This is the February 1992 release of: 

Paradise Lost by John Milton 
Introduction  (one page) 

This etext was originally created in 1964-1965 according to Dr. 
Joseph Raben of Queens College, NY, to whom it is attributed by 
Project Gutenberg.  We had heard of this etext for years but it 
was not until 1991 that we actually managed to track it down to 
a specific location, and then it took months to convince people 
to let us have a copy, then more months for them actually to do 
the copying and get it to us.  Then another month to convert to 
something we could massage with our favorite 486 in DOS.  After 
that is was only a matter of days to get it into this shape you 
will see below.  The original was, of course, in CAPS only, and 
so were all the other etexts of the 60's and early 70's.  Don't 
let anyone fool you into thinking any etext with both upper and 
lower case is an original; all those original Project Gutenberg 
etexts were also in upper case and were translated or rewritten 
many times to get them into their current condition.  They have 
been worked on by many people throughout the world. 
In the course of our searches for Professor Raben and his etext 
we were never able to determine where copies were or which of a 
variety of editions he may have used as a source.  We did get a 
little information here and there, but even after we received a 
copy of the etext we were unwilling to release it without first 
determining that it was in fact Public Domain and finding Raben 
to verify this and get his permission.  Interested enough, in a 
totally unrelated action to our searches for him, the professor 
subscribed to the Project Gutenberg listserver and we happened, 
by accident, to notice his name. (We don't really look at every 
subscription request as the computers usually handle them.) The 
etext was then properly identified, copyright analyzed, and the 
current edition prepared. 
To give you an estimation of the difference in the original and 
what we have today:  the original was probably entered on cards 
commonly known at the time as "IBM cards" (Do Not Fold, Spindle 
or Mutilate) and probably took in excess of 100,000 of them.  A 
single card could hold 80 characters (hence 80 characters is an 
accepted standard for so many computer margins), and the entire 
original edition we received in all caps was over 800,000 chars 
in length, including line enumeration, symbols for caps and the 
punctuation marks, etc., since they were not available keyboard 
characters at the time (probably the keyboards operated at baud 
rates of around 113, meaning the typists had to type slowly for 
the keyboard to keep up). 

Paradise Lost 

Book I 

Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit 
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste 
Brought death into the World, and all our woe, 
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man 
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat, 
Sing, Heavenly Muse, that, on the secret top 
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire 
That shepherd who first taught the chosen seed 
In the beginning how the heavens and earth 
Rose out of Chaos: or, if Sion hill 
Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flowed 
Fast by the oracle of God, I thence 
Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song, 
That with no middle flight intends to soar 
Above th' Aonian mount, while it pursues 
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme. 
And chiefly thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer 
Before all temples th' upright heart and pure, 
Instruct me, for thou know'st; thou from the first 
Wast present, and, with mighty wings outspread, 
Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast Abyss, 
And mad'st it pregnant: what in me is dark 
Illumine, what is low raise and support; 
That, to the height of this great argument, 
I may assert Eternal Providence, 
And justify the ways of God to men. 

  Say first--for Heaven hides nothing from thy view, 
Nor the deep tract of Hell--say first what cause 
Moved our grand parents, in that happy state, 
Favoured of Heaven so highly, to fall off 
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, 
Stirred up with envy and revenge, deceived 
The mother of mankind, what time his pride 
Had cast him out from Heaven, with all his host 
Of rebel Angels, by whose aid, aspiring 
To set himself in glory above his peers, 
He trusted to have equalled the Most High, 
If he opposed, and with ambitious aim 
Against the throne and monarchy of God, 
Raised impious war in Heaven and battle proud, 
With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power 
Hurled 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 
To mortal men, he, with his horrid crew, 
Lay vanquished, 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 witnessed huge affliction and dismay, 
Mixed with obdurate pride and steadfast hate. 
At once, as far as Angels ken, he views 
The dismal situation waste and wild. 
A dungeon horrible, on all sides round, 
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 has prepared 
For those rebellious; here their prison ordained 
In utter darkness, and their portion set, 
As far removed from God and light of Heaven 
As from the centre thrice to th' utmost pole. 
Oh how unlike the place from whence they fell! 
There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelmed 
With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire, 
He soon discerns; and, weltering by his side, 
One next himself in power, and next in crime, 
Long after known in Palestine, and named 
Beelzebub. To whom th' Arch-Enemy, 
And thence in Heaven called Satan, with bold words 
Breaking the horrid silence, thus began:-- 

  "If thou beest he--but O how fallen! 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 enterprise 
Joined with me once, now misery hath joined 
In equal ruin; into what pit thou seest 
From what height fallen: 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 inflict, do I repent, or change, 
Though changed in outward lustre, that fixed mind, 
And high disdain from sense of injured merit, 
That with the Mightiest raised me to contend, 
And to the fierce contentions brought along 
Innumerable force of Spirits armed, 
That durst dislike his reign, and, me preferring, 
His utmost power with adverse power opposed 
In dubious battle on the plains of Heaven, 
And shook his throne. What though the field be lost? 
All is not lost--the unconquerable will, 
And study of revenge, immortal hate, 
And 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 empyreal sybstance, cannot fail; 
Since, through experience of this great event, 
In arms not worse, in foresight much advanced, 
We may with more successful hope resolve 
To wage by force or guile eternal war, 
Irreconcilable to our grand Foe, 
Who now triumphs, and in th' excess of joy 
Sole reigning holds the tyranny of Heaven." 

  So spake th' apostate Angel, though in pain, 
Vaunting aloud, but racked with deep despair; 
And him thus answered soon his bold compeer:-- 

  "O Prince, O Chief of many throned Powers 
That led th' embattled Seraphim to war 
Under thy conduct, and, in dreadful deeds 
Fearless, endangered Heaven's perpetual King, 
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 Heaven, and all this mighty host 
In horrible destruction laid thus low, 
As far as Gods and heavenly Essences 
Can perish: for the mind and spirit remains 
Invincible, and vigour soon returns, 
Though all our glory extinct, and happy state 
Here swallowed up in endless misery. 
But what if he our Conqueror (whom I now 
Of force believe almighty, since no less 
Than such could have o'erpowered 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, 
Here in the heart of Hell to work in fire, 
Or do his errands in the gloomy Deep? 
What can it the avail though yet we feel 
Strength undiminished, or eternal being 
To undergo eternal punishment?" 

  Whereto with speedy words th' Arch-Fiend replied:-- 
"Fallen Cherub, to be weak is miserable, 
Doing or suffering: but of this be sure-- 
To do aught good never will be our task, 
But ever to do ill our sole delight, 
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; 
Which ofttimes may succeed so as perhaps 
Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb 
His inmost counsels from their destined aim. 
But see! the angry Victor hath recalled 
His ministers of vengeance and pursuit 
Back to the gates of Heaven: the sulphurous hail, 
Shot after us in storm, o'erblown hath laid 
The fiery surge that from the precipice 
Of Heaven received us falling; and the thunder, 
Winged 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, re-assembling 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." 

  Thus Satan, talking to his nearest mate, 
With head uplift above the wave, and eyes 
That sparkling blazed; his other parts besides 
Prone on the flood, extended long and large, 
Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge 
As whom the fables name of monstrous size, 
Titanian or Earth-born, that warred on Jove, 
Briareos or Typhon, whom the den 
By ancient Tarsus held, or that sea-beast 
Leviathan, which God of all his works 
Created hugest that swim th' ocean-stream. 
Him, haply slumbering on the Norway foam, 
The pilot of some small night-foundered skiff, 
Deeming some island, oft, as seamen tell, 
With fixed anchor in his scaly rind, 
Moors by his side under the lee, while night 
Invests the sea, and wished morn delays. 
So stretched out huge in length the Arch-fiend lay, 
Chained on the burning lake; nor ever thence 
Had risen, or heaved his head, but that the will 
And high permission of all-ruling Heaven 
Left him at large to his own dark designs, 
That with reiterated crimes he might 
Heap on himself damnation, while he sought 
Evil to others, and enraged might see 
How all his malice served but to bring forth 
Infinite goodness, grace, and mercy, shewn 
On Man by him seduced, but on himself 
Treble confusion, wrath, and vengeance poured. 

  Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool 
His mighty stature; on each hand the flames 
Driven backward slope their pointing spires, and,rolled 
In billows, leave i' th' midst a horrid vale. 
Then with expanded wings he steers his flight 
Aloft, incumbent on the dusky air, 
That felt unusual weight; till on dry land 
He lights--if it were land that ever burned 
With solid, as the lake with liquid fire, 
And such appeared in hue as when the force 
Of subterranean wind transprots a hill 
Torn from Pelorus, or the shattered side 
Of thundering Etna, whose combustible 
And fuelled entrails, thence conceiving fire, 
Sublimed with mineral fury, aid the winds, 
And leave a singed bottom all involved 
With stench and smoke. Such resting found the sole 
Of unblest feet. Him followed his next mate; 
Both glorying to have scaped the Stygian flood 
As gods, and by their own recovered strength, 
Not by the sufferance of supernal Power. 

  "Is this the region, this the soil, the clime," 
Said then the lost Archangel, "this the seat 
That we must change for Heaven?--this mournful gloom 
For that celestial light? Be it so, since he 
Who now is sovereign can dispose and bid 
What shall be right: farthest from him is best 
Whom reason hath equalled, force hath made supreme 
Above his equals. Farewell, happy fields, 
Where joy for ever dwells! Hail, horrors! hail, 
Infernal world! and thou, profoundest Hell, 
Receive thy new possessor--one who brings 
A mind not to be changed by place or time. 
The mind is its own place, and in itself 
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven. 
What matter where, if I be still the same, 
And what I should be, all but less than he 
Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at least 
We shall be free; th' Almighty hath not built 
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence: 
Here we may reigh secure; and, in my choice, 
To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell: 
Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven. 
But wherefore let we then our faithful friends, 
Th' associates and co-partners of our loss, 
Lie thus astonished on th' oblivious pool, 
And call them not to share with us their part 
In this unhappy mansion, or once more 
With rallied arms to try what may be yet 
Regained in Heaven, or what more lost in Hell?" 

  So Satan spake; and him Beelzebub 
Thus answered:--"Leader of those armies bright 
Which, but th' Omnipotent, none could have foiled! 
If once they hear that voice, their liveliest pledge 
Of hope in fears and dangers--heard so oft 
In worst extremes, and on the perilous edge 
Of battle, when it raged, in all assaults 
Their surest signal--they will soon resume 
New courage and revive, though now they lie 
Grovelling and prostrate on yon lake of fire, 
As we erewhile, astounded and amazed; 
No wonder, fallen such a pernicious height!" 

  He scare had ceased when the superior Fiend 
Was moving toward the shore; his ponderous shield, 
Ethereal temper, massy, large, and round, 
Behind him cast. The broad circumference 
Hung on his shoulders like the moon, whose orb 
Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views 
At evening, from the top of Fesole, 
Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands, 
Rivers, or mountains, in her spotty globe. 
His spear--to equal which the tallest pine 
Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mast 
Of some great ammiral, were but a wand-- 
He walked with, to support uneasy steps 
Over the burning marl, not like those steps 
On Heaven's azure; and the torrid clime 
Smote on him sore besides, vaulted with fire. 
Nathless he so endured, till on the beach 
Of that inflamed sea he stood, and called 
His legions--Angel Forms, who lay entranced 
Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks 
In Vallombrosa, where th' Etrurian shades 
High over-arched embower; or scattered sedge 
Afloat, when with fierce winds Orion armed 
Hath vexed the Red-Sea coast, whose waves o'erthrew 
Busiris and his Memphian chivalry, 
While with perfidious hatred they pursued 
The sojourners of Goshen, who beheld 
From the safe shore their floating carcases 
And broken chariot-wheels. So thick bestrown, 
Abject and lost, lay these, covering the flood, 
Under amazement of their hideous change. 
He called so loud that all the hollow deep 
Of Hell resounded:--"Princes, Potentates, 
Warriors, the Flower of Heaven--once yours; now lost, 
If such astonishment as this can seize 
Eternal Spirits! Or have ye chosen this place 
After the toil of battle to repose 
Your wearied virtue, for the ease you find 
To slumber here, as in the vales of Heaven? 
Or in this abject posture have ye sworn 
To adore the Conqueror, who now beholds 
Cherub and Seraph rolling in the flood 
With scattered arms and ensigns, till anon 
His swift pursuers from Heaven-gates discern 
Th' advantage, and, descending, tread us down 
Thus drooping, or with linked thunderbolts 
Transfix us to the bottom of this gulf? 
Awake, arise, or be for ever fallen!" 

  They heard, and were abashed, and up they sprung 
Upon the wing, as when men wont to watch 
On duty, sleeping found by whom they dread, 
Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake. 
Nor did they not perceive the evil plight 
In which they were, or the fierce pains not feel; 
Yet to their General's voice they soon obeyed 
Innumerable. As when the potent rod 
Of Amram's son, in Egypt's evil day, 
Waved round the coast, up-called a pitchy cloud 
Of locusts, warping on the eastern wind, 
That o'er the realm of impious Pharaoh hung 
Like Night, and darkened all the land of Nile; 
So numberless were those bad Angels seen 
Hovering on wing under the cope of Hell, 
'Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding fires; 
Till, as a signal given, th' uplifted spear 
Of their great Sultan waving to direct 
Their course, in even balance down they light 
On the firm brimstone, and fill all the plain: 
A multitude like which the populous North 
Poured never from her frozen loins to pass 
Rhene or the Danaw, when her barbarous sons 
Came like a deluge on the South, and spread 
Beneath Gibraltar to the Libyan sands. 
Forthwith, form every squadron and each band, 
The heads and leaders thither haste where stood 
Their great Commander--godlike Shapes, and Forms 
Excelling human; princely Dignities; 
And Powers that erst in Heaven sat on thrones, 
Though on their names in Heavenly records now 
Be no memorial, blotted out and rased 
By their rebellion from the Books of Life. 
Nor had they yet among the sons of Eve 
Got them new names, till, wandering o'er the earth, 
Through God's high sufferance for the trial of man, 
By falsities and lies the greatest part 
Of mankind they corrupted to forsake 
God their Creator, and th' invisible 
Glory of him that made them to transform 
Oft to the image of a brute, adorned 
With gay religions full of pomp and gold, 
And devils to adore for deities: 
Then were they known to men by various names, 
And various idols through the heathen world. 

  Say, Muse, their names then known, who first, who last, 
Roused from the slumber on that fiery couch, 
At their great Emperor's call, as next in worth 
Came singly where he stood on the bare strand, 
While the promiscuous crowd stood yet aloof? 

  The chief were those who, from the pit of Hell 
Roaming to seek their prey on Earth, durst fix 
Their seats, long after, next the seat of God, 
Their altars by his altar, gods adored 
Among the nations round, and durst abide 
Jehovah thundering out of Sion, throned 
Between the Cherubim; yea, often placed 
Within his sanctuary itself their shrines, 
Abominations; and with cursed things 
His holy rites and solemn feasts profaned, 
And with their darkness durst affront his light. 
First, Moloch, horrid king, besmeared with blood 
Of human sacrifice, and parents' tears; 
Though, for the noise of drums and timbrels loud, 
Their children's cries unheard that passed through fire 
To his grim idol. Him the Ammonite 
Worshiped in Rabba and her watery plain, 
In Argob and in Basan, to the stream 
Of utmost Arnon. Nor content with such 
Audacious neighbourhood, the wisest heart 
Of Solomon he led by fraoud to build 
His temple right against the temple of God 
On that opprobrious hill, and made his grove 
The pleasant valley of Hinnom, Tophet thence 
And black Gehenna called, the type of Hell. 
Next Chemos, th' obscene dread of Moab's sons, 
From Aroar to Nebo and the wild 
Of southmost Abarim; in Hesebon 
And Horonaim, Seon's real, beyond 
The flowery dale of Sibma clad with vines, 
And Eleale to th' Asphaltic Pool: 
Peor his other name, when he enticed 
Israel in Sittim, on their march from Nile, 
To do him wanton rites, which cost them woe. 
Yet thence his lustful orgies he enlarged 
Even to that hill of scandal, by the grove 
Of Moloch homicide, lust hard by hate, 
Till good Josiah drove them thence to Hell. 
With these came they who, from the bordering flood 
Of old Euphrates to the brook that parts 
Egypt from Syrian ground, had general names 
Of Baalim and Ashtaroth--those male, 
These feminine. For Spirits, when they please, 
Can either sex assume, or both; so soft 
And uncompounded is their essence pure, 
Not tried or manacled with joint or limb, 
Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones, 
Like cumbrous flesh; but, in what shape they choose, 
Dilated or condensed, bright or obscure, 
Can execute their airy purposes, 
And works of love or enmity fulfil. 
For those the race of Israel oft forsook 
Their Living Strength, and unfrequented left 
His righteous altar, bowing lowly down 
To bestial gods; for which their heads as low 
Bowed down in battle, sunk before the spear 
Of despicable foes. With these in troop 
Came Astoreth, whom the Phoenicians called 
Astarte, queen of heaven, with crescent horns; 
To whose bright image nigntly by the moon 
Sidonian virgins paid their vows and songs; 
In Sion also not unsung, where stood 
Her temple on th' offensive mountain, built 
By that uxorious king whose heart, though large, 
Beguiled by fair idolatresses, fell 
To idols foul. Thammuz came next behind, 
Whose annual wound in Lebanon allured 
The Syrian damsels to lament his fate 
In amorous ditties all a summer's day, 
While smooth Adonis from his native rock 
Ran purple to the sea, supposed with blood 
Of Thammuz yearly wounded: the love-tale 
Infected Sion's daughters with like heat, 
Whose wanton passions in the sacred proch 
Ezekiel saw, when, by the vision led, 
His eye surveyed the dark idolatries 
Of alienated Judah. Next came one 
Who mourned in earnest, when the captive ark 
Maimed his brute image, head and hands lopt off, 
In his own temple, on the grunsel-edge, 
Where he fell flat and shamed his worshippers: 
Dagon his name, sea-monster,upward man 
And downward fish; yet had his temple high 
Reared in Azotus, dreaded through the coast 
Of Palestine, in Gath and Ascalon, 
And Accaron and Gaza's frontier bounds. 
Him followed Rimmon, whose delightful seat 
Was fair Damascus, on the fertile banks 
Of Abbana and Pharphar, lucid streams. 
He also against the house of God was bold: 
A leper once he lost, and gained a king-- 
Ahaz, his sottish conqueror, whom he drew 
God's altar to disparage and displace 
For one of Syrian mode, whereon to burn 
His odious offerings, and adore the gods 
Whom he had vanquished. After these appeared 
A crew who, under names of old renown-- 
Osiris, Isis, Orus, and their train-- 
With monstrous shapes and sorceries abused 
Fanatic Egypt and her priests to seek 
Their wandering gods disguised in brutish forms 
Rather than human. Nor did Israel scape 
Th' infection, when their borrowed gold composed 
The calf in Oreb; and the rebel king 
Doubled that sin in Bethel and in Dan, 
Likening his Maker to the grazed ox-- 
Jehovah, who, in one night, when he passed 
From Egypt marching, equalled with one stroke 
Both her first-born and all her bleating gods. 
Belial came last; than whom a Spirit more lewd 
Fell not from Heaven, or more gross to love 
Vice for itself. To him no temple stood 
Or altar smoked; yet who more oft than he 
In temples and at altars, when the priest 
Turns atheist, as did Eli's sons, who filled 
With lust and violence the house of God? 
In courts and palaces he also reigns, 
And in luxurious cities, where the noise 
Of riot ascends above their loftiest towers, 
And injury and outrage; and, when night 
Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons 
Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine. 
Witness the streets of Sodom, and that night 
In Gibeah, when the hospitable door 
Exposed a matron, to avoid worse rape. 

  These were the prime in order and in might: 
The rest were long to tell; though far renowned 
Th' Ionian gods--of Javan's issue held 
Gods, yet confessed later than Heaven and Earth, 
Their boasted parents;--Titan, Heaven's first-born, 
With his enormous brood, and birthright seized 
By younger Saturn: he from mightier Jove, 
His own and Rhea's son, like measure found; 
So Jove usurping reigned. These, first in Crete 
And Ida known, thence on the snowy top 
Of cold Olympus ruled the middle air, 
Their highest heaven; or on the Delphian cliff, 
Or in Dodona, and through all the bounds 
Of Doric land; or who with Saturn old 
Fled over Adria to th' Hesperian fields, 
And o'er the Celtic roamed the utmost Isles. 

  All these and more came flocking; but with looks 
Downcast and damp; yet such wherein appeared 
Obscure some glimpse of joy to have found their Chief 
Not in despair, to have found themselves not lost 
In loss itself; which on his countenance cast 
Like doubtful hue. But he, his wonted pride 
Soon recollecting, with high words, that bore 
Semblance of worth, not substance, gently raised 
Their fainting courage, and dispelled their fears. 
Then straight commands that, at the warlike sound 
Of trumpets loud and clarions, be upreared 
His mighty standard. That proud honour claimed 
Azazel as his right, a Cherub tall: 
Who forthwith from the glittering staff unfurled 
Th' imperial ensign; which, full high advanced, 
Shone like a meteor streaming to the wind, 
With gems and golden lustre rich emblazed, 
Seraphic arms and trophies; all the while 
Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds: 
At which the universal host up-sent 
A shout that tore Hell's concave, and beyond 
Frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night. 
All in a moment through the gloom were seen 
Ten thousand banners rise into the air, 
With orient colours waving: with them rose 
A forest huge of spears; and thronging helms 
Appeared, and serried shields in thick array 
Of depth immeasurable. Anon they move 
In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood 
Of flutes and soft recorders--such as raised 
To height of noblest temper heroes old 
Arming to battle, and instead of rage 
Deliberate valour breathed, firm, and unmoved 
With dread of death to flight or foul retreat; 
Nor wanting power to mitigate and swage 
With solemn touches troubled thoughts, and chase 
Anguish and doubt and fear and sorrow and pain 
From mortal or immortal minds. Thus they, 
Breathing united force with fixed thought, 
Moved on in silence to soft pipes that charmed 
Their painful steps o'er the burnt soil. And now 
Advanced in view they stand--a horrid front 
Of dreadful length and dazzling arms, in guise 
Of warriors old, with ordered spear and shield, 
Awaiting what command their mighty Chief 
Had to impose. He through the armed files 
Darts his experienced eye, and soon traverse 
The whole battalion views--their order due, 
Their visages and stature as of gods; 
Their number last he sums. And now his heart 
Distends with pride, and, hardening in his strength, 
Glories: for never, since created Man, 
Met such embodied force as, named with these, 
Could merit more than that small infantry 
Warred on by cranes--though all the giant brood 
Of Phlegra with th' heroic race were joined 
That fought at Thebes and Ilium, on each side 
Mixed with auxiliar gods; and what resounds 
In fable or romance of Uther's son, 
Begirt with British and Armoric knights; 
And all who since, baptized or infidel, 
Jousted in Aspramont, or Montalban, 
Damasco, or Marocco, or Trebisond, 
Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore 
When Charlemain with all his peerage fell 
By Fontarabbia. Thus far these beyond 
Compare of mortal prowess, yet observed 
Their dread Commander. He, above the rest 
In shape and gesture proudly eminent, 
Stood like a tower. His form had yet not lost 
All her original brightness, nor appeared 
Less than Archangel ruined, and th' excess 
Of glory obscured: as when the sun new-risen 
Looks through the horizontal misty air 
Shorn of his beams, or, from behind the moon, 
In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds 
On half the nations, and with fear of change 
Perplexes monarchs. Darkened so, yet shone 
Above them all th' Archangel: but his face 
Deep scars of thunder had intrenched, and care 
Sat on his faded cheek, but under brows 
Of dauntless courage, and considerate pride 
Waiting revenge. Cruel his eye, but cast 
Signs of remorse and passion, to behold 
The fellows of his crime, the followers rather 
(Far other once beheld in bliss), condemned 
For ever now to have their lot in pain-- 
Millions of Spirits for his fault amerced 
Of Heaven, and from eteranl splendours flung 
For his revolt--yet faithful how they stood, 
Their glory withered; as, when heaven's fire 
Hath scathed the forest oaks or mountain pines, 
With singed top their stately growth, though bare, 
Stands on the blasted heath. He now prepared 
To speak; whereat their doubled ranks they bend 
From wing to wing, and half enclose him round 
With all his peers: attention held them mute. 
Thrice he assayed, and thrice, in spite of scorn, 
Tears, such as Angels weep, burst forth: at last 
Words interwove with sighs found out their way:-- 

  "O myriads of immortal Spirits! O Powers 
Matchless, but with th' Almighth!--and that strife 
Was not inglorious, though th' event was dire, 
As this place testifies, and this dire change, 
Hateful to utter. But what power of mind, 
Forseeing or presaging, from the depth 
Of knowledge past or present, could have feared 
How such united force of gods, how such 
As stood like these, could ever know repulse? 
For who can yet believe, though after loss, 
That all these puissant legions, whose exile 
Hath emptied Heaven, shall fail to re-ascend, 
Self-raised, and repossess their native seat? 
For me, be witness all the host of Heaven, 
If counsels different, or danger shunned 
By me, have lost our hopes. But he who reigns 
Monarch in Heaven till then as one secure 
Sat on his throne, upheld by old repute, 
Consent or custom, and his regal state 
Put forth at full, but still his strength concealed-- 
Which tempted our attempt, and wrought our fall. 
Henceforth his might we know, and know our own, 
So as not either to provoke, or dread 
New war provoked: our better part remains 
To work in close design, by fraud or guile, 
What force effected not; that he no less 
At length from us may find, who overcomes 
By force hath overcome but half his foe. 
Space may produce new Worlds; whereof so rife 
There went a fame in Heaven that he ere long 
Intended to create, and therein plant 
A generation whom his choice regard 
Should favour equal to the Sons of Heaven. 
Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhaps 
Our first eruption--thither, or elsewhere; 
For this infernal pit shall never hold 
Celestial Spirits in bondage, nor th' Abyss 
Long under darkness cover. But these thoughts 
Full counsel must mature. Peace is despaired; 
For who can think submission? War, then, war 
Open or understood, must be resolved." 

  He spake; and, to confirm his words, outflew 
Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs 
Of mighty Cherubim; the sudden blaze 
Far round illumined Hell. Highly they raged 
Against the Highest, and fierce with grasped arms 
Clashed on their sounding shields the din of war, 
Hurling defiance toward the vault of Heaven. 

  There stood a hill not far, whose grisly top 
Belched fire and rolling smoke; the rest entire 
Shone with a glossy scurf--undoubted sign 
That in his womb was hid metallic ore, 
The work of sulphur. Thither, winged with speed, 
A numerous brigade hastened: as when bands 
Of pioneers, with spade and pickaxe armed, 
Forerun the royal camp, to trench a field, 
Or cast a rampart. Mammon led them on-- 
Mammon, the least erected Spirit that fell 
From Heaven; for even in Heaven his looks and thoughts 
Were always downward bent, admiring more 
The riches of heaven's pavement, trodden gold, 
Than aught divine or holy else enjoyed 
In vision beatific. By him first 
Men also, and by his suggestion taught, 
Ransacked the centre, and with impious hands 
Rifled the bowels of their mother Earth 
For treasures better hid. Soon had his crew 
Opened into the hill a spacious wound, 
And digged out ribs of gold. Let none admire 
That riches grow in Hell; that soil may best 
Deserve the precious bane. And here let those 
Who boast in mortal things, and wondering tell 
Of Babel, and the works of Memphian kings, 
Learn how their greatest monuments of fame 
And strength, and art, are easily outdone 
By Spirits reprobate, and in an hour 
What in an age they, with incessant toil 
And hands innumerable, scarce perform. 
Nigh on the plain, in many cells prepared, 
That underneath had veins of liquid fire 
Sluiced from the lake, a second multitude 
With wondrous art founded the massy ore, 
Severing each kind, and scummed the bullion-dross. 
A third as soon had formed within the ground 
A various mould, and from the boiling cells 
By strange conveyance filled each hollow nook; 
As in an organ, from one blast of wind, 
To many a row of pipes the sound-board breathes. 
Anon out of the earth a fabric huge 
Rose like an exhalation, with the sound 
Of dulcet symphonies and voices sweet-- 
Built like a temple, where pilasters round 
Were set, and Doric pillars overlaid 
With golden architrave; nor did there want 
Cornice or frieze, with bossy sculptures graven; 
The roof was fretted gold. Not Babylon 
Nor great Alcairo such magnificence 
Equalled in all their glories, to enshrine 
Belus or Serapis their gods, or seat 
Their kings, when Egypt with Assyria strove 
In wealth and luxury. Th' ascending pile 
Stood fixed her stately height, and straight the doors, 
Opening their brazen folds, discover, wide 
Within, her ample spaces o'er the smooth 
And level pavement: from the arched roof, 
Pendent by subtle magic, many a row 
Of starry lamps and blazing cressets, fed 
With naptha and asphaltus, yielded light 
As from a sky. The hasty multitude 
Admiring entered; and the work some praise, 
And some the architect. His hand was known 
In Heaven by many a towered structure high, 
Where sceptred Angels held their residence, 
And sat as Princes, whom the supreme King 
Exalted to such power, and gave to rule, 
Each in his Hierarchy, the Orders bright. 
Nor was his name unheard or unadored 
In ancient Greece; and in Ausonian land 
Men called him Mulciber; and how he fell 
From Heaven they fabled, thrown by angry Jove 
Sheer o'er the crystal battlements: from morn 
To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve, 
A summer's day, and with the setting sun 
Dropt from the zenith, like a falling star, 
On Lemnos, th' Aegaean isle. Thus they relate, 
Erring; for he with this rebellious rout 
Fell long before; nor aught aviled him now 
To have built in Heaven high towers; nor did he scape 
By all his engines, but was headlong sent, 
With his industrious crew, to build in Hell. 

  Meanwhile the winged Heralds, by command 
Of sovereign power, with awful ceremony 
And trumpet's sound, throughout the host proclaim 
A solemn council forthwith to be held 
At Pandemonium, the high capital 
Of Satan and his peers. Their summons called 
From every band and squared regiment 
By place or choice the worthiest: they anon 
With hundreds and with thousands trooping came 
Attended. All access was thronged; the gates 
And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall 
(Though like a covered field, where champions bold 
Wont ride in armed, and at the Soldan's chair 
Defied the best of Paynim chivalry 
To mortal combat, or career with lance), 
Thick swarmed, both on the ground and in the air, 
Brushed with the hiss of rustling wings. As bees 
In spring-time, when the Sun with Taurus rides. 
Pour forth their populous youth about the hive 
In clusters; they among fresh dews and flowers 
Fly to and fro, or on the smoothed plank, 
The suburb of their straw-built citadel, 
New rubbed with balm, expatiate, and confer 
Their state-affairs: so thick the airy crowd 
Swarmed and were straitened; till, the signal given, 
Behold a wonder! They but now who seemed 
In bigness to surpass Earth's giant sons, 
Now less than smallest dwarfs, in narrow room 
Throng numberless--like that pygmean race 
Beyond the Indian mount; or faery elves, 
Whose midnight revels, by a forest-side 
Or fountain, some belated peasant sees, 
Or dreams he sees, while overhead the Moon 
Sits arbitress, and nearer to the Earth 
Wheels her pale course: they, on their mirth and dance 
Intent, with jocund music charm his ear; 
At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds. 
Thus incorporeal Spirits to smallest forms 
Reduced their shapes immense, and were at large, 
Though without number still, amidst the hall 
Of that infernal court. But far within, 
And in their own dimensions like themselves, 
The great Seraphic Lords and Cherubim 
In close recess and secret conclave sat, 
A thousand demi-gods on golden seats, 
Frequent and full. After short silence then, 
And summons read, the great consult began. 

Book II                                                          

High on a throne of royal state, which far 
Outshone the wealth or Ormus and of Ind, 
Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand 
Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold, 
Satan exalted sat, by merit raised 
To that bad eminence; and, from despair 
Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires 
Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue 
Vain war with Heaven; and, by success untaught, 
His proud imaginations thus displayed:-- 

  "Powers and Dominions, Deities of Heaven!-- 
For, since no deep within her gulf can hold 
Immortal vigour, though oppressed and fallen, 
I give not Heaven for lost: from this descent 
Celestial Virtues rising will appear 
More glorious and more dread than from no fall, 
And trust themselves to fear no second fate!-- 
Me though just right, and the fixed laws of Heaven, 
Did first create your leader--next, free choice 
With what besides in council or in fight 
Hath been achieved of merit--yet this loss, 
Thus far at least recovered, hath much more 
Established in a safe, unenvied throne, 
Yielded with full consent. The happier state 
In Heaven, which follows dignity, might draw 
Envy from each inferior; but who here 
Will envy whom the highest place exposes 
Foremost to stand against the Thunderer's aim 
Your bulwark, and condemns to greatest share 
Of endless pain? Where there is, then, no good 
For which to strive, no strife can grow up there 
From faction: for none sure will claim in Hell 
Precedence; none whose portion is so small 
Of present pain that with ambitious mind 
Will covet more! With this advantage, then, 
To union, and firm faith, and firm accord, 
More than can be in Heaven, we now return 
To claim our just inheritance of old, 
Surer to prosper than prosperity 
Could have assured us; and by what best way, 
Whether of open war or covert guile, 
We now debate. Who can advise may speak." 

  He ceased; and next him Moloch, sceptred king, 
Stood up--the strongest and the fiercest Spirit 
That fought in Heaven, now fiercer by despair. 
His trust was with th' Eternal to be deemed 
Equal in strength, and rather than be less 
Cared not to be at all; with that care lost 
Went all his fear: of God, or Hell, or worse, 
He recked not, and these words thereafter spake:-- 

  "My sentence is for open war. Of wiles, 
More unexpert, I boast not: them let those 
Contrive who need, or when they need; not now. 
For, while they sit contriving, shall the rest-- 
Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait 
The signal to ascend--sit lingering here, 
Heaven's fugitives, and for their dwelling-place 
Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame, 
The prison of his ryranny who reigns 
By our delay? No! let us rather choose, 
Armed with Hell-flames and fury, all at once 
O'er Heaven's high towers to force resistless way, 
Turning our tortures into horrid arms 
Against the Torturer; when, to meet the noise 
Of his almighty engine, he shall hear 
Infernal thunder, and, for lightning, see 
Black fire and horror shot with equal rage 
Among his Angels, and his throne itself 
Mixed with Tartarean sulphur and strange fire, 
His own invented torments. But perhaps 
The way seems difficult, and steep to scale 
With upright wing against a higher foe! 
Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench 
Of that forgetful lake benumb not still, 
That in our porper motion we ascend 
Up to our native seat; descent and fall 
To us is adverse. Who but felt of late, 
When the fierce foe hung on our broken rear 
Insulting, and pursued us through the Deep, 
With what compulsion and laborious flight 
We sunk thus low? Th' ascent is easy, then; 
Th' event is feared! Should we again provoke 
Our stronger, some worse way his wrath may find 
To our destruction, if there be in Hell 
Fear to be worse destroyed! What can be worse 
Than to dwell here, driven out from bliss, condemned 
In this abhorred deep to utter woe! 
Where pain of unextinguishable fire 
Must exercise us without hope of end 
The vassals of his anger, when the scourge 
Inexorably, and the torturing hour, 
Calls us to penance? More destroyed than thus, 
We should be quite abolished, and expire. 
What fear we then? what doubt we to incense 
His utmost ire? which, to the height enraged, 
Will either quite consume us, and reduce 
To nothing this essential--happier far 
Than miserable to have eternal being!-- 
Or, if our substance be indeed divine, 
And cannot cease to be, we are at worst 
On this side nothing; and by proof we feel 
Our power sufficient to disturb his Heaven, 
And with perpetual inroads to alarm, 
Though inaccessible, his fatal throne: 
Which, if not victory, is yet revenge." 

  He ended frowning, and his look denounced 
Desperate revenge, and battle dangerous 
To less than gods. On th' other side up rose 
Belial, in act more graceful and humane. 
A fairer person lost not Heaven; he seemed 
For dignity composed, and high exploit. 
But all was false and hollow; though his tongue 
Dropped manna, and could make the worse appear 
The better reason, to perplex and dash 
Maturest counsels: for his thoughts were low-- 

 To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds 
Timorous and slothful. Yet he pleased the ear, 
And with persuasive accent thus began:-- 

  "I should be much for open war, O Peers, 
As not behind in hate, if what was urged 
Main reason to persuade immediate war 
Did not dissuade me most, and seem to cast 
Ominous conjecture on the whole success; 
When he who most excels in fact of arms, 
In what he counsels and in what excels 
Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair 
And utter dissolution, as the scope 
Of all his aim, after some dire revenge. 
First, what revenge? The towers of Heaven are filled 
With armed watch, that render all access 
Impregnable: oft on the bodering Deep 
Encamp their legions, or with obscure wing 
Scout far and wide into the realm of Night, 
Scorning surprise. Or, could we break our way 
By force, and at our heels all Hell should rise 
With blackest insurrection to confound 
Heaven's purest light, yet our great Enemy, 
All incorruptible, would on his throne 
Sit unpolluted, and th' ethereal mould, 
Incapable of stain, would soon expel 
Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire, 
Victorious. Thus repulsed, our final hope 
Is flat despair: we must exasperate 
Th' Almighty Victor to spend all his rage; 
And that must end us; that must be our cure-- 
To be no more. Sad cure! for who would lose, 
Though full of pain, this intellectual being, 
Those thoughts that wander through eternity, 
To perish rather, swallowed up and lost 
In the wide womb of uncreated Night, 
Devoid of sense and motion? And who knows, 
Let this be good, whether our angry Foe 
Can give it, or will ever? How he can 
Is doubtful; that he never will is sure. 
Will he, so wise, let loose at once his ire, 
Belike through impotence or unaware, 
To give his enemies their wish, and end 
Them in his anger whom his anger saves 
To punish endless? 'Wherefore cease we, then?' 
Say they who counsel war; 'we are decreed, 
Reserved, and destined to eternal woe; 
Whatever doing, what can we suffer more, 
What can we suffer worse?' Is this, then, worst-- 
Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms? 
What when we fled amain, pursued and struck 
With Heaven's afflicting thunder, and besought 
The Deep to shelter us? This Hell then seemed 
A refuge from those wounds. Or when we lay 
Chained on the burning lake? That sure was worse. 
What if the breath that kindled those grim fires, 
Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold rage, 
And plunge us in the flames; or from above 
Should intermitted vengeance arm again 
His red right hand to plague us? What if all 
Her stores were opened, and this firmament 
Of Hell should spout her cataracts of fire, 
Impendent horrors, threatening hideous fall 
One day upon our heads; while we perhaps, 
Designing or exhorting glorious war, 
Caught in a fiery tempest, shall be hurled, 
Each on his rock transfixed, the sport and prey 
Or racking whirlwinds, or for ever sunk 
Under yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains, 
There to converse with everlasting groans, 
Unrespited, unpitied, unreprieved, 
Ages of hopeless end? This would be worse. 
War, therefore, open or concealed, alike 
My voice dissuades; for what can force or guile 
With him, or who deceive his mind, whose eye 
Views all things at one view? He from Heaven's height 
All these our motions vain sees and derides, 
Not more almighty to resist our might 
Than wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles. 
Shall we, then, live thus vile--the race of Heaven 
Thus trampled, thus expelled, to suffer here 
Chains and these torments? Better these than worse, 
By my advice; since fate inevitable 
Subdues us, and omnipotent decree, 
The Victor's will. To suffer, as to do, 
Our strength is equal; nor the law unjust 
That so ordains. This was at first resolved, 
If we were wise, against so great a foe 
Contending, and so doubtful what might fall. 
I laugh when those who at the spear are bold 
And venturous, if that fail them, shrink, and fear 
What yet they know must follow--to endure 
Exile, or igominy, or bonds, or pain, 
The sentence of their Conqueror. This is now 
Our doom; which if we can sustain and bear, 
Our Supreme Foe in time may much remit 
His anger, and perhaps, thus far removed, 
Not mind us not offending, satisfied 
With what is punished; whence these raging fires 
Will slacken, if his breath stir not their flames. 
Our purer essence then will overcome 
Their noxious vapour; or, inured, not feel; 
Or, changed at length, and to the place conformed 
In temper and in nature, will receive 
Familiar the fierce heat; and, void of pain, 
This horror will grow mild, this darkness light; 
Besides what hope the never-ending flight 
Of future days may bring, what chance, what change 
Worth waiting--since our present lot appears 
For happy though but ill, for ill not worst, 
If we procure not to ourselves more woe." 

  Thus Belial, with words clothed in reason's garb, 
Counselled ignoble ease and peaceful sloth, 
Not peace; and after him thus Mammon spake:-- 

  "Either to disenthrone the King of Heaven 
We war, if war be best, or to regain 
Our own right lost. Him to unthrone we then 
May hope, when everlasting Fate shall yield 
To fickle Chance, and Chaos judge the strife. 
The former, vain to hope, argues as vain 
The latter; for what place can be for us 
Within Heaven's bound, unless Heaven's Lord supreme 
We overpower? Suppose he should relent 
And publish grace to all, on promise made 
Of new subjection; with what eyes could we 
Stand in his presence humble, and receive 
Strict laws imposed, to celebrate his throne 
With warbled hyms, and to his Godhead sing 
Forced hallelujahs, while he lordly sits 
Our envied sovereign, and his altar breathes 
Ambrosial odours and ambrosial flowers, 
Our servile offerings? This must be our task 
In Heaven, this our delight. How wearisome 
Eternity so spent in worship paid 
To whom we hate! Let us not then pursue, 
By force impossible, by leave obtained 
Unacceptable, though in Heaven, our state 
Of splendid vassalage; but rather seek 
Our own good from ourselves, and from our own 
Live to ourselves, though in this vast recess, 
Free and to none accountable, preferring 
Hard liberty before the easy yoke 
Of servile pomp. Our greatness will appear 
Then most conspicuous when great things of small, 
Useful of hurtful, prosperous of adverse, 
We can create, and in what place soe'er 
Thrive under evil, and work ease out of pain 
Through labour and endurance. This deep world 
Of darkness do we dread? How oft amidst 
Thick clouds and dark doth Heaven's all-ruling Sire 
Choose to reside, his glory unobscured, 
And with the majesty of darkness round 
Covers his throne, from whence deep thunders roar. 
Mustering their rage, and Heaven resembles Hell! 
As he our darkness, cannot we his light 
Imitate when we please? This desert soil 
Wants not her hidden lustre, gems and gold; 
Nor want we skill or art from whence to raise 
Magnificence; and what can Heaven show more? 
Our torments also may, in length of time, 
Become our elements, these piercing fires 
As soft as now severe, our temper changed 
Into their temper; which must needs remove 
The sensible of pain. All things invite 
To peaceful counsels, and the settled state 
Of order, how in safety best we may 
Compose our present evils, with regard 
Of what we are and where, dismissing quite 
All thoughts of war. Ye have what I advise." 

  He scarce had finished, when such murmur filled 
Th' assembly as when hollow rocks retain 
The sound of blustering winds, which all night long 
Had roused the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull 
Seafaring men o'erwatched, whose bark by chance 
Or pinnace, anchors in a craggy bay 
After the tempest. Such applause was heard 
As Mammon ended, and his sentence pleased, 
Advising peace: for such another field 
They dreaded worse than Hell; so much the fear 
Of thunder and the sword of Michael 
Wrought still within them; and no less desire 
To found this nether empire, which might rise, 
By policy and long process of time, 
In emulation opposite to Heaven. 
Which when Beelzebub perceived--than whom, 
Satan except, none higher sat--with grave 
Aspect he rose, and in his rising seemed 
A pillar of state. Deep on his front engraven 
Deliberation sat, and public care; 
And princely counsel in his face yet shone, 
Majestic, though in ruin. Sage he stood 
With Atlantean shoulders, fit to bear 
The weight of mightiest monarchies; his look 
Drew audience and attention still as night 
Or summer's noontide air, while thus he spake:-- 

  "Thrones and Imperial Powers, Offspring of Heaven, 
Ethereal Virtues! or these titles now 
Must we renounce, and, changing style, be called 
Princes of Hell? for so the popular vote 
Inclines--here to continue, and build up here 
A growing empire; doubtless! while we dream, 
And know not that the King of Heaven hath doomed 
This place our dungeon, not our safe retreat 
Beyond his potent arm, to live exempt 
From Heaven's high jurisdiction, in new league 
Banded against his throne, but to remain 
In strictest bondage, though thus far removed, 
Under th' inevitable curb, reserved 
His captive multitude. For he, to be sure, 
In height or depth, still first and last will reign 
Sole king, and of his kingdom lose no part 
By our revolt, but over Hell extend 
His empire, and with iron sceptre rule 
Us here, as with his golden those in Heaven. 
What sit we then projecting peace and war? 
War hath determined us and foiled with loss 
Irreparable; terms of peace yet none 
Vouchsafed or sought; for what peace will be given 
To us enslaved, but custody severe, 
And stripes and arbitrary punishment 
Inflicted? and what peace can we return, 
But, to our power, hostility and hate, 
Untamed reluctance, and revenge, though slow, 
Yet ever plotting how the Conqueror least 
May reap his conquest, and may least rejoice 
In doing what we most in suffering feel? 
Nor will occasion want, nor shall we need 
With dangerous expedition to invade 
Heaven, whose high walls fear no assault or siege, 
Or ambush from the Deep. What if we find 
Some easier enterprise? There is a place 
(If ancient and prophetic fame in Heaven 
Err not)--another World, the happy seat 
Of some new race, called Man, about this time 
To be created like to us, though less 
In power and excellence, but favoured more 
Of him who rules above; so was his will 
Pronounced among the Gods, and by an oath 
That shook Heaven's whole circumference confirmed. 
Thither let us bend all our thoughts, to learn 
What creatures there inhabit, of what mould 
Or substance, how endued, and what their power 
And where their weakness: how attempted best, 
By force of subtlety. Though Heaven be shut, 
And Heaven's high Arbitrator sit secure 
In his own strength, this place may lie exposed, 
The utmost border of his kingdom, left 
To their defence who hold it: here, perhaps, 
Some advantageous act may be achieved 
By sudden onset--either with Hell-fire 
To waste his whole creation, or possess 
All as our own, and drive, as we were driven, 
The puny habitants; or, if not drive, 
Seduce them to our party, that their God 
May prove their foe, and with repenting hand 
Abolish his own works. This would surpass 
Common revenge, and interrupt his joy 
In our confusion, and our joy upraise 
In his disturbance; when his darling sons, 
Hurled headlong to partake with us, shall curse 
Their frail original, and faded bliss-- 
Faded so soon! Advise if this be worth 
Attempting, or to sit in darkness here 
Hatching vain empires." Thus beelzebub 
Pleaded his devilish counsel--first devised 
By Satan, and in part proposed: for whence, 
But from the author of all ill, could spring 
So deep a malice, to confound the race 
Of mankind in one root, and Earth with Hell 
To mingle and involve, done all to spite 
The great Creator? But their spite still serves 
His glory to augment. The bold design 
Pleased highly those infernal States, and joy 
Sparkled in all their eyes: with full assent 
They vote: whereat his speech he thus renews:-- 
"Well have ye judged, well ended long debate, 
Synod of Gods, and, like to what ye are, 
Great things resolved, which from the lowest deep 
Will once more lift us up, in spite of fate, 
Nearer our ancient seat--perhaps in view 
Of those bright confines, whence, with neighbouring arms, 
And opportune excursion, we may chance 
Re-enter Heaven; or else in some mild zone 
Dwell, not unvisited of Heaven's fair light, 
Secure, and at the brightening orient beam 
Purge off this gloom: the soft delicious air, 
To heal the scar of these corrosive fires, 
Shall breathe her balm. But, first, whom shall we send 
In search of this new World? whom shall we find 
Sufficient? who shall tempt with wandering feet 
The dark, unbottomed, infinite Abyss, 
And through the palpable obscure find out 
His uncouth way, or spread his airy flight, 
Upborne with indefatigable wings 
Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive 
The happy Isle? What strength, what art, can then 
Suffice, or what evasion bear him safe, 
Through the strict senteries and stations thick 
Of Angels watching round? Here he had need 
All circumspection: and we now no less 
Choice in our suffrage; for on whom we send 
The weight of all, and our last hope, relies." 

  This said, he sat; and expectation held 
His look suspense, awaiting who appeared 
To second, or oppose, or undertake 
The perilous attempt. But all sat mute, 
Pondering the danger with deep thoughts; and each 
In other's countenance read his own dismay, 
Astonished. None among the choice and prime 
Of those Heaven-warring champions could be found 
So hardy as to proffer or accept, 
Alone, the dreadful voyage; till, at last, 
Satan, whom now transcendent glory raised 
Above his fellows, with monarchal pride 
Conscious of highest worth, unmoved thus spake:-- 

  "O Progeny of Heaven! Empyreal Thrones! 
With reason hath deep silence and demur 
Seized us, though undismayed. Long is the way 
And hard, that out of Hell leads up to light. 
Our prison strong, this huge convex of fire, 
Outrageous to devour, immures us round 
Ninefold; and gates of burning adamant, 
Barred over us, prohibit all egress. 
These passed, if any pass, the void profound 
Of unessential Night receives him next, 
Wide-gaping, and with utter loss of being 
Threatens him, plunged in that abortive gulf. 
If thence he scape, into whatever world, 
Or unknown region, what remains him less 
Than unknown dangers, and as hard escape? 
But I should ill become this throne, O Peers, 
And this imperial sovereignty, adorned 
With splendour, armed with power, if aught proposed 
And judged of public moment in the shape 
Of difficulty or danger, could deter 
Me from attempting. Wherefore do I assume 
These royalties, and not refuse to reign, 
Refusing to accept as great a share 
Of hazard as of honour, due alike 
To him who reigns, and so much to him due 
Of hazard more as he above the rest 
High honoured sits? Go, therefore, mighty Powers, 
Terror of Heaven, though fallen; intend at home, 
While here shall be our home, what best may ease 
The present misery, and render Hell 
More tolerable; if there be cure or charm 
To respite, or deceive, or slack the pain 
Of this ill mansion: intermit no watch 
Against a wakeful foe, while I abroad 
Through all the coasts of dark destruction seek 
Deliverance for us all. This enterprise 
None shall partake with me." Thus saying, rose 
The Monarch, and prevented all reply; 
Prudent lest, from his resolution raised, 
Others among the chief might offer now, 
Certain to be refused, what erst they feared, 
And, so refused, might in opinion stand 
His rivals, winning cheap the high repute 
Which he through hazard huge must earn. But they 
Dreaded not more th' adventure than his voice 
Forbidding; and at once with him they rose. 
Their rising all at once was as the sound 
Of thunder heard remote. Towards him they bend 
With awful reverence prone, and as a God 
Extol him equal to the Highest in Heaven. 
Nor failed they to express how much they praised 
That for the general safety he despised 
His own: for neither do the Spirits damned 
Lose all their virtue; lest bad men should boast 
Their specious deeds on earth, which glory excites, 
Or close ambition varnished o'er with zeal. 

  Thus they their doubtful consultations dark 
Ended, rejoicing in their matchless Chief: 
As, when from mountain-tops the dusky clouds 
Ascending, while the north wind sleeps, o'erspread 
Heaven's cheerful face, the louring element 
Scowls o'er the darkened landscape snow or shower, 
If chance the radiant sun, with farewell sweet, 
Extend his evening beam, the fields revive, 
The birds their notes renew, and bleating herds 
Attest their joy, that hill and valley rings. 
O shame to men! Devil with devil damned 
Firm concord holds; men only disagree 
Of creatures rational, though under hope 
Of heavenly grace, and, God proclaiming peace, 
Yet live in hatred, enmity, and strife 
Among themselves, and levy cruel wars 
Wasting the earth, each other to destroy: 
As if (which might induce us to accord) 
Man had not hellish foes enow besides, 
That day and night for his destruction wait! 

  The Stygian council thus dissolved; and forth 
In order came the grand infernal Peers: 
Midst came their mighty Paramount, and seemed 
Alone th' antagonist of Heaven, nor less 
Than Hell's dread Emperor, with pomp supreme, 
And god-like imitated state: him round 
A globe of fiery Seraphim enclosed 
With bright emblazonry, and horrent arms. 
Then of their session ended they bid cry 
With trumpet's regal sound the great result: 
Toward the four winds four speedy Cherubim 
Put to their mouths the sounding alchemy, 
By herald's voice explained; the hollow Abyss 
Heard far adn wide, and all the host of Hell 
With deafening shout returned them loud acclaim. 
Thence more at ease their minds, and somewhat raised 
By false presumptuous hope, the ranged Powers 
Disband; and, wandering, each his several way 
Pursues, as inclination or sad choice 
Leads him perplexed, where he may likeliest find 
Truce to his restless thoughts, and entertain 
The irksome hours, till his great Chief return. 
Part on the plain, or in the air sublime, 
Upon the wing or in swift race contend, 
As at th' Olympian games or Pythian fields; 
Part curb their fiery steeds, or shun the goal 
With rapid wheels, or fronted brigades form: 
As when, to warn proud cities, war appears 
Waged in the troubled sky, and armies rush 
To battle in the clouds; before each van 
Prick forth the airy knights, and couch their spears, 
Till thickest legions close; with feats of arms 
From either end of heaven the welkin burns. 
Others, with vast Typhoean rage, more fell, 
Rend up both rocks and hills, and ride the air 
In whirlwind; Hell scarce holds the wild uproar:-- 
As when Alcides, from Oechalia crowned 
With conquest, felt th' envenomed robe, and tore 
Through pain up by the roots Thessalian pines, 
And Lichas from the top of Oeta threw 
Into th' Euboic sea. Others, more mild, 
Retreated in a silent valley, sing 
With notes angelical to many a harp 
Their own heroic deeds, and hapless fall 
By doom of battle, and complain that Fate 
Free Virtue should enthrall to Force or Chance. 
Their song was partial; but the harmony 
(What could it less when Spirits immortal sing?) 
Suspended Hell, and took with ravishment 
The thronging audience. In discourse more sweet 
(For Eloquence the Soul, Song charms the Sense) 
Others apart sat on a hill retired, 
In thoughts more elevate, and reasoned high 
Of Providence, Foreknowledge, Will, and Fate-- 
Fixed fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute, 
And found no end, in wandering mazes lost. 
Of good and evil much they argued then, 
Of happiness and final misery, 
Passion and apathy, and glory and shame: 
Vain wisdom all, and false philosophy!-- 
Yet, with a pleasing sorcery, could charm 
Pain for a while or anguish, and excite 
Fallacious hope, or arm th' obdured breast 
With stubborn patience as with triple steel. 
Another part, in squadrons and gross bands, 
On bold adventure to discover wide 
That dismal world, if any clime perhaps 
Might yield them easier habitation, bend 
Four ways their flying march, along the banks 
Of four infernal rivers, that disgorge 
Into the burning lake their baleful streams-- 
Abhorred Styx, the flood of deadly hate; 
Sad Acheron of sorrow, black and deep; 
Cocytus, named of lamentation loud 
Heard on the rueful stream; fierce Phlegeton, 
Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage. 
Far off from these, a slow and silent stream, 
Lethe, the river of oblivion, rolls 
Her watery labyrinth, whereof who drinks 
Forthwith his former state and being forgets-- 
Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain. 
Beyond this flood a frozen continent 
Lies dark and wild, beat with perpetual storms 
Of whirlwind and dire hail, which on firm land 
Thaws not, but gathers heap, and ruin seems 
Of ancient pile; all else deep snow and ice, 
A gulf profound as that Serbonian bog 
Betwixt Damiata and Mount Casius old, 
Where armies whole have sunk: the parching air 
Burns frore, and cold performs th' effect of fire. 
Thither, by harpy-footed Furies haled, 
At certain revolutions all the damned 
Are brought; and feel by turns the bitter change 
Of fierce extremes, extremes by change more fierce, 
From beds of raging fire to starve in ice 
Their soft ethereal warmth, and there to pine 
Immovable, infixed, and frozen round 
Periods of time,--thence hurried back to fire. 
They ferry over this Lethean sound 
Both to and fro, their sorrow to augment, 
And wish and struggle, as they pass, to reach 
The tempting stream, with one small drop to lose 
In sweet forgetfulness all pain and woe, 
All in one moment, and so near the brink; 
But Fate withstands, and, to oppose th' attempt, 
Medusa with Gorgonian terror guards 
The ford, and of itself the water flies 
All taste of living wight, as once it fled 
The lip of Tantalus. Thus roving on 
In confused march forlorn, th' adventurous bands, 
With shuddering horror pale, and eyes aghast, 
Viewed first their lamentable lot, and found 
No rest. Through many a dark and dreary vale 
They passed, and many a region dolorous, 
O'er many a frozen, many a fiery alp, 
Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens, and shades of death-- 
A universe of death, which God by curse 
Created evil, for evil only good; 
Where all life dies, death lives, and Nature breeds, 
Perverse, all monstrous, all prodigious things, 
Obominable, inutterable, and worse 
Than fables yet have feigned or fear conceived, 
Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimeras dire. 

  Meanwhile the Adversary of God and Man, 
Satan, with thoughts inflamed of highest design, 
Puts on swift wings, and toward the gates of Hell 
Explores his solitary flight: sometimes 
He scours the right hand coast, sometimes the left; 
Now shaves with level wing the deep, then soars 
Up to the fiery concave towering high. 
As when far off at sea a fleet descried 
Hangs in the clouds, by equinoctial winds 
Close sailing from Bengala, or the isles 
Of Ternate and Tidore, whence merchants bring 
Their spicy drugs; they on the trading flood, 
Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape, 
Ply stemming nightly toward the pole: so seemed 
Far off the flying Fiend. At last appear 
Hell-bounds, high reaching to the horrid roof, 
And thrice threefold the gates; three folds were brass, 
Three iron, three of adamantine rock, 
Impenetrable, impaled with circling fire, 
Yet unconsumed. Before the gates there sat 
On either side a formidable Shape. 
The one seemed woman to the waist, and fair, 
But ended foul in many a scaly fold, 
Voluminous and vast--a serpent armed 
With mortal sting. About her middle round 
A cry of Hell-hounds never-ceasing barked 
With wide Cerberean mouths full loud, and rung 
A hideous peal; yet, when they list, would creep, 
If aught disturbed their noise, into her womb, 
And kennel there; yet there still barked and howled 
Within unseen. Far less abhorred than these 
Vexed Scylla, bathing in the sea that parts 
Calabria from the hoarse Trinacrian shore; 
Nor uglier follow the night-hag, when, called 
In secret, riding through the air she comes, 
Lured with the smell of infant blood, to dance 
With Lapland witches, while the labouring moon 
Eclipses at their charms. The other Shape-- 
If shape it might be called that shape had none 
Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb; 
Or substance might be called that shadow seemed, 
For each seemed either--black it stood as Night, 
Fierce as ten Furies, terrible as Hell, 
And shook a dreadful dart: what seemed his head 
The likeness of a kingly crown had on. 
Satan was now at hand, and from his seat 
The monster moving onward came as fast 
With horrid strides; Hell trembled as he strode. 
Th' undaunted Fiend what this might be admired-- 
Admired, not feared (God and his Son except, 
Created thing naught valued he nor shunned), 
And with disdainful look thus first began:-- 

  "Whence and what art thou, execrable Shape, 
That dar'st, though grim and terrible, advance 
Thy miscreated front athwart my way 
To yonder gates? Through them I mean to pass, 
That be assured, without leave asked of thee. 
Retire; or taste thy folly, and learn by proof, 
Hell-born, not to contend with Spirits of Heaven." 

  To whom the Goblin, full of wrath, replied:-- 
"Art thou that traitor Angel? art thou he, 
Who first broke peace in Heaven and faith, till then 
Unbroken, and in proud rebellious arms 
Drew after him the third part of Heaven's sons, 
Conjured against the Highest--for which both thou 
And they, outcast from God, are here condemned 
To waste eternal days in woe and pain? 
And reckon'st thou thyself with Spirits of Heaven 
Hell-doomed, and breath'st defiance here and scorn, 
Where I reign king, and, to enrage thee more, 
Thy king and lord? Back to thy punishment, 
False fugitive; and to thy speed add wings, 
Lest with a whip of scorpions I pursue 
Thy lingering, or with one stroke of this dart 
Strange horror seize thee, and pangs unfelt before." 

  So spake the grisly Terror, and in shape, 
So speaking and so threatening, grew tenfold, 
More dreadful and deform. On th' other side, 
Incensed with indignation, Satan stood 
Unterrified, and like a comet burned, 
That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge 
In th' arctic sky, and from his horrid hair 
Shakes pestilence and war. Each at the head 
Levelled his deadly aim; their fatal hands 
No second stroke intend; and such a frown 
Each cast at th' other as when two black clouds, 
With heaven's artillery fraught, came rattling on 
Over the Caspian,--then stand front to front 
Hovering a space, till winds the signal blow 
To join their dark encounter in mid-air. 
So frowned the mighty combatants that Hell 
Grew darker at their frown; so matched they stood; 
For never but once more was wither like 
To meet so great a foe. And now great deeds 
Had been achieved, whereof all Hell had rung, 
Had not the snaky Sorceress, that sat 
Fast by Hell-gate and kept the fatal key, 
Risen, and with hideous outcry rushed between. 

  "O father, what intends thy hand," she cried, 
"Against thy only son? What fury, O son, 
Possesses thee to bend that mortal dart 
Against thy father's head? And know'st for whom? 
For him who sits above, and laughs the while 
At thee, ordained his drudge to execute 
Whate'er his wrath, which he calls justice, bids-- 
His wrath, which one day will destroy ye both!" 

  She spake, and at her words the hellish Pest 
Forbore: then these to her Satan returned:-- 

  "So strange thy outcry, and thy words so strange 
Thou interposest, that my sudden hand, 
Prevented, spares to tell thee yet by deeds 
What it intends, till first I know of thee 
What thing thou art, thus double-formed, and why, 
In this infernal vale first met, thou call'st 
Me father, and that phantasm call'st my son. 
I know thee not, nor ever saw till now 
Sight more detestable than him and thee." 

  T' whom thus the Portress of Hell-gate replied:-- 
"Hast thou forgot me, then; and do I seem 
Now in thine eye so foul?--once deemed so fair 
In Heaven, when at th' assembly, and in sight 
Of all the Seraphim with thee combined 
In bold conspiracy against Heaven's King, 
All on a sudden miserable pain 
Surprised thee, dim thine eyes and dizzy swum 
In darkness, while thy head flames thick and fast 
Threw forth, till on the left side opening wide, 
Likest to thee in shape and countenance bright, 
Then shining heavenly fair, a goddess armed, 
Out of thy head I sprung. Amazement seized 
All th' host of Heaven; back they recoiled afraid 
At first, and called me Sin, and for a sign 
Portentous held me; but, familiar grown, 
I pleased, and with attractive graces won 
The most averse--thee chiefly, who, full oft 
Thyself in me thy perfect image viewing, 
Becam'st enamoured; and such joy thou took'st 
With me in secret that my womb conceived 
A growing burden. Meanwhile war arose, 
And fields were fought in Heaven: wherein remained 
(For what could else?) to our Almighty Foe 
Clear victory; to our part loss and rout 
Through all the Empyrean. Down they fell, 
Driven headlong from the pitch of Heaven, down 
Into this Deep; and in the general fall 
I also: at which time this powerful key 
Into my hands was given, with charge to keep 
These gates for ever shut, which none can pass 
Without my opening. Pensive here I sat 
Alone; but long I sat not, till my womb, 
Pregnant by thee, and now excessive grown, 
Prodigious motion felt and rueful throes. 
At last this odious offspring whom thou seest, 
Thine own begotten, breaking violent way, 
Tore through my entrails, that, with fear and pain 
Distorted, all my nether shape thus grew 
Transformed: but he my inbred enemy 
Forth issued, brandishing his fatal dart, 
Made to destroy. I fled, and cried out Death! 
Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sighed 
From all her caves, and back resounded Death! 
I fled; but he pursued (though more, it seems, 
Inflamed with lust than rage), and, swifter far, 
Me overtook, his mother, all dismayed, 
And, in embraces forcible and foul 
Engendering with me, of that rape begot 
These yelling monsters, that with ceaseless cry 
Surround me, as thou saw'st--hourly conceived 
And hourly born, with sorrow infinite 
To me; for, when they list, into the womb 
That bred them they return, and howl, and gnaw 
My bowels, their repast; then, bursting forth 
Afresh, with conscious terrors vex me round, 
That rest or intermission none I find. 
Before mine eyes in opposition sits 
Grim Death, my son and foe, who set them on, 
And me, his parent, would full soon devour 
For want of other prey, but that he knows 
His end with mine involved, and knows that I 
Should prove a bitter morsel, and his bane, 
Whenever that shall be: so Fate pronounced. 
But thou, O father, I forewarn thee, shun 
His deadly arrow; neither vainly hope 
To be invulnerable in those bright arms, 
Through tempered heavenly; for that mortal dint, 
Save he who reigns above, none can resist." 

  She finished; and the subtle Fiend his lore 
Soon learned, now milder, and thus answered smooth:-- 

  "Dear daughter--since thou claim'st me for thy sire, 
And my fair son here show'st me, the dear pledge 
Of dalliance had with thee in Heaven, and joys 
Then sweet, now sad to mention, through dire change 
Befallen us unforeseen, unthought-of--know, 
I come no enemy, but to set free 
From out this dark and dismal house of pain 
Both him and thee, and all the heavenly host 
Of Spirits that, in our just pretences armed, 
Fell with us from on high. From them I go 
This uncouth errand sole, and one for all 
Myself expose, with lonely steps to tread 
Th' unfounded Deep, and through the void immense 
To search, with wandering quest, a place foretold 
Should be--and, by concurring signs, ere now 
Created vast and round--a place of bliss 
In the purlieus of Heaven; and therein placed 
A race of upstart creatures, to supply 
Perhaps our vacant room, though more removed, 
Lest Heaven, surcharged with potent multitude, 
Might hap to move new broils. Be this, or aught 
Than this more secret, now designed, I haste 
To know; and, this once known, shall soon return, 
And bring ye to the place where thou and Death 
Shall dwell at ease, and up and down unseen 
Wing silently the buxom air, embalmed 
With odours. There ye shall be fed and filled 
Immeasurably; all things shall be your prey." 

  He ceased; for both seemed highly pleased, and Death 
Grinned horrible a ghastly smile, to hear 
His famine should be filled, and blessed his maw 
Destined to that good hour. No less rejoiced 
His mother bad, and thus bespake her sire:-- 

  "The key of this infernal Pit, by due 
And by command of Heaven's all-powerful King, 
I keep, by him forbidden to unlock 
These adamantine gates; against all force 
Death ready stands to interpose his dart, 
Fearless to be o'ermatched by living might. 
But what owe I to his commands above, 
Who hates me, and hath hither thrust me down 
Into this gloom of Tartarus profound, 
To sit in hateful office here confined, 
Inhabitant of Heaven and heavenly born-- 
Here in perpetual agony and pain, 
With terrors and with clamours compassed round 
Of mine own brood, that on my bowels feed? 
Thou art my father, thou my author, thou 
My being gav'st me; whom should I obey 
But thee? whom follow? Thou wilt bring me soon 
To that new world of light and bliss, among 
The gods who live at ease, where I shall reign 
At thy right hand voluptuous, as beseems 
Thy daughter and thy darling, without end." 

  Thus saying, from her side the fatal key, 
Sad instrument of all our woe, she took; 
And, towards the gate rolling her bestial train, 
Forthwith the huge portcullis high up-drew, 
Which, but herself, not all the Stygian Powers 
Could once have moved; then in the key-hole turns 
Th' intricate wards, and every bolt and bar 
Of massy iron or solid rock with ease 
Unfastens. On a sudden open fly, 
With impetuous recoil and jarring sound, 
Th' infernal doors, and on their hinges grate 
Harsh thunder, that the lowest bottom shook 
Of Erebus. She opened; but to shut 
Excelled her power: the gates wide open stood, 
That with extended wings a bannered host, 
Under spread ensigns marching, mibht pass through 
With horse and chariots ranked in loose array; 
So wide they stood, and like a furnace-mouth 
Cast forth redounding smoke and ruddy flame. 
Before their eyes in sudden view appear 
The secrets of the hoary Deep--a dark 
Illimitable ocean, without bound, 
Without dimension; where length, breadth, and height, 
And time, and place, are lost; where eldest Night 
And Chaos, ancestors of Nature, hold 
Eternal anarchy, amidst the noise 
Of endless wars, and by confusion stand. 
For Hot, Cold, Moist, and Dry, four champions fierce, 
Strive here for mastery, and to battle bring 
Their embryon atoms: they around the flag 
Of each his faction, in their several clans, 
Light-armed or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift, or slow, 
Swarm populous, unnumbered as the sands 
Of Barca or Cyrene's torrid soil, 
Levied to side with warring winds, and poise 
Their lighter wings. To whom these most adhere 
He rules a moment: Chaos umpire sits, 
And by decision more embroils the fray 
By which he reigns: next him, high arbiter, 
Chance governs all. Into this wild Abyss, 
The womb of Nature, and perhaps her grave, 
Of neither sea, nor shore, nor air, nor fire, 
But all these in their pregnant causes mixed 
Confusedly, and which thus must ever fight, 
Unless th' Almighty Maker them ordain 
His dark materials to create more worlds-- 
Into this wild Abyss the wary Fiend 
Stood on the brink of Hell and looked a while, 
Pondering his voyage; for no narrow frith 
He had to cross. Nor was his ear less pealed 
With noises loud and ruinous (to compare 
Great things with small) than when Bellona storms 
With all her battering engines, bent to rase 
Some capital city; or less than if this frame 
Of Heaven were falling, and these elements 
In mutiny had from her axle torn 
The steadfast Earth. At last his sail-broad vans 
He spread for flight, and, in the surging smoke 
Uplifted, spurns the ground; thence many a league, 
As in a cloudy chair, ascending rides 
Audacious; but, that seat soon failing, meets 
A vast vacuity. All unawares, 
Fluttering his pennons vain, plumb-down he drops 
Ten thousand fathom deep, and to this hour 
Down had been falling, had not, by ill chance, 
The strong rebuff of some tumultuous cloud, 
Instinct with fire and nitre, hurried him 
As many miles aloft. That fury stayed-- 
Quenched in a boggy Syrtis, neither sea, 
Nor good dry land--nigh foundered, on he fares, 
Treading the crude consistence, half on foot, 
Half flying; behoves him now both oar and sail. 
As when a gryphon through the wilderness 
With winged course, o'er hill or moory dale, 
Pursues the Arimaspian, who by stealth 
Had from his wakeful custody purloined 
The guarded gold; so eagerly the Fiend 
O'er bog or steep, through strait, rough, dense, or rare, 
With head, hands, wings, or feet, pursues his way, 
And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies. 
At length a universal hubbub wild 
Of stunning sounds, and voices all confused, 
Borne through the hollow dark, assaults his ear 
With loudest vehemence. Thither he plies 
Undaunted, to meet there whatever Power 
Or Spirit of the nethermost Abyss 
Might in that noise reside, of whom to ask 
Which way the nearest coast of darkness lies 
Bordering on light; when straight behold the throne 
Of Chaos, and his dark pavilion spread 
Wide on the wasteful Deep! With him enthroned 
Sat sable-vested Night, eldest of things, 
The consort of his reign; and by them stood 
Orcus and Ades, and the dreaded name 
Of Demogorgon; Rumour next, and Chance, 
And Tumult, and Confusion, all embroiled, 
And Discord with a thousand various mouths. 

  T' whom Satan, turning boldly, thus:--"Ye Powers 
And Spirtis of this nethermost Abyss, 
Chaos and ancient Night, I come no spy 
With purpose to explore or to disturb 
The secrets of your realm; but, by constraint 
Wandering this darksome desert, as my way 
Lies through your spacious empire up to light, 
Alone and without guide, half lost, I seek, 
What readiest path leads where your gloomy bounds 
Confine with Heaven; or, if some other place, 
From your dominion won, th' Ethereal King 
Possesses lately, thither to arrive 
I travel this profound. Direct my course: 
Directed, no mean recompense it brings 
To your behoof, if I that region lost, 
All usurpation thence expelled, reduce 
To her original darkness and your sway 
(Which is my present journey), and once more 
Erect the standard there of ancient Night. 
Yours be th' advantage all, mine the revenge!" 

  Thus Satan; and him thus the Anarch old, 
With faltering speech and visage incomposed, 
Answered:  "I know thee, stranger, who thou art--  *** 
That mighty leading Angel, who of late 
Made head against Heaven's King, though overthrown. 
I saw and heard; for such a numerous host 
Fled not in silence through the frighted Deep, 
With ruin upon ruin, rout on rout, 
Confusion worse confounded; and Heaven-gates 
Poured out by millions her victorious bands, 
Pursuing. I upon my frontiers here 
Keep residence; if all I can will serve 
That little which is left so to defend, 
Encroached on still through our intestine broils 
Weakening the sceptre of old Night: first, Hell, 
Your dungeon, stretching far and wide beneath; 
Now lately Heaven and Earth, another world 
Hung o'er my realm, linked in a golden chain 
To that side Heaven from whence your legions fell! 
If that way be your walk, you have not far; 
So much the nearer danger. Go, and speed; 
Havoc, and spoil, and ruin, are my gain." 

  He ceased; and Satan stayed not to reply, 
But, glad that now his sea should find a shore, 
With fresh alacrity and force renewed 
Springs upward, like a pyramid of fire, 
Into the wild expanse, and through the shock 
Of fighting elements, on all sides round 
Environed, wins his way; harder beset 
And more endangered than when Argo passed 
Through Bosporus betwixt the justling rocks, 
Or when Ulysses on the larboard shunned 
Charybdis, and by th' other whirlpool steered. 
So he with difficulty and labour hard 
Moved on, with difficulty and labour he; 
But, he once passed, soon after, when Man fell, 
Strange alteration! Sin and Death amain, 
Following his track (such was the will of Heaven) 
Paved after him a broad and beaten way 
Over the dark Abyss, whose boiling gulf 
Tamely endured a bridge of wondrous length, 
From Hell continued, reaching th' utmost orb 
Of this frail World; by which the Spirits perverse 
With easy intercourse pass to and fro 
To tempt or punish mortals, except whom 
God and good Angels guard by special grace. 

  But now at last the sacred influence 
Of light appears, and from the walls of Heaven 
Shoots far into the bosom of dim Night 
A glimmering dawn. Here Nature first begins 
Her farthest verge, and Chaos to retire, 
As from her outmost works, a broken foe, 
With tumult less and with less hostile din; 
That Satan with less toil, and now with ease, 
Wafts on the calmer wave by dubious light, 
And, like a weather-beaten vessel, holds 
Gladly the port, though shrouds and tackle torn; 
Or in the emptier waste, resembling air, 
Weighs his spread wings, at leisure to behold 
Far off th' empyreal Heaven, extended wide 
In circuit, undetermined square or round, 
With opal towers and battlements adorned 
Of living sapphire, once his native seat; 
And, fast by, hanging in a golden chain, 
This pendent World, in bigness as a star 
Of smallest magnitude close by the moon. 
Thither, full fraught with mischievous revenge, 
Accursed, and in a cursed hour, he hies. 

Book III                                                         

Hail, holy Light, offspring of Heaven firstborn, 
Or of the Eternal coeternal beam 
May I express thee unblam'd?  since God is light, 
And never but in unapproached light 
Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee 
Bright effluence of bright essence increate. 
Or hear"st thou rather pure ethereal stream, 
Whose fountain who shall tell?  before the sun, 
Before the Heavens thou wert, and at the voice 
Of God, as with a mantle, didst invest  *** 
The rising world of waters dark and deep, 
Won from the void and formless infinite. 
Thee I re-visit now with bolder wing, 
Escap'd the Stygian pool, though long detain'd 
In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight 
Through utter and through middle darkness borne, 
With other notes than to the Orphean lyre 
I sung of Chaos and eternal Night; 
Taught by the heavenly Muse to venture down 
The dark descent, and up to re-ascend, 
Though hard and rare:  Thee I revisit safe, 
And feel thy sovran vital lamp; but thou 
Revisit'st not these eyes, that roll in vain 
To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn; 
So  thick a drop serene hath quench'd their orbs, 
Or dim suffusion veil'd.  Yet not the more 
Cease I to wander, where the Muses haunt, 
Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill, 
Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief 
Thee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath, 
That wash thy hallow'd feet, and warbling flow, 
Nightly I visit:  nor sometimes forget 
So were I equall'd with them in renown, 
Thy sovran command, that Man should find grace; 
Blind Thamyris, and blind Maeonides, 
And Tiresias, and Phineus, prophets old: 
Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move 
Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird 
Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid 
Tunes her nocturnal note.  Thus with the year 
Seasons return; but not to me returns 
Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn, 
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose, 
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine; 
But cloud instead, and ever-during dark 
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men 
Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair 
Presented with a universal blank 
Of nature's works to me expung'd and ras'd, 
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out. 
So much the rather thou, celestial Light, 
Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers 
Irradiate; there plant eyes, all mist from thence 
Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell 
Of things invisible to mortal sight. 
Now had the Almighty Father from above, 
From the pure empyrean where he sits 
High thron'd above all highth, bent down his eye 
His own works and their works at once to view: 
About him all the Sanctities of Heaven 
Stood thick as stars, and from his sight receiv'd 
Beatitude past utterance; on his right 
The radiant image of his glory sat, 
His only son; on earth he first beheld 
Our two first parents, yet the only two 
Of mankind in the happy garden plac'd 
Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love, 
Uninterrupted joy, unrivall'd love, 
In blissful solitude; he then survey'd 
Hell and the gulf between, and Satan there  
Coasting the wall of Heaven on this side Night 
In the dun air sublime, and ready now 
To stoop with wearied wings, and willing feet, 
On the bare outside of this world, that seem'd 
Firm land imbosom'd, without firmament, 
Uncertain which, in ocean or in air. 
Him God beholding from his prospect high, 
Wherein past, present, future, he beholds, 
Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake. 
Only begotten Son, seest thou what rage 
Transports our Adversary?  whom no bounds 
Prescrib'd no bars of Hell, nor all the chains 
Heap'd on him there, nor yet the main abyss 
Wide interrupt, can hold; so bent he seems 
On desperate revenge, that shall redound 
Upon his own rebellious head.  And now, 
Through all restraint broke loose, he wings his way 
Not far off Heaven, in the precincts of light, 
Directly towards the new created world, 
And man there plac'd, with purpose to assay 
If him by force he can destroy, or, worse, 
By some false guile pervert; and shall pervert; 
For man will hearken to his glozing lies, 
And easily transgress the sole command, 
Sole pledge of his obedience:  So will fall 
He and his faithless progeny:  Whose fault? 
Whose but his own?  ingrate, he had of me 
All he could have; I made him just and right, 
Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall. 
Such I created all the ethereal Powers 
And Spirits, both them who stood, and them who fail'd; 
Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell. 
Not free, what proof could they have given sincere 
Of true allegiance, constant faith or love, 
Where only what they needs must do appear'd, 
Not what they would?  what praise could they receive? 
What pleasure I from such obedience paid, 
When will and reason (reason also is choice) 
Useless and vain, of freedom both despoil'd, 
Made passive both, had serv'd necessity, 
Not me?  they therefore, as to right belong$ 'd, 
So were created, nor can justly accuse 
Their Maker, or their making, or their fate, 
As if predestination over-rul'd 
Their will dispos'd by absolute decree 
Or high foreknowledge they themselves decreed 
Their own revolt, not I; if I foreknew, 
Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault, 
Which had no less proved certain unforeknown. 
So without least impulse or shadow of fate, 
Or aught by me immutably foreseen, 
They trespass, authors to themselves in all 
Both what they judge, and what they choose; for so 
I form'd them free: and free they must remain, 
Till they enthrall themselves; I else must change 
Their nature, and revoke the high decree 
Unchangeable, eternal, which ordain'd 
$THeir freedom: they themselves ordain'd their fall. 
The first sort by their own suggestion fell, 
Self-tempted, self-deprav'd:  Man falls, deceiv'd 
By the other first:  Man therefore shall find grace, 
The other none:  In mercy and justice both, 
Through Heaven and Earth, so shall my glory excel; 
But Mercy, first and last, shall brightest shine. 
Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance fill'd 
All Heaven, and in the blessed Spirits elect 
Sense of new joy ineffable diffus'd. 
Beyond compare the Son of God was seen 
Most glorious; in him all his Father shone 
Substantially express'd; and in his face 
Divine compassion visibly appear'd, 
Love without end, and without measure grace, 
Which uttering, thus he to his Father spake. 
O Father, gracious was that word which clos'd 
Thy sovran command, that Man should find grace; 
, that Man should find grace; 
For which both Heaven and earth shall high extol 
Thy praises, with the innumerable sound 
Of hymns and sacred songs, wherewith thy throne 
Encompass'd shall resound thee ever blest. 
For should Man finally be lost, should Man, 
Thy creature late so lov'd, thy youngest son, 
Fall circumvented thus by fraud, though join'd 
With his own folly?  that be from thee far, 
That far be from thee, Father, who art judge 
Of all things made, and judgest only right. 
Or shall the Adversary thus obtain 
His end, and frustrate thine?  shall he fulfill 
His malice, and thy goodness bring to nought, 
Or proud return, though to his heavier doom, 
Yet with revenge accomplish'd, and to Hell 
Draw after him the whole race of mankind, 
By him corrupted?  or wilt thou thyself 
Abolish thy creation, and unmake 
For him, what for thy glory thou hast made? 
So should thy goodness and thy greatness both 
Be question'd and blasphem'd without defence. 
To whom the great Creator thus replied. 
O son, in whom my soul hath chief delight, 
Son of my bosom, Son who art alone. 
My word, my wisdom, and effectual might,  
All hast thou spoken as my thoughts are, all 
As my eternal purpose hath decreed; 
Man shall not quite be lost, but sav'd who will; 
Yet not of will in him, but grace in me 
Freely vouchsaf'd; once more I will renew 
His lapsed powers, though forfeit; and enthrall'd 
By sin to foul exorbitant desires; 
Upheld by me, yet once more he shall stand 
On even ground against his mortal foe; 
By me upheld, that he may know how frail 
His fallen condition is, and to me owe 
All his deliverance, and to none but me. 
Some I have chosen of peculiar grace, 
Elect above the rest; so is my will: 
The rest shall hear me call, and oft be warn'd 
Their sinful state, and to appease betimes 
The incensed Deity, while offer'd grace 
Invites; for I will clear their senses dark, 
What may suffice, and soften stony hearts 
To pray, repent, and bring obedience due. 
To prayer, repentance, and obedience due, 
Though but endeavour'd with sincere intent, 
Mine ear shall not be slow, mine eye not shut. 
And I will place within them as a guide, 
My umpire Conscience; whom if they will hear, 
Light after light, well us'd, they shall attain, 
And to the end, persisting, safe arrive. 
This my long sufferance, and my day of grace, 
They who neglect and scorn, shall never taste; 
But hard be harden'd, blind be blinded more, 
That they may stumble on, and deeper fall; 
And none but such from mercy I exclude. 
But yet all is not done; Man disobeying, 
Disloyal, breaks his fealty, and sins 
Against the high supremacy of Heaven, 
Affecting God-head, and, so losing all, 
To expiate his treason hath nought left, 
But to destruction sacred and devote, 
He, with his whole posterity, must die, 
Die he or justice must; unless for him 
Some other able, and as willing, pay 
The rigid satisfaction, death for death. 
Say, heavenly Powers, where shall we find such love? 
Which of you will be mortal, to redeem 
Man's mortal crime, and just the unjust to save? 
Dwells in all Heaven charity so dear? 
And silence was in Heaven: $ on Man's behalf 
He ask'd, but all the heavenly quire stood mute, 
Patron or intercessour none appear'd, 
Much less that durst upon his own head draw 
The deadly forfeiture, and ransom set. 
And now without redemption all mankind 
Must have been lost, adjudg'd to Death and Hell 
By doom severe, had not the Son of God, 
In whom the fulness dwells of love divine, 
His dearest mediation thus renew'd. 
Father, thy word is past, Man shall find grace; 
And shall grace not find means, that finds her way, 
The speediest of thy winged messengers, 
To visit all thy creatures, and to all 
Comes unprevented, unimplor'd, unsought? 
Happy for Man, so coming; he her aid 
Can never seek, once dead in sins, and lost; 
Atonement for himself, or offering meet, 
Indebted and undone, hath none to bring; 
Behold me then:  me for him, life for life 
I offer: on me let thine anger fall; 
Account me Man; I for his sake will leave 

 Thy bosom, and this glory next to thee 

 Freely put off, and for him lastly die 

 Well pleased; on me let Death wreak all his rage. 

 Under his gloomy power I shall not long 

 Lie vanquished. Thou hast given me to possess 

 Life in myself for ever; by thee I live; 

 Though now to Death I yield, and am his due, 

 All that of me can die, yet, that debt paid, 

 $ thou wilt not leave me in the loathsome grave 

 His prey, nor suffer my unspotted soul 

 For ever with corruption there to dwell; 

 But I shall rise victorious, and subdue 

 My vanquisher, spoiled of his vaunted spoil. 

 Death his death's wound shall then receive, and stoop 

 Inglorious, of his mortal sting disarmed; 

 I through the ample air in triumph high 

 Shall lead Hell captive maugre Hell, and show 
The powers of darkness bound. Thou, at the sight 

 Pleased, out of Heaven shalt look down and smile, 

 While, by thee raised, I ruin all my foes; 

 Death last, and with his carcase glut the grave; 

 Then, with the multitude of my redeemed, 

 Shall enter Heaven, long absent, and return, 

 Father, to see thy face, wherein no cloud 

 Of anger shall remain, but peace assured 

 And reconcilement: wrath shall be no more 

 Thenceforth, but in thy presence joy entire. 

 His words here ended; but his meek aspect 

 Silent yet spake, and breathed immortal love 

 To mortal men, above which only shone 

 Filial obedience: as a sacrifice 

 Glad to be offered, he attends the will 

 Of his great Father. Admiration seized 

 All Heaven, what this might mean, and whither tend, 

 Wondering; but soon th' Almighty thus replied. 

 O thou in Heaven and Earth the only peace 

 Found out for mankind under wrath, O thou 

 My sole complacence! Well thou know'st how dear 

 To me are all my works; nor Man the least, 

 Though last created, that for him I spare 

 Thee from my bosom and right hand, to save, 

 By losing thee a while, the whole race lost.                    



 Thou, therefore, whom thou only canst redeem, 

 Their nature also to thy nature join; 

 And be thyself Man among men on Earth, 

 Made flesh, when time shall be, of virgin seed, 

 By wondrous birth; be thou in Adam's room 
The head of all mankind, though Adam's son. 
As in him perish all men, so in thee, 
As from a second root, shall be restored 
As many as are restored, without thee none. 
His crime makes guilty all his sons; thy merit, 
Imputed, shall absolve them who renounce 
Their own both righteous and unrighteous deeds, 
And live in thee transplanted, and from thee 
Receive new life.  So Man, as is most just, 
Shall satisfy for Man, be judged and die, 
And dying rise, and rising with him raise 
His brethren, ransomed with his own dear life. 
So heavenly love shall outdo hellish hate, 
Giving to death, and dying to redeem, 
So dearly to redeem what hellish hate 
So easily destroyed, and still destroys 
In those who, when they may, accept not grace. 
Nor shalt thou, by descending to assume 
Man's nature, lessen or degrade thine own. 
Because thou hast, though throned in highest bliss 
Equal to God, and equally enjoying 
God-like fruition, quitted all, to save 
A world from utter loss, and hast been found 
By merit more than birthright Son of God, 
Found worthiest to be so by being good, 
Far more than great or high; because in thee 
Love hath abounded more than glory abounds; 
Therefore thy humiliation shall exalt 
With thee thy manhood also to this throne: 
Here shalt thou sit incarnate, here shalt reign 
Both God and Man, Son both of God and Man, 
Anointed universal King; all power 
I give thee; reign for ever, and assume 
Thy merits; under thee, as head supreme, 
Thrones, Princedoms, Powers, Dominions, I reduce: 
All knees to thee shall bow, of them that bide 
In Heaven, or Earth, or under Earth in Hell. 
When thou, attended gloriously from Heaven, 
Shalt in the sky appear, and from thee send 
The summoning Arch-Angels to proclaim 
Thy dread tribunal; forthwith from all winds, 
The living, and forthwith the cited dead 
Of all past ages, to the general doom 
Shall hasten; such a peal shall rouse their sleep. 
Then, all thy saints assembled, thou shalt judge 
Bad Men and Angels; they, arraigned, shall sink 
Beneath thy sentence; Hell, her numbers full, 
Thenceforth shall be for ever shut.  Mean while 
The world shall burn, and from her ashes spring 
New Heaven and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell, 
And, after all their tribulations long, 
See golden days, fruitful of golden deeds, 
With joy and peace triumphing, and fair truth. 
Then thou thy regal scepter shalt lay by, 
For regal scepter then no more shall need, 
God shall be all in all.  But, all ye Gods, 
Adore him, who to compass all this dies; 
Adore the Son, and honour him as me. 
No sooner had the Almighty ceased, but all 
The multitude of Angels, with a shout 
Loud as from numbers without number, sweet 
As from blest voices, uttering joy, Heaven rung 
With jubilee, and loud Hosannas filled 
The eternal regions:  Lowly reverent 
Towards either throne they bow, and to the ground 
With solemn adoration down they cast 
Their crowns inwove with amarant and gold; 
Immortal amarant, a flower which once 
In Paradise, fast by the tree of life, 
Began to bloom; but soon for man's offence 
To Heaven removed, where first it grew, there grows, 
And flowers aloft shading the fount of life, 
And where the river of bliss through midst of Heaven 
Rolls o'er Elysian flowers her amber stream; 
With these that never fade the Spirits elect 
Bind their resplendent locks inwreathed with beams; 
Now in loose garlands thick thrown off, the bright 
Pavement, that like a sea of jasper shone, 
Impurpled with celestial roses smiled. 
Then, crowned again, their golden harps they took, 
Harps ever tuned, that glittering by their side 
Like quivers hung, and with preamble sweet 
Of charming symphony they introduce 
Their sacred song, and waken raptures high; 
No voice exempt, no voice but well could join 
Melodious part, such concord is in Heaven. 
Thee, Father, first they sung Omnipotent, 
Immutable, Immortal, Infinite, 
Eternal King; the Author of all being, 
Fonntain of light, thyself invisible 
Amidst the glorious brightness where thou sit'st 
Throned inaccessible, but when thou shadest 
The full blaze of thy beams, and, through a cloud 
Drawn round about thee like a radiant shrine, 
Dark with excessive bright thy skirts appear, 
Yet dazzle Heaven, that brightest Seraphim 
Approach not, but with both wings veil their eyes. 
Thee next they sang of all creation first, 
Begotten Son, Divine Similitude, 
In whose conspicuous countenance, without cloud 
Made visible, the Almighty Father shines, 
Whom else no creature can behold; on thee 
Impressed the effulgence of his glory abides, 
Transfused on thee his ample Spirit rests. 
He Heaven of Heavens and all the Powers therein 
By thee created; and by thee threw down 
The aspiring Dominations:  Thou that day 
Thy Father's dreadful thunder didst not spare, 
Nor stop thy flaming chariot-wheels, that shook 
Heaven's everlasting frame, while o'er the necks 
Thou drovest of warring Angels disarrayed. 
Back from pursuit thy Powers with loud acclaim 
Thee only extolled, Son of thy Father's might, 
To execute fierce vengeance on his foes, 
Not so on Man:  Him through their malice fallen, 
Father of mercy and grace, thou didst not doom 
So strictly, but much more to pity incline: 
No sooner did thy dear and only Son 
Perceive thee purposed not to doom frail Man 
So strictly, but much more to pity inclined, 
He to appease thy wrath, and end the strife 
Of mercy and justice in thy face discerned, 
Regardless of the bliss wherein he sat 
Second to thee, offered himself to die 
For Man's offence.  O unexampled love, 
Love no where to be found less than Divine! 
Hail, Son of God, Saviour of Men!  Thy name 
Shall be the copious matter of my song 
Henceforth, and never shall my heart thy praise 
Forget, nor from thy Father's praise disjoin. 
Thus they in Heaven, above the starry sphere, 
Their happy hours in joy and hymning spent. 
Mean while upon the firm opacous globe 
Of this round world, whose first convex divides 
The luminous inferiour orbs, enclosed 
From Chaos, and the inroad of Darkness old, 
Satan alighted walks:  A globe far off 
It seemed, now seems a boundless continent 
Dark, waste, and wild, under the frown of Night 
Starless exposed, and ever-threatening storms 
Of Chaos blustering round, inclement sky; 
Save on that side which from the wall of Heaven, 
Though distant far, some small reflection gains 
Of glimmering air less vexed with tempest loud: 
Here walked the Fiend at large in spacious field. 
As when a vultur on Imaus bred, 
Whose snowy ridge the roving Tartar bounds, 
Dislodging from a region scarce of prey 
To gorge the flesh of lambs or yeanling kids, 
On hills where flocks are fed, flies toward the springs 
Of Ganges or Hydaspes, Indian streams; 
But in his way lights on the barren plains 
Of Sericana, where Chineses drive 
With sails and wind their cany waggons light: 
So, on this windy sea of land, the Fiend 
Walked up and down alone, bent on his prey; 
Alone, for other creature in this place, 
Living or lifeless, to be found was none; 
None yet, but store hereafter from the earth 
Up hither like aereal vapours flew 
Of all things transitory and vain, when sin 
With vanity had filled the works of men: 
Both all things vain, and all who in vain things 
Built their fond hopes of glory or lasting fame, 
Or happiness in this or the other life; 
All who have their reward on earth, the fruits 
Of painful superstition and blind zeal, 
Nought seeking but the praise of men, here find 
Fit retribution, empty as their deeds; 
All the unaccomplished works of Nature's hand, 
Abortive, monstrous, or unkindly mixed, 
Dissolved on earth, fleet hither, and in vain, 
Till final dissolution, wander here; 
Not in the neighbouring moon as some have dreamed; 
Those argent fields more likely habitants, 
Translated Saints, or middle Spirits hold 
Betwixt the angelical and human kind. 
Hither of ill-joined sons and daughters born 
First from the ancient world those giants came 
With many a vain exploit, though then renowned: 
The builders next of Babel on the plain 
Of Sennaar, and still with vain design, 
New Babels, had they wherewithal, would build: 
Others came single; he, who, to be deemed 
A God, leaped fondly into Aetna flames, 
Empedocles; and he, who, to enjoy 
Plato's Elysium, leaped into the sea, 
Cleombrotus; and many more too long, 
Embryos, and idiots, eremites, and friars 
White, black, and gray, with all their trumpery. 
Here pilgrims roam, that strayed so far to seek 
In Golgotha him dead, who lives in Heaven; 
And they, who to be sure of Paradise, 
Dying, put on the weeds of Dominick, 
Or in Franciscan think to pass disguised; 
They pass the planets seven, and pass the fixed, 
And that crystalling sphere whose balance weighs 
The trepidation talked, and that first moved; 
And now Saint Peter at Heaven's wicket seems 
To wait them with his keys, and now at foot 
Of Heaven's ascent they lift their feet, when lo 
A violent cross wind from either coast 
Blows them transverse, ten thousand leagues awry 
Into the devious air:  Then might ye see 
Cowls, hoods, and habits, with their wearers, tost 
And fluttered into rags; then reliques, beads, 
Indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls, 
The sport of winds:  All these, upwhirled aloft, 
Fly o'er the backside of the world far off 
Into a Limbo large and broad, since called 
The Paradise of Fools, to few unknown 
Long after; now unpeopled, and untrod. 
All this dark globe the Fiend found as he passed, 
And long he wandered, till at last a gleam 
Of dawning light turned thither-ward in haste 
His travelled steps: far distant he descries 
Ascending by degrees magnificent 
Up to the wall of Heaven a structure high; 
At top whereof, but far more rich, appeared 
The work as of a kingly palace-gate, 
With frontispiece of diamond and gold 
Embellished; thick with sparkling orient gems 
The portal shone, inimitable on earth 
By model, or by shading pencil, drawn. 
These stairs were such as whereon Jacob saw 
Angels ascending and descending, bands 
Of guardians bright, when he from Esau fled 
To Padan-Aram, in the field of Luz 
Dreaming by night under the open sky 
And waking cried,  This is the gate of Heaven. 
Each stair mysteriously was meant, nor stood 
There always, but drawn up to Heaven sometimes 
Viewless; and underneath a bright sea flowed 
Of jasper, or of liquid pearl, whereon 
Who after came from earth, failing arrived 
Wafted by Angels, or flew o'er the lake 
Rapt in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds. 
The stairs were then let down, whether to dare 
The Fiend by easy ascent, or aggravate 
His sad exclusion from the doors of bliss: 
Direct against which opened from beneath, 
Just o'er the blissful seat of Paradise, 
A passage down to the Earth, a passage wide, 
Wider by far than that of after-times 
Over mount Sion, and, though that were large, 
Over the Promised Land to God so dear; 
By which, to visit oft those happy tribes, 
On high behests his angels to and fro 
Passed frequent, and his eye with choice regard 
From Paneas, the fount of Jordan's flood, 
To Beersaba, where the Holy Land 
Borders on Egypt and the Arabian shore; 
So wide the opening seemed, where bounds were set 
To darkness, such as bound the ocean wave. 
Satan from hence, now on the lower stair, 
That scaled by steps of gold to Heaven-gate, 
Looks down with wonder at the sudden view 
Of all this world at once.  As when a scout, 
Through dark?;nd desart ways with?oeril gone 
All?might,?;t?kast by break of cheerful dawn 
Obtains the brow of some high-climbing hill, 
Which to his eye discovers unaware 
The goodly prospect of some foreign land 
First seen, or some renowned metropolis 
With glistering spires and pinnacles adorned, 
Which now the rising sun gilds with his beams: 
Such wonder seised, though after Heaven seen, 
The Spirit malign, but much more envy seised, 
At sight of all this world beheld so fair. 
Round he surveys (and well might, where he stood 
So high above the circling canopy 
Of night's extended shade,) from eastern point 
Of Libra to the fleecy star that bears 
Andromeda far off Atlantick seas 
Beyond the horizon; then from pole to pole 
He views in breadth, and without longer pause 
Down right into the world's first region throws 
His flight precipitant, and winds with ease 
Through the pure marble air his oblique way 
Amongst innumerable stars, that shone 
Stars distant, but nigh hand seemed other worlds; 
Or other worlds they seemed, or happy isles, 
Like those Hesperian gardens famed of old, 
Fortunate fields, and groves, and flowery vales, 
Thrice happy isles; but who dwelt happy there 
He staid not to inquire:  Above them all 
The golden sun, in splendour likest Heaven, 
Allured his eye; thither his course he bends 
Through the calm firmament, (but up or down, 
By center, or eccentrick, hard to tell, 
Or longitude,) where the great luminary 
Aloof the vulgar constellations thick, 
That from his lordly eye keep distance due, 
Dispenses light from far; they, as they move 
Their starry dance in numbers that compute 
Days, months, and years, towards his all-cheering lamp 
Turn swift their various motions, or are turned 
By his magnetick beam, that gently warms 
The universe, and to each inward part 
With gentle penetration, though unseen, 
Shoots invisible virtue even to the deep; 
So wonderously was set his station bright. 
There lands the Fiend, a spot like which perhaps 
Astronomer in the sun's lucent orb 
Through his glazed optick tube yet never saw. 
The place he found beyond expression bright, 
Compared with aught on earth, metal or stone; 
Not all parts like, but all alike informed 
With radiant light, as glowing iron with fire; 
If metal, part seemed gold, part silver clear; 
If stone, carbuncle most or chrysolite, 
Ruby or topaz, to the twelve that shone 
In Aaron's breast-plate, and a stone besides 
Imagined rather oft than elsewhere seen, 
That stone, or like to that which here below 
Philosophers in vain so long have sought, 
In vain, though by their powerful art they bind 
Volatile Hermes, and call up unbound 
In various shapes old Proteus from the sea, 
Drained through a limbeck to his native form. 
What wonder then if fields and regions here 
Breathe forth Elixir pure, and rivers run 
Potable gold, when with one virtuous touch 
The arch-chemick sun, so far from us remote, 
Produces, with terrestrial humour mixed, 
Here in the dark so many precious things 
Of colour glorious, and effect so rare? 
Here matter new to gaze the Devil met 
Undazzled; far and wide his eye commands; 
For sight no obstacle found here, nor shade, 
But all sun-shine, as when his beams at noon 
Culminate from the equator, as they now 
Shot upward still direct, whence no way round 
Shadow from body opaque can fall; and the air, 
No where so clear, sharpened his visual ray 
To objects distant far, whereby he soon 
Saw within ken a glorious Angel stand, 
The same whom John saw also in the sun: 
His back was turned, but not his brightness hid; 
Of beaming sunny rays a golden tiar 
Circled his head, nor less his locks behind 
Illustrious on his shoulders fledge with wings 
Lay waving round; on some great charge employed 
He seemed, or fixed in cogitation deep. 
Glad was the Spirit impure, as now in hope 
To find who might direct his wandering flight 
To Paradise, the happy seat of Man, 
His journey's end and our beginning woe. 
But first he casts to change his proper shape, 
Which else might work him danger or delay: 
And now a stripling Cherub he appears, 
Not of the prime, yet such as in his face 
Youth smiled celestial, and to every limb 
Suitable grace diffused, so well he feigned: 
Under a coronet his flowing hair 
In curls on either cheek played; wings he wore 
Of many a coloured plume, sprinkled with gold; 
His habit fit for speed succinct, and held 
Before his decent steps a silver wand. 
He drew not nigh unheard; the Angel bright, 
Ere he drew nigh, his radiant visage turned, 
Admonished by his ear, and straight was known 
The Arch-Angel Uriel, one of the seven 
Who in God's presence, nearest to his throne, 
Stand ready at command, and are his eyes 
That run through all the Heavens, or down to the Earth 
Bear his swift errands over moist and dry, 
O'er sea and land: him Satan thus accosts. 
Uriel, for thou of those seven Spirits that stand 
In sight of God's high throne, gloriously bright, 
The first art wont his great authentick will 
Interpreter through highest Heaven to bring, 
Where all his sons thy embassy attend; 
And here art likeliest by supreme decree 
Like honour to obtain, and as his eye 
To visit oft this new creation round; 
Unspeakable desire to see, and know 
All these his wonderous works, but chiefly Man, 
His chief delight and favour, him for whom 
All these his works so wonderous he ordained, 
Hath brought me from the quires of Cherubim 
Alone thus wandering.  Brightest Seraph, tell 
In which of all these shining orbs hath Man 
His fixed seat, or fixed seat hath none, 
But all these shining orbs his choice to dwell; 
That I may find him, and with secret gaze 
Or open admiration him behold, 
On whom the great Creator hath bestowed 
Worlds, and on whom hath all these graces poured; 
That both in him and all things, as is meet, 
The universal Maker we may praise; 
Who justly hath driven out his rebel foes 
To deepest Hell, and, to repair that loss, 
Created this new happy race of Men 
To serve him better:  Wise are all his ways. 
So spake the false dissembler unperceived; 
For neither Man nor Angel can discern 
Hypocrisy, the only evil that walks 
Invisible, except to God alone, 
By his permissive will, through Heaven and Earth: 
And oft, though wisdom wake, suspicion sleeps 
At wisdom's gate, and to simplicity 
Resigns her charge, while goodness thinks no ill 
Where no ill seems:  Which now for once beguiled 
Uriel, though regent of the sun, and held 
The sharpest-sighted Spirit of all in Heaven; 
Who to the fraudulent impostor foul, 
In his uprightness, answer thus returned. 
Fair Angel, thy desire, which tends to know 
The works of God, thereby to glorify 
The great Work-master, leads to no excess 
That reaches blame, but rather merits praise 
The more it seems excess, that led thee hither 
From thy empyreal mansion thus alone, 
To witness with thine eyes what some perhaps, 
Contented with report, hear only in Heaven: 
For wonderful indeed are all his works, 
Pleasant to know, and worthiest to be all 
Had in remembrance always with delight; 
But what created mind can comprehend 
Their number, or the wisdom infinite 
That brought them forth, but hid their causes deep? 
I saw when at his word the formless mass, 
This world's material mould, came to a heap: 
Confusion heard his voice, and wild uproar 
Stood ruled, stood vast infinitude confined; 
Till at his second bidding Darkness fled, 
Light shone, and order from disorder sprung: 
Swift to their several quarters hasted then 
The cumbrous elements, earth, flood, air, fire; 
And this ethereal quintessence of Heaven 
Flew upward, spirited with various forms, 
That rolled orbicular, and turned to stars 
Numberless, as thou seest, and how they move; 
Each had his place appointed, each his course; 
The rest in circuit walls this universe. 
Look downward on that globe, whose hither side 
With light from hence, though but reflected, shines; 
That place is Earth, the seat of Man; that light 
His day, which else, as the other hemisphere, 
Night would invade; but there the neighbouring moon 
So call that opposite fair star) her aid 
Timely interposes, and her monthly round 
Still ending, still renewing, through mid Heaven, 
With borrowed light her countenance triform 
Hence fills and empties to enlighten the Earth, 
And in her pale dominion checks the night. 
That spot, to which I point, is Paradise, 
Adam's abode; those lofty shades, his bower. 
Thy way thou canst not miss, me mine requires. 
Thus said, he turned; and Satan, bowing low, 
As to superiour Spirits is wont in Heaven, 
Where honour due and reverence none neglects, 
Took leave, and toward the coast of earth beneath, 
Down from the ecliptick, sped with hoped success, 
Throws his steep flight in many an aery wheel; 
Nor staid, till on Niphates' top he lights. 

Book IV                                                          

O, for that warning voice, which he, who saw 
The Apocalypse, heard cry in Heaven aloud, 
Then when the Dragon, put to second rout, 
Came furious down to be revenged on men, 
Woe to the inhabitants on earth! that now, 
While time was, our first parents had been warned 
The coming of their secret foe, and 'scaped, 
Haply so 'scaped his mortal snare:  For now 
Satan, now first inflamed with rage, came down, 
The tempter ere the accuser of mankind, 
To wreak on innocent frail Man his loss 
Of that first battle, and his flight to Hell: 
Yet, not rejoicing in his speed, though bold 
Far off and fearless, nor with cause to boast, 
Begins his dire attempt; which nigh the birth 
Now rolling boils in his tumultuous breast, 
And like a devilish engine back recoils 
Upon himself; horrour and doubt distract 
His troubled thoughts, and from the bottom stir 
The Hell within him; for within him Hell 
He brings, and round about him, nor from Hell 
One step, no more than from himself, can fly 
By change of place:  Now conscience wakes despair, 
That slumbered; wakes the bitter memory 
Of what he was, what is, and what must be 
Worse; of worse deeds worse sufferings must ensue. 
Sometimes towards Eden, which now in his view 
Lay pleasant, his grieved look he fixes sad; 
Sometimes towards Heaven, and the full-blazing sun, 
Which now sat high in his meridian tower: 
Then, much revolving, thus in sighs began. 
O thou, that, with surpassing glory crowned, 
Lookest from thy sole dominion like the God 
Of this new world; at whose sight all the stars 
Hide their diminished heads; to thee I call, 
But with no friendly voice, and add thy name, 
Of Sun! to tell thee how I hate thy beams, 
That bring to my remembrance from what state 
I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere; 
Till pride and worse ambition threw me down 
Warring in Heaven against Heaven's matchless King: 
Ah, wherefore! he deserved no such return 
From me, whom he created what I was 
In that bright eminence, and with his good 
Upbraided none; nor was his service hard. 
What could be less than to afford him praise, 
The easiest recompence, and pay him thanks, 
How due! yet all his good proved ill in me, 
And wrought but malice; lifted up so high 
I sdeined subjection, and thought one step higher 
Would set me highest, and in a moment quit 
The debt immense of endless gratitude, 
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 powerful destiny ordained 
Me some inferiour Angel, I had stood 
Then happy; no unbounded hope had raised 
Ambition!  Yet why not some other Power 
As great might have aspired, and me, though mean, 
Drawn to his part; but other Powers as great 
Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within 
Or from without, to all temptations armed. 
Hadst thou the same free will and power to stand? 
Thou hadst: whom hast thou then or what to accuse, 
But Heaven's free love dealt equally to all? 
Be then his love accursed, since love or hate, 
To me alike, it deals eternal woe. 
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; 
And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep 
Still threatening to devour me opens wide, 
To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heaven. 
O, then, at last relent:  Is there no place 
Left for repentance, none for pardon left? 
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 
The Omnipotent.  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 scepter high advanced, 
The lower still I fall, only supreme 
In misery:  Such joy ambition finds. 
But say I could repent, and could obtain, 
By act of grace, my former state; how soon 
Would highth recall high thoughts, how soon unsay 
What feigned submission swore?  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 
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, in stead 
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 
Divided empire with Heaven'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 dimmed his face 
Thrice changed with pale, ire, envy, and despair; 
Which marred his borrowed visage, and betrayed 
Him counterfeit, if any eye beheld. 
For heavenly minds from such distempers foul 
Are ever clear.  Whereof he soon aware, 
Each perturbation smoothed with outward calm, 
Artificer of fraud; and was the first 
That practised falsehood under saintly show, 
Deep malice to conceal, couched with revenge: 
Yet not enough had practised to deceive 
Uriel once warned; whose eye pursued him down 

 The way he went, and on the Assyrian mount 

 Saw him disfigured, more than could befall 

 Spirit of happy sort; his gestures fierce 

 He marked and mad demeanour, then alone, 

 As he supposed, all unobserved, unseen. 

 So on he fares, and to the border comes 

 Of Eden, where delicious Paradise, 

 Now nearer, crowns with her enclosure green, 

 As with a rural mound, the champaign head 

 Of a steep wilderness, whose hairy sides 
Access denied; and overhead upgrew 

 Insuperable height of loftiest shade, 

 Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm, 

 A sylvan scene, and, as the ranks ascend, 

 Shade above shade, a woody theatre 

 Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops 

 The verdurous wall of Paradise upsprung;                        


Which to our general sire gave prospect large 
Into his nether empire neighbouring round. 
And higher than that wall a circling row 
Of goodliest trees, loaden with fairest fruit, 
Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue, 
Appeared, with gay enamelled colours mixed: 
On which the sun more glad impressed his beams 
Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow, 
When God hath showered the earth; so lovely seemed 
That landskip:  And of pure now purer air 
Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires 
Vernal delight and joy, able to drive 
All sadness but despair:  Now gentle gales, 
Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense 
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole 
Those balmy spoils.  As when to them who fail 
Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past 
Mozambick, off at sea north-east winds blow 
Sabean odours from the spicy shore 
Of Araby the blest; with such delay 
Well pleased they slack their course, and many a league 
Cheered with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles: 
So entertained those odorous sweets the Fiend, 
Who came their bane; though with them better pleased 
Than Asmodeus with the fishy fume 
That drove him, though enamoured, from the spouse 
Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent 
From Media post to Egypt, there fast bound. 
Now to the ascent of that steep savage hill 
Satan had journeyed on, pensive and slow; 
But further way found none, so thick entwined, 
As one continued brake, the undergrowth 
Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplexed 
All path of man or beast that passed that way. 
One gate there only was, and that looked east 
On the other side: which when the arch-felon saw, 
Due entrance he disdained; and, in contempt, 
At one flight bound high over-leaped 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 cotes amid the field secure, 
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-barred and bolted fast, fear no assault, 
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, 
Sat like a cormorant; yet not true life 
Thereby regained, 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 
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, 
To all delight of human sense exposed, 
In narrow room, Nature's whole wealth, yea more, 
A Heaven on Earth:  For blissful Paradise 
Of God the garden was, by him in the east 
Of Eden planted; Eden stretched her line 
From Auran eastward to the royal towers 
Of great Seleucia, built by Grecian kings, 
Of where the sons of Eden long before 
Dwelt in Telassar:  In this pleasant soil 
His far more pleasant garden God ordained; 
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 ambrosial 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 through the shaggy hill 
Passed underneath ingulfed; for God had thrown 
That mountain as his garden-mould high raised 
Upon the rapid current, which, through veins 
Of porous earth with kindly thirst up-drawn, 
Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill 
Watered the garden; thence united fell 
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, wandering many a famous realm 
And country, whereof here needs no account; 
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 errour under pendant shades 
Ran nectar, visiting each plant, and fed 
Flowers worthy of Paradise, which not nice Art 
In beds and curious knots, but Nature boon 
Poured forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain, 
Both where the morning sun first warmly smote 
The open field, and where the unpierced shade 
Imbrowned the noontide bowers:  Thus was this place 
A happy rural seat of various view; 
Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and balm, 
Others whose fruit, burnished with golden rind, 
Hung amiable, Hesperian fables true, 
If true, here only, and of delicious taste: 
Betwixt them lawns, or level downs, and flocks 
Grazing the tender herb, were interposed, 
Or palmy hillock; or the flowery lap 
Of some irriguous valley spread her store, 
Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose: 
Another side, umbrageous grots and caves 
Of cool recess, o'er which the mantling vine 
Lays forth her purple grape, and gently creeps 
Luxuriant; mean while murmuring waters fall 
Down the slope hills, dispersed, or in a lake, 
That to the fringed bank with myrtle crowned 
Her crystal mirrour holds, unite their streams. 
The birds their quire apply; airs, vernal airs, 
Breathing the smell of field and grove, attune 
The trembling leaves, while universal Pan, 
Knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance, 
Led on the eternal Spring.  Not that fair field 
Of Enna, where Proserpine gathering flowers, 
Herself a fairer flower by gloomy Dis 
Was gathered, which cost Ceres all that pain 
To seek her through the world; nor that sweet grove 
Of Daphne by Orontes, and the inspired 
Castalian spring, might with this Paradise 
Of Eden strive; nor that Nyseian isle 
Girt with the river Triton, where old Cham, 
Whom Gentiles Ammon call and Libyan Jove, 
Hid Amalthea, and her florid son 
Young Bacchus, from his stepdame Rhea's eye; 
Nor where Abassin kings their issue guard, 
Mount Amara, though this by some supposed 
True Paradise under the Ethiop line 
By Nilus' head, enclosed with shining rock, 
A whole day's journey high, but wide remote 
From this Assyrian garden, where the Fiend 
Saw, undelighted, all delight, all kind 
Of living creatures, new to sight, and strange 
Two of far nobler shape, erect and tall, 
Godlike erect, with native honour clad 
In naked majesty seemed lords of all: 
And worthy seemed; for in their looks divine 
The image of their glorious Maker shone, 
Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure, 
(Severe, but in true filial freedom placed,) 
Whence true authority in men; though both 
Not equal, as their sex not equal seemed; 
For contemplation he and valour formed; 
For softness she and sweet attractive grace; 
He for God only, she for God in him: 
His fair large front and eye sublime declared 
Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks 
Round from his parted forelock manly hung 
Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad: 
She, as a veil, down to the slender waist 
Her unadorned golden tresses wore 
Dishevelled, but in wanton ringlets waved 
As the vine curls her tendrils, which implied 
Subjection, but required with gentle sway, 
And by her yielded, by him best received, 
Yielded with coy submission, modest pride, 
And sweet, reluctant, amorous delay. 
Nor those mysterious parts were then concealed; 
Then was not guilty shame, dishonest shame 
Of nature's works, honour dishonourable, 
Sin-bred, how have ye troubled all mankind 
With shows instead, mere shows of seeming pure, 
And banished from man's life his happiest life, 
Simplicity and spotless innocence! 
So passed they naked on, nor shunned the sight 
Of God or Angel; for they thought no ill: 
So hand in hand they passed, the loveliest pair, 
That ever since in love's embraces met; 
Adam the goodliest man of men since born 
His sons, the fairest of her daughters Eve. 
Under a tuft of shade that on a green 
Stood whispering soft, by a fresh fountain side 
They sat them down; and, after no more toil 
Of their sweet gardening labour than sufficed 
To recommend cool Zephyr, and made ease 
More easy, wholesome thirst and appetite 
More grateful, to their supper-fruits they fell, 
Nectarine fruits which the compliant boughs 
Yielded them, side-long as they sat recline 
On the soft downy bank damasked with flowers: 
The savoury pulp they chew, and in the rind, 
Still as they thirsted, scoop the brimming stream; 
Nor gentle purpose, nor endearing smiles 
Wanted, nor youthful dalliance, as beseems 
Fair couple, linked in happy nuptial league, 
Alone as they.  About them frisking played 
All beasts of the earth, since wild, and of all chase 
In wood or wilderness, forest or den; 
Sporting the lion ramped, and in his paw 
Dandled the kid; bears, tigers, ounces, pards, 
Gambolled before them; the unwieldy elephant, 
To make them mirth, used all his might, and wreathed 
His?kithetmroboscis; close the serpent sly, 
Insinuating, wove with Gordian twine 
His braided train, and of his fatal guile 
Gave proof unheeded; others on the grass 
Couched, and now filled with pasture gazing sat, 
Or bedward ruminating; for the sun, 
Declined, was hasting now with prone career 
To the ocean isles, and in the ascending scale 
Of Heaven the stars that usher evening rose: 
When Satan still in gaze, as first he stood, 
Scarce thus at length failed speech recovered sad. 
O Hell! what do mine eyes with grief behold! 
Into our room of bliss thus high advanced 
Creatures of other mould, earth-born perhaps, 
Not Spirits, yet to heavenly Spirits bright 
Little inferiour; whom my thoughts pursue 
With wonder, and could love, so lively shines 
In them divine resemblance, and such grace 
The hand that formed them on their shape hath poured. 
Ah! gentle pair, ye little think how nigh 
Your change approaches, when all these delights 
Will vanish, and deliver ye to woe; 
More woe, the more your taste is now of joy; 
Happy, but for so happy ill secured 
Long to continue, and this high seat your Heaven 
Ill fenced for Heaven to keep out such a foe 
As now is entered; yet no purposed foe 
To you, whom I could pity thus forlorn, 
Though I unpitied:  League with you I seek, 
And mutual amity, so strait, so close, 
That I with you must dwell, or you with me 
Henceforth; my dwelling haply may not please, 
Like this fair Paradise, your sense; yet such 
Accept your Maker's work; he gave it me, 
Which I as freely give:  Hell shall unfold, 
To entertain you two, her widest gates, 
And send forth all her kings; there will be room, 
Not like these narrow limits, to receive 
Your numerous offspring; if no better place, 
Thank him who puts me loth to this revenge 
On you who wrong me not for him who wronged. 
And should I at your harmless innocence 
Melt, as I do, yet publick reason just, 
Honour and empire with revenge enlarged, 
By conquering this new world, compels me now 
To do what else, though damned, I should abhor. 
So spake the Fiend, and with necessity, 
The tyrant's plea, excused his devilish deeds. 
Then from his lofty stand on that high tree 
Down he alights among the sportful herd 
Of those four-footed kinds, himself now one, 
Now other, as their shape served best his end 
Nearer to view his prey, and, unespied, 
To mark what of their state he more might learn, 
By word or action marked. About them round 
A lion now he stalks with fiery glare; 
Then as a tiger, who by chance hath spied 
In some purlieu two gentle fawns at play, 
Straight couches close, then, rising, changes oft 
His couchant watch, as one who chose his ground, 
Whence rushing, he might surest seize them both, 
Griped in each paw: when, Adam first of men 
To first of women Eve thus moving speech, 
Turned him, all ear to hear new utterance flow. 
Sole partner, and sole part, of all these joys, 
Dearer thyself than all; needs must the Power 
That made us, and for us this ample world, 
Be infinitely good, and of his good 
As liberal and free as infinite; 
That raised us from the dust, and placed us here 
In all this happiness, who at his hand 
Have nothing merited, nor can perform 
Aught whereof he hath need; he who requires 
From us no other service than to keep 
This one, this easy charge, of all the trees 
In Paradise that bear delicious fruit 
So various, not to taste that only tree 
Of knowledge, planted by the tree of life; 
So near grows death to life, whate'er death is, 
Some dreadful thing no doubt; for well thou knowest 
God hath pronounced it death to taste that tree, 
The only sign of our obedience left, 
Among so many signs of power and rule 
Conferred upon us, and dominion given 
Over all other creatures that possess 
Earth, air, and sea.  Then let us not think hard 
One easy prohibition, who enjoy 
Free leave so large to all things else, and choice 
Unlimited of manifold delights: 
But let us ever praise him, and extol 
His bounty, following our delightful task, 
To prune these growing plants, and tend these flowers, 
Which were it toilsome, yet with thee were sweet. 
To whom thus Eve replied.  O thou for whom 
And from whom I was formed, flesh of thy flesh, 
And without whom am to no end, my guide 
And head! what thou hast said is just and right. 
For we to him indeed all praises owe, 
And daily thanks; I chiefly, who enjoy 
So far the happier lot, enjoying thee 
Pre-eminent by so much odds, while thou 
Like consort to thyself canst no where find. 
That day I oft remember, when from sleep 
I first awaked, and found myself reposed 
Under a shade on flowers, much wondering where 
And what I was, whence thither brought, and how. 
Not distant far from thence a murmuring sound 
Of waters issued from a cave, and spread 
Into a liquid plain, then stood unmoved 
Pure as the expanse of Heaven; I thither went 
With unexperienced thought, and laid me down 
On the green bank, to look into the clear 
Smooth lake, that to me seemed another sky. 
As I bent down to look, just opposite 
A shape within the watery gleam appeared, 
Bending to look on me:  I started back, 
It started back; but pleased I soon returned, 
Pleased it returned as soon with answering looks 
Of sympathy and love:  There I had fixed 
Mine eyes till now, and pined with vain desire, 
Had not a voice thus warned me;  'What thou seest, 
'What there thou seest, fair Creature, is thyself; 
'With thee it came and goes: but follow me, 
'And I will bring thee where no shadow stays 
'Thy coming, and thy soft embraces, he 
'Whose image thou art; him thou shalt enjoy 
'Inseparably thine, to him shalt bear 
'Multitudes like thyself, and thence be called 
'Mother of human race.'  What could I do, 
But follow straight, invisibly thus led? 
Till I espied thee, fair indeed and tall, 
Under a platane; yet methought less fair, 
Less winning soft, less amiably mild, 
Than that smooth watery image:  Back I turned; 
Thou following cryedst aloud, 'Return, fair Eve; 
'Whom flyest thou?  whom thou flyest, of him thou art, 
'His flesh, his bone; to give thee being I lent 
'Out of my side to thee, nearest my heart, 
'Substantial life, to have thee by my side 
'Henceforth an individual solace dear; 
'Part of my soul I seek thee, and thee claim 
'My other half:'  With that thy gentle hand 
Seised mine:  I yielded;and from that time see 
How beauty is excelled by manly grace, 
And wisdom, which alone is truly fair. 
So spake our general mother, and with eyes 
Of conjugal attraction unreproved, 
And meek surrender, half-embracing leaned 
On our first father; half her swelling breast 
Naked met his, under the flowing gold 
Of her loose tresses hid: he in delight 
Both of her beauty, and submissive charms, 
Smiled with superiour love, as Jupiter 
On Juno smiles, when he impregns the clouds 
That shed Mayflowers; and pressed her matron lip 
With kisses pure:  Aside the Devil turned 
For envy; yet with jealous leer malign 
Eyed them askance, and to himself thus plained. 
Sight hateful, sight tormenting! thus these two, 
Imparadised in one another's arms, 
The happier Eden, shall enjoy their fill 
Of bliss on bliss; while I to Hell am thrust, 
Where neither joy nor love, but fierce desire, 
Among our other torments not the least, 
Still unfulfilled with pain of longing pines. 
Yet let me not forget what I have gained 
From their own mouths:  All is not theirs, it seems; 
One fatal tree there stands, of knowledge called, 
Forbidden them to taste:  Knowledge forbidden 
Suspicious, reasonless.  Why should their Lord 
Envy them that?  Can it be sin to know? 
Can it be death?  And do they only stand 
By ignorance?  Is that their happy state, 
The proof of their obedience and their faith? 
O fair foundation laid whereon to build 
Their ruin! hence I will excite their minds 
With more desire to know, and to reject 
Envious commands, invented with design 
To keep them low, whom knowledge might exalt 
Equal with Gods: aspiring to be such, 
They taste and die:  What likelier can ensue 
But first with narrow search I must walk round 
This garden, and no corner leave unspied; 
A chance but chance may lead where I may meet 
Some wandering Spirit of Heaven by fountain side, 
Or in thick shade retired, from him to draw 
What further would be learned.  Live while ye may, 
Yet happy pair; enjoy, till I return, 
Short pleasures, for long woes are to succeed! 
So saying, his proud step he scornful turned, 
But with sly circumspection, and began 
Through wood, through waste, o'er hill, o'er dale, his roam 
Mean while in utmost longitude, where Heaven 
With earth and ocean meets, the setting sun 
Slowly descended, and with right aspect 
Against the eastern gate of Paradise 
Levelled his evening rays:  It was a rock 
Of alabaster, piled up to the clouds, 
Conspicuous far, winding with one ascent 
Accessible from earth, one entrance high; 
The rest was craggy cliff, that overhung 
Still as it rose, impossible to climb. 
Betwixt these rocky pillars Gabriel sat, 
Chief of the angelick guards, awaiting night; 
About him exercised heroick games 
The unarmed youth of Heaven, but nigh at hand 
Celestial armoury, shields, helms, and spears, 
Hung high with diamond flaming, and with gold. 
Thither came Uriel, gliding through the even 
On a sun-beam, swift as a shooting star 
In autumn thwarts the night, when vapours fired 
Impress the air, and shows the mariner 
From what point of his compass to beware 
Impetuous winds:  He thus began in haste. 
Gabriel, to thee thy course by lot hath given 
Charge and strict watch, that to this happy place 
No evil thing approach or enter in. 
This day at highth of noon came to my sphere 
A Spirit, zealous, as he seemed, to know 
More of the Almighty's works, and chiefly Man, 
God's latest image:  I described his way 
Bent all on speed, and marked his aery gait; 
But in the mount that lies from Eden north, 
Where he first lighted, soon discerned his looks 
Alien from Heaven, with passions foul obscured: 
Mine eye pursued him still, but under shade 
Lost sight of him:  One of the banished crew, 
I fear, hath ventured from the deep, to raise 
New troubles; him thy care must be to find. 
To whom the winged warriour thus returned. 
Uriel, no wonder if thy perfect sight, 
Amid the sun's bright circle where thou sitst, 
See far and wide:  In at this gate none pass 
The vigilance here placed, but such as come 
Well known from Heaven; and since meridian hour 
No creature thence:  If Spirit of other sort, 
So minded, have o'er-leaped these earthly bounds 
On purpose, hard thou knowest it to exclude 
Spiritual substance with corporeal bar. 
But if within the circuit of these walks, 
In whatsoever shape he lurk, of whom 
Thou tellest, by morrow dawning I shall know. 
So promised he; and Uriel to his charge 
Returned on that bright beam, whose point now raised 
Bore him slope downward to the sun now fallen 
Beneath the Azores; whether the prime orb, 
Incredible how swift, had thither rolled 
Diurnal, or this less volubil earth, 
By shorter flight to the east, had left him there 
Arraying with reflected purple and gold 
The clouds that on his western throne attend. 
Now came still Evening on, and Twilight gray 
Had in her sober livery all things clad; 
Silence accompanied; for beast and bird, 
They to their grassy couch, these to their nests 
Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale; 
She all night long her amorous descant sung; 
Silence was pleased:  Now glowed the firmament 
With living sapphires:  Hesperus, that led 
The starry host, rode brightest, till the moon, 
Rising in clouded majesty, at length 
Apparent queen unveiled her peerless light, 
And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw. 
When Adam thus to Eve.  Fair Consort, the hour 
Of night, and all things now retired to rest, 
Mind us of like repose; since God hath set 
Labour and rest, as day and night, to men 
Successive; and the timely dew of sleep, 
Now falling with soft slumbrous weight, inclines 
Our eye-lids:  Other creatures all day long 
Rove idle, unemployed, and less need rest; 
Man hath his daily work of body or mind 
Appointed, which declares his dignity, 
And the regard of Heaven on all his ways; 
While other animals unactive range, 
And of their doings God takes no account. 
To-morrow, ere fresh morning streak the east 
With first approach of light, we must be risen, 
And at our pleasant labour, to reform 
Yon flowery arbours, yonder alleys green, 
Our walk at noon, with branches overgrown, 
That mock our scant manuring, and require 
More hands than ours to lop their wanton growth: 
Those blossoms also, and those dropping gums, 
That lie bestrown, unsightly and unsmooth, 
Ask riddance, if we mean to tread with ease; 
Mean while, as Nature wills, night bids us rest. 
To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adorned 
My Author and Disposer, what thou bidst 
Unargued I obey:  So God ordains; 
God is thy law, thou mine:  To know no more 
Is woman's happiest knowledge, and her praise. 
With thee conversing I forget all time; 
All seasons, and their change, all please alike. 
Sweet is the breath of Morn, her rising sweet, 
With charm of earliest birds:  pleasant the sun, 
When first on this delightful land he spreads 
His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower, 
Glistering with dew; fragrant the fertile earth 
After soft showers; and sweet the coming on 
Of grateful Evening mild; then silent Night, 
With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon, 
And these the gems of Heaven, her starry train: 
But neither breath of Morn, when she ascends 
With charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun 
On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower, 
Glistering with dew; nor fragrance after showers; 
Nor grateful Evening mild; nor silent Night, 
With this her solemn bird, nor walk by moon, 
Or glittering star-light, without thee is sweet. 
But wherefore all night long shine these? for whom 
This glorious sight, when sleep hath shut all eyes? 
To whom our general ancestor replied. 
Daughter of God and Man, accomplished Eve, 
These have their course to finish round the earth, 
By morrow evening, and from land to land 
In order, though to nations yet unborn, 
Ministring light prepared, they set and rise; 
Lest total Darkness should by night regain 
Her old possession, and extinguish life 
In Nature and all things; which these soft fires 
Not only enlighten, but with kindly heat 
Of various influence foment and warm, 
Temper or nourish, or in part shed down 
Their stellar virtue on all kinds that grow 
On earth, made hereby apter to receive 
Perfection from the sun's more potent ray. 
These then, though unbeheld in deep of night, 
Shine not in vain; nor think, though men were none, 
That Heaven would want spectators, God want praise: 
Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth 
Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep: 
All these with ceaseless praise his works behold 
Both day and night:  How often from the steep 
Of echoing hill or thicket have we heard 
Celestial voices to the midnight air, 
Sole, or responsive each to others note, 
Singing their great Creator? oft in bands 
While they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk, 
With heavenly touch of instrumental sounds 
In full harmonick number joined, their songs 
Divide the night, and lift our thoughts to Heaven. 
Thus talking, hand in hand alone they passed 
On to their blissful bower: it was a place 
Chosen by the sovran Planter, when he framed 
All things to Man's delightful use; the roof 
Of thickest covert was inwoven shade 
Laurel and myrtle, and what higher grew 
Of firm and fragrant leaf; on either side 
Acanthus, and each odorous bushy shrub, 
Fenced up the verdant wall; each beauteous flower, 
Iris all hues, roses, and jessamin, 
Reared high their flourished heads between, and wrought 
Mosaick; underfoot the violet, 
Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlay 
Broidered the ground, more coloured than with stone 
Of costliest emblem:  Other creature here, 
Bird, beast, insect, or worm, durst enter none, 
Such was their awe of Man.  In shadier bower 
More sacred and sequestered, though but feigned, 
Pan or Sylvanus never slept, nor Nymph 
Nor Faunus haunted.  Here, in close recess, 
With flowers, garlands, and sweet-smelling herbs, 
Espoused Eve decked first her nuptial bed; 
And heavenly quires the hymenaean sung, 
What day the genial Angel to our sire 
Brought her in naked beauty more adorned, 
More lovely, than Pandora, whom the Gods 
Endowed with all their gifts, and O! too like 
In sad event, when to the unwiser son 
Of Japhet brought by Hermes, she ensnared 
Mankind with her fair looks, to be avenged 
On him who had stole Jove's authentick fire. 
Thus, at their shady lodge arrived, both stood, 
Both turned, and under open sky adored 
The God that made both sky, air, earth, and heaven, 
Which they beheld, the moon's resplendent globe, 
And starry pole:  Thou also madest the night, 
Maker Omnipotent, and thou the day, 
Which we, in our appointed work employed, 
Have finished, happy in our mutual help 
And mutual love, the crown of all our bliss 
Ordained by thee; and this delicious place 
For us too large, where thy abundance wants 
Partakers, and uncropt falls to the ground. 
But thou hast promised from us two a race 
To fill the earth, who shall with us extol 
Thy goodness infinite, both when we wake, 
And when we seek, as now, thy gift of sleep. 
This said unanimous, and other rites 
Observing none, but adoration pure 
Which God likes best, into their inmost bower 
Handed they went; and, eased the putting off 
These troublesome disguises which we wear, 
Straight side by side were laid; nor turned, I ween, 
Adam from his fair spouse, nor Eve the rites 
Mysterious of connubial love refused: 
Whatever hypocrites austerely talk 
Of purity, and place, and innocence, 
Defaming as impure what God declares 
Pure, and commands to some, leaves free to all. 
Our Maker bids encrease; who bids abstain 
But our Destroyer, foe to God and Man? 
Hail, wedded Love, mysterious law, true source 
Of human offspring, sole propriety 
In Paradise of all things common else! 
By thee adulterous Lust was driven from men 
Among the bestial herds to range; by thee 
Founded in reason, loyal, just, and pure, 
Relations dear, and all the charities 
Of father, son, and brother, first were known. 
Far be it, that I should write thee sin or blame, 
Or think thee unbefitting holiest place, 
Perpetual fountain of domestick sweets, 
Whose bed is undefiled and chaste pronounced, 
Present, or past, as saints and patriarchs used. 
Here Love his golden shafts employs, here lights 
His constant lamp, and waves his purple wings, 
Reigns here and revels; not in the bought smile 
Of harlots, loveless, joyless, unendeared, 
Casual fruition; nor in court-amours, 
Mixed dance, or wanton mask, or midnight ball, 
Or serenate, which the starved lover sings 
To his proud fair, best quitted with disdain. 
These, lulled by nightingales, embracing slept, 
And on their naked limbs the flowery roof 
Showered roses, which the morn repaired.  Sleep on, 
Blest pair; and O!yet happiest, if ye seek 
No happier state, and know to know no more. 
Now had night measured with her shadowy cone 
Half way up hill this vast sublunar vault, 
And from their ivory port the Cherubim, 
Forth issuing at the accustomed hour, stood armed 
To their night watches in warlike parade; 
When Gabriel to his next in power thus spake. 
Uzziel, half these draw off, and coast the south 
With strictest watch; these other wheel the north; 
Our circuit meets full west.  As flame they part, 
Half wheeling to the shield, half to the spear. 
From these, two strong and subtle Spirits he called 
That near him stood, and gave them thus in charge. 
Ithuriel and Zephon, with winged speed 
Search through this garden, leave unsearched no nook; 
But chiefly where those two fair creatures lodge, 
Now laid perhaps asleep, secure of harm. 
This evening from the sun's decline arrived, 
Who tells of some infernal Spirit seen 
Hitherward bent (who could have thought?) escaped 
The bars of Hell, on errand bad no doubt: 
Such, where ye find, seise fast, and hither bring. 
So saying, on he led his radiant files, 
Dazzling the moon; these to the bower direct 
In search of whom they sought:  Him there they found 
Squat like a toad, close at the ear of Eve, 
Assaying by his devilish art to reach 
The organs of her fancy, and with them forge 
Illusions, as he list, phantasms and dreams; 
Or if, inspiring venom, he might taint 
The animal spirits, that from pure blood arise 
Like gentle breaths from rivers pure, thence raise 
At least distempered, discontented thoughts, 
Vain hopes, vain aims, inordinate desires, 
Blown up with high conceits ingendering pride. 
Him thus intent Ithuriel with his spear 
Touched lightly; for no falshood can endure 
Touch of celestial temper, but returns 
Of force to its own likeness:  Up he starts 
Discovered and surprised.  As when a spark 
Lights on a heap of nitrous powder, laid 
Fit for the tun some magazine to store 
Against a rumoured war, the smutty grain, 
With sudden blaze diffused, inflames the air; 
So started up in his own shape the Fiend. 
Back stept those two fair Angels, half amazed 
So sudden to behold the grisly king; 
Yet thus, unmoved with fear, accost him soon. 
Which of those rebel Spirits adjudged to Hell 
Comest thou, escaped thy prison? and, transformed, 
Why sat'st thou like an enemy in wait, 
Here watching at the head of these that sleep? 
Know ye not then said Satan, filled with scorn, 
Know ye not me? ye knew me once no mate 
For you, there sitting where ye durst not soar: 
Not to know me argues yourselves unknown, 
The lowest of your throng; or, if ye know, 
Why ask ye, and superfluous begin 
Your message, like to end as much in vain? 
To whom thus Zephon, answering scorn with scorn. 
Think not, revolted Spirit, thy shape the same, 
Or undiminished brightness to be known, 
As when thou stoodest in Heaven upright and pure; 
That glory then, when thou no more wast good, 
Departed from thee; and thou resemblest now 
Thy sin and place of doom obscure and foul. 
But come, for thou, be sure, shalt give account 
To him who sent us, whose charge is to keep 
This place inviolable, and these from harm. 
So spake the Cherub; and his grave rebuke, 
Severe in youthful beauty, added grace 
Invincible:  Abashed the Devil stood, 
And felt how awful goodness is, and saw 
Virtue in her shape how lovely; saw, and pined 
His loss; but chiefly to find here observed 
His lustre visibly impaired; yet seemed 
Undaunted.  If I must contend, said he, 
Best with the best, the sender, not the sent, 
Or all at once; more glory will be won, 
Or less be lost.  Thy fear, said Zephon bold, 
Will save us trial what the least can do 
Single against thee wicked, and thence weak. 
The Fiend replied not, overcome with rage; 
But, like a proud steed reined, went haughty on, 
Champing his iron curb:  To strive or fly 
He held it vain; awe from above had quelled 
His heart, not else dismayed.  Now drew they nigh 
The western point, where those half-rounding guards 
Just met, and closing stood in squadron joined, 
A waiting next command.  To whom their Chief, 
Gabriel, from the front thus called aloud. 
O friends!  I hear the tread of nimble feet 
Hasting this way, and now by glimpse discern 
Ithuriel and Zephon through the shade; 
And with them comes a third of regal port, 
But faded splendour wan; who by his gait 
And fierce demeanour seems the Prince of Hell, 
Not likely to part hence without contest; 
Stand firm, for in his look defiance lours. 
He scarce had ended, when those two approached, 
And brief related whom they brought, where found, 
How busied, in what form and posture couched. 
To whom with stern regard thus Gabriel spake. 
Why hast thou, Satan, broke the bounds prescribed 
To thy transgressions, and disturbed the charge 
Of others, who approve not to transgress 
By thy example, but have power and right 
To question thy bold entrance on this place; 
Employed, it seems, to violate sleep, and those 
Whose dwelling God hath planted here in bliss! 
To whom thus Satan with contemptuous brow. 
Gabriel? thou hadst in Heaven the esteem of wise, 
And such I held thee; but this question asked 
Puts me in doubt.  Lives there who loves his pain! 
Who would not, finding way, break loose from Hell, 
Though thither doomed!  Thou wouldst thyself, no doubt 
And boldly venture to whatever place 
Farthest from pain, where thou mightst hope to change 
Torment with ease, and soonest recompense 
Dole with delight, which in this place I sought; 
To thee no reason, who knowest only good, 
But evil hast not tried: and wilt object 
His will who bounds us!  Let him surer bar 
His iron gates, if he intends our stay 
In that dark durance:  Thus much what was asked. 
The rest is true, they found me where they say; 
But that implies not violence or harm. 
Thus he in scorn.  The warlike Angel moved, 
Disdainfully half smiling, thus replied. 
O loss of one in Heaven to judge of wise 
Since Satan fell, whom folly overthrew, 
And now returns him from his prison 'scaped, 
Gravely in doubt whether to hold them wise 
Or not, who ask what boldness brought him hither 
Unlicensed from his bounds in Hell prescribed; 
So wise he judges it to fly from pain 
However, and to 'scape his punishment! 
So judge thou still, presumptuous! till the wrath, 
Which thou incurrest by flying, meet thy flight 
Sevenfold, and scourge that wisdom back to Hell, 
Which taught thee yet no better, that no pain 
Can equal anger infinite provoked. 
But wherefore thou alone? wherefore with thee 
Came not all hell broke loose? or thou than they 
Less hardy to endure?  Courageous Chief! 
The first in flight from pain! hadst thou alleged 
To thy deserted host this cause of flight, 
Thou surely hadst not come sole fugitive. 
To which the Fiend thus answered, frowning stern. 
Not that I less endure, or shrink from pain, 
Insulting Angel! well thou knowest I stood 
Thy fiercest, when in battle to thy aid 
The blasting vollied thunder made all speed, 
And seconded thy else not dreaded spear. 
But still thy words at random, as before, 
Argue thy inexperience what behoves 
From hard assays and ill successes past 
A faithful leader, not to hazard all 
Through ways of danger by himself untried: 
I, therefore, I alone first undertook 
To wing the desolate abyss, and spy 
This new created world, whereof in Hell 
Fame is not silent, here in hope to find 
Better abode, and my afflicted Powers 
To settle here on earth, or in mid air; 
Though for possession put to try once more 
What thou and thy gay legions dare against; 
Whose easier business were to serve their Lord 
High up in Heaven, with songs to hymn his throne, 
And practised distances to cringe, not fight, 
To whom the warriour Angel soon replied. 
To say and straight unsay, pretending first 
Wise to fly pain, professing next the spy, 
Argues no leader but a liear traced, 
Satan, and couldst thou faithful add?  O name, 
O sacred name of faithfulness profaned! 
Faithful to whom? to thy rebellious crew? 
Army of Fiends, fit body to fit head. 
Was this your discipline and faith engaged, 
Your military obedience, to dissolve 
Allegiance to the acknowledged Power supreme? 
And thou, sly hypocrite, who now wouldst seem 
Patron of liberty, who more than thou 
Once fawned, and cringed, and servily adored 
Heaven's awful Monarch? wherefore, but in hope 
To dispossess him, and thyself to reign? 
But mark what I arreed thee now, Avant; 
Fly neither whence thou fledst!  If from this hour 
Within these hallowed limits thou appear, 
Back to the infernal pit I drag thee chained, 
And seal thee so, as henceforth not to scorn 
The facile gates of Hell too slightly barred. 
So threatened he; but Satan to no threats 
Gave heed, but waxing more in rage replied. 
Then when I am thy captive talk of chains, 
Proud limitary Cherub! but ere then 
Far heavier load thyself expect to feel 
From my prevailing arm, though Heaven's King 
Ride on thy wings, and thou with thy compeers, 
Us'd to the yoke, drawest his triumphant wheels 
In progress through the road of Heaven star-paved. 
While thus he spake, the angelick squadron bright 
Turned fiery red, sharpening in mooned horns 
Their phalanx, and began to hem him round 
With ported spears, as thick as when a field 
Of Ceres ripe for harvest waving bends 
Her bearded grove of ears, which way the wind 
Sways them; the careful plowman doubting stands, 
Left on the threshing floor his hopeless sheaves 
Prove chaff.  On the other side, Satan, alarmed, 
Collecting all his might, dilated stood, 
Like Teneriff or Atlas, unremoved: 
His stature reached the sky, and on his crest 
Sat Horrour plumed; nor wanted in his grasp 
What seemed both spear and shield:  Now dreadful deeds 
Might have ensued, nor only Paradise 
In this commotion, but the starry cope 
Of Heaven perhaps, or all the elements 
At least had gone to wrack, disturbed and torn 
With violence of this conflict, had not soon 
The Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray, 
Hung forth in Heaven his golden scales, yet seen 
Betwixt Astrea and the Scorpion sign, 
Wherein all things created first he weighed, 
The pendulous round earth with balanced air 
In counterpoise, now ponders all events, 
Battles and realms:  In these he put two weights, 
The sequel each of parting and of fight: 
The latter quick up flew, and kicked the beam, 
Which Gabriel spying, thus bespake the Fiend. 
Satan, I know thy strength, and thou knowest mine; 
Neither our own, but given:  What folly then 
To boast what arms can do? since thine no more 
Than Heaven permits, nor mine, though doubled now 
To trample thee as mire:  For proof look up, 
And read thy lot in yon celestial sign; 
Where thou art weighed, and shown how light, how weak, 
If thou resist.  The Fiend looked up, and knew 
His mounted scale aloft:  Nor more;but fled 
Murmuring, and with him fled the shades of night. 

Book V                                                           

Now Morn, her rosy steps in the eastern clime 
Advancing, sowed the earth with orient pearl, 
When Adam waked, so customed; for his sleep 
Was aery-light, from pure digestion bred, 
And temperate vapours bland, which the only sound 
Of leaves and fuming rills, Aurora's fan, 
Lightly dispersed, and the shrill matin song 
Of birds on every bough; so much the more 
His wonder was to find unwakened Eve 
With tresses discomposed, and glowing cheek, 
As through unquiet rest:  He, on his side 
Leaning half raised, with looks of cordial love 
Hung over her enamoured, and beheld 
Beauty, which, whether waking or asleep, 
Shot forth peculiar graces; then with voice 
Mild, as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes, 
Her hand soft touching, whispered thus.  Awake, 
My fairest, my espoused, my latest found, 
Heaven's last best gift, my ever new delight! 
Awake:  The morning shines, and the fresh field 
Calls us; we lose the prime, to mark how spring 
Our tender plants, how blows the citron grove, 
What drops the myrrh, and what the balmy reed, 
How nature paints her colours, how the bee 
Sits on the bloom extracting liquid sweet. 
Such whispering waked her, but with startled eye 
On Adam, whom embracing, thus she spake. 
O sole in whom my thoughts find all repose, 
My glory, my perfection! glad I see 
Thy face, and morn returned; for I this night 
(Such night till this I never passed) have dreamed, 
If dreamed, not, as I oft am wont, of thee, 
Works of day past, or morrow's next design, 
But of offence and trouble, which my mind 
Knew never till this irksome night:  Methought, 
Close at mine ear one called me forth to walk 
With gentle voice;  I thought it thine: It said, 
'Why sleepest thou, Eve? now is the pleasant time, 
'The cool, the silent, save where silence yields 
'To the night-warbling bird, that now awake 
'Tunes sweetest his love-laboured song; now reigns 
'Full-orbed the moon, and with more pleasing light 
'Shadowy sets off the face of things; in vain, 
'If none regard; Heaven wakes with all his eyes, 
'Whom to behold but thee, Nature's desire? 
'In whose sight all things joy, with ravishment 
'Attracted by thy beauty still to gaze.' 
I rose as at thy call, but found thee not; 
To find thee I directed then my walk; 
And on, methought, alone I passed through ways 
That brought me on a sudden to the tree 
Of interdicted knowledge: fair it seemed, 
Much fairer to my fancy than by day: 
And, as I wondering looked, beside it stood 
One shaped and winged like one of those from Heaven 
By us oft seen; his dewy locks distilled 
Ambrosia; on that tree he also gazed; 
And 'O fair plant,' said he, 'with fruit surcharged, 
'Deigns none to ease thy load, and taste thy sweet, 
'Nor God, nor Man?  Is knowledge so despised? 
'Or envy, or what reserve forbids to taste? 
'Forbid who will, none shall from me withhold 
'Longer thy offered good; why else set here? 
This said, he paused not, but with venturous arm 
He plucked, he tasted; me damp horrour chilled 
At such bold words vouched with a deed so bold: 
But he thus, overjoyed; 'O fruit divine, 
'Sweet of thyself, but much more sweet thus cropt, 
'Forbidden here, it seems, as only fit 
'For Gods, yet able to make Gods of Men: 
'And why not Gods of Men; since good, the more 
'Communicated, more abundant grows, 
'The author not impaired, but honoured more? 
'Here, happy creature, fair angelick Eve! 
'Partake thou also; happy though thou art, 
'Happier thou mayest be, worthier canst not be: 
'Taste this, and be henceforth among the Gods 
'Thyself a Goddess, not to earth confined, 
'But sometimes in the air, as we, sometimes 
'Ascend to Heaven, by merit thine, and see 
'What life the Gods live there, and such live thou!' 
So saying, he drew nigh, and to me held, 
Even to my mouth of that same fruit held part 
Which he had plucked; the pleasant savoury smell 
So quickened appetite, that I, methought, 
Could not but taste.  Forthwith up to the clouds 
With him I flew, and underneath beheld 
The earth outstretched immense, a prospect wide 
And various:  Wondering at my flight and change 
To this high exaltation; suddenly 
My guide was gone, and I, methought, sunk down, 
And fell asleep; but O, how glad I waked 
To find this but a dream!  Thus Eve her night 
Related, and thus Adam answered sad. 
Best image of myself, and dearer half, 
The trouble of thy thoughts this night in sleep 
Affects me equally; nor can I like 
This uncouth dream, of evil sprung, I fear; 
Yet evil whence? in thee can harbour none, 
Created pure.  But know that in the soul 
Are many lesser faculties, that serve 
Reason as chief; among these Fancy next 
Her office holds; of all external things 
Which the five watchful senses represent, 
She forms imaginations, aery shapes, 
Which Reason, joining or disjoining, frames 
All what we affirm or what deny, and call 
Our knowledge or opinion; then retires 
Into her private cell, when nature rests. 
Oft in her absence mimick Fancy wakes 
To imitate her; but, misjoining shapes, 
Wild work produces oft, and most in dreams; 
Ill matching words and deeds long past or late. 
Some such resemblances, methinks, I find 
Of our last evening's talk, in this thy dream, 
But with addition strange; yet be not sad. 
Evil into the mind of God or Man 
May come and go, so unreproved, and leave 
No spot or blame behind:  Which gives me hope 
That what in sleep thou didst abhor to dream, 
Waking thou never will consent to do. 
Be not disheartened then, nor cloud those looks, 
That wont to be more cheerful and serene, 
Than when fair morning first smiles on the world; 
And let us to our fresh employments rise 
Among the groves, the fountains, and the flowers 
That open now their choisest bosomed smells, 
Reserved from night, and kept for thee in store. 
So cheered he his fair spouse, and she was cheered; 
But silently a gentle tear let fall 
From either eye, and wiped them with her hair; 
Two other precious drops that ready stood, 
Each in their crystal sluice, he ere they fell 
Kissed, as the gracious signs of sweet remorse 
And pious awe, that feared to have offended. 
So all was cleared, and to the field they haste. 
But first, from under shady arborous roof 
Soon as they forth were come to open sight 
Of day-spring, and the sun, who, scarce up-risen, 
With wheels yet hovering o'er the ocean-brim, 
Shot parallel to the earth his dewy ray, 
Discovering in wide landskip all the east 
Of Paradise and Eden's happy plains, 
Lowly they bowed adoring, and began 
Their orisons, each morning duly paid 
In various style; for neither various style 
Nor holy rapture wanted they to praise 
Their Maker, in fit strains pronounced, or sung 
Unmeditated; such prompt eloquence 
Flowed from their lips, in prose or numerous verse, 
More tuneable than needed lute or harp 
To add more sweetness; and they thus began. 
These are thy glorious works, Parent of good, 
Almighty!  Thine this universal frame, 
Thus wonderous fair;  Thyself how wonderous then! 
Unspeakable, who sitst above these heavens 
To us invisible, or dimly seen 
In these thy lowest works; yet these declare 
Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine. 
Speak, ye who best can tell, ye sons of light, 
Angels; for ye behold him, and with songs 
And choral symphonies, day without night, 
Circle his throne rejoicing; ye in Heaven 
On Earth join all ye Creatures to extol 
Him first, him last, him midst, and without end. 
Fairest of stars, last in the train of night, 
If better thou belong not to the dawn, 
Sure pledge of day, that crownest the smiling morn 
With thy bright circlet, praise him in thy sphere, 
While day arises, that sweet hour of prime. 
Thou Sun, of this great world both eye and soul, 
Acknowledge him thy greater; sound his praise 
In thy eternal course, both when thou climbest, 
And when high noon hast gained, and when thou fallest. 
Moon, that now meetest the orient sun, now flyest, 
With the fixed Stars, fixed in their orb that flies; 
And ye five other wandering Fires, that move 
In mystick dance not without song, resound 
His praise, who out of darkness called up light. 
Air, and ye Elements, the eldest birth 
Of Nature's womb, that in quaternion run 
Perpetual circle, multiform; and mix 
And nourish all things; let your ceaseless change 
Vary to our great Maker still new praise. 
Ye Mists and Exhalations, that now rise 
From hill or steaming lake, dusky or gray, 
Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold, 
In honour to the world's great Author rise; 
Whether to deck with clouds the uncoloured sky, 
Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers, 
Rising or falling still advance his praise. 
His praise, ye Winds, that from four quarters blow, 
Breathe soft or loud; and, wave your tops, ye Pines, 
With every plant, in sign of worship wave. 
Fountains, and ye that warble, as ye flow, 
Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise. 
Join voices, all ye living Souls:  Ye Birds, 
That singing up to Heaven-gate ascend, 
Bear on your wings and in your notes his praise. 
Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk 
The earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep; 
Witness if I be silent, morn or even, 
To hill, or valley, fountain, or fresh shade, 
Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise. 
Hail, universal Lord, be bounteous still 
To give us only good; and if the night 
Have gathered aught of evil, or concealed, 
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark! 
So prayed they innocent, and to their thoughts 
Firm peace recovered soon, and wonted calm. 
On to their morning's rural work they haste, 
Among sweet dews and flowers; where any row 
Of fruit-trees over-woody reached too far 
Their pampered boughs, and needed hands to check 
Fruitless embraces: or they led the vine 
To wed her elm; she, spoused, about him twines 
Her marriageable arms, and with him brings 
Her dower, the adopted clusters, to adorn 
His barren leaves.  Them thus employed beheld 
With pity Heaven's high King, and to him called 
Raphael, the sociable Spirit, that deigned 
To travel with Tobias, and secured 
His marriage with the seventimes-wedded maid. 
Raphael, said he, thou hearest what stir on Earth 
Satan, from Hell 'scaped through the darksome gulf, 
Hath raised in Paradise; and how disturbed 
This night the human pair; how he designs 
In them at once to ruin all mankind. 
Go therefore, half this day as friend with friend 
Converse with Adam, in what bower or shade 
Thou findest him from the heat of noon retired, 
To respite his day-labour with repast, 
Or with repose; and such discourse bring on, 
As may advise him of his happy state, 
Happiness in his power left free to will, 
Left to his own free will, his will though free, 
Yet mutable; whence warn him to beware 
He swerve not, too secure:  Tell him withal 
His danger, and from whom; what enemy, 
Late fallen himself from Heaven, is plotting now 
The fall of others from like state of bliss; 
By violence? no, for that shall be withstood; 
But by deceit and lies:  This let him know, 
Lest, wilfully transgressing, he pretend 
Surprisal, unadmonished, unforewarned. 
So spake the Eternal Father, and fulfilled 
All justice:  Nor delayed the winged Saint 
After his charge received; but from among 
Thousand celestial Ardours, where he stood 
Veiled with his gorgeous wings, up springing light, 
Flew through the midst of Heaven; the angelick quires, 
On each hand parting, to his speed gave way 
Through all the empyreal road; till, at the gate 
Of Heaven arrived, the gate self-opened wide 
On golden hinges turning, as by work 
Divine the sovran Architect had framed. 
From hence no cloud, or, to obstruct his sight, 
Star interposed, however small he sees, 
Not unconformed to other shining globes, 
Earth, and the garden of God, with cedars crowned 
Above all hills.  As when by night the glass 
Of Galileo, less assured, observes 
Imagined lands and regions in the moon: 
Or pilot, from amidst the Cyclades 
Delos or Samos first appearing, kens 
A cloudy spot.  Down thither prone in flight 
He speeds, and through the vast ethereal sky 
Sails between worlds and worlds, with steady wing 
Now on the polar winds, then with quick fan 
Winnows the buxom air; till, within soar 
Of towering eagles, to all the fowls he seems 
A phoenix, gazed by all as that sole bird, 
When, to enshrine his reliques in the Sun's 
Bright temple, to Egyptian Thebes he flies. 
At once on the eastern cliff of Paradise 
He lights, and to his proper shape returns 
A Seraph winged:  Six wings he wore, to shade 
His lineaments divine; the pair that clad 
Each shoulder broad, came mantling o'er his breast 
With regal ornament; the middle pair 
Girt like a starry zone his waist, and round 
Skirted his loins and thighs with downy gold 
And colours dipt in Heaven; the third his feet 
Shadowed from either heel with feathered mail, 
Sky-tinctured grain.  Like Maia's son he stood, 
And shook his plumes, that heavenly fragrance filled 
The circuit wide.  Straight knew him all the bands 
Of Angels under watch; and to his state, 
And to his message high, in honour rise; 
For on some message high they guessed him bound. 
Their glittering tents he passed, and now is come 
Into the blissful field, through groves of myrrh, 
And flowering odours, cassia, nard, and balm; 
A wilderness of sweets; for Nature here 
Wantoned as in her prime, and played at will 
Her virgin fancies pouring forth more sweet, 
Wild above rule or art, enormous bliss. 
Him through the spicy forest onward come 
Adam discerned, as in the door he sat 
Of his cool bower, while now the mounted sun 
Shot down direct his fervid rays to warm 
Earth's inmost womb, more warmth than Adam needs: 
And Eve within, due at her hour prepared 
For dinner savoury fruits, of taste to please 
True appetite, and not disrelish thirst 
Of nectarous draughts between, from milky stream, 
Berry or grape:  To whom thus Adam called. 
Haste hither, Eve, and worth thy sight behold 
Eastward among those trees, what glorious shape 
Comes this way moving; seems another morn 
Risen on mid-noon; some great behest from Heaven 
To us perhaps he brings, and will vouchsafe 
This day to be our guest.  But go with speed, 
And, what thy stores contain, bring forth, and pour 
Abundance, fit to honour and receive 
Our heavenly stranger:  Well we may afford 
Our givers their own gifts, and large bestow 
From large bestowed, where Nature multiplies 
Her fertile growth, and by disburthening grows 
More fruitful, which instructs us not to spare. 
To whom thus Eve.  Adam, earth's hallowed mould, 
Of God inspired! small store will serve, where store, 
All seasons, ripe for use hangs on the stalk; 
Save what by frugal storing firmness gains 
To nourish, and superfluous moist consumes: 
But I will haste, and from each bough and brake, 
Each plant and juciest gourd, will pluck such choice 
To entertain our Angel-guest, as he 
Beholding shall confess, that here on Earth 
God hath dispensed his bounties as in Heaven. 
So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste 
She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent 
What choice to choose for delicacy best, 
What order, so contrived as not to mix 
Tastes, not well joined, inelegant, but bring 
Taste after taste upheld with kindliest change; 
Bestirs her then, and from each tender stalk 
Whatever Earth, all-bearing mother, yields 
In India East or West, or middle shore 
In Pontus or the Punick coast, or where 
Alcinous reigned, fruit of all kinds, in coat 
Rough, or smooth rind, or bearded husk, or shell, 
She gathers, tribute large, and on the board 
Heaps with unsparing hand; for drink the grape 
She crushes, inoffensive must, and meaths 
From many a berry, and from sweet kernels pressed 
She tempers dulcet creams; nor these to hold 
Wants her fit vessels pure; then strows the ground 
With rose and odours from the shrub unfumed. 
Mean while our primitive great sire, to meet 
His God-like guest, walks forth, without more train 
Accompanied than with his own complete 
Perfections; in himself was all his state, 
More solemn than the tedious pomp that waits 
On princes, when their rich retinue long 
Of horses led, and grooms besmeared with gold, 
Dazzles the croud, and sets them all agape. 
Nearer his presence Adam, though not awed, 
Yet with submiss approach and reverence meek, 
As to a superiour nature bowing low, 
Thus said.  Native of Heaven, for other place 
None can than Heaven such glorious shape contain; 
Since, by descending from the thrones above, 
Those happy places thou hast deigned a while 
To want, and honour these, vouchsafe with us 
Two only, who yet by sovran gift possess 
This spacious ground, in yonder shady bower 
To rest; and what the garden choicest bears 
To sit and taste, till this meridian heat 
Be over, and the sun more cool decline. 
Whom thus the angelick Virtue answered mild. 
Adam, I therefore came; nor art thou such 
Created, or such place hast here to dwell, 
As may not oft invite, though Spirits of Heaven, 
To visit thee; lead on then where thy bower 
O'ershades; for these mid-hours, till evening rise, 
I have at will.  So to the sylvan lodge 
They came, that like Pomona's arbour smiled, 
With flowerets decked, and fragrant smells; but Eve, 
Undecked save with herself, more lovely fair 
Than Wood-Nymph, or the fairest Goddess feigned 
Of three that in mount Ida naked strove, 
Stood to entertain her guest from Heaven; no veil 
She needed, virtue-proof; no thought infirm 
Altered her cheek.  On whom the Angel Hail 
Bestowed, the holy salutation used 
Long after to blest Mary, second Eve. 
Hail, Mother of Mankind, whose fruitful womb 
Shall fill the world more numerous with thy sons, 
Than with these various fruits the trees of God 
Have heaped this table!--Raised of grassy turf 
Their table was, and mossy seats had round, 
And on her ample square from side to side 
All autumn piled, though spring and autumn here 
Danced hand in hand.  A while discourse they hold; 
No fear lest dinner cool; when thus began 
Our author.  Heavenly stranger, please to taste 
These bounties, which our Nourisher, from whom 
All perfect good, unmeasured out, descends, 
To us for food and for delight hath caused 
The earth to yield; unsavoury food perhaps 
To spiritual natures; only this I know, 
That one celestial Father gives to all. 
To whom the Angel.  Therefore what he gives 
(Whose praise be ever sung) to Man in part 
Spiritual, may of purest Spirits be found 
No ingrateful food:  And food alike those pure 
Intelligential substances require, 
As doth your rational; and both contain 
Within them every lower faculty 
Of sense, whereby they hear, see, smell, touch, taste, 
Tasting concoct, digest, assimilate, 
And corporeal to incorporeal turn. 
For know, whatever was created, needs 
To be sustained and fed:  Of elements 
The grosser feeds the purer, earth the sea, 
Earth and the sea feed air, the air those fires 
Ethereal, and as lowest first the moon; 
Whence in her visage round those spots, unpurged 
Vapours not yet into her substance turned. 
Nor doth the moon no nourishment exhale 
From her moist continent to higher orbs. 
The sun that light imparts to all, receives 
From all his alimental recompence 
In humid exhalations, and at even 
Sups with the ocean.  Though in Heaven the trees 
Of life ambrosial fruitage bear, and vines 
Yield nectar; though from off the boughs each morn 
We brush mellifluous dews, and find the ground 
Covered with pearly grain:  Yet God hath here 
Varied his bounty so with new delights, 
As may compare with Heaven; and to taste 
Think not I shall be nice.  So down they sat, 
And to their viands fell; nor seemingly 
The Angel, nor in mist, the common gloss 
Of Theologians; but with keen dispatch 
Of real hunger, and concoctive heat 
To transubstantiate:  What redounds, transpires 
Through Spirits with ease; nor wonder;if by fire 
Of sooty coal the empirick alchemist 
Can turn, or holds it possible to turn, 
Metals of drossiest ore to perfect gold, 
As from the mine.  Mean while at table Eve 
Ministered naked, and their flowing cups 
With pleasant liquours crowned:  O innocence 
Deserving Paradise! if ever, then, 
Then had the sons of God excuse to have been 
Enamoured at that sight; but in those hearts 
Love unlibidinous reigned, nor jealousy 
Was understood, the injured lover's hell. 
Thus when with meats and drinks they had sufficed, 
Not burdened nature, sudden mind arose 
In Adam, not to let the occasion pass 
Given him by this great conference to know 
Of things above his world, and of their being 
Who dwell in Heaven, whose excellence he saw 
Transcend his own so far; whose radiant forms, 
Divine effulgence, whose high power, so far 
Exceeded human; and his wary speech 
Thus to the empyreal minister he framed. 
Inhabitant with God, now know I well 
Thy favour, in this honour done to Man; 
Under whose lowly roof thou hast vouchsafed 
To enter, and these earthly fruits to taste, 
Food not of Angels, yet accepted so, 
As that more willingly thou couldst not seem 
At Heaven's high feasts to have fed: yet what compare 
To whom the winged Hierarch replied. 
O Adam, One Almighty is, from whom 
All things proceed, and up to him return, 
If not depraved from good, created all 
Such to perfection, one first matter all, 
Endued with various forms, various degrees 
Of substance, and, in things that live, of life; 
But more refined, more spiritous, and pure, 
As nearer to him placed, or nearer tending 
Each in their several active spheres assigned, 
Till body up to spirit work, in bounds 
Proportioned to each kind.  So from the root 
Springs lighter the green stalk, from thence the leaves 
More aery, last the bright consummate flower 
Spirits odorous breathes: flowers and their fruit, 
Man's nourishment, by gradual scale sublimed, 
To vital spirits aspire, to animal, 
To intellectual; give both life and sense, 
Fancy and understanding; whence the soul 
Reason receives, and reason is her being, 
Discursive, or intuitive; discourse 
Is oftest yours, the latter most is ours, 
Differing but in degree, of kind the same. 
Wonder not then, what God for you saw good 
If I refuse not, but convert, as you 
To proper substance.  Time may come, when Men 
With Angels may participate, and find 
No inconvenient diet, nor too light fare; 
And from these corporal nutriments perhaps 
Your bodies may at last turn all to spirit, 
Improved by tract of time, and, winged, ascend 
Ethereal, as we; or may, at choice, 
Here or in heavenly Paradises dwell; 
If ye be found obedient, and retain 
Unalterably firm his love entire, 
Whose progeny you are.  Mean while enjoy 
Your fill what happiness this happy state 
Can comprehend, incapable of more. 
To whom the patriarch of mankind replied. 
O favourable Spirit, propitious guest, 
Well hast thou taught the way that might direct 
Our knowledge, and the scale of nature set 
From center to circumference; whereon, 
In contemplation of created things, 
By steps we may ascend to God.  But say, 
What meant that caution joined, If ye be found 
Obedient?  Can we want obedience then 
To him, or possibly his love desert, 
Who formed us from the dust and placed us here 
Full to the utmost measure of what bliss 
Human desires can seek or apprehend? 
To whom the Angel.  Son of Heaven and Earth, 
Attend!  That thou art happy, owe to God; 
That thou continuest such, owe to thyself, 
That is, to thy obedience; therein stand. 
This was that caution given thee; be advised. 
God made thee perfect, not immutable; 
And good he made thee, but to persevere 
He left it in thy power; ordained thy will 
By nature free, not over-ruled by fate 
Inextricable, or strict necessity: 
Our voluntary service he requires, 
Not our necessitated; such with him 
Finds no acceptance, nor can find; for how 
Can hearts, not free, be tried whether they serve 
Willing or no, who will but what they must 
By destiny, and can no other choose? 
Myself, and all the angelick host, that stand 
In sight of God, enthroned, our happy state 
Hold, as you yours, while our obedience holds; 
On other surety none:  Freely we serve, 
Because we freely love, as in our will 
To love or not; in this we stand or fall: 
And some are fallen, to disobedience fallen, 
And so from Heaven to deepest Hell; O fall 
From what high state of bliss, into what woe! 
To whom our great progenitor.  Thy words 
Attentive, and with more delighted ear, 
Divine instructer, I have heard, than when 
Cherubick songs by night from neighbouring hills 
Aereal musick send:  Nor knew I not 
To be both will and deed created free; 
Yet that we never shall forget to love 
Our Maker, and obey him whose command 
Single is yet so just, my constant thoughts 
Assured me, and still assure:  Though what thou tellest 
Hath passed in Heaven, some doubt within me move, 
But more desire to hear, if thou consent, 
The full relation, which must needs be strange, 
Worthy of sacred silence to be heard; 
And we have yet large day, for scarce the sun 
Hath finished half his journey, and scarce begins 
His other half in the great zone of Heaven. 
Thus Adam made request; and Raphael, 
After short pause assenting, thus began. 
High matter thou enjoinest me, O prime of men, 
Sad task and hard:  For how shall I relate 
To human sense the invisible exploits 
Of warring Spirits? how, without remorse, 
The ruin of so many glorious once 
And perfect while they stood? how last unfold 
The secrets of another world, perhaps 
Not lawful to reveal? yet for thy good 
This is dispensed; and what surmounts the reach 
Of human sense, I shall delineate so, 
By likening spiritual to corporal forms, 
As may express them best; though what if Earth 
Be but a shadow of Heaven, and things therein 
Each to other like, more than on earth is thought? 
As yet this world was not, and Chaos wild 
Reigned where these Heavens now roll, where Earth now rests 
Upon her center poised; when on a day 
(For time, though in eternity, applied 
To motion, measures all things durable 
By present, past, and future,) on such day 
As Heaven's great year brings forth, the empyreal host 
Of Angels by imperial summons called, 
Innumerable before the Almighty's throne 
Forthwith, from all the ends of Heaven, appeared 
Under their Hierarchs in orders bright: 
Ten thousand thousand ensigns high advanced, 
Standards and gonfalons 'twixt van and rear 
Stream in the air, and for distinction serve 
Of hierarchies, of orders, and degrees; 
Or in their glittering tissues bear imblazed 
Holy memorials, acts of zeal and love 
Recorded eminent.  Thus when in orbs 
Of circuit inexpressible they stood, 
Orb within orb, the Father Infinite, 
By whom in bliss imbosomed sat the Son, 
Amidst as from a flaming mount, whose top 
Brightness had made invisible, thus spake. 
Hear, all ye Angels, progeny of light, 
Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers; 
Hear my decree, which unrevoked shall stand. 
This day I have begot whom I declare 
My only Son, and on this holy hill 
Him have anointed, whom ye now behold 
At my right hand; your head I him appoint; 
And by myself have sworn, to him shall bow 
All knees in Heaven, and shall confess him Lord: 
Under his great vice-gerent reign abide 
United, as one individual soul, 
For ever happy:  Him who disobeys, 
Me disobeys, breaks union, and that day, 
Cast out from God and blessed vision, falls 
Into utter darkness, deep ingulfed, his place 
Ordained without redemption, without end. 
So spake the Omnipotent, and with his words 
All seemed well pleased; all seemed, but were not all. 
That day, as other solemn days, they spent 
In song and dance about the sacred hill; 
Mystical dance, which yonder starry sphere 
Of planets, and of fixed, in all her wheels 
Resembles nearest, mazes intricate, 
Eccentrick, intervolved, yet regular 
Then most, when most irregular they seem; 
And in their motions harmony divine 
So smooths her charming tones, that God's own ear 
Listens delighted.  Evening now approached, 
(For we have also our evening and our morn, 
We ours for change delectable, not need;) 
Forthwith from dance to sweet repast they turn 
Desirous; all in circles as they stood, 
Tables are set, and on a sudden piled 
With Angels food, and rubied nectar flows 
In pearl, in diamond, and massy gold, 
Fruit of delicious vines, the growth of Heaven. 
On flowers reposed, and with fresh flowerets crowned, 
They eat, they drink, and in communion sweet 
Quaff immortality and joy, secure 
Of surfeit, where full measure only bounds 
Excess, before the all-bounteous King, who showered 
With copious hand, rejoicing in their joy. 
Now when ambrosial night with clouds exhaled 
From that high mount of God, whence light and shade 
Spring both, the face of brightest Heaven had changed 
To grateful twilight, (for night comes not there 
In darker veil,) and roseat dews disposed 
All but the unsleeping eyes of God to rest; 
Wide over all the plain, and wider far 
Than all this globous earth in plain outspread, 
(Such are the courts of God) the angelick throng, 
Dispersed in bands and files, their camp extend 
By living streams among the trees of life, 
Pavilions numberless, and sudden reared, 
Celestial tabernacles, where they slept 
Fanned with cool winds; save those, who, in their course, 
Melodious hymns about the sovran throne 
Alternate all night long: but not so waked 
Satan; so call him now, his former name 
Is heard no more in Heaven; he of the first, 
If not the first Arch-Angel, great in power, 
In favour and pre-eminence, yet fraught 
With envy against the Son of God, that day 
Honoured by his great Father, and proclaimed 
Messiah King anointed, could not bear 
Through pride that sight, and thought himself impaired. 
Deep malice thence conceiving and disdain, 
Soon as midnight brought on the dusky hour 
Friendliest to sleep and silence, he resolved 
With all his legions to dislodge, and leave 
Unworshipt, unobeyed, the throne supreme, 
Contemptuous; and his next subordinate 
Awakening, thus to him in secret spake. 
Sleepest thou, Companion dear?  What sleep can close 
Thy eye-lids? and rememberest what decree 
Of yesterday, so late hath passed the lips 
Of Heaven's Almighty.  Thou to me thy thoughts 
Wast wont, I mine to thee was wont to impart; 
Both waking we were one; how then can now 
Thy sleep dissent?  New laws thou seest imposed; 
New laws from him who reigns, new minds may raise 
In us who serve, new counsels to debate 
What doubtful may ensue:  More in this place 
To utter is not safe.  Assemble thou 
Of all those myriads which we lead the chief; 
Tell them, that by command, ere yet dim night 
Her shadowy cloud withdraws, I am to haste, 
And all who under me their banners wave, 
Homeward, with flying march, where we possess 
The quarters of the north; there to prepare 
Fit entertainment to receive our King, 
The great Messiah, and his new commands, 
Who speedily through all the hierarchies 
Intends to pass triumphant, and give laws. 
So spake the false Arch-Angel, and infused 
Bad influence into the unwary breast 
Of his associate:  He together calls, 
Or several one by one, the regent Powers, 
Under him Regent; tells, as he was taught, 
That the Most High commanding, now ere night, 
Now ere dim night had disincumbered Heaven, 
The great hierarchal standard was to move; 
Tells the suggested cause, and casts between 
Ambiguous words and jealousies, to sound 
Or taint integrity:  But all obeyed 
The wonted signal, and superiour voice 
Of their great Potentate; for great indeed 
His name, and high was his degree in Heaven; 
His countenance, as the morning-star that guides 
The starry flock, allured them, and with lies 
Drew after him the third part of Heaven's host. 
Mean while the Eternal eye, whose sight discerns 
Abstrusest thoughts, from forth his holy mount, 
And from within the golden lamps that burn 
Nightly before him, saw without their light 
Rebellion rising; saw in whom, how spread 
Among the sons of morn, what multitudes 
Were banded to oppose his high decree; 
And, smiling, to his only Son thus said. 
Son, thou in whom my glory I behold 
In full resplendence, Heir of all my might, 
Nearly it now concerns us to be sure 
Of our Omnipotence, and with what arms 
We mean to hold what anciently we claim 
Of deity or empire:  Such a foe 
Is rising, who intends to erect his throne 
Equal to ours, throughout the spacious north; 
Nor so content, hath in his thought to try 
In battle, what our power is, or our right. 
Let us advise, and to this hazard draw 
With speed what force is left, and all employ 
In our defence; lest unawares we lose 
This our high place, our sanctuary, our hill. 
To whom the Son with calm aspect and clear, 
Lightning divine, ineffable, serene, 
Made answer.  Mighty Father, thou thy foes 
Justly hast in derision, and, secure, 
Laughest at their vain designs and tumults vain, 
Matter to me of glory, whom their hate 
Illustrates, when they see all regal power 
Given me to quell their pride, and in event 
Know whether I be dextrous to subdue 
Thy rebels, or be found the worst in Heaven. 
So spake the Son; but Satan, with his Powers, 
Far was advanced on winged speed; an host 
Innumerable as the stars of night, 
Or stars of morning, dew-drops, which the sun 
Impearls on every leaf and every flower. 
Regions they passed, the mighty regencies 
Of Seraphim, and Potentates, and Thrones, 
In their triple degrees; regions to which 
All thy dominion, Adam, is no more 
Than what this garden is to all the earth, 
And all the sea, from one entire globose 
Stretched into longitude; which having passed, 
At length into the limits of the north 
They came; and Satan to his royal seat 
High on a hill, far blazing, as a mount 
Raised on a mount, with pyramids and towers 
From diamond quarries hewn, and rocks of gold; 
The palace of great Lucifer, (so call 
That structure in the dialect of men 
Interpreted,) which not long after, he 
Affecting all equality with God, 
In imitation of that mount whereon 
Messiah was declared in sight of Heaven, 
The Mountain of the Congregation called; 
For thither he assembled all his train, 
Pretending so commanded to consult 
About the great reception of their King, 
Thither to come, and with calumnious art 
Of counterfeited truth thus held their ears. 
Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers; 
If these magnifick titles yet remain 
Not merely titular, since by decree 
Another now hath to himself engrossed 
All power, and us eclipsed under the name 
Of King anointed, for whom all this haste 
Of midnight-march, and hurried meeting here, 
This only to consult how we may best, 
With what may be devised of honours new, 
Receive him coming to receive from us 
Knee-tribute yet unpaid, prostration vile! 
Too much to one! but double how endured, 
To one, and to his image now proclaimed? 
But what if better counsels might erect 
Our minds, and teach us to cast off this yoke? 
Will ye submit your necks, and choose to bend 
The supple knee?  Ye will not, if I trust 
To know ye right, or if ye know yourselves 
Natives and sons of Heaven possessed before 
By none; and if not equal all, yet free, 
Equally free; for orders and degrees 
Jar not with liberty, but well consist. 
Who can in reason then, or right, assume 
Monarchy over such as live by right 
His equals, if in power and splendour less, 
In freedom equal? or can introduce 
Law and edict on us, who without law 
Err not? much less for this to be our Lord, 
And look for adoration, to the abuse 
Of those imperial titles, which assert 
Our being ordained to govern, not to serve. 
Thus far his bold discourse without controul 
Had audience; when among the Seraphim 
Abdiel, than whom none with more zeal adored 
The Deity, and divine commands obeyed, 
Stood up, and in a flame of zeal severe 
The current of his fury thus opposed. 
O argument blasphemous, false, and proud! 
Words which no ear ever to hear in Heaven 
Expected, least of all from thee,  Ingrate, 
In place thyself so high above thy peers. 
Canst thou with impious obloquy condemn 
The just decree of God, pronounced and sworn, 
That to his only Son, by right endued 
With regal scepter, every soul in Heaven 
Shall bend the knee, and in that honour due 
Confess him rightful King? unjust, thou sayest, 
Flatly unjust, to bind with laws the free, 
And equal over equals to let reign, 
One over all with unsucceeded power. 
Shalt thou give law to God? shalt thou dispute 
With him the points of liberty, who made 
Thee what thou art, and formed the Powers of Heaven 
Such as he pleased, and circumscribed their being? 
Yet, by experience taught, we know how good, 
And of our good and of our dignity 
How provident he is; how far from thought 
To make us less, bent rather to exalt 
Our happy state, under one head more near 
United.  But to grant it thee unjust, 
That equal over equals monarch reign: 
Thyself, though great and glorious, dost thou count, 
Or all angelick nature joined in one, 
Equal to him begotten Son? by whom, 
As by his Word, the Mighty Father made 
All things, even thee; and all the Spirits of Heaven 
By him created in their bright degrees, 
Crowned them with glory, and to their glory named 
Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers, 
Essential Powers; nor by his reign obscured, 
But more illustrious made; since he the head 
One of our number thus reduced becomes; 
His laws our laws; all honour to him done 
Returns our own.  Cease then this impious rage, 
And tempt not these; but hasten to appease 
The incensed Father, and the incensed Son, 
While pardon may be found in time besought. 
So spake the fervent Angel; but his zeal 
None seconded, as out of season judged, 
Or singular and rash:  Whereat rejoiced 
The Apostate, and, more haughty, thus replied. 
That we were formed then sayest thou? and the work 
Of secondary hands, by task transferred 
From Father to his Son? strange point and new! 
Doctrine which we would know whence learned: who saw 
When this creation was? rememberest thou 
Thy making, while the Maker gave thee being? 
We know no time when we were not as now; 
Know none before us, self-begot, self-raised 
By our own quickening power, when fatal course 
Had circled his full orb, the birth mature 
Of this our native Heaven, ethereal sons. 
Our puissance is our own; our own right hand 
Shall teach us highest deeds, by proof to try 
Who is our equal:  Then thou shalt behold 
Whether by supplication we intend 
Address, and to begirt the almighty throne 
Beseeching or besieging.  This report, 
These tidings carry to the anointed King; 
And fly, ere evil intercept thy flight. 
He said; and, as the sound of waters deep, 
Hoarse murmur echoed to his words applause 
Through the infinite host; nor less for that 
The flaming Seraph fearless, though alone 
Encompassed round with foes, thus answered bold. 
O alienate from God, O Spirit accursed, 
Forsaken of all good!  I see thy fall 
Determined, and thy hapless crew involved 
In this perfidious fraud, contagion spread 
Both of thy crime and punishment:  Henceforth 
No more be troubled how to quit the yoke 
Of God's Messiah; those indulgent laws 
Will not be now vouchsafed; other decrees 
Against thee are gone forth without recall; 
That golden scepter, which thou didst reject, 
Is now an iron rod to bruise and break 
Thy disobedience.  Well thou didst advise; 
Yet not for thy advice or threats I fly 
These wicked tents devoted, lest the wrath 
Impendent, raging into sudden flame, 
Distinguish not:  For soon expect to feel 
His thunder on thy head, devouring fire. 
Then who created thee lamenting learn, 
When who can uncreate thee thou shalt know. 
So spake the Seraph Abdiel, faithful found 
Among the faithless, faithful only he; 
Among innumerable false, unmoved, 
Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified, 
His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal; 
Nor number, nor example, with him wrought 
To swerve from truth, or change his constant mind, 
Though single.  From amidst them forth he passed, 
Long way through hostile scorn, which he sustained 
Superiour, nor of violence feared aught; 
And, with retorted scorn, his back he turned 
On those proud towers to swift destruction doomed. 

Book VI                                                          

All night the dreadless Angel, unpursued, 
Through Heaven's wide champain held his way; till Morn, 
Waked by the circling Hours, with rosy hand 
Unbarred the gates of light.  There is a cave 
Within the mount of God, fast by his throne, 
Where light and darkness in perpetual round 
Lodge and dislodge by turns, which makes through Heaven 
Grateful vicissitude, like day and night; 
Light issues forth, and at the other door 
Obsequious darkness enters, till her hour 
To veil the Heaven, though darkness there might well 
Seem twilight here:  And now went forth the Morn 
Such as in highest Heaven arrayed in gold 
Empyreal; from before her vanished Night, 
Shot through with orient beams; when all the plain 
Covered with thick embattled squadrons bright, 
Chariots, and flaming arms, and fiery steeds, 
Reflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view: 
War he perceived, war in procinct; and found 
Already known what he for news had thought 
To have reported:  Gladly then he mixed 
Among those friendly Powers, who him received 
With joy and acclamations loud, that one, 
That of so many myriads fallen, yet one 
Returned not lost.  On to the sacred hill 
They led him high applauded, and present 
Before the seat supreme; from whence a voice, 
From midst a golden cloud, thus mild was heard. 
Servant of God. Well done; well hast thou fought 
The better fight, who single hast maintained 
Against revolted multitudes the cause 
Of truth, in word mightier than they in arms; 
And for the testimony of truth hast borne 
Universal reproach, far worse to bear 
Than violence; for this was all thy care 
To stand approved in sight of God, though worlds 
Judged thee perverse:  The easier conquest now 
Remains thee, aided by this host of friends, 
Back on thy foes more glorious to return, 
Than scorned thou didst depart; and to subdue 
By force, who reason for their law refuse, 
Right reason for their law, and for their King 
Messiah, who by right of merit reigns. 
Go, Michael, of celestial armies prince, 
And thou, in military prowess next, 
Gabriel, lead forth to battle these my sons 
Invincible; lead forth my armed Saints, 
By thousands and by millions, ranged for fight, 
Equal in number to that Godless crew 
Rebellious:  Them with fire and hostile arms 
Fearless assault; and, to the brow of Heaven 
Pursuing, drive them out from God and bliss, 
Into their place of punishment, the gulf 
Of Tartarus, which ready opens wide 
His fiery Chaos to receive their fall. 
So spake the Sovran Voice, and clouds began 
To darken all the hill, and smoke to roll 
In dusky wreaths, reluctant flames, the sign 
Of wrath awaked; nor with less dread the loud 
Ethereal trumpet from on high 'gan blow: 
At which command the Powers militant, 
That stood for Heaven, in mighty quadrate joined 
Of union irresistible, moved on 
In silence their bright legions, to the sound 
Of instrumental harmony, that breathed 
Heroick ardour to adventurous deeds 
Under their God-like leaders, in the cause 
Of God and his Messiah.  On they move 
Indissolubly firm; nor obvious hill, 
Nor straitening vale, nor wood, nor stream, divides 
Their perfect ranks; for high above the ground 
Their march was, and the passive air upbore 
Their nimble tread; as when the total kind 
Of birds, in orderly array on wing, 
Came summoned over Eden to receive 
Their names of thee; so over many a tract 
Of Heaven they marched, and many a province wide, 
Tenfold the length of this terrene:  At last, 
Far in the horizon to the north appeared 
From skirt to skirt a fiery region, stretched 
In battailous aspect, and nearer view 
Bristled with upright beams innumerable 
Of rigid spears, and helmets thronged, and shields 
Various, with boastful argument portrayed, 
The banded Powers of Satan hasting on 
With furious expedition; for they weened 
That self-same day, by fight or by surprise, 
To win the mount of God, and on his throne 
To set the Envier of his state, the proud 
Aspirer; but their thoughts proved fond and vain 
In the mid way:  Though strange to us it seemed 
At first, that Angel should with Angel war, 
And in fierce hosting meet, who wont to meet 
So oft in festivals of joy and love 
Unanimous, as sons of one great Sire, 
Hymning the Eternal Father:  But the shout 
Of battle now began, and rushing sound 
Of onset ended soon each milder thought. 
High in the midst, exalted as a God, 
The Apostate in his sun-bright chariot sat, 
Idol of majesty divine, enclosed 
With flaming Cherubim, and golden shields; 
Then lighted from his gorgeous throne, for now 
"twixt host and host but narrow space was left, 
A dreadful interval, and front to front 
Presented stood in terrible array 
Of hideous length:  Before the cloudy van, 
On the rough edge of battle ere it joined, 
Satan, with vast and haughty strides advanced, 
Came towering, armed in adamant and gold; 
Abdiel that sight endured not, where he stood 
Among the mightiest, bent on highest deeds, 
And thus his own undaunted heart explores. 
O Heaven! that such resemblance of the Highest 
Should yet remain, where faith and realty 
Remain not:  Wherefore should not strength and might 
There fail where virtue fails, or weakest prove 
Where boldest, though to fight unconquerable? 
His puissance, trusting in the Almighty's aid, 
I mean to try, whose reason I have tried 
Unsound and false; nor is it aught but just, 
That he, who in debate of truth hath won, 
Should win in arms, in both disputes alike 
Victor; though brutish that contest and foul, 
When reason hath to deal with force, yet so 
Most reason is that reason overcome. 
So pondering, and from his armed peers 
Forth stepping opposite, half-way he met 
His daring foe, at this prevention more 
Incensed, and thus securely him defied. 
Proud, art thou met? thy hope was to have reached 
The highth of thy aspiring unopposed, 
The throne of God unguarded, and his side 
Abandoned, at the terrour of thy power 
Or potent tongue:  Fool!not to think how vain 
Against the Omnipotent to rise in arms; 
Who out of smallest things could, without end, 
Have raised incessant armies to defeat 
Thy folly; or with solitary hand 
Reaching beyond all limit, at one blow, 
Unaided, could have finished thee, and whelmed 
Thy legions under darkness:  But thou seest 
All are not of thy train; there be, who faith 
Prefer, and piety to God, though then 
To thee not visible, when I alone 
Seemed in thy world erroneous to dissent 
From all:  My sect thou seest;now learn too late 
How few sometimes may know, when thousands err. 
Whom the grand foe, with scornful eye askance, 
Thus answered.  Ill for thee, but in wished hour 
Of my revenge, first sought for, thou returnest 
From flight, seditious Angel! to receive 
Thy merited reward, the first assay 
Of this right hand provoked, since first that tongue, 
Inspired with contradiction, durst oppose 
A third part of the Gods, in synod met 
Their deities to assert; who, while they feel 
Vigour divine within them, can allow 
Omnipotence to none.  But well thou comest 
Before thy fellows, ambitious to win 
From me some plume, that thy success may show 
Destruction to the rest:  This pause between, 
(Unanswered lest thou boast) to let thee know, 
At first I thought that Liberty and Heaven 
To heavenly souls had been all one; but now 
I see that most through sloth had rather serve, 
Ministring Spirits, trained up in feast and song! 
Such hast thou armed, the minstrelsy of Heaven, 
Servility with freedom to contend, 
As both their deeds compared this day shall prove. 
To whom in brief thus Abdiel stern replied. 
Apostate! still thou errest, nor end wilt find 
Of erring, from the path of truth remote: 
Unjustly thou depravest it with the name 
Of servitude, to serve whom God ordains, 
Or Nature:  God and Nature bid the same, 
When he who rules is worthiest, and excels 
Them whom he governs.  This is servitude, 
To serve the unwise, or him who hath rebelled 
Against his worthier, as thine now serve thee, 
Thyself not free, but to thyself enthralled; 
Yet lewdly darest our ministring upbraid. 
Reign thou in Hell, thy kingdom; let me serve 
In Heaven God ever blest, and his divine 
Behests obey, worthiest to be obeyed; 
Yet chains in Hell, not realms, expect:  Mean while 
From me returned, as erst thou saidst, from flight, 
This greeting on thy impious crest receive. 
So saying, a noble stroke he lifted high, 
Which hung not, but so swift with tempest fell 
On the proud crest of Satan, that no sight, 
Nor motion of swift thought, less could his shield, 
Such ruin intercept:  Ten paces huge 
He back recoiled; the tenth on bended knee 
His massy spear upstaid; as if on earth 
Winds under ground, or waters forcing way, 
Sidelong had pushed a mountain from his seat, 
Half sunk with all his pines.  Amazement seised 
The rebel Thrones, but greater rage, to see 
Thus foiled their mightiest; ours joy filled, and shout, 
Presage of victory, and fierce desire 
Of battle:  Whereat Michael bid sound 
The Arch-Angel trumpet; through the vast of Heaven 
It sounded, and the faithful armies rung 
Hosanna to the Highest:  Nor stood at gaze 
The adverse legions, nor less hideous joined 
The horrid shock.  Now storming fury rose, 
And clamour such as heard in Heaven till now 
Was never; arms on armour clashing brayed 
Horrible discord, and the madding wheels 
Of brazen chariots raged; dire was the noise 
Of conflict; over head the dismal hiss 
Of fiery darts in flaming vollies flew, 
And flying vaulted either host with fire. 
So under fiery cope together rushed 
Both battles main, with ruinous assault 
And inextinguishable rage.  All Heaven 
Resounded; and had Earth been then, all Earth 
Had to her center shook.  What wonder? when 
Millions of fierce encountering Angels fought 
On either side, the least of whom could wield 
These elements, and arm him with the force 
Of all their regions:  How much more of power 
Army against army numberless to raise 
Dreadful combustion warring, and disturb, 
Though not destroy, their happy native seat; 
Had not the Eternal King Omnipotent, 
From his strong hold of Heaven, high over-ruled 
And limited their might; though numbered such 
As each divided legion might have seemed 
A numerous host; in strength each armed hand 
A legion; led in fight, yet leader seemed 
Each warriour single as in chief, expert 
When to advance, or stand, or turn the sway 
Of battle, open when, and when to close 
The ridges of grim war:  No thought of flight, 
None of retreat, no unbecoming deed 
That argued fear; each on himself relied, 
As only in his arm the moment lay 
Of victory:  Deeds of eternal fame 
Were done, but infinite; for wide was spread 
That war and various; sometimes on firm ground 
A standing fight, then, soaring on main wing, 
Tormented all the air; all air seemed then 
Conflicting fire.  Long time in even scale 
The battle hung; till Satan, who that day 
Prodigious power had shown, and met in arms 
No equal, ranging through the dire attack 
Of fighting Seraphim confused, at length 
Saw where the sword of Michael smote, and felled 
Squadrons at once; with huge two-handed sway 
Brandished aloft, the horrid edge came down 
Wide-wasting; such destruction to withstand 
He hasted, and opposed the rocky orb 
Of tenfold adamant, his ample shield, 
A vast circumference.  At his approach 
The great Arch-Angel from his warlike toil 
Surceased, and glad, as hoping here to end 
Intestine war in Heaven, the arch-foe subdued 
Or captive dragged in chains, with hostile frown 
And visage all inflamed first thus began. 
Author of evil, unknown till thy revolt, 
Unnamed in Heaven, now plenteous as thou seest 
These acts of hateful strife, hateful to all, 
Though heaviest by just measure on thyself, 
And thy  adherents:  How hast thou disturbed 
Heaven's blessed peace, and into nature brought 
Misery, uncreated till the crime 
Of thy rebellion! how hast thou instilled 
Thy malice into thousands, once upright 
And faithful, now proved false!  But think not here 
To trouble holy rest; Heaven casts thee out 
From all her confines.  Heaven, the seat of bliss, 
Brooks not the works of violence and war. 
Hence then, and evil go with thee along, 
Thy offspring, to the place of evil, Hell; 
Thou and thy wicked crew! there mingle broils, 
Ere this avenging sword begin thy doom, 
Or some more sudden vengeance, winged from God, 
Precipitate thee with augmented pain. 
So spake the Prince of Angels; to whom thus 
The Adversary.  Nor think thou with wind 
Of aery threats to awe whom yet with deeds 
Thou canst not.  Hast thou turned the least of these 
To flight, or if to fall, but that they rise 
Unvanquished, easier to transact with me 
That thou shouldst hope, imperious, and with threats 
To chase me hence? err not, that so shall end 
The strife which thou callest evil, but we style 
The strife of glory; which we mean to win, 
Or turn this Heaven itself into the Hell 
Thou fablest; here however to dwell free, 
If not to reign:  Mean while thy utmost force, 
And join him named Almighty to thy aid, 
I fly not, but have sought thee far and nigh. 
They ended parle, and both addressed for fight 
Unspeakable; for who, though with the tongue 
Of Angels, can relate, or to what things 
Liken on earth conspicuous, that may lift 
Human imagination to such highth 
Of Godlike power? for likest Gods they seemed, 
Stood they or moved, in stature, motion, arms, 
Fit to decide the empire of great Heaven. 
Now waved their fiery swords, and in the air 
Made horrid circles; two broad suns their shields 
Blazed opposite, while Expectation stood 
In horrour:  From each hand with speed retired, 
Where erst was thickest fight, the angelick throng, 
And left large field, unsafe within the wind 
Of such commotion; such as, to set forth 
Great things by small, if, nature's concord broke, 
Among the constellations war were sprung, 
Two planets, rushing from aspect malign 
Of fiercest opposition, in mid sky 
Should combat, and their jarring spheres confound. 
Together both with next to almighty arm 
Up-lifted imminent, one stroke they aimed 
That might determine, and not need repeat, 
As not of power at once; nor odds appeared 
In might or swift prevention:  But the sword 
Of Michael from the armoury of God 
Was given him tempered so, that neither keen 
Nor solid might resist that edge: it met 
The sword of Satan, with steep force to smite 
Descending, and in half cut sheer; nor staid, 
But with swift wheel reverse, deep entering, shared 
All his right side:  Then Satan first knew pain, 
And writhed him to and fro convolved; so sore 
The griding sword with discontinuous wound 
Passed through him:  But the ethereal substance closed, 
Not long divisible; and from the gash 
A stream of necturous humour issuing flowed 
Sanguine, such as celestial Spirits may bleed, 
And all his armour stained, ere while so bright. 
Forthwith on all sides to his aid was run 
By Angels many and strong, who interposed 
Defence, while others bore him on their shields 
Back to his chariot, where it stood retired 
From off the files of war:  There they him laid 
Gnashing for anguish, and despite, and shame, 
To find himself not matchless, and his pride 
Humbled by such rebuke, so far beneath 
His confidence to equal God in power. 
Yet soon he healed; for Spirits that live throughout 
Vital in every part, not as frail man 
In entrails, heart of head, liver or reins, 
Cannot but by annihilating die; 
Nor in their liquid texture mortal wound 
Receive, no more than can the fluid air: 
All heart they live, all head, all eye, all ear, 
All intellect, all sense; and, as they please, 
They limb themselves, and colour, shape, or size 
Assume, as?kikes them best, condense or rare. 
Mean while in other parts like deeds deserved 
Memorial, where the might of Gabriel fought, 
And with fierce ensigns pierced the deep array 
Of Moloch, furious king; who him defied, 
And at his chariot-wheels to drag him bound 
Threatened, nor from the Holy One of Heaven 
Refrained his tongue blasphemous; but anon 
Down cloven to the waist, with shattered arms 
And uncouth pain fled bellowing.  On each wing 
Uriel, and Raphael, his vaunting foe, 
Though huge, and in a rock of diamond armed, 
Vanquished Adramelech, and Asmadai, 
Two potent Thrones, that to be less than Gods 
Disdained, but meaner thoughts learned in their flight, 
Mangled with ghastly wounds through plate and mail. 
Nor stood unmindful Abdiel to annoy 
The atheist crew, but with redoubled blow 
Ariel, and Arioch, and the violence 
Of Ramiel scorched and blasted, overthrew. 
I might relate of thousands, and their names 
Eternize here on earth; but those elect 
Angels, contented with their fame in Heaven, 
Seek not the praise of men:  The other sort, 
In might though wonderous and in acts of war, 
Nor of renown less eager, yet by doom 
Cancelled from Heaven and sacred memory, 
Nameless in dark oblivion let them dwell. 
For strength from truth divided, and from just, 
Illaudable, nought merits but dispraise 
And ignominy; yet to glory aspires 
Vain-glorious, and through infamy seeks fame: 
Therefore eternal silence be their doom. 
And now, their mightiest quelled, the battle swerved, 
With many an inroad gored; deformed rout 
Entered, and foul disorder; all the ground 
With shivered armour strown, and on a heap 
Chariot and charioteer lay overturned, 
And fiery-foaming steeds; what stood, recoiled 
O'er-wearied, through the faint Satanick host 
Defensive scarce, or with pale fear surprised, 
Then first with fear surprised, and sense of pain, 
Fled ignominious, to such evil brought 
By sin of disobedience; till that hour 
Not liable to fear, or flight, or pain. 
Far otherwise the inviolable Saints, 
In cubick phalanx firm, advanced entire, 
Invulnerable, impenetrably armed; 
Such high advantages their innocence 
Gave them above their foes; not to have sinned, 
Not to have disobeyed; in fight they stood 
Unwearied, unobnoxious to be pained 
By wound, though from their place by violence moved, 
Now Night her course began, and, over Heaven 
Inducing darkness, grateful truce imposed, 
And silence on the odious din of war: 
Under her cloudy covert both retired, 
Victor and vanquished:  On the foughten field 
Michael and his Angels prevalent 
Encamping, placed in guard their watches round, 
Cherubick waving fires:  On the other part, 
Satan with his rebellious disappeared, 
Far in the dark dislodged; and, void of rest, 
His potentates to council called by night; 
And in the midst thus undismayed began. 
O now in danger tried, now known in arms 
Not to be overpowered, Companions dear, 
Found worthy not of liberty alone, 
Too mean pretence! but what we more affect, 
Honour, dominion, glory, and renown; 
Who have sustained one day in doubtful fight, 
(And if one day, why not eternal days?) 
What Heaven's Lord had powerfullest to send 
Against us from about his throne, and judged 
Sufficient to subdue us to his will, 
But proves not so:  Then fallible, it seems, 
Of future we may deem him, though till now 
Omniscient thought.  True is, less firmly armed, 
Some disadvantage we endured and pain, 
Till now not known, but, known, as soon contemned; 
Since now we find this our empyreal form 
Incapable of mortal injury, 
Imperishable, and, though pierced with wound, 
Soon closing, and by native vigour healed. 
Of evil then so small as easy think 
The remedy; perhaps more valid arms, 
Weapons more violent, when next we meet, 
May serve to better us, and worse our foes, 
Or equal what between us made the odds, 
In nature none:  If other hidden cause 
Left them superiour, while we can preserve 
Unhurt our minds, and understanding sound, 
Due search and consultation will disclose. 
He sat; and in the assembly next upstood 
Nisroch, of Principalities the prime; 
As one he stood escaped from cruel fight, 
Sore toiled, his riven arms to havock hewn, 
And cloudy in aspect thus answering spake. 
Deliverer from new Lords, leader to free 
Enjoyment of our right as Gods; yet hard 
For Gods, and too unequal work we find, 
Against unequal arms to fight in pain, 
Against unpained, impassive; from which evil 
Ruin must needs ensue; for what avails 
Valour or strength, though matchless, quelled with pain 
Which all subdues, and makes remiss the hands 
Of mightiest?  Sense of pleasure we may well 
Spare out of life perhaps, and not repine, 
But live content, which is the calmest life: 
But pain is perfect misery, the worst 
Of evils, and, excessive, overturns 
All patience.  He, who therefore can invent 
With what more forcible we may offend 
Our yet unwounded enemies, or arm 
Ourselves with like defence, to me deserves 
No less than for deliverance what we owe. 
Whereto with look composed Satan replied. 
Not uninvented that, which thou aright 
Believest so main to our success, I bring. 
Which of us who beholds the bright surface 
Of this ethereous mould whereon we stand, 
This continent of spacious Heaven, adorned 
With plant, fruit, flower ambrosial, gems, and gold; 
Whose eye so superficially surveys 
These things, as not to mind from whence they grow 
Deep under ground, materials dark and crude, 
Of spiritous and fiery spume, till touched 
With Heaven's ray, and tempered, they shoot forth 
So beauteous, opening to the ambient light? 
These in their dark nativity the deep 
Shall yield us, pregnant with infernal flame; 
Which, into hollow engines, long and round, 
Thick rammed, at the other bore with touch of fire 
Dilated and infuriate, shall send forth 
From far, with thundering noise, among our foes 
Such implements of mischief, as shall dash 
To pieces, and o'erwhelm whatever stands 
Adverse, that they shall fear we have disarmed 
The Thunderer of his only dreaded bolt. 
Nor long shall be our labour; yet ere dawn, 
Effect shall end our wish.  Mean while revive; 
Abandon fear; to strength and counsel joined 
Think nothing hard, much less to be despaired. 
He ended, and his words their drooping cheer 
Enlightened, and their languished hope revived. 
The invention all admired, and each, how he 
To be the inventer missed; so easy it seemed 
Once found, which yet unfound most would have thought 
Impossible:  Yet, haply, of thy race 
In future days, if malice should abound, 
Some one intent on mischief, or inspired 
With devilish machination, might devise 
Like instrument to plague the sons of men 
For sin, on war and mutual slaughter bent. 
Forthwith from council to the work they flew; 
None arguing stood; innumerable hands 
Were ready; in a moment up they turned 
Wide the celestial soil, and saw beneath 
The originals of nature in their crude 
Conception; sulphurous and nitrous foam 
They found, they mingled, and, with subtle art, 
Concocted and adusted they reduced 
To blackest grain, and into store conveyed: 
Part hidden veins digged up (nor hath this earth 
Entrails unlike) of mineral and stone, 
Whereof to found their engines and their balls 
Of missive ruin; part incentive reed 
Provide, pernicious with one touch to fire. 
So all ere day-spring, under conscious night, 
Secret they finished, and in order set, 
With silent circumspection, unespied. 
Now when fair morn orient in Heaven appeared, 
Up rose the victor-Angels, and to arms 
The matin trumpet sung:  In arms they stood 
Of golden panoply, refulgent host, 
Soon banded; others from the dawning hills 
Look round, and scouts each coast light-armed scour, 
Each quarter to descry the distant foe, 
Where lodged, or whither fled, or if for fight, 
In motion or in halt:  Him soon they met 
Under spread ensigns moving nigh, in slow 
But firm battalion; back with speediest sail 
Zophiel, of Cherubim the swiftest wing, 
Came flying, and in mid air aloud thus cried. 
Arm, Warriours, arm for fight; the foe at hand, 
Whom fled we thought, will save us long pursuit 
This day; fear not his flight;so thick a cloud 
He comes, and settled in his face I see 
Sad resolution, and secure:  Let each 
His adamantine coat gird well, and each 
Fit well his helm, gripe fast his orbed shield, 
Borne even or high; for this day will pour down, 
If I conjecture aught, no drizzling shower, 
But rattling storm of arrows barbed with fire. 
So warned he them, aware themselves, and soon 
In order, quit of all impediment; 
Instant without disturb they took alarm, 
And onward moved embattled:  When behold! 
Not distant far with heavy pace the foe 
Approaching gross and huge, in hollow cube 
Training his devilish enginery, impaled 
On every side with shadowing squadrons deep, 
To hide the fraud.  At interview both stood 
A while; but suddenly at head appeared 
Satan, and thus was heard commanding loud. 
Vanguard, to right and left the front unfold; 
That all may see who hate us, how we seek 
Peace and composure, and with open breast 
Stand ready to receive them, if they like 
Our overture; and turn not back perverse: 
But that I doubt; however witness, Heaven! 
Heaven, witness thou anon! while we discharge 
Freely our part: ye, who appointed stand 
Do as you have in charge, and briefly touch 
What we propound, and loud that all may hear! 
So scoffing in ambiguous words, he scarce 
Had ended; when to right and left the front 
Divided, and to either flank retired: 
Which to our eyes discovered, new and strange, 
A triple mounted row of pillars laid 
On wheels (for like to pillars most they seemed, 
Or hollowed bodies made of oak or fir, 
With branches lopt, in wood or mountain felled,) 
Brass, iron, stony mould, had not their mouths 
With hideous orifice gaped on us wide, 
Portending hollow truce:  At each behind 
A Seraph stood, and in his hand a reed 
Stood waving tipt with fire; while we, suspense, 
Collected stood within our thoughts amused, 
Not long; for sudden all at once their reeds 
Put forth, and to a narrow vent applied 
With nicest touch.  Immediate in a flame, 
But soon obscured with smoke, all Heaven appeared, 
From those deep-throated engines belched, whose roar 
Embowelled with outrageous noise the air, 
And all her entrails tore, disgorging foul 
Their devilish glut, chained thunderbolts and hail 
Of iron globes; which, on the victor host 
Levelled, with such impetuous fury smote, 
That, whom they hit, none on their feet might stand, 
Though standing else as rocks, but down they fell 
By thousands, Angel on Arch-Angel rolled; 
The sooner for their arms; unarmed, they might 
Have easily, as Spirits, evaded swift 
By quick contraction or remove; but now 
Foul dissipation followed, and forced rout; 
Nor served it to relax their serried files. 
What should they do? if on they rushed, repulse 
Repeated, and indecent overthrow 
Doubled, would render them yet more despised, 
And to their foes a laughter; for in view 
Stood ranked of Seraphim another row, 
In posture to displode their second tire 
Of thunder:  Back defeated to return 
They worse abhorred.  Satan beheld their plight, 
And to his mates thus in derision called. 
O Friends! why come not on these victors proud 
Ere while they fierce were coming; and when we, 
To entertain them fair with open front 
And breast, (what could we more?) propounded terms 
Of composition, straight they changed their minds, 
Flew off, and into strange vagaries fell, 
As they would dance; yet for a dance they seemed 
Somewhat extravagant and wild; perhaps 
For joy of offered peace:  But I suppose, 
If our proposals once again were heard, 
We should compel them to a quick result. 
To whom thus Belial, in like gamesome mood. 
Leader! the terms we sent were terms of weight, 
Of hard contents, and full of force urged home; 
Such as we might perceive amused them all, 
And stumbled many:  Who receives them right, 
Had need from head to foot well understand; 
Not understood, this gift they have besides, 
They show us when our foes walk not upright. 
So they among themselves in pleasant vein 
Stood scoffing, hightened in their thoughts beyond 
All doubt of victory:  Eternal Might 
To match with their inventions they presumed 
So easy, and of his thunder made a scorn, 
And all his host derided, while they stood 
A while in trouble:  But they stood not long; 
Rage prompted them at length, and found them arms 
Against such hellish mischief fit to oppose. 
Forthwith (behold the excellence, the power, 
Which God hath in his mighty Angels placed!) 
Their arms away they threw, and to the hills 
(For Earth hath this variety from Heaven 
Of pleasure situate in hill and dale,) 
Light as the lightning glimpse they ran, they flew; 
From their foundations loosening to and fro, 
They plucked the seated hills, with all their load, 
Rocks, waters, woods, and by the shaggy tops 
Up-lifting bore them in their hands:  Amaze, 
Be sure, and terrour, seized the rebel host, 
When coming towards them so dread they saw 
The bottom of the mountains upward turned; 
Till on those cursed engines' triple-row 
They saw them whelmed, and all their confidence 
Under the weight of mountains buried deep; 
Themselves invaded next, and on their heads 
Main promontories flung, which in the air 
Came shadowing, and oppressed whole legions armed; 
Their armour helped their harm, crushed in and bruised 
Into their substance pent, which wrought them pain 
Implacable, and many a dolorous groan; 
Long struggling underneath, ere they could wind 
Out of such prison, though Spirits of purest light, 
Purest at first, now gross by sinning grown. 
The rest, in imitation, to like arms 
Betook them, and the neighbouring hills uptore: 
So hills amid the air encountered hills, 
Hurled to and fro with jaculation dire; 
That under ground they fought in dismal shade; 
Infernal noise! war seemed a civil game 
To this uproar; horrid confusion heaped 
Upon confusion rose:  And now all Heaven 
Had gone to wrack, with ruin overspread; 
Had not the Almighty Father, where he sits 
Shrined in his sanctuary of Heaven secure, 
Consulting on the sum of things, foreseen 
This tumult, and permitted all, advised: 
That his great purpose he might so fulfil, 
To honour his anointed Son avenged 
Upon his enemies, and to declare 
All power on him transferred:  Whence to his Son, 
The Assessour of his throne, he thus began. 
Effulgence of my glory, Son beloved, 
Son, in whose face invisible is beheld 
Visibly, what by Deity I am; 
And in whose hand what by decree I do, 
Second Omnipotence! two days are past, 
Two days, as we compute the days of Heaven, 
Since Michael and his Powers went forth to tame 
These disobedient:  Sore hath been their fight, 
As likeliest was, when two such foes met armed; 
For to themselves I left them; and thou knowest, 
Equal in their creation they were formed, 
Save what sin hath impaired; which yet hath wrought 
Insensibly, for I suspend their doom; 
Whence in perpetual fight they needs must last 
Endless, and no solution will be found: 
War wearied hath performed what war can do, 
And to disordered rage let loose the reins 
With mountains, as with weapons, armed; which makes 
Wild work in Heaven, and dangerous to the main. 
Two days are therefore past, the third is thine; 
For thee I have ordained it; and thus far 
Have suffered, that the glory may be thine 
Of ending this great war, since none but Thou 
Can end it.  Into thee such virtue and grace 
Immense I have transfused, that all may know 
In Heaven and Hell thy power above compare; 
And, this perverse commotion governed thus, 
To manifest thee worthiest to be Heir 
Of all things; to be Heir, and to be King 
By sacred unction, thy deserved right. 
Go then, Thou Mightiest, in thy Father's might; 
Ascend my chariot, guide the rapid wheels 
That shake Heaven's basis, bring forth all my war, 
My bow and thunder, my almighty arms 
Gird on, and sword upon thy puissant thigh; 
Pursue these sons of darkness, drive them out 
From all Heaven's bounds into the utter deep: 
There let them learn, as likes them, to despise 
God, and Messiah his anointed King. 
He said, and on his Son with rays direct 
Shone full; he all his Father full expressed 
Ineffably into his face received; 
And thus the Filial Godhead answering spake. 
O Father, O Supreme of heavenly Thrones, 
First, Highest, Holiest, Best; thou always seek'st 
To glorify thy Son, I always thee, 
As is most just:  This I my glory account, 
My exaltation, and my whole delight, 
That thou, in me well pleased, declarest thy will 
Fulfilled, which to fulfil is all my bliss. 
Scepter and power, thy giving, I assume, 
And gladlier shall resign, when in the end 
Thou shalt be all in all, and I in thee 
For ever; and in me all whom thou lovest: 
But whom thou hatest, I hate, and can put on 
Thy terrours, as I put thy mildness on, 
Image of thee in all things; and shall soon, 
Armed with thy might, rid Heaven of these rebelled; 
To their prepared ill mansion driven down, 
To chains of darkness, and the undying worm; 
That from thy just obedience could revolt, 
Whom to obey is happiness entire. 
Then shall thy Saints unmixed, and from the impure 
Far separate, circling thy holy mount, 
Unfeigned Halleluiahs to thee sing, 
Hymns of high praise, and I among them Chief. 
So said, he, o'er his scepter bowing, rose 
From the right hand of Glory where he sat; 
And the third sacred morn began to shine, 
Dawning through Heaven.  Forth rushed with whirlwind sound 
The chariot of Paternal Deity, 
Flashing thick flames, wheel within wheel undrawn, 
Itself instinct with Spirit, but convoyed 
By four Cherubick shapes; four faces each 
Had wonderous; as with stars, their bodies all 
And wings were set with eyes; with eyes the wheels 
Of beryl, and careering fires between; 
Over their heads a crystal firmament, 
Whereon a sapphire throne, inlaid with pure 
Amber, and colours of the showery arch. 
He, in celestial panoply all armed 
Of radiant Urim, work divinely wrought, 
Ascended; at his right hand Victory 
Sat eagle-winged; beside him hung his bow 
And quiver with three-bolted thunder stored; 
And from about him fierce effusion rolled 
Of smoke, and bickering flame, and sparkles dire: 
Attended with ten thousand thousand Saints, 
He onward came; far off his coming shone; 
And twenty thousand (I their number heard) 
Chariots of God, half on each hand, were seen; 
He on the wings of Cherub rode sublime 
On the crystalline sky, in sapphire throned, 
Illustrious far and wide; but by his own 
First seen:  Them unexpected joy surprised, 
When the great ensign of Messiah blazed 
Aloft by Angels borne, his sign in Heaven; 
Under whose conduct Michael soon reduced 
His army, circumfused on either wing, 
Under their Head imbodied all in one. 
Before him Power Divine his way prepared; 
At his command the uprooted hills retired 
Each to his place; they heard his voice, and went 
Obsequious; Heaven his wonted face renewed, 
And with fresh flowerets hill and valley smiled. 
This saw his hapless foes, but stood obdured, 
And to rebellious fight rallied their Powers, 
Insensate, hope conceiving from despair. 
In heavenly Spirits could such perverseness dwell? 
But to convince the proud what signs avail, 
Or wonders move the obdurate to relent? 
They, hardened more by what might most reclaim, 
Grieving to see his glory, at the sight 
Took envy; and, aspiring to his highth, 
Stood re-embattled fierce, by force or fraud 
Weening to prosper, and at length prevail 
Against God and Messiah, or to fall 
In universal ruin last; and now 
To final battle drew, disdaining flight, 
Or faint retreat; when the great Son of God 
To all his host on either hand thus spake. 
Stand still in bright array, ye Saints; here stand, 
Ye Angels armed; this day from battle rest: 
Faithful hath been your warfare, and of God 
Accepted, fearless in his righteous cause; 
And as ye have received, so have ye done, 
Invincibly:  But of this cursed crew 
The punishment to other hand belongs; 
Vengeance is his, or whose he sole appoints: 
Number to this day's work is not ordained, 
Nor multitude; stand only, and behold 
God's indignation on these godless poured 
By me; not you, but me, they have despised, 
Yet envied; against me is all their rage, 
Because the Father, to whom in Heaven s'preme 
Kingdom, and power, and glory appertains, 
Hath honoured me, according to his will. 
Therefore to me their doom he hath assigned; 
That they may have their wish, to try with me 
In battle which the stronger proves; they all, 
Or I alone against them; since by strength 
They measure all, of other excellence 
Not emulous, nor care who them excels; 
Nor other strife with them do I vouchsafe. 
So spake the Son, and into terrour changed 
His countenance too severe to be beheld, 
And full of wrath bent on his enemies. 
At once the Four spread out their starry wings 
With dreadful shade contiguous, and the orbs 
Of his fierce chariot rolled, as with the sound 
Of torrent floods, or of a numerous host. 
He on his impious foes right onward drove, 
Gloomy as night; under his burning wheels 
The stedfast empyrean shook throughout, 
All but the throne itself of God.  Full soon 
Among them he arrived; in his right hand 
Grasping ten thousand thunders, which he sent 
Before him, such as in their souls infixed 
Plagues:  They, astonished, all resistance lost, 
All courage; down their idle weapons dropt: 
O'er shields, and helms, and helmed heads he rode 
Of Thrones and mighty Seraphim prostrate, 
That wished the mountains now might be again 
Thrown on them, as a shelter from his ire. 
Nor less on either side tempestuous fell 
His arrows, from the fourfold-visaged Four 
Distinct with eyes, and from the living wheels 
Distinct alike with multitude of eyes; 
One Spirit in them ruled; and every eye 
Glared lightning, and shot forth pernicious fire 
Among the accursed, that withered all their strength, 
And of their wonted vigour left them drained, 
Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fallen. 
Yet half his strength he put not forth, but checked 
His thunder in mid volley; for he meant 
Not to destroy, but root them out of Heaven: 
The overthrown he raised, and as a herd 
Of goats or timorous flock together thronged 
Drove them before him thunder-struck, pursued 
With terrours, and with furies, to the bounds 
And crystal wall of Heaven; which, opening wide, 
Rolled inward, and a spacious gap disclosed 
Into the wasteful deep:  The monstrous sight 
Struck them with horrour backward, but far worse 
Urged them behind:  Headlong themselves they threw 
Down from the verge of Heaven; eternal wrath 
Burnt after them to the bottomless pit. 
Hell heard the unsufferable noise, Hell saw 
Heaven ruining from Heaven, and would have fled 
Affrighted; but strict Fate had cast too deep 
Her dark foundations, and too fast had bound. 
Nine days they fell:  Confounded Chaos roared, 
And felt tenfold confusion in their fall 
Through his wild anarchy, so huge a rout 
Incumbered him with ruin:  Hell at last 
Yawning received them whole, and on them closed; 
Hell, their fit habitation, fraught with fire 
Unquenchable, the house of woe and pain. 
Disburdened Heaven rejoiced, and soon repaired 
Her mural breach, returning whence it rolled. 
Sole victor, from the expulsion of his foes, 
Messiah his triumphal chariot turned: 
To meet him all his Saints, who silent stood 
Eye-witnesses of his almighty acts, 
With jubilee advanced; and, as they went, 
Shaded with branching palm, each Order bright, 
Sung triumph, and him sung victorious King, 
Son, Heir, and Lord, to him dominion given, 
Worthiest to reign:  He, celebrated, rode 
Triumphant through mid Heaven, into the courts 
And temple of his Mighty Father throned 
On high; who into glory him received, 
Where now he sits at the right hand of bliss. 
Thus, measuring things in Heaven by things on Earth, 
At thy request, and that thou mayest beware 
By what is past, to thee I have revealed 
What might have else to human race been hid; 
The discord which befel, and war in Heaven 
Among the angelick Powers, and the deep fall 
Of those too high aspiring, who rebelled 
With Satan; he who envies now thy state, 
Who now is plotting how he may seduce 
Thee also from obedience, that, with him 
Bereaved of happiness, thou mayest partake 
His punishment, eternal misery; 
Which would be all his solace and revenge, 
As a despite done against the Most High, 
Thee once to gain companion of his woe. 
But listen not to his temptations, warn 
Thy weaker; let it profit thee to have heard, 
By terrible example, the reward 
Of disobedience; firm they might have stood, 
Yet fell; remember, and fear to transgress. 

Book VII                                                         

Descend from Heaven, Urania, by that name 
If rightly thou art called, whose voice divine 
Following, above the Olympian hill I soar, 
Above the flight of Pegasean wing! 
The meaning, not the name, I call: for thou 
Nor of the Muses nine, nor on the top 
Of old Olympus dwellest; but, heavenly-born, 
Before the hills appeared, or fountain flowed, 
Thou with eternal Wisdom didst converse, 
Wisdom thy sister, and with her didst play 
In presence of the Almighty Father, pleased 
With thy celestial song.  Up led by thee 
Into the Heaven of Heavens I have presumed, 
An earthly guest, and drawn empyreal air, 
Thy tempering: with like safety guided down 
Return me to my native element: 
Lest from this flying steed unreined, (as once 
Bellerophon, though from a lower clime,) 
Dismounted, on the Aleian field I fall, 
Erroneous there to wander, and forlorn. 
Half yet remains unsung, but narrower bound 
Within the visible diurnal sphere; 
Standing on earth, not rapt above the pole, 
More safe I sing with mortal voice, unchanged 
To hoarse or mute, though fallen on evil days, 
On evil days though fallen, and evil tongues; 
In darkness, and with dangers compassed round, 
And solitude; yet not alone, while thou 
Visitest my slumbers nightly, or when morn 
Purples the east: still govern thou my song, 
Urania, and fit audience find, though few. 
But drive far off the barbarous dissonance 
Of Bacchus and his revellers, the race 
Of that wild rout that tore the Thracian bard 
In Rhodope, where woods and rocks had ears 
To rapture, till the savage clamour drowned 
Both harp and voice; nor could the Muse defend 
Her son.  So fail not thou, who thee implores: 
For thou art heavenly, she an empty dream. 
Say, Goddess, what ensued when Raphael, 
The affable Arch-Angel, had forewarned 
Adam, by dire example, to beware 
Apostasy, by what befel in Heaven 
To those apostates; lest the like befall 
In Paradise to Adam or his race, 
Charged not to touch the interdicted tree, 
If they transgress, and slight that sole command, 
So easily obeyed amid the choice 
Of all tastes else to please their appetite, 
Though wandering.  He, with his consorted Eve, 
The story heard attentive, and was filled 
With admiration and deep muse, to hear 
Of things so high and strange; things, to their thought 
So unimaginable, as hate in Heaven, 
And war so near the peace of God in bliss, 
With such confusion: but the evil, soon 
Driven back, redounded as a flood on those 
From whom it sprung; impossible to mix 
With blessedness.  Whence Adam soon repealed 
The doubts that in his heart arose: and now 
Led on, yet sinless, with desire to know 
What nearer might concern him, how this world 
Of Heaven and Earth conspicuous first began; 
When, and whereof created; for what cause; 
What within Eden, or without, was done 
Before his memory; as one whose drouth 
Yet scarce allayed still eyes the current stream, 
Whose liquid murmur heard new thirst excites, 
Proceeded thus to ask his heavenly guest. 
Great things, and full of wonder in our ears, 
Far differing from this world, thou hast revealed, 
Divine interpreter! by favour sent 
Down from the empyrean, to forewarn 
Us timely of what might else have been our loss, 
Unknown, which human knowledge could not reach; 
For which to the infinitely Good we owe 
Immortal thanks, and his admonishment 
Receive, with solemn purpose to observe 
Immutably his sovran will, the end 
Of what we are.  But since thou hast vouchsafed 
Gently, for our instruction, to impart 
Things above earthly thought, which yet concerned 
Our knowing, as to highest wisdom seemed, 
Deign to descend now lower, and relate 
What may no less perhaps avail us known, 
How first began this Heaven which we behold 
Distant so high, with moving fires adorned 
Innumerable; and this which yields or fills 
All space, the ambient air wide interfused 
Embracing round this floried Earth; what cause 
Moved the Creator, in his holy rest 
Through all eternity, so late to build 
In Chaos; and the work begun, how soon 
Absolved; if unforbid thou mayest unfold 
What we, not to explore the secrets ask 
Of his eternal empire, but the more 
To magnify his works, the more we know. 
And the great light of day yet wants to run 
Much of his race though steep; suspense in Heaven, 
Held by thy voice, thy potent voice, he hears, 
And longer will delay to hear thee tell 
His generation, and the rising birth 
Of Nature from the unapparent Deep: 
Or if the star of evening and the moon 
Haste to thy audience, Night with her will bring, 
Silence; and Sleep, listening to thee, will watch; 
Or we can bid his absence, till thy song 
End, and dismiss thee ere the morning shine. 
Thus Adam his illustrious guest besought: 
And thus the Godlike Angel answered mild. 
This also thy request, with caution asked, 
Obtain; though to recount almighty works 
What words or tongue of Seraph can suffice, 
Or heart of man suffice to comprehend? 
Yet what thou canst attain, which best may serve 
To glorify the Maker, and infer 
Thee also happier, shall not be withheld 
Thy hearing; such commission from above 
I have received, to answer thy desire 
Of knowledge within bounds; beyond, abstain 
To ask; nor let thine own inventions hope 
Things not revealed, which the invisible King, 
Only Omniscient, hath suppressed in night; 
To none communicable in Earth or Heaven: 
Enough is left besides to search and know. 
But knowledge is as food, and needs no less 
Her temperance over appetite, to know 
In measure what the mind may well contain; 
Oppresses else with surfeit, and soon turns 
Wisdom to folly, as nourishment to wind. 
Know then, that, after Lucifer from Heaven 
(So call him, brighter once amidst the host 
Of Angels, than that star the stars among,) 
Fell with his flaming legions through the deep 
Into his place, and the great Son returned 
Victorious with his Saints, the Omnipotent 
Eternal Father from his throne beheld 
Their multitude, and to his Son thus spake. 
At least our envious Foe hath failed, who thought 
All like himself rebellious, by whose aid 
This inaccessible high strength, the seat 
Of Deity supreme, us dispossessed, 
He trusted to have seised, and into fraud 
Drew many, whom their place knows here no more: 
Yet far the greater part have kept, I see, 
Their station; Heaven, yet populous, retains 
Number sufficient to possess her realms 
Though wide, and this high temple to frequent 
With ministeries due, and solemn rites: 
But, lest his heart exalt him in the harm 
Already done, to have dispeopled Heaven, 
My damage fondly deemed, I can repair 
That detriment, if such it be to lose 
Self-lost; and in a moment will create 
Another world, out of one man a race 
Of men innumerable, there to dwell, 
Not here; till, by degrees of merit raised, 
They open to themselves at length the way 
Up hither, under long obedience tried; 
And Earth be changed to Heaven, and Heaven to Earth, 
One kingdom, joy and union without end. 
Mean while inhabit lax, ye Powers of Heaven; 
And thou my Word, begotten Son, by thee 
This I perform; speak thou, and be it done! 
My overshadowing Spirit and Might with thee 
I send along; ride forth, and bid the Deep 
Within appointed bounds be Heaven and Earth; 
Boundless the Deep, because I Am who fill 
Infinitude, nor vacuous the space. 
Though I, uncircumscribed myself, retire, 
And put not forth my goodness, which is free 
To act or not, Necessity and Chance 
Approach not me, and what I will is Fate. 
So spake the Almighty, and to what he spake 
His Word, the Filial Godhead, gave effect. 
Immediate are the acts of God, more swift 
Than time or motion, but to human ears 
Cannot without process of speech be told, 
So told as earthly notion can receive. 
Great triumph and rejoicing was in Heaven, 
When such was heard declared the Almighty's will; 
Glory they sung to the Most High, good will 
To future men, and in their dwellings peace; 
Glory to Him, whose just avenging ire 
Had driven out the ungodly from his sight 
And the habitations of the just; to Him 
Glory and praise, whose wisdom had ordained 
Good out of evil to create; instead 
Of Spirits malign, a better race to bring 
Into their vacant room, and thence diffuse 
His good to worlds and ages infinite. 
So sang the Hierarchies:  Mean while the Son 
On his great expedition now appeared, 
Girt with Omnipotence, with radiance crowned 
Of Majesty Divine; sapience and love 
Immense, and all his Father in him shone. 
About his chariot numberless were poured 
Cherub, and Seraph, Potentates, and Thrones, 
And Virtues, winged Spirits, and chariots winged 
From the armoury of God; where stand of old 
Myriads, between two brazen mountains lodged 
Against a solemn day, harnessed at hand, 
Celestial equipage; and now came forth 
Spontaneous, for within them Spirit lived, 
Attendant on their Lord:  Heaven opened wide 
Her ever-during gates, harmonious sound 
On golden hinges moving, to let forth 
The King of Glory, in his powerful Word 
And Spirit, coming to create new worlds. 
On heavenly ground they stood; and from the shore 
They viewed the vast immeasurable abyss 
Outrageous as a sea, dark, wasteful, wild, 
Up from the bottom turned by furious winds 
And surging waves, as mountains, to assault 
Heaven's highth, and with the center mix the pole. 
Silence, ye troubled Waves, and thou Deep, peace, 
Said then the Omnifick Word; your discord end! 
Nor staid; but, on the wings of Cherubim 
Uplifted, in paternal glory rode 
Far into Chaos, and the world unborn; 
For Chaos heard his voice:  Him all his train 
Followed in bright procession, to behold 
Creation, and the wonders of his might. 
Then staid the fervid wheels, and in his hand 
He took the golden compasses, prepared 
In God's eternal store, to circumscribe 
This universe, and all created things: 
One foot he centered, and the other turned 
Round through the vast profundity obscure; 
And said, Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds, 
This be thy just circumference, O World! 
Thus God the Heaven created, thus the Earth, 
Matter unformed and void:  Darkness profound 
Covered the abyss: but on the watery calm 
His brooding wings the Spirit of God outspread, 
And vital virtue infused, and vital warmth 
Throughout the fluid mass; but downward purged 
The black tartareous cold infernal dregs, 
Adverse to life: then founded, then conglobed 
Like things to like; the rest to several place 
Disparted, and between spun out the air; 
And Earth self-balanced on her center hung. 
Let there be light, said God; and forthwith Light 
Ethereal, first of things, quintessence pure, 
Sprung from the deep; and from her native east 
To journey through the aery gloom began, 
Sphered in a radiant cloud, for yet the sun 
Was not; she in a cloudy tabernacle 
Sojourned the while.  God saw the light was good; 
And light from darkness by the hemisphere 
Divided: light the Day, and darkness Night, 
He named.  Thus was the first day even and morn: 
Nor past uncelebrated, nor unsung 
By the celestial quires, when orient light 
Exhaling first from darkness they beheld; 
Birth-day of Heaven and Earth; with joy and shout 
The hollow universal orb they filled, 
And touched their golden harps, and hymning praised 
God and his works; Creator him they sung, 
Both when first evening was, and when first morn. 
Again, God said,  Let there be firmament 
Amid the waters, and let it divide 
The waters from the waters; and God made 
The firmament, expanse of liquid, pure, 
Transparent, elemental air, diffused 
In circuit to the uttermost convex 
Of this great round; partition firm and sure, 
The waters underneath from those above 
Dividing: for as earth, so he the world 
Built on circumfluous waters calm, in wide 
Crystalline ocean, and the loud misrule 
Of Chaos far removed; lest fierce extremes 
Contiguous might distemper the whole frame: 
And Heaven he named the Firmament:  So even 
And morning chorus sung the second day. 
The Earth was formed, but in the womb as yet 
Of waters, embryon immature involved, 
Appeared not: over all the face of Earth 
Main ocean flowed, not idle; but, with warm 
Prolifick humour softening all her globe, 
Fermented the great mother to conceive, 
Satiate with genial moisture; when God said, 
Be gathered now ye waters under Heaven 
Into one place, and let dry land appear. 
Immediately the mountains huge appear 
Emergent, and their broad bare backs upheave 
Into the clouds; their tops ascend the sky: 
So high as heaved the tumid hills, so low 
Down sunk a hollow bottom broad and deep, 
Capacious bed of waters:  Thither they 
Hasted with glad precipitance, uprolled, 
As drops on dust conglobing from the dry: 
Part rise in crystal wall, or ridge direct, 
For haste; such flight the great command impressed 
On the swift floods:  As armies at the call 
Of trumpet (for of armies thou hast heard) 
Troop to their standard; so the watery throng, 
Wave rolling after wave, where way they found, 
If steep, with torrent rapture, if through plain, 
Soft-ebbing; nor withstood them rock or hill; 
But they, or under ground, or circuit wide 
With serpent errour wandering, found their way, 
And on the washy oose deep channels wore; 
Easy, ere God had bid the ground be dry, 
All but within those banks, where rivers now 
Stream, and perpetual draw their humid train. 
The dry land, Earth; and the great receptacle 
Of congregated waters, he called Seas: 
And saw that it was good; and said, Let the Earth 
Put forth the verdant grass, herb yielding seed, 
And fruit-tree yielding fruit after her kind, 
Whose seed is in herself upon the Earth. 
He scarce had said, when the bare Earth, till then 
Desart and bare, unsightly, unadorned, 
Brought forth the tender grass, whose verdure clad 
Her universal face with pleasant green; 
Then herbs of every leaf, that sudden flowered 
Opening their various colours, and made gay 
Her bosom, smelling sweet: and, these scarce blown, 
Forth flourished thick the clustering vine, forth crept 
The swelling gourd, up stood the corny reed 
Embattled in her field, and the humble shrub, 
And bush with frizzled hair implicit:  Last 
Rose, as in dance, the stately trees, and spread 
Their branches hung with copious fruit, or gemmed 
Their blossoms:  With high woods the hills were crowned; 
With tufts the valleys, and each fountain side; 
With borders long the rivers: that Earth now 
Seemed like to Heaven, a seat where Gods might dwell, 
Or wander with delight, and love to haunt 
Her sacred shades: though God had yet not rained 
Upon the Earth, and man to till the ground 
None was; but from the Earth a dewy mist 
Went up, and watered all the ground, and each 
Plant of the field; which, ere it was in the Earth, 
God made, and every herb, before it grew 
On the green stem:  God saw that it was good: 
So even and morn recorded the third day. 
Again the Almighty spake, Let there be lights 
High in the expanse of Heaven, to divide 
The day from night; and let them be for signs, 
For seasons, and for days, and circling years; 
And let them be for lights, as I ordain 
Their office in the firmament of Heaven, 
To give light on the Earth; and it was so. 
And God made two great lights, great for their use 
To Man, the greater to have rule by day, 
The less by night, altern; and made the stars, 
And set them in the firmament of Heaven 
To illuminate the Earth, and rule the day 
In their vicissitude, and rule the night, 
And light from darkness to divide.  God saw, 
Surveying his great work, that it was good: 
For of celestial bodies first the sun 
A mighty sphere he framed, unlightsome first, 
Though of ethereal mould: then formed the moon 
Globose, and every magnitude of stars, 
And sowed with stars the Heaven, thick as a field: 
Of light by far the greater part he took, 
Transplanted from her cloudy shrine, and placed 
In the sun's orb, made porous to receive 
And drink the liquid light; firm to retain 
Her gathered beams, great palace now of light. 
Hither, as to their fountain, other stars 
Repairing, in their golden urns draw light, 
And hence the morning-planet gilds her horns; 
By tincture or reflection they augment 
Their small peculiar, though from human sight 
So far remote, with diminution seen, 
First in his east the glorious lamp was seen, 
Regent of day, and all the horizon round 
Invested with bright rays, jocund to run 
His longitude through Heaven's high road; the gray 
Dawn, and the Pleiades, before him danced, 
Shedding sweet influence:  Less bright the moon, 
But opposite in levelled west was set, 
His mirrour, with full face borrowing her light 
From him; for other light she needed none 
In that aspect, and still that distance keeps 
Till night; then in the east her turn she shines, 
Revolved on Heaven's great axle, and her reign 
With thousand lesser lights dividual holds, 
With thousand thousand stars, that then appeared 
Spangling the hemisphere:  Then first adorned 
With their bright luminaries that set and rose, 
Glad evening and glad morn crowned the fourth day. 
And God said, Let the waters generate 
Reptile with spawn abundant, living soul: 
And let fowl fly above the Earth, with wings 
Displayed on the open firmament of Heaven. 
And God created the great whales, and each 
Soul living, each that crept, which plenteously 
The waters generated by their kinds; 
And every bird of wing after his kind; 
And saw that it was good, and blessed them, saying. 
Be fruitful, multiply, and in the seas, 
And lakes, and running streams, the waters fill; 
And let the fowl be multiplied, on the Earth. 
Forthwith the sounds and seas, each creek and bay, 
With fry innumerable swarm, and shoals 
Of fish that with their fins, and shining scales, 
Glide under the green wave, in sculls that oft 
Bank the mid sea: part single, or with mate, 
Graze the sea-weed their pasture, and through groves 
Of coral stray; or, sporting with quick glance, 
Show to the sun their waved coats dropt with gold; 
Or, in their pearly shells at ease, attend 
Moist nutriment; or under rocks their food 
In jointed armour watch: on smooth the seal 
And bended dolphins play: part huge of bulk 
Wallowing unwieldy, enormous in their gait, 
Tempest the ocean: there leviathan, 
Hugest of living creatures, on the deep 
Stretched like a promontory sleeps or swims, 
And seems a moving land; and at his gills 
Draws in, and at his trunk spouts out, a sea. 
Mean while the tepid caves, and fens, and shores, 
Their brood as numerous hatch, from the egg that soon 
Bursting with kindly rupture forth disclosed 
Their callow young; but feathered soon and fledge 
They summed their pens; and, soaring the air sublime, 
With clang despised the ground, under a cloud 
In prospect; there the eagle and the stork 
On cliffs and cedar tops their eyries build: 
Part loosely wing the region, part more wise 
In common, ranged in figure, wedge their way, 
Intelligent of seasons, and set forth 
Their aery caravan, high over seas 
Flying, and over lands, with mutual wing 
Easing their flight; so steers the prudent crane 
Her annual voyage, borne on winds; the air 
Floats as they pass, fanned with unnumbered plumes: 
From branch to branch the smaller birds with song 
Solaced the woods, and spread their painted wings 
Till even; nor then the solemn nightingale 
Ceased warbling, but all night tun'd her soft lays: 
Others, on silver lakes and rivers, bathed 
Their downy breast; the swan with arched neck, 
Between her white wings mantling proudly, rows 
Her state with oary feet; yet oft they quit 
The dank, and, rising on stiff pennons, tower 
The mid aereal sky:  Others on ground 
Walked firm; the crested cock whose clarion sounds 
The silent hours, and the other whose gay train 
Adorns him, coloured with the florid hue 
Of rainbows and starry eyes.  The waters thus 
With fish replenished, and the air with fowl, 
Evening and morn solemnized the fifth day. 
The sixth, and of creation last, arose 
With evening harps and matin; when God said, 
Let the Earth bring forth soul living in her kind, 
Cattle, and creeping things, and beast of the Earth, 
Each in their kind.  The Earth obeyed, and straight 
Opening her fertile womb teemed at a birth 
Innumerous living creatures, perfect forms, 
Limbed and full grown:  Out of the ground up rose, 
As from his lair, the wild beast where he wons 
In forest wild, in thicket, brake, or den; 
Among the trees in pairs they rose, they walked: 
The cattle in the fields and meadows green: 
Those rare and solitary, these in flocks 
Pasturing at once, and in broad herds upsprung. 
The grassy clods now calved; now half appeared 
The tawny lion, pawing to get free 
His hinder parts, then springs as broke from bonds, 
And rampant shakes his brinded mane; the ounce, 
The libbard, and the tiger, as the mole 
Rising, the crumbled earth above them threw 
In hillocks:  The swift stag from under ground 
Bore up his branching head:  Scarce from his mould 
Behemoth biggest born of earth upheaved 
His vastness:  Fleeced the flocks and bleating rose, 
As plants:  Ambiguous between sea and land 
The river-horse, and scaly crocodile. 
At once came forth whatever creeps the ground, 
Insect or worm: those waved their limber fans 
For wings, and smallest lineaments exact 
In all the liveries decked of summer's pride 
With spots of gold and purple, azure and green: 
These, as a line, their long dimension drew, 
Streaking the ground with sinuous trace; not all 
Minims of nature; some of serpent-kind, 
Wonderous in length and corpulence, involved 
Their snaky folds, and added wings.  First crept 
The parsimonious emmet, provident 
Of future; in small room large heart enclosed; 
Pattern of just equality perhaps 
Hereafter, joined in her popular tribes 
Of commonalty:  Swarming next appeared 
The female bee, that feeds her husband drone 
Deliciously, and builds her waxen cells 
With honey stored:  The rest are numberless, 
And thou their natures knowest, and gavest them names, 
Needless to thee repeated; nor unknown 
The serpent, subtlest beast of all the field, 
Of huge extent sometimes, with brazen eyes 
And hairy mane terrifick, though to thee 
Not noxious, but obedient at thy call. 
Now Heaven in all her glory shone, and rolled 
Her motions, as the great first Mover's hand 
First wheeled their course:  Earth in her rich attire 
Consummate lovely smiled; air, water, earth, 
By fowl, fish, beast, was flown, was swum, was walked, 
Frequent; and of the sixth day yet remained: 
There wanted yet the master-work, the end 
Of all yet done; a creature, who, not prone 
And brute as other creatures, but endued 
With sanctity of reason, might erect 
His stature, and upright with front serene 
Govern the rest, self-knowing; and from thence 
Magnanimous to correspond with Heaven, 
But grateful to acknowledge whence his good 
Descends, thither with heart, and voice, and eyes 
Directed in devotion, to adore 
And worship God Supreme, who made him chief 
Of all his works:  therefore the Omnipotent 
Eternal Father (for where is not he 
Present?) thus to his Son audibly spake. 
Let us make now Man in our image, Man 
In our similitude, and let them rule 
Over the fish and fowl of sea and air, 
Beast of the field, and over all the Earth, 
And every creeping thing that creeps the ground. 
This said, he formed thee, Adam, thee, O Man, 
Dust of the ground, and in thy nostrils breathed 
The breath of life; in his own image he 
Created thee, in the image of God 
Express; and thou becamest a living soul. 
Male he created thee; but thy consort 
Female, for race; then blessed mankind, and said, 
Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the Earth; 
Subdue it, and throughout dominion hold 
Over fish of the sea, and fowl of the air, 
And every living thing that moves on the Earth. 
Wherever thus created, for no place 
Is yet distinct by name, thence, as thou knowest, 
He brought thee into this delicious grove, 
This garden, planted with the trees of God, 
Delectable both to behold and taste; 
And freely all their pleasant fruit for food 
Gave thee; all sorts are here that all the Earth yields, 
Variety without end; but of the tree, 
Which, tasted, works knowledge of good and evil, 
Thou mayest not; in the day thou eatest, thou diest; 
Death is the penalty imposed; beware, 
And govern well thy appetite; lest Sin 
Surprise thee, and her black attendant Death. 
Here finished he, and all that he had made 
Viewed, and behold all was entirely good; 
So even and morn accomplished the sixth day: 
Yet not till the Creator from his work 
Desisting, though unwearied, up returned, 
Up to the Heaven of Heavens, his high abode; 
Thence to behold this new created world, 
The addition of his empire, how it showed 
In prospect from his throne, how good, how fair, 
Answering his great idea.  Up he rode 
Followed with acclamation, and the sound 
Symphonious of ten thousand harps, that tuned 
Angelick harmonies:  The earth, the air 
Resounded, (thou rememberest, for thou heardst,) 
The heavens and all the constellations rung, 
The planets in their station listening stood, 
While the bright pomp ascended jubilant. 
Open, ye everlasting gates! they sung, 
Open, ye Heavens! your living doors;let in 
The great Creator from his work returned 
Magnificent, his six days work, a World; 
Open, and henceforth oft; for God will deign 
To visit oft the dwellings of just men, 
Delighted; and with frequent intercourse 
Thither will send his winged messengers 
On errands of supernal grace.  So sung 
The glorious train ascending:  He through Heaven, 
That opened wide her blazing portals, led 
To God's eternal house direct the way; 
A broad and ample road, whose dust is gold 
And pavement stars, as stars to thee appear, 
Seen in the galaxy, that milky way, 
Which nightly, as a circling zone, thou seest 
Powdered with stars.  And now on Earth the seventh 
Evening arose in Eden, for the sun 
Was set, and twilight from the east came on, 
Forerunning night; when at the holy mount 
Of Heaven's high-seated top, the imperial throne 
Of Godhead, fixed for ever firm and sure, 
The Filial Power arrived, and sat him down 
With his great Father; for he also went 
Invisible, yet staid, (such privilege 
Hath Omnipresence) and the work ordained, 
Author and End of all things; and, from work 
Now resting, blessed and hallowed the seventh day, 
As resting on that day from all his work, 
But not in silence holy kept: the harp 
Had work and rested not; the solemn pipe, 
And dulcimer, all organs of sweet stop, 
All sounds on fret by string or golden wire, 
Tempered soft tunings, intermixed with voice 
Choral or unison: of incense clouds, 
Fuming from golden censers, hid the mount. 
Creation and the six days acts they sung: 
Great are thy works, Jehovah! infinite 
Thy power! what thought can measure thee, or tongue 
Relate thee!  Greater now in thy return 
Than from the giant Angels:  Thee that day 
Thy thunders magnified; but to create 
Is greater than created to destroy. 
Who can impair thee, Mighty King, or bound 
Thy empire!  Easily the proud attempt 
Of Spirits apostate, and their counsels vain, 
Thou hast repelled; while impiously they thought 
Thee to diminish, and from thee withdraw 
The number of thy worshippers.  Who seeks 
To lessen thee, against his purpose serves 
To manifest the more thy might: his evil 
Thou usest, and from thence createst more good. 
Witness this new-made world, another Heaven 
From Heaven-gate not far, founded in view 
On the clear hyaline, the glassy sea; 
Of amplitude almost immense, with stars 
Numerous, and every star perhaps a world 
Of destined habitation; but thou knowest 
Their seasons: among these the seat of Men, 
Earth, with her nether ocean circumfused, 
Their pleasant dwelling-place.  Thrice happy Men, 
And sons of Men, whom God hath thus advanced! 
Created in his image, there to dwell 
And worship him; and in reward to rule 
Over his works, on earth, in sea, or air, 
And multiply a race of worshippers 
Holy and just:  Thrice happy, if they know 
Their happiness, and persevere upright! 
So sung they, and the empyrean rung 
With halleluiahs:  Thus was sabbath kept. 
And thy request think now fulfilled, that asked 
How first this world and face of things began, 
And what before thy memory was done 
From the beginning; that posterity, 
Informed by thee, might know:  If else thou seekest 
Aught, not surpassing human measure, say. 

Book VIII                                                        

The Angel ended, and in Adam's ear 
So charming left his voice, that he a while 
Thought him still speaking, still stood fixed to hear; 
Then, as new waked, thus gratefully replied. 
What thanks sufficient, or what recompence 
Equal, have I to render thee, divine 
Historian, who thus largely hast allayed 
The thirst I had of knowledge, and vouchsafed 
This friendly condescension to relate 
Things, else by me unsearchable; now heard 
With wonder, but delight, and, as is due, 
With glory attributed to the high 
Creator!  Something yet of doubt remains, 
Which only thy solution can resolve. 
When I behold this goodly frame, this world, 
Of Heaven and Earth consisting; and compute 
Their magnitudes; this Earth, a spot, a grain, 
An atom, with the firmament compared 
And all her numbered stars, that seem to roll 
Spaces incomprehensible, (for such 
Their distance argues, and their swift return 
Diurnal,) merely to officiate light 
Round this opacous Earth, this punctual spot, 
One day and night; in all her vast survey 
Useless besides; reasoning I oft admire, 
How Nature wise and frugal could commit 
Such disproportions, with superfluous hand 
So many nobler bodies to create, 
Greater so manifold, to this one use, 
For aught appears, and on their orbs impose 
Such restless revolution day by day 
Repeated; while the sedentary Earth, 
That better might with far less compass move, 
Served by more noble than herself, attains 
Her end without least motion, and receives, 
As tribute, such a sumless journey brought 
Of incorporeal speed, her warmth and light; 
Speed, to describe whose swiftness number fails. 
So spake our sire, and by his countenance seemed 
Entering on studious thoughts abstruse; which Eve 
Perceiving, where she sat retired in sight, 
With lowliness majestick from her seat, 
And grace that won who saw to wish her stay, 
Rose, and went forth among her fruits and flowers, 
To visit how they prospered, bud and bloom, 
Her nursery; they at her coming sprung, 
And, touched by her fair tendance, gladlier grew. 
Yet went she not, as not with such discourse 
Delighted, or not capable her ear 
Of what was high: such pleasure she reserved, 
Adam relating, she sole auditress; 
Her husband the relater she preferred 
Before the Angel, and of him to ask 
Chose rather; he, she knew, would intermix 
Grateful digressions, and solve high dispute 
With conjugal caresses: from his lip 
Not words alone pleased her.  O! when meet now 
Such pairs, in love and mutual honour joined? 
With Goddess-like demeanour forth she went, 
Not unattended; for on her, as Queen, 
A pomp of winning Graces waited still, 
And from about her shot darts of desire 
Into all eyes, to wish her still in sight. 
And Raphael now, to Adam's doubt proposed, 
Benevolent and facile thus replied. 
To ask or search, I blame thee not; for Heaven 
Is as the book of God before thee set, 
Wherein to read his wonderous works, and learn 
His seasons, hours, or days, or months, or years: 
This to attain, whether Heaven move or Earth, 
Imports not, if thou reckon right; the rest 
From Man or Angel the great Architect 
Did wisely to conceal, and not divulge 
His secrets to be scanned by them who ought 
Rather admire; or, if they list to try 
Conjecture, he his fabrick of the Heavens 
Hath left to their disputes, perhaps to move 
His laughter at their quaint opinions wide 
Hereafter; when they come to model Heaven 
And calculate the stars, how they will wield 
The mighty frame; how build, unbuild, contrive 
To save appearances; how gird the sphere 
With centrick and eccentrick scribbled o'er, 
Cycle and epicycle, orb in orb: 
Already by thy reasoning this I guess, 
Who art to lead thy offspring, and supposest 
That bodies bright and greater should not serve 
The less not bright, nor Heaven such journeys run, 
Earth sitting still, when she alone receives 
The benefit:  Consider first, that great 
Or bright infers not excellence: the Earth 
Though, in comparison of Heaven, so small, 
Nor glistering, may of solid good contain 
More plenty than the sun that barren shines; 
Whose virtue on itself works no effect, 
But in the fruitful Earth; there first received, 
His beams, unactive else, their vigour find. 
Yet not to Earth are those bright luminaries 
Officious; but to thee, Earth's habitant. 
And for the Heaven's wide circuit, let it speak 
The Maker's high magnificence, who built 
So spacious, and his line stretched out so far; 
That Man may know he dwells not in his own; 
An edifice too large for him to fill, 
Lodged in a small partition; and the rest 
Ordained for uses to his Lord best known. 
The swiftness of those circles attribute, 
Though numberless, to his Omnipotence, 
That to corporeal substances could add 
Speed almost spiritual:  Me thou thinkest not slow, 
Who since the morning-hour set out from Heaven 
Where God resides, and ere mid-day arrived 
In Eden; distance inexpressible 
By numbers that have name.  But this I urge, 
Admitting motion in the Heavens, to show 
Invalid that which thee to doubt it moved; 
Not that I so affirm, though so it seem 
To thee who hast thy dwelling here on Earth. 
God, to remove his ways from human sense, 
Placed Heaven from Earth so far, that earthly sight, 
If it presume, might err in things too high, 
And no advantage gain.  What if the sun 
Be center to the world; and other stars, 
By his attractive virtue and their own 
Incited, dance about him various rounds? 
Their wandering course now high, now low, then hid, 
Progressive, retrograde, or standing still, 
In six thou seest; and what if seventh to these 
The planet earth, so stedfast though she seem, 
Insensibly three different motions move? 
Which else to several spheres thou must ascribe, 
Moved contrary with thwart obliquities; 
Or save the sun his labour, and that swift 
Nocturnal and diurnal rhomb supposed, 
Invisible else above all stars, the wheel 
Of day and night; which needs not thy belief, 
If earth, industrious of herself, fetch day 
Travelling east, and with her part averse 
From the sun's beam meet night, her other part 
Still luminous by his ray.  What if that light, 
Sent from her through the wide transpicuous air, 
To the terrestrial moon be as a star, 
Enlightening her by day, as she by night 
This earth? reciprocal, if land be there, 
Fields and inhabitants:  Her spots thou seest 
As clouds, and clouds may rain, and rain produce 
Fruits in her softened soil for some to eat 
Allotted there; and other suns perhaps, 
With their attendant moons, thou wilt descry, 
Communicating male and female light; 
Which two great sexes animate the world, 
Stored in each orb perhaps with some that live. 
For such vast room in Nature unpossessed 
By living soul, desart and desolate, 
Only to shine, yet scarce to contribute 
Each orb a glimpse of light, conveyed so far 
Down to this habitable, which returns 
Light back to them, is obvious to dispute. 
But whether thus these things, or whether not; 
But whether the sun, predominant in Heaven, 
Rise on the earth; or earth rise on the sun; 
He from the east his flaming road begin; 
Or she from west her silent course advance, 
With inoffensive pace that spinning sleeps 
On her soft axle, while she paces even, 
And bears thee soft with the smooth hair along; 
Sollicit not thy thoughts with matters hid; 
Leave them to God above; him serve, and fear! 
Of other creatures, as him pleases best, 
Wherever placed, let him dispose; joy thou 
In what he gives to thee, this Paradise 
And thy fair Eve; Heaven is for thee too high 
To know what passes there; be lowly wise: 
Think only what concerns thee, and thy being; 
Dream not of other worlds, what creatures there 
Live, in what state, condition, or degree; 
Contented that thus far hath been revealed 
Not of Earth only, but of highest Heaven. 
To whom thus Adam, cleared of doubt, replied. 
How fully hast thou satisfied me, pure 
Intelligence of Heaven, Angel serene! 
And, freed from intricacies, taught to live 
The easiest way; nor with perplexing thoughts 
To interrupt the sweet of life, from which 
God hath bid dwell far off all anxious cares, 
And not molest us; unless we ourselves 
Seek them with wandering thoughts, and notions vain. 
But apt the mind or fancy is to rove 
Unchecked, and of her roving is no end; 
Till warned, or by experience taught, she learn, 
That, not to know at large of things remote 
From use, obscure and subtle; but, to know 
That which before us lies in daily life, 
Is the prime wisdom:  What is more, is fume, 
Or emptiness, or fond impertinence: 
And renders us, in things that most concern, 
Unpractised, unprepared, and still to seek. 
Therefore from this high pitch let us descend 
A lower flight, and speak of things at hand 
Useful; whence, haply, mention may arise 
Of something not unseasonable to ask, 
By sufferance, and thy wonted favour, deigned. 
Thee I have heard relating what was done 
Ere my remembrance: now, hear me relate 
My story, which perhaps thou hast not heard; 
And day is not yet spent; till then thou seest 
How subtly to detain thee I devise; 
Inviting thee to hear while I relate; 
Fond! were it not in hope of thy reply: 
For, while I sit with thee, I seem in Heaven; 
And sweeter thy discourse is to my ear 
Than fruits of palm-tree pleasantest to thirst 
And hunger both, from labour, at the hour 
Of sweet repast; they satiate, and soon fill, 
Though pleasant; but thy words, with grace divine 
Imbued, bring to their sweetness no satiety. 
To whom thus Raphael answered heavenly meek. 
Nor are thy lips ungraceful, Sire of men, 
Nor tongue ineloquent; for God on thee 
Abundantly his gifts hath also poured 
Inward and outward both, his image fair: 
Speaking, or mute, all comeliness and grace 
Attends thee; and each word, each motion, forms; 
Nor less think we in Heaven of thee on Earth 
Than of our fellow-servant, and inquire 
Gladly into the ways of God with Man: 
For God, we see, hath honoured thee, and set 
On Man his equal love:  Say therefore on; 
For I that day was absent, as befel, 
Bound on a voyage uncouth and obscure, 
Far on excursion toward the gates of Hell; 
Squared in full legion (such command we had) 
To see that none thence issued forth a spy, 
Or enemy, while God was in his work; 
Lest he, incensed at such eruption bold, 
Destruction with creation might have mixed. 
Not that they durst without his leave attempt; 
But us he sends upon his high behests 
For state, as Sovran King; and to inure 
Our prompt obedience.  Fast we found, fast shut, 
The dismal gates, and barricadoed strong; 
But long ere our approaching heard within 
Noise, other than the sound of dance or song, 
Torment, and loud lament, and furious rage. 
Glad we returned up to the coasts of light 
Ere sabbath-evening: so we had in charge. 
But thy relation now; for I attend, 
Pleased with thy words no less than thou with mine. 
So spake the Godlike Power, and thus our Sire. 
For Man to tell how human life began 
Is hard; for who himself beginning knew 
Desire with thee still longer to converse 
Induced me.  As new waked from soundest sleep, 
Soft on the flowery herb I found me laid, 
In balmy sweat; which with his beams the sun 
Soon dried, and on the reeking moisture fed. 
Straight toward Heaven my wondering eyes I turned, 
And gazed a while the ample sky; till, raised 
By quick instinctive motion, up I sprung, 
As thitherward endeavouring, and upright 
Stood on my feet: about me round I saw 
Hill, dale, and shady woods, and sunny plains, 
And liquid lapse of murmuring streams; by these, 
Creatures that lived and moved, and walked, or flew; 
Birds on the branches warbling; all things smiled; 
With fragrance and with joy my heart o'erflowed. 
Myself I then perused, and limb by limb 
Surveyed, and sometimes went, and sometimes ran 
With supple joints, as lively vigour led: 
But who I was, or where, or from what cause, 
Knew not; to speak I tried, and forthwith spake; 
My tongue obeyed, and readily could name 
Whate'er I saw.  Thou Sun, said I, fair light, 
And thou enlightened Earth, so fresh and gay, 
Ye Hills, and Dales, ye Rivers, Woods, and Plains, 
And ye that live and move, fair Creatures, tell, 
Tell, if ye saw, how I came thus, how here?-- 
Not of myself;--by some great Maker then, 
In goodness and in power pre-eminent: 
Tell me, how may I know him, how adore, 
From whom I have that thus I move and live, 
And feel that I am happier than I know.-- 
While thus I called, and strayed I knew not whither, 
From where I first drew air, and first beheld 
This happy light; when, answer none returned, 
On a green shady bank, profuse of flowers, 
Pensive I sat me down:  There gentle sleep 
First found me, and with soft oppression seised 
My droused sense, untroubled, though I thought 
I then was passing to my former state 
Insensible, and forthwith to dissolve: 
When suddenly stood at my head a dream, 
Whose inward apparition gently moved 
My fancy to believe I yet had being, 
And lived:  One came, methought, of shape divine, 
And said, 'Thy mansion wants thee, Adam; rise, 
'First Man, of men innumerable ordained 
'First Father! called by thee, I come thy guide 
'To the garden of bliss, thy seat prepared.' 
So saying, by the hand he took me raised, 
And over fields and waters, as in air 
Smooth-sliding without step, last led me up 
A woody mountain; whose high top was plain, 
A circuit wide, enclosed, with goodliest trees 
Planted, with walks, and bowers; that what I saw 
Of Earth before scarce pleasant seemed.  Each tree, 
Loaden with fairest fruit that hung to the eye 
Tempting, stirred in me sudden appetite 
To pluck and eat; whereat I waked, and found 
Before mine eyes all real, as the dream 
Had lively shadowed:  Here had new begun 
My wandering, had not he, who was my guide 
Up hither, from among the trees appeared, 
Presence Divine.  Rejoicing, but with awe, 
In adoration at his feet I fell 
Submiss:  He reared me, and 'Whom thou soughtest I am,' 
Said mildly, 'Author of all this thou seest 
'Above, or round about thee, or beneath. 
'This Paradise I give thee, count it thine 
'To till and keep, and of the fruit to eat: 
'Of every tree that in the garden grows 
'Eat freely with glad heart; fear here no dearth: 
'But of the tree whose operation brings 
'Knowledge of good and ill, which I have set 
'The pledge of thy obedience and thy faith, 
'Amid the garden by the tree of life, 
'Remember what I warn thee, shun to taste, 
'And shun the bitter consequence: for know, 
'The day thou eatest thereof, my sole command 
'Transgressed, inevitably thou shalt die, 
'From that day mortal; and this happy state 
'Shalt lose, expelled from hence into a world 
'Of woe and sorrow.'  Sternly he pronounced 
The rigid interdiction, which resounds 
Yet dreadful in mine ear, though in my choice 
Not to incur; but soon his clear aspect 
Returned, and gracious purpose thus renewed. 
'Not only these fair bounds, but all the Earth 
'To thee and to thy race I give; as lords 
'Possess it, and all things that therein live, 
'Or live in sea, or air; beast, fish, and fowl. 
'In sign whereof, each bird and beast behold 
'After their kinds; I bring them to receive 
'From thee their names, and pay thee fealty 
'With low subjection; understand the same 
'Of fish within their watery residence, 
'Not hither summoned, since they cannot change 
'Their element, to draw the thinner air.' 
As thus he spake, each bird and beast behold 
Approaching two and two; these cowering low 
With blandishment; each bird stooped on his wing. 
I named them, as they passed, and understood 
Their nature, with such knowledge God endued 
My sudden apprehension:  But in these 
I found not what methought I wanted still; 
And to the heavenly Vision thus presumed. 
O, by what name, for thou above all these, 
Above mankind, or aught than mankind higher, 
Surpassest far my naming; how may I 
Adore thee, Author of this universe, 
And all this good to man? for whose well being 
So amply, and with hands so liberal, 
Thou hast provided all things:  But with me 
I see not who partakes.  In solitude 
What happiness, who can enjoy alone, 
Or, all enjoying, what contentment find? 
Thus I presumptuous; and the Vision bright, 
As with a smile more brightened, thus replied. 
What callest thou solitude?  Is not the Earth 
With various living creatures, and the air 
Replenished, and all these at thy command 
To come and play before thee?  Knowest thou not 
Their language and their ways?  They also know, 
And reason not contemptibly:  With these 
Find pastime, and bear rule; thy realm is large. 
So spake the Universal Lord, and seemed 
So ordering:  I, with leave of speech implored, 
And humble deprecation, thus replied. 
Let not my words offend thee, Heavenly Power; 
My Maker, be propitious while I speak. 
Hast thou not made me here thy substitute, 
And these inferiour far beneath me set? 
Among unequals what society 
Can sort, what harmony, or true delight? 
Which must be mutual, in proportion due 
Given and received; but, in disparity 
The one intense, the other still remiss, 
Cannot well suit with either, but soon prove 
Tedious alike:  Of fellowship I speak 
Such as I seek, fit to participate 
All rational delight: wherein the brute 
Cannot be human consort:  They rejoice 
Each with their kind, lion with lioness; 
So fitly them in pairs thou hast combined: 
Much less can bird with beast, or fish with fowl 
So well converse, nor with the ox the ape; 
Worse then can man with beast, and least of all. 
Whereto the Almighty answered, not displeased. 
A nice and subtle happiness, I see, 
Thou to thyself proposest, in the choice 
Of thy associates, Adam! and wilt taste 
No pleasure, though in pleasure, solitary. 
What thinkest thou then of me, and this my state? 
Seem I to thee sufficiently possessed 
Of happiness, or not? who am alone 
From all eternity; for none I know 
Second to me or like, equal much less. 
How have I then with whom to hold converse, 
Save with the creatures which I made, and those 
To me inferiour, infinite descents 
Beneath what other creatures are to thee? 
He ceased; I lowly answered.  To attain 
The highth and depth of thy eternal ways 
All human thoughts come short, Supreme of things! 
Thou in thyself art perfect, and in thee 
Is no deficience found:  Not so is Man, 
But in degree; the cause of his desire 
By conversation with his like to help 
Or solace his defects.  No need that thou 
Shouldst propagate, already Infinite; 
And through all numbers absolute, though One: 
But Man by number is to manifest 
His single imperfection, and beget 
Like of his like, his image multiplied, 
In unity defective; which requires 
Collateral love, and dearest amity. 
Thou in thy secresy although alone, 
Best with thyself accompanied, seekest not 
Social communication; yet, so pleased, 
Canst raise thy creature to what highth thou wilt 
Of union or communion, deified: 
I, by conversing, cannot these erect 
From prone; nor in their ways complacence find. 
Thus I emboldened spake, and freedom used 
Permissive, and acceptance found; which gained 
This answer from the gracious Voice Divine. 
Thus far to try thee, Adam, I was pleased; 
And find thee knowing, not of beasts alone, 
Which thou hast rightly named, but of thyself; 
Expressing well the spirit within thee free, 
My image, not imparted to the brute; 
Whose fellowship therefore unmeet for thee 
Good reason was thou freely shouldst dislike; 
And be so minded still:  I, ere thou spakest, 
Knew it not good for Man to be alone; 
And no such company as then thou sawest 
Intended thee; for trial only brought, 
To see how thou couldest judge of fit and meet: 
What next I bring shall please thee, be assured, 
Thy likeness, thy fit help, thy other self, 
Thy wish exactly to thy heart's desire. 
He ended, or I heard no more; for now 
My earthly by his heavenly overpowered, 
Which it had long stood under, strained to the highth 
In that celestial colloquy sublime, 
As with an object that excels the sense 
Dazzled and spent, sunk down; and sought repair 
Of sleep, which instantly fell on me, called 
By Nature as in aid, and closed mine eyes. 
Mine eyes he closed, but open left the cell 
Of fancy, my internal sight; by which, 
Abstract as in a trance, methought I saw, 
Though sleeping, where I lay, and saw the shape 
Still glorious before whom awake I stood: 
Who stooping opened my left side, and took 
From thence a rib, with cordial spirits warm, 
And life-blood streaming fresh; wide was the wound, 
But suddenly with flesh filled up and healed: 
The rib he formed and fashioned with his hands; 
Under his forming hands a creature grew, 
Man-like, but different sex; so lovely fair, 
That what seemed fair in all the world, seemed now 
Mean, or in her summed up, in her contained 
And in her looks; which from that time infused 
Sweetness into my heart, unfelt before, 
And into all things from her air inspired 
The spirit of love and amorous delight. 
She disappeared, and left me dark; I waked 
To find her, or for ever to deplore 
Her loss, and other pleasures all abjure: 
When out of hope, behold her, not far off, 
Such as I saw her in my dream, adorned 
With what all Earth or Heaven could bestow 
To make her amiable:  On she came, 
Led by her heavenly Maker, though unseen, 
And guided by his voice; nor uninformed 
Of nuptial sanctity, and marriage rites: 
Grace was in all her steps, Heaven in her eye, 
In every gesture dignity and love. 
I, overjoyed, could not forbear aloud. 
This turn hath made amends; thou hast fulfilled 
Thy words, Creator bounteous and benign, 
Giver of all things fair! but fairest this 
Of all thy gifts! nor enviest.  I now see 
Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, myself 
Before me:  Woman is her name;of Man 
Extracted: for this cause he shall forego 
Father and mother, and to his wife adhere; 
And they shall be one flesh, one heart, one soul. 
She heard me thus; and though divinely brought, 
Yet innocence, and virgin modesty, 
Her virtue, and the conscience of her worth, 
That would be wooed, and not unsought be won, 
Not obvious, not obtrusive, but, retired, 
The more desirable; or, to say all, 
Nature herself, though pure of sinful thought, 
Wrought in her so, that, seeing me, she turned: 
I followed her; she what was honour knew, 
And with obsequious majesty approved 
My pleaded reason.  To the nuptial bower 
I led her blushing like the morn: All Heaven, 
And happy constellations, on that hour 
Shed their selectest influence; the Earth 
Gave sign of gratulation, and each hill; 
Joyous the birds; fresh gales and gentle airs 
Whispered it to the woods, and from their wings 
Flung rose, flung odours from the spicy shrub, 
Disporting, till the amorous bird of night 
Sung spousal, and bid haste the evening-star 
On his hill top, to light the bridal lamp. 
Thus have I told thee all my state, and brought 
My story to the sum of earthly bliss, 
Which I enjoy; and must confess to find 
In all things else delight indeed, but such 
As, used or not, works in the mind no change, 
Nor vehement desire; these delicacies 
I mean of taste, sight, smell, herbs, fruits, and flowers, 
Walks, and the melody of birds: but here 
Far otherwise, transported I behold, 
Transported touch; here passion first I felt, 
Commotion strange! in all enjoyments else 
Superiour and unmoved; here only weak 
Against the charm of Beauty's powerful glance. 
Or Nature failed in me, and left some part 
Not proof enough such object to sustain; 
Or, from my side subducting, took perhaps 
More than enough; at least on her bestowed 
Too much of ornament, in outward show 
Elaborate, of inward less exact. 
For well I understand in the prime end 
Of Nature her the inferiour, in the mind 
And inward faculties, which most excel; 
In outward also her resembling less 
His image who made both, and less expressing 
The character of that dominion given 
O'er other creatures:  Yet when I approach 
Her loveliness, so absolute she seems 
And in herself complete, so well to know 
Her own, that what she wills to do or say, 
Seems wisest, virtuousest, discreetest, best: 
All higher knowledge in her presence falls 
Degraded;  Wisdom in discourse with her 
Loses discountenanced, and like Folly shows; 
Authority and Reason on her wait, 
As one intended first, not after made 
Occasionally; and, to consummate all, 
Greatness of mind and Nobleness their seat 
Build in her loveliest, and create an awe 
About her, as a guard angelick placed. 
To whom the Angel with contracted brow. 
Accuse not Nature, she hath done her part; 
Do thou but thine; and be not diffident 
Of Wisdom; she deserts thee not, if thou 
Dismiss not her, when most thou needest her nigh, 
By attributing overmuch to things 
Less excellent, as thou thyself perceivest. 
For, what admirest thou, what transports thee so, 
An outside? fair, no doubt, and worthy well 
Thy cherishing, thy honouring, and thy love; 
Not thy subjection:  Weigh with her thyself; 
Then value:  Oft-times nothing profits more 
Than self-esteem, grounded on just and right 
Well managed; of that skill the more thou knowest, 
The more she will acknowledge thee her head, 
And to realities yield all her shows: 
Made so adorn for thy delight the more, 
So awful, that with honour thou mayest love 
Thy mate, who sees when thou art seen least wise. 
But if the sense of touch, whereby mankind 
Is propagated, seem such dear delight 
Beyond all other; think the same vouchsafed 
To cattle and each beast; which would not be 
To them made common and divulged, if aught 
Therein enjoyed were worthy to subdue 
The soul of man, or passion in him move. 
What higher in her society thou findest 
Attractive, human, rational, love still; 
In loving thou dost well, in passion not, 
Wherein true love consists not:  Love refines 
The thoughts, and heart enlarges; hath his seat 
In reason, and is judicious; is the scale 
By which to heavenly love thou mayest ascend, 
Not sunk in carnal pleasure; for which cause, 
Among the beasts no mate for thee was found. 
To whom thus, half abashed, Adam replied. 
Neither her outside formed so fair, nor aught 
In procreation common to all kinds, 
(Though higher of the genial bed by far, 
And with mysterious reverence I deem,) 
So much delights me, as those graceful acts, 
Those thousand decencies, that daily flow 
From all her words and actions mixed with love 
And sweet compliance, which declare unfeigned 
Union of mind, or in us both one soul; 
Harmony to behold in wedded pair 
More grateful than harmonious sound to the ear. 
Yet these subject not; I to thee disclose 
What inward thence I feel, not therefore foiled, 
Who meet with various objects, from the sense 
Variously representing; yet, still free, 
Approve the best, and follow what I approve. 
To love, thou blamest me not; for Love, thou sayest, 
Leads up to Heaven, is both the way and guide; 
Bear with me then, if lawful what I ask: 
Love not the heavenly Spirits, and how their love 
Express they? by looks only? or do they mix 
Irradiance, virtual or immediate touch? 
To whom the Angel, with a smile that glowed 
Celestial rosy red, Love's proper hue, 
Answered.  Let it suffice thee that thou knowest 
Us happy, and without love no happiness. 
Whatever pure thou in the body enjoyest, 
(And pure thou wert created) we enjoy 
In eminence; and obstacle find none 
Of membrane, joint, or limb, exclusive bars; 
Easier than air with air, if Spirits embrace, 
Total they mix, union of pure with pure 
Desiring, nor restrained conveyance need, 
As flesh to mix with flesh, or soul with soul. 
But I can now no more; the parting sun 
Beyond the Earth's green Cape and verdant Isles 
Hesperian sets, my signal to depart. 
Be strong, live happy, and love!  But, first of all, 
Him, whom to love is to obey, and keep 
His great command; take heed lest passion sway 
Thy judgement to do aught, which else free will 
Would not admit: thine, and of all thy sons, 
The weal or woe in thee is placed; beware! 
I in thy persevering shall rejoice, 
And all the Blest:  Stand fast;to stand or fall 
Free in thine own arbitrement it lies. 
Perfect within, no outward aid require; 
And all temptation to transgress repel. 
So saying, he arose; whom Adam thus 
Followed with benediction.  Since to part, 
Go, heavenly guest, ethereal Messenger, 
Sent from whose sovran goodness I adore! 
Gentle to me and affable hath been 
Thy condescension, and shall be honoured ever 
With grateful memory:  Thou to mankind 
Be good and friendly still, and oft return! 
So parted they; the Angel up to Heaven 
From the thick shade, and Adam to his bower. 
Book IX                                                          

No more of talk where God or Angel guest 
With Man, as with his friend, familiar us'd, 
To sit indulgent, and with him partake 
Rural repast; permitting him the while 
Venial discourse unblam'd. I now must change 
Those notes to tragick; 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 judgement given, 
That brought into this world a world of woe, 
Sin and her shadow Death, and Misery 
Death's harbinger: Sad talk!yet argument 
Not less but more heroick than the wrath 
Of stern Achilles on his foe pursued 
Thrice fugitive about Troy wall; or rage 
Of Turnus for Lavinia disespous'd; 
Or Neptune's ire, or Juno's, that so long 
Perplexed the Greek, and Cytherea's son:                         

If answerable style I can obtain 
Of my celestial patroness, who deigns 
Her nightly visitation unimplor'd, 
And dictates to me slumbering; or inspires 
Easy my unpremeditated verse: 
Since first this subject for heroick song 
Pleas'd me long choosing, and beginning late; 
Not sedulous by nature to indite 
Wars, hitherto the only argument 
Heroick deem'd chief mastery to dissect 
With long and tedious havock fabled knights 
In battles feign'd; the better fortitude 
Of patience and heroick 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 
Serv'd up in hall with sewers and seneshals; 
The skill of artifice or office mean, 
Not that which justly gives heroick 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 Hesperus, 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 improv'd 
In meditated fraud and malice, bent 
On Man's destruction, maugre what might hap 
Of heavier on himself, fearless returned 
From compassing the earth; cautious of day, 
Since Uriel, regent of the sun, descried 
His entrance, and foreworned 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 crossed the car of night 
From pole to pole, traversing each colure; 
On the eighth returned; and, on the coast averse 
From entrance or Cherubick 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 searched, and land, 
From Eden over Pontus and the pool 
Maeotis, up beyond the river Ob; 
Downward as far antarctick; and in length, 
West from Orontes to the ocean barred 
At Darien ; thence to the land where flows 
Ganges and Indus: Thus the orb he roamed 
With narrow search; and with inspection deep 
Considered 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 revolved, 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 
Proceeding; which, in other beasts observed, 
Doubt might beget of diabolick power 
Active within, beyond the sense of brute. 
Thus he resolved, but first from inward grief 
His bursting passion into plaints thus poured. 
More justly, seat worthier of Gods, as built 
With second thoughts, reforming what was old! 
O Earth, how like to Heaven, if not preferred 
For what God, after better, worse would build? 
Terrestrial 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 beams 
Of sacred influence!  As God in Heaven 
Is center, 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 
Of creatures animate with gradual life 
Of growth, sense, reason, all summed up in Man. 
With what delight could I have walked thee round, 
If I could joy in aught, sweet interchange 
Of hill, and valley, rivers, woods, and plains, 
Now land, now sea and shores with forest crowned, 
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 destroyed, 
Or won to what may work his utter loss, 
For whom all this was made, all this will soon 
Follow, as to him linked in weal or woe; 
In woe then; that destruction wide may range: 
To me shall be the glory sole among 
The infernal Powers, in one day to have marred 
What he, Almighty styled, six nights and days 
Continued making; and who knows how long 
Before had been contriving? though perhaps 
Not longer than since I, in one night, freed 
From servitude inglorious well nigh half 
The angelick name, and thinner left the throng 
Of his adorers: He, to be avenged, 
And to repair his numbers thus impaired, 
Whether such virtue spent of old now failed 
More Angels to create, if they at least 
Are his created, or, to spite us more, 
Determined to advance into our room 
A creature formed of earth, and him endow, 
Exalted from so base original, 
With heavenly spoils, our spoils: What he decreed, 
He effected; Man he made, and for him built 
Magnificent this world, and earth his seat, 
Him lord pronounced; and, O indignity! 
Subjected to his service angel-wings, 
And flaming ministers to watch and tend 
Their earthly charge: Of these the vigilance 
I dread; and, to elude, thus wrapt in mist 
Of midnight vapour glide obscure, and pry 
In every bush and brake, where hap may find 
The serpent sleeping; in whose mazy folds 
To hide me, and the dark intent I bring. 
O foul descent! that I, who erst contended 
With Gods to sit the highest, am now constrained 
Into a beast; and, mixed with bestial slime, 
This essence to incarnate and imbrute, 
That to the highth of Deity aspired! 
But what will not ambition and revenge 
Descend to?  Who aspires, must down as low 
As high he soared; obnoxious, first or last, 
To basest things.  Revenge, at first though sweet, 
Bitter ere long, back on itself recoils: 
Let it; I reck not, so it light well aimed, 
Since higher I fall short, on him who next 
Provokes my envy, this new favourite 
Of Heaven, this man of clay, son of despite, 
Whom, us the more to spite, his Maker raised 
From dust: Spite then with spite is best repaid. 
So saying, through each thicket dank or dry, 
Like a black mist low-creeping, he held on 
His midnight-search, where soonest he might find 
The serpent; him fast-sleeping soon he found 
In labyrinth of many a round self-rolled, 
His head the midst, well stored with subtile wiles: 
Not yet in horrid shade or dismal den, 
Nor nocent yet; but, on the grassy herb, 
Fearless unfeared he slept: in at his mouth 
The Devil entered; and his brutal sense, 
In heart or head, possessing, soon inspired 
With act intelligential; but his sleep 
Disturbed not, waiting close the approach of morn. 
Now, when as sacred light began to dawn 
In Eden on the humid flowers, that breathed 
Their morning incense, when all things, that breathe, 
From the Earth's great altar send up silent praise 
To the Creator, and his nostrils fill 
With grateful smell, forth came the human pair, 
And joined their vocal worship to the quire 
Of creatures wanting voice; that done, partake 
The season prime for sweetest scents and airs: 
Then commune, how that day they best may ply 
Their growing work: for much their work out-grew 
The hands' dispatch of two gardening so wide, 
And Eve first to her husband thus began. 
Adam, well may we labour still to dress 
This garden, still to tend plant, herb, and flower, 
Our pleasant task enjoined; but, till more hands 
Aid us, the work under our labour grows, 
Luxurious by restraint; what we by day 
Lop overgrown, or prune, or prop, or bind, 
One night or two with wanton growth derides 
Tending to wild.  Thou therefore now advise, 
Or bear what to my mind first thoughts present: 
Let us divide our labours; thou, where choice 
Leads thee, or where most needs, whether to wind 
The woodbine round this arbour, or direct 
The clasping ivy where to climb; while I, 
In yonder spring of roses intermixed 
With myrtle, find what to redress till noon: 
For, while so near each other thus all day 
Our task we choose, what wonder if so near 
Looks intervene and smiles, or object new 
Casual discourse draw on; which intermits 
Our day's work, brought to little, though begun 
Early, and the hour of supper comes unearned? 
To whom mild answer Adam thus returned. 
Sole Eve, associate sole, to me beyond 
Compare above all living creatures dear! 
Well hast thou motioned, well thy thoughts employed, 
How we might best fulfil the work which here 
God hath assigned us; nor of me shalt pass 
Unpraised: for nothing lovelier can be found 
In woman, than to study houshold good, 
And good works in her husband to promote. 
Yet not so strictly hath our Lord imposed 
Labour, as to debar us when we need 
Refreshment, whether food, or talk between, 
Food of the mind, or this sweet intercourse 
Of looks and smiles; for smiles from reason flow, 
To brute denied, and are of love the food; 
Love, not the lowest end of human life. 
For not to irksome toil, but to delight, 
He made us, and delight to reason joined. 
These paths and bowers doubt not but our joint hands 
Will keep from wilderness with ease, as wide 
As we need walk, till younger hands ere long 
Assist us; But, if much converse perhaps 
Thee satiate, to short absence I could yield: 
For solitude sometimes is best society, 
And short retirement urges sweet return. 
But other doubt possesses me, lest harm 
Befall thee severed from me; for thou knowest 
What hath been warned us, what malicious foe 
Envying our happiness, and of his own 
Despairing, seeks to work us woe and shame 
By sly assault; and somewhere nigh at hand 
Watches, no doubt, with greedy hope to find 
His wish and best advantage, us asunder; 
Hopeless to circumvent us joined, where each 
To other speedy aid might lend at need: 
Whether his first design be to withdraw 
Our fealty from God, or to disturb 
Conjugal love, than which perhaps no bliss 
Enjoyed by us excites his envy more; 
Or this, or worse, leave not the faithful side 
That gave thee being, still shades thee, and protects. 
The wife, where danger or dishonour lurks, 
Safest and seemliest by her husband stays, 
Who guards her, or with her the worst endures. 
To whom the virgin majesty of Eve, 
As one who loves, and some unkindness meets, 
With sweet austere composure thus replied. 
Offspring of Heaven and Earth, and all Earth's Lord! 
That such an enemy we have, who seeks 
Our ruin, both by thee informed I learn, 
And from the parting Angel over-heard, 
As in a shady nook I stood behind, 
Just then returned at shut of evening flowers. 
But, that thou shouldst my firmness therefore doubt 
To God or thee, because we have a foe 
May tempt it, I expected not to hear. 
His violence thou fearest not, being such 
As we, not capable of death or pain, 
Can either not receive, or can repel. 
His fraud is then thy fear; which plain infers 
Thy equal fear, that my firm faith and love 
Can by his fraud be shaken or seduced; 
Thoughts, which how found they harbour in thy breast, 
Adam, mis-thought of her to thee so dear? 
To whom with healing words Adam replied. 
Daughter of God and Man, immortal Eve! 
For such thou art; from sin and blame entire: 
Not diffident of thee do I dissuade 
Thy absence from my sight, but to avoid 
The attempt itself, intended by our foe. 
For he who tempts, though in vain, at least asperses 
The tempted with dishonour foul; supposed 
Not incorruptible of faith, not proof 
Against temptation: Thou thyself with scorn 
And anger wouldst resent the offered wrong, 
Though ineffectual found: misdeem not then, 
If such affront I labour to avert 
From thee alone, which on us both at once 
The enemy, though bold, will hardly dare; 
Or daring, first on me the assault shall light. 
Nor thou his malice and false guile contemn; 
Subtle he needs must be, who could seduce 
Angels; nor think superfluous other's aid. 
I, from the influence of thy looks, receive 
Access in every virtue; in thy sight 
More wise, more watchful, stronger, if need were 
Of outward strength; while shame, thou looking on, 
Shame to be overcome or over-reached, 
Would utmost vigour raise, and raised unite. 
Why shouldst not thou like sense within thee feel 
When I am present, and thy trial choose 
With me, best witness of thy virtue tried? 
So spake domestick Adam in his care 
And matrimonial love; but Eve, who thought 
Less attributed to her faith sincere, 
Thus her reply with accent sweet renewed. 
If this be our condition, thus to dwell 
In narrow circuit straitened by a foe, 
Subtle or violent, we not endued 
Single with like defence, wherever met; 
How are we happy, still in fear of harm? 
But harm precedes not sin: only our foe, 
Tempting, affronts us with his foul esteem 
Of our integrity: his foul esteem 
Sticks no dishonour on our front, but turns 
Foul on himself; then wherefore shunned or feared 
By us? who rather double honour gain 
From his surmise proved false; find peace within, 
Favour from Heaven, our witness, from the event. 
And what is faith, love, virtue, unassayed 
Alone, without exteriour help sustained? 
Let us not then suspect our happy state 
Left so imperfect by the Maker wise, 
As not secure to single or combined. 
Frail is our happiness, if this be so, 
And Eden were no Eden, thus exposed. 
To whom thus Adam fervently replied. 
O Woman, best are all things as the will 
Of God ordained them: His creating hand 
Nothing imperfect or deficient left 
Of all that he created, much less Man, 
Or aught that might his happy state secure, 
Secure from outward force; within himself 
The danger lies, yet lies within his power: 
Against his will he can receive no harm. 
But God left free the will; for what obeys 
Reason, is free; and Reason he made right, 
But bid her well be ware, and still erect; 
Lest, by some fair-appearing good surprised, 
She dictate false; and mis-inform the will 
To do what God expressly hath forbid. 
Not then mistrust, but tender love, enjoins, 
That I should mind thee oft; and mind thou me. 
Firm we subsist, yet possible to swerve; 
Since Reason not impossibly may meet 
Some specious object by the foe suborned, 
And fall into deception unaware, 
Not keeping strictest watch, as she was warned. 
Seek not temptation then, which to avoid 
Were better, and most likely if from me 
Thou sever not: Trial will come unsought. 
Wouldst thou approve thy constancy, approve 
First thy obedience; the other who can know, 
Not seeing thee attempted, who attest? 
But, if thou think, trial unsought may find 
Us both securer than thus warned thou seemest, 
Go; for thy stay, not free, absents thee more; 
Go in thy native innocence, rely 
On what thou hast of virtue; summon all! 
For God towards thee hath done his part, do thine. 
So spake the patriarch of mankind; but Eve 
Persisted; yet submiss, though last, replied. 
With thy permission then, and thus forewarned 
Chiefly by what thy own last reasoning words 
Touched only; that our trial, when least sought, 
May find us both perhaps far less prepared, 
The willinger I go, nor much expect 
A foe so proud will first the weaker seek; 
So bent, the more shall shame him his repulse. 
Thus saying, from her husband's hand her hand 
Soft she withdrew; and, like a Wood-Nymph light, 
Oread or Dryad, or of Delia's train, 
Betook her to the groves; but Delia's self 
In gait surpassed, and Goddess-like deport, 
Though not as she with bow and quiver armed, 
But with such gardening tools as Art yet rude, 
Guiltless of fire, had formed, or Angels brought. 
To Pales, or Pomona, thus adorned, 
Likest she seemed, Pomona when she fled 
Vertumnus, or to Ceres in her prime, 
Yet virgin of Proserpina from Jove. 
Her long with ardent look his eye pursued 
Delighted, but desiring more her stay. 
Oft he to her his charge of quick return 
Repeated; she to him as oft engaged 
To be returned by noon amid the bower, 
And all things in best order to invite 
Noontide repast, or afternoon's repose. 
O much deceived, much failing, hapless Eve, 
Of thy presumed return! event perverse! 
Thou never from that hour in Paradise 
Foundst either sweet repast, or sound repose; 
Such ambush, hid among sweet flowers and shades, 
Waited with hellish rancour imminent 
To intercept thy way, or send thee back 
Despoiled of innocence, of faith, of bliss! 
For now, and since first break of dawn, the Fiend, 
Mere serpent in appearance, forth was come; 
And on his quest, where likeliest he might find 
The only two of mankind, but in them 
The whole included race, his purposed prey. 
In bower and field he sought, where any tuft 
Of grove or garden-plot more pleasant lay, 
Their tendance, or plantation for delight; 
By fountain or by shady rivulet 
He sought them both, but wished his hap might find 
Eve separate; he wished, but not with hope 
Of what so seldom chanced; when to his wish, 
Beyond his hope, Eve separate he spies, 
Veiled in a cloud of fragrance, where she stood, 
Half spied, so thick the roses blushing round 
About her glowed, oft stooping to support 
Each flower of slender stalk, whose head, though gay 
Carnation, purple, azure, or specked with gold, 
Hung drooping unsustained; them she upstays 
Gently with myrtle band, mindless the while 
Herself, though fairest unsupported flower, 
From her best prop so far, and storm so nigh. 
Nearer he drew, and many a walk traversed 
Of stateliest covert, cedar, pine, or palm; 
Then voluble and bold, now hid, now seen, 
Among thick-woven arborets, and flowers 
Imbordered on each bank, the hand of Eve: 
Spot more delicious than those gardens feigned 
Or of revived Adonis, or renowned 
Alcinous, host of old Laertes' son; 
Or that, not mystick, where the sapient king 
Held dalliance with his fair Egyptian spouse. 
Much he the place admired, the person more. 
As one who long in populous city pent, 
Where houses thick and sewers annoy the air, 
Forth issuing on a summer's morn, to breathe 
Among the pleasant villages and farms 
Adjoined, from each thing met conceives delight; 
The smell of grain, or tedded grass, or kine, 
Or dairy, each rural sight, each rural sound; 
If chance, with nymph-like step, fair virgin pass, 
What pleasing seemed, for her now pleases more; 
She most, and in her look sums all delight: 
Such pleasure took the Serpent to behold 
This flowery plat, the sweet recess of Eve 
Thus early, thus alone: Her heavenly form 
Angelick, but more soft, and feminine, 
Her graceful innocence, her every air 
Of gesture, or least action, overawed 
His malice, and with rapine sweet bereaved 
His fierceness of the fierce intent it brought: 
That space the Evil-one abstracted stood 
From his own evil, and for the time remained 
Stupidly good; of enmity disarmed, 
Of guile, of hate, of envy, of revenge: 
But the hot Hell that always in him burns, 
Though in mid Heaven, soon ended his delight, 
And tortures him now more, the more he sees 
Of pleasure, not for him ordained: then soon 
Fierce hate he recollects, and all his thoughts 
Of mischief, gratulating, thus excites. 
Thoughts, whither have ye led me! with what sweet 
Compulsion thus transported, to forget 
What hither brought us! hate, not love;nor hope 
Of Paradise for Hell, hope here to taste 
Of pleasure; but all pleasure to destroy, 
Save what is in destroying; other joy 
To me is lost.  Then, let me not let pass 
Occasion which now smiles; behold alone 
The woman, opportune to all attempts, 
Her husband, for I view far round, not nigh, 
Whose higher intellectual more I shun, 
And strength, of courage haughty, and of limb 
Heroick built, though of terrestrial mould; 
Foe not informidable! exempt from wound, 
I not; so much hath Hell debased, and pain 
Enfeebled me, to what I was in Heaven. 
She fair, divinely fair, fit love for Gods! 
Not terrible, though terrour be in love 
And beauty, not approached by stronger hate, 
Hate stronger, under show of love well feigned; 
The way which to her ruin now I tend. 
So spake the enemy of mankind, enclosed 
In serpent, inmate bad! and toward Eve 
Addressed his way: not with indented wave, 
Prone on the ground, as since; but on his rear, 
Circular base of rising folds, that towered 
Fold above fold, a surging maze! his head 
Crested aloft, and carbuncle his eyes; 
With burnished neck of verdant gold, erect 
Amidst his circling spires, that on the grass 
Floated redundant: pleasing was his shape 
And lovely; never since of serpent-kind 
Lovelier, not those that in Illyria changed, 
Hermione and Cadmus, or the god 
In Epidaurus; nor to which transformed 
Ammonian Jove, or Capitoline, was seen; 
He with Olympias; this with her who bore 
Scipio, the highth of Rome.  With tract oblique 
At first, as one who sought access, but feared 
To interrupt, side-long he works his way. 
As when a ship, by skilful steersmen wrought 
Nigh river's mouth or foreland, where the wind 
Veers oft, as oft so steers, and shifts her sail: 
So varied he, and of his tortuous train 
Curled many a wanton wreath in sight of Eve, 
To lure her eye; she, busied, heard the sound 
Of rusling leaves, but minded not, as used 
To such disport before her through the field, 
From every beast; more duteous at her call, 
Than at Circean call the herd disguised. 
He, bolder now, uncalled before her stood, 
But as in gaze admiring: oft he bowed 
His turret crest, and sleek enamelled neck, 
Fawning; and licked the ground whereon she trod. 
His gentle dumb expression turned at length 
The eye of Eve to mark his play; he, glad 
Of her attention gained, with serpent-tongue 
Organick, or impulse of vocal air, 
His fraudulent temptation thus began. 
Wonder not, sovran Mistress, if perhaps 
Thou canst, who art sole wonder! much less arm 
Thy looks, the Heaven of mildness, with disdain, 
Displeased that I approach thee thus, and gaze 
Insatiate; I thus single;nor have feared 
Thy awful brow, more awful thus retired. 
Fairest resemblance of thy Maker fair, 
Thee all things living gaze on, all things thine 
By gift, and thy celestial beauty adore 
With ravishment beheld! there best beheld, 
Where universally admired; but here 
In this enclosure wild, these beasts among, 
Beholders rude, and shallow to discern 
Half what in thee is fair, one man except, 
Who sees thee? and what is one? who should be seen 
A Goddess among Gods, adored and served 
By Angels numberless, thy daily train. 
So glozed the Tempter, and his proem tuned: 
Into the heart of Eve his words made way, 
Though at the voice much marvelling; at length, 
Not unamazed, she thus in answer spake. 
What may this mean? language of man pronounced 
By tongue of brute, and human sense expressed? 
The first, at least, of these I thought denied 
To beasts; whom God, on their creation-day, 
Created mute to all articulate sound: 
The latter I demur; for in their looks 
Much reason, and in their actions, oft appears. 
Thee, Serpent, subtlest beast of all the field 
I knew, but not with human voice endued; 
Redouble then this miracle, and say, 
How camest thou speakable of mute, and how 
To me so friendly grown above the rest 
Of brutal kind, that daily are in sight? 
Say, for such wonder claims attention due. 
To whom the guileful Tempter thus replied. 
Empress of this fair world, resplendent Eve! 
Easy to me it is to tell thee all 
What thou commandest; and right thou shouldst be obeyed: 
I was at first as other beasts that graze 
The trodden herb, of abject thoughts and low, 
As was my food; nor aught but food discerned 
Or sex, and apprehended nothing high: 
Till, on a day roving the field, I chanced 
A goodly tree far distant to behold 
Loaden with fruit of fairest colours mixed, 
Ruddy and gold: I nearer drew to gaze; 
When from the boughs a savoury odour blown, 
Grateful to appetite, more pleased my sense 
Than smell of sweetest fennel, or the teats 
Of ewe or goat dropping with milk at even, 
Unsucked of lamb or kid, that tend their play. 
To satisfy the sharp desire I had 
Of tasting those fair apples, I resolved 
Not to defer; hunger and thirst at once, 
Powerful persuaders, quickened at the scent 
Of that alluring fruit, urged me so keen. 
About the mossy trunk I wound me soon; 
For, high from ground, the branches would require 
Thy utmost reach or Adam's: Round the tree 
All other beasts that saw, with like desire 
Longing and envying stood, but could not reach. 
Amid the tree now got, where plenty hung 
Tempting so nigh, to pluck and eat my fill 
I spared not; for, such pleasure till that hour, 
At feed or fountain, never had I found. 
Sated at length, ere long I might perceive 
Strange alteration in me, to degree 
Of reason in my inward powers; and speech 
Wanted not long; though to this shape retained. 
Thenceforth to speculations high or deep 
I turned my thoughts, and with capacious mind 
Considered all things visible in Heaven, 
Or Earth, or Middle; all things fair and good: 
But all that fair and good in thy divine 
Semblance, and in thy beauty's heavenly ray, 
United I beheld; no fair to thine 
Equivalent or second! which compelled 
Me thus, though importune perhaps, to come 
And gaze, and worship thee of right declared 
Sovran of creatures, universal Dame! 
So talked the spirited sly Snake; and Eve, 
Yet more amazed, unwary thus replied. 
Serpent, thy overpraising leaves in doubt 
The virtue of that fruit, in thee first proved: 
But say, where grows the tree? from hence how far? 
For many are the trees of God that grow 
In Paradise, and various, yet unknown 
To us; in such abundance lies our choice, 
As leaves a greater store of fruit untouched, 
Still hanging incorruptible, till men 
Grow up to their provision, and more hands 
Help to disburden Nature of her birth. 
To whom the wily Adder, blithe and glad. 
Empress, the way is ready, and not long; 
Beyond a row of myrtles, on a flat, 
Fast by a fountain, one small thicket past 
Of blowing myrrh and balm: if thou accept 
My conduct, I can bring thee thither soon 
Lead then, said Eve.  He, leading, swiftly rolled 
In tangles, and made intricate seem straight, 
To mischief swift.  Hope elevates, and joy 
Brightens his crest; as when a wandering fire, 
Compact of unctuous vapour, which the night 
Condenses, and the cold environs round, 
Kindled through agitation to a flame, 
Which oft, they say, some evil Spirit attends, 
Hovering and blazing with delusive light, 
Misleads the amazed night-wanderer from his way 
To bogs and mires, and oft through pond or pool; 
There swallowed up and lost, from succour far. 
So glistered the dire Snake, and into fraud 
Led Eve, our credulous mother, to the tree 
Of prohibition, root of all our woe; 
Which when she saw, thus to her guide she spake. 
Serpent, we might have spared our coming hither, 
Fruitless to me, though fruit be here to excess, 
The credit of whose virtue rest with thee; 
Wonderous indeed, if cause of such effects. 
But of this tree we may not taste nor touch; 
God so commanded, and left that command 
Sole daughter of his voice; the rest, we live 
Law to ourselves; our reason is our law. 
To whom the Tempter guilefully replied. 
Indeed! hath God then said that of the fruit 
Of all these garden-trees ye shall not eat, 
Yet Lords declared of all in earth or air$? 
To whom thus Eve, yet sinless.  Of the fruit 
Of each tree in the garden we may eat; 
But of the fruit of this fair tree amidst 
The garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat 
Thereof, nor shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 
She scarce had said, though brief, when now more bold 
The Tempter, but with show of zeal and love 
To Man, and indignation at his wrong, 
New part puts on; and, as to passion moved, 
Fluctuates disturbed, yet comely and in act 
Raised, as of some great matter to begin. 
As when of old some orator renowned, 
In Athens or free Rome, where eloquence 
Flourished, since mute! to some great cause addressed, 
Stood in himself collected; while each part, 
Motion, each act, won audience ere the tongue; 
Sometimes in highth began, as no delay 
Of preface brooking, through his zeal of right: 
So standing, moving, or to highth up grown, 
The Tempter, all impassioned, thus began. 
O sacred, wise, and wisdom-giving Plant, 
Mother of science! now I feel thy power 
Within me clear; not only to discern 
Things in their causes, but to trace the ways 
Of highest agents, deemed however wise. 
Queen of this universe! do not believe 
Those rigid threats of death: ye shall not die: 
How should you? by the fruit? it gives you life 
To knowledge; by the threatener? look on me, 
Me, who have touched and tasted; yet both live, 
And life more perfect have attained than Fate 
Meant me, by venturing higher than my lot. 
Shall that be shut to Man, which to the Beast 
Is open? or will God incense his ire 
For such a petty trespass? and not praise 
Rather your dauntless virtue, whom the pain 
Of death denounced, whatever thing death be, 
Deterred not from achieving what might lead 
To happier life, knowledge of good and evil; 
Of good, how just? of evil, if what is evil 
Be real, why not known, since easier shunned? 
God therefore cannot hurt ye, and be just; 
Not just, not God; not feared then, nor obeyed: 
Your fear itself of death removes the fear. 
Why then was this forbid?  Why, but to awe; 
Why, but to keep ye low and ignorant, 
His worshippers?  He knows that in the day 
Ye eat thereof, your eyes that seem so clear, 
Yet are but dim, shall perfectly be then 
Opened and cleared, and ye shall be as Gods, 
Knowing both good and evil, as they know. 
That ye shall be as Gods, since I as Man, 
Internal Man, is but proportion meet; 
I, of brute, human; ye, of human, Gods. 
So ye shall die perhaps, by putting off 
Human, to put on Gods; death to be wished, 
Though threatened, which no worse than this can bring. 
And what are Gods, that Man may not become 
As they, participating God-like food? 
The Gods are first, and that advantage use 
On our belief, that all from them proceeds: 
I question it; for this fair earth I see, 
Warmed by the sun, producing every kind; 
Them, nothing: if they all things, who enclosed 
Knowledge of good and evil in this tree, 
That whoso eats thereof, forthwith attains 
Wisdom without their leave? and wherein lies 
The offence, that Man should thus attain to know? 
What can your knowledge hurt him, or this tree 
Impart against his will, if all be his? 
Or is it envy? and can envy dwell 
In heavenly breasts?  These, these, and many more 
Causes import your need of this fair fruit. 
Goddess humane, reach then, and freely taste! 
He ended; and his words, replete with guile, 
Into her heart too easy entrance won: 
Fixed on the fruit she gazed, which to behold 
Might tempt alone; and in her ears the sound 
Yet rung of his persuasive words, impregned 
With reason, to her seeming, and with truth: 
Mean while the hour of noon drew on, and waked 
An eager appetite, raised by the smell 
So savoury of that fruit, which with desire, 
Inclinable now grown to touch or taste, 
Solicited her longing eye; yet first 
Pausing a while, thus to herself she mused. 
Great are thy virtues, doubtless, best of fruits, 
Though kept from man, and worthy to be admired; 
Whose taste, too long forborn, at first assay 
Gave elocution to the mute, and taught 
The tongue not made for speech to speak thy praise: 
Thy praise he also, who forbids thy use, 
Conceals not from us, naming thee the tree 
Of knowledge, knowledge both of good and evil; 
Forbids us then to taste! but his forbidding 
Commends thee more, while it infers the good 
By thee communicated, and our want: 
For good unknown sure is not had; or, had 
And yet unknown, is as not had at all. 
In plain then, what forbids he but to know, 
Forbids us good, forbids us to be wise? 
Such prohibitions bind not.  But, if death 
Bind us with after-bands, what profits then 
Our inward freedom?  In the day we eat 
Of this fair fruit, our doom is, we shall die! 
How dies the Serpent? he hath eaten and lives, 
And knows, and speaks, and reasons, and discerns, 
Irrational till then.  For us alone 
Was death invented? or to us denied 
This intellectual food, for beasts reserved? 
For beasts it seems: yet that one beast which first 
Hath tasted envies not, but brings with joy 
The good befallen him, author unsuspect, 
Friendly to man, far from deceit or guile. 
What fear I then? rather, what know to fear 
Under this ignorance of good and evil, 
Of God or death, of law or penalty? 
Here grows the cure of all, this fruit divine, 
Fair to the eye, inviting to the taste, 
Of virtue to make wise:  What hinders then 
To reach, and feed at once both body and mind? 
So saying, her rash hand in evil hour 
Forth reaching to the fruit, she plucked, she eat! 
Earth felt the wound; and Nature from her seat, 
Sighing through all her works, gave signs of woe, 
That all was lost.  Back to the thicket slunk 
The guilty Serpent; and well might;for Eve, 
Intent now wholly on her taste, nought else 
Regarded; such delight till then, as seemed, 
In fruit she never tasted, whether true 
Or fancied so, through expectation high 
Of knowledge; not was Godhead from her thought. 
Greedily she ingorged without restraint, 
And knew not eating death:  Satiate at length, 
And hightened as with wine, jocund and boon, 
Thus to herself she pleasingly began. 
O sovran, virtuous, precious of all trees 
In Paradise! of operation blest 
To sapience, hitherto obscured, infamed. 
And thy fair fruit let hang, as to no end 
Created; but henceforth my early care, 
Not without song, each morning, and due praise, 
Shall tend thee, and the fertile burden ease 
Of thy full branches offered free to all; 
Till, dieted by thee, I grow mature 
In knowledge, as the Gods, who all things know; 
Though others envy what they cannot give: 
For, had the gift been theirs, it had not here 
Thus grown.  Experience, next, to thee I owe, 
Best guide; not following thee, I had remained 
In ignorance; thou openest wisdom's way, 
And givest access, though secret she retire. 
And I perhaps am secret: Heaven is high, 
High, and remote to see from thence distinct 
Each thing on Earth; and other care perhaps 
May have diverted from continual watch 
Our great Forbidder, safe with all his spies 
About him.  But to Adam in what sort 
Shall I appear? shall I to him make known 
As yet my change, and give him to partake 
Full happiness with me, or rather not, 
But keeps the odds of knowledge in my power 
Without copartner? so to add what wants 
In female sex, the more to draw his love, 
And render me more equal; and perhaps, 
A thing not undesirable, sometime 
Superiour; for, inferiour, who is free 
This may be well:  But what if God have seen, 
And death ensue? then I shall be no more! 
And Adam, wedded to another Eve, 
Shall live with her enjoying, I extinct; 
A death to think!  Confirmed then I resolve, 
Adam shall share with me in bliss or woe: 
So dear I love him, that with him all deaths 
I could endure, without him live no life. 
So saying, from the tree her step she turned; 
But first low reverence done, as to the Power 
That dwelt within, whose presence had infused 
Into the plant sciential sap, derived 
From nectar, drink of Gods.  Adam the while, 
Waiting desirous her return, had wove 
Of choicest flowers a garland, to adorn 
Her tresses, and her rural labours crown; 
As reapers oft are wont their harvest-queen. 
Great joy he promised to his thoughts, and new 
Solace in her return, so long delayed: 
Yet oft his heart, divine of something ill, 
Misgave him; he the faltering measure felt; 
And forth to meet her went, the way she took 
That morn when first they parted: by the tree 
Of knowledge he must pass; there he her met, 
Scarce from the tree returning; in her hand 
A bough of fairest fruit, that downy smiled, 
New gathered, and ambrosial smell diffused. 
To him she hasted; in her face excuse 
Came prologue, and apology too prompt; 
Which, with bland words at will, she thus addressed. 
Hast thou not wondered, Adam, at my stay? 
Thee I have missed, and thought it long, deprived 
Thy presence; agony of love till now 
Not felt, nor shall be twice; for never more 
Mean I to try, what rash untried I sought, 
The pain of absence from thy sight.  But strange 
Hath been the cause, and wonderful to hear: 
This tree is not, as we are told, a tree 
Of danger tasted, nor to evil unknown 
Opening the way, but of divine effect 
To open eyes, and make them Gods who taste; 
And hath been tasted such:  The serpent wise, 
Or not restrained as we, or not obeying, 
Hath eaten of the fruit; and is become, 
Not dead, as we are threatened, but thenceforth 
Endued with human voice and human sense, 
Reasoning to admiration; and with me 
Persuasively hath so prevailed, that I 
Have also tasted, and have also found 
The effects to correspond; opener mine eyes, 
Dim erst, dilated spirits, ampler heart, 
And growing up to Godhead; which for thee 
Chiefly I sought, without thee can despise. 
For bliss, as thou hast part, to me is bliss; 
Tedious, unshared with thee, and odious soon. 
Thou therefore also taste, that equal lot 
May join us, equal joy, as equal love; 
Lest, thou not tasting, different degree 
Disjoin us, and I then too late renounce 
Deity for thee, when Fate will not permit. 
Thus Eve with countenance blithe her story told; 
But in her cheek distemper flushing glowed. 
On the other side Adam, soon as he heard 
The fatal trespass done by Eve, amazed, 
Astonied stood and blank, while horrour chill 
Ran through his veins, and all his joints relaxed; 
From his slack hand the garland wreathed for Eve 
Down dropt, and all the faded roses shed: 
Speechless he stood and pale, till thus at length 
First to himself he inward silence broke. 
O fairest of Creation, last and best 
Of all God's works, Creature in whom excelled 
Whatever can to sight or thought be formed, 
Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet! 
How art thou lost! how on a sudden lost, 
Defaced, deflowered, and now to death devote! 
Rather, how hast thou yielded to transgress 
The strict forbiddance, how to violate 
The sacred fruit forbidden!  Some cursed fraud 
Of enemy hath beguiled thee, yet unknown, 
And me with thee hath ruined; for with thee 
Certain my resolution is to die: 
How can I live without thee! how forego 
Thy sweet converse, and love so dearly joined, 
To live again in these wild woods forlorn! 
Should God create another Eve, and I 
Another rib afford, yet loss of thee 
Would never from my heart: no, no!I feel 
The link of Nature draw me: flesh of flesh, 
Bone of my bone thou art, and from thy state 
Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe. 
So having said, as one from sad dismay 
Recomforted, and after thoughts disturbed 
Submitting to what seemed remediless, 
Thus in calm mood his words to Eve he turned. 
Bold deed thou hast presumed, adventurous Eve, 
And peril great provoked, who thus hast dared, 
Had it been only coveting to eye 
That sacred fruit, sacred to abstinence, 
Much more to taste it under ban to touch. 
But past who can recall, or done undo? 
Not God Omnipotent, nor Fate; yet so 
Perhaps thou shalt not die, perhaps the fact 
Is not so heinous now, foretasted fruit, 
Profaned first by the serpent, by him first 
Made common, and unhallowed, ere our taste; 
Nor yet on him found deadly; yet he lives; 
Lives, as thou saidst, and gains to live, as Man, 
Higher degree of life; inducement strong 
To us, as likely tasting to attain 
Proportional ascent; which cannot be 
But to be Gods, or Angels, demi-Gods. 
Nor can I think that God, Creator wise, 
Though threatening, will in earnest so destroy 
Us his prime creatures, dignified so high, 
Set over all his works; which in our fall, 
For us created, needs with us must fail, 
Dependant made; so God shall uncreate, 
Be frustrate, do, undo, and labour lose; 
Not well conceived of God, who, though his power 
Creation could repeat, yet would be loth 
Us to abolish, lest the Adversary 
Triumph, and say; "Fickle their state whom God 
"Most favours; who can please him long? Me first 
"He ruined, now Mankind; whom will he next?" 
Matter of scorn, not to be given the Foe. 
However I with thee have fixed my lot, 
Certain to undergo like doom:  If death 
Consort with thee, death is to me as life; 
So forcible within my heart I feel 
The bond of Nature draw me to my own; 
My own in thee, for what thou art is mine; 
Our state cannot be severed; we are one, 
One flesh; to lose thee were to lose myself. 
So Adam; and thus Eve to him replied. 
O glorious trial of exceeding love, 
Illustrious evidence, example high! 
Engaging me to emulate; but, short 
Of thy perfection, how shall I attain, 
Adam, from whose dear side I boast me sprung, 
And gladly of our union hear thee speak, 
One heart, one soul in both; whereof good proof 
This day affords, declaring thee resolved, 
Rather than death, or aught than death more dread, 
Shall separate us, linked in love so dear, 
To undergo with me one guilt, one crime, 
If any be, of tasting this fair fruit; 
Whose virtue for of good still good proceeds, 
Direct, or by occasion, hath presented 
This happy trial of thy love, which else 
So eminently never had been known? 
Were it I thought death menaced would ensue 
This my attempt, I would sustain alone 
The worst, and not persuade thee, rather die 
Deserted, than oblige thee with a fact 
Pernicious to thy peace; chiefly assured 
Remarkably so late of thy so true, 
So faithful, love unequalled: but I feel 
Far otherwise the event; not death, but life 
Augmented, opened eyes, new hopes, new joys, 
Taste so divine, that what of sweet before 
Hath touched my sense, flat seems to this, and harsh. 
On my experience, Adam, freely taste, 
And fear of death deliver to the winds. 
So saying, she embraced him, and for joy 
Tenderly wept; much won, that he his love 
Had so ennobled, as of choice to incur 
Divine displeasure for her sake, or death. 
In recompence for such compliance bad 
Such recompence best merits from the bough 
She gave him of that fair enticing fruit 
With liberal hand: he scrupled not to eat, 
Against his better knowledge; not deceived, 
But fondly overcome with female charm. 
Earth trembled from her entrails, as again 
In pangs; and Nature gave a second groan; 
Sky loured; and, muttering thunder, some sad drops 
Wept at completing of the mortal sin 
Original: while Adam took no thought, 
Eating his fill; nor Eve to iterate 
Her former trespass feared, the more to sooth 
Him with her loved society; that now, 
As with new wine intoxicated both, 
They swim in mirth, and fancy that they feel 
Divinity within them breeding wings, 
Wherewith to scorn the earth:  But that false fruit 
Far other operation first displayed, 
Carnal desire inflaming; he on Eve 
Began to cast lascivious eyes; she him 
As wantonly repaid; in lust they burn: 
Till Adam thus 'gan Eve to dalliance move. 
Eve, now I see thou art exact of taste, 
And elegant, of sapience no small part; 
Since to each meaning savour we apply, 
And palate call judicious; I the praise 
Yield thee, so well this day thou hast purveyed. 
Much pleasure we have lost, while we abstained 
From this delightful fruit, nor known till now 
True relish, tasting; if such pleasure be 
In things to us forbidden, it might be wished, 
For this one tree had been forbidden ten. 
But come, so well refreshed, now let us play, 
As meet is, after such delicious fare; 
For never did thy beauty, since the day 
I saw thee first and wedded thee, adorned 
With all perfections, so inflame my sense 
With ardour to enjoy thee, fairer now 
Than ever; bounty of this virtuous tree! 
So said he, and forbore not glance or toy 
Of amorous intent; well understood 
Of Eve, whose eye darted contagious fire. 
Her hand he seised; and to a shady bank, 
Thick over-head with verdant roof imbowered, 
He led her nothing loth; flowers were the couch, 
Pansies, and violets, and asphodel, 
And hyacinth;  Earth's freshest softest lap. 
There they their fill of love and love's disport 
Took largely, of their mutual guilt the seal, 
The solace of their sin; till dewy sleep 
Oppressed them, wearied with their amorous play, 
Soon as the force of that fallacious fruit, 
That with exhilarating vapour bland 
About their spirits had played, and inmost powers 
Made err, was now exhaled; and grosser sleep, 
Bred of unkindly fumes, with conscious dreams 
Incumbered, now had left them; up they rose 
As from unrest; and, each the other viewing, 
Soon found their eyes how opened, and their minds 
How darkened; innocence, that as a veil 
Had shadowed them from knowing ill, was gone; 
Just confidence, and native righteousness, 
And honour, from about them, naked left 
To guilty Shame; he covered, but his robe 
Uncovered more.  So rose the Danite strong, 
Herculean Samson, from the harlot-lap 
Of Philistean Dalilah, and waked 
Shorn of his strength.  They destitute and bare 
Of all their virtue:  Silent, and in face 
Confounded, long they sat, as strucken mute: 
Till Adam, though not less than Eve abashed, 
At length gave utterance to these words constrained. 
O Eve, in evil hour thou didst give ear 
To that false worm, of whomsoever taught 
To counterfeit Man's voice; true in our fall, 
False in our promised rising; since our eyes 
Opened we find indeed, and find we know 
Both good and evil; good lost, and evil got; 
Bad fruit of knowledge, if this be to know; 
Which leaves us naked thus, of honour void, 
Of innocence, of faith, of purity, 
Our wonted ornaments now soiled and stained, 
And in our faces evident the signs 
Of foul concupiscence; whence evil store; 
Even shame, the last of evils; of the first 
Be sure then.--How shall I behold the face 
Henceforth of God or Angel, erst with joy 
And rapture so oft beheld?  Those heavenly shapes 
Will dazzle now this earthly with their blaze 
Insufferably bright.  O! might I here 
In solitude live savage; in some glade 
Obscured, where highest woods, impenetrable 
To star or sun-light, spread their umbrage broad 
And brown as evening:  Cover me, ye Pines! 
Ye Cedars, with innumerable boughs 
Hide me, where I may never see them more!-- 
But let us now, as in bad plight, devise 
What best may for the present serve to hide 
The parts of each from other, that seem most 
To shame obnoxious, and unseemliest seen; 
Some tree, whose broad smooth leaves together sewed, 
And girded on our loins, may cover round 
Those middle parts; that this new comer, Shame, 
There sit not, and reproach us as unclean. 
So counselled he, and both together went 
Into the thickest wood; there soon they chose 
The fig-tree; not that kind for fruit renowned, 
But such as at this day, to Indians known, 
In Malabar or Decan spreads her arms 
Branching so broad and long, that in the ground 
The bended twigs take root, and daughters grow 
About the mother tree, a pillared shade 
High over-arched, and echoing walks between: 
There oft the Indian herdsman, shunning heat, 
Shelters in cool, and tends his pasturing herds 
At loop-holes cut through thickest shade:  Those leaves 
They gathered, broad as Amazonian targe; 
And, with what skill they had, together sewed, 
To gird their waist; vain covering, if to hide 
Their guilt and dreaded shame!  O, how unlike 
To that first naked glory!  Such of late 
Columbus found the American, so girt 
With feathered cincture; naked else, and wild 
Among the trees on isles and woody shores. 
Thus fenced, and, as they thought, their shame in part 
Covered, but not at rest or ease of mind, 
They sat them down to weep; nor only tears 
Rained at their eyes, but high winds worse within 
Began to rise, high passions, anger, hate, 
Mistrust, suspicion, discord; and shook sore 
Their inward state of mind, calm region once 
And full of peace, now tost and turbulent: 
For Understanding ruled not, and the Will 
Heard not her lore; both in subjection now 
To sensual Appetite, who from beneath 
Usurping over sovran Reason claimed 
Superiour sway: From thus distempered breast, 
Adam, estranged in look and altered style, 
Speech intermitted thus to Eve renewed. 
Would thou hadst hearkened to my words, and staid 
With me, as I besought thee, when that strange 
Desire of wandering, this unhappy morn, 
I know not whence possessed thee; we had then 
Remained still happy; not, as now, despoiled 
Of all our good; shamed, naked, miserable! 
Let none henceforth seek needless cause to approve 
The faith they owe; when earnestly they seek 
Such proof, conclude, they then begin to fail. 
To whom, soon moved with touch of blame, thus Eve. 
What words have passed thy lips, Adam severe! 
Imputest thou that to my default, or will 
Of wandering, as thou callest it, which who knows 
But might as ill have happened thou being by, 
Or to thyself perhaps?  Hadst thou been there, 
Or here the attempt, thou couldst not have discerned 
Fraud in the Serpent, speaking as he spake; 
No ground of enmity between us known, 
Why he should mean me ill, or seek to harm. 
Was I to have never parted from thy side? 
As good have grown there still a lifeless rib. 
Being as I am, why didst not thou, the head, 
Command me absolutely not to go, 
Going into such danger, as thou saidst? 
Too facile then, thou didst not much gainsay; 
Nay, didst permit, approve, and fair dismiss. 
Hadst thou been firm and fixed in thy dissent, 
Neither had I transgressed, nor thou with me. 
To whom, then first incensed, Adam replied. 
Is this the love, is this the recompence 
Of mine to thee, ingrateful Eve! expressed 
Immutable, when thou wert lost, not I; 
Who might have lived, and joyed immortal bliss, 
Yet willingly chose rather death with thee? 
And am I now upbraided as the cause 
Of thy transgressing?  Not enough severe, 
It seems, in thy restraint:  What could I more 
I warned thee, I admonished thee, foretold 
The danger, and the lurking enemy 
That lay in wait; beyond this, had been force; 
And force upon free will hath here no place. 
But confidence then bore thee on; secure 
Either to meet no danger, or to find 
Matter of glorious trial; and perhaps 
I also erred, in overmuch admiring 
What seemed in thee so perfect, that I thought 
No evil durst attempt thee; but I rue 
The errour now, which is become my crime, 
And thou the accuser.  Thus it shall befall 
Him, who, to worth in women overtrusting, 
Lets her will rule: restraint she will not brook; 
And, left to herself, if evil thence ensue, 
She first his weak indulgence will accuse. 
Thus they in mutual accusation spent 
The fruitless hours, but neither self-condemning; 
And of their vain contest appeared no end. 

Book X                                                           

Mean while the heinous and despiteful act 
Of Satan, done in Paradise; and how 
He, in the serpent, had perverted Eve, 
Her husband she, to taste the fatal fruit, 
Was known in Heaven; for what can 'scape the eye 
Of God all-seeing, or deceive his heart 
Omniscient? who, in all things wise and just, 
Hindered not Satan to attempt the mind 
Of Man, with strength entire and free will armed, 
Complete to have discovered and repulsed 
Whatever wiles of foe or seeming friend. 
For still they knew, and ought to have still remembered, 
The high injunction, not to taste that fruit, 
Whoever tempted; which they not obeying, 
(Incurred what could they less?) the penalty; 
And, manifold in sin, deserved to fall. 
Up into Heaven from Paradise in haste 
The angelick guards ascended, mute, and sad, 
For Man; for of his state by this they knew, 
Much wondering how the subtle Fiend had stolen 
Entrance unseen.  Soon as the unwelcome news 
From Earth arrived at Heaven-gate, displeased 
All were who heard; dim sadness did not spare 
That time celestial visages, yet, mixed 
With pity, violated not their bliss. 
About the new-arrived, in multitudes 
The ethereal people ran, to hear and know 
How all befel:  They towards the throne supreme, 
Accountable, made haste, to make appear, 
With righteous plea, their utmost vigilance 
And easily approved; when the Most High 
Eternal Father, from his secret cloud, 
Amidst in thunder uttered thus his voice. 
Assembled Angels, and ye Powers returned 
From unsuccessful charge; be not dismayed, 
Nor troubled at these tidings from the earth, 
Which your sincerest care could not prevent; 
Foretold so lately what would come to pass, 
When first this tempter crossed the gulf from Hell. 
I told ye then he should prevail, and speed 
On his bad errand; Man should be seduced, 
And flattered out of all, believing lies 
Against his Maker; no decree of mine 
Concurring to necessitate his fall, 
Or touch with lightest moment of impulse 
His free will, to her own inclining left 
In even scale.  But fallen he is; and now 
What rests, but that the mortal sentence pass 
On his transgression,--death denounced that day? 
Which he presumes already vain and void, 
Because not yet inflicted, as he feared, 
By some immediate stroke; but soon shall find 
Forbearance no acquittance, ere day end. 
Justice shall not return as bounty scorned. 
But whom send I to judge them? whom but thee, 
Vicegerent Son?  To thee I have transferred 
All judgement, whether in Heaven, or Earth, or Hell. 
Easy it may be seen that I intend 
Mercy colleague with justice, sending thee 
Man's friend, his Mediator, his designed 
Both ransom and Redeemer voluntary, 
And destined Man himself to judge Man fallen. 
So spake the Father; and, unfolding bright 
Toward the right hand his glory, on the Son 
Blazed forth unclouded Deity: He full 
Resplendent all his Father manifest 
Expressed, and thus divinely answered mild. 
Father Eternal, thine is to decree; 
Mine, both in Heaven and Earth, to do thy will 
Supreme; that thou in me, thy Son beloved, 
Mayest ever rest well pleased.  I go to judge 
On earth these thy transgressours; but thou knowest, 
Whoever judged, the worst on me must light, 
When time shall be; for so I undertook 
Before thee; and, not repenting, this obtain 
Of right, that I may mitigate their doom 
On me derived; yet I shall temper so 
Justice with mercy, as may illustrate most 
Them fully satisfied, and thee appease. 
Attendance none shall need, nor train, where none 
Are to behold the judgement, but the judged, 
Those two; the third best absent is condemned, 
Convict by flight, and rebel to all law: 
Conviction to the serpent none belongs. 
Thus saying, from his radiant seat he rose 
Of high collateral glory: Him Thrones, and Powers, 
Princedoms, and Dominations ministrant, 
Accompanied to Heaven-gate; from whence 
Eden, and all the coast, in prospect lay. 
Down he descended straight; the speed of Gods 
Time counts not, though with swiftest minutes winged. 
Now was the sun in western cadence low 
From noon, and gentle airs, due at their hour, 
To fan the earth now waked, and usher in 
The evening cool; when he, from wrath more cool, 
Came the mild Judge, and Intercessour both, 
To sentence Man:  The voice of God they heard 
Now walking in the garden, by soft winds 
Brought to their ears, while day declined; they heard, 
And from his presence hid themselves among 
The thickest trees, both man and wife; till God, 
Approaching, thus to Adam called aloud. 
Where art thou, Adam, wont with joy to meet 
My coming seen far off?  I miss thee here, 
Not pleased, thus entertained with solitude, 
Where obvious duty ere while appeared unsought: 
Or come I less conspicuous, or what change 
Absents thee, or what chance detains?--Come forth! 
He came; and with him Eve, more loth, though first 
To offend; discountenanced both, and discomposed; 
Love was not in their looks, either to God, 
Or to each other; but apparent guilt, 
And shame, and perturbation, and despair, 
Anger, and obstinacy, and hate, and guile. 
Whence Adam, faltering long, thus answered brief. 
I heard thee in the garden, and of thy voice 
Afraid, being naked, hid myself.  To whom 
The gracious Judge without revile replied. 
My voice thou oft hast heard, and hast not feared, 
But still rejoiced; how is it now become 
So dreadful to thee?  That thou art naked, who 
Hath told thee?  Hast thou eaten of the tree, 
Whereof I gave thee charge thou shouldst not eat? 
To whom thus Adam sore beset replied. 
O Heaven! in evil strait this day I stand 
Before my Judge; either to undergo 
Myself the total crime, or to accuse 
My other self, the partner of my life; 
Whose failing, while her faith to me remains, 
I should conceal, and not expose to blame 
By my complaint: but strict necessity 
Subdues me, and calamitous constraint; 
Lest on my head both sin and punishment, 
However insupportable, be all 
Devolved; though should I hold my peace, yet thou 
Wouldst easily detect what I conceal.-- 
This Woman, whom thou madest to be my help, 
And gavest me as thy perfect gift, so good, 
So fit, so acceptable, so divine, 
That from her hand I could suspect no ill, 
And what she did, whatever in itself, 
Her doing seemed to justify the deed; 
She gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 
To whom the Sovran Presence thus replied. 
Was she thy God, that her thou didst obey 
Before his voice? or was she made thy guide, 
Superiour, or but equal, that to her 
Thou didst resign thy manhood, and the place 
Wherein God set thee above her made of thee, 
And for thee, whose perfection far excelled 
Hers in all real dignity?  Adorned 
She was indeed, and lovely, to attract 
Thy love, not thy subjection; and her gifts 
Were such, as under government well seemed; 
Unseemly to bear rule; which was thy part 
And person, hadst thou known thyself aright. 
So having said, he thus to Eve in few. 
Say, Woman, what is this which thou hast done? 
To whom sad Eve, with shame nigh overwhelmed, 
Confessing soon, yet not before her Judge 
Bold or loquacious, thus abashed replied. 
The Serpent me beguiled, and I did eat. 
Which when the Lord God heard, without delay 
To judgement he proceeded on the accused 
Serpent, though brute; unable to transfer 
The guilt on him, who made him instrument 
Of mischief, and polluted from the end 
Of his creation; justly then accursed, 
As vitiated in nature:  More to know 
Concerned not Man, (since he no further knew) 
Nor altered his offence; yet God at last 
To Satan first in sin his doom applied, 
Though in mysterious terms, judged as then best: 
And on the Serpent thus his curse let fall. 
Because thou hast done this, thou art accursed 
Above all cattle, each beast of the field; 
Upon thy belly groveling thou shalt go, 
And dust shalt eat all the days of thy life. 
Between thee and the woman I will put 
Enmity, and between thine and her seed; 
Her seed shall bruise thy head, thou bruise his heel. 
So spake this oracle, then verified 
When Jesus, Son of Mary, second Eve, 
Saw Satan fall, like lightning, down from Heaven, 
Prince of the air; then, rising from his grave 
Spoiled Principalities and Powers, triumphed 
In open show; and, with ascension bright, 
Captivity led captive through the air, 
The realm itself of Satan, long usurped; 
Whom he shall tread at last under our feet; 
Even he, who now foretold his fatal bruise; 
And to the Woman thus his sentence turned. 
Thy sorrow I will greatly multiply 
By thy conception; children thou shalt bring 
In sorrow forth; and to thy husband's will 
Thine shall submit; he over thee shall rule. 
On Adam last thus judgement he pronounced. 
Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, 
And eaten of the tree, concerning which 
I charged thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat thereof: 
Cursed is the ground for thy sake; thou in sorrow 
Shalt eat thereof, all the days of thy life; 
Thorns also and thistles it shall bring thee forth 
Unbid; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, 
Till thou return unto the ground; for thou 
Out of the ground wast taken, know thy birth, 
For dust thou art, and shalt to dust return. 
So judged he Man, both Judge and Saviour sent; 
And the instant stroke of death, denounced that day, 
Removed far off; then, pitying how they stood 
Before him naked to the air, that now 
Must suffer change, disdained not to begin 
Thenceforth the form of servant to assume; 
As when he washed his servants feet; so now, 
As father of his family, he clad 
Their nakedness with skins of beasts, or slain, 
Or as the snake with youthful coat repaid; 
And thought not much to clothe his enemies; 
Nor he their outward only with the skins 
Of beasts, but inward nakedness, much more. 
Opprobrious, with his robe of righteousness, 
Arraying, covered from his Father's sight. 
To him with swift ascent he up returned, 
Into his blissful bosom reassumed 
In glory, as of old; to him appeased 
All, though all-knowing, what had passed with Man 
Recounted, mixing intercession sweet. 
Mean while, ere thus was sinned and judged on Earth, 
Within the gates of Hell sat Sin and Death, 
In counterview within the gates, that now 
Stood open wide, belching outrageous flame 
Far into Chaos, since the Fiend passed through, 
Sin opening; who thus now to Death began. 
O Son, why sit we here each other viewing 
Idly, while Satan, our great author, thrives 
In other worlds, and happier seat provides 
For us, his offspring dear?  It cannot be 
But that success attends him; if mishap, 
Ere this he had returned, with fury driven 
By his avengers; since no place like this 
Can fit his punishment, or their revenge. 
Methinks I feel new strength within me rise, 
Wings growing, and dominion given me large 
Beyond this deep; whatever draws me on, 
Or sympathy, or some connatural force, 
Powerful at greatest distance to unite, 
With secret amity, things of like kind, 
By secretest conveyance.  Thou, my shade 
Inseparable, must with me along; 
For Death from Sin no power can separate. 
But, lest the difficulty of passing back 
Stay his return perhaps over this gulf 
Impassable, impervious; let us try 
Adventurous work, yet to thy power and mine 
Not unagreeable, to found a path 
Over this main from Hell to that new world, 
Where Satan now prevails; a monument 
Of merit high to all the infernal host, 
Easing their passage hence, for intercourse, 
Or transmigration, as their lot shall lead. 
Nor can I miss the way, so strongly drawn 
By this new-felt attraction and instinct. 
Whom thus the meager Shadow answered soon. 
Go, whither Fate, and inclination strong, 
Leads thee; I shall not lag behind, nor err 
The way, thou leading; such a scent I draw 
Of carnage, prey innumerable, and taste 
The savour of death from all things there that live: 
Nor shall I to the work thou enterprisest 
Be wanting, but afford thee equal aid. 
So saying, with delight he snuffed the smell 
Of mortal change on earth.  As when a flock 
Of ravenous fowl, though many a league remote, 
Against the day of battle, to a field, 
Where armies lie encamped, come flying, lured 
With scent of living carcasses designed 
For death, the following day, in bloody fight: 
So scented the grim Feature, and upturned 
His nostril wide into the murky air; 
Sagacious of his quarry from so far. 
Then both from out Hell-gates, into the waste 
Wide anarchy of Chaos, damp and dark, 
Flew diverse; and with power (their power was great) 
Hovering upon the waters, what they met 
Solid or slimy, as in raging sea 
Tost up and down, together crouded drove, 
From each side shoaling towards the mouth of Hell; 
As when two polar winds, blowing adverse 
Upon the Cronian sea, together drive 
Mountains of ice, that stop the imagined way 
Beyond Petsora eastward, to the rich 
Cathaian coast.  The aggregated soil 
Death with his mace petrifick, cold and dry, 
As with a trident, smote; and fixed as firm 
As Delos, floating once; the rest his look 
Bound with Gorgonian rigour not to move; 
And with Asphaltick slime, broad as the gate, 
Deep to the roots of Hell the gathered beach 
They fastened, and the mole immense wrought on 
Over the foaming deep high-arched, a bridge 
Of length prodigious, joining to the wall 
Immoveable of this now fenceless world, 
Forfeit to Death; from hence a passage broad, 
Smooth, easy, inoffensive, down to Hell. 
So, if great things to small may be compared, 
Xerxes, the liberty of Greece to yoke, 
From Susa, his Memnonian palace high, 
Came to the sea: and, over Hellespont 
Bridging his way, Europe with Asia joined, 
And scourged with many a stroke the indignant waves. 
Now had they brought the work by wonderous art 
Pontifical, a ridge of pendant rock, 
Over the vexed abyss, following the track 
Of Satan to the self-same place where he 
First lighted from his wing, and landed safe 
From out of Chaos, to the outside bare 
Of this round world:  With pins of adamant 
And chains they made all fast, too fast they made 
And durable!  And now in little space 
The confines met of empyrean Heaven, 
And of this World; and, on the left hand, Hell 
With long reach interposed; three several ways 
In sight, to each of these three places led. 
And now their way to Earth they had descried, 
To Paradise first tending; when, behold! 
Satan, in likeness of an Angel bright, 
Betwixt the Centaur and the Scorpion steering 
His zenith, while the sun in Aries rose: 
Disguised he came; but those his children dear 
Their parent soon discerned, though in disguise. 
He, after Eve seduced, unminded slunk 
Into the wood fast by; and, changing shape, 
To observe the sequel, saw his guileful act 
By Eve, though all unweeting, seconded 
Upon her husband; saw their shame that sought 
Vain covertures; but when he saw descend 
The Son of God to judge them, terrified 
He fled; not hoping to escape, but shun 
The present; fearing, guilty, what his wrath 
Might suddenly inflict; that past, returned 
By night, and listening where the hapless pair 
Sat in their sad discourse, and various plaint, 
Thence gathered his own doom; which understood 
Not instant, but of future time, with joy 
And tidings fraught, to Hell he now returned; 
And at the brink of Chaos, near the foot 
Of this new wonderous pontifice, unhoped 
Met, who to meet him came, his offspring dear. 
Great joy was at their meeting, and at sight 
Of that stupendious bridge his joy encreased. 
Long he admiring stood, till Sin, his fair 
Enchanting daughter, thus the silence broke. 
O Parent, these are thy magnifick deeds, 
Thy trophies! which thou viewest as not thine own; 
Thou art their author, and prime architect: 
For I no sooner in my heart divined, 
My heart, which by a secret harmony 
Still moves with thine, joined in connexion sweet, 
That thou on earth hadst prospered, which thy looks 
Now also evidence, but straight I felt, 
Though distant from thee worlds between, yet felt, 
That I must after thee, with this thy son; 
Such fatal consequence unites us three! 
Hell could no longer hold us in our bounds, 
Nor this unvoyageable gulf obscure 
Detain from following thy illustrious track. 
Thou hast achieved our liberty, confined 
Within Hell-gates till now; thou us impowered 
To fortify thus far, and overlay, 
With this portentous bridge, the dark abyss. 
Thine now is all this world; thy virtue hath won 
What thy hands builded not; thy wisdom gained 
With odds what war hath lost, and fully avenged 
Our foil in Heaven; here thou shalt monarch reign, 
There didst not; there let him still victor sway, 
As battle hath adjudged; from this new world 
Retiring, by his own doom alienated; 
And henceforth monarchy with thee divide 
Of all things, parted by the empyreal bounds, 
His quadrature, from thy orbicular world; 
Or try thee now more dangerous to his throne. 
Whom thus the Prince of darkness answered glad. 
Fair Daughter, and thou Son and Grandchild both; 
High proof ye now have given to be the race 
Of Satan (for I glory in the name, 
Antagonist of Heaven's Almighty King,) 
Amply have merited of me, of all 
The infernal empire, that so near Heaven's door 
Triumphal with triumphal act have met, 
Mine, with this glorious work; and made one realm, 
Hell and this world, one realm, one continent 
Of easy thorough-fare.  Therefore, while I 
Descend through darkness, on your road with ease, 
To my associate Powers, them to acquaint 
With these successes, and with them rejoice; 
You two this way, among these numerous orbs, 
All yours, right down to Paradise descend; 
There dwell, and reign in bliss; thence on the earth 
Dominion exercise and in the air, 
Chiefly on Man, sole lord of all declared; 
Him first make sure your thrall, and lastly kill. 
My substitutes I send ye, and create 
Plenipotent on earth, of matchless might 
Issuing from me: on your joint vigour now 
My hold of this new kingdom all depends, 
Through Sin to Death exposed by my exploit. 
If your joint power prevail, the affairs of Hell 
No detriment need fear; go, and be strong! 
So saying he dismissed them; they with speed 
Their course through thickest constellations held, 
Spreading their bane; the blasted stars looked wan, 
And planets, planet-struck, real eclipse 
Then suffered.  The other way Satan went down 
The causey to Hell-gate:  On either side 
Disparted Chaos overbuilt exclaimed, 
And with rebounding surge the bars assailed, 
That scorned his indignation:  Through the gate, 
Wide open and unguarded, Satan passed, 
And all about found desolate; for those, 
Appointed to sit there, had left their charge, 
Flown to the upper world; the rest were all 
Far to the inland retired, about the walls 
Of Pandemonium; city and proud seat 
Of Lucifer, so by allusion called 
Of that bright star to Satan paragoned; 
There kept their watch the legions, while the Grand 
In council sat, solicitous what chance 
Might intercept their emperour sent; so he 
Departing gave command, and they observed. 
As when the Tartar from his Russian foe, 
By Astracan, over the snowy plains, 
Retires; or Bactrin Sophi, from the horns 
Of Turkish crescent, leaves all waste beyond 
The realm of Aladule, in his retreat 
To Tauris or Casbeen:  So these, the late 
Heaven-banished host, left desart utmost Hell 
Many a dark league, reduced in careful watch 
Round their metropolis; and now expecting 
Each hour their great adventurer, from the search 
Of foreign worlds:  He through the midst unmarked, 
In show plebeian Angel militant 
Of lowest order, passed; and from the door 
Of that Plutonian hall, invisible 
Ascended his high throne; which, under state 
Of richest texture spread, at the upper end 
Was placed in regal lustre.  Down a while 
He sat, and round about him saw unseen: 
At last, as from a cloud, his fulgent head 
And shape star-bright appeared, or brighter; clad 
With what permissive glory since his fall 
Was left him, or false glitter:  All amazed 
At that so sudden blaze the Stygian throng 
Bent their aspect, and whom they wished beheld, 
Their mighty Chief returned: loud was the acclaim: 
Forth rushed in haste the great consulting peers, 
Raised from their dark Divan, and with like joy 
Congratulant approached him; who with hand 
Silence, and with these words attention, won. 
Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers; 
For in possession such, not only of right, 
I call ye, and declare ye now; returned 
Successful beyond hope, to lead ye forth 
Triumphant out of this infernal pit 
Abominable, accursed, the house of woe, 
And dungeon of our tyrant:  Now possess, 
As Lords, a spacious world, to our native Heaven 
Little inferiour, by my adventure hard 
With peril great achieved.  Long were to tell 
What I have done; what suffered;with what pain 
Voyaged th' unreal, vast, unbounded deep 
Of horrible confusion; over which 
By Sin and Death a broad way now is paved, 
To expedite your glorious march; but I 
Toiled out my uncouth passage, forced to ride 
The untractable abyss, plunged in the womb 
Of unoriginal Night and Chaos wild; 
That, jealous of their secrets, fiercely opposed 
My journey strange, with clamorous uproar 
Protesting Fate supreme; thence how I found 
The new created world, which fame in Heaven 
Long had foretold, a fabrick wonderful 
Of absolute perfection! therein Man 
Placed in a Paradise, by our exile 
Made happy:  Him by fraud I have seduced 
From his Creator; and, the more to encrease 
Your wonder, with an apple; he, thereat 
Offended, worth your laughter! hath given up 
Both his beloved Man, and all his world, 
To Sin and Death a prey, and so to us, 
Without our hazard, labour, or alarm; 
To range in, and to dwell, and over Man 
To rule, as over all he should have ruled. 
True is, me also he hath judged, or rather 
Me not, but the brute serpent in whose shape 
Man I deceived: that which to me belongs, 
Is enmity which he will put between 
Me and mankind; I am to bruise his heel; 
His seed, when is not set, shall bruise my head: 
A world who would not purchase with a bruise, 
Or much more grievous pain?--Ye have the account 
Of my performance:  What remains, ye Gods, 
But up, and enter now into full bliss? 
So having said, a while he stood, expecting 
Their universal shout, and high applause, 
To fill his ear; when, contrary, he hears 
On all sides, from innumerable tongues, 
A dismal universal hiss, the sound 
Of publick scorn; he wondered, but not long 
Had leisure, wondering at himself now more, 
His visage drawn he felt to sharp and spare; 
His arms clung to his ribs; his legs entwining 
Each other, till supplanted down he fell 
A monstrous serpent on his belly prone, 
Reluctant, but in vain; a greater power 
Now ruled him, punished in the shape he sinned, 
According to his doom: he would have spoke, 
But hiss for hiss returned with forked tongue 
To forked tongue; for now were all transformed 
Alike, to serpents all, as accessories 
To his bold riot:  Dreadful was the din 
Of hissing through the hall, thick swarming now 
With complicated monsters head and tail, 
Scorpion, and Asp, and Amphisbaena dire, 
Cerastes horned, Hydrus, and Elops drear, 
And Dipsas; (not so thick swarmed once the soil 
Bedropt with blood of Gorgon, or the isle 
Ophiusa,) but still greatest he the midst, 
Now Dragon grown, larger than whom the sun 
Ingendered in the Pythian vale or slime, 
Huge Python, and his power no less he seemed 
Above the rest still to retain; they all 
Him followed, issuing forth to the open field, 
Where all yet left of that revolted rout, 
Heaven-fallen, in station stood or just array; 
Sublime with expectation when to see 
In triumph issuing forth their glorious Chief; 
They saw, but other sight instead! a croud 
Of ugly serpents; horrour on them fell, 
And horrid sympathy; for, what they saw, 
They felt themselves, now changing; down their arms, 
Down fell both spear and shield; down they as fast; 
And the dire hiss renewed, and the dire form 
Catched, by contagion; like in punishment, 
As in their crime.  Thus was the applause they meant, 
Turned to exploding hiss, triumph to shame 
Cast on themselves from their own mouths.  There stood 
A grove hard by, sprung up with this their change, 
His will who reigns above, to aggravate 
Their penance, laden with fair fruit, like that 
Which grew in Paradise, the bait of Eve 
Used by the Tempter: on that prospect strange 
Their earnest eyes they fixed, imagining 
For one forbidden tree a multitude 
Now risen, to work them further woe or shame; 
Yet, parched with scalding thirst and hunger fierce, 
Though to delude them sent, could not abstain; 
But on they rolled in heaps, and, up the trees 
Climbing, sat thicker than the snaky locks 
That curled Megaera: greedily they plucked 
The fruitage fair to sight, like that which grew 
Near that bituminous lake where Sodom flamed; 
This more delusive, not the touch, but taste 
Deceived; they, fondly thinking to allay 
Their appetite with gust, instead of fruit 
Chewed bitter ashes, which the offended taste 
With spattering noise rejected: oft they assayed, 
Hunger and thirst constraining; drugged as oft, 
With hatefullest disrelish writhed their jaws, 
With soot and cinders filled; so oft they fell 
Into the same illusion, not as Man 
Whom they triumphed once lapsed.  Thus were they plagued 
And worn with famine, long and ceaseless hiss, 
Till their lost shape, permitted, they resumed; 
Yearly enjoined, some say, to undergo, 
This annual humbling certain numbered days, 
To dash their pride, and joy, for Man seduced. 
However, some tradition they dispersed 
Among the Heathen, of their purchase got, 
And fabled how the Serpent, whom they called 
Ophion, with Eurynome, the wide-- 
Encroaching Eve perhaps, had first the rule 
Of high Olympus; thence by Saturn driven 
And Ops, ere yet Dictaean Jove was born. 
Mean while in Paradise the hellish pair 
Too soon arrived; Sin, there in power before, 
Once actual; now in body, and to dwell 
Habitual habitant; behind her Death, 
Close following pace for pace, not mounted yet 
On his pale horse: to whom Sin thus began. 
Second of Satan sprung, all-conquering Death! 
What thinkest thou of our empire now, though earned 
With travel difficult, not better far 
Than still at Hell's dark threshold to have sat watch, 
Unnamed, undreaded, and thyself half starved? 
Whom thus the Sin-born monster answered soon. 
To me, who with eternal famine pine, 
Alike is Hell, or Paradise, or Heaven; 
There best, where most with ravine I may meet; 
Which here, though plenteous, all too little seems 
To stuff this maw, this vast unhide-bound corps. 
To whom the incestuous mother thus replied. 
Thou therefore on these herbs, and fruits, and flowers, 
Feed first; on each beast next, and fish, and fowl; 
No homely morsels! and, whatever thing 
The sithe of Time mows down, devour unspared; 
Till I, in Man residing, through the race, 
His thoughts, his looks, words, actions, all infect; 
And season him thy last and sweetest prey. 
This said, they both betook them several ways, 
Both to destroy, or unimmortal make 
All kinds, and for destruction to mature 
Sooner or later; which the Almighty seeing, 
From his transcendent seat the Saints among, 
To those bright Orders uttered thus his voice. 
See, with what heat these dogs of Hell advance 
To waste and havock yonder world, which I 
So fair and good created; and had still 
Kept in that state, had not the folly of Man 
Let in these wasteful furies, who impute 
Folly to me; so doth the Prince of Hell 
And his adherents, that with so much ease 
I suffer them to enter and possess 
A place so heavenly; and, conniving, seem 
To gratify my scornful enemies, 
That laugh, as if, transported with some fit 
Of passion, I to them had quitted all, 
At random yielded up to their misrule; 
And know not that I called, and drew them thither, 
My Hell-hounds, to lick up the draff and filth 
Which Man's polluting sin with taint hath shed 
On what was pure; til, crammed and gorged, nigh burst 
With sucked and glutted offal, at one sling 
Of thy victorious arm, well-pleasing Son, 
Both Sin, and Death, and yawning Grave, at last, 
Through Chaos hurled, obstruct the mouth of Hell 
For ever, and seal up his ravenous jaws. 
Then Heaven and Earth renewed shall be made pure 
To sanctity, that shall receive no stain: 
Till then, the curse pronounced on both precedes. 
He ended, and the heavenly audience loud 
Sung Halleluiah, as the sound of seas, 
Through multitude that sung:  Just are thy ways, 
Righteous are thy decrees on all thy works; 
Who can extenuate thee?  Next, to the Son, 
Destined Restorer of mankind, by whom 
New Heaven and Earth shall to the ages rise, 
Or down from Heaven descend.--Such was their song; 
While the Creator, calling forth by name 
His mighty Angels, gave them several charge, 
As sorted best with present things.  The sun 
Had first his precept so to move, so shine, 
As might affect the earth with cold and heat 
Scarce tolerable; and from the north to call 
Decrepit winter; from the south to bring 
Solstitial summer's heat.  To the blanc moon 
Her office they prescribed; to the other five 
Their planetary motions, and aspects, 
In sextile, square, and trine, and opposite, 
Of noxious efficacy, and when to join 
In synod unbenign; and taught the fixed 
Their influence malignant when to shower, 
Which of them rising with the sun, or falling, 
Should prove tempestuous:  To the winds they set 
Their corners, when with bluster to confound 
Sea, air, and shore; the thunder when to roll 
With terrour through the dark aereal hall. 
Some say, he bid his Angels turn ascanse 
The poles of earth, twice ten degrees and more, 
From the sun's axle; they with labour pushed 
Oblique the centrick globe:  Some say, the sun 
Was bid turn reins from the equinoctial road 
Like distant breadth to Taurus with the seven 
Atlantick Sisters, and the Spartan Twins, 
Up to the Tropick Crab: thence down amain 
By Leo, and the Virgin, and the Scales, 
As deep as Capricorn; to bring in change 
Of seasons to each clime; else had the spring 
Perpetual smiled on earth with vernant flowers, 
Equal in days and nights, except to those 
Beyond the polar circles; to them day 
Had unbenighted shone, while the low sun, 
To recompense his distance, in their sight 
Had rounded still the horizon, and not known 
Or east or west; which had forbid the snow 
From cold Estotiland, and south as far 
Beneath Magellan.  At that tasted fruit 
The sun, as from Thyestean banquet, turned 
His course intended; else, how had the world 
Inhabited, though sinless, more than now, 
Avoided pinching cold and scorching heat? 
These changes in the Heavens, though slow, produced 
Like change on sea and land; sideral blast, 
Vapour, and mist, and exhalation hot, 
Corrupt and pestilent:  Now from the north 
Of Norumbega, and the Samoed shore, 
Bursting their brazen dungeon, armed with ice, 
And snow, and hail, and stormy gust and flaw, 
Boreas, and Caecias, and Argestes loud, 
And Thrascias, rend the woods, and seas upturn; 
With adverse blast upturns them from the south 
Notus, and Afer black with thunderous clouds 
From Serraliona; thwart of these, as fierce, 
Forth rush the Levant and the Ponent winds, 
Eurus and Zephyr, with their lateral noise, 
Sirocco and Libecchio.  Thus began 
Outrage from lifeless things; but Discord first, 
Daughter of Sin, among the irrational 
Death introduced, through fierce antipathy: 
Beast now with beast 'gan war, and fowl with fowl, 
And fish with fish; to graze the herb all leaving, 
Devoured each other; nor stood much in awe 
Of Man, but fled him; or, with countenance grim, 
Glared on him passing.  These were from without 
The growing miseries, which Adam saw 
Already in part, though hid in gloomiest shade, 
To sorrow abandoned, but worse felt within; 
And, in a troubled sea of passion tost, 
Thus to disburden sought with sad complaint. 
O miserable of happy!  Is this the end 
Of this new glorious world, and me so late 
The glory of that glory, who now become 
Accursed, of blessed? hide me from the face 
Of God, whom to behold was then my highth 
Of happiness!--Yet well, if here would end 
The misery; I deserved it, and would bear 
My own deservings; but this will not serve: 
All that I eat or drink, or shall beget, 
Is propagated curse.  O voice, once heard 
Delightfully, Encrease and multiply; 
Now death to hear! for what can I encrease, 
Or multiply, but curses on my head? 
Who of all ages to succeed, but, feeling 
The evil on him brought by me, will curse 
My head?  Ill fare our ancestor impure, 
For this we may thank Adam! but his thanks 
Shall be the execration: so, besides 
Mine own that bide upon me, all from me 
Shall with a fierce reflux on me rebound; 
On me, as on their natural center, light 
Heavy, though in their place.  O fleeting joys 
Of Paradise, dear bought with lasting woes! 
Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay 
To mould me Man? did I solicit thee 
From darkness to promote me, or here place 
In this delicious garden?  As my will 
Concurred not to my being, it were but right 
And equal to reduce me to my dust; 
Desirous to resign and render back 
All I received; unable to perform 
Thy terms too hard, by which I was to hold 
The good I sought not.  To the loss of that, 
Sufficient penalty, why hast thou added 
The sense of endless woes?  Inexplicable 
Why am I mocked with death, and lengthened out 
To deathless pain?  How gladly would I meet 
Mortality my sentence, and be earth 
Insensible!  How glad would lay me down 
As in my mother's lap!  There I should rest, 
And sleep secure; his dreadful voice no more 
Would thunder in my ears; no fear of worse 
To me, and to my offspring, would torment me 
With cruel expectation.  Yet one doubt 
Pursues me still, lest all I cannot die; 
Lest that pure breath of life, the spirit of Man 
Which God inspired, cannot together perish 
With this corporeal clod; then, in the grave, 
Or in some other dismal place, who knows 
But I shall die a living death?  O thought 
Horrid, if true!  Yet why? It was but breath 
Of life that sinned; what dies but what had life 
And sin?  The body properly had neither, 
All of me then shall die: let this appease 
The doubt, since human reach no further knows. 
For though the Lord of all be infinite, 
Is his wrath also?  Be it, Man is not so, 
But mortal doomed.  How can he exercise 
Wrath without end on Man, whom death must end? 
Can he make deathless death?  That were to make 
Strange contradiction, which to God himself 
Impossible is held; as argument 
Of weakness, not of power.  Will he draw out, 
For anger's sake, finite to infinite, 
In punished Man, to satisfy his rigour, 
Satisfied never?  That were to extend 
His sentence beyond dust and Nature's law; 
By which all causes else, according still 
To the reception of their matter, act; 
Not to the extent of their own sphere.  But say 
That death be not one stroke, as I supposed, 
Bereaving sense, but endless misery 
From this day onward; which I feel begun 
Both in me, and without me; and so last 
To perpetuity;--Ay me!that fear 
Comes thundering back with dreadful revolution 
On my defenceless head; both Death and I 
Am found eternal, and incorporate both; 
Nor I on my part single; in me all 
Posterity stands cursed:  Fair patrimony 
That I must leave ye, Sons!  O, were I able 
To waste it all myself, and leave ye none! 
So disinherited, how would you bless 
Me, now your curse!  Ah, why should all mankind, 
For one man's fault, thus guiltless be condemned, 
It guiltless?  But from me what can proceed, 
But all corrupt; both mind and will depraved 
Not to do only, but to will the same 
With me?  How can they then acquitted stand 
In sight of God?  Him, after all disputes, 
Forced I absolve: all my evasions vain, 
And reasonings, though through mazes, lead me still 
But to my own conviction: first and last 
On me, me only, as the source and spring 
Of all corruption, all the blame lights due; 
So might the wrath!  Fond wish!couldst thou support 
That burden, heavier than the earth to bear; 
Than all the world much heavier, though divided 
With that bad Woman?  Thus, what thou desirest, 
And what thou fearest, alike destroys all hope 
Of refuge, and concludes thee miserable 
Beyond all past example and future; 
To Satan only like both crime and doom. 
O Conscience! into what abyss of fears 
And horrours hast thou driven me; out of which 
I find no way, from deep to deeper plunged! 
Thus Adam to himself lamented loud, 
Through the still night; not now, as ere Man fell, 
Wholesome, and cool, and mild, but with black air 
Accompanied; with damps, and dreadful gloom; 
Which to his evil conscience represented 
All things with double terrour:  On the ground 
Outstretched he lay, on the cold ground; and oft 
Cursed his creation;  Death as oft accused 
Of tardy execution, since denounced 
The day of his offence.  Why comes not Death, 
Said he, with one thrice-acceptable stroke 
To end me?  Shall Truth fail to keep her word, 
Justice Divine not hasten to be just? 
But Death comes not at call; Justice Divine 
Mends not her slowest pace for prayers or cries, 
O woods, O fountains, hillocks, dales, and bowers! 
With other echo late I taught your shades 
To answer, and resound far other song.-- 
Whom thus afflicted when sad Eve beheld, 
Desolate where she sat, approaching nigh, 
Soft words to his fierce passion she assayed: 
But her with stern regard he thus repelled. 
Out of my sight, thou Serpent!  That name best 
Befits thee with him leagued, thyself as false 
And hateful; nothing wants, but that thy shape, 
Like his, and colour serpentine, may show 
Thy inward fraud; to warn all creatures from thee 
Henceforth; lest that too heavenly form, pretended 
To hellish falshood, snare them!  But for thee 
I had persisted happy; had not thy pride 
And wandering vanity, when least was safe, 
Rejected my forewarning, and disdained 
Not to be trusted; longing to be seen, 
Though by the Devil himself; him overweening 
To over-reach; but, with the serpent meeting, 
Fooled and beguiled; by him thou, I by thee 
To trust thee from my side; imagined wise, 
Constant, mature, proof against all assaults; 
And understood not all was but a show, 
Rather than solid virtue; all but a rib 
Crooked by nature, bent, as now appears, 
More to the part sinister, from me drawn; 
Well if thrown out, as supernumerary 
To my just number found.  O! why did God, 
Creator wise, that peopled highest Heaven 
With Spirits masculine, create at last 
This novelty on earth, this fair defect 
Of nature, and not fill the world at once 
With Men, as Angels, without feminine; 
Or find some other way to generate 
Mankind?  This mischief had not been befallen, 
And more that shall befall; innumerable 
Disturbances on earth through female snares, 
And strait conjunction with this sex: for either 
He never shall find out fit mate, but such 
As some misfortune brings him, or mistake; 
Or whom he wishes most shall seldom gain 
Through her perverseness, but shall see her gained 
By a far worse; or, if she love, withheld 
By parents; or his happiest choice too late 
Shall meet, already linked and wedlock-bound 
To a fell adversary, his hate or shame: 
Which infinite calamity shall cause 
To human life, and houshold peace confound. 
He added not, and from her turned; but Eve, 
Not so repulsed, with tears that ceased not flowing 
And tresses all disordered, at his feet 
Fell humble; and, embracing them, besought 
His peace, and thus proceeded in her plaint. 
Forsake me not thus, Adam! witness Heaven 
What love sincere, and reverence in my heart 
I bear thee, and unweeting have offended, 
Unhappily deceived!  Thy suppliant 
I beg, and clasp thy knees; bereave me not, 
Whereon I live, thy gentle looks, thy aid, 
Thy counsel, in this uttermost distress, 
My only strength and stay:  Forlorn of thee, 
Whither shall I betake me, where subsist? 
While yet we live, scarce one short hour perhaps, 
Between us two let there be peace; both joining, 
As joined in injuries, one enmity 
Against a foe by doom express assigned us, 
That cruel Serpent:  On me exercise not 
Thy hatred for this misery befallen; 
On me already lost, me than thyself 
More miserable!  Both have sinned;but thou 
Against God only; I against God and thee; 
And to the place of judgement will return, 
There with my cries importune Heaven; that all 
The sentence, from thy head removed, may light 
On me, sole cause to thee of all this woe; 
Me, me only, just object of his ire! 
She ended weeping; and her lowly plight, 
Immoveable, till peace obtained from fault 
Acknowledged and deplored, in Adam wrought 
Commiseration:  Soon his heart relented 
Towards her, his life so late, and sole delight, 
Now at his feet submissive in distress; 
Creature so fair his reconcilement seeking, 
His counsel, whom she had displeased, his aid: 
As one disarmed, his anger all he lost, 
And thus with peaceful words upraised her soon. 
Unwary, and too desirous, as before, 
So now of what thou knowest not, who desirest 
The punishment all on thyself; alas! 
Bear thine own first, ill able to sustain 
His full wrath, whose thou feelest as yet least part, 
And my displeasure bearest so ill.  If prayers 
Could alter high decrees, I to that place 
Would speed before thee, and be louder heard, 
That on my head all might be visited; 
Thy frailty and infirmer sex forgiven, 
To me committed, and by me exposed. 
But rise;--let us no more contend, nor blame 
Each other, blamed enough elsewhere; but strive 
In offices of love, how we may lighten 
Each other's burden, in our share of woe; 
Since this day's death denounced, if aught I see, 
Will prove no sudden, but a slow-paced evil; 
A long day's dying, to augment our pain; 
And to our seed (O hapless seed!) derived. 
To whom thus Eve, recovering heart, replied. 
Adam, by sad experiment I know 
How little weight my words with thee can find, 
Found so erroneous; thence by just event 
Found so unfortunate:  Nevertheless, 
Restored by thee, vile as I am, to place 
Of new acceptance, hopeful to regain 
Thy love, the sole contentment of my heart 
Living or dying, from thee I will not hide 
What thoughts in my unquiet breast are risen, 
Tending to some relief of our extremes, 
Or end; though sharp and sad, yet tolerable, 
As in our evils, and of easier choice. 
If care of our descent perplex us most, 
Which must be born to certain woe, devoured 
By Death at last; and miserable it is 
To be to others cause of misery, 
Our own begotten, and of our loins to bring 
Into this cursed world a woeful race, 
That after wretched life must be at last 
Food for so foul a monster; in thy power 
It lies, yet ere conception to prevent 
The race unblest, to being yet unbegot. 
Childless thou art, childless remain: so Death 
Shall be deceived his glut, and with us two 
Be forced to satisfy his ravenous maw. 
But if thou judge it hard and difficult, 
Conversing, looking, loving, to abstain 
From love's due rights, nuptial embraces sweet; 
And with desire to languish without hope, 
Before the present object languishing 
With like desire; which would be misery 
And torment less than none of what we dread; 
Then, both ourselves and seed at once to free 
From what we fear for both, let us make short, -- 
Let us seek Death; -- or, he not found, supply 
With our own hands his office on ourselves: 
Why stand we longer shivering under fears, 
That show no end but death, and have the power, 
Of many ways to die the shortest choosing, 
Destruction with destruction to destroy? -- 
She ended here, or vehement despair 
Broke off the rest: so much of death her thoughts 
Had entertained, as dyed her cheeks with pale. 
But Adam, with such counsel nothing swayed, 
To better hopes his more attentive mind 
Labouring had raised; and thus to Eve replied. 
Eve, thy contempt of life and pleasure seems 
To argue in thee something more sublime 
And excellent, than what thy mind contemns; 
But self-destruction therefore sought, refutes 
That excellence thought in thee; and implies, 
Not thy contempt, but anguish and regret 
For loss of life and pleasure overloved. 
Or if thou covet death, as utmost end 
Of misery, so thinking to evade 
The penalty pronounced; doubt not but God 
Hath wiselier armed his vengeful ire, than so 
To be forestalled; much more I fear lest death, 
So snatched, will not exempt us from the pain 
We are by doom to pay; rather, such acts 
Of contumacy will provoke the Highest 
To make death in us live:  Then let us seek 
Some safer resolution, which methinks 
I have in view, calling to mind with heed 
Part of our sentence, that thy seed shall bruise 
The Serpent's head; piteous amends! unless 
Be meant, whom I conjecture, our grand foe, 
Satan; who, in the serpent, hath contrived 
Against us this deceit:  To crush his head 
Would be revenge indeed! which will be lost 
By death brought on ourselves, or childless days 
Resolved, as thou proposest; so our foe 
Shal 'scape his punishment ordained, and we 
Instead shall double ours upon our heads. 
No more be mentioned then of violence 
Against ourselves; and wilful barrenness, 
That cuts us off from hope; and savours only 
Rancour and pride, impatience and despite, 
Reluctance against God and his just yoke 
Laid on our necks.  Remember with what mild 
And gracious temper he both heard, and judged, 
Without wrath or reviling; we expected 
Immediate dissolution, which we thought 
Was meant by death that day; when lo!to thee 
Pains only in child-bearing were foretold, 
And bringing forth; soon recompensed with joy, 
Fruit of thy womb:  On me the curse aslope 
Glanced on the ground; with labour I must earn 
My bread; what harm? Idleness had been worse; 
My labour will sustain me; and, lest cold 
Or heat should injure us, his timely care 
Hath, unbesought, provided; and his hands 
Clothed us unworthy, pitying while he judged; 
How much more, if we pray him, will his ear 
Be open, and his heart to pity incline, 
And teach us further by what means to shun 
The inclement seasons, rain, ice, hail, and snow! 
Which now the sky, with various face, begins 
To show us in this mountain; while the winds 
Blow moist and keen, shattering the graceful locks 
Of these fair spreading trees; which bids us seek 
Some better shroud, some better warmth to cherish 
Our limbs benummed, ere this diurnal star 
Leave cold the night, how we his gathered beams 
Reflected may with matter sere foment; 
Or, by collision of two bodies, grind 
The air attrite to fire; as late the clouds 
Justling, or pushed with winds, rude in their shock, 
Tine the slant lightning; whose thwart flame, driven down 
Kindles the gummy bark of fir or pine; 
And sends a comfortable heat from far, 
Which might supply the sun:  Such fire to use, 
And what may else be remedy or cure 
To evils which our own misdeeds have wrought, 
He will instruct us praying, and of grace 
Beseeching him; so as we need not fear 
To pass commodiously this life, sustained 
By him with many comforts, till we end 
In dust, our final rest and native home. 
What better can we do, than, to the place 
Repairing where he judged us, prostrate fall 
Before him reverent; and there confess 
Humbly our faults, and pardon beg; with tears 
Watering the ground, and with our sighs the air 
Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign 
Of sorrow unfeigned, and humiliation meek 

Book XI                                                          

Undoubtedly he will relent, and turn 
From his displeasure; in whose look serene, 
When angry most he seemed and most severe, 
What else but favour, grace, and mercy, shone? 
So spake our father penitent; nor Eve 
Felt less remorse: they, forthwith to the place 
Repairing where he judged them, prostrate fell 
Before him reverent; and both confessed 
Humbly their faults, and pardon begged; with tears 
Watering the ground, and with their sighs the air 
Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign 
Of sorrow unfeigned, and humiliation meek. 
Thus they, in lowliest plight, repentant stood 
Praying; for from the mercy-seat above 
Prevenient grace descending had removed 
The stony from their hearts, and made new flesh 
Regenerate grow instead; that sighs now breathed 
Unutterable; which the Spirit of prayer 
Inspired, and winged for Heaven with speedier flight 
Than loudest oratory:  Yet their port 
Not of mean suitors; nor important less 
Seemed their petition, than when the ancient pair 
In fables old, less ancient yet than these, 
Deucalion and chaste Pyrrha, to restore 
The race of mankind drowned, before the shrine 
Of Themis stood devout.  To Heaven their prayers 
Flew up, nor missed the way, by envious winds 
Blown vagabond or frustrate: in they passed 
Dimensionless through heavenly doors; then clad 
With incense, where the golden altar fumed, 
By their great intercessour, came in sight 
Before the Father's throne: them the glad Son 
Presenting, thus to intercede began. 
See$ Father, what first-fruits on earth are sprung 
From thy implanted grace in Man; these sighs 
And prayers, which in this golden censer mixed 
With incense, I thy priest before thee bring; 
Fruits of more pleasing savour, from thy seed 
Sown with contrition in his heart, than those 
Which, his own hand manuring, all the trees 
Of Paradise could have produced, ere fallen 
From innocence.  Now therefore, bend thine ear 
To supplication; hear his sighs, though mute; 
Unskilful with what words to pray, let me 
Interpret for him; me, his advocate 
And propitiation; all his works on me, 
Good, or not good, ingraft; my merit those 
Shall perfect, and for these my death shall pay. 
Accept me; and, in me, from these receive 
The smell of peace toward mankind: let him live 
Before thee reconciled, at least his days 
Numbered, though sad; till death, his doom, (which I 
To mitigate thus plead, not to reverse,) 
To better life shall yield him: where with me 
All my redeemed may dwell in joy and bliss; 
Made one with me, as I with thee am one. 
To whom the Father, without cloud, serene. 
All thy request for Man, accepted Son, 
Obtain; all thy request was my decree: 
But, longer in that Paradise to dwell, 
The law I gave to Nature him forbids: 
Those pure immortal elements, that know, 
No gross, no unharmonious mixture foul, 
Eject him, tainted now; and purge him off, 
As a distemper, gross, to air as gross, 
And mortal food; as may dispose him best 
For dissolution wrought by sin, that first 
Distempered all things, and of incorrupt 
Corrupted.  I, at first, with two fair gifts 
Created him endowed; with happiness, 
And immortality: that fondly lost, 
This other served but to eternize woe; 
Till I provided death: so death becomes 
His final remedy; and, after life, 
Tried in sharp tribulation, and refined 
By faith and faithful works, to second life, 
Waked in the renovation of the just, 
Resigns him up with Heaven and Earth renewed. 
But let us call to synod all the Blest, 
Through Heaven's wide bounds: from them I will not hide 
My judgements; how with mankind I proceed, 
As how with peccant Angels late they saw, 
And in their state, though firm, stood more confirmed. 
He ended, and the Son gave signal high 
To the bright minister that watched; he blew 
His trumpet, heard in Oreb since perhaps 
When God descended, and perhaps once more 
To sound at general doom.  The angelick blast 
Filled all the regions: from their blisful bowers 
Of amarantine shade, fountain or spring, 
By the waters of life, where'er they sat 
In fellowships of joy, the sons of light 
Hasted, resorting to the summons high; 
And took their seats; till from his throne supreme 
The Almighty thus pronounced his sovran will. 
O Sons, like one of us Man is become 
To know both good and evil, since his taste 
Of that defended fruit; but let him boast 
His knowledge of good lost, and evil got; 
Happier! had it sufficed him to have known 
Good by itself, and evil not at all. 
He sorrows now, repents, and prays contrite, 
My motions in him; longer than they move, 
His heart I know, how variable and vain, 
Self-left.  Lest therefore his now bolder hand 
Reach also of the tree of life, and eat, 
And live for ever, dream at least to live 
For ever, to remove him I decree, 
And send him from the garden forth to till 
The ground whence he was taken, fitter soil. 
Michael, this my behest have thou in charge; 
Take to thee from among the Cherubim 
Thy choice of flaming warriours, lest the Fiend, 
Or in behalf of Man, or to invade 
Vacant possession, some new trouble raise: 
Haste thee, and from the Paradise of God 
Without remorse drive out the sinful pair; 
From hallowed ground the unholy; and denounce 
To them, and to their progeny, from thence 
Perpetual banishment.  Yet, lest they faint 
At the sad sentence rigorously urged, 
(For I behold them softened, and with tears 
Bewailing their excess,) all terrour hide. 
If patiently thy bidding they obey, 
Dismiss them not disconsolate; reveal 
To Adam what shall come in future days, 
As I shall thee enlighten; intermix 
My covenant in the Woman's seed renewed; 
So send them forth, though sorrowing, yet in peace: 
And on the east side of the garden place, 
Where entrance up from Eden easiest climbs, 
Cherubick watch; and of a sword the flame 
Wide-waving; all approach far off to fright, 
And guard all passage to the tree of life: 
Lest Paradise a receptacle prove 
To Spirits foul, and all my trees their prey; 
With whose stolen fruit Man once more to delude. 
He ceased; and the arch-angelick Power prepared 
For swift descent; with him the cohort bright 
Of watchful Cherubim: four faces each 
Had, like a double Janus; all their shape 
Spangled with eyes more numerous than those 
Of Argus, and more wakeful than to drouse, 
Charmed with Arcadian pipe, the pastoral reed 
Of Hermes, or his opiate rod.  Mean while, 
To re-salute the world with sacred light, 
Leucothea waked; and with fresh dews imbalmed 
The earth; when Adam and first matron Eve 
Had ended now their orisons, and found 
Strength added from above; new hope to spring 
Out of despair; joy, but with fear yet linked; 
Which thus to Eve his welcome words renewed. 
Eve, easily my faith admit, that all 
The good which we enjoy from Heaven descends; 
But, that from us aught should ascend to Heaven 
So prevalent as to concern the mind 
Of God high-blest, or to incline his will, 
Hard to belief may seem; yet this will prayer 
Or one short sigh of human breath, upborne 
Even to the seat of God.  For since I sought 
By prayer the offended Deity to appease; 
Kneeled, and before him humbled all my heart; 
Methought I saw him placable and mild, 
Bending his ear; persuasion in me grew 
That I was heard with favour; peace returned 
Home to my breast, and to my memory 
His promise, that thy seed shall bruise our foe; 
Which, then not minded in dismay, yet now 
Assures me that the bitterness of death 
Is past, and we shall live.  Whence hail to thee, 
Eve rightly called, mother of all mankind, 
Mother of all things living, since by thee 
Man is to live; and all things live for Man. 
To whom thus Eve with sad demeanour meek. 
Ill-worthy I such title should belong 
To me transgressour; who, for thee ordained 
A help, became thy snare; to me reproach 
Rather belongs, distrust, and all dispraise: 
But infinite in pardon was my Judge, 
That I, who first brought death on all, am graced 
The source of life; next favourable thou, 
Who highly thus to entitle me vouchsaf'st, 
Far other name deserving.  But the field 
To labour calls us, now with sweat imposed, 
Though after sleepless night; for see!the morn, 
All unconcerned with our unrest, begins 
Her rosy progress smiling: let us forth; 
I never from thy side henceforth to stray, 
Where'er our day's work lies, though now enjoined 
Laborious, till day droop; while here we dwell, 
What can be toilsome in these pleasant walks? 
Here let us live, though in fallen state, content. 
So spake, so wished much humbled Eve; but Fate 
Subscribed not:  Nature first gave signs, impressed 
On bird, beast, air; air suddenly eclipsed, 
After short blush of morn; nigh in her sight 
The bird of Jove, stooped from his aery tour, 
Two birds of gayest plume before him drove; 
Down from a hill the beast that reigns in woods, 
First hunter then, pursued a gentle brace, 
Goodliest of all the forest, hart and hind; 
Direct to the eastern gate was bent their flight. 
Adam observed, and with his eye the chase 
Pursuing, not unmoved, to Eve thus spake. 
O Eve, some further change awaits us nigh, 
Which Heaven, by these mute signs in Nature, shows 
Forerunners of his purpose; or to warn 
Us, haply too secure, of our discharge 
From penalty, because from death released 
Some days: how long, and what till then our life, 
Who knows? or more than this, that we are dust, 
And thither must return, and be no more? 
Why else this double object in our sight 
Of flight pursued in the air, and o'er the ground, 
One way the self-same hour? why in the east 
Darkness ere day's mid-course, and morning-light 
More orient in yon western cloud, that draws 
O'er the blue firmament a radiant white, 
And slow descends with something heavenly fraught? 
He erred not; for by this the heavenly bands 
Down from a sky of jasper lighted now 
In Paradise, and on a hill made halt; 
A glorious apparition, had not doubt 
And carnal fear that day dimmed Adam's eye. 
Not that more glorious, when the Angels met 
Jacob in Mahanaim, where he saw 
The field pavilioned with his guardians bright; 
Nor that, which on the flaming mount appeared 
In Dothan, covered with a camp of fire, 
Against the Syrian king, who to surprise 
One man, assassin-like, had levied war, 
War unproclaimed.  The princely Hierarch 
In their bright stand there left his Powers, to seise 
Possession of the garden; he alone, 
To find where Adam sheltered, took his way, 
Not unperceived of Adam; who to Eve, 
While the great visitant approached, thus spake. 
Eve$ now expect great tidings, which perhaps 
Of us will soon determine, or impose 
New laws to be observed; for I descry, 
From yonder blazing cloud that veils the hill, 
One of the heavenly host; and, by his gait, 
None of the meanest; some great Potentate 
Or of the Thrones above; such majesty 
Invests him coming! yet not terrible, 
That I should fear; nor sociably mild, 
As Raphael, that I should much confide; 
But solemn and sublime; whom not to offend, 
With reverence I must meet, and thou retire. 
He ended: and the Arch-Angel soon drew nigh, 
Not in his shape celestial, but as man 
Clad to meet man; over his lucid arms 
A military vest of purple flowed, 
Livelier than Meliboean, or the grain 
Of Sarra, worn by kings and heroes old 
In time of truce; Iris had dipt the woof; 
His starry helm unbuckled showed him prime 
In manhood where youth ended; by his side, 
As in a glistering zodiack, hung the sword, 
Satan's dire dread; and in his hand the spear. 
Adam bowed low; he, kingly, from his state 
Inclined not, but his coming thus declared. 
Adam, Heaven's high behest no preface needs: 
Sufficient that thy prayers are heard; and Death, 
Then due by sentence when thou didst transgress, 
Defeated of his seisure many days 
Given thee of grace; wherein thou mayest repent, 
And one bad act with many deeds well done 
Mayest cover:  Well may then thy Lord, appeased, 
Redeem thee quite from Death's rapacious claim; 
But longer in this Paradise to dwell 
Permits not: to remove thee I am come, 
And send thee from the garden forth to till 
The ground whence thou wast taken, fitter soil. 
He added not; for Adam at the news 
Heart-struck with chilling gripe of sorrow stood, 
That all his senses bound; Eve, who unseen 
Yet all had heard, with audible lament 
Discovered soon the place of her retire. 
O unexpected stroke, worse than of Death! 
Must I thus leave thee$ Paradise? thus leave 
Thee, native soil! these happy walks and shades, 
Fit haunt of Gods? where I had hope to spend, 
Quiet though sad, the respite of that day 
That must be mortal to us both.  O flowers, 
That never will in other climate grow, 
My early visitation, and my last 

 ;t even, which I bred up with tender hand 
From the first opening bud, and gave ye names! 
Who now shall rear ye to the sun, or rank 
Your tribes, and water from the ambrosial fount? 
Thee lastly, nuptial bower! by me adorned 
With what to sight or smell was sweet! from thee 
How shall I part, and whither wander down 
Into a lower world; to this obscure 
And wild? how shall we breathe in other air 
Less pure, accustomed to immortal fruits? 
Whom thus the Angel interrupted mild. 
Lament not, Eve, but patiently resign 
What justly thou hast lost, nor set thy heart, 
Thus over-fond, on that which is not thine: 
Thy going is not lonely; with thee goes 
Thy husband; whom to follow thou art bound; 
Where he abides, think there thy native soil. 
Adam, by this from the cold sudden damp 
Recovering, and his scattered spirits returned, 
To Michael thus his humble words addressed. 
Celestial, whether among the Thrones, or named 
Of them the highest; for such of shape may seem 
Prince above princes! gently hast thou told 
Thy message, which might else in telling wound, 
And in performing end us; what besides 
Of sorrow, and dejection, and despair, 
Our frailty can sustain, thy tidings bring, 
Departure from this happy place, our sweet 
Recess, and only consolation left 
Familiar to our eyes! all places else 
Inhospitable appear, and desolate; 
Nor knowing us, nor known:  And, if by prayer 
Incessant I could hope to change the will 
Of Him who all things can, I would not cease 
To weary him with my assiduous cries: 
But prayer against his absolute decree 
No more avails than breath against the wind, 
Blown stifling back on him that breathes it forth: 
Therefore to his great bidding I submit. 
This most afflicts me, that, departing hence, 
As from his face I shall be hid, deprived 
His blessed countenance:  Here I could frequent 
With worship place by place where he vouchsafed 
Presence Divine; and to my sons relate, 
'On this mount he appeared; under this tree 
'Stood visible; among these pines his voice 
'I heard; here with him at this fountain talked: 
So many grateful altars I would rear 
Of grassy turf, and pile up every stone 
Of lustre from the brook, in memory, 
Or monument to ages; and theron 
Offer sweet-smelling gums, and fruits, and flowers: 
In yonder nether world where shall I seek 
His bright appearances, or foot-step trace? 
For though I fled him angry, yet recalled 
To life prolonged and promised race, I now 
Gladly behold though but his utmost skirts 
Of glory; and far off his steps adore. 
To whom thus Michael with regard benign. 
Adam, thou knowest Heaven his, and all the Earth; 
Not this rock only; his Omnipresence fills 
Land, sea, and air, and every kind that lives, 
Fomented by his virtual power and warmed: 
All the earth he gave thee to possess and rule, 
No despicable gift; surmise not then 
His presence to these narrow bounds confined 
Of Paradise, or Eden: this had been 
Perhaps thy capital seat, from whence had spread 
All generations; and had hither come 
From all the ends of the earth, to celebrate 
And reverence thee, their great progenitor. 
But this pre-eminence thou hast lost, brought down 
To dwell on even ground now with thy sons: 
Yet doubt not but in valley, and in plain, 
God is, as here; and will be found alike 
Present; and of his presence many a sign 
Still following thee, still compassing thee round 
With goodness and paternal love, his face 
Express, and of his steps the track divine. 
Which that thou mayest believe, and be confirmed 
Ere thou from hence depart; know, I am sent 
To show thee what shall come in future days 
To thee, and to thy offspring: good with bad 
Expect to hear; supernal grace contending 
With sinfulness of men; thereby to learn 
True patience, and to temper joy with fear 
And pious sorrow; equally inured 
By moderation either state to bear, 
Prosperous or adverse: so shalt thou lead 
Safest thy life, and best prepared endure 
Thy mortal passage when it comes.--Ascend 
This hill; let Eve (for I have drenched her eyes) 
Here sleep below; while thou to foresight wakest; 
As once thou sleptst, while she to life was formed. 
To whom thus Adam gratefully replied. 
Ascend, I follow thee, safe Guide, the path 
Thou leadest me; and to the hand of Heaven submit, 
However chastening; to the evil turn 
My obvious breast; arming to overcome 
By suffering, and earn rest from labour won, 
If so I may attain. -- So both ascend 
In the visions of God.  It was a hill, 
Of Paradise the highest; from whose top 
The hemisphere of earth, in clearest ken, 
Stretched out to the amplest reach of prospect lay. 
Not higher that hill, nor wider looking round, 
Whereon, for different cause, the Tempter set 
Our second Adam, in the wilderness; 
To show him all Earth's kingdoms, and their glory. 
His eye might there command wherever stood 
City of old or modern fame, the seat 
Of mightiest empire, from the destined walls 
Of Cambalu, seat of Cathaian Can, 
And Samarchand by Oxus, Temir's throne, 
To Paquin of Sinaean kings; and thence 
To Agra and Lahor of great Mogul, 
Down to the golden Chersonese; or where 
The Persian in Ecbatan sat, or since 
In Hispahan; or where the Russian Ksar 
In Mosco; or the Sultan in Bizance, 
Turchestan-born; nor could his eye not ken 
The empire of Negus to his utmost port 
Ercoco, and the less maritim kings 
Mombaza, and Quiloa, and Melind, 
And Sofala, thought Ophir, to the realm 
Of Congo, and Angola farthest south; 
Or thence from Niger flood to Atlas mount 
The kingdoms of Almansor, Fez and Sus, 
Morocco, and Algiers, and Tremisen; 
On Europe thence, and where Rome was to sway 
The world: in spirit perhaps he also saw 
Rich Mexico, the seat of Montezume, 
And Cusco in Peru, the richer seat 
Of Atabalipa; and yet unspoiled 
Guiana, whose great city Geryon's sons 
Call El Dorado.  But to nobler sights 
Michael from Adam's eyes the film removed, 
Which that false fruit that promised clearer sight 
Had bred; then purged with euphrasy and rue 
The visual nerve, for he had much to see; 
And from the well of life three drops instilled. 
So deep the power of these ingredients pierced, 
Even to the inmost seat of mental sight, 
That Adam, now enforced to close his eyes, 
Sunk down, and all his spirits became entranced; 
But him the gentle Angel by the hand 
Soon raised, and his attention thus recalled. 
Adam, now ope thine eyes; and first behold 
The effects, which thy original crime hath wrought 
In some to spring from thee; who never touched 
The excepted tree; nor with the snake conspired; 
Nor sinned thy sin; yet from that sin derive 
Corruption, to bring forth more violent deeds. 
His eyes he opened, and beheld a field, 
Part arable and tilth, whereon were sheaves 
New reaped; the other part sheep-walks and folds; 
I' the midst an altar as the land-mark stood, 
Rustick, of grassy sord; thither anon 
A sweaty reaper from his tillage brought 
First fruits, the green ear, and the yellow sheaf, 
Unculled, as came to hand; a shepherd next, 
More meek, came with the firstlings of his flock, 
Choicest and best; then, sacrificing, laid 
The inwards and their fat, with incense strowed, 
On the cleft wood, and all due rights performed: 
His offering soon propitious fire from Heaven 
Consumed with nimble glance, and grateful steam; 
The other's not, for his was not sincere; 
Whereat he inly raged, and, as they talked, 
Smote him into the midriff with a stone 
That beat out life; he fell;and, deadly pale, 
Groaned out his soul with gushing blood effused. 
Much at that sight was Adam in his heart 
Dismayed, and thus in haste to the Angel cried. 
O Teacher, some great mischief hath befallen 
To that meek man, who well had sacrificed; 
Is piety thus and pure devotion paid? 
To whom Michael thus, he also moved, replied. 
These two are brethren, Adam, and to come 
Out of thy loins; the unjust the just hath slain, 
For envy that his brother's offering found 
From Heaven acceptance; but the bloody fact 
Will be avenged; and the other's faith, approved, 
Lose no reward; though here thou see him die, 
Rolling in dust and gore.  To which our sire. 
Alas! both for the deed, and for the cause! 
But have I now seen Death?  Is this the way 
I must return to native dust?  O sight 
Of terrour, foul and ugly to behold, 
Horrid to think, how horrible to feel! 
To whom thus Michael.  Death thou hast seen 
In his first shape on Man; but many shapes 
Of Death, and many are the ways that lead 
To his grim cave, all dismal; yet to sense 
More terrible at the entrance, than within. 
Some, as thou sawest, by violent stroke shall die; 
By fire, flood, famine, by intemperance more 
In meats and drinks, which on the earth shall bring 
Diseases dire, of which a monstrous crew 
Before thee shall appear; that thou mayest know 
What misery the inabstinence of Eve 
Shall bring on Men.  Immediately a place 
Before his eyes appeared, sad, noisome, dark; 
A lazar-house it seemed; wherein were laid 
Numbers of all diseased; all maladies 
Of ghastly spasm, or racking torture, qualms 
Of heart-sick agony, all feverous kinds, 
Convulsions, epilepsies, fierce catarrhs, 
Intestine stone and ulcer, colick-pangs, 
Demoniack phrenzy, moaping melancholy, 
And moon-struck madness, pining atrophy, 
Marasmus, and wide-wasting pestilence, 
Dropsies, and asthmas, and joint-racking rheums. 
Dire was the tossing, deep the groans; Despair 
Tended the sick busiest from couch to couch; 
And over them triumphant Death his dart 
Shook, but delayed to strike, though oft invoked 
With vows, as their chief good, and final hope. 
Sight so deform what heart of rock could long 
Dry-eyed behold?  Adam could not, but wept, 
Though not of woman born; compassion quelled 
His best of man, and gave him up to tears 
A space, till firmer thoughts restrained excess; 
And, scarce recovering words, his plaint renewed. 
O miserable mankind, to what fall 
Degraded, to what wretched state reserved! 
Better end here unborn.  Why is life given 
To be thus wrested from us? rather, why 
Obtruded on us thus? who, if we knew 
What we receive, would either no accept 
Life offered, or soon beg to lay it down; 
Glad to be so dismissed in peace.  Can thus 
The image of God in Man, created once 
So goodly and erect, though faulty since, 
To such unsightly sufferings be debased 
Under inhuman pains?  Why should not Man, 
Retaining still divine similitude 
In part, from such deformities be free, 
And, for his Maker's image sake, exempt? 
Their Maker's image, answered Michael, then 
Forsook them, when themselves they vilified 
To serve ungoverned Appetite; and took 
His image whom they served, a brutish vice, 
Inductive mainly to the sin of Eve. 
Therefore so abject is their punishment, 
Disfiguring not God's likeness, but their own; 
Or if his likeness, by themselves defaced; 
While they pervert pure Nature's healthful rules 
To loathsome sickness; worthily, since they 
God's image did not reverence in themselves. 
I yield it just, said Adam, and submit. 
But is there yet no other way, besides 
These painful passages, how we may come 
To death, and mix with our connatural dust? 
There is, said Michael, if thou well observe 
The rule of Not too much; by temperance taught, 
In what thou eatest and drinkest; seeking from thence 
Due nourishment, not gluttonous delight, 
Till many years over thy head return: 
So mayest thou live; till, like ripe fruit, thou drop 
Into thy mother's lap; or be with ease 
Gathered, nor harshly plucked; for death mature: 
This is Old Age; but then, thou must outlive 
Thy youth, thy strength, thy beauty; which will change 
To withered, weak, and gray; thy senses then, 
Obtuse, all taste of pleasure must forego, 
To what thou hast; and, for the air of youth, 
Hopeful and cheerful, in thy blood will reign 
A melancholy damp of cold and dry 
To weigh thy spirits down, and last consume 
The balm of life.  To whom our ancestor. 
Henceforth I fly not death, nor would prolong 
Life much; bent rather, how I may be quit, 
Fairest and easiest, of this cumbrous charge; 
Which I must keep till my appointed day 
Of rendering up, and patiently attend 
My dissolution.  Michael replied. 
Nor love thy life, nor hate; but what thou livest 
Live well; how long, or short, permit to Heaven: 
And now prepare thee for another sight. 
He looked, and saw a spacious plain, whereon 
Were tents of various hue; by some, were herds 
Of cattle grazing; others, whence the sound 
Of instruments, that made melodious chime, 
Was heard, of harp and organ; and, who moved 
Their stops and chords, was seen; his volant touch, 
Instinct through all proportions, low and high, 
Fled and pursued transverse the resonant fugue. 
In other part stood one who, at the forge 
Labouring, two massy clods of iron and brass 
Had melted, (whether found where casual fire 
Had wasted woods on mountain or in vale, 
Down to the veins of earth; thence gliding hot 
To some cave's mouth; or whether washed by stream 
From underground;) the liquid ore he drained 
Into fit moulds prepared; from which he formed 
First his own tools; then, what might else be wrought 
Fusil or graven in metal.  After these, 
But on the hither side, a different sort 
From the high neighbouring hills, which was their seat, 
Down to the plain descended; by their guise 
Just men they seemed, and all their study bent 
To worship God aright, and know his works 
Not hid; nor those things last, which might preserve 
Freedom and peace to Men; they on the plain 
Long had not walked, when from the tents, behold! 
A bevy of fair women, richly gay 
In gems and wanton dress; to the harp they sung 
Soft amorous ditties, and in dance came on: 
The men, though grave, eyed them; and let their eyes 
Rove without rein; till, in the amorous net 
Fast caught, they liked; and each his liking chose; 
And now of love they treat, till the evening-star, 
Love's harbinger, appeared; then, all in heat 
They light the nuptial torch, and bid invoke 
Hymen, then first to marriage rites invoked: 
With feast and musick all the tents resound. 
Such happy interview, and fair event 
Of love and youth not lost, songs, garlands, flowers, 
And charming symphonies, attached the heart 
Of Adam, soon inclined to admit delight, 
The bent of nature; which he thus expressed. 
True opener of mine eyes, prime Angel blest; 
Much better seems this vision, and more hope 
Of peaceful days portends, than those two past; 
Those were of hate and death, or pain much worse; 
Here Nature seems fulfilled in all her ends. 
To whom thus Michael.  Judge not what is best 
By pleasure, though to nature seeming meet; 
Created, as thou art, to nobler end 
Holy and pure, conformity divine. 
Those tents thou sawest so pleasant, were the tents 
Of wickedness, wherein shall dwell his race 
Who slew his brother; studious they appear 
Of arts that polish life, inventers rare; 
Unmindful of their Maker, though his Spirit 
Taught them; but they his gifts acknowledged none. 
Yet they a beauteous offspring shall beget; 
For that fair female troop thou sawest, that seemed 
Of Goddesses, so blithe, so smooth, so gay, 
Yet empty of all good wherein consists 
Woman's domestick honour and chief praise; 
Bred only and completed to the taste 
Of lustful appetence, to sing, to dance, 
To dress, and troll the tongue, and roll the eye: 
To these that sober race of men, whose lives 
Religious titled them the sons of God, 
Shall yield up all their virtue, all their fame 
Ignobly, to the trains and to the smiles 
Of these fair atheists; and now swim in joy, 
Erelong to swim at large; and laugh, for which 
The world erelong a world of tears must weep. 
To whom thus Adam, of short joy bereft. 
O pity and shame, that they, who to live well 
Entered so fair, should turn aside to tread 
Paths indirect, or in the mid way faint! 
But still I see the tenour of Man's woe 
Holds on the same, from Woman to begin. 
From Man's effeminate slackness it begins, 
Said the Angel, who should better hold his place 
By wisdom, and superiour gifts received. 
But now prepare thee for another scene. 
He looked, and saw wide territory spread 
Before him, towns, and rural works between; 
Cities of men with lofty gates and towers, 
Concourse in arms, fierce faces threatening war, 
Giants of mighty bone and bold emprise; 
Part wield their arms, part curb the foaming steed, 
Single or in array of battle ranged 
Both horse and foot, nor idly mustering stood; 
One way a band select from forage drives 
A herd of beeves, fair oxen and fair kine, 
From a fat meadow ground; or fleecy flock, 
Ewes and their bleating lambs over the plain, 
Their booty; scarce with life the shepherds fly, 
But call in aid, which makes a bloody fray; 
With cruel tournament the squadrons join; 
Where cattle pastured late, now scattered lies 
With carcasses and arms the ensanguined field, 
Deserted:  Others to a city strong 
Lay siege, encamped; by battery, scale, and mine, 
Assaulting; others from the wall defend 
With dart and javelin, stones, and sulphurous fire; 
On each hand slaughter, and gigantick deeds. 
In other part the sceptered heralds call 
To council, in the city-gates; anon 
Gray-headed men and grave, with warriours mixed, 
Assemble, and harangues are heard; but soon, 
In factious opposition; till at last, 
Of middle age one rising, eminent 
In wise deport, spake much of right and wrong, 
Of justice, or religion, truth, and peace, 
And judgement from above: him old and young 
Exploded, and had seized with violent hands, 
Had not a cloud descending snatched him thence 
Unseen amid the throng: so violence 
Proceeded, and oppression, and sword-law, 
Through all the plain, and refuge none was found. 
Adam was all in tears, and to his guide 
Lamenting turned full sad; O!what are these, 
Death's ministers, not men? who thus deal death 
Inhumanly to men, and multiply 
Ten thousandfold the sin of him who slew 
His brother: for of whom such massacre 
Make they, but of their brethren; men of men 
But who was that just man, whom had not Heaven 
Rescued, had in his righteousness been lost? 
To whom thus Michael.  These are the product 
Of those ill-mated marriages thou sawest; 
Where good with bad were matched, who of themselves 
Abhor to join; and, by imprudence mixed, 
Produce prodigious births of body or mind. 
Such were these giants, men of high renown; 
For in those days might only shall be admired, 
And valour and heroick virtue called; 
To overcome in battle, and subdue 
Nations, and bring home spoils with infinite 
Man-slaughter, shall be held the highest pitch 
Of human glory; and for glory done 
Of triumph, to be styled great conquerours 
Patrons of mankind, Gods, and sons of Gods; 
Destroyers rightlier called, and plagues of men. 
Thus fame shall be achieved, renown on earth; 
And what most merits fame, in silence hid. 
But he, the seventh from thee, whom thou beheldst 
The only righteous in a world preverse, 
And therefore hated, therefore so beset 
With foes, for daring single to be just, 
And utter odious truth, that God would come 
To judge them with his Saints; him the Most High 
Rapt in a balmy cloud with winged steeds 
Did, as thou sawest, receive, to walk with God 
High in salvation and the climes of bliss, 
Exempt from death; to show thee what reward 
Awaits the good; the rest what punishment; 
Which now direct thine eyes and soon behold. 
He looked, and saw the face of things quite changed; 
The brazen throat of war had ceased to roar; 
All now was turned to jollity and game, 
To luxury and riot, feast and dance; 
Marrying or prostituting, as befel, 
Rape or adultery, where passing fair 
Allured them; thence from cups to civil broils. 
At length a reverend sire among them came, 
And of their doings great dislike declared, 
And testified against their ways; he oft 
Frequented their assemblies, whereso met, 
Triumphs or festivals; and to them preached 
Conversion and repentance, as to souls 
In prison, under judgements imminent: 
But all in vain: which when he saw, he ceased 
Contending, and removed his tents far off; 
Then, from the mountain hewing timber tall, 
Began to build a vessel of huge bulk; 
Measured by cubit, length, and breadth, and highth; 
Smeared round with pitch; and in the side a door 
Contrived; and of provisions laid in large, 
For man and beast: when lo, a wonder strange! 
Of every beast, and bird, and insect small, 
Came sevens, and pairs; and entered in as taught 
Their order: last the sire and his three sons, 
With their four wives; and God made fast the door. 
Mean while the south-wind rose, and, with black wings 
Wide-hovering, all the clouds together drove 
From under Heaven; the hills to their supply 
Vapour, and exhalation dusk and moist, 
Sent up amain; and now the thickened sky 
Like a dark cieling stood; down rushed the rain 
Impetuous; and continued, till the earth 
No more was seen: the floating vessel swum 
Uplifted, and secure with beaked prow 
Rode tilting o'er the waves; all dwellings else 
Flood overwhelmed, and them with all their pomp 
Deep under water rolled; sea covered sea, 
Sea without shore; and in their palaces, 
Where luxury late reigned, sea-monsters whelped 
And stabled; of mankind, so numerous late, 
All left, in one small bottom swum imbarked. 
How didst thou grieve then, Adam, to behold 
The end of all thy offspring, end so sad, 
Depopulation!  Thee another flood, 
Of tears and sorrow a flood, thee also drowned, 
And sunk thee as thy sons; till, gently reared 
By the Angel, on thy feet thou stoodest at last, 
Though comfortless; as when a father mourns 
His children, all in view destroyed at once; 
And scarce to the Angel utter'dst thus thy plaint. 
O visions ill foreseen!  Better had I 
Lived ignorant of future! so had borne 
My part of evil only, each day's lot 
Enough to bear; those now, that were dispensed 
The burden of many ages, on me light 
At once, by my foreknowledge gaining birth 
Abortive, to torment me ere their being, 
With thought that they must be.  Let no man seek 
Henceforth to be foretold, what shall befall 
Him or his children; evil he may be sure, 
Which neither his foreknowing can prevent; 
And he the future evil shall no less 
In apprehension than in substance feel, 
Grievous to bear: but that care now is past, 
Man is not whom to warn: those few escaped 
Famine and anguish will at last consume, 
Wandering that watery desart:  I had hope, 
When violence was ceased, and war on earth, 
All would have then gone well; peace would have crowned 
With length of happy days the race of Man; 
But I was far deceived; for now I see 
Peace to corrupt no less than war to waste. 
How comes it thus? unfold, celestial Guide, 
And whether here the race of Man will end. 
To whom thus Michael.  Those, whom last thou sawest 
In triumph and luxurious wealth, are they 
First seen in acts of prowess eminent 
And great exploits, but of true virtue void; 
Who, having spilt much blood, and done much wast 
Subduing nations, and achieved thereby 
Fame in the world, high titles, and rich prey; 
Shall change their course to pleasure, ease, and sloth, 
Surfeit, and lust; till wantonness and pride 
Raise out of friendship hostile deeds in peace. 
The conquered also, and enslaved by war, 
Shall, with their freedom lost, all virtue lose 
And fear of God; from whom their piety feigned 
In sharp contest of battle found no aid 
Against invaders; therefore, cooled in zeal, 
Thenceforth shall practice how to live secure, 
Worldly or dissolute, on what their lords 
Shall leave them to enjoy; for the earth shall bear 
More than enough, that temperance may be tried: 
So all shall turn degenerate, all depraved; 
Justice and temperance, truth and faith, forgot; 
One man except, the only son of light 
In a dark age, against example good, 
Against allurement, custom, and a world 
Offended: fearless of reproach and scorn, 
The grand-child, with twelve sons encreased, departs 
From Canaan, to a land hereafter called 
Egypt, divided by the river Nile; 
See where it flows, disgorging at seven mouths 
Into the sea:  To sojourn in that land 
He comes, invited by a younger son 
In time of dearth; a son, whose worthy deeds 
Raise him to be the second in that realm 
Of Pharaoh:  There he dies, and leaves his race 
Growing into a nation, and now grown 
Suspected to a sequent king, who seeks 
To stop their overgrowth, as inmate guests 
Or violence, he of their wicked ways 
Shall them admonish; and before them set 
The paths of righteousness, how much more safe 
And full of peace; denouncing wrath to come 
On their impenitence; and shall return 
Of them derided, but of God observed 
The one just man alive; by his command 
Shall build a wonderous ark, as thou beheldst, 
To save himself, and houshold, from amidst 
A world devote to universal wrack. 
No sooner he, with them of man and beast 
Select for life, shall in the ark be lodged, 
And sheltered round; but all the cataracts 
Of Heaven set open on the Earth shall pour 
Rain, day and night; all fountains of the deep, 
Broke up, shall heave the ocean to usurp 
Beyond all bounds; till inundation rise 
Above the highest hills:  Then shall this mount 
Of Paradise by might of waves be moved 
Out of his place, pushed by the horned flood, 
With all his verdure spoiled, and trees adrift, 
Down the great river to the opening gulf, 
And there take root an island salt and bare, 
The haunt of seals, and orcs, and sea-mews' clang: 
To teach thee that God attributes to place 
No sanctity, if none be thither brought 
By men who there frequent, or therein dwell. 
And now, what further shall ensue, behold. 
He looked, and saw the ark hull on the flood, 
Which now abated; for the clouds were fled, 
Driven by a keen north-wind, that, blowing dry, 
Wrinkled the face of deluge, as decayed; 
And the clear sun on his wide watery glass 
Gazed hot, and of the fresh wave largely drew, 
As after thirst; which made their flowing shrink 
From standing lake to tripping ebb, that stole 
With soft foot towards the deep; who now had stopt 
His sluces, as the Heaven his windows shut. 
The ark no more now floats, but seems on ground, 
Fast on the top of some high mountain fixed. 
And now the tops of hills, as rocks, appear; 
With clamour thence the rapid currents drive, 
Towards the retreating sea, their furious tide. 
Forthwith from out the ark a raven flies, 
And after him, the surer messenger, 
A dove sent forth once and again to spy 
Green tree or ground, whereon his foot may light: 
The second time returning, in his bill 
An olive-leaf he brings, pacifick sign: 
Anon dry ground appears, and from his ark 
The ancient sire descends, with all his train; 
Then with uplifted hands, and eyes devout, 
Grateful to Heaven, over his head beholds 
A dewy cloud, and in the cloud a bow 
Conspicuous with three lifted colours gay, 
Betokening peace from God, and covenant new. 
Whereat the heart of Adam, erst so sad, 
Greatly rejoiced; and thus his joy broke forth. 
O thou, who future things canst represent 
As present, heavenly Instructer!  I revive 
At this last sight; assured that Man shall live, 
With all the creatures, and their seed preserve. 
Far less I now lament for one whole world 
Of wicked sons destroyed, than I rejoice 
For one man found so perfect, and so just, 
That God vouchsafes to raise another world 
From him, and all his anger to forget. 
But say, what mean those coloured streaks in Heaven 
Distended, as the brow of God appeased? 
Or serve they, as a flowery verge, to bind 
The fluid skirts of that same watery cloud, 
Lest it again dissolve, and shower the earth? 
To whom the Arch-Angel.  Dextrously thou aimest; 
So willingly doth God remit his ire, 
Though late repenting him of Man depraved; 
Grieved at his heart, when looking down he saw 
The whole earth filled with violence, and all flesh 
Corrupting each their way; yet, those removed, 
Such grace shall one just man find in his sight, 
That he relents, not to blot out mankind; 
And makes a covenant never to destroy 
The earth again by flood; nor let the sea 
Surpass his bounds; nor rain to drown the world, 
With man therein or beast; but, when he brings 
Over the earth a cloud, will therein set 
His triple-coloured bow, whereon to look, 
And call to mind his covenant: Day and night, 
Seed-time and harvest, heat and hoary frost, 
Shall hold their course; till fire purge all things new, 
Both Heaven and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell. 

Book XII                                                         

As one who in his journey bates at noon, 
Though bent on speed; so here the Arch-Angel paused 
Betwixt the world destroyed and world restored, 
If Adam aught perhaps might interpose; 
Then, with transition sweet, new speech resumes. 
Thus thou hast seen one world begin, and end; 
And Man, as from a second stock, proceed. 
Much thou hast yet to see; but I perceive 
Thy mortal sight to fail; objects divine 
Must needs impair and weary human sense: 
Henceforth what is to come I will relate; 
Thou therefore give due audience, and attend. 
This second source of Men, while yet but few, 
And while the dread of judgement past remains 
Fresh in their minds, fearing the Deity, 
With some regard to what is just and right 
Shall lead their lives, and multiply apace; 
Labouring the soil, and reaping plenteous crop, 
Corn, wine, and oil; and, from the herd or flock, 
Oft sacrificing bullock, lamb, or kid, 
With large wine-offerings poured, and sacred feast, 
Shall spend their days in joy unblamed; and dwell 
Long time in peace, by families and tribes, 
Under paternal rule: till one shall rise 
Of proud ambitious heart; who, not content 
With fair equality, fraternal state, 
Will arrogate dominion undeserved 
Over his brethren, and quite dispossess 
Concord and law of nature from the earth; 
Hunting (and men not beasts shall be his game) 
With war, and hostile snare, such as refuse 
Subjection to his empire tyrannous: 
A mighty hunter thence he shall be styled 
Before the Lord; as in despite of Heaven, 
Or from Heaven, claiming second sovranty; 
And from rebellion shall derive his name, 
Though of rebellion others he accuse. 
He with a crew, whom like ambition joins 
With him or under him to tyrannize, 
Marching from Eden towards the west, shall find 
The plain, wherein a black bituminous gurge 
Boils out from under ground, the mouth of Hell: 
Of brick, and of that stuff, they cast to build 
A city and tower, whose top may reach to Heaven; 
And get themselves a name; lest, far dispersed 
In foreign lands, their memory be lost; 
Regardless whether good or evil fame. 
But God, who oft descends to visit men 
Unseen, and through their habitations walks 
To mark their doings, them beholding soon, 
Comes down to see their city, ere the tower 
Obstruct Heaven-towers, and in derision sets 
Upon their tongues a various spirit, to rase 
Quite out their native language; and, instead, 
To sow a jangling noise of words unknown: 
Forthwith a hideous gabble rises loud, 
Among the builders; each to other calls 
Not understood; till hoarse, and all in rage, 
As mocked they storm: great laughter was in Heaven, 
And looking down, to see the hubbub strange, 
And hear the din:  Thus was the building left 
Ridiculous, and the work Confusion named. 
Whereto thus Adam, fatherly displeased. 
O execrable son! so to aspire 
Above his brethren; to himself assuming 
Authority usurped, from God not given: 
He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl, 
Dominion absolute; that right we hold 
By his donation; but man over men 
He made not lord; such title to himself 
Reserving, human left from human free. 
But this usurper his encroachment proud 
Stays not on Man; to God his tower intends 
Siege and defiance:  Wretched man!what food 
Will he convey up thither, to sustain 
Himself and his rash army; where thin air 
Above the clouds will pine his entrails gross, 
And famish him of breath, if not of bread? 
To whom thus Michael.  Justly thou abhorrest 
That son, who on the quiet state of men 
Such trouble brought, affecting to subdue 
Rational liberty; yet know withal, 
Since thy original lapse, true liberty 
Is lost, which always with right reason dwells 
Twinned, and from her hath no dividual being: 
Reason in man obscured, or not obeyed, 
Immediately inordinate desires, 
And upstart passions, catch the government 
From reason; and to servitude reduce 
Man, till then free.  Therefore, since he permits 
Within himself unworthy powers to reign 
Over free reason, God, in judgement just, 
Subjects him from without to violent lords; 
Who oft as undeservedly enthrall 
His outward freedom:  Tyranny must be; 
Though to the tyrant thereby no excuse. 
Yet sometimes nations will decline so low 
From virtue, which is reason, that no wrong, 
But justice, and some fatal curse annexed, 
Deprives them of their outward liberty; 
Their inward lost:  Witness the irreverent son 
Of him who built the ark; who, for the shame 
Done to his father, heard this heavy curse, 
Servant of servants, on his vicious race. 
Thus will this latter, as the former world, 
Still tend from bad to worse; till God at last, 
Wearied with their iniquities, withdraw 
His presence from among them, and avert 
His holy eyes; resolving from thenceforth 
To leave them to their own polluted ways; 
And one peculiar nation to select 
From all the rest, of whom to be invoked, 
A nation from one faithful man to spring: 
Him on this side Euphrates yet residing, 
Bred up in idol-worship:  O, that men 
(Canst thou believe?) should be so stupid grown, 
While yet the patriarch lived, who 'scaped the flood, 
As to forsake the living God, and fall 
To worship their own work in wood and stone 
For Gods!  Yet him God the Most High vouchsafes 
To call by vision, from his father's house, 
His kindred, and false Gods, into a land 
Which he will show him; and from him will raise 
A mighty nation; and upon him shower 
His benediction so, that in his seed 
All nations shall be blest: he straight obeys; 
Not knowing to what land, yet firm believes: 
I see him, but thou canst not, with what faith 
He leaves his Gods, his friends, and native soil, 
Ur of Chaldaea, passing now the ford 
To Haran; after him a cumbrous train 
Of herds and flocks, and numerous servitude; 
Not wandering poor, but trusting all his wealth 
With God, who called him, in a land unknown. 
Canaan he now attains; I see his tents 
Pitched about Sechem, and the neighbouring plain 
Of Moreh; there by promise he receives 
Gift to his progeny of all that land, 
From Hameth northward to the Desart south; 
(Things by their names I call, though yet unnamed;) 
From Hermon east to the great western Sea; 
Mount Hermon, yonder sea; each place behold 
In prospect, as I point them; on the shore 
Mount Carmel; here, the double-founted stream, 
Jordan, true limit eastward; but his sons 
Shall dwell to Senir, that long ridge of hills. 
This ponder, that all nations of the earth 
Shall in his seed be blessed:  By that seed 
Is meant thy great Deliverer, who shall bruise 
The Serpent's head; whereof to thee anon 
Plainlier shall be revealed.  This patriarch blest, 
Whom faithful Abraham due time shall call, 
A son, and of his son a grand-child, leaves; 
Like him in faith, in wisdom, and renown: 
The grandchild, with twelve sons increased, departs 
From Canaan to a land hereafter called 
Egypt, divided by the river Nile 
See where it flows, disgorging at seven mouths 
Into the sea. To sojourn in that land 
He comes, invited by a younger son 
In time of dearth, a son whose worthy deeds 
Raise him to be the second in that realm 
Of Pharaoh. There he dies, and leaves his race 
Growing into a nation, and now grown 
Suspected to a sequent king, who seeks 
To stop their overgrowth, as inmate guests 
Too numerous; whence of guests he makes them slaves 
Inhospitably, and kills their infant males: 
Till by two brethren (these two brethren call 
Moses and Aaron) sent from God to claim 
His people from enthralment, they return, 
With glory and spoil, back to their promised land. 
But first, the lawless tyrant, who denies 
To know their God, or message to regard, 
Must be compelled by signs and judgements dire; 
To blood unshed the rivers must be turned; 
Frogs, lice, and flies, must all his palace fill 
With loathed intrusion, and fill all the land; 
His cattle must of rot and murren die; 
Botches and blains must all his flesh emboss, 
And all his people; thunder mixed with hail, 
Hail mixed with fire, must rend the Egyptians sky, 
And wheel on the earth, devouring where it rolls; 
What it devours not, herb, or fruit, or grain, 
A darksome cloud of locusts swarming down 
Must eat, and on the ground leave nothing green; 
Darkness must overshadow all his bounds, 
Palpable darkness, and blot out three days; 
Last, with one midnight stroke, all the first-born 
Of Egypt must lie dead.  Thus with ten wounds 
The river-dragon tamed at length submits 
To let his sojourners depart, and oft 
Humbles his stubborn heart; but still, as ice 
More hardened after thaw; till, in his rage 
Pursuing whom he late dismissed, the sea 
Swallows him with his host; but them lets pass, 
As on dry land, between two crystal walls; 
Awed by the rod of Moses so to stand 
Divided, till his rescued gain their shore: 
Such wondrous power God to his saint will lend, 
Though present in his Angel; who shall go 
Before them in a cloud, and pillar of fire; 
By day a cloud, by night a pillar of fire; 
To guide them in their journey, and remove 
Behind them, while the obdurate king pursues: 
All night he will pursue; but his approach 
Darkness defends between till morning watch; 
Then through the fiery pillar, and the cloud, 
God looking forth will trouble all his host, 
And craze their chariot-wheels: when by command 
Moses once more his potent rod extends 
Over the sea; the sea his rod obeys; 
On their embattled ranks the waves return, 
And overwhelm their war:  The race elect 
Safe toward Canaan from the shore advance 
Through the wild Desart, not the readiest way; 
Lest, entering on the Canaanite alarmed, 
War terrify them inexpert, and fear 
Return them back to Egypt, choosing rather 
Inglorious life with servitude; for life 
To noble and ignoble is more sweet 
Untrained in arms, where rashness leads not on. 
This also shall they gain by their delay 
In the wide wilderness; there they shall found 
Their government, and their great senate choose 
Through the twelve tribes, to rule by laws ordained: 
God from the mount of Sinai, whose gray top 
Shall tremble, he descending, will himself 
In thunder, lightning, and loud trumpets' sound, 
Ordain them laws; part, such as appertain 
To civil justice; part, religious rites 
Of sacrifice; informing them, by types 
And shadows, of that destined Seed to bruise 
The Serpent, by what means he shall achieve 
Mankind's deliverance.  But the voice of God 
To mortal ear is dreadful:  They beseech 
That Moses might report to them his will, 
And terrour cease; he grants what they besought, 
Instructed that to God is no access 
Without Mediator, whose high office now 
Moses in figure bears; to introduce 
One greater, of whose day he shall foretel, 
And all the Prophets in their age the times 
Of great Messiah shall sing.  Thus, laws and rites 
Established, such delight hath God in Men 
Obedient to his will, that he vouchsafes 
Among them to set up his tabernacle; 
The Holy One with mortal Men to dwell: 
By his prescript a sanctuary is framed 
Of cedar, overlaid with gold; therein 
An ark, and in the ark his testimony, 
The records of his covenant; over these 
A mercy-seat of gold, between the wings 
Of two bright Cherubim; before him burn 
Seven lamps as in a zodiack representing 
The heavenly fires; over the tent a cloud 
Shall rest by day, a fiery gleam by night; 
Save when they journey, and at length they come, 
Conducted by his Angel, to the land 
Promised to Abraham and his seed:--The rest 
Were long to tell; how many battles fought 
How many kings destroyed; and kingdoms won; 
Or how the sun shall in mid Heaven stand still 
A day entire, and night's due course adjourn, 
Man's voice commanding, 'Sun, in Gibeon stand, 
'And thou moon in the vale of Aialon, 
'Till Israel overcome! so call the third 
From Abraham, son of Isaac; and from him 
His whole descent, who thus shall Canaan win. 
Here Adam interposed.  O sent from Heaven, 
Enlightener of my darkness, gracious things 
Thou hast revealed; those chiefly, which concern 
Just Abraham and his seed: now first I find 
Mine eyes true-opening, and my heart much eased; 
Erewhile perplexed with thoughts, what would become 
Of me and all mankind:  But now I see 
His day, in whom all nations shall be blest; 
Favour unmerited by me, who sought 
Forbidden knowledge by forbidden means. 
This yet I apprehend not, why to those 
Among whom God will deign to dwell on earth 
So many and so various laws are given; 
So many laws argue so many sins 
Among them; how can God with such reside? 
To whom thus Michael.  Doubt not but that sin 
Will reign among them, as of thee begot; 
And therefore was law given them, to evince 
Their natural pravity, by stirring up 
Sin against law to fight: that when they see 
Law can discover sin, but not remove, 
Save by those shadowy expiations weak, 
The blood of bulls and goats, they may conclude 
Some blood more precious must be paid for Man; 
Just for unjust; that, in such righteousness 
To them by faith imputed, they may find 
Justification towards God, and peace 
Of conscience; which the law by ceremonies 
Cannot appease; nor Man the mortal part 
Perform; and, not performing, cannot live. 
So law appears imperfect; and but given 
With purpose to resign them, in full time, 
Up to a better covenant; disciplined 
From shadowy types to truth; from flesh to spirit; 
From imposition of strict laws to free 
Acceptance of large grace; from servile fear 
To filial; works of law to works of faith. 
And therefore shall not Moses, though of God 
Highly beloved, being but the minister 
Of law, his people into Canaan lead; 
But Joshua, whom the Gentiles Jesus call, 
His name and office bearing, who shall quell 
The adversary-Serpent, and bring back 
Through the world's wilderness long-wandered Man 
Safe to eternal Paradise of rest. 
Mean while they, in their earthly Canaan placed, 
Long time shall dwell and prosper, but when sins 
National interrupt their publick peace, 
Provoking God to raise them enemies; 
From whom as oft he saves them penitent 
By Judges first, then under Kings; of whom 
The second, both for piety renowned 
And puissant deeds, a promise shall receive 
Irrevocable, that his regal throne 
For ever shall endure; the like shall sing 
All Prophecy, that of the royal stock 
Of David (so I name this king) shall rise 
A Son, the Woman's seed to thee foretold, 
Foretold to Abraham, as in whom shall trust 
All nations; and to kings foretold, of kings 
The last; for of his reign shall be no end. 
But first, a long succession must ensue; 
And his next son, for wealth and wisdom famed, 
The clouded ark of God, till then in tents 
Wandering, shall in a glorious temple enshrine. 
Such follow him, as shall be registered 
Part good, part bad; of bad the longer scroll; 
Whose foul idolatries, and other faults 
Heaped to the popular sum, will so incense 
God, as to leave them, and expose their land, 
Their city, his temple, and his holy ark, 
With all his sacred things, a scorn and prey 
To that proud city, whose high walls thou sawest 
Left in confusion; Babylon thence called. 
There in captivity he lets them dwell 
The space of seventy years; then brings them back, 
Remembering mercy, and his covenant sworn 
To David, stablished as the days of Heaven. 
Returned from Babylon by leave of kings 
Their lords, whom God disposed, the house of God 
They first re-edify; and for a while 
In mean estate live moderate; till, grown 
In wealth and multitude, factious they grow; 
But first among the priests dissention springs, 
Men who attend the altar, and should most 
Endeavour peace: their strife pollution brings 
Upon the temple itself: at last they seise 
The scepter, and regard not David's sons; 
Then lose it to a stranger, that the true 
Anointed King Messiah might be born 
Barred of his right; yet at his birth a star, 
Unseen before in Heaven, proclaims him come; 
And guides the eastern sages, who inquire 
His place, to offer incense, myrrh, and gold: 
His place of birth a solemn Angel tells 
To simple shepherds, keeping watch by night; 
They gladly thither haste, and by a quire 
Of squadroned Angels hear his carol sung. 
A virgin is his mother, but his sire 
The power of the Most High:  He shall ascend 
The throne hereditary, and bound his reign 
With Earth's wide bounds, his glory with the Heavens. 
He ceased, discerning Adam with such joy 
Surcharged, as had like grief been dewed in tears, 
Without the vent of words; which these he breathed. 
O prophet of glad tidings, finisher 
Of utmost hope! now clear I understand 
What oft my steadiest thoughts have searched in vain; 
Why our great Expectation should be called 
The seed of Woman:  Virgin Mother, hail, 
High in the love of Heaven; yet from my loins 
Thou shalt proceed, and from thy womb the Son 
Of God Most High: so God with Man unites! 
Needs must the Serpent now his capital bruise 
Expect with mortal pain:  Say where and when 
Their fight, what stroke shall bruise the victor's heel. 
To whom thus Michael.  Dream not of their fight, 
As of a duel, or the local wounds 
Of head or heel:  Not therefore joins the Son 
Manhood to Godhead, with more strength to foil 
Thy enemy; nor so is overcome 
Satan, whose fall from Heaven, a deadlier bruise, 
Disabled, not to give thee thy death's wound: 
Which he, who comes thy Saviour, shall recure, 
Not by destroying Satan, but his works 
In thee, and in thy seed:  Nor can this be, 
But by fulfilling that which thou didst want, 
Obedience to the law of God, imposed 
On penalty of death, and suffering death; 
The penalty to thy transgression due, 
And due to theirs which out of thine will grow: 
So only can high Justice rest appaid. 
The law of God exact he shall fulfil 
Both by obedience and by love, though love 
Alone fulfil the law; thy punishment 
He shall endure, by coming in the flesh 
To a reproachful life, and cursed death; 
Proclaiming life to all who shall believe 
In his redemption; and that his obedience, 
Imputed, becomes theirs by faith; his merits 
To save them, not their own, though legal, works. 
For this he shall live hated, be blasphemed, 
Seised on by force, judged, and to death condemned 
A shameful and accursed, nailed to the cross 
By his own nation; slain for bringing life: 
But to the cross he nails thy enemies, 
The law that is against thee, and the sins 
Of all mankind, with him there crucified, 
Never to hurt them more who rightly trust 
In this his satisfaction; so he dies, 
But soon revives; Death over him no power 
Shall long usurp; ere the third dawning light 
Return, the stars of morn shall see him rise 
Out of his grave, fresh as the dawning light, 
Thy ransom paid, which Man from death redeems, 
His death for Man, as many as offered life 
Neglect not, and the benefit embrace 
By faith not void of works:  This God-like act 
Annuls thy doom, the death thou shouldest have died, 
In sin for ever lost from life; this act 
Shall bruise the head of Satan, crush his strength, 
Defeating Sin and Death, his two main arms; 
And fix far deeper in his head their stings 
Than temporal death shall bruise the victor's heel, 
Or theirs whom he redeems; a death, like sleep, 
A gentle wafting to immortal life. 
Nor after resurrection shall he stay 
Longer on earth, than certain times to appear 
To his disciples, men who in his life 
Still followed him; to them shall leave in charge 
To teach all nations what of him they learned 
And his salvation; them who shall believe 
Baptizing in the profluent stream, the sign 
Of washing them from guilt of sin to life 
Pure, and in mind prepared, if so befall, 
For death, like that which the Redeemer died. 
All nations they shall teach; for, from that day, 
Not only to the sons of Abraham's loins 
Salvation shall be preached, but to the sons 
Of Abraham's faith wherever through the world; 
So in his seed all nations shall be blest. 
Then to the Heaven of Heavens he shall ascend 
With victory, triumphing through the air 
Over his foes and thine; there shall surprise 
The Serpent, prince of air, and drag in chains 
Through all his realm, and there confounded leave; 
Then enter into glory, and resume 
His seat at God's right hand, exalted high 
Above all names in Heaven; and thence shall come, 
When this world's dissolution shall be ripe, 
With glory and power to judge both quick and dead; 
To judge the unfaithful dead, but to reward 
His faithful, and receive them into bliss, 
Whether in Heaven or Earth; for then the Earth 
Shall all be Paradise, far happier place 
Than this of Eden, and far happier days. 
So spake the Arch-Angel Michael; then paused, 
As at the world's great period; and our sire, 
Replete with joy and wonder, thus replied. 
O Goodness infinite, Goodness immense! 
That all this good of evil shall produce, 
And evil turn to good; more wonderful 
Than that which by creation first brought forth 
Light out of darkness!  Full of doubt I stand, 
Whether I should repent me now of sin 
By me done, and occasioned; or rejoice 
Much more, that much more good thereof shall spring; 
To God more glory, more good-will to Men 
From God, and over wrath grace shall abound. 
But say, if our Deliverer up to Heaven 
Must re-ascend, what will betide the few 
His faithful, left among the unfaithful herd, 
The enemies of truth?  Who then shall guide 
His people, who defend?  Will they not deal 
Worse with his followers than with him they dealt? 
Be sure they will, said the Angel; but from Heaven 
He to his own a Comforter will send, 
The promise of the Father, who shall dwell 
His Spirit within them; and the law of faith, 
Working through love, upon their hearts shall write, 
To guide them in all truth; and also arm 
With spiritual armour, able to resist 
Satan's assaults, and quench his fiery darts; 
What man can do against them, not afraid, 
Though to the death; against such cruelties 
With inward consolations recompensed, 
And oft supported so as shall amaze 
Their proudest persecutors:  For the Spirit, 
Poured first on his Apostles, whom he sends 
To evangelize the nations, then on all 
Baptized, shall them with wonderous gifts endue 
To speak all tongues, and do all miracles, 
As did their Lord before them.  Thus they win 
Great numbers of each nation to receive 
With joy the tidings brought from Heaven:  At length 
Their ministry performed, and race well run, 
Their doctrine and their story written left, 
They die; but in their room, as they forewarn, 
Wolves shall succeed for teachers, grievous wolves, 
Who all the sacred mysteries of Heaven 
To their own vile advantages shall turn 
Of lucre and ambition; and the truth 
With superstitions and traditions taint, 
Left only in those written records pure, 
Though not but by the Spirit understood. 
Then shall they seek to avail themselves of names, 
Places, and titles, and with these to join 
Secular power; though feigning still to act 
By spiritual, to themselves appropriating 
The Spirit of God, promised alike and given 
To all believers; and, from that pretence, 
Spiritual laws by carnal power shall force 
On every conscience; laws which none shall find 
Left them inrolled, or what the Spirit within 
Shall on the heart engrave.  What will they then 
But force the Spirit of Grace itself, and bind 
His consort Liberty? what, but unbuild 
His living temples, built by faith to stand, 
Their own faith, not another's? for, on earth, 
Who against faith and conscience can be heard 
Infallible? yet many will presume: 
Whence heavy persecution shall arise 
On all, who in the worship persevere 
Of spirit and truth; the rest, far greater part, 
Will deem in outward rites and specious forms 
Religion satisfied; Truth shall retire 
Bestuck with slanderous darts, and works of faith 
Rarely be found:  So shall the world go on, 
To good malignant, to bad men benign; 
Under her own weight groaning; till the day 
Appear of respiration to the just, 
And vengeance to the wicked, at return 
Of him so lately promised to thy aid, 
The Woman's Seed; obscurely then foretold, 
Now ampler known thy Saviour and thy Lord; 
Last, in the clouds, from Heaven to be revealed 
In glory of the Father, to dissolve 
Satan with his perverted world; then raise 
From the conflagrant mass, purged and refined, 
New Heavens, new Earth, ages of endless date, 
Founded in righteousness, and peace, and love; 
To bring forth fruits, joy and eternal bliss. 
He ended; and thus Adam last replied. 
How soon hath thy prediction, Seer blest, 
Measured this transient world, the race of time, 
Till time stand fixed!  Beyond is all abyss, 
Eternity, whose end no eye can reach. 
Greatly-instructed I shall hence depart; 
Greatly in peace of thought; and have my fill 
Of knowledge, what this vessel can contain; 
Beyond which was my folly to aspire. 
Henceforth I learn, that to obey is best, 
And love with fear the only God; to walk 
As in his presence; ever to observe 
His providence; and on him sole depend, 
Merciful over all his works, with good 
Still overcoming evil, and by small 
Accomplishing great things, by things deemed weak 
Subverting worldly strong, and worldly wise 
By simply meek: that suffering for truth's sake 
Is fortitude to highest victory, 
And, to the faithful, death the gate of life; 
Taught this by his example, whom I now 
Acknowledge my Redeemer ever blest. 
To whom thus also the Angel last replied. 
This having learned, thou hast attained the sum 
Of wisdom; hope no higher, though all the stars 
Thou knewest by name, and all the ethereal powers, 
All secrets of the deep, all Nature's works, 
Or works of God in Heaven, air, earth, or sea, 
And all the riches of this world enjoyedst, 
And all the rule, one empire; only add 
Deeds to thy knowledge answerable; add faith, 
Add virtue, patience, temperance; add love, 
By name to come called charity, the soul 
Of all the rest: then wilt thou not be loth 
To leave this Paradise, but shalt possess 
A Paradise within thee, happier far.-- 
Let us descend now therefore from this top 
Of speculation; for the hour precise 
Exacts our parting hence; and see!the guards, 
By me encamped on yonder hill, expect 
Their motion; at whose front a flaming sword, 
In signal of remove, waves fiercely round: 
We may no longer stay: go, waken Eve; 
Her also I with gentle dreams have calmed 
Portending good, and all her spirits composed 
To meek submission: thou, at season fit, 
Let her with thee partake what thou hast heard; 
Chiefly what may concern her faith to know, 
The great deliverance by her seed to come 
(For by the Woman's seed) on all mankind: 
That ye may live, which will be many days, 
Both in one faith unanimous, though sad, 
With cause, for evils past; yet much more cheered 
With meditation on the happy end. 
He ended, and they both descend the hill; 
Descended, Adam to the bower, where Eve 
Lay sleeping, ran before; but found her waked; 
And thus with words not sad she him received. 
Whence thou returnest, and whither wentest, I know; 
For God is also in sleep; and dreams advise, 
Which he hath sent propitious, some great good 
Presaging, since with sorrow and heart's distress 
Wearied I fell asleep:  But now lead on; 
In me is no delay; with thee to go, 
Is to stay here; without thee here to stay, 
Is to go hence unwilling; thou to me 
Art all things under $Heaven, all places thou, 
Who for my wilful crime art banished hence. 
This further consolation yet secure 
I carry hence; though all by me is lost, 
Such favour I unworthy am vouchsafed, 
By me the Promised Seed shall all restore. 
So spake our mother Eve; and Adam heard 
Well pleased, but answered not:  For now, too nigh 
The Arch-Angel stood; and, from the other hill 
To their fixed station, all in bright array 
The Cherubim descended; on the ground 
Gliding meteorous, as evening-mist 
Risen from a river o'er the marish glides, 
And gathers ground fast at the labourer's heel 
Homeward returning.  High in front advanced, 
The brandished sword of God before them blazed, 
Fierce as a comet; which with torrid heat, 
And vapour as the Libyan air adust, 
Began to parch that temperate clime; whereat 
In either hand the hastening Angel caught 
Our lingering parents, and to the eastern gate 
Led them direct, and down the cliff as fast 
To the subjected plain; then disappeared. 
They, looking back, all the eastern side beheld 
Of Paradise, so late their happy seat, 
Waved over by that flaming brand; the gate 
With dreadful faces thronged, and fiery arms: 
Some natural tears they dropt, but wiped them soon; 
The world was all before them, where to choose 
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide: 
They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow, 
Through Eden took their solitary way. 

[The End]