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THE ARGUMENT,

Satan, having compassed the Earth, with meditated guile re: turns, as a mist, by night into Paradise ; enters into the serpent sleeping. Adam and Eve in the morning go forth to their labours, which Eve proposes to divide in several places, each labouring apart, Adam consents not; alleging the danger, lest that enemy,' of whom they were forwarned should attempt her found alone; Eve, loath to be thought not circumspect or firm enough, urges her going apart, the rather desirous to make trial of her strength; Adam at last yields. The serpent finds her alone, his subtle approach, first gazing, then speaking; with much flattery extolling Eve above all other creatures. Eve wondering to hear the serpent speak, asks how he attained to human speech and such understanding not till now; the serpent answers, that by tasting of a certain tree inthe garden he attained both to speech and reason, till then void of both. Eve requires him to bring her to that tree, and finds it to be the tree of knowleged forbidden. The serpent, now grown bolder, with many wiles and arguments, indrices her at length to eat : she, pleased with the taste, deliberates awhile whether to impart thereof to Adam or not; at last brings him of the fruit; relutes what persuaded her to eat thereof; Adam, at first amazed, but perceiving her lost, resolves,

vehemence of love, to perish with her; and, extenuating the trespass, eats also of the fruit; the effects thereof in them both; they seek to cover their nakedness; then fail to variance and accusation of one another.

PARADISE LOST.

BOOK IX.

No more of taik where God or Angel guest
With man as with his friend familiar used,
To sit indulgent, and with him partake
Rural repasi; permitting him the while
Venial discourse unblamed. I now must change
Those notes to tragic; foul distrust, and breach
Disloyal on the part of man, revolt,
And disobedience: on the part of Heaven,
Now alienated, distance and distaste,
Anger and just rebuke, and judgment given,
That brought into this world a world of wo,
Sin and her shadow death, and misery,
Death's harbinger; sad task ! yet argument
Not less but more heroic than the wrath
Ofstern Achilles on his foe pursued
Thrice fugitive about Troy wall; or rage
Of Turnus for Lavinia disespoused;
Or Neptune's ire, or Juno's, that so long
Perplex'd the Greek, and Cytherea's son ;
If answerable style I can obtain
Of my celestial patroness, who deigns
Her nightly visitation unimplored,
And dictates to me slumbering! or inspires
Easy my unpremeditated verse :
since first this subject for heroic song
Pleased me long choosing, and beginning late;
Not sedulous by nature to indite
Wars, kitherto the only argument

Heroic deem'd; chief mastery to dissect
With long and tedious havoc fabled knights
In battles feign'd the better fortitude
of patience and heroic martyrdom
Unsung : or to describe races and games,
Or tilting furniture, imblazon'd shields.
Impresses quaint, caparisons and steeds,
Bases and tinsel trappings, gorgeous knights
At joust and tournament; then marshall?d feast
Served up in hall with sewers and seneschals;
The skill of artifice or office mean,
Not that which justly gives heroic name
To person or to poem. Me, of these
Nor skill'd nor studious, higher argument
Remains ; sufficient of itself to raise
That name, unless an age too late or cold
Climate, or years, damp my intended wing
Depress'd; and much they may, if all be mine,
Not hers, who brings it nightly to my ear.

The sun was sunk, and after him the star
Of Hesperns, whose office is to bring
Twilight upon the Earth, short arbiter
'Twixt day and night, and now from end to end
Night's hemisphere had veil'd the horizon round:
When Satan, who late fled before the threats
Of Gabriel out of Eden, now improved
In meditated fraud and malice, bent
On man's destruction, maugre what might hap
Of heavier on himself, fearless return'd.
By night he fled and at midnight return'd
From compassing the Earth; cautious of day,
Since Uriel, regent of the day, descried
His entrance, and forwarn'd the cherubim
That kept their watch; thence full of anguish driven
The space of seven continued nights he rode
With darkness; thrice the equinoctial line
He circled: four times cross'd the car 'night

From pole to pole, traversing each colure;
On the eighth return'd; and; on the coast averse
From entrance or cherubie watch, by stealth
Found unsuspected way. There was a place,
Now not, though sin, not time, first wrought the change,
Where Tigris, at the foot of Paradise,
Into a gulf shot under ground, till part
Rose up a fountain by the tree of life :
In with the river sunk, and with it rose
Satan, involved in rising mist; then sought
Where to lie hid: sea he had search'd, and land,
From Eden over Pontus and the pool
Mæotis, up beyond the river Ob;
Downward as far antarctic ; and in length,
West from Orontes to the ocean barr'd
At Darien ; thence to the land where flows
Ganges and Indus : Thus the orb he roam'd
With narrow search; and with inspection deep
Consider'd every creature, which of all
Most opportune might serve his wiles ; and found
The serpent subtlest beast of all the field.
Him after long debate, irresolute
Of thoughts resolved, his final sentence chose
Fit vessel, fittest imp of fraud, in whom
To enter, and his dark suggestions hide
From sharpest sight: for, in the wily snake
Whatever sleights, none would suspicious mark
As from his wit and native subtlety
Proceding; which, in other beasts observed,
Doubt might beget of diabolic power
Active within, beyond the sense of brute.
Thus he resolved, but first from inward grief
His bursting passion into plaints thus pour'd :

O Earth how like to Heaven, if not preferr'd
More justly, seat worthier of Gods, as built
With second thoughts, reforming what was old :
For what God, after better, worse would build

T*

Terrestial Heaven, danced round by other Heavens
That shine, yet bear their bright officious lamps,
Light above light, for thee alone, as seems,
In thee concentring all their precious beam's
Of sacred influence! As God in Heaven
Is centre, yet extends to all ; so thou,
Centring, receivest from all those orbs; in thee
Not in themselves, all their known virtue appears
Productive in herb, plant,and nobler birth
Ofcreatures animate with gradual life
Of growth, sense, reason, all summ'd up in man.
With what delight could I have walk'd thee round,
If I could joy in aught, sweet interchange
Ofhill and valley, rivers, woods, and plains,
Now land, now sea, and shores with forest crown'd,
Rocks, dens, and caves ! But I in none of these
Find place or refuge ; and the more I see
Pleasures about me, so much more I feel
Torment within me, as from the hateful siege
Of contraries : all good to me becomes
Bane, and in Heaven much worse would be my state.
But neither here seek I, no nor in Heaven
To dwell, unless by mastering Heaven's Supreme ;
Nor hope to be myself less miserable
By what I seek, but others to make such
As I, though thereby worse to me redound :
For only in destroying I find ease
To my relentless thoughts; and, him destroy'd,
Or won to what may work his utter loss,
For whom all this was made, all this will soon
Follow, as to him link'd in weal or woe ;
In woe then; that destruction wide might range :
To me shall be the glory sole among
The infernal powers, in one day to have marrd
What he, Almighty styled, six nights and days
Continued making; and who knows how long
Before had been contriving? though perhaps

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