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My journey strange, with clamorous uproar
Protesting fate supreme; thence how I found 480
The new created world, which fame in Heaven
Long had foretold, a fabric wonderful
Of absolute perfection! wherein Man
Placed in a Paradise, by our exile
Made happy; Him by fraud I have seduced 485

com 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,

490
Without our hazard, labor, 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 495
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, 500
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, awhile he stood, expecting Their universal shout and high applause

505 To fill his ear; when, contrary, he hears On all sides, from innumerable tongues, A dismal universal hiss, the sound Of public scorn; he wonder'd, 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

515 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

520 To this 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 Bedropp'd 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 or 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, Heaven-fallen, 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 arms, Down fell both spear and 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 the applause they meant Turn’d to exploding hiss, triumph to shame 546 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 fair 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 shame; 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'd Megæra; greedily they pluck'd 560
The fruitage fair to sight, like that which grew
Near that bituminous lake where Sodom flamed;
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 essay'd,
Hunger and thirst constraining; drugg’d as oft,
With hatefulest disrelish writhed their jaws,
With soot and cinders fill'd; so oft they fell

570 Into the same illusion, not as Man

[plagued Whom they triumph'd once lapsed. Thus were they 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 call'd 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 travel 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 answer'd soon:
To me, who with eternal famine pine,
Alike is. Hell, or Paradise, or Heaven;
There best, where most with ravin I may meet;
Which there, though plenteous, all too little seems 600
To stuff this maw, this vast unhide-bound corpse.

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

605
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 unimmortal make
All kinds, and for destruction to mature
Sooner or later; which the Almighty seeing,
From his transcendent 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

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I suffer them to enter and possess
A place so heavenly; and, 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 now not that I call'd and 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 and 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 hurld, obstruct the mouth of Hell
For ever, and seal up his ravenous jaws.
Then Heaven and Earth renew'd shall be made pure
To sanctify, 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 and 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, 650 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

655 Solstitial summer's heat. To the blanc moon Her office they prescribed: to the other five Their planetary motions, and aspects,

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