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The first book proposes, first, in brief, the whole subject, man's disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise 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 hastens into the midst of things, present ing Satan with his angels now fallen into hell, described here, not in the centre, 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, thunder-struck and astonished after a certain space recovers, 43 froin confusion, calls up him who next in order and dignity lay by "im, they con fer of their miserable fall. Satan awakens all 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 di rects his speech, comforts them with hope yet of regaining heaven : but tells them lastly of a new world, and ner kind of creature to be created; according to an ancient prophecy or report in heaven; for that angels were long before this visible creation, was the opinion of many ancient fathers. To find out t?r truth of this proph. écy, and what to determine thereon, he refers to a full council. What his associates then attempt. Pandemonium, the palace of Satan, rises, suddenly out of the deep: the infernal peers there sit in council.



OF man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our wo,
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 flow'd
Fast 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
Before all temples the upright heart and pure,
Instruct me, for thou know'st: thou from the first
Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread,
Dove-like sat'st 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 heighth of this great argument
I may assert eternal Providence,
And justify the ways of God to man.

Say first, (for Heaven hides nothing from thy view, Nor the deep tract of Hell,) say first, what cause


Mov'd our grand parents, in that happy state,
Favored of Heaven so highly, to fall off
From their Creator, and transgress bis will,
For one restraint, lords of the world besides?
Who first sedac'd them to that foul revolt?
The 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 Heaven, with all his host
Of rebel Angels; by whose aid aspiring
To set himself in glory above 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 the 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’d, rolling in the fiery gulf,
Confounded though immortal: but his doom
Reserved 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
Mix'd with obdurate pride and steadfast hate:
At once, as far as Angel's ken, he views
The dismal situation waste and wild:
A dungeon horrible on all sides round
As one great furnace flamed ; yet from those flames
No light; but rather darkness visible
Served only to discover sights of wo,
Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace

And rest can never dwell ; hope never comes
That comes to all; but torture without end

urges, and a fiery deluge, fed
With ever burning sulphur unconsumed:
Such place Eternal Justice had prepared
For those rebellious ; here their prison ordained
in utter darkness, and their portion set
As far removed from God and light of Heaven
As from the centre thrice to the utmost pole.
0, how unlike the place from whence they fell!
There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelmed
With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire,
He soon discerns; and weltering by his side
Ore next himself in power, and next in crime,
Long after known in Palestine, and named
Beelzebub. To whom the Arch-Enemy,
And thence in Heaven call'd Satan, with bold words
Breaking the horrid silence, thus began :

If thou be he; but O how fallen! how chang'd
From him, who, in the happy realms of light,
Clothed 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 heighth fallen ; so much the stronger proved
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 changed in outward lustre, that fix'd mind,
And high disdain from sense of injured merit,
That with the Mightiest raised me to contend,
And to the fierce contention brought along
Innumerable force of Spirits arm'd,
That durst dislike his reign ; and, me preferring,

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