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Say first, for Heav'n hides nothing from thy view Nor the deep tract of Hell, say

first what cause Moved our Grand Parents in that happy State, Favour'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 seduced them to that foul revolt ? Th' infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile Stirr'd up with Envy and Revenge, deceived 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 opposed ; and with ambitious aim Against the Throne and Monarchy of God Raised impious War in Heav'n and Battle proud With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power Hurl’d headlong flaming 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 th’ Omnipotent to Arms. Nine times the Space that measures Day and Night 50 To mortal men, he with his horrid crew Lay vanquish’d, rolling in the fiery Gulf Confounded though immortal : But his doom Reserved him to more wrath ; for now the thought Both of lost happiness and lasting pain 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, A Dungeon horrible on all sides round

41. he] that is Satan,


As one great Furnace flamed, yet from those flames
No light, but rather darkness visible
Served only to discover sights of woe,
Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
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 Sulphur unconsumed :
Such place Eternal Justice had prepared

70 For those rebellious, here their Prison ordain'd In utter darkness, and their portion set As far removed 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 named Beëlzebub. 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 fall’n ! how changed From him, who in the happy Realms of Light Clothed with transcendent brightness didst outshine Myriads though bright : If he whom mutual league, United thoughts and counsels, equal hope, And hazard in the Glorious Enterprize, Join'd with me once, now misery hath join'd

90 In equal ruin : into what Pit thou seest From what highth fall'n, so much the stronger proved 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 indict, do I repent or change (Though changed in outward lustre) that fix'd mind,

80 100


And high disdain from sense of injured merit,
That with the Mightiest raised 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 power with adverse power opposed
In dubious Battle on the Plains of Heav'n,
And shook his throne. What though the field be lost ?
All is not lost; the unconquerable Will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,

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 power
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 Empýreal substance cannot fail,—
Since through experience of this great event
In Arms not worse, in foresight much advanced,

may with more successful hope resolve
To wage by force or guile eternal War,
Irreconcilable to our grand Foe,
Who now triúmphs, 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 :
And him thus answer'd soon his bold Compeer.

O Prince, O Chief of many Thronèd Powers,
That led th' imbattled Seraphim to War
Under thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds

130 Fearless, endanger'd Heav'n's perpetual King ;

117. empyreal] fiery ; epithet of the heavens. 130. conduct] leadership.

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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
Hath lost us Heav'n, and all this mighty Host
In horrible destruction laid thus low,
As far as Gods and Heav'nly Essences
Can perish: for the mind and spirit remains
Invincible, and vigour soon returns,

Though all our Glory extinct, and happy state
Here swallow'd up in endless misery.
But what if he our Conqueror (whom I now

Ι Of force believe Almighty, since no less Than such could have o'erpower'd such force as ours) Have left us this our spirit and strength entire Strongly to suffer and support our pains, That we may so suffice his vengeful ire, Or do him mightier service as his thralls By right of War, whate'er his business be,

150 Here in the heart of Hell to work in Fire, Or do his Errands in the gloomy Deep ? What can it then avail though yet we feel Strength undiminish’d, or eternal being To undergo eternal punishment ? Whereto with speedy words th’ Arch-fiend reply'd.

Fall'n Cherub, to be weak is miserable, Doing or Suffering : but of this be sure, To do ought good never will be our task, But ever to do ill our sole delight,

160 As being the contrary to his high will Whom we resist. If then his Providence Out of our evil seek to bring forth good, Our labour must be to pervert that end, And out of good still to find means of evil ;

157. cherub] Babylonian word for their winged Bull, symbol of the sun-god.



Which ofttimes may succeed, so as perhaps
Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb
His inmost counsels from their destined aim.

Victor hath recall’d
His Ministers of vengeance and pursuit
Back to the Gates of Heav'n : The Sulphurous Hail
Shot after us in storm, o'erblown hath laid
The fiery Surge, that from the Precipice
Of Heav’n received us falling ; and the Thunder,
Wing'd with red Lightning and impetuous rage,
Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now
To bellow through the vast and boundless Deep.
Let us not slip th’occasion, whether scorn,
Or satiate fury yield it from our Foe.
Seest thou yon dreary Plain, forlorn and wild,
The seat of desolation, void of light,
Save what the glimmering of these livid flames
Casts pale and dreadful ? Thither let us tend
From off the tossing of these fiery waves,
There rest, if any rest can harbour there,
And reassembling our afflicted Powers,
Consult how we may henceforth most offend
Our Enemy, our own loss how repair,
How overcome this dire Calamity,
What reinforcement we may gain from Hope,
If not what resolution from despair. ...





Satan's Kingdom

. . Is this the Region, this the Soil, the Clime, Said then the lost Archangel, this the seat That we must change for Heav'n, this mournful gloom For that celestial light ? Be it so, since He

176. his] its, the thunder's.

187. offend] injure or annoy.

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