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Satan, now in prospect of Eden, and nigh the place where he must now
attempt the bold enterprise which he undertook alone against God and Man, falls into many doubts with himself, and many passions, fear, envy, and despair; but at length confirms himself in evil : journeys on to Paradise, whose outward aspect and situation are described; overleaps the bounds; sits in the shape of a cormorant on the tree of life, as highest in the garden, to look about him. The garden described; Satan's first sight of Adam and Eve; his wonder at their excellent form and happy state, but with resolution to work their fall; overhears their discourse: thence gathers that the tree of knowledge was forbidden them to eat of, under penalty of death; and thereon intends to found his temptation by seducing them to transgress : Then leaves then awhile to know further of their state by some other means. Meanwhile Uriel, descending on a sunbeam, warns Gabriel, who had in charge the gate of Paradise; that some evil Spirit had escaped the deep, and passed at noon by his sphere in the shape of a good Angel down to Paradise, dis covered after by his furious gestures on the mount. Gabriel promises to find him ere morning. Night coming on, Adam and Eve discourse of going to their rest: Their bower described; their evening worship. Ga. briel, drawing forth his bands of night-watch to walk the round of Paradise, appoints two strong Angels to Adam's bower, lest the evil Spirit should be there doing some harm to Adam or Eve sleeping: there they find him at the ear of Eve, tempting her in a dream, and bring him, though unwilling, to Gabriel : by whom questioned, he scornfully answers; prepares resistance; but, hindered by a sign from Heaven, flies out of Paradise.
O FOR that warning voice, which he who saw
Of that first battle, and his flight to hell;
O thou, that, with surpassing glory crown'd,
35 But with no friendly voice, and add thy name, O Sun! to tell thee how I hate thy beams, That bring to my remembrance from what state I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere; Till pride and worse ambition threw me down Warring in Heaven against Heaven's matchless King: Ah, wherefore! he deserved no such return From me, whom he created what I was In that bright eminence, and with his good Upbraided none; nor was his service hard.
45 What could be less than to afford him praise, The easiest recompense, and pay him thanks,
How due! yet all his good proved ill in me,
65 Hadst thou the same free will and power to stand? Thou hadst: whom hast thou then or what to accuse But Heaven's free love dealt equally to all? Be then his love accursed, since love or hate, To me alike, it deals eternal woe.
70 Nay, cursed be thou; since against his thy will Chose freely what it now so justly rues. Me miserable! which way shall I fly Infinite wrath and infinite despair? Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell;
75 And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep Still threat’ning to devour me opens wide, To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heaven. O 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
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 height recall high thoughts, how soon unsay 95 What feign’d 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 100 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, in stead
105 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
110 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.
Thus while he spake, each passion dimm’d his face; Thrice changed with pale, ire, envy, and despair; 115 Which marrd his borrow'd visage, and betray'd Him counterfeit, if any eye beheld. For heavenly minds from such distempers foul Are ever clear. Whereof he soon aware,
Each perturbation smooth'd with outward calm, 120
135 With thicket overgrown, grotesque and wild, Access denied; and overhead up grew Insuperable height 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 verd'rous wall of Paradise up sprung: Which to our general sire gave prospect large Into his nether empire neighboring round. 145 And higher than that wall a circling row Of goodliest trees, loaden with fairest fruit, Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue Appear’d, with gay enamel'd colours mix'd; On which the sun more glad impress'd his beams 150 Than on fair evening cloud or humid bow, When God hath shower'd the earth; so lovely seem'd That landscape: and of pure now purer air Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires Vernal delight and joy, able to drive