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To execute fierce vengeance on his foes,
of Sennaar, and still with vain design Not so on man: him, through their malice fall'n, New Babels, had they wherewithal, would build. Father of mercy and grace, thou didst not doom Others came single; he, who to be deem'd So strictly, but much more to pity incline : A god, leap'd fondly into Ætna flames, No sooner did thy dear and only Son
Empedocles; and he, who to enjoy Perceive thee purpos'd not to doom frail Man Plato's Elysium, leap'd into the sea, So strictly, but much more to pity inclin'd, Cleombrotus; and many more too long, He to appease thy wrath, and end the strife Embryos and idiots, eremites and friars of mercy and justice in thy face discern’d, White, black, and grey, with all their trumpery. Regardless of the bliss wherein he sat
Here pilgrims roam, that stray'd so far to seek Second to thee, offer'd himself to die
In Golgotha him dead, who lives in Heaven; For Man's offence. O unexampled love,
And they, who to be sure of Paradise, Love nowhere to be found less than divine! Dying, put on the weeds of Dominic, Hail, Son of God, Savior of Men! Thy name Or in Franciscan think to pass disguis'd; Shall be the copious matter of my song
They pass the planets seven, and pass the fix'd, Henceforth, and never shall my harp thy praise And that crystalline sphere whose balance weighs Forget, nor from thy Father's praise disjoin. The trepidation talk'd, and that first mov’d:
Thus they in Heaven, above the starry sphere, And now Saint Peter at Heaven's wicket seems Their happy hours in joy and hymning spent.
To wait them with his keys, and now at foot Meanu hile upon the firm opacous globe
Of Heaven's ascent they lift their feet, when lo Of this round world, whose first convex divides A violent cross wind from either coast The luminous inferior orbs, inclos d
Blows them transverse, ten thousand leagues awry From Chaos, and the inroad of Darkness old, Into the devious air: then might ye see Salan alighted walks: a globe far off
Cowls, hoods, and habits, with their wearers, tost It seemd, now seems a boundless continent And flutter'd into rags; then reliques, beads, Dark, waste, and wild, under the frown of Night Indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls, Starless expos’d, and, ever-threatening storms The sport of winds: all these, upwhirl'd aloft, Of Chaos blustering round, inclement sky; Fly o'er the backside of the world far off, Save on that side which from the wall of Heaven, Into a Limbo large and broad, since call'd Though distant far, some small reflection gains The Paradise of Fools, to few unknown of glimmering air, less vex'd with tempest loud: Long after, now unpeopled and untrod. Here walk'd the fiend at large in spacious field. All this dark globe the fiend found as he pass'd, As when a vulture on Imaus bred,
And long he wander'd, till at last a gleam Whose snowy ridge the roving Tartar bounds, Of dawning light turn'd thitherward in haste Dislodging from a region scarce of prey,
His travellid steps : far distant he descries
At top whereof, but far more rich appear'd
The work as of a kingly palace-gate, But in his way lights on the barren plains With frontispiece of diamond and gold Of Sericana, where Chineses drive
Embellish'd ; thick with sparkling orient gems With sails and wind their cany wagons light: The portal shone, inimitable on Earth So, on this windy sea of land, the fiend By model, or by shading pencil, drawn. Walk'd up and down alone, bent on his prey ;
The stairs were such as whereon Jacob saw Alone, for other creature in this place,
Angels ascending and descending, bands Living or lifeless, to be found was none, Of guardians bright, when he from Esau fled None yet, but store hereafter from the Earth To Padan-Aram, in the field of Luz Up hither like aëreal vapors flew
Dreaming by night under the open sky,
Of jasper, or of liquid pearl, whereon
Wafted by angels, or flew o'er the lake
The stairs were then let down, whether to dare All the unaccomplish'd works of Nature's hand, The fiend by easy ascent, or aggravate Abortive, monstrous, or unkindly mix'd,
His sad exclusion from the doors of bliss : Dissolv'd on Earth, fleet hither, and in vain, Direct against which open'd from beneath, Till final dissolution, wander here;
Just o'er the blissful seat of Paradise, Not in the neighboring Moon, as some have A passage down to the Earth, a passage wide, dream'd;
Wider by far than that of after-times Those argent fields more likely habitants, Over mount Sion, and, though that were large, Translated saints, or middle spirits hold Over the Promis'd Land, to God so dear; Betwixt the angelical and human kind.
By which, to visit oft those happy tribes, Hither of ill-join'd sons and daughters born On high behests his angels to and fro First from the ancient world those giants came Pass'd frequent, and his eye with choice regard With many a vain exploit, though then renown'd: From Paneas, the fount of Jordan's flood, The builders next of Babel on the plain To Beërsaba, where the Holy Land
Borders on Egypt and the Arabian shore ; What wonder then if fields and regions here
But all sun-shine, as when his beams at noon The goodly prospect of some foreign land
Culminate from the equator, as they now First seen, or some renown'd metropolis Shot upward still direct, whence no way round With glistering spires and pinnacles adorn’d, Shadow from body opaque can fall : and the air, Which now the rising Sun gilds with his beams : Nowhere so clear, sharpen'd his visual ray Such wonder seiz'd, though after Heaven seen, To objects distant far, whereby he soon The spirit malign, but much more envy seiz'd, Saw within ken a glorious angel stand, At sight of all this world beheld so fair.
The same whom John saw also in the Sun: Round he surveys (and well might, where he stood His back was turn'd, but not his brightness hid; So high above the circling canopy
Of beaming sunny rays a golden liar
Illustrious on his shoulders, fledge with wings, Andromeda far off Atlantic seas
Lay waving round; on some great charge employ'd Beyond the horizon; then from pole to pole He seem'd, or fix'd in cogitation deep. He views in breadth, and without longer pause Glad was the spirit impure, as now in hope Down right into the world's first region throws To find who might direct his wandering flight His flight precipitant, and winds with ease To Paradise, the happy seat of Man, Through the pure marble air his oblique way His journey's end and our beginning woe. Amongst innumerable stars, that shone
But first he casts to change his proper shape, Stars distant, but nigh hand seem'd other worlds; Which else might work him danger or delay : Or other worlds they seem'd, or happy isles, And now a stripling cherub he appears, Like those Hesperian gardens fam'd of old, Not of the prime, yet such as in his face Fortunate fields, and groves, and flowery vales, Youth smil'd celestial, and to every limb Thrice happy isles ; but who dwelt happy there Suitable grace diffus’d, so well he feignid: He staid not to inquire: above them all
Under a coronet his flowing hair The golden Sun, in splendor likest Heaven, In curls on either cheek play'd ; wings he wore, Allur'd his eye; thither his course he bends Of many a color'd plume, sprinkled with gold; Through the calm firmament, (but up or down, His habit fit for speed succinct, and held By centre or eccentric, hard to tell,
Before his decent steps a silver wand. Or longitude,) where the great luminary He drew not nigh unheard ; the angel bright, Aloof the vulgar constellations thick,
Ere he drew nigh, his radiant visage lurn’d, That from his lordly eye keep distance due, Admonish'd by his ear, and straight was known Dispenses light from far; they, as they move The arch-angel Uriel, one of the seven Their starry dance in numbers that compute Who in God's presence, nearest to his throne, Days, months and years, towards his all-cheering Stand ready at command, and are his eyes lamp
That run through all the Heavens, or down to the Turn swift their various motions, or are turn'd
O'er sea and land : him Satan thus accosts.
“ Uriel, for thou of those seven spirits that stand Shoots invisible virtue even to the deep;
In sight of God's high throne, gloriously bright, So wondrously was set his station bright.
The first art wont his great authentic will There lands the fiend, a spot like which perhaps Interpreter through highest Heaven to bring, Astronomer in the Sun's lucent orb
Where all his sons thy embassy attend;
Unspeakable desire to see, and know
All these his works so wonderous he ordain'd, Ruby or topaz, to the twelve that shone Hath brought me from the quires of cherubim In Aaron's breast-plate, and a stone besides Alone thus wandering. Brightest seraph, tell Imagin'd rather oft than elsewhere seen,
In which of all these shining orbs hath Man That stone, or like to that, which here below His fixed seat, or fixed seat hath none, Philosophers in vain so long have sought,
But all these shining orbs his choice to dwell ; In vain, though by their powerful art they bind That I may find him, and with secret gaze Volatile Hermes, and call up unbound
Or open admiration him behold, In various shapes old Proteus from the sea, On whom the great Creator hath bestow'd Drain'd through a limbec to his native form. Worlds, and on whom hath all these graces pour'd
That both in him and all things, as is meet,
Satan, now in prospect of Eden, and nigh the place To serve him beiter: wise are all his ways.” where he must now attempt the bold enterprise
So spake the false dissembler un perceiv'd; which he undertook alone against God and Man, For neither man nor angel can discern
falls into many doubts with himself, and many Hypocrisy, the only evil that walks
passions, fear, envy, and despair; but at length Invisible, except to God alone,
confirms himself in evil, journeys on to Paradise, By his permissive will, through Heaven and Earth: whose outward prospect and situation is described; And oft, though wisdom wake, suspicion sleeps overleaps the bounds; sits in the shape of a corAt wisdom's gate, and to simplicity
morant on the tree of life, as highest in the gar. Resigns her charge, while goodness thinks no ill den, to look about him. The garden described ; Where no ill seems : which now for once beguilla Satan's first sight of Adam and Eve; his wonder Uriel, though regent of the Sun, and held
at their excellent form and happy state, but with The sharpest-sighted spirit of all in Heaven; resolution to work their fall; overhears their disWho to the fraudulent impostor foul,
course, thence gathers that the tree of knowledge In his uprightness, answer thus return'd.
was forbidden them to eat of, under penalty of * Fair angel, thy desire, which tends to know death ; and thereon intends to found his temptaThe works of God, thereby to glorify
tion, by seducing them to transgress: then leaves The great Work-master, leads to no excess
them a while to know further of their state by That reaches blame, but rather merits praise some other means. Meanwhile Uriel descending The more it seems excess, that led thee hither on a sunbeam warns Gabriel, who had in charge From thy empyreal mansion thus alone,
the gate of Paradise, that some evil spirit had To witness with thine eyes what some perhaps, escaped the deep, and passed at noon by his Contented with report, hear only in Heaven: sphere in the shape of a good angel down to For wonderful indeed are all his works,
Paradise, discovered after by his furious gestures Pleasant to know, and worthiest to be all
in the mount. Gabriel promises to find him ere Had in remembrance always with delight;
morning. Night coming on, Adam and Eve But what created mind can comprehend
discourse of going to their rest: their bower Their number, or the wisdom infinite
described; their evening worship. Gabriel, drawThat brought them forth, but hid their causes deep? ing forth his bands of night-watch to walk the I saw when at his word the formless mass,
round of Paradise, appoints two strong angels to This world's material mould, came to a heap: Adam's bower, lest the evil spirit should be there Confusion heard his voice, and wild uproar
doing some harm to Adam or Eve, sleeping; Stood rul'd, stood vast infinitude confin'd;
there they find him at the ear of Eve tempting her Till at his second bidding Darkness fled,
in a dream, and bring him, though unwilling, to Light shone, and order from disorder sprung: Gabriel ; by whom questioned, he scornfully anSwift to their several quarters hasted then
swers ; prepares resistance; but, hindered by a The cumbrous elements, earth, flood, air, fire; sign from Heaven, flies out of Paradise. And this ethereal quintessence of Heaven Flew upward, spirited with various forms, O for that warning voice, which he, who saw That rollid orbicular, and turn'd to stars Th' Apocalypse, heard cry in Heaven aloud, Numberless, as thou seest, and how they move; Then when the Dragon, put to second rout, Each had his place appointed, each his course;
Came furious down to be reveng’d on men, The rest in circuit walls this universe.
Woe to the inhabitants on Earth! that now, Look downward on that globe, whose hither side While time was, our first parents had been warn'd With light from hence, though but reflected, shines: The coming of their secret foe, and 'scap'd, That place is Earth, the seat of Man; that light Haply so 'scap'd his mortal snare: for now His day, which else, as the other hemisphere, Satan, now first inflam'd with rage, came down, Night would invade; but there the neighboring The tempter ere the accuser of mankind, Moon
To wreak on innocent frail man his loss (Su call that opposite fair star) her aid
of that first battle, and his flight to Hell: Timely interposes, and her monthly round Yet, not rejoicing in his speed, though bold Still ending, still renewing, through mid Heaven, Far off and fearless, nor with cause to boast, With borrow'd light her countenance triform Begins his dire attempt; which nigh the birth Hence fills and empties to enlighten th' Earth, Now rolling boils in his tumultuous breast, And in her pale dominion checks the night. And like a devilish engine back recoils That spot, to which I point, is Paradise,
Upon himself; horror and doubt distract Adam's abode; those lofty shades, his bower. His troubled thoughts, and from the bottom stir Thy way thou canst not miss, me mine requires." The Hell within him ; for within him Hell
Thus suid, he turn'd ; and Satan, bowing low, He brings, and round about him, nor from Hell As to superior spirits is wont in Heaven,
One step, no more than from himself, can fly Where honor due and reverence none neglects, By change of place: now conscience wakes despair, Took leave, and toward the coast of Earth beneath, That slumber'd; wakes the bitter memory Down from the ecliptic, sped with hop'd, success, Of what he was, what is, and what must be Throws his steep flight in many an aery wheel; Worse; of worse deeds worse sufferings must ensuo Nor staid, till on Niphates' top he lights.
Sometimes towards Eden, which now in his view
Lay pleasant, his griev'd look he fixed sad; Would height recall high thoughts, how soon unsay Sometimes towards Heaven, and the full-blazing What feign'd submission swore ? Ease would recant Sun,
Vows made in pain, as violent and void. Which now sat high in his meridian tower: For never can true reconcilement grow, Then, much revolving, thus in sighs began. Where wounds of deadly hate have pierc'd so deep •
“O) thou, that, with surpassing glory crown'd, Which would but lead me to a worse relapse Look'st from thy sole dominion like the God And heavier fall: so should I purchase dear Of this new world ; at whose sight all the stars Short intermission bought with double smart. Hide their diminish'd heads; to thee I call, This knows my punisher; therefore as far But with no friendly voice, and add thy name, From granting he, as I from begging peace: O Sun! to tell thee how I hate thy beams, All hope excluded thus, behold, instead Tha: bring to my remembrance from what state Of us outcast, exil'd, his new delight, I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere ; Mankind created, and for him this world. Till pride and worse ambition threw me down, So farewell hope, and with hope farewell fear, Warring in Heaven against Heaven's matchless Farewell remorse : all good to me is lost; King :
Evil, be thou my good : by thee at least Ah, wherefore! he deserv'd no such return Divided empire with Heaven's King I hold, From me, whom he created what I was
By thee, and more than half perhaps will reign; In that bright eminence, and with his good As Man ere long, and this new world, shall know." Upbraided none; nor was his service hard.
Thus while he spake, each passion dimm'd his What could be less than to afford him praise,
face, The easiest recompense, and pay him thanks, Thrice chang’d with pale, ire, envy, and despair; How due! yet all his good prov'd ill in me, Which marr'd his borrow'd visage, and betray'd And wrought but malice; lifted up so high Him counterfeit, if any eye beheld. I’sdain’d subjection, and thought one step higher For heavenly minds from such distempers foul Would set me highest, and in a moment quit Are ever clear. Whereof he soon aware, The debt immense of endless gratitude,
Each perturbation smooth'd with outward calm, So burthensome still paying, still to owe,
Artificer of fraud; and was the first Forgetful what from him I still receiv’d, That practis'd falsehood under saintly show, And understood not that a grateful mind
Deep malice to conceal, couch'd with revenge: By owing owes not, but still pays, at once Yet not enough had practis'd to deceive Indebted and discharg'd; what burthen then ? Uriel once warn'd; whose eye pursued him down O had his powerful destiny ordain'd
The way he went, and on the Assyrian mount Me some inferior angel, I had stood
Saw him disfigur'd, more than could befall Then happy; no unbounded hope had rais'd Spirit of happy sort: his gestures fierce Ambition. Yet why not? some other power He mark'd and mad demeanor, then alone, As great might have aspir’d, and me, though mean, As he suppos’d, all unobserv'd, unseen. Drawn to his part; but other powers as great So on he fares, and to the border comes Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within
Of Eden, where delicious Paradise Or from without, to all temptations arm’d.
Now nearer, crowns with her inclosure green, Hadst thou the same free will and power to stand ? As with a rural mound, the champaign head Thou hadst: whom hast thou then or what to ac- Of a steep wilderness, whose hairy sides
With thicket overgrown, grotesque and wild, But Heaven's free love dealt equally to all ? Access denied ; and over-head up-grew Be then his love accurs’d, since love or hate, Insuperable height of loftiest shade, To me alike, it deals eternal woe.
Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm, Nay, curs'd be thou; since against his thy will A sylvan scene; and, as the ranks ascend Chose freely what it now so justly rues.
Shade above shade, a woody theatre Me miserable! which way shall I fly
Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops Infinite wrath, and infinite despair ?
The verdurous wall of Paradise up-sprung : Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell; Which to our general sire gave prospect large And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep
Into his nether empire neighboring round. Still threatening to devour me opens wide, And higher than that wall a circling row To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heaven. Of goodliest trees, loaden with fairest fruit, 0, then, at last relent: is there no place
Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue, Left for repentance, none for pardon left?
Appear'd, with gay enamellid colors mix'd : None left but by submission; and that word On which the Sun more glad impress'd his beams Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow, Among the spirits beneath, whom I seduc'd When God hath shower'd the earth ; so lovely With other promises and other vaunts
Vernal delight and joy, able to drive
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole The lower still I fall, only supreme
Those balmy spoils. As when to them who sail In misery : such joy ambition finds.
Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past But say I could repent, and could obtain, Mozambic, off at sca north-east winds blow By act of grace, my former state; how soon Sabean odors from the spicy shore
Of Araby the blest; with such delay (league Which from his darksome passage now appears,
How from that sapphire fount the crisped brooks, Than Asmodëus with the fishy fume
Rolling on orient pearl and sands of gold, That drove him, though enamor'd, from the spouse With mazy error under pendent shades Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent Ran nectar, visiting each plant, and fed From Media post to Egypt, there fast bound. Flowers worthy of Paradise, which not nice Art
Now to the ascent of that steep savage hill In beds and curious knots, but Nature boon Satan had journey'd on, pensive and slow; Pour'd forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain, But further way found none, so thick entwin'd, Both where the morning Sun first warmly smote As one continued brake, the undergrowth The open field, and where the unpierc'd shade Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplex'd Imbrown'd the noontide bowers : thus was this place All path of man or beast that pass'd that way. A happy rural seat of various view; One gate there only was, and that look'd east Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and On the other side: which when the arch-felon saw,
balm, Due entrance he disdain'd; and, in contempt, Others whose fruit burnish'd with golden rind, At one slight bound high over-leap'd all bound Hung amiable, Hesperian fables true, Of hill or highest wall, and sheer within
If true, here only, and of delicious taste : Lights on his feet. As when a prowling wolf, Betwixt them lawns, or level downs, and flocks Whom hunger drives to seek new haunt for prey, Grazing the tender herb, were interpos'd, Watching where shepherds pen their flocks at eve Or palmy hillock; or the flowery lap In hurdled cotes amid the field secure,
Of some irriguous valley spread her store, Leaps o'er the fence with ease into the fold : Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose : Or as a thief, bent to unhoard the cash
Another side, umbrageous grots and caves Of some rich burgher, whose substantial doors, Of cool recess, o'er which the mantling vine Cross-barr'd and bolted fast, fear no assault, Lays forth her purple grape, and gently creeps In at the window climbs, or o'er the tiles : Luxuriant; meanwhile murmuring waters fall So clomb this first grand thief into God's fold; Down the slope hills, dispers’d, or in a lake, So since into his church lewd hirelings climb. That to the fringed bank with myrtle crown'd Thence up he flew, and on the tree of life, Her crystal mirror holds, unite their streams. The middle tree and highest there that grew, The birds their quire apply; airs, vernal airs, Sat like a cormorant; yet not true lise
Breathing the smell of field and grove, attune Thereby regain’d, but sat devising death The trembling leaves, while universal Pan, To them who liv'd; nor on the virtue thought Knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance, Of that life-giving plant, but only us'd
Led on the eternal Spring. Not that fair field For prospect, what well us'd had been the pledge Of Enna, where Proserpine gathering flowers, Of immortality. So little knows
Herself a fairer flower, by gloomy Dis Any, but God alone, to value right
Was gather'd, which cost Ceres all that pain The good before him, but perverts best things To seek her through the world; nor that sweet grove To worst abuse, or to their meanest use.
Of Daphne by Orontes, and the inspir’d Beneath him with new wonder now he views, Castalian spring, might with this Paradise To all delight of human sense expos'd,
Of Eden strive; nor that Nyseian isle In narrow room, Nature's whole wealth, yea more, Girt with the river Triton, where old Cham, A Heaven on Earth: for blissful Paradise Whom Gentiles Ammon call and Lybian Jove, Of God the garden was, by him in the east Hid Amalthea, and her florid son, Of Eden planted : Eden stretch'd her line Young Bacchus, from his stepdame Rhea's eye ; From Auran eastward to the royal towers
Nor where A bassin kings their issue guard, Of great Seleucia, built by Grecian kings,
Mount Amara, though this by some suppos'd Or where the sons of Eden long before
True Paradise under the Ethiop line Dwelt in Telassar : in this pleasant soil By Nilus' head, inclos'd with shining rock, His far more pleasant garden God ordain'd; A whole day's journey high, but wide remote Out of the fertile ground he caus'd to grow From this Assyrian garden, where the fiend All trees of noblest kind for sight, smell, taste; Saw, undelighted, all delight, all kind And all amid them stood the tree of life, Of living creatures, new to sight, and strange. High eminent, blooming ambrosial fruit
Two of far nobler shape, erect and tall, Of vegetable gold; and next to life,
Godlike erect, with native honor clad Our death, the tree of knowledge, grew fast by, in naked majesty, seem'd lords of all : Knowledge of good, bought dear by knowing ill. And worthy seem'd; for in their looks divine Southward through Eden went a river large, The image of their glorious Maker shone, Nor chang'd his course, but through the shaggy hill Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure, Pass'd underneath ingulf'd; for God had thrown Severe, but in true filial freedom plac'd,) That mountain as his garden-mould high rais'd Whence true authority in men ; though both Upon the rapid current, which through veins Not equal, as their sex not equal seem'd; Of porous earth with kindly thirst up-drawn, For contemplation he and valor form’d; Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill For softness she and sweet attractive grace Water'd the garden; thence united fell
He for God only, she for God in him
: Down the steep glade, and met the nether food, Ilis fuir large front and eye sublime declar'd