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PARA DI SE LO S T.
F 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 Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flow'd Faft by the oracle of God; I thence Invoke thy aid to my adventrous song, That with no middle flight intends to soar Above th’ Aonian mount, while it pursues 15 Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme. And chiefly Thou, O Spi'rit, that doft prefer Before all temples th' upright heart and pure, Instruct me, for Thou know'st; Thou from the first Waft present, and with mighty wings outspread 20 Dove-like fatst brooding on the vast abyss, And mad't it pregnant: what in me is dark
Illumin, what is low raise and support;
25 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 Mov’d our grand parents, in that happy state, Favor’d of Heav'n so highly, to fall off
30 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 35 The mother of mankind, what time his pride 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, If he oppos’d; and with ambitious aim Against the throne and monarchy of God Rais'd impious war in Heav'n and battel proud With vain attempt. Him the almighty Power Hurl'd headlong flaming from th' ethereal sky, 45 With hideous ruin and combustion, down To bottomless perdition, there to dwell In adamantin chains and penal fire, Who durft defy th’Omnipotent to arms. Nine times the space that measures day and night so To mortal men, he with his horrid crew Lay vanquish’, rolling in the fiery gulf,
Confounded though immortal: But his doom' Reserv'd him to more wrath; for now the thought Both of loft happiness and lasting pain
55 Torments him; round he throws his baleful eyes, That witness’d huge affliction and dismay Mix'd with obdurate pride and stedfast hate: At once, as far as Angels ken, he views The dismal situation waste and wild;
60 A dungeon horrible on all sides round As one great furnace fiam’d, yet from those flames No light, but rather darkness visible Serv'd only to discover fights of woe, Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace 65 And rest can never dwell, hope never comes That comes to all; but torture without end Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed With ever-burning fulphur unconsum’d: Such place eternal Justice had prepar'd 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 center thrice to th' utmost pole. O how unlike the place from whence they fell ! 75 There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelm'i With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire, He soon discerns, and welt'ring by his fide One next himself in pow'r, and next in crime, Long after known in Palestine, and nam'd Beëlzebub, To whom th’ Arch-Enemy, And thence in Heav'n call'd Satan, with bold words
Breaking the horrid filence thus began.
If thou beeft he; but o thou fall’n! how chang'd From him, who in the happy realins of light 85 Cloth'd 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 ru’in : into what pit thou seest From what highth 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 . 95 Can else in fict, do I repent or change, 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 100 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 battel on the plains of Heaven, 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 110 Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace With suppliant knee, and deify his power,
Who from the terror of this arm so late
So spake th' apostate Angel, though in pain, 125
O Prince, O Chief of many throned Powers, That led th' imbatteld Seraphim to war Under thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds 130 Fearless, indanger'd Heav'n's perpetual king, And put to proof his high supremacy, Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate; Too well I see and rue the dire event, That with sad overthrow and foul defeat 135 Hath loft us Heav'n, and all this mighty hoft In horrible destruction laid thus low, As far as Gods and heav'nly essences Can perish: for the mind and spi'rit remains Invincible, and vigor soon returns,
140 Though all our glory' extinct, and happy state Here swallow'd up in endless misery.