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So burdensome still paying, still to owe,
Forgetful what from Him I still received,
And understood not that a grateful mind
By owing owes not, but still pays, at once
Indebted and discharged: what burden then?
O had his pow'rful destiny ordain'd
Me some inferior Angel, I had stood
Then happy; no unbounded hope had raised 60
Ambition. Yet, why not? some other Pow'r,
As great might have aspired, and me, though mean,
Drawn to his part; but other Pow'rs as great
Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within
Or from without, to all temptations arm'd. 65
Hadst thou the same free will and pow'r to stand ?
Thou hadst. Whom hast thou then or wbat t'accuse,
But Heav'n'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 Heav'n 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 Than to submit, boasting I could subdue
Ay me, they little know
How dearly I abide that boast so vain,
Under what torments inwardly I groan,
While they adore me on the throne of Hell!
With diadem and sceptre high advanced,
The lower still I fall, only supreme
In misery! such joy ambition finds.
But say I could repent, and could obtain
55. Understood not, to be connected with the preceding verlis
By act of grace my former state, bow soon 94
Would highth recall high thoughts, how soon unsay
What feigu'd submission swore I 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, instead
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 Heav'n'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 marr'd his borrow'd visage, and betray'd Him counterfeit, if any eye beheld. For heav'nly minds from such distempers foul Are ever clear. Whereof he soon aware, Each perturbation smooth'd with outward calm, 120 Artificer of fraud ; and was the first That practised falsehood under saintly show, Deep malice to conceal, couch'd with revenge: Yet not enough had practised to deceive Uriel once warn'd; whose eye pursued him down 125 The way he went, and on th’ Assyrian inount Saw him disfigured more than could befall Spirit of happy sort ; his gestures fierce He mark'd and mad demeanour, then alone, As he supposed, all unobserved, unseen.
130 So on he fares, and to the border comes Of Eden, where delicious Paradise, Now nearer, crowns with her inclosure green, As with a rural mound, the champaign head Of a steep wilderness, whose hairy sides
185 With thicket overgrown, grotesque and wild,
Access deny'd; and over head 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 verdurous wall of Paradise up sprung;
Which to our gen’ral sire gave prospect large
Into his nether empire neighb'ring 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
Than in fair ev'ning cloud, or humid bow,
When God hath show'r'd the earth : so lovely seem'd
That landskip: and of pure now purer air
Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires
Vernal delight and joy, able to drive
156 All sadness but despair: now gentle gales, Fanning their odorif'rous wings, dispense Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole Those balmy spoils. As when to them who sail Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past 160 Mozambique, off at sea north-east winds blow Sabean odours from the spicy shore Of Araby the Blest; with such delay [league Well pleased they slack their course, and many a Cheer'd with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles : So entertain'd those odorous sweets the Fiend 166 Who came their bane, though with them better pleased Than Asmodëus with the fisby fume That drove him, though enamour'd, from the spouse
131. The description which Milton has given of Paradise is similar to those of Homer, Spenser, and Tasso, in their accounts of the gardens in which the scene of their poems sometimes lies. To these may be added Ariosto's and Marino's, it being generally allowed, that though Milton's is superior to any other, that the Italian come nearest in beauty and perfection.
158. An imitation is here observed of Shakspeare in the Twelfth Night, or of Ariosto, Orlan, Fur. 6. 34. st. 51.
162. Mozambique is an island on the eastern coast of Africa. As the north-east wind blows contrary to those who have doabled the Cape, they are nence obliged to slack their course.-Sabean from Saba, a city and province of Arabia Felix
168. See Tobit viii.
Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent 170
From Media post to Egypt, there fast bound.
Now to th'ascent of that steep savage hill
Satan had journey'd on, pensive and slow;
But further way found none, so thick intwined,
As one continued brake, the undergrowth 175
Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplex’d
All path of man or beast that pass'd that way:
One gate there only was, and that look'd east
On th' other side ; which when th’ arch-felon saw,
Due entrance he disdain'd, and in contempt, 180
At one slight bound high overleap'd all bound
Of hill or highest wall, and sheer within
Lights on his feet. As when a prowling wolf,
Whom hunger drives to seek new haunt for prey,
Watching where shepherds pen their flocks at eve
In hurdled cots amid the field secure, 186
Leaps o'er the fence with ease into the fold:
Or as a thief bent to unhoard the cash
Of some rich burgher, whose substantial doors,
Cross-barr'd and bolted fast, fear no assault, 190
In at the window climbs, or o'er the tiles:
So clomb this first grand thief into God’s fold;
So since into his church lewd hirelings climb.
Thence up he flew, and on the tree of life,
The middle tree and highest there that grew, 195
Sat like a cormorant; yet not true life
Thereby regain'd, but sat devising death
To them who lived ; nor on the virtue thought
Of that life-giving plant, but only used
For prospect, what well used had been the pledge
Of immortality. So little knows 201
Any, but God alone, to value right
The good before him, but perverts best things
To worst abuse, or to their meanest use.
Beneath him, with new wonder, now he views 205
To all delight of human sense exposed
In narrow room Nature's whole wealth, yea more,
A Heav'n on Earth : for blissful Paradise
183. A wolf is a frequent subject of comparison in the poets,
but for the whole of this, see John x. 1.
193. Lewd, impious or wicked.
195. Gen. ii. 9, . In the midst, signifies the excellency as well is the situation of the tree.
Of God the garden was, by him in th'east
Of Eden planted ; Eden stretch'd her line 210
From Auran eastward to the royal tow'rs
Of great Seleucia, built by Grecian kings,
Or where the sons of Eden long before
Dwelt in Telassar. In this pleasant soil
His far more pleasant garden God ordain'd; 215
Out of the fertile ground he caused to grow
All trees of noblest kind for sight, smell, taste;
And all amid them stood the tree of life,
High eminent, blooming anıbrosial fruit
Of vegetable gold ; and next to life,
Our death, the tree of knowledge, grew fast by,
Knowledge of good bought dear by knowing ill.
Southward through Eden went a river large,
Nor changed his course, but thro’ the shaggy hill
Pass'd underneath ingulf'd; for God had thrown 225
That mountain as his garden mould high raised
Upon the rapid current, which thro' veins
Of porous earth with kindly thirst up drawn,
Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill
Water'd the garden : thence united fell
230 Down the steep glade, and met the nether flood, Which from his darksome passage now appears, And now divided into four main streams, Runs diverse, wand'ring many a famous realm And country, whereof here needs no account; 235 But rather to tell how, if Art could tell, How from that sapphire fount the crisped brooks, Rolling on orient pearl and sands of gold, With mazy error under pendent shades Ran nectar, visiting each plant, and fed
240 Flow'rs, worthy' of Paradise, which not nice Art In beds and curious knots, but Nature boon Pour'd forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain, Both where the morning Sun first warmly smote The open field, and where the unpierced shade 245
209. Gen. fi. 8. Seleucia, a city on the river Tigris, built by one of Alexander's successors.--Telassar was a country on the borders of Assyria.-See lsa, xxxvii. 12.
233. Gen. ii. 10. 238. Sɔ Pactolus, Hermus, &c. are said to have rolled over gokl and gens.