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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
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,
And high disdain from sense of injured merit,
courage never to submit or yield :
may with more successful hope resolve
So spake th' Apostate Angel, though in pain,
O Prince, O Chief of many Thronèd Powers,
130 Fearless, endanger'd Heav'n's perpetual King ;
117. empyreal] fiery ; epithet of the heavens. 130. conduct] leadership.
And put to proof his high Supremacy,
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
Victor hath recall’d
. . 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.