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And in the lowest deep a lower deep
Still threat’ning 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? 80
None left but by submission; and that word
Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame
Among the Sp'rits beneath, whom I seduc'd
With other promises and other vaunts
Than to submit, boasting I could subdue

85
Th’Omnipotent. Ay me, they little know
How dearly I abide that boast so vain,
Under what torments inwardly I groan,
While they adore me on the throne of Hell !
With diadem and scepter high advanc'd, 90
The lower still I fall, only supreme
In misery! such joy ambition finds.
But

say I could repent, and could obtain By act of grace my former state, how soon Would height recall high thoughts, how soon unsay

95 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 pierc'd so deep: Which would but lead me to a worse relapse, And heavier fall : so should I purchase dear 101 Short intermission bought with double smart. This knows my Punisher : therefore, as far

IIO

From granting he, as I from begging peace.
All hope excluded thus, behold, instead 105
Of us outcast, exild, his new delight,
Mankind created, and for him this world.
So farewell hope, and with hope farewell fear,
Farewell remorse: all good to me is lost :
Evil, be thou my good; by thee at least
Divided empire with Heav'n's King I hold,
By thee, and more than half perhaps will reign;
As Man ere long, and this new world shall know.
Thus while he spake, each passion dimm’d
his face;

114
Thrice chang'd with pale, ire, envy, and despair;
Which marr’d his borrow'd visage, and betray'd
Him counterfeit, if any eye beheld.
For heav'nly minds from such distempers foul
Are ever clear. Whereof he soon aware,
Each perturbation smooth’d with outward calm,
Artificer of fraud; and was the first
That practis'd falsehood under saintly show,
Deep malice to conceal, couch'd with revenge :
Yet not enough had practis'd to deceive
Uriel once warn’d; whose eye pursu'd him down
The way he went, and on th’ Assyrian mount
Saw him disfigur'd, more than could befall 127
Spirit of happy sort: his gestures fierce
He mark'd and mad demeanour, then alone,
As he suppos’d, all unobserv’d, unseen. 130
So on he fares, and to the border comes
Of Eden, where delicious Paradise,

I 21

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Now nearer, crowns with her inclosure green,
As with a rural mound, the champaign head
Of a steep wilderness, whose hairy sides 135
With thicket overgrown, grotesque and wild,
Access deny’d; and over head upgrew,
Insuperable height of loftiest shade,
Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm;
A sylvan scene; and as the ranks ascend

140
Shade above shade, a woody theatre
Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops
The verd'rous wall of Paradise up sprung;
Which to our gen’ral sire gave prospect large
Into his nether empire neighb’ring round. 145
And higher than that wall a circling row
Of goodliest trees loaden with fairest fruit,
Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue,
Appear'd, with gay enamel'd colours mix’d;
On which the Sun more glad impress'd his beams
Than in fair ev’ning cloud, or humid bow, 151
When God hath show'r'd the earth : so lovely

seem'd
That landskip: and of pure now purer air
Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires
Vernal delight and joy, able to drive 155
All sadness but despair : now gentle gales,
Fanning their odorif'rous wings, dispense
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole
Those balmy spoils. As when to them who sail
Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past 160
Mozambique, off at sea north-east winds blow

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Sabean odours from the spicy shore
Of Araby the Blest; with such delay
Well pleas’d they slack their course, and many
a league

164
Cheer'd with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles ;
So entertain'd those od'rous sweets the Fiend
Who came their bane, though with them better

pleas'd
Than Asmodeus with the fishy fume
That drove him, tho' enamour'd, from the spouse
Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent 170
From Media post to Egypt, there fast bound.

Now to th'ascent of that steep savage hill
Satan had journey'd on, pensive and slow;
But further

way

found none, so thick intwin'd,
As one continu'd brake, the undergrowth 175
Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplex'd
All path of man or beast that pass'd that way:
One gate there only was, and that look'd east
On th'other side ; which when th'arch-felon saw,
Due entrance he disdain'd, and in contempt, 180
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 wolf,
Whom hunger drives to seek new haunt for prey,
Watching where shepherds pen their flocks at eve
In hurdled cots amid the field secure, 186
Leaps o'er the fence with ease into the fold:
Or as a thief bent to unhoard the cash
Of some rich burgher, whose substantial doors,

Cross-barr'd and bolted fast, fear no assault, 190
In at the window climbs, or o'er the tiles :
So clomb this first grand thief into God's fold;
So since into his church lewd hirelings climb.
Thence

up

he flew, and on the tree of life, The middle tree and highest there that grew, 195 Sat like a cormorant; yet not true life Thereby regain'd, but sat devising death To them who liv’d; nor on the virtue thought Of that life-giving plant, but only us'd For prospect, what well us'd had been the pledge Of immortality. So little knows

201 Any, but God alone, to value right The good before him, but perverts best things To worst abuse, or to their meanest use. Beneath him, with new wonder, now he views To all delight of human sense expos'd 206 In narrow room Nature's whole wealth, yea more, A Heav'n on Earth : for blissful Paradise Of God the garden was, by him in th' east Of Eden planted; Eden stretch'd her line 210 From Auran eastward to the royal tow'rs Of

great Seleucia, built by Grecian kings, Or where the Sons of Eden long before Dwelt in Telassar. In this pleasant soil His far more pleasant garden God ordain'd; 215 Out of the fertile 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

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