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BOOK I.

THE ARGUMENT. This first Rock proposes, first in brief, the whole suljett, Man'. dix. obedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise wherein he was plaica: 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 decp. Which action passed over, the poem hastens into the midst of things, presenting Satan with his Angeis now falling into Hell described here, not in the centre (for Heaven and Earth may be supposed as yet not wiade, certainly not yet accursed) but in a place of atter darkness, fitliest called Chaos: Here Satan with his Angels lying on the burning lake, thunder-struck and astonished, after a certain space recovers, as from confusion, calls up him who next in order and dignity lay by binn; they comer of their miserable fall, Satan awakens all his lcgions, who lay till then in the same manner confounded. They rise, their numbers, array of battle, their chief leaders namied, according to the idols known afterwards in Canaan and the countries adjoining. To these Satan direcis his speech, coinforts them with hope yet of regaining Heaven, but tells them lastly of a new world and new kind of creature to be createv, ac. cording 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 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.

OF 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, 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

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Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flowd
Fast by the oracle of God; I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventrous song,
That with no middle fight intends to soar
Above th' Aonian mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhime.
And chiefly Thou, O Spi'rit, 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 26
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 height of this great argument
I
may

assert eternal Providence, And justify the ways of God to Men.

Say first, for Heav'n hides nothing from thy view, Nor the deep tract of Hell, say first what cause Movd 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 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 inis pride

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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, 40
If he opposid ; and with ambitious aim
Against the throne and monarchy of God
Rais?d impious war in Heay’n, and battle proud
With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power
Hurld headlong Aaming 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 se
To mortal men, he with his horrid crew
Lay vanquish'd, 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 hiin; round he throws his baleful eyes,
That witness'd huge afli&tion and dismay
Mix'd with obdurate pride and sted fast hate :
At once, as far as Angels ken, he views
The dismal situation waste and wild;

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A dungeon horrible on all sides round
As one great furnace faņd, 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

Thit comes to all ; but torture without end
Still

urges, and a fiery deluge, fed
With ever-burning sulphur unconsum’d:
Șuch place eternal Justice had prepard 70
For those rebellious, here their pris'on ordain'd
In utter darkness, and their portion set
As far remov'd from God and light of Heav'n,
As from the centre 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,
He soon discerns, and welt’ring by his side,
One next himself in power, and next in crime,
Long after known in Palestine, and nam'd

80 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 fallin ! how chang'd From him, who in the happy realms of light, Cloth'd with transcendent brightness, didst outshine Myriads though bright! If he whoni mutal league, United thoughts and counsels, equal hope And hazard in the glorious enterprise, Join'd with me once, now misery hath join'd go In equal ruin : into what pit thou seest From what height fall'n, so much the stronger prov'd 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,

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IIO

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 Heav'n,
And shook his throne. What though the field be lost?
All is not lost; th' 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 deify his pow'r,
Who from the terror 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'd,
We

niay 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 rack'd with deep despair :

VOL, I.

120

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