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Book the first.

THE ARGUMENT. This first Book proposes, first in brief, the whole sub

ject, Man's disobedience, and loss thereupon of Pa. radise, wherein he was placed: 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 passed over, the poem hastes into the midst of things, presenting Satan with his angels now fallen into hell, described here not in the center (for heaven and earth may be supposed as yet not made, certainly not yet accursed) but in a place of utter darkness, fitliest called Chaos: Here Satan with his Angels lying on the burning lake, thunderstruck and astonished, after a certain space recovers, as from confusion, calls up him who next in order and dignity lay by him; they confer of their misera able fall. Satan awakens his legions, who lay till then in the same manner confounded: They rise, their numbers, array of battle, their chief leaders named according to the idols known afterwards in Canaan and the countries adjoining. To these Satan directs his speech, comforts them with hope yet of regaining heaven, but tells them lastly of a new world and a new kind of creature to be creata ed, according to an ancient prophecy or report in heaven; for that Angels were long before this via sible creation, was the opinion of many ancient Fa. thers. To find out the truth of this prophecy, and

what to determine thereon, he refers to a full council. What his associates thence attempt. Pandemonium, the palace of Satan, rises, suddenly built out of the deep: The infernal peers there sit in council.

o f man's first disobedience, and the fruit

Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
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, heavenly 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 heavens and earth
Rose out of Chaos: or if Sion hill
Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flowid
Fást by the oracle of God: I thence
Invoke thy aid to my advent'rous song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above the Aonian mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.

And chiefly thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer s
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 satt'st brooding on the vast abyss,
And mad'st it pregnant: what in me is dark,
Mumine: what is low, raise and support;
That to the height of this great argument
I may assert eternal providence,
And justify the ways of Gad to men.

Say first, for heav'n hides nothing from thy view, Nor the deep tract of hell: say first what cause Mov'd our grand parents in that happy state, Favourd of heaven 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 foul revolt?
Th’infernal serpent; he it was whose guile,
Stirr'd up with envy and revenge, deceiv'd
The mother of mankind, 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 'bove his peers,
He trusted to have equall'd the Most High,
If he oppos'd; and with ambitious aim
Against the throne and monarchy of God
Rais'd impious war in heaven, and battle proud,
With vain attempt. Him the almighty power
Hurld headlong flaming from th'ethereal sky,
With hideous ruin and combustion, down
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
In adamantine chains and penal fire,
Who durst defy the Omnipotent to arms.
Nine times the space that measures day and night
To mortal men, he with his horrid crew
Lay vanquish'ds rolling in the fiery gulf,
Confounded though immortal: but his doom
Resery'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 disinay,
Mix'd with obdurate pride and stedfast hate;
At once, as far as angels ken, he views
The dismal situation waste and wild;
A dungeon horrible on all sides round
As one great furnace flam'd, yet from those
No light, but rather darkness visible
Serv'd onls 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 withou
Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed
With ever-burning sulphur unconsum'd:
Such place eternal justice had prepard
For those rebellious, here their pris'n ordaind

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'erwhelm'd
With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire,
Ile soon discerns; and welt'ring by his side
One next himself in pow'r, and next in crime,
Long after known in Palestine, and nam'd
Beelzebub. "To whom th'arch-enemy, -
And thence in heaven called 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 enterprise,
Join'd with me once, now misery hath join'd
In equal ruin; into what pit thou seest
From what height fall'n, so much the stronger proy'd
He with his thunder: and till then who knew
The force of those dire arms? Yet not for those,
For what the potent victor in his rage
Can else inflict, do I repent or change,
Though chang'd in outward lustre, that fix'd mind
And high disdain from sense 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 pow'r with adverse pow'r oppos'd
In dubious battle on the plains of heaven,
And shook his throne. What though the field be lost!
All is not lost; the unconquerable will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield,
And what is else not to be overcome;
That glory never shall his wrath or inight

Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace
With suppliant knee, and deify his power,
Who from the terror of this arm so late
Doubted his empire ; that were low indeed,
That were an ignominy and shame beneath
This downfal; since by fate the strength of gods
And his empyreal substance cannot fail;
Since through experience of this great event
In arms not worse, in foresight much advanc'd,
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 the excess of joy
Sole reigning holds the tyranny of heaven.

So spake th’apostate angel, though in pain;
Vaunting aloud, but rack'd with deep despair:
And him thus answer'd soon his bold compeer:

O Prince, O chief of many throned powers, That led th’embattl'd seraphim to war Under thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds, Fearless, endanger'd heav'n's perpetual King, And put to proof his high supremacy, Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate; Too well I see, and rue the dire event, That with sad overthrow and foul defeat Hath lost us heav'n, and all this mighty host In horrible destruction laid thus low, As far as gods and heav'nly essences Can perish, for the mind and spirit remains Invincible, and vigour soon returns, Though all our glory extinct, and happy state Here swallow'd up in endless misery. But what if he, our conqueror (whom I now Of force believe almighty, since no less Than such could have o’erpower'd such force as ours) Have left us this our sp'rit and strength entire Strongly to suffer and support our pains, That we may so suffice his vengeful ire, ^ Or do him mightier service as his thralls

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