Page images





For in possession such, not only of right,
I call ye, and declare ye now, return'd
Successful, beyond hope, to lead ye forth,
Triumphant, out of this infernal pit,
Abominable, accursed, the house of woe
And dungeon of our Tyrant : now possess,
As lords, a spacious world, to our native Heaven
Little inferior, by my adventure hard,
With peril great achieved. Long were to tell
What I have done, what suffer'd; with what pain
Voyag'd the unreal, vast, unbounded deep
of horrible confusion; over which,
By Sin and Death, a broad way now is paved,
To expedite your glorious march; but I
Toil'd out my uncouth passage, forc'd to ride
The untractable abyss, plung'd in the womb
Of unoriginal Night and Chaos wild,
That, jealous of their secrets, fiercely oppos'd
My journey strange, with clamorous uproar,
Protesting Fate supreme; thence, how I found
The new-created world, which fame in Heaven
Long had foretold, a fabric wonderful,
Of absolute perfection, therein Man
Placed in a Paradise, by our exile
Made happy : him, by fraud, I have seduced
From his Creator, and, the more to increase
Your wonder, with an apple. He, thereat
Offended, worth your laughter, hath given up
Both his beloved man, and all his world,
To Sin and Death a prey; and so to us,
Without our hazard, labour, or alarm,
To range in, and to dwell, and over man
To rule, as over all he should have ruled.
True is, me also he hath judged; or rather
Me not, but the brute serpent, in whose shape
Man I deceived : that which to me belongs
Is enmity, which he will put between
Me and mankind; 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 the account
of my performance : what remains, ye gods,
But up, and enter now into full bliss ?"

So having said, a while he stood, expecting
Their universal shout, and high applause
To fill his ear; when contrary, he hears
On all sides, from innumerable tongues,







A dismal universal hiss, the sound
01 public scorn; he wondered, but not long
Had leisure, wondering at himself now more : 510
His visage drawn, he felt, to sharp and spare,
His arms clung to his ribs, his legs entwining
Each other, till supplanted, down he fell,
A monstrous serpent on his belly prone,
Reluctant, but in vain ; a greater Power

Now ruled him punish'd in the shape he sinn'd,
According to his doom. He would have spoke,
But hiss for hiss return'd, with forked tongue
To forked tongue; for now were all transform'd
Alike, to serpents; all, as accessories

320 To his bold riot. Dreadful was the din Of hissing through the hall, thick swarming now With complicated monsters, head and tail

, Scorpion and Asp, and Amphisbæna dire, Cerastes horn'd, Hydrus, and Elops, drear,

525 And Dipsas (not so thick swarm’d once the soil Bedropt with blood of Gorgon, or the isle Ophiusa): but still greatest he the midst, Now dragon grown, larger than whom the sun Engender'd in the Pythian vale, on slime,

530 Huge Python, and his power no less he seem'd Above the rest, still to retain ; they all Him follow'd, issuing forth to the open field, Where all yet left of that revolted rout, Heav'n-fall'n, in station stood, or just array,

535 Sublime with expectation, when to see, In triumph issuing forth, their glorious chief; They saw, but other sight instead, a crowd Of ugly serpents; horror on them fell, And horrid sympathy; for what they saw,

540 They felt themselves now changing ; down their armıs Down fell both spear & shield, down they as fast, And the dire hiss renew'd, and the dire form Catch'd by contagion; like in punishment, As in their crime. Thus was th' applause they meant

545 Turn'd to exploding hiss, triumph to shame, Cast on themselves from their own mouths. There stood A grove hard by, sprung up with this their change, His will who reigns above, to aggravate Their penance, laden with fruit, like that

550 Which grew in Paradise, the bait of Eve Used by the tempter. On that prospect strange Their earnest eyes they fix’d, imagining For one forbidden tree, a multitude

Now risen, to work them further woe or share ; 555
Yet parch'd with scalding thirst, and hunger fierce,
Though to delude them sent, could not abstain ;
But on they roll'd in heaps, and up the trees
Climbing, sat thicker than the snaky locks
That curl'a Megæra; greedily they pluck'd

The fruitage fair to sight; like that which grew
Near that bituminous lake where Sodom flam'd;
This more delusive, not the touch, but taste
Deceived; they, fondly thinking to allay
Their appetite with gust, instead of fruit,

565 Chew'd bitter ashes, which, the offended taste With spattering noise, rejected : oft they assay'd, Hunger and thirst constraining, drugg'd as oft, With hatefullest disrelish writh'd their jaws With soot and cinders fill'd ; so oft they fell

570 Into the same illusion; not as Man Whom they triumph'd once laps'd. Thus were they plagued, And worn with famine, long and ceaseless hiss, Till their lost shape, permitted, they resumed, Yearly enjoin'd, some say to undergo

575 This annual humbling, certain number'd days, To dash their pride and joy, for man seduced. However, some tradition they dispersed Among the Heathen, of their purchase got; And fabled how the Serpent, whom they callid 580 Ophion, with Eurynome, the wide Encroaching Eve perhaps, had first the rule of high Olympus, thence by Saturn driven And Ops, ere yet Dictæan Jove was born. Meanwhile, in Paradise the hellish pair

585 Too soon arrived, 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.

590 “Second of Satan sprung, all conquering Death, What think'st thou of our empire now, though earn'd With travail difficult; not better far Than still at Hell's dark threshold to have sat watch, Unnamed, undreaded, and thyself half-starved ?"

595 Whom thus the Sin-born Monster answered soon. “To me, who with eternal famine pine, Alike is Hell, or Paradise, or Heaven; There best, where most with ravine I may meet ; Which here, though plenteous, all too little seems

600 To stuff this maw, this vast unhide-bound corps."

To whom the incestuous mother thus replied.
“ Thou therefore on these herbs, & fruits, & flowers
Feed first, on each beast next, and fish and fowl,
No homely morsels; and whatever thing

The scythe of Time mows down, devour unspared ;
Till I, in man residing, through the race,
His thoughts, his looks, words, actions, all infect,
And season him, thy last and sweetest prey."

This said, they both betook them several ways, 610 Both to destroy, or un-immortal make All kinds, and for destruction to mature, Sooner or later : which the Almighty seeing, From his transcendant seat, the saints among, To those bright orders utter'd thus his voice.

615 “ 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 wasteful furies, who impute

620 Folly to me, so doth the prince of Hell, And his adherents, that, with so much ease, I suffer them to enter, and possess A place so heavenly, & conniving seem, To gratify my scornful enemies,

625 That laugh, as if transported with some fit Of passion, I to them had quitted all, At random yielded up to their misrule And know not, that I call’d & drew them thither, My hell-hounds, to lick up the draff and filth, 630 Which man's polluting sin with taint hath shed On what was pure; till cramm'd & gorged, nigh burst, With suck'd and glutted offal, at one sling Of thy victorious arm, well-pleasing Son, Both Sin, and Death, and yawning Grave at last, 635 Through Chaos hurl’d, obstruct the njouth of Hell For ever, and seal up his ravenous jaws. Then Heaven & Earth, renew'd, shall be made pure To sanctity, that shall receive no stain : Till then, the curse pronounced on both precedes." 640 He ended ; and the heavenly audience loud Sung Hallelujah, 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,

645 “ Destined Restorer of Mankind, by whom New Heaven & Earth shall to the ages rise, Or down from Heaven descend." Such was their song;






While the Creator, calling forth by name
His mighty 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 tolerable ; and from the north to call
Decrepit winter, from the south to bring
Solstitial summer's heat. To the blank moon
Her office they prescribed ; to the other five,
Their planetary motions, and aspects,
In sextile, square, and trine, and opposite,
Of noxious efficacy; and when to join
In synod unbenign; and taught the fix'd,
Their influence malignant, when to shower,
Which of them rising with the sun, or falling,
Should prove tempestuous. To the winds they set
Their corners, when with bluster to confound
Sea, air, and shore; the thunder when to roll
With terror, through the dark aerial hall.
Some say, he bid his angels turn askance
The poles of earth, twice ten degrees & more,
From the sun's axle : they, with labour, push'd
Oblique the centric globe. Some say the

Was bid turn reins from the equinoctial road,
Like distant breadth to Taurus, with the seven
Atlantic Sisters, and the Spartan Twins,
Up to the Tropic Crab : thence down amain,
By Leo, and the Virgin, and the Scales,
As deep as Capricorn, to bring in change
Of seasons to each clime; else had the Spring
Perpetual smiled on earth with verdant flowers,
Equal in days and nights, except to those
Beyond the polar circles ; to them, day
Had unbenighted shone, while the low sun,
To recompense his distance, in their sight
Had rounded still the 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 than now
Avoided pinching cold and scorching heat ?
These changes in the Heavens, though slow, produced
Like change on seas & land; sideral blast
Vapour, and mist, and exhalation hot,
Corrupt, and pestilent. Now from the north






« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »