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To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heaven. 0, 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 Spirits beneath, whom I seduced With other promises and other vaunts Than to submit, boasting I could subdue The 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 sceptre high advanced,

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 highth recall high thoughts, how soon unsay What feigned 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 pierced so deep); Which would but lead me to a worse relapse And heavier fall : so should I purchase dear Short intermission, bought with double smart. This knows my Punisher ; therefore as far From granting he, as I from begging, peace. All hope excluded thus, behold, instead Of us, outcast, exiled, 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 Heaven's King I hold, By thee, and more than half perhaps will reign ; As Man ere long, and this new World, shall know."

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Thus while he spake, each passion dimmed his face,
Thrice changed with pale—ire, envy, and despair ;
Which marred his borrowed visage, and betrayed
Him counterfeit, if any eye beheld :
For Heavenly minds from such distempers foul
Are ever clear. Whereof he soon aware
Each perturbation smoothed with outward calm,
Artificer of fraud ; and was the first
That practised falsehood under saintly show,
Deep malice to conceal, couched with revenge :
Yet not enough had practised to deceive
Uriel, once warned; whose eye pursued him down
The

way he went, and on the Assyrian mount
Saw him disfigured, more than could befall
Spirit of happy sort : his gestures fierce
He marked and mad demeanour, then alone,
As he supposed, all unobserved, unseen.

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So on he fares, and to the border comes
Of Eden, where delicious Paradise,
Now nearer, crowns with her enclosure green,
As with a rural mound, the champain head
Of a steep wilderness, whose hairy sides
With thicket overgrown, grotesque and wild,
Access denied; and overhead up-grew
Insuperable highth 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 verdurous wall of Paradise up-sprung ;
Which to our general sire gave prospect large
Into his nether empire neighbouring round.
And higher than that wall a circling row
Of goodliest trees, loaden with fairest fruit,
Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue,
Appeared, with gay enamelled colours mixed ;

On which the sun more glad impressed his beams 150
Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow,
When God hath showered the earth ; so lovely seemed
That landskip. And of pure now purer air
Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires
Vernal delight and joy, able to drive
All sadness but despair. Now gentle gales,
Fanning their odoriferous 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
Mozambic, off at sea north-east winds blow
Sabean odours from the spicy shore
Of Araby the Blest, with such delay
Well pleased they slack their course, and many a league
Cheered with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles ;
So entertained those odorous sweets the Fiend
Who came their bane, though with them better pleased
Than Asmodëus with the fishy fume
That drove him, though enamoured, from the spouse
Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent 170
From Media post to Egypt, there fast bound.

Now to the ascent of that steep savage hill
Satan had journeyed on, pensive and slow;
But further way found none; so thick entwined,
As one continued brake, the undergrowth
Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplexed
All path of man or beast that passed that way.
One gate there only was, and that looked east
On the other side. Which when the Arch-Felon saw,
Due entrance he disdained, and, in contempt, 180
At one slight bound high overleaped 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 cotes amid the field secure,
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-barred 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,
Sat like a cormorant; yet not true life
Thereby regained, but sat devising death
To them who lived ; nor on the virtue thought
Of that live-giving plant, but only used
For prospect what, well used, had been the pledge 200
Of immortality. So little knows
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 exposed,
In narrow room Nature's whole wealth ; yea, more !
A Heaven on Earth : for blissful Paradise
Of God the garden was, by him in the east
Of Eden planted. Eden stretched her line
From Auran eastward to the royal towers
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 ordained.
Out of the fertile ground he caused 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
Of vegetable gold; and next to life,
Our death, the Tree of Knowledge, grew fast by-

210

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Knowledge of good, bought dear by knowing ill.
Southward through Eden went a river large,
Nor changed his course, but through the shaggy hill
Passed underneath ingulfed ; for God had thrown
That mountain, as his garden-mould, high raised
Upon the rapid current, which, through veins
Of porous earth with kindly thirst up-drawn,
Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill
Watered the garden ; thence united fell

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Down the steep glade, and met the nether flood,
Which from his darksome passage now appears,
And now, divided into four main streams,
Runs diverse, wandering many a famous realm
And country whereof here needs no account ;
But rather to tell how, if Art could tell
How, from that sapphire fount the crispèd brooks,
Rolling on orient pearl and sands of gold,
With mazy error under pendent shades
Ran nectar, visiting each plant, and fed

240 Flowers worthy of Paradise, which not nice Art In beds and curious knots, but Nature boon Poured forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain, Both where the morning sun first warmly smote The open field, and where the unpierced shade Imbrowned the noontide bowers. Thus was this

place, A happy rural seat of various view : Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and balm; Others whose fruit, burnished with golden rind, Hung amiable—Hesperian fables true,

250 If true, here only—and of delicious taste. Betwixt them lawns, or level downs, and flocks Grazing the tender herb, were interposed, Or palmy hillock; or the flowery lap Of some irriguous valley spread her store, Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose.

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