heer unborn. Why is life giv’n

To be thus wrested from us? rather why

Obtruded on us thus? who if we knew

What we receive, would either not accept

Life offer’d, or soon beg to lay it down,

Glad to be so dismist in peace. Can thus

Th’ Image of God in man created once

So goodly and erect, though faultie since,

To such unsightly sufferings be debas’t

Under inhuman pains? Why should not Man,

Retaining still Divine similitude

In part, from such deformities be free,

And for his Makers Image sake exempt?

Thir Makers Image, answerd Michael, then

Forsook them, when themselves they villifi’d

To serve ungovern’d appetite, and took

His Image whom they serv’d, a brutish vice,

Inductive mainly to the sin of Eve.

Therefore so abject is thir punishment,

Disfiguring not Gods likeness, but thir own,

Or if his likeness, by themselves defac’t

While they pervert pure Natures healthful rules

To loathsom sickness, worthily, since they

Gods Image did not reverence in themselves.

I yeild it just, said Adam, and submit.

But is there yet no other way, besides

These painful passages, how we may come

To Death, and mix with our connatural dust?

There is, said Michael, if thou well observe

The rule of not too much, by temperance taught

In what thou eatst and drinkst, seeking from thence

Due nourishment, not gluttonous delight,

Till many years over thy head return:

So maist thou live, till like ripe Fruit thou drop

Into thy Mothers lap, or be with ease

Gatherd, not harshly pluckt, for death mature:

This is old age; but then thou must outlive

Thy youth, thy strength, thy beauty, which will change

To withered weak & gray; thy Senses then

Obtuse, all taste of pleasure must forgoe,

To what thou hast, and for the Aire of youth

Hopeful and cheerful, in thy blood will reigne

A melancholly damp of cold and dry

To waigh thy spirits down, and last consume

The Balme of Life. To whom our Ancestor.

Henceforth I flie not Death, nor would prolong

Life much, bent rather how I may be quit

Fairest and easiest of this combrous charge,

Which I must keep till my appointed day

Of rendring up, Michael to him repli’d.

Nor love thy Life, nor hate; but what thou livst

Live well, how long or short permit to Heav’n:

And now prepare thee for another sight.

He lookd and saw a spacious Plaine, whereon

Were Tents of various hue; by some were herds

Of Cattel grazing: others, whence the sound

Of Instruments that made melodious chime

Was heard, of Harp and Organ; and who moovd

Thir stops and chords was seen: his volant touch

Instinct through all proportions low and high

Fled and pursu’d transverse the resonant fugue.

In other part stood one who at the Forge

Labouring, two massie clods of Iron and Brass

Had melted (wether found where casual fire

Had wasted woods on Mountain or in Vale,

Down to the veins of Earth, thence gliding hot

To som Caves mouth, or whether washt by stream

From underground) the liquid Ore he dreind

Into fit moulds prepar’d; from which he formd

First his own Tooles; then, what might else be wrought

Fusil or grav’n in mettle. After these,

But on the hether side a different sort

From the high neighbouring Hills, which was thir Seat,

Down to the Plain descended: by thir guise

Just men they seemd, and all thir study bent

To worship God aright, and know his works

Not hid, nor those things last which might preserve

Freedom and Peace to men: they on the Plain

Long had not walkt, when from the Tents behold

A Beavie of fair Women, richly gay

In Gems and wanton dress; to the Harp they sung

Soft amorous Ditties, and in dance came on:

The Men though grave, ey’d them, and let thir eyes

Rove without rein, till in the amorous Net

Fast caught, they lik’d, and each his liking chose;

And now of love they treat till Eevning Star

Loves Harbinger then all in heat

They light the Nuptial Torch, and bid invoke

Hymen, then first marriage Rites invok’t;

With Feast and Musick all Tents resound.

Such happy interview and fair event

Of love & youth not lost, Songs, Garlands, Flours,

And charming Symphonies attach’d the heart

Of Adam, soon enclin’d to admit delight,

The bent of Nature; which he thus express’d.

True opener of mine eyes, prime Angel blest,

Much better seems this Vision, and more hope

Of peaceful dayes portends, then those two past;

Those were of hate and death, or pain much worse,

Here Nature seems fulfilld in all her ends.

To whom thus Michael. Judg not what is best

By pleasure, though to Nature seeming meet,

Created, as thou art, to nobler end

Holie and pure, conformitie divine.

Those Tents thou sawst so pleasant, were the Tents

Of wickedness, wherein shall dwell his Race

Who slew his Brother; studious they appere

Of Arts that polish Life, Inventers rare,

Unmindful of thir Maker, though his Spirit

Taught them, but they his gifts acknowledg’d none.

Yet all a beauteous ofspring shall beget;

For that fair femal Troop thou sawst, that seemd

Of Goddesses, so blithe, so smooth, so gay,

Yet empty of all good wherein consists

Womans domestic honour and chief praise;

Bred onely and completed to the taste

Of lustful appetence, to sing, to dance,

To dress, and troule the Tongue, and roule the Eye.

To these that sober Race of Men, whose lives

Religious titl’d them the Sons of God,

Shall yeild up all thir vertue, all thir fame

Ignobly, to the traines and to the smiles

Of these in Atheists, and now swim in joy,

(Erelong to swim at larg) and laugh; for which

The world erelongg a world of tears must weepe.

To whom thus Adam of short joy bereft.

O pittie and shame, that they who to live well

Enterd so faire, should turn aside to tread

Paths indirect, or in the mid way faint!

But still I see the tenor of Mans woe

Holds on the same, from Woman to begin.

From Mans effeminate slackness it begins,

Said th’ Angel, who should better hold his place

By wisdome, and superiour gifts receavd.

But now prepare thee for another Scene.

He lookd and saw wide Territorie spred

Before him, Towns, and rural works between,

Cities of Men with lofty Gates and Towrs,

Concours in Arms, fierce Faces threatning Warr,

Giants of mightie Bone, and bould emprise;

Part wield thir Arms, part courb the foaming Steed,

Single or in Array of Battel rang’d

Both Horse and Foot, nor idely mustring stood;

One way a Band select from forage drives

A herd of Beeves, faire Oxen and faire Kine

From a fat Meddow ground; or fleecy Flock,

Ewes and thir bleating Lambs over the Plaine,

Thir Bootie; scarce with Life the Shepherds flye,

But call in aide, which tacks a bloody Pray;

With cruel Tournament the Squadrons joine;

Where Cattel pastur’d late, now scatterd lies

With Carcasses and Arms ensanguind Field

Deserted: Others to a Citie strong

Lay Siege, encampt; by Batterie, Scale, and Mine,

Assaulting; others from the Wall defend

With Dart and Jav’lin, Stones and sulfurous Fire;

On each hand slaughter and gigantic deeds.

In other part the scepter’d Haralds cal

To Council in the Citie Gates: anon

Grey-headed men and grave, with Warriours mixt,

Assemble, and Harangues are heard, but soon

In factious opposition, till at last

Of middle Age one rising, eminent

In wise deport, spake much of Right and Wrong,

Of Justice, of Religion, Truth and Peace,

And Judgement from above: him old and young

Exploded, and had seiz’d with violent hands,

Had not a Cloud descending snatch’d him thence

Unseen amid the throng: so violence

Proceeded, and Oppression, and Sword-Law

Through all the Plain, and refuge none was found.

Adam was all in tears, and to his guide

Lamenting turnd full sad; O what are these,

Deaths Ministers, not Men, who thus deal Death

Inhumanly to men, and multiply

Ten thousand fould the sin of him who slew

His Brother; for of whom such massacher

Make they but of thir Brethren, men of men?

But who was that Just Man, whom had not Heav’n

Rescu’d, had in his Righteousness bin lost?

To whom thus Michael; These are the product

Of those ill-mated Marriages thou saw’st;

Where good with bad were matcht, who of themselves

Abhor to joyn; and by imprudence mixt,

Produce prodigious Births of bodie or mind.

Such were these Giants, men of high renown;

For in those dayes Might onely shall be admir’d,

And Valour and Heroic Vertu’call’d;

To overcome in Battel, and subdue

Nations, and bring home spoils with infinite

Man-slaughter, shall be held the highest pitch

Of human Glorie, and for Glorie done

Of triumph, to be styl’d great Conquerours,

Patrons of Mankind, Gods, and Sons of Gods,

Destroyers rightlier call’d and Plagues of men.

Thus Fame shall be achiev’d, renown on Earth,

And what most merits fame in silence hid.

But hee the seventh from thee, whom thou beheldst

The onely righteous in a World perverse,

And therefore hated, therefore so beset

With Foes for daring single to be just,

And utter odious Truth, that God would come

To judge them with his Saints: Him the most High

Rapt in a balmie Cloud with winged Steeds

Did, as thou sawst, receave, to walk with God

High in Salvation and the Climes of bliss,

Exempt from Death; to shew thee what reward

Awaits the good, the rest what punishment;

Which now direct thine eyes and soon behold.

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Began to build a Vessel of huge bulk.

He look’d, & saw the face of things quite chang’d;

The brazen Throat of Warr had ceast to roar,

All now was turn’d to jollitie and game,

To luxurie and riot, feast and dance,

Marrying or prostituting, as befell,

Rape or Adulterie, where passing faire

Allurd them; thence from Cups to civil Broiles.

At length a Reverend Sire among them came,

And of thir doings great dislike declar’d,

And testifi’d against thir wayes; hee oft

Frequented thir Assemblies, whereso met,

Triumphs or Festivals, and to them preachd

Conversion and Repentance, as to Souls

In prison under Judgements imminent:

But all in vain: which when he saw, he ceas’d

Contending, and remov’d his Tents farr off;

Then from the Mountain hewing Timber tall,

Began to build a Vessel of huge bulk,

Measur’d by Cubit, length, & breadth, and highth,

Smeard round with Pitch, and in the side a dore

Contriv’d, and of provisions laid in large

For Man and Beast: when loe a wonder strange!

Of everie Beast, and Bird, and Insect small

Came seavens, and pairs, and enterd in, as taught

Thir order; last the Sire, and his three Sons

With thir four Wives; and God made fast the dore.

Meanwhile the Southwind rose, & with black wings

Wide hovering, all the Clouds together drove

From under Heav’n; the Hills to their supplie

Vapour, and Exhalation dusk and moist,

Sent up amain; and now the thick’nd Skie

Like a dark Ceeling stood; down rush’d the Rain

Impetuous, and continu’d till the Earth

No more was seen; the floating Vessel swum

Uplifted; and secure with beaked prow

Rode tilting o’re the Waves, all dwellings else

Flood overwhelm’d, and them with all thir pomp

Deep under water rould; Sea cover’d Sea,

Sea without shoar; and in thir Palaces

Where luxurie late reign’d, Sea-monsters whelp’d

And stabl’d; of Mankind, so numerous late,

All left, in one small bottom swum imbark’t.

How didst thou grieve then, Adam, to behold

The end of all thy Ofspring, end so sad,

Depopulation; thee another Floud,

Of tears and sorrow a Floud thee also drown’d,

And sunk thee as thy Sons; till gently reard

By th’ Angel, on thy feet thou stoodst at last,

Though comfortless, as when a Father mourns

His Children, all in view destroyd at once;

And scarce to th’ Angel utterdst thus thy plaint.

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All dwellings else
Flood overwhelm’d, and them with all thir pomp
Deep under water rould.

O Visions ill foreseen! better had I

Liv’d ignorant of future, so had borne

My part of evil onely, each dayes lot

Anough to bear; those now, that were dispenst

The burd’n of many Ages, on me light

At once, by my foreknowledge gaining Birth

Abortive, to torment me ere thir being,

With thought that they must be. Let no man seek

Henceforth to be foretold what shall befall

Him or his Children, evil he may be sure,

Which neither his foreknowing can prevent,

And hee the future evil shall no less

In apprehension then in substance feel

Grievous to bear: but that care now is past,

Man is not whom to warne: those few escapt

Famin and anguish will at last consume

Wandring that watrie Desert: I had hope

When violence was ceas’t, and Warr on Earth,

All would have then gon well, peace would have crownd

With length of happy days the race of man;

But I was farr deceav’d; for now I see

Peace to corrupt no less then Warr to waste.

How comes it thus? unfould, Celestial Guide,

And whether here the Race of man will end.

To whom thus Michael. Those whom last thou sawst

In triumph and luxurious wealth, are they

First seen in acts of prowess eminent

And great exploits, but of true vertu void;

Who having spilt much blood, and don much waste

Subduing Nations, and achievd thereby

Fame in the World, high titles, and rich prey,

Shall change thir course to pleasure, ease, and sloth,

Surfet, and lust, till wantonness and pride

Raise out of friendship hostil deeds in Peace.

The conquerd also, and enslav’d by War

Shall with thir freedom lost all vertu loose

And feare of God, from whom thir pietie feign’d

In sharp contest of Battel found no aide

Against invaders; therefore coold in zeale

Thenceforth shall practice how to live secure,

Worldlie or dissolute, on what thir Lords

Shall leave them to enjoy; for th’ Earth shall bear

More than anough, that temperance may be tri’d:

So all shall turn degenerate, all deprav’d,

Justice and Temperance, Truth and Faith forgot;

One Man except, the onely Son of light

In a dark Age, against example good,

Against allurement, custom, and a World

Offended; fearless of reproach and scorn,

Or violence, hee of wicked wayes

Shall them admonish, and before them set

The paths of righteousness, how much more safe,

And full of peace, denouncing wrauth to come

On thir impenitence; and shall returne

Of them derided, but of God observd

The one just Man alive; by his command

Shall build a wondrous Ark, as thou beheldst,

To save himself and houshold from amidst

A World devote to universal rack.

No sooner hee with them of Man and Beast

Select for life shall in the Ark be lodg’d,

And shelterd round, but all the Cataracts

Of Heav’n set open on the Earth shall powre

Raine day and night, all fountaines of the Deep

Broke up, shall heave the Ocean to usurp

Beyond all bounds, till inundation rise

Above the highest Hills: then shall this Mount

Of Paradise by might of Waves be moovd

Out of his place, pushd by the horned floud,

With all his verdure spoil’d, and Trees adrift

Down the great River to the op’ning Gulf,

And there take root an Iland salt and bare,

The haunt of Seales and Orcs, and Sea-mews clang.

To teach thee that God attributes to place

No sanctitie, if none be thither brought

By Men who there frequent, or therein dwell.

And now what further shall ensue, behold.

He lookd, and saw the Ark hull on the floud,

Which now abated, for the Clouds were fled,

Drivn by a keen North-winde, that blowing drie

Wrinkl’d the face of Deluge, as decai’d;

And the cleer Sun on his wide watrie Glass

Gaz’d hot, and of the fresh Wave largely drew,

As after thirst, which made thir flowing shrink

From standing lake to tripping ebbe, that stole

With soft foot towards the deep, who now had stopt

His Sluces, as the Heav’n his windows shut.

The Ark no more now flotes, but seems on ground

Fast on the top of som high mountain fixt.

And now the tops of Hills as Rocks appeer;

With clamor thence the rapid Currents drive

Towards the retreating Sea thir furious tyde.

Forthwith from out the Arke a Raven flies,

And after him, the surer messenger,

A Dove sent forth once and agen to spie

Green Tree or ground whereon his foot may light;

The second time returning, in his Bill

An Olive leafe he brings, pacific signe:

Anon drie ground appeers, and from his Arke

The ancient Sire descends with all his Train;

Then with uplifted hands, and eyes devout,

Grateful to Heav’n, over his head beholds

A dewie Cloud, and in the Cloud a Bow

Conspicuous with three listed colours gay,

Betok’ning peace from God, and Cov’nant new.

Whereat the heart of Adam erst so sad

Greatly rejoyc’d, and thus his joy broke forth.

O thou that future things canst represent

As present, Heav’nly instructer, I revive

At this last sight, assur’d that Man shall live

With all the Creatures, and thir seed preserve.

Farr less I now lament for one whole World

Of wicked Sons destroyd, then I rejoyce

For one Man found so perfet and so just,

That God voutsafes to raise another World

From him, and all his anger to forget.

But say, what mean those colourd streaks in Heavn,

Distended as the Brow of God appeas’d,

Or serve they as a flourie verge to binde

The fluid skirts of that same watrie Cloud,

Least it again dissolve and showr the Earth?

To whom th’ Archangel. Dextrously thou aim’st;

So willingly doth God remit his Ire,

Though late repenting him of Man deprav’d,

Griev’d at his heart, when looking down he saw

The whole Earth fill’d with violence, and all flesh

Corrupting each thir way; yet those remoov’d,

Such grace shall one just Man find in his sight,

That he relents, not to blot out mankind,

And makes a Covenant never to destroy

The Earth again by flood, nor let the Sea

Surpass his bounds, nor Rain to drown the World

With Man therein or Beast; but when he brings

Over the Earth a Cloud, will therein set

His triple-colour’d Bow, whereon to look

And call to mind his Cov’nant: Day and Night,

Seed time and Harvest, Heat and hoary Frost

Shall hold thir course, till fire purge all things new,

Both Heav’n and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell.

Book XII

The Argument

The Angel Michael continues from the Flood to relate what shall succeed; then, in the mention of Abraham, comes by degrees to explain, who that Seed of the Woman shall be, which was promised Adam and Eve in the Fall; his Incarnation, Death, Resurrection, and Ascention; the state of the Church till his second Coming. Adam greatly satisfied and recomforted by these Relations and Promises descends the Hill with Michael; wakens Eve, who all this while had slept, but with gentle dreams compos’d to quietness of mind and submission. Michael in either hand leads them out of Paradise, the fiery Sword waving behind them, and the Cherubim taking thir Stations to guard the Place.

As one who in his journey bates at Noone,

Though bent on speed, so heer the Archangel paus’d

Betwixt the world destroy’d and world restor’d,

If Adam aught perhaps might interpose;

Then with transition sweet new Speech resumes.

Thus thou hast seen one World begin and end;

And Man as from a second stock proceed.

Much thou hast yet to see, but I perceave

Thy mortal sight to faile; objects divine

Must needs impaire and wearie human sense:

Henceforth what is to com I will relate,

Thou therefore give due audience, and attend.

This second sours of Men, while yet but few,

And while the dread of judgement past remains

Fresh in thir mindes, fearing the Deitie,

With some regard to what is just and right

Shall lead thir lives and multiplie apace,

Labouring the soile, and reaping plenteous crop

Corn wine and oyle; and from the herd or flock,

Oft sacrificing Bullock, Lamb, or Kid,

With large Wine-offerings pour’d, and sacred Feast

Shal spend thir dayes in joy unblam’d, and dwell

Long time in peace by Families and Tribes

Under paternal rule; till one shall rise

Of proud ambitious heart, who not content

With fair equalitie, fraternal state,

Will arrogate Dominion undeserv’d

Over his brethren, and quite disposses

Concord and law of Nature from the Earth;

Hunting (and Men not Beasts shall be his game)

With Warr and hostile snare such as refuse

Subjection to his Empire tyrannous:

A mightie Hunter thence he shall be styl’d

Before the Lord, as in despite of Heav’n,

Or from Heav’n claming second Sovrantie;

And from Rebellion shall derive his name,

Though of Rebellion others he accuse.

Hee with a crew, whom like Ambition joyns

With him or under him to tyrannize,

Marching from Eden towards the West, shall finde

The Plain, wherein a black bituminous gurge

Boiles out from under ground, the mouth of Hell;

Of Brick, and of that stuff they cast to build

A Citie & Towre, whose top may reach to Heav’n;

And get themselves a name, least far disperst

In foraign Lands thir memorie be lost,

Regardless whether good or evil fame.

But God who oft descends to visit men

Unseen, and through thir habitations walks

To mark thir doings, them beholding soon,

Comes down to see thir Citie, ere the Tower

Obstruct Heav’n Towrs, and in derision sets

Upon thir Tongues a various Spirit to rase

Quite out thir Native Language, and instead

To sow a jangling noise of words unknown:

Forthwith a hideous gabble rises loud

Among the Builders; each to other calls

Not understood, till hoarse, and all in rage,

As mockt they storm; great laughter was in Heav’n

And looking down, to see the hubbub strange

And hear the din; thus was the building left

Ridiculous, and the work Confusion nam’d.

Whereto thus Adam fatherly displeas’d.

O execrable Son so to aspire

Above his Brethren, to himself assuming

Authoritie usurpt, from God not giv’n:

He gave us onely over Beast, Fish, Fowl

Dominion absolute; that right we hold

By his donation; but Man over men

He made not Lord; such title to himself

Reserving, human left from human free.

But this Usurper his encroachment proud

Stayes not on Man; to God his Tower intends

Siege and defiance: Wretched man! what food

Will he convey up thither to sustain

Himself and his rash Armie, where thin Aire

Above the Clouds will pine his entrails gross,

And famish him of Breath, if not of Bread?

To whom thus Michael. Justly thou abhorr’st

That Son, who on the quiet state of men

Such trouble brought, affecting to subdue

Rational Libertie; yet know withall,

Since thy original lapse, true Libertie

Is lost, which alwayes with right Reason dwells

Twinn’d, and from her hath no dividual being:

Reason in man obscur’d, or not obeyd,

Immediately inordinate desires

And upstart Passions catch the Government

From Reason, and to servitude reduce

Man till then free. Therefore since hee permits

Within himself unworthie Powers to reign

Over free Reason, God in Judgement just

Subjects him from without to violent Lords;

Who oft as undeservedly enthrall

His outward freedom: Tyrannie must be,

Though to the Tyrant thereby no excuse.

Yet somtimes Nations will decline so low

From vertue, which is reason, that no wrong,

But justice, and some fatal curse annext

Deprives them of thir outward libertie,

Thir inward lost; Witness th’ irreverent Son

Of him who built the Ark, who for the shame

Don to his Father, heard this heavie curse,

Servant of Servants, on his vitious Race.

Thus will this latter, as the former World,

Still tend from bad to worse, till God at last

Wearied with their iniquities, withdraw

His presence from among them, and avert

His holy Eyes; resolving from thenceforth

To leave them to thir own polluted wayes;

And one peculiar Nation to select

From all the rest, of whom to be invok’d,

A Nation from one faithful man to spring:

Him on this side Euphrates yet residing,

Bred up in Idol-worship; O that men

(Canst thou believe?) should be so stupid grown,

While yet the Patriark liv’d, who scap’d the Flood,

As to forsake the living God, and fall

To worship thir own work in Wood and Stone

For Gods! yet him God the most High voutsafes

To call by Vision from his Fathers house,

His kindred and false Gods, into a Land

Which he will shew him, and from him will raise

A mightie Nation, and upon him showre

His benediction so, that in his Seed

All Nations shall be blest; hee straight obeys

Not knowing to what Land, yet firm believes:

I see him, but thou canst not, with what Faith

He leaves his Gods, his Friends, and native Soile

Ur of Chaldaea, passing now the Ford

To Haran, after a cumbrous Train

Of Herds and Flocks, and numerous servitude;

Not wandring poor, but trusting all his wealth

With God, who call’d him, in a land unknown.

Canaan he now attains, I see his Tents

Pitcht about Sechem, and the neighbouring Plaine

Of Moreh; there by promise he receaves

Gift to his Progenie of all that Land;

From Hamath Northward to the Desert South

(Things by thir names I call, though yet unnam’d)

From Hermon East to the great Western Sea,

Mount Hermon yonder Sea, each place behold

In prospect, as I point them; on the shoare

Mount Carmel; here the double-founted stream

Jordan, true limit Eastward; but his Sons

Shall dwell to Senir, that long ridge of Hills.

This ponder, that all Nations of the Earth

Shall in his Seed be blessed; by that Seed

Is meant thy great deliverer, who shall bruise

The Serpents head; whereof to thee anon

Plainlier shall be reveald. This Patriarch blest,

Whom faithful Abraham due time shall call,

A Son, and of his Son a Grand-childe leaves,

Like him in faith, in wisdom, and renown;

The Grandchilde with twelve Sons increast, departs

From Canaan, to a land hereafter call’d

Egypt, divided by the River Nile;

See where it flows, disgorging at seaven mouthes

Into the Sea: to sojourn in that Land

He comes invited by a yonger Son

In time of dearth, a Son whose worthy deeds

Raise him to be the second in that Realme

Of Pharao: there he dies, and leaves his Race

Growing into a Nation, and now grown

Suspected to a sequent King, who seeks

To stop thir overgrowth, as inmate guests

Too numerous; whence of guests he makes them slaves

Inhospitably, and kills thir infant Males:

Till by two brethren (those two brethren cal

Moses and Aaron) sent from God to claime

His people from enthralment, they return

With glory and spoile back to thir promis’d Land.

But first the lawless Tyrant, who denies

To know thir God, or message to regard,

Must be compelld by Signes and Judgements dire;

To blood unshed the Rivers must be turnd,

Frogs, Lice and Flies must all his Palace fill

With loath’ d intrusion, and fill all the land;

His Cattel must of Rot and Murren die,

Botches and blaines must all his flesh imboss,

And all his people; Thunder mixt with Haile,

Haile mixt with fire must rend th’ Egyptian Skie

And wheel on th’ Earth, devouring where it rouls;

What it devours not, Herb, or Fruit, or Graine,

A darksom Cloud of Locusts swarming down

Must eat, and on the ground leave nothing green:

Darkness must overshadow all his bounds,

Palpable darkness, and blot out three dayes;

Last with one midnight stroke all the first-born

Of Egypt must lie dead. Thus with ten wounds

This River-dragon tam’d at length submits

To let his sojourners depart, and oft

Humbles his stubborn heart, but still as Ice

More hard’nd after thaw, till in his rage

Pursuing whom he late dismissd, the Sea

Swallows him with his Host, but them lets pass

As on drie land between two christal walls,

Aw’d by the rod of Moses so to stand

Divided, till his rescu’d gain thir shoar:

Such wondrous power God to his Saint will lend,

Though present in his Angel, who shall goe

Before them in a Cloud, and Pillar of Fire,

By day a Cloud, by night a Pillar of Fire,

To guide them in thir journey, and remove

Behinde them, while th’ obdurat King pursues:

All night he will pursue, but his approach

Darkness defends between till morning Watch;

Then through the Firey Pillar and the Cloud

God looking forth will trouble all his Host

And craze thir Chariot wheels: when by command

Moses once more his potent Rod extends

Over the Sea; the Sea his Rod obeys;

On thir imbattelld ranks the Waves return,

And overwhelm thir Warr: the Race elect

Safe towards Canaan from the shoar advance

Through the wilde Desert, not the readiest way,

Least entring on the Canaanite allarmd

Warr terrifie them inexpert, and feare

Return them back to Egypt, choosing rather

Inglorious life with servitude; for life

To noble and ignoble is more sweet

Untraind in Armes, where rashness leads not on.

This also shall they gain by thir delay

In the wide Wilderness, there they shall found

Thir government, and thir great Senate choose

Through the twelve Tribes, to rule by Laws ordaind:

God from the Mount of Sinai, whose gray top

Shall tremble, he descending, will himself

In Thunder Lightning and loud Trumpets sound

Ordaine them Lawes; part such as appertaine

To civil Justice, part religious Rites

Of sacrifice, informing them, by types

And shadowes, of that destind Seed to bruise

The Serpent, by what meanes he shall achieve

Mankinds deliverance. But the voice of God

To mortal eare is dreadful; they beseech

That Moses might report to them his will,

And terror cease; he grants them thir desire,

Instructed that to God is no access

Without Mediator, whose high Office now

Moses in figure beares, to introduce

One greater, of whose day he shall foretell,

And all the Prophets in thir Age, the times

Of great Messiah shall sing. Thus Laws and Rites

Establisht, such delight hath God in Men

Obedient to his will, that he voutsafes

Among them to set up his Tabernacle,

The holy One with mortal Men to dwell:

By his prescript a Sanctuary is fram’d

Of Cedar, overlaid with Gold, therein

An Ark, and in the Ark his Testimony,

The Records of his Cov’nant, over these

A Mercie-seat of Gold between the wings

Of two bright Cherubim, before him burn

Seaven Lamps as in a Zodiac representing

The Heav’nly fires; over the Tent a Cloud

Shall rest by Day, a fierie gleame by Night,

Save when they journie, and at length they come,

Conducted by his Angel to the Land

Promisd to Abraham and his Seed: the rest

Were long to tell, how many Battels fought,

How many Kings destroyd, and Kingdoms won,

Or how the Sun shall in mid Heav’n stand still

A day entire, and Nights due course adjourne,

Mans voice commanding, Sun in Gibeon stand,

And thou Moon in the vale of Aialon,

Till Israel overcome; so call the third

From Abraham, Son of Isaac, and from him

His whole descent, who thus shall Canaan win.

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They beseech
That Moses might report to them his will,
And terror cease.

Here Adam interpos’d. O sent from Heav’n,

Enlightner of my darkness, gracious things

Thou hast reveald, those chiefly which concerne

Just Abraham and his Seed: now first I finde

Mine eyes true op’ning, and my heart much eas’d,

Erwhile perplext with thoughts what would becom

Of mee and all Mankind; but now I see

His day, in whom all Nations shall be blest,

Favour unmerited by me, who sought

Forbidd’n knowledge by forbidd’n means.

This yet I apprehend not, why to those

Among whom God will deigne to dwell on Earth

So many and so various Laws are giv’n;

So many Laws argue so many sins

Among them; how can God with such reside?

To whom thus Michael. Doubt not but that sin

Will reign among them, as of thee begot;

And therefore was Law given them to evince

Thir natural pravitie, by stirring up

Sin against Law to fight; that when they see

Law can discover sin, but not remove,

Save by those shadowie expiations weak,

The bloud of Bulls and Goats, they may conclude

Some bloud more precious must be paid for Man,

Just for unjust, that in such righteousness

To them by Faith imputed, they may finde

Justification towards God, and peace

Of Conscience, which the Law by Ceremonies

Cannot appease, nor Man the moral part

Perform, and not performing cannot live.

So Law appears imperfet, and but giv’n

With purpose to resign them in full time

Up to a better Cov’nant, disciplin’d

From shadowie Types to Truth, from Flesh to Spirit,

From imposition of strict Laws, to free

Acceptance of large Grace, from servil fear

To filial, works of Law to works of Faith.

And therefore shall not Moses, though of God

Highly belov’d, being but the Minister

Of Law, his people into Canaan lead;

But Joshua whom the Gentiles Jesus call,

His Name and Office bearing, who shall quell

The adversarie Serpent, and bring back

Through the worlds wilderness long wanderd man

Safe to eternal Paradise of rest.

Meanwhile they in thir earthly Canaan plac’t

Long time shall dwell and prosper, but when sins

National interrupt thir public peace,

Provoking God to raise them enemies:

From whom as oft he saves them penitent

By Judges first, then under Kings; of whom

The second, both for pietie renownd

And puissant deeds, a promise shall receive

Irrevocable, that his Regal Throne

For ever shall endure; the like shall sing

All Prophecie, That of the Royal Stock

Of David (so I name this King) shall rise

A Son, the Womans Seed to thee foretold,

Foretold to Abraham, as in whom shall trust

All Nations, and to Kings foretold, of Kings

The last, for of his Reign shall be no end.

But first a long succession must ensue,

And his next Son for Wealth and Wisdom fam’d,

The clouded Ark of God till then in Tents

Wandring, shall in a glorious Temple enshrine.

Such follow him, as shall be registerd

Part good, part bad, of bad the longer scrowle,

Whose foul Idolatries, and other faults

Heapt to the popular summe, will so incense

God, as to leave them, and expose thir Land,

Thir Citie, his Temple, and his holy Ark

With all his sacred things, a scorn and prey

To that proud Citie, whose high Walls thou saw’st

Left in confusion, Babylon thence call’d.

There in captivitie he lets them dwell

The space of seventie years, then brings them back,

Remembring mercie, and his Cov’nant sworn

To David, stablisht as the dayes of Heav’n.

Returnd from Babylon by leave of Kings

Thir Lords, whom God dispos’d, the house of God

They first re-edifie, and for a while

In mean estate live moderate, till grown

In wealth and multitude, factious they grow;

But first among the Priests dissension springs,

Men who attend the Altar, and should most

Endeavour Peace: thir strife pollution brings

Upon the Temple it self: at last they seise

The Scepter, and regard not Davids Sons,

Then loose it to a stranger, that the true

Anointed King Messiah might be born

Barr’d of his right; yet at his Birth a Starr

Unseen before in Heav’n proclaims him com,

And guides the Eastern Sages, who enquire

His place, to offer Incense, Myrrh, and Gold;

His place of birth a solemn Angel tells

To simple Shepherds, keeping watch by night;

They gladly thither haste, and by a Quire

Of squadrond Angels hear his Carol sung.

A Virgin is his Mother, but his Sire

The Power of the most High; he shall ascend

The Throne hereditarie, and bound his Reign

With earths wide bounds, his glory with the Heav’ns.

He ceas’d, discerning Adam with such joy

Surcharg’d, as had like grief bin dew’d in tears,

Without the vent of words, which these he breathd.

O Prophet of glad tidings, finisher

Of utmost hope! now clear I understand

What oft my steddiest thoughts have searcht in vain,

Why our great expectation should be call’d

The seed of Woman: Virgin Mother, Haile,

High in the love of Heav’n, yet from my Loynes

Thou shalt proceed, and from thy Womb the Son

Of God most High; So God with man unites.

Needs must the Serpent now his capital bruise

Expect with mortal paine: say where and when

Thir fight, what stroke shall bruise the Victors heel.

To whom thus Michael. Dream not of thir fight,

As of a Duel, or the local wounds

Of head or heel: not therefore joynes the Son

Manhood to God-head, with more strength to foil

Thy enemie; nor so is overcome

Satan, whose fall from Heav’n, a deadlier bruise,

Disabl’d not to give thee thy deaths wound:

Which hee, who comes thy Saviour, shall recure,

Not by destroying Satan, but his works

In thee and in thy Seed: nor can this be,

But by fulfilling that which thou didst want,

Obedience to the Law of God, impos’d

On penaltie of death, and suffering death,

The penaltie to thy transgression due,

And due to theirs which out of thine will grow:

So onely can high Justice rest appaid.

The Law of God exact he shall fulfill

Both by obedience and by love, though love

Alone fulfill the Law; thy punishment

He shall endure by coming in the Flesh

To a reproachful life and cursed death,

Proclaming Life to all who shall believe

In his redemption, and that his obedience

Imputed becomes theirs by Faith, his merits

To save them, not thir own, though legal works.

For this he shall live hated, be blasphem’d,

Seis’d on by force, judg’d, and to death condemnd

A shameful and accurst, naild to the Cross

By his own Nation, slaine for bringing Life;

But to the Cross he nailes thy Enemies,

The Law that is against thee, and the sins

Of all mankinde, with him there crucifi’d,

Never to hurt them more who rightly trust

In this his satisfaction; so he dies,

But soon revives, Death over him no power

Shall long usurp; ere the third dawning light

Returne, the Starres of Morn shall see him rise

Out of his grave, fresh as the dawning light,

Thy ransom paid, which Man from death redeems,

His death for Man, as many as offerd Life

Neglect not, and the benefit imbrace

By Faith not void of workes: this God-like act

Annuls thy doom, the death thou shouldst have dy’d,

In sin for ever lost from life; this act

Shall bruise the head of Satan, crush his strength

Defeating Sin and Death, his two maine armes,

And fix farr deeper in his head thir stings

Then temporal death shall bruise the Victors heel,

Or theirs whom he redeems, a death like sleep,

A gentle wafting to immortal Life.

Nor after resurrection shall he stay

Longer on Earth then certaine times to appeer

To his Disciples, Men who in his Life

Still follow’d him; to them shall leave in charge

To teach all nations what of him they learn’d

And his Salvation, them who shall beleeve

Baptizing in the profluent streame, the signe

Of washing them from guilt of sin to Life

Pure, and in mind prepar’d, if so befall,

For death, like that which the redeemer dy’d.

All Nations they shall teach; for from that day

Not onely to the Sons of Abrahams Loines

Salvation shall be Preacht, but to the Sons

Of Abrahams Faith wherever through the world;

So in his seed all Nations shall be blest.

Then to the Heav’n of Heav’ns he shall ascend

With victory, triumphing through the aire

Over his foes and thine; there shall surprise

The Serpent, Prince of aire, and drag in Chaines

Through all his realme, & there confounded leave;

Then enter into glory, and resume

His Seat at Gods right hand, exalted high

Above all names in Heav’n; and thence shall come,

When this worlds dissolution shall be ripe,

With glory and power to judge both quick & dead

To judge th’ unfaithful dead, but to reward

His faithful, and receave them into bliss,

Whether in Heav’n or Earth, for then the Earth

Shall all be Paradise, far happier place

Then this of Eden, and far happier daies.

So spake th’ Archangel Michael, then paus’d,

As at the Worlds great period; and our Sire

Replete with joy and wonder thus repli’d.

O goodness infinite, goodness immense!

That all this good of evil shall produce,

And evil turn to good; more wonderful

Then that by which creation first brought forth

Light out of darkness! fun of doubt I stand,

Whether I should repent me now of sin

By mee done and occasiond, or rejoyce

Much more, that much more good thereof shall spring,

To God more glory, more good will to Men

From God, and over wrauth grace shall abound.

But say, if our deliverer up to Heav’n

Must reascend, what will betide the few

His faithful, left among th’ unfaithful herd,

The enemies of truth; who then shall guide

His people, who defend? will they not deale

Wors with his followers then with him they dealt?

Be sure they will, said th’ Angel; but from Heav’n

Hee to his own a Comforter will send,

The promise of the Father, who shall dwell

His Spirit within them, and the Law of Faith

Working through love, upon thir hearts shall write,

To guide them in all truth, and also arme

With spiritual Armour, able to resist

Satans assaults, and quench his fierie darts,

What Man can do against them, not affraid,

Though to the death, against such cruelties

With inward consolations recompenc’t,

And oft supported so as shall amaze

Thir proudest persecuters: for the Spirit

Powrd first on his Apostles, whom he sends

To evangelize the Nations, then on all

Baptiz’d, shall them with wondrous gifts endue

To speak all Tongues, and do all Miracles,

As did thir Lord before them. Thus they win

Great numbers of each Nation to receave

With joy the tidings brought from Heav’n: at length

Thir Ministry perform’d, and race well run,

Thir doctrine and thir story written left,

They die; but in thir room, as they forewarne,

Wolves shall succeed for teachers, grievous Wolves,

Who all the sacred mysteries of Heav’n

To thir own vile advantages shall turne

Of lucre and ambition, and the truth

With superstitions and traditions taint,

Left onely in those written Records pure,

Though not but by the Spirit understood.

Then shall they seek to avail themselves of names,

Places and titles, and with these to joine

Secular power, though feigning still to act

By spiritual, to themselves appropriating

The Spirit of God, promisd alike and giv’n

To all Beleevers; and from that pretense,

Spiritual Lawes by carnal power shall force

On every conscience; Laws which none shall finde

Left them inrould, or what the Spirit within

Shall on the heart engrave. What will they then

But force the Spirit of Grace it self, and binde

His consort Libertie; what, but unbuild

His living Temples, built by Faith to stand,

Thir own Faith not anothers: for on Earth

Who against Faith and Conscience can be heard

Infallible? yet many will presume:

Whence heavie persecution shall arise

On all who in the worship persevere

Of Spirit and Truth; the rest, farr greater part,

Will deem in outward Rites and specious formes

Religion satisfi’d; Truth shall retire

Bestuck with slandrous darts, and works of Faith

Rarely be found: so shall the World goe on,

To good malignant, to bad men benigne,

Under her own waight groaning, till the day

Appeer of respiration to the just,

And vengeance to the wicked, at return

Of him so lately promiss’d to thy aid,

The Womans seed, obscurely then foretold,

Now amplier known thy Saviour and thy Lord,

Last in the Clouds from Heav’n to be reveald

In glory of the Father, to dissolve

Satan with his perverted World, then raise

From the conflagrant mass, purg’d and refin’d,

New Heav’ns, new Earth, Ages of endless date

Founded in righteousness and peace and love,

To bring forth fruits Joy and eternal Bliss.

He ended; and thus Adam last reply’d.

How soon hath thy prediction, Seer blest,

Measur’d this transient World, the Race of time,

Till time stand fixt: beyond is all abyss,

Eternitie, whose end no eye can reach.

Greatly instructed I shall hence depart.

Greatly in peace of thought, and have my fill

Of knowledge, what this vessel can containe;

Beyond which was my folly to aspire.

Henceforth I learne, that to obey is best,

And love with feare the onely God, to walk

As in his presence, ever to observe

His providence, and on him sole depend,

Merciful over all his works, with good

Still overcoming evil, and by small

Accomplishing great things, by things deemd weak

Subverting worldly strong, and worldly wise

By simply meek; that suffering for Truths sake

Is fortitude to highest victorie,

And to the faithful Death the Gate of Life;

Taught this by his example whom I now

Acknowledge my Redeemer ever blest.

To whom thus also th’ Angel last repli’d:

This having learnt, thou hast attained the summe

Of wisdom; hope no higher, though all the Starrs

Thou knewst by name, and all th’ ethereal Powers,

All secrets of the deep, all Natures works,

Or works of God in Heav’n, Air, Earth, or Sea,

And all the riches of this World enjoydst,

And all the rule, one Empire; onely add

Deeds to thy knowledge answerable, add Faith,

Add Vertue, Patience, Temperance, add Love,

By name to come call’d Charitie, the soul

Of all the rest: then wilt thou not be loath

To leave this Paradise, but shalt posses

A Paradise within thee, happier farr.

Let us descend now therefore from this top

Of Speculation; for the hour precise

Exacts our parting hence; and see the Guards,

By mee encampt on yonder Hill, expect

Thir motion, at whose Front a flaming Sword,

In signal of remove, waves fiercely round;

We may no longer stay: go, waken Eve;

Her also I with gentle Dreams have calm’d

Portending good, and all her spirits compos’d

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 Womans Seed) on all Mankind.

That ye may live, which will be many dayes,

Both in one Faith unanimous though sad,

With cause for evils past, yet much more cheer’d

With meditation on the happie end.

He ended, and they both descend the Hill;

Descended, Adam to the Bowre where Eve

Lay sleeping ran before, but found her wak’t;

And thus with words not sad she him receav’d.

Whence thou returnst, & whither wentst, I know;

For God is also in sleep, and Dreams advise,

Which he hath sent propitious, some great good

Presaging, since with sorrow and hearts distress

Wearied I fell asleep: but now lead on;

In mee is no delay; with thee to goe,

Is to stay here; without thee here to stay,

Is to go hence unwilling; thou to mee

Art all things under Heav’n, all places thou,

Who for my wilful crime art banisht hence.

This further consolation yet secure

I carry hence; though all by mee is lost,

Such favour I unworthie am voutsaft,

By mee the Promis’d Seed shall all restore.

So spake our Mother Eve, and Adam heard

Well pleas’d, but answer’d not; for now too nigh

Th’ Archangel stood, and from the other Hill

To thir fixt Station, all in bright array

The Cherubim descended; on the ground

Gliding meteorous, as Ev’ning Mist

Ris’n from a River o’re the marish glides,

And gathers ground fast at the Labourers heel

Homeward returning. High in Front advanc’t,

The brandisht Sword of God before them blaz’d

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 hastning Angel caught

Our lingring Parents, and to th’ Eastern Gate

Led them direct, and down the Cliff as fast

To the subjected Plaine; then disappeer’d.

They looking back, all th’ Eastern side beheld

Of Paradise, so late thir happie seat,

Wav’d over by that flaming Brand, the Gate

With dreadful Faces throng’d and fierie Armes:

Som natural tears they drop’d, but wip’d them soon;

The World was all before them, where to choose

Thir place of rest, and Providence thir guide:

They hand in hand with wandring steps and slow,

Through Eden took thir solitarie way.

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Som natural tears they drop’d, but wip’d them soon.

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