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Paradise Lost by John Milton

Book I

Of Man's first disobedienceand the fruit
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
Brought death into the Worldand all our woe
With loss of Edentill one greater Man
Restore usand regain the blissful seat
SingHeavenly Musethaton the secret top
Of Orebor of Sinaididst inspire
That shepherd who first taught the chosen seed
In the beginning how the heavens and earth
Rose out of Chaos: orif Sion hill
Delight thee moreand Siloa's brook that flowed
Fast by the oracle of GodI thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above th' Aonian mountwhile it pursues
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.
And chiefly thouO Spiritthat dost prefer
Before all temples th' upright heart and pure
Instruct mefor thou know'st; thou from the first
Wast presentandwith mighty wings outspread
Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast Abyss
And mad'st it pregnant: what in me is dark
Illuminewhat is low raise and support;
Thatto 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 parentsin that happy state
Favoured of Heaven so highlyto fall off
From their Creatorand transgress his will
For one restraintlords 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 revengedeceived
The mother of mankindwhat time his pride
Had cast him out from Heavenwith all his host
Of rebel Angelsby whose aidaspiring
To set himself in glory above his peers
He trusted to have equalled the Most High
If he opposedand 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 combustiondown
To bottomless perditionthere 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 menhewith his horrid crew


Lay vanquishedrolling in the fiery gulf
Confoundedthough 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 onceas far as Angels kenhe views
The dismal situation waste and wild.
A dungeon horribleon 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 sorrowdoleful shadeswhere peace
And rest can never dwellhope never comes
That comes to allbut torture without end
Still urgesand a fiery delugefed
With ever-burning sulphur unconsumed.
Such place Eternal Justice has prepared
For those rebellious; here their prison ordained
In utter darknessand 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 fallo'erwhelmed
With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire
He soon discerns; andweltering by his side
One next himself in powerand next in crime
Long after known in Palestineand named
Beelzebub. To whom th' Arch-Enemy
And thence in Heaven called Satanwith bold words
Breaking the horrid silencethus 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 Angelthough in pain

Vaunting aloudbut 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 Satantalking to his nearest mate
With head uplift above the waveand eyes
That sparkling blazed; his other parts besides
Prone on the floodextended long and large
Lay floating many a roodin bulk as huge
As whom the fables name of monstrous size
Titanian or Earth-bornthat warred on Jove
Briareos or Typhonwhom the den
By ancient Tarsus heldor that sea-beast
Leviathanwhich God of all his works
Created hugest that swim th' ocean-stream.
Himhaply slumbering on the Norway foam
The pilot of some small night-foundered skiff
Deeming some islandoftas seamen tell
With fixed anchor in his scaly rind
Moors by his side under the leewhile night
Invests the seaand wished morn delays.
So stretched out huge in length the Arch-fiend lay
Chained on the burning lake; nor ever thence
Had risenor heaved his headbut 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 damnationwhile he sought
Evil to othersand enraged might see
How all his malice served but to bring forth
Infinite goodnessgraceand mercyshewn
On Man by him seducedbut on himself
Treble confusionwrathand vengeance poured.

Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool
His mighty stature; on each hand the flames
Driven backward slope their pointing spiresandrolled
In billowsleave i' th' midst a horrid vale.
Then with expanded wings he steers his flight
Aloftincumbent on the dusky air
That felt unusual weight; till on dry land
He lights--if it were land that ever burned
With solidas the lake with liquid fire
And such appeared in hue as when the force
Of subterranean wind transprots a hill
Torn from Pelorusor the shattered side
Of thundering Etnawhose combustible
And fuelled entrailsthence conceiving fire
Sublimed with mineral furyaid 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 godsand 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 Archangelthis 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
Whichbut th' Omnipotentnone could have foiled!
If once they hear that voicetheir liveliest pledge
Of hope in fears and dangers--heard so oft
In worst extremesand on the perilous edge
Of battlewhen it ragedin all assaults
Their surest signal--they will soon resume
New courage and revivethough now they lie
Grovelling and prostrate on yon lake of fire
As we erewhileastounded and amazed;
No wonderfallen such a pernicious height!"

He scare had ceased when the superior Fiend
Was moving toward the shore; his ponderous shield
Ethereal tempermassylargeand round
Behind him cast. The broad circumference
Hung on his shoulders like the moonwhose orb
Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views
At eveningfrom the top of Fesole
Or in Valdarnoto descry new lands
Riversor mountainsin her spotty globe.
His spear--to equal which the tallest pine
Hewn on Norwegian hillsto be the mast
Of some great ammiralwere but a wand--
He walked withto support uneasy steps
Over the burning marlnot like those steps
On Heaven's azure; and the torrid clime
Smote on him sore besidesvaulted with fire.
Nathless he so enduredtill on the beach
Of that inflamed sea he stoodand called
His legions--Angel Formswho lay entranced
Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks
In Vallombrosawhere th' Etrurian shades
High over-arched embower; or scattered sedge
Afloatwhen with fierce winds Orion armed
Hath vexed the Red-Sea coastwhose waves o'erthrew
Busiris and his Memphian chivalry


While with perfidious hatred they pursued
The sojourners of Goshenwho beheld
From the safe shore their floating carcases
And broken chariot-wheels. So thick bestrown
Abject and lostlay thesecovering the flood
Under amazement of their hideous change.
He called so loud that all the hollow deep
Of Hell resounded:--"PrincesPotentates
Warriorsthe 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 virtuefor the ease you find
To slumber hereas in the vales of Heaven?
Or in this abject posture have ye sworn
To adore the Conquerorwho now beholds
Cherub and Seraph rolling in the flood
With scattered arms and ensignstill anon
His swift pursuers from Heaven-gates discern
Th' advantageanddescendingtread us down
Thus droopingor with linked thunderbolts
Transfix us to the bottom of this gulf?
Awakeariseor be for ever fallen!"

They heardand were abashedand up they sprung
Upon the wingas when men wont to watch
On dutysleeping found by whom they dread
Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake.
Nor did they not perceive the evil plight
In which they wereor the fierce pains not feel;
Yet to their General's voice they soon obeyed
Innumerable. As when the potent rod
Of Amram's sonin Egypt's evil day
Waved round the coastup-called a pitchy cloud
Of locustswarping on the eastern wind
That o'er the realm of impious Pharaoh hung
Like Nightand darkened all the land of Nile;
So numberless were those bad Angels seen
Hovering on wing under the cope of Hell
'Twixt uppernetherand surrounding fires;
Tillas a signal giventh' uplifted spear
Of their great Sultan waving to direct
Their coursein even balance down they light
On the firm brimstoneand fill all the plain:
A multitude like which the populous North
Poured never from her frozen loins to pass
Rhene or the Danawwhen her barbarous sons
Came like a deluge on the Southand spread
Beneath Gibraltar to the Libyan sands.
Forthwithform every squadron and each band
The heads and leaders thither haste where stood
Their great Commander--godlike Shapesand Forms
Excelling human; princely Dignities;
And Powers that erst in Heaven sat on thrones
Though on their names in Heavenly records now
Be no memorialblotted out and rased
By their rebellion from the Books of Life.
Nor had they yet among the sons of Eve
Got them new namestillwandering 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 Creatorand th' invisible
Glory of him that made them to transform
Oft to the image of a bruteadorned


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.
SayMusetheir names then knownwho firstwho last

Roused from the slumber on that fiery couch

At their great Emperor's callas next in worth

Came singly where he stood on the bare strand

While the promiscuous crowd stood yet aloof?
The chief were those whofrom the pit of Hell

Roaming to seek their prey on Earthdurst fix

Their seatslong afternext the seat of God

Their altars by his altargods adored

Among the nations roundand durst abide

Jehovah thundering out of Sionthroned

Between the Cherubim; yeaoften 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.

FirstMolochhorrid kingbesmeared with blood

Of human sacrificeand parents' tears;

Thoughfor 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 Basanto the stream

Of utmost Arnon. Nor content with such

Audacious neighbourhoodthe wisest heart

Of Solomon he led by fraoud to build

His temple right against the temple of God

On that opprobrious hilland made his grove

The pleasant valley of HinnomTophet thence

And black Gehenna calledthe type of Hell.

Next Chemosth' obscene dread of Moab's sons

From Aroar to Nebo and the wild

Of southmost Abarim; in Hesebon

And HoronaimSeon's realbeyond

The flowery dale of Sibma clad with vines

And Eleale to th' Asphaltic Pool:

Peor his other namewhen he enticed

Israel in Sittimon their march from Nile

To do him wanton riteswhich cost them woe.

Yet thence his lustful orgies he enlarged

Even to that hill of scandalby the grove

Of Moloch homicidelust hard by hate

Till good Josiah drove them thence to Hell.

With these came they whofrom the bordering flood

Of old Euphrates to the brook that parts

Egypt from Syrian groundhad general names

Of Baalim and Ashtaroth--those male

These feminine. For Spiritswhen they please

Can either sex assumeor 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; butin what shape they choose

Dilated or condensedbright or obscure

Can execute their airy purposes

And works of love or enmity fulfil.

For those the race of Israel oft forsook

Their Living Strengthand unfrequented left

His righteous altarbowing lowly down

To bestial gods; for which their heads as low


Bowed down in battlesunk before the spear
Of despicable foes. With these in troop
Came Astorethwhom the Phoenicians called
Astartequeen of heavenwith crescent horns;
To whose bright image nigntly by the moon
Sidonian virgins paid their vows and songs;
In Sion also not unsungwhere stood
Her temple on th' offensive mountainbuilt
By that uxorious king whose heartthough large
Beguiled by fair idolatressesfell
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 seasupposed with blood
Of Thammuz yearly wounded: the love-tale
Infected Sion's daughters with like heat
Whose wanton passions in the sacred proch
Ezekiel sawwhenby the vision led
His eye surveyed the dark idolatries
Of alienated Judah. Next came one
Who mourned in earnestwhen the captive ark
Maimed his brute imagehead and hands lopt off
In his own templeon the grunsel-edge
Where he fell flat and shamed his worshippers:
Dagon his namesea-monsterupward man
And downward fish; yet had his temple high
Reared in Azotusdreaded through the coast
Of Palestinein Gath and Ascalon
And Accaron and Gaza's frontier bounds.
Him followed Rimmonwhose delightful seat
Was fair Damascuson the fertile banks
Of Abbana and Pharpharlucid streams.
He also against the house of God was bold:
A leper once he lostand gained a king--
Ahazhis sottish conquerorwhom he drew
God's altar to disparage and displace
For one of Syrian modewhereon to burn
His odious offeringsand adore the gods
Whom he had vanquished. After these appeared
A crew whounder names of old renown--
OsirisIsisOrusand 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' infectionwhen 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--
Jehovahwhoin one nightwhen he passed
From Egypt marchingequalled with one stroke
Both her first-born and all her bleating gods.
Belial came last; than whom a Spirit more lewd
Fell not from Heavenor 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 altarswhen the priest
Turns atheistas did Eli's sonswho filled
With lust and violence the house of God?
In courts and palaces he also reigns
And in luxurious citieswhere the noise
Of riot ascends above their loftiest towers


And injury and outrage; andwhen night
Darkens the streetsthen wander forth the sons
Of Belialflown with insolence and wine.
Witness the streets of Sodomand that night
In Gibeahwhen the hospitable door
Exposed a matronto 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
Godsyet confessed later than Heaven and Earth
Their boasted parents;--TitanHeaven's first-born
With his enormous broodand birthright seized
By younger Saturn: he from mightier Jove
His own and Rhea's sonlike measure found;
So Jove usurping reigned. Thesefirst in Crete
And Ida knownthence on the snowy top
Of cold Olympus ruled the middle air
Their highest heaven; or on the Delphian cliff
Or in Dodonaand 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 despairto have found themselves not lost
In loss itself; which on his countenance cast
Like doubtful hue. But hehis wonted pride
Soon recollectingwith high wordsthat bore
Semblance of worthnot substancegently raised
Their fainting courageand dispelled their fears.
Then straight commands thatat the warlike sound
Of trumpets loud and clarionsbe upreared
His mighty standard. That proud honour claimed
Azazel as his righta Cherub tall:
Who forthwith from the glittering staff unfurled
Th' imperial ensign; whichfull 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 concaveand 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
Appearedand 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 battleand instead of rage
Deliberate valour breathedfirmand unmoved
With dread of death to flight or foul retreat;
Nor wanting power to mitigate and swage
With solemn touches troubled thoughtsand 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 armsin guise

Of warriors oldwith ordered spear and shield

Awaiting what command their mighty Chief

Had to impose. He through the armed files

Darts his experienced eyeand 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 prideandhardening in his strength

Glories: for neversince created Man

Met such embodied force asnamed 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 Iliumon 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 sincebaptized or infidel

Jousted in Aspramontor Montalban

Damascoor Maroccoor Trebisond

Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore

When Charlemain with all his peerage fell

By Fontarabbia. Thus far these beyond

Compare of mortal prowessyet observed

Their dread Commander. Heabove the rest

In shape and gesture proudly eminent

Stood like a tower. His form had yet not lost

All her original brightnessnor appeared

Less than Archangel ruinedand th' excess

Of glory obscured: as when the sun new-risen

Looks through the horizontal misty air

Shorn of his beamsorfrom behind the moon

In dim eclipsedisastrous twilight sheds

On half the nationsand with fear of change

Perplexes monarchs. Darkened soyet shone

Above them all th' Archangel: but his face

Deep scars of thunder had intrenchedand care

Sat on his faded cheekbut under brows

Of dauntless courageand considerate pride

Waiting revenge. Cruel his eyebut cast

Signs of remorse and passionto behold

The fellows of his crimethe 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 Heavenand from eteranl splendours flung

For his revolt--yet faithful how they stood

Their glory withered; aswhen heaven's fire

Hath scathed the forest oaks or mountain pines

With singed top their stately growththough bare

Stands on the blasted heath. He now prepared

To speak; whereat their doubled ranks they bend

From wing to wingand half enclose him round

With all his peers: attention held them mute.

Thrice he assayedand thricein spite of scorn

Tearssuch as Angels weepburst 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; andto confirm his wordsoutflew

Millions of flaming swordsdrawn from the thighs

Of mighty Cherubim; the sudden blaze

Far round illumined Hell. Highly they raged

Against the Highestand 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 farwhose 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. Thitherwinged with speed

A numerous brigade hastened: as when bands

Of pioneerswith spade and pickaxe armed

Forerun the royal campto trench a field

Or cast a rampart. Mammon led them on--

Mammonthe least erected Spirit that fell

From Heaven; for even in Heaven his looks and thoughts

Were always downward bentadmiring more

The riches of heaven's pavementtrodden gold

Than aught divine or holy else enjoyed

In vision beatific. By him first

Men alsoand by his suggestion taught

Ransacked the centreand 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 thingsand wondering tell

Of Babeland the works of Memphian kings

Learn how their greatest monuments of fame

And strengthand artare easily outdone

By Spirits reprobateand in an hour

What in an age theywith incessant toil

And hands innumerablescarce perform.

Nigh on the plainin many cells prepared

That underneath had veins of liquid fire

Sluiced from the lakea second multitude

With wondrous art founded the massy ore

Severing each kindand scummed the bullion-dross.

A third as soon had formed within the ground

A various mouldand from the boiling cells

By strange conveyance filled each hollow nook;

As in an organfrom 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 exhalationwith the sound

Of dulcet symphonies and voices sweet--

Built like a templewhere pilasters round

Were setand Doric pillars overlaid

With golden architrave; nor did there want

Cornice or friezewith bossy sculptures graven;

The roof was fretted gold. Not Babylon

Nor great Alcairo such magnificence

Equalled in all their gloriesto enshrine

Belus or Serapis their godsor seat

Their kingswhen Egypt with Assyria strove

In wealth and luxury. Th' ascending pile

Stood fixed her stately heightand straight the doors

Opening their brazen foldsdiscoverwide

Withinher ample spaces o'er the smooth

And level pavement: from the arched roof

Pendent by subtle magicmany a row

Of starry lamps and blazing cressetsfed

With naptha and asphaltusyielded 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 Princeswhom the supreme King

Exalted to such powerand gave to rule

Each in his Hierarchythe 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 fabledthrown by angry Jove

Sheer o'er the crystal battlements: from morn

To noon he fellfrom noon to dewy eve

A summer's dayand with the setting sun

Dropt from the zenithlike a falling star

On Lemnosth' 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 enginesbut was headlong sent

With his industrious crewto build in Hell.
Meanwhile the winged Heraldsby command

Of sovereign powerwith awful ceremony

And trumpet's soundthroughout the host proclaim

A solemn council forthwith to be held


At Pandemoniumthe 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 widebut chief the spacious hall
(Though like a covered fieldwhere champions bold
Wont ride in armedand at the Soldan's chair
Defied the best of Paynim chivalry
To mortal combator career with lance)
Thick swarmedboth on the ground and in the air
Brushed with the hiss of rustling wings. As bees
In spring-timewhen the Sun with Taurus rides.
Pour forth their populous youth about the hive
In clusters; they among fresh dews and flowers
Fly to and froor on the smoothed plank
The suburb of their straw-built citadel
New rubbed with balmexpatiateand confer
Their state-affairs: so thick the airy crowd
Swarmed and were straitened; tillthe signal given
Behold a wonder! They but now who seemed
In bigness to surpass Earth's giant sons
Now less than smallest dwarfsin narrow room
Throng numberless--like that pygmean race
Beyond the Indian mount; or faery elves
Whose midnight revelsby a forest-side
Or fountainsome belated peasant sees
Or dreams he seeswhile overhead the Moon
Sits arbitressand nearer to the Earth
Wheels her pale course: theyon their mirth and dance
Intentwith jocund music charm his ear;
At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.
Thus incorporeal Spirits to smallest forms
Reduced their shapes immenseand were at large
Though without number stillamidst 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 readthe great consult began.

Book II

High on a throne of royal statewhich 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 satby merit raised

To that bad eminence; andfrom despair

Thus high uplifted beyond hopeaspires

Beyond thus highinsatiate to pursue

Vain war with Heaven; andby 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 Molochsceptred king
Stood up--the strongest and the fiercest Spirit
That fought in Heavennow fiercer by despair.
His trust was with th' Eternal to be deemed
Equal in strengthand rather than be less
Cared not to be at all; with that care lost
Went all his fear: of Godor Hellor worse
He recked notand 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 frowningand his look denounced
Desperate revengeand battle dangerous
To less than gods. On th' other side up rose
Belialin act more graceful and humane.
A fairer person lost not Heaven; he seemed
For dignity composedand high exploit.
But all was false and hollow; though his tongue
Dropped mannaand could make the worse appear
The better reasonto perplex and dash
Maturest counsels: for his thoughts were low--

To vice industriousbut 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 Belialwith 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 finishedwhen such murmur filled
Th' assembly as when hollow rocks retain
The sound of blustering windswhich all night long
Had roused the seanow with hoarse cadence lull
Seafaring men o'erwatchedwhose bark by chance
Or pinnaceanchors in a craggy bay
After the tempest. Such applause was heard
As Mammon endedand 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 empirewhich might rise
By policy and long process of time
In emulation opposite to Heaven.
Which when Beelzebub perceived--than whom
Satan exceptnone higher sat--with grave
Aspect he roseand in his rising seemed
A pillar of state. Deep on his front engraven
Deliberation satand public care;
And princely counsel in his face yet shone
Majesticthough in ruin. Sage he stood
With Atlantean shouldersfit to bear
The weight of mightiest monarchies; his look
Drew audience and attention still as night
Or summer's noontide airwhile 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 Satanand in part proposed: for whence
But from the author of all illcould spring
So deep a maliceto confound the race
Of mankind in one rootand Earth with Hell
To mingle and involvedone all to spite
The great Creator? But their spite still serves
His glory to augment. The bold design
Pleased highly those infernal Statesand 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 saidhe sat; and expectation held
His look suspenseawaiting who appeared
To secondor opposeor 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
Alonethe dreadful voyage; tillat last
Satanwhom now transcendent glory raised
Above his fellowswith monarchal pride
Conscious of highest worthunmoved 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 sayingrose
The Monarchand prevented all reply;
Prudent lestfrom his resolution raised
Others among the chief might offer now
Certain to be refusedwhat erst they feared
Andso refusedmight in opinion stand
His rivalswinning 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 proneand 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 earthwhich glory excites
Or close ambition varnished o'er with zeal.

Thus they their doubtful consultations dark
Endedrejoicing in their matchless Chief:
Aswhen from mountain-tops the dusky clouds
Ascendingwhile the north wind sleepso'erspread
Heaven's cheerful facethe louring element
Scowls o'er the darkened landscape snow or shower
If chance the radiant sunwith farewell sweet
Extend his evening beamthe fields revive
The birds their notes renewand bleating herds
Attest their joythat hill and valley rings.
O shame to men! Devil with devil damned
Firm concord holds; men only disagree
Of creatures rationalthough under hope
Of heavenly graceandGod proclaiming peace
Yet live in hatredenmityand strife
Among themselvesand levy cruel wars
Wasting the eartheach 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 Paramountand seemed
Alone th' antagonist of Heavennor less
Than Hell's dread Emperorwith pomp supreme
And god-like imitated state: him round
A globe of fiery Seraphim enclosed
With bright emblazonryand 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 wideand all the host of Hell
With deafening shout returned them loud acclaim.
Thence more at ease their mindsand somewhat raised
By false presumptuous hopethe ranged Powers
Disband; andwanderingeach his several way
Pursuesas inclination or sad choice
Leads him perplexedwhere he may likeliest find
Truce to his restless thoughtsand entertain
The irksome hourstill his great Chief return.


Part on the plainor in the air sublime
Upon the wing or in swift race contend
As at th' Olympian games or Pythian fields;
Part curb their fiery steedsor shun the goal
With rapid wheelsor fronted brigades form:
As whento warn proud citieswar appears
Waged in the troubled skyand armies rush
To battle in the clouds; before each van
Prick forth the airy knightsand couch their spears
Till thickest legions close; with feats of arms
From either end of heaven the welkin burns.
Otherswith vast Typhoean ragemore fell
Rend up both rocks and hillsand ride the air
In whirlwind; Hell scarce holds the wild uproar:--
As when Alcidesfrom Oechalia crowned
With conquestfelt th' envenomed robeand tore
Through pain up by the roots Thessalian pines
And Lichas from the top of Oeta threw
Into th' Euboic sea. Othersmore mild
Retreated in a silent valleysing
With notes angelical to many a harp
Their own heroic deedsand hapless fall
By doom of battleand 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 Helland took with ravishment
The thronging audience. In discourse more sweet
(For Eloquence the SoulSong charms the Sense)
Others apart sat on a hill retired
In thoughts more elevateand reasoned high
Of ProvidenceForeknowledgeWilland Fate--
Fixed fatefree willforeknowledge absolute
And found no endin wandering mazes lost.
Of good and evil much they argued then
Of happiness and final misery
Passion and apathyand glory and shame:
Vain wisdom alland false philosophy!--
Yetwith a pleasing sorcerycould charm
Pain for a while or anguishand excite
Fallacious hopeor arm th' obdured breast
With stubborn patience as with triple steel.
Another partin squadrons and gross bands
On bold adventure to discover wide
That dismal worldif any clime perhaps
Might yield them easier habitationbend
Four ways their flying marchalong the banks
Of four infernal riversthat disgorge
Into the burning lake their baleful streams--
Abhorred Styxthe flood of deadly hate;
Sad Acheron of sorrowblack and deep;
Cocytusnamed of lamentation loud
Heard on the rueful stream; fierce Phlegeton
Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage.
Far off from thesea slow and silent stream
Lethethe river of oblivionrolls
Her watery labyrinthwhereof who drinks
Forthwith his former state and being forgets--
Forgets both joy and griefpleasure and pain.
Beyond this flood a frozen continent
Lies dark and wildbeat with perpetual storms
Of whirlwind and dire hailwhich on firm land
Thaws notbut gathers heapand 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 froreand cold performs th' effect of fire.

Thitherby harpy-footed Furies haled

At certain revolutions all the damned

Are brought; and feel by turns the bitter change

Of fierce extremesextremes by change more fierce

From beds of raging fire to starve in ice

Their soft ethereal warmthand there to pine

Immovableinfixedand frozen round

Periods of time--thence hurried back to fire.

They ferry over this Lethean sound

Both to and frotheir sorrow to augment

And wish and struggleas they passto reach

The tempting streamwith one small drop to lose

In sweet forgetfulness all pain and woe

All in one momentand so near the brink;

But Fate withstandsandto oppose th' attempt

Medusa with Gorgonian terror guards

The fordand of itself the water flies

All taste of living wightas once it fled

The lip of Tantalus. Thus roving on

In confused march forlornth' adventurous bands

With shuddering horror paleand eyes aghast

Viewed first their lamentable lotand found

No rest. Through many a dark and dreary vale

They passedand many a region dolorous

O'er many a frozenmany a fiery alp

Rockscaveslakesfensbogsdensand shades of death--

A universe of deathwhich God by curse

Created evilfor evil only good;

Where all life diesdeath livesand Nature breeds

Perverseall monstrousall prodigious things

Obominableinutterableand worse

Than fables yet have feigned or fear conceived

Gorgonsand Hydrasand Chimeras dire.
Meanwhile the Adversary of God and Man

Satanwith thoughts inflamed of highest design

Puts on swift wingsand toward the gates of Hell

Explores his solitary flight: sometimes

He scours the right hand coastsometimes the left;

Now shaves with level wing the deepthen soars

Up to the fiery concave towering high.

As when far off at sea a fleet descried

Hangs in the cloudsby equinoctial winds

Close sailing from Bengalaor the isles

Of Ternate and Tidorewhence 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-boundshigh reaching to the horrid roof

And thrice threefold the gates; three folds were brass

Three ironthree of adamantine rock

Impenetrableimpaled with circling fire

Yet unconsumed. Before the gates there sat

On either side a formidable Shape.

The one seemed woman to the waistand 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 loudand rung


A hideous peal; yetwhen they listwould creep
If aught disturbed their noiseinto her womb
And kennel there; yet there still barked and howled
Within unseen. Far less abhorred than these
Vexed Scyllabathing in the sea that parts
Calabria from the hoarse Trinacrian shore;
Nor uglier follow the night-hagwhencalled
In secretriding through the air she comes
Lured with the smell of infant bloodto dance
With Lapland witcheswhile the labouring moon
Eclipses at their charms. The other Shape--
If shape it might be called that shape had none
Distinguishable in memberjointor limb;
Or substance might be called that shadow seemed
For each seemed either--black it stood as Night
Fierce as ten Furiesterrible as Hell
And shook a dreadful dart: what seemed his head
The likeness of a kingly crown had on.
Satan was now at handand 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--
Admirednot 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 Goblinfull of wrathreplied:--
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 Terrorand in shape
So speaking and so threateninggrew tenfold
More dreadful and deform. On th' other side
Incensed with indignationSatan stood
Unterrifiedand like a comet burned
That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge
In th' arctic skyand 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 fraughtcame rattling on
Over the Caspian--then stand front to front
Hovering a spacetill 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 achievedwhereof all Hell had rung
Had not the snaky Sorceressthat sat
Fast by Hell-gate and kept the fatal key
Risenand 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 spakeand 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 learnednow milderand 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 pleasedand Death
Grinned horrible a ghastly smileto hear
His famine should be filledand blessed his maw


Destined to that good hour. No less rejoiced
His mother badand 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 sayingfrom her side the fatal key
Sad instrument of all our woeshe took;
Andtowards the gate rolling her bestial train
Forthwith the huge portcullis high up-drew
Whichbut herselfnot all the Stygian Powers
Could once have moved; then in the key-hole turns
Th' intricate wardsand 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 doorsand on their hinges grate
Harsh thunderthat 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 marchingmibht pass through
With horse and chariots ranked in loose array;
So wide they stoodand 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 oceanwithout bound
Without dimension; where lengthbreadthand height
And timeand placeare lost; where eldest Night
And Chaosancestors of Naturehold
Eternal anarchyamidst the noise
Of endless warsand by confusion stand.
For HotColdMoistand Dryfour champions fierce
Strive here for masteryand to battle bring
Their embryon atoms: they around the flag
Of each his factionin their several clans
Light-armed or heavysharpsmoothswiftor slow
Swarm populousunnumbered as the sands
Of Barca or Cyrene's torrid soil
Levied to side with warring windsand 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 himhigh arbiter
Chance governs all. Into this wild Abyss
The womb of Natureand perhaps her grave


Of neither seanor shorenor airnor fire

But all these in their pregnant causes mixed

Confusedlyand 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 enginesbent to rase

Some capital city; or less than if this frame

Of Heaven were fallingand these elements

In mutiny had from her axle torn

The steadfast Earth. At last his sail-broad vans

He spread for flightandin the surging smoke

Upliftedspurns the ground; thence many a league

As in a cloudy chairascending rides

Audacious; butthat seat soon failingmeets

A vast vacuity. All unawares

Fluttering his pennons vainplumb-down he drops

Ten thousand fathom deepand to this hour

Down had been fallinghad notby ill chance

The strong rebuff of some tumultuous cloud

Instinct with fire and nitrehurried him

As many miles aloft. That fury stayed--

Quenched in a boggy Syrtisneither sea

Nor good dry land--nigh founderedon he fares

Treading the crude consistencehalf on foot

Half flying; behoves him now both oar and sail.

As when a gryphon through the wilderness

With winged courseo'er hill or moory dale

Pursues the Arimaspianwho by stealth

Had from his wakeful custody purloined

The guarded gold; so eagerly the Fiend

O'er bog or steepthrough straitroughdenseor rare

With headhandswingsor feetpursues his way

And swimsor sinksor wadesor creepsor flies.

At length a universal hubbub wild

Of stunning soundsand voices all confused

Borne through the hollow darkassaults his ear

With loudest vehemence. Thither he plies

Undauntedto meet there whatever Power

Or Spirit of the nethermost Abyss

Might in that noise resideof whom to ask

Which way the nearest coast of darkness lies

Bordering on light; when straight behold the throne

Of Chaosand his dark pavilion spread

Wide on the wasteful Deep! With him enthroned

Sat sable-vested Nighteldest of things

The consort of his reign; and by them stood

Orcus and Adesand the dreaded name

Of Demogorgon; Rumour nextand Chance

And Tumultand Confusionall embroiled

And Discord with a thousand various mouths.
T' whom Satanturning boldlythus:--"Ye Powers

And Spirtis of this nethermost Abyss

Chaos and ancient NightI come no spy

With purpose to explore or to disturb

The secrets of your realm; butby constraint

Wandering this darksome desertas my way

Lies through your spacious empire up to light

Alone and without guidehalf lostI seek


What readiest path leads where your gloomy bounds
Confine with Heaven; orif some other place
From your dominion wonth' Ethereal King
Possesses latelythither to arrive
I travel this profound. Direct my course:
Directedno mean recompense it brings
To your behoofif I that region lost
All usurpation thence expelledreduce
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 allmine the revenge!"

Thus Satan; and him thus the Anarch old
With faltering speech and visage incomposed
Answered: "I know theestrangerwho thou art--***
That mighty leading Angelwho of late
Made head against Heaven's Kingthough overthrown.
I saw and heard; for such a numerous host
Fled not in silence through the frighted Deep
With ruin upon ruinrout 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: firstHell
Your dungeonstretching far and wide beneath;
Now lately Heaven and Earthanother world
Hung o'er my realmlinked in a golden chain
To that side Heaven from whence your legions fell!
If that way be your walkyou have not far;
So much the nearer danger. Goand speed;
Havocand spoiland ruinare my gain."

He ceased; and Satan stayed not to reply
Butglad that now his sea should find a shore
With fresh alacrity and force renewed
Springs upwardlike a pyramid of fire
Into the wild expanseand through the shock
Of fighting elementson all sides round
Environedwins his way; harder beset
And more endangered than when Argo passed
Through Bosporus betwixt the justling rocks
Or when Ulysses on the larboard shunned
Charybdisand by th' other whirlpool steered.
So he with difficulty and labour hard
Moved onwith difficulty and labour he;
Buthe once passedsoon afterwhen 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 Abysswhose boiling gulf
Tamely endured a bridge of wondrous length
From Hell continuedreaching th' utmost orb
Of this frail World; by which the Spirits perverse
With easy intercourse pass to and fro
To tempt or punish mortalsexcept whom
God and good Angels guard by special grace.

But now at last the sacred influence
Of light appearsand from the walls of Heaven
Shoots far into the bosom of dim Night
A glimmering dawn. Here Nature first begins
Her farthest vergeand Chaos to retire
As from her outmost worksa broken foe


With tumult less and with less hostile din;
That Satan with less toiland now with ease
Wafts on the calmer wave by dubious light
Andlike a weather-beaten vesselholds
Gladly the portthough shrouds and tackle torn;
Or in the emptier wasteresembling air
Weighs his spread wingsat leisure to behold
Far off th' empyreal Heavenextended wide
In circuitundetermined square or round
With opal towers and battlements adorned
Of living sapphireonce his native seat;
Andfast byhanging in a golden chain
This pendent Worldin bigness as a star
Of smallest magnitude close by the moon.
Thitherfull fraught with mischievous revenge
Accursedand in a cursed hourhe hies.


Book III


Hailholy Lightoffspring 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 eternitydwelt 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 wertand at the voice
Of Godas with a mantledidst 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 poolthough long detain'd
In that obscure sojournwhile 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 descentand up to re-ascend
Though hard and rare: Thee I revisit safe
And feel thy sovran vital lamp; but thou
Revisit'st not these eyesthat roll in vain
To find thy piercing rayand 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 wanderwhere the Muses haunt
Clear springor shady groveor sunny hill
Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief
TheeSionand the flowery brooks beneath
That wash thy hallow'd feetand warbling flow
Nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget
So were I equall'd with them in renown
Thy sovran commandthat Man should find grace;
Blind Thamyrisand blind Maeonides
And Tiresiasand Phineusprophets old:
Then feed on thoughtsthat voluntary move
Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird
Sings darklingand in shadiest covert hid
Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year
Seasons return; but not to me returns
Dayor the sweet approach of even or morn



Or sight of vernal bloomor summer's rose
Or flocksor herdsor human face divine;
But cloud insteadand ever-during dark
Surrounds mefrom the cheerful ways of men
Cut offand 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 thoucelestial Light
Shine inwardand the mind through all her powers
Irradiate; there plant eyesall mist from thence
Purge and dispersethat 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 highthbent down his eye
His own works and their works at once to view:
About him all the Sanctities of Heaven
Stood thick as starsand 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 parentsyet the only two
Of mankind in the happy garden plac'd
Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love
Uninterrupted joyunrivall'd love
In blissful solitude; he then survey'd
Hell and the gulf betweenand Satan there
Coasting the wall of Heaven on this side Night
In the dun air sublimeand ready now
To stoop with wearied wingsand willing feet
On the bare outside of this worldthat seem'd
Firm land imbosom'dwithout firmament
Uncertain whichin ocean or in air.
Him God beholding from his prospect high
Wherein pastpresentfuturehe beholds
Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake.
Only begotten Sonseest thou what rage
Transports our Adversary? whom no bounds
Prescrib'd no bars of Hellnor all the chains
Heap'd on him therenor yet the main abyss
Wide interruptcan hold; so bent he seems
On desperate revengethat shall redound
Upon his own rebellious head. And now
Through all restraint broke loosehe wings his way
Not far off Heavenin the precincts of light
Directly towards the new created world
And man there plac'dwith purpose to assay
If him by force he can destroyorworse
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? ingratehe had of me
All he could have; I made him just and right
Sufficient to have stoodthough free to fall.
Such I created all the ethereal Powers
And Spiritsboth them who stoodand them who fail'd;
Freely they stood who stoodand fell who fell.
Not freewhat proof could they have given sincere
Of true allegianceconstant 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 vainof freedom both despoil'd
Made passive bothhad serv'd necessity
Not me? they thereforeas to right belong$ 'd
So were creatednor can justly accuse
Their Makeror their makingor their fate
As if predestination over-rul'd
Their will dispos'd by absolute decree
Or high foreknowledge they themselves decreed
Their own revoltnot 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 trespassauthors to themselves in all
Both what they judgeand what they choose; for so
I form'd them free: and free they must remain
Till they enthrall themselves; I else must change
Their natureand revoke the high decree
Unchangeableeternalwhich ordain'd
$THeir freedom: they themselves ordain'd their fall.
The first sort by their own suggestion fell
Self-temptedself-deprav'd: Man fallsdeceiv'd
By the other first: Man therefore shall find grace
The other none: In mercy and justice both
Through Heaven and Earthso shall my glory excel;
But Mercyfirst and lastshall brightest shine.
Thus while God spakeambrosial fragrance fill'd
All Heavenand 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 endand without measure grace
Which utteringthus he to his Father spake.
O Fathergracious was that word which clos'd
Thy sovran commandthat Man should find grace;
that Man should find grace;
For which both Heaven and earth shall high extol
Thy praiseswith the innumerable sound
Of hymns and sacred songswherewith thy throne
Encompass'd shall resound thee ever blest.
For should Man finally be lostshould Man
Thy creature late so lov'dthy youngest son
Fall circumvented thus by fraudthough join'd
With his own folly? that be from thee far
That far be from theeFatherwho art judge
Of all things madeand judgest only right.
Or shall the Adversary thus obtain
His endand frustrate thine? shall he fulfill
His maliceand thy goodness bring to nought
Or proud returnthough to his heavier doom
Yet with revenge accomplish'dand to Hell
Draw after him the whole race of mankind
By him corrupted? or wilt thou thyself
Abolish thy creationand unmake
For himwhat 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 sonin whom my soul hath chief delight
Son of my bosomSon who art alone.



My wordmy wisdomand effectual might
All hast thou spoken as my thoughts areall
As my eternal purpose hath decreed;
Man shall not quite be lostbut sav'd who will;
Yet not of will in himbut grace in me
Freely vouchsaf'd; once more I will renew
His lapsed powersthough forfeit; and enthrall'd
By sin to foul exorbitant desires;
Upheld by meyet once more he shall stand
On even ground against his mortal foe;
By me upheldthat he may know how frail
His fallen condition isand to me owe
All his deliveranceand to none but me.
Some I have chosen of peculiar grace
Elect above the rest; so is my will:
The rest shall hear me calland oft be warn'd
Their sinful stateand to appease betimes
The incensed Deitywhile offer'd grace
Invites; for I will clear their senses dark
What may sufficeand soften stony hearts
To prayrepentand bring obedience due.
To prayerrepentanceand obedience due
Though but endeavour'd with sincere intent
Mine ear shall not be slowmine eye not shut.
And I will place within them as a guide
My umpire Conscience; whom if they will hear
Light after lightwell us'dthey shall attain
And to the endpersistingsafe arrive.
This my long sufferanceand my day of grace
They who neglect and scornshall never taste;
But hard be harden'dblind be blinded more
That they may stumble onand deeper fall;
And none but such from mercy I exclude.
But yet all is not done; Man disobeying
Disloyalbreaks his fealtyand sins
Against the high supremacy of Heaven
Affecting God-headandso losing all
To expiate his treason hath nought left
But to destruction sacred and devote
Hewith his whole posteritymust die
Die he or justice must; unless for him
Some other ableand as willingpay
The rigid satisfactiondeath for death.
Sayheavenly Powerswhere shall we find such love?
Which of you will be mortalto redeem
Man's mortal crimeand just the unjust to save?
Dwells in all Heaven charity so dear?
And silence was in Heaven: $ on Man's behalf
He ask'dbut all the heavenly quire stood mute
Patron or intercessour none appear'd
Much less that durst upon his own head draw
The deadly forfeitureand ransom set.
And now without redemption all mankind
Must have been lostadjudg'd to Death and Hell
By doom severehad not the Son of God
In whom the fulness dwells of love divine
His dearest mediation thus renew'd.
Fatherthy word is pastMan shall find grace;
And shall grace not find meansthat finds her way
The speediest of thy winged messengers
To visit all thy creaturesand to all
Comes unpreventedunimplor'dunsought?
Happy for Manso coming; he her aid
Can never seekonce dead in sinsand lost;



Atonement for himselfor offering meet
Indebted and undonehath none to bring;
Behold me then: me for himlife for life
I offer: on me let thine anger fall;
Account me Man; I for his sake will leave

Thy bosomand this glory next to thee
Freely put offand 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 yieldand am his due
All that of me can dieyetthat debt paid
$ thou wilt not leave me in the loathsome grave
His preynor suffer my unspotted soul
For ever with corruption there to dwell;
But I shall rise victoriousand subdue
My vanquisherspoiled of his vaunted spoil.
Death his death's wound shall then receiveand stoop
Ingloriousof his mortal sting disarmed;
I through the ample air in triumph high
Shall lead Hell captive maugre Helland show

The powers of darkness bound. Thouat the sight
Pleasedout of Heaven shalt look down and smile
Whileby thee raisedI ruin all my foes;
Death lastand with his carcase glut the grave;
Thenwith the multitude of my redeemed
Shall enter Heavenlong absentand return
Fatherto see thy facewherein no cloud
Of anger shall remainbut peace assured
And reconcilement: wrath shall be no more
Thenceforthbut in thy presence joy entire.
His words here ended; but his meek aspect
Silent yet spakeand breathed immortal love
To mortal menabove which only shone
Filial obedience: as a sacrifice
Glad to be offeredhe attends the will
Of his great Father. Admiration seized
All Heavenwhat this might meanand whither tend
Wondering; but soon th' Almighty thus replied.
O thou in Heaven and Earth the only peace
Found out for mankind under wrathO thou
My sole complacence! Well thou know'st how dear
To me are all my works; nor Man the least
Though last createdthat for him I spare
Thee from my bosom and right handto save
By losing thee a whilethe whole race lost.

00021053
Thouthereforewhom thou only canst redeem
Their nature also to thy nature join;
And be thyself Man among men on Earth
Made fleshwhen time shall beof virgin seed
By wondrous birth; be thou in Adam's room


The head of all mankindthough Adam's son.
As in him perish all menso in thee
As from a second rootshall be restored
As many as are restoredwithout thee none.
His crime makes guilty all his sons; thy merit
Imputedshall absolve them who renounce
Their own both righteous and unrighteous deeds
And live in thee transplantedand from thee
Receive new life. So Manas is most just
Shall satisfy for Manbe judged and die



And dying riseand rising with him raise
His brethrenransomed with his own dear life.
So heavenly love shall outdo hellish hate
Giving to deathand dying to redeem
So dearly to redeem what hellish hate
So easily destroyedand still destroys
In those whowhen they mayaccept not grace.
Nor shalt thouby descending to assume
Man's naturelessen or degrade thine own.
Because thou hastthough throned in highest bliss
Equal to Godand equally enjoying
God-like fruitionquitted allto save
A world from utter lossand 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 incarnatehere shalt reign
Both God and ManSon both of God and Man
Anointed universal King; all power
I give thee; reign for everand assume
Thy merits; under theeas head supreme
ThronesPrincedomsPowersDominionsI reduce:
All knees to thee shall bowof them that bide
In Heavenor Earthor under Earth in Hell.
When thouattended gloriously from Heaven
Shalt in the sky appearand from thee send
The summoning Arch-Angels to proclaim
Thy dread tribunal; forthwith from all winds
The livingand forthwith the cited dead
Of all past agesto the general doom
Shall hasten; such a peal shall rouse their sleep.
Thenall thy saints assembledthou shalt judge
Bad Men and Angels; theyarraignedshall sink
Beneath thy sentence; Hellher numbers full
Thenceforth shall be for ever shut. Mean while
The world shall burnand from her ashes spring
New Heaven and Earthwherein the just shall dwell
Andafter all their tribulations long
See golden daysfruitful of golden deeds
With joy and peace triumphingand fair truth.
Then thou thy regal scepter shalt lay by
For regal scepter then no more shall need
God shall be all in all. Butall ye Gods
Adore himwho to compass all this dies;
Adore the Sonand honour him as me.
No sooner had the Almighty ceasedbut all
The multitude of Angelswith a shout
Loud as from numbers without numbersweet
As from blest voicesuttering joyHeaven rung
With jubileeand loud Hosannas filled
The eternal regions: Lowly reverent
Towards either throne they bowand to the ground
With solemn adoration down they cast
Their crowns inwove with amarant and gold;
Immortal amaranta flower which once
In Paradisefast by the tree of life
Began to bloom; but soon for man's offence
To Heaven removedwhere first it grewthere 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 offthe bright
Pavementthat like a sea of jasper shone
Impurpled with celestial roses smiled.
Thencrowned againtheir golden harps they took
Harps ever tunedthat glittering by their side
Like quivers hungand with preamble sweet
Of charming symphony they introduce
Their sacred songand waken raptures high;
No voice exemptno voice but well could join
Melodious partsuch concord is in Heaven.
TheeFatherfirst they sung Omnipotent
ImmutableImmortalInfinite
Eternal King; the Author of all being
Fonntain of lightthyself invisible
Amidst the glorious brightness where thou sit'st
Throned inaccessiblebut when thou shadest
The full blaze of thy beamsandthrough a cloud
Drawn round about thee like a radiant shrine
Dark with excessive bright thy skirts appear
Yet dazzle Heaventhat brightest Seraphim
Approach notbut with both wings veil their eyes.
Thee next they sang of all creation first
Begotten SonDivine Similitude
In whose conspicuous countenancewithout cloud
Made visiblethe 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-wheelsthat shook
Heaven's everlasting framewhile o'er the necks
Thou drovest of warring Angels disarrayed.
Back from pursuit thy Powers with loud acclaim
Thee only extolledSon 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 gracethou didst not doom
So strictlybut much more to pity incline:
No sooner did thy dear and only Son
Perceive thee purposed not to doom frail Man
So strictlybut much more to pity inclined
He to appease thy wrathand end the strife
Of mercy and justice in thy face discerned
Regardless of the bliss wherein he sat
Second to theeoffered himself to die
For Man's offence. O unexampled love
Love no where to be found less than Divine!
HailSon of GodSaviour of Men! Thy name
Shall be the copious matter of my song
Henceforthand never shall my heart thy praise
Forgetnor from thy Father's praise disjoin.
Thus they in Heavenabove the starry sphere
Their happy hours in joy and hymning spent.
Mean while upon the firm opacous globe
Of this round worldwhose first convex divides
The luminous inferiour orbsenclosed
From Chaosand the inroad of Darkness old
Satan alighted walks: A globe far off
It seemednow seems a boundless continent


Darkwasteand wildunder the frown of Night
Starless exposedand ever-threatening storms
Of Chaos blustering roundinclement sky;
Save on that side which from the wall of Heaven
Though distant farsome 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 fedflies toward the springs
Of Ganges or HydaspesIndian streams;
But in his way lights on the barren plains
Of Sericanawhere Chineses drive
With sails and wind their cany waggons light:
Soon this windy sea of landthe Fiend
Walked up and down alonebent on his prey;
Alonefor other creature in this place
Living or lifelessto be found was none;
None yetbut store hereafter from the earth
Up hither like aereal vapours flew
Of all things transitory and vainwhen sin
With vanity had filled the works of men:
Both all things vainand 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 earththe fruits
Of painful superstition and blind zeal
Nought seeking but the praise of menhere find
Fit retributionempty as their deeds;
All the unaccomplished works of Nature's hand
Abortivemonstrousor unkindly mixed
Dissolved on earthfleet hitherand in vain
Till final dissolutionwander here;
Not in the neighbouring moon as some have dreamed;
Those argent fields more likely habitants
Translated Saintsor 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 exploitthough then renowned:
The builders next of Babel on the plain
Of Sennaarand still with vain design
New Babelshad they wherewithalwould build:
Others came single; hewhoto be deemed
A Godleaped fondly into Aetna flames
Empedocles; and hewhoto enjoy
Plato's Elysiumleaped into the sea
Cleombrotus; and many more too long
Embryosand idiotseremitesand friars
Whiteblackand graywith all their trumpery.
Here pilgrims roamthat strayed so far to seek
In Golgotha him deadwho lives in Heaven;
And theywho to be sure of Paradise
Dyingput on the weeds of Dominick
Or in Franciscan think to pass disguised;
They pass the planets sevenand pass the fixed
And that crystalling sphere whose balance weighs
The trepidation talkedand that first moved;
And now Saint Peter at Heaven's wicket seems
To wait them with his keysand now at foot
Of Heaven's ascent they lift their feetwhen lo
A violent cross wind from either coast



Blows them transverseten thousand leagues awry
Into the devious air: Then might ye see
Cowlshoodsand habitswith their wearerstost
And fluttered into rags; then reliquesbeads
Indulgencesdispensespardonsbulls
The sport of winds: All theseupwhirled aloft
Fly o'er the backside of the world far off
Into a Limbo large and broadsince called
The Paradise of Foolsto few unknown
Long after; now unpeopledand untrod.
All this dark globe the Fiend found as he passed
And long he wanderedtill 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 whereofbut far more richappeared
The work as of a kingly palace-gate
With frontispiece of diamond and gold
Embellished; thick with sparkling orient gems
The portal shoneinimitable on earth
By modelor by shading pencildrawn.
These stairs were such as whereon Jacob saw
Angels ascending and descendingbands
Of guardians brightwhen he from Esau fled
To Padan-Aramin the field of Luz
Dreaming by night under the open sky
And waking criedThis is the gate of Heaven.
Each stair mysteriously was meantnor stood
There alwaysbut drawn up to Heaven sometimes
Viewless; and underneath a bright sea flowed
Of jasperor of liquid pearlwhereon
Who after came from earthfailing arrived
Wafted by Angelsor flew o'er the lake
Rapt in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds.
The stairs were then let downwhether to dare
The Fiend by easy ascentor 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 Eartha passage wide
Wider by far than that of after-times
Over mount Sionandthough that were large
Over the Promised Land to God so dear;
By whichto visit oft those happy tribes
On high behests his angels to and fro
Passed frequentand his eye with choice regard
From Paneasthe fount of Jordan's flood
To Beersabawhere the Holy Land
Borders on Egypt and the Arabian shore;
So wide the opening seemedwhere bounds were set
To darknesssuch as bound the ocean wave.
Satan from hencenow 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 seenor some renowned metropolis
With glistering spires and pinnacles adorned
Which now the rising sun gilds with his beams:


Such wonder seisedthough after Heaven seen
The Spirit malignbut much more envy seised
At sight of all this world beheld so fair.
Round he surveys (and well mightwhere 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 breadthand without longer pause
Down right into the world's first region throws
His flight precipitantand winds with ease
Through the pure marble air his oblique way
Amongst innumerable starsthat shone
Stars distantbut nigh hand seemed other worlds;
Or other worlds they seemedor happy isles
Like those Hesperian gardens famed of old
Fortunate fieldsand grovesand flowery vales
Thrice happy isles; but who dwelt happy there
He staid not to inquire: Above them all
The golden sunin splendour likest Heaven
Allured his eye; thither his course he bends
Through the calm firmament(but up or down
By centeror eccentrickhard 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; theyas they move
Their starry dance in numbers that compute
Daysmonthsand yearstowards his all-cheering lamp
Turn swift their various motionsor are turned
By his magnetick beamthat gently warms
The universeand to each inward part
With gentle penetrationthough unseen
Shoots invisible virtue even to the deep;
So wonderously was set his station bright.
There lands the Fienda 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 earthmetal or stone;
Not all parts likebut all alike informed
With radiant lightas glowing iron with fire;
If metalpart seemed goldpart silver clear;
If stonecarbuncle most or chrysolite
Ruby or topazto the twelve that shone
In Aaron's breast-plateand a stone besides
Imagined rather oft than elsewhere seen
That stoneor like to that which here below
Philosophers in vain so long have sought
In vainthough by their powerful art they bind
Volatile Hermesand 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 pureand rivers run
Potable goldwhen with one virtuous touch
The arch-chemick sunso far from us remote
Produceswith terrestrial humour mixed
Here in the dark so many precious things
Of colour gloriousand effect so rare?
Here matter new to gaze the Devil met
Undazzled; far and wide his eye commands;
For sight no obstacle found herenor shade


But all sun-shineas when his beams at noon
Culminate from the equatoras they now
Shot upward still directwhence no way round
Shadow from body opaque can fall; and the air
No where so clearsharpened his visual ray
To objects distant farwhereby he soon
Saw within ken a glorious Angel stand
The same whom John saw also in the sun:
His back was turnedbut not his brightness hid;
Of beaming sunny rays a golden tiar
Circled his headnor less his locks behind
Illustrious on his shoulders fledge with wings
Lay waving round; on some great charge employed
He seemedor fixed in cogitation deep.
Glad was the Spirit impureas now in hope
To find who might direct his wandering flight
To Paradisethe 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 primeyet such as in his face
Youth smiled celestialand to every limb
Suitable grace diffusedso well he feigned:
Under a coronet his flowing hair
In curls on either cheek played; wings he wore
Of many a coloured plumesprinkled with gold;
His habit fit for speed succinctand held
Before his decent steps a silver wand.
He drew not nigh unheard; the Angel bright
Ere he drew nighhis radiant visage turned
Admonished by his earand straight was known
The Arch-Angel Urielone of the seven
Who in God's presencenearest to his throne
Stand ready at commandand are his eyes
That run through all the Heavensor down to the Earth
Bear his swift errands over moist and dry
O'er sea and land: him Satan thus accosts.
Urielfor thou of those seven Spirits that stand
In sight of God's high thronegloriously 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 obtainand as his eye
To visit oft this new creation round;
Unspeakable desire to seeand know
All these his wonderous worksbut chiefly Man
His chief delight and favourhim for whom
All these his works so wonderous he ordained
Hath brought me from the quires of Cherubim
Alone thus wandering. Brightest Seraphtell
In which of all these shining orbs hath Man
His fixed seator fixed seat hath none
But all these shining orbs his choice to dwell;
That I may find himand with secret gaze
Or open admiration him behold
On whom the great Creator hath bestowed
Worldsand on whom hath all these graces poured;
That both in him and all thingsas is meet
The universal Maker we may praise;
Who justly hath driven out his rebel foes
To deepest Hellandto 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
Hypocrisythe only evil that walks
Invisibleexcept to God alone
By his permissive willthrough Heaven and Earth:
And oftthough wisdom wakesuspicion sleeps
At wisdom's gateand to simplicity
Resigns her chargewhile goodness thinks no ill
Where no ill seems: Which now for once beguiled
Urielthough regent of the sunand held
The sharpest-sighted Spirit of all in Heaven;
Who to the fraudulent impostor foul
In his uprightnessanswer thus returned.
Fair Angelthy desirewhich tends to know
The works of Godthereby to glorify
The great Work-masterleads to no excess
That reaches blamebut rather merits praise
The more it seems excessthat led thee hither
From thy empyreal mansion thus alone
To witness with thine eyes what some perhaps
Contented with reporthear only in Heaven:
For wonderful indeed are all his works
Pleasant to knowand worthiest to be all
Had in remembrance always with delight;
But what created mind can comprehend
Their numberor the wisdom infinite
That brought them forthbut hid their causes deep?
I saw when at his word the formless mass
This world's material mouldcame to a heap:
Confusion heard his voiceand wild uproar
Stood ruledstood vast infinitude confined;
Till at his second bidding Darkness fled
Light shoneand order from disorder sprung:
Swift to their several quarters hasted then
The cumbrous elementsearthfloodairfire;
And this ethereal quintessence of Heaven
Flew upwardspirited with various forms
That rolled orbicularand turned to stars
Numberlessas thou seestand how they move;
Each had his place appointedeach his course;
The rest in circuit walls this universe.
Look downward on that globewhose hither side
With light from hencethough but reflectedshines;
That place is Earththe seat of Man; that light
His daywhich elseas the other hemisphere
Night would invade; but there the neighbouring moon
So call that opposite fair star) her aid
Timely interposesand her monthly round
Still endingstill renewingthrough 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 spotto which I pointis Paradise
Adam's abode; those lofty shadeshis bower.
Thy way thou canst not missme mine requires.
Thus saidhe turned; and Satanbowing low
As to superiour Spirits is wont in Heaven
Where honour due and reverence none neglects
Took leaveand toward the coast of earth beneath
Down from the eclipticksped with hoped success
Throws his steep flight in many an aery wheel;
Nor staidtill on Niphates' top he lights.



Book IV

Ofor that warning voicewhich hewho saw
The Apocalypseheard cry in Heaven aloud
Then when the Dragonput to second rout
Came furious down to be revenged on men
Woe to the inhabitants on earth! that now
While time wasour first parents had been warned
The coming of their secret foeand 'scaped
Haply so 'scaped his mortal snare: For now
Satannow first inflamed with ragecame down
The tempter ere the accuser of mankind
To wreak on innocent frail Man his loss
Of that first battleand his flight to Hell:
Yetnot rejoicing in his speedthough bold
Far off and fearlessnor 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 thoughtsand from the bottom stir
The Hell within him; for within him Hell
He bringsand round about himnor from Hell
One stepno more than from himselfcan fly
By change of place: Now conscience wakes despair
That slumbered; wakes the bitter memory
Of what he waswhat isand what must be
Worse; of worse deeds worse sufferings must ensue.
Sometimes towards Edenwhich now in his view
Lay pleasanthis grieved look he fixes sad;
Sometimes towards Heavenand the full-blazing sun
Which now sat high in his meridian tower:
Thenmuch revolvingthus in sighs began.
O thouthatwith 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 voiceand add thy name
Of Sun! to tell thee how I hate thy beams
That bring to my remembrance from what state
I fellhow glorious once above thy sphere;
Till pride and worse ambition threw me down
Warring in Heaven against Heaven's matchless King:
Ahwherefore! he deserved no such return
From mewhom he created what I was
In that bright eminenceand with his good
Upbraided none; nor was his service hard.
What could be less than to afford him praise
The easiest recompenceand pay him thanks
How due! yet all his good proved ill in me
And wrought but malice; lifted up so high
I sdeined subjectionand thought one step higher
Would set me highestand in a moment quit
The debt immense of endless gratitude
So burdensome still payingstill to owe
Forgetful what from him I still received
And understood not that a grateful mind
By owing owes notbut still paysat once
Indebted and discharged; what burden then
Ohad his powerful destiny ordained
Me some inferiour AngelI had stood


Then happy; no unbounded hope had raised
Ambition! Yet why not some other Power
As great might have aspiredand methough mean
Drawn to his part; but other Powers as great
Fell notbut stand unshakenfrom within
Or from withoutto 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 accursedsince love or hate
To me alikeit deals eternal woe.
Naycursed be thou; since against his thy will
Chose freely what it now so justly rues.
Me miserable! which way shall I fly
Infinite wrathand infinite despair?
Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell;
Andin the lowest deepa lower deep
Still threatening to devour me opens wide
To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heaven.
Othenat last relent: Is there no place
Left for repentancenone for pardon left?
None left but by submission; and that word
Disdain forbids meand my dread of shame
Among the Spirits beneathwhom I seduced
With other promises and other vaunts
Than to submitboasting 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 fallonly supreme
In misery: Such joy ambition finds.
But say I could repentand could obtain
By act of gracemy former state; how soon
Would highth recall high thoughtshow soon unsay
What feigned submission swore? Ease would recant
Vows made in painas 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 heas I from beggingpeace;
All hope excluded thusbeholdin stead
Mankind createdand for him this world.
So farewellhope; and with hope farewellfear;
Farewellremorse! all good to me is lost;
Evilbe thou my good; by thee at least
Divided empire with Heaven's King I hold
By theeand more than half perhaps will reign;
As Man ere longand this new worldshall know.
Thus while he spakeeach passion dimmed his face
Thrice changed with paleireenvyand despair;
Which marred his borrowed visageand betrayed
Him counterfeitif 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 concealcouched with revenge:
Yet not enough had practised to deceive



Uriel once warned; whose eye pursued him down
The way he wentand on the Assyrian mount
Saw him disfiguredmore than could befall
Spirit of happy sort; his gestures fierce
He marked and mad demeanourthen alone
As he supposedall unobservedunseen.
So on he faresand to the border comes
Of Edenwhere delicious Paradise
Now nearercrowns with her enclosure green
As with a rural moundthe champaign head
Of a steep wildernesswhose hairy sides

Access denied; and overhead upgrew
Insuperable height of loftiest shade
Cedarand pineand firand branching palm
A sylvan sceneandas the ranks ascend
Shade above shadea woody theatre
Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops
The verdurous wall of Paradise upsprung;

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Which to our general sire gave prospect large

Into his nether empire neighbouring round.

And higher than that wall a circling row

Of goodliest treesloaden with fairest fruit

Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue

Appearedwith gay enamelled colours mixed:

On which the sun more glad impressed his beams

Than in fair evening cloudor humid bow

When God hath showered the earth; so lovely seemed

That landskip: And of pure now purer air

Meets his approachand to the heart inspires

Vernal delight and joyable to drive

All sadness but despair: Now gentle gales

Fanning their odoriferous wingsdispense

Native perfumesand whisper whence they stole

Those balmy spoils. As when to them who fail

Beyond the Cape of Hopeand now are past

Mozambickoff at sea north-east winds blow

Sabean odours from the spicy shore

Of Araby the blest; with such delay

Well pleased they slack their courseand 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 himthough enamouredfrom the spouse

Of Tobit's sonand with a vengeance sent

From Media post to Egyptthere fast bound.

Now to the ascent of that steep savage hill

Satan had journeyed onpensive and slow;

But further way found noneso thick entwined

As one continued brakethe undergrowth

Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplexed

All path of man or beast that passed that way.

One gate there only wasand that looked east

On the other side: which when the arch-felon saw

Due entrance he disdained; andin contempt

At one flight bound high over-leaped all bound

Of hill or highest walland 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 thiefbent to unhoard the cash
Of some rich burgherwhose substantial doors
Cross-barred and bolted fastfear no assault
In at the window climbsor 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 flewand on the tree of life
The middle tree and highest there that grew
Sat like a cormorant; yet not true life
Thereby regainedbut sat devising death
To them who lived; nor on the virtue thought
Of that life-giving plantbut only used
For prospectwhat well used had been the pledge
Of immortality. So little knows
Anybut God aloneto value right
The good before himbut perverts best things
To worst abuseor to their meanest use.
Beneath him with new wonder now he views
To all delight of human sense exposed
In narrow roomNature's whole wealthyea more
A Heaven on Earth: For blissful Paradise
Of God the garden wasby him in the east
Of Eden planted; Eden stretched her line
From Auran eastward to the royal towers
Of great Seleuciabuilt 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 sightsmelltaste;
And all amid them stood the tree of life
High eminentblooming ambrosial fruit
Of vegetable gold; and next to life
Our deaththe tree of knowledgegrew fast by
Knowledge of good bought dear by knowing ill.
Southward through Eden went a river large
Nor changed his coursebut through the shaggy hill
Passed underneath ingulfed; for God had thrown
That mountain as his garden-mould high raised
Upon the rapid currentwhichthrough veins
Of porous earth with kindly thirst up-drawn
Rose a fresh fountainand with many a rill
Watered the garden; thence united fell
Down the steep gladeand met the nether flood
Which from his darksome passage now appears
And nowdivided into four main streams
Runs diversewandering many a famous realm
And countrywhereof here needs no account;
But rather to tell howif 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 nectarvisiting each plantand fed
Flowers worthy of Paradisewhich not nice Art
In beds and curious knotsbut Nature boon
Poured forth profuse on hilland daleand plain
Both where the morning sun first warmly smote
The open fieldand 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 fruitburnished with golden rind
Hung amiableHesperian fables true
If truehere onlyand of delicious taste:



Betwixt them lawnsor level downsand flocks
Grazing the tender herbwere interposed
Or palmy hillock; or the flowery lap
Of some irriguous valley spread her store
Flowers of all hueand without thorn the rose:
Another sideumbrageous grots and caves
Of cool recesso'er which the mantling vine
Lays forth her purple grapeand gently creeps
Luxuriant; mean while murmuring waters fall
Down the slope hillsdispersedor in a lake
That to the fringed bank with myrtle crowned
Her crystal mirrour holdsunite their streams.
The birds their quire apply; airsvernal airs
Breathing the smell of field and groveattune
The trembling leaveswhile universal Pan
Knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance
Led on the eternal Spring. Not that fair field
Of Ennawhere Proserpine gathering flowers
Herself a fairer flower by gloomy Dis
Was gatheredwhich cost Ceres all that pain
To seek her through the world; nor that sweet grove
Of Daphne by Orontesand the inspired
Castalian springmight with this Paradise
Of Eden strive; nor that Nyseian isle
Girt with the river Tritonwhere old Cham
Whom Gentiles Ammon call and Libyan Jove
Hid Amaltheaand her florid son
Young Bacchusfrom his stepdame Rhea's eye;
Nor where Abassin kings their issue guard
Mount Amarathough this by some supposed
True Paradise under the Ethiop line
By Nilus' headenclosed with shining rock
A whole day's journey highbut wide remote
From this Assyrian gardenwhere the Fiend
Sawundelightedall delightall kind
Of living creaturesnew to sightand strange
Two of far nobler shapeerect and tall
Godlike erectwith 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
Truthwisdomsanctitude severe and pure
(Severebut in true filial freedom placed)
Whence true authority in men; though both
Not equalas their sex not equal seemed;
For contemplation he and valour formed;
For softness she and sweet attractive grace;
He for God onlyshe for God in him:
His fair large front and eye sublime declared
Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks
Round from his parted forelock manly hung
Clusteringbut not beneath his shoulders broad:
Sheas a veildown to the slender waist
Her unadorned golden tresses wore
Dishevelledbut in wanton ringlets waved
As the vine curls her tendrilswhich implied
Subjectionbut required with gentle sway
And by her yieldedby him best received
Yielded with coy submissionmodest pride
And sweetreluctantamorous delay.
Nor those mysterious parts were then concealed;
Then was not guilty shamedishonest shame
Of nature's workshonour dishonourable
Sin-bredhow have ye troubled all mankind


With shows insteadmere shows of seeming pure
And banished from man's life his happiest life
Simplicity and spotless innocence!
So passed they naked onnor shunned the sight
Of God or Angel; for they thought no ill:
So hand in hand they passedthe loveliest pair
That ever since in love's embraces met;
Adam the goodliest man of men since born
His sonsthe fairest of her daughters Eve.
Under a tuft of shade that on a green
Stood whispering softby a fresh fountain side
They sat them down; andafter no more toil
Of their sweet gardening labour than sufficed
To recommend cool Zephyrand made ease
More easywholesome thirst and appetite
More gratefulto their supper-fruits they fell
Nectarine fruits which the compliant boughs
Yielded themside-long as they sat recline
On the soft downy bank damasked with flowers:
The savoury pulp they chewand in the rind
Still as they thirstedscoop the brimming stream;
Nor gentle purposenor endearing smiles
Wantednor youthful dallianceas beseems
Fair couplelinked in happy nuptial league
Alone as they. About them frisking played
All beasts of the earthsince wildand of all chase
In wood or wildernessforest or den;
Sporting the lion rampedand in his paw
Dandled the kid; bearstigersouncespards
Gambolled before them; the unwieldy elephant
To make them mirthused all his mightand wreathed
His?kithetmroboscis; close the serpent sly
Insinuatingwove with Gordian twine
His braided trainand of his fatal guile
Gave proof unheeded; others on the grass
Couchedand now filled with pasture gazing sat
Or bedward ruminating; for the sun
Declinedwas hasting now with prone career
To the ocean islesand in the ascending scale
Of Heaven the stars that usher evening rose:
When Satan still in gazeas 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 mouldearth-born perhaps
Not Spiritsyet to heavenly Spirits bright
Little inferiour; whom my thoughts pursue
With wonderand could loveso lively shines
In them divine resemblanceand such grace
The hand that formed them on their shape hath poured.
Ah! gentle pairye little think how nigh
Your change approacheswhen all these delights
Will vanishand deliver ye to woe;
More woethe more your taste is now of joy;
Happybut for so happy ill secured
Long to continueand this high seat your Heaven
Ill fenced for Heaven to keep out such a foe
As now is entered; yet no purposed foe
To youwhom I could pity thus forlorn
Though I unpitied: League with you I seek
And mutual amityso straitso close
That I with you must dwellor you with me
Henceforth; my dwelling haply may not please
Like this fair Paradiseyour sense; yet such


Accept your Maker's work; he gave it me
Which I as freely give: Hell shall unfold
To entertain you twoher widest gates
And send forth all her kings; there will be room
Not like these narrow limitsto 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
Meltas I doyet publick reason just
Honour and empire with revenge enlarged
By conquering this new worldcompels me now
To do what elsethough damnedI should abhor.
So spake the Fiendand with necessity
The tyrant's pleaexcused his devilish deeds.
Then from his lofty stand on that high tree
Down he alights among the sportful herd
Of those four-footed kindshimself now one
Now otheras their shape served best his end
Nearer to view his preyandunespied
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 tigerwho by chance hath spied
In some purlieu two gentle fawns at play
Straight couches closethenrisingchanges oft
His couchant watchas one who chose his ground
Whence rushinghe might surest seize them both
Griped in each paw: whenAdam first of men
To first of women Eve thus moving speech
Turned himall ear to hear new utterance flow.
Sole partnerand sole partof all these joys
Dearer thyself than all; needs must the Power
That made usand for us this ample world
Be infinitely goodand of his good
As liberal and free as infinite;
That raised us from the dustand placed us here
In all this happinesswho at his hand
Have nothing meritednor can perform
Aught whereof he hath need; he who requires
From us no other service than to keep
This onethis easy chargeof all the trees
In Paradise that bear delicious fruit
So variousnot to taste that only tree
Of knowledgeplanted by the tree of life;
So near grows death to lifewhate'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 usand dominion given
Over all other creatures that possess
Earthairand sea. Then let us not think hard
One easy prohibitionwho enjoy
Free leave so large to all things elseand choice
Unlimited of manifold delights:
But let us ever praise himand extol
His bountyfollowing our delightful task
To prune these growing plantsand tend these flowers
Which were it toilsomeyet with thee were sweet.
To whom thus Eve replied. O thou for whom
And from whom I was formedflesh of thy flesh
And without whom am to no endmy guide
And head! what thou hast said is just and right.



For we to him indeed all praises owe
And daily thanks; I chieflywho enjoy
So far the happier lotenjoying thee
Pre-eminent by so much oddswhile thou
Like consort to thyself canst no where find.
That day I oft rememberwhen from sleep
I first awakedand found myself reposed
Under a shade on flowersmuch wondering where
And what I waswhence thither broughtand how.
Not distant far from thence a murmuring sound
Of waters issued from a caveand spread
Into a liquid plainthen stood unmoved
Pure as the expanse of Heaven; I thither went
With unexperienced thoughtand laid me down
On the green bankto look into the clear
Smooth lakethat to me seemed another sky.
As I bent down to lookjust 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 nowand pined with vain desire
Had not a voice thus warned me; 'What thou seest
'What there thou seestfair Creatureis thyself;
'With thee it came and goes: but follow me
'And I will bring thee where no shadow stays
'Thy comingand thy soft embraceshe
'Whose image thou art; him thou shalt enjoy
'Inseparably thineto him shalt bear
'Multitudes like thyselfand thence be called
'Mother of human race.' What could I do
But follow straightinvisibly thus led?
Till I espied theefair indeed and tall
Under a platane; yet methought less fair
Less winning softless amiably mild
Than that smooth watery image: Back I turned;
Thou following cryedst aloud'Returnfair Eve;
'Whom flyest thou? whom thou flyestof him thou art
'His fleshhis bone; to give thee being I lent
'Out of my side to theenearest my heart
'Substantial lifeto have thee by my side
'Henceforth an individual solace dear;
'Part of my soul I seek theeand 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 wisdomwhich alone is truly fair.
So spake our general motherand with eyes
Of conjugal attraction unreproved
And meek surrenderhalf-embracing leaned
On our first father; half her swelling breast
Naked met hisunder the flowing gold
Of her loose tresses hid: he in delight
Both of her beautyand submissive charms
Smiled with superiour loveas Jupiter
On Juno smileswhen 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 askanceand to himself thus plained.
Sight hatefulsight tormenting! thus these two
Imparadised in one another's arms
The happier Edenshall enjoy their fill


Of bliss on bliss; while I to Hell am thrust
Where neither joy nor lovebut 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 theirsit seems;
One fatal tree there standsof knowledge called
Forbidden them to taste: Knowledge forbidden
Suspiciousreasonless. 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 knowand to reject
Envious commandsinvented with design
To keep them lowwhom 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 gardenand 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 retiredfrom him to draw
What further would be learned. Live while ye may
Yet happy pair; enjoytill I return
Short pleasuresfor long woes are to succeed!
So sayinghis proud step he scornful turned
But with sly circumspectionand began
Through woodthrough wasteo'er hillo'er dalehis roam
Mean while in utmost longitudewhere Heaven
With earth and ocean meetsthe setting sun
Slowly descendedand with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise
Levelled his evening rays: It was a rock
Of alabasterpiled up to the clouds
Conspicuous farwinding with one ascent
Accessible from earthone entrance high;
The rest was craggy cliffthat overhung
Still as it roseimpossible to climb.
Betwixt these rocky pillars Gabriel sat
Chief of the angelick guardsawaiting night;
About him exercised heroick games
The unarmed youth of Heavenbut nigh at hand
Celestial armouryshieldshelmsand spears
Hung high with diamond flamingand with gold.
Thither came Urielgliding through the even
On a sun-beamswift as a shooting star
In autumn thwarts the nightwhen vapours fired
Impress the airand shows the mariner
From what point of his compass to beware
Impetuous winds: He thus began in haste.
Gabrielto thee thy course by lot hath given
Charge and strict watchthat to this happy place
No evil thing approach or enter in.
This day at highth of noon came to my sphere
A Spiritzealousas he seemedto know
More of the Almighty's worksand chiefly Man
God's latest image: I described his way
Bent all on speedand marked his aery gait;
But in the mount that lies from Eden north
Where he first lightedsoon discerned his looks
Alien from Heavenwith passions foul obscured:


Mine eye pursued him stillbut under shade
Lost sight of him: One of the banished crew
I fearhath ventured from the deepto raise
New troubles; him thy care must be to find.
To whom the winged warriour thus returned.
Urielno 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 placedbut such as come
Well known from Heaven; and since meridian hour
No creature thence: If Spirit of other sort
So mindedhave o'er-leaped these earthly bounds
On purposehard thou knowest it to exclude
Spiritual substance with corporeal bar.
But if within the circuit of these walks
In whatsoever shape he lurkof whom
Thou tellestby morrow dawning I shall know.
So promised he; and Uriel to his charge
Returned on that bright beamwhose point now raised
Bore him slope downward to the sun now fallen
Beneath the Azores; whether the prime orb
Incredible how swifthad thither rolled
Diurnalor this less volubil earth
By shorter flight to the easthad left him there
Arraying with reflected purple and gold
The clouds that on his western throne attend.
Now came still Evening onand Twilight gray
Had in her sober livery all things clad;
Silence accompanied; for beast and bird
They to their grassy couchthese to their nests
Were slunkall but the wakeful nightingale;
She all night long her amorous descant sung;
Silence was pleased: Now glowed the firmament
With living sapphires: Hesperusthat led
The starry hostrode brightesttill the moon
Rising in clouded majestyat length
Apparent queen unveiled her peerless light
And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw.
When Adam thus to Eve. Fair Consortthe hour
Of nightand all things now retired to rest
Mind us of like repose; since God hath set
Labour and restas day and nightto men
Successive; and the timely dew of sleep
Now falling with soft slumbrous weightinclines
Our eye-lids: Other creatures all day long
Rove idleunemployedand less need rest;
Man hath his daily work of body or mind
Appointedwhich 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-morrowere fresh morning streak the east
With first approach of lightwe must be risen
And at our pleasant labourto reform
Yon flowery arboursyonder alleys green
Our walk at noonwith branches overgrown
That mock our scant manuringand require
More hands than ours to lop their wanton growth:
Those blossoms alsoand those dropping gums
That lie bestrownunsightly and unsmooth
Ask riddanceif we mean to tread with ease;
Mean whileas Nature willsnight bids us rest.
To whom thus Evewith perfect beauty adorned
My Author and Disposerwhat thou bidst



Unargued I obey: So God ordains;
God is thy lawthou mine: To know no more
Is woman's happiest knowledgeand her praise.
With thee conversing I forget all time;
All seasonsand their changeall please alike.
Sweet is the breath of Mornher rising sweet
With charm of earliest birds: pleasant the sun
When first on this delightful land he spreads
His orient beamson herbtreefruitand 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 birdand this fair moon
And these the gems of Heavenher starry train:
But neither breath of Mornwhen she ascends
With charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun
On this delightful land; nor herbfruitflower
Glistering with dew; nor fragrance after showers;
Nor grateful Evening mild; nor silent Night
With this her solemn birdnor walk by moon
Or glittering star-lightwithout thee is sweet.
But wherefore all night long shine these? for whom
This glorious sightwhen sleep hath shut all eyes?
To whom our general ancestor replied.
Daughter of God and Manaccomplished Eve
These have their course to finish round the earth
By morrow eveningand from land to land
In orderthough to nations yet unborn
Ministring light preparedthey set and rise;
Lest total Darkness should by night regain
Her old possessionand extinguish life
In Nature and all things; which these soft fires
Not only enlightenbut with kindly heat
Of various influence foment and warm
Temper or nourishor in part shed down
Their stellar virtue on all kinds that grow
On earthmade hereby apter to receive
Perfection from the sun's more potent ray.
These thenthough unbeheld in deep of night
Shine not in vain; nor thinkthough men were none
That Heaven would want spectatorsGod want praise:
Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth
Unseenboth when we wakeand 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
Soleor responsive each to others note
Singing their great Creator? oft in bands
While they keep watchor nightly rounding walk
With heavenly touch of instrumental sounds
In full harmonick number joinedtheir songs
Divide the nightand lift our thoughts to Heaven.
Thus talkinghand in hand alone they passed
On to their blissful bower: it was a place
Chosen by the sovran Planterwhen he framed
All things to Man's delightful use; the roof
Of thickest covert was inwoven shade
Laurel and myrtleand what higher grew
Of firm and fragrant leaf; on either side
Acanthusand each odorous bushy shrub
Fenced up the verdant wall; each beauteous flower
Iris all huesrosesand jessamin
Reared high their flourished heads betweenand wrought



Mosaick; underfoot the violet
Crocusand hyacinthwith rich inlay
Broidered the groundmore coloured than with stone
Of costliest emblem: Other creature here
Birdbeastinsector wormdurst enter none
Such was their awe of Man. In shadier bower
More sacred and sequesteredthough but feigned
Pan or Sylvanus never sleptnor Nymph
Nor Faunus haunted. Herein close recess
With flowersgarlandsand 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 lovelythan Pandorawhom the Gods
Endowed with all their giftsand O! too like
In sad eventwhen to the unwiser son
Of Japhet brought by Hermesshe ensnared
Mankind with her fair looksto be avenged
On him who had stole Jove's authentick fire.
Thusat their shady lodge arrivedboth stood
Both turnedand under open sky adored
The God that made both skyairearthand heaven
Which they beheldthe moon's resplendent globe
And starry pole: Thou also madest the night
Maker Omnipotentand thou the day
Which wein our appointed work employed
Have finishedhappy in our mutual help
And mutual lovethe crown of all our bliss
Ordained by thee; and this delicious place
For us too largewhere thy abundance wants
Partakersand uncropt falls to the ground.
But thou hast promised from us two a race
To fill the earthwho shall with us extol
Thy goodness infiniteboth when we wake
And when we seekas nowthy gift of sleep.
This said unanimousand other rites
Observing nonebut adoration pure
Which God likes bestinto their inmost bower
Handed they went; andeased the putting off
These troublesome disguises which we wear
Straight side by side were laid; nor turnedI ween
Adam from his fair spousenor Eve the rites
Mysterious of connubial love refused:
Whatever hypocrites austerely talk
Of purityand placeand innocence
Defaming as impure what God declares
Pureand commands to someleaves free to all.
Our Maker bids encrease; who bids abstain
But our Destroyerfoe to God and Man?
Hailwedded Lovemysterious lawtrue source
Of human offspringsole 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 reasonloyaljustand pure
Relations dearand all the charities
Of fathersonand brotherfirst were known.
Far be itthat 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
Presentor pastas saints and patriarchs used.
Here Love his golden shafts employshere lights



His constant lampand waves his purple wings
Reigns here and revels; not in the bought smile
Of harlotslovelessjoylessunendeared
Casual fruition; nor in court-amours
Mixed danceor wanton maskor midnight ball
Or serenatewhich the starved lover sings
To his proud fairbest quitted with disdain.
Theselulled by nightingalesembracing slept
And on their naked limbs the flowery roof
Showered roseswhich the morn repaired. Sleep on
Blest pair; and O!yet happiestif ye seek
No happier stateand 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 hourstood armed
To their night watches in warlike parade;
When Gabriel to his next in power thus spake.
Uzzielhalf these draw offand coast the south
With strictest watch; these other wheel the north;
Our circuit meets full west. As flame they part
Half wheeling to the shieldhalf to the spear.
From thesetwo strong and subtle Spirits he called
That near him stoodand gave them thus in charge.
Ithuriel and Zephonwith winged speed
Search through this gardenleave unsearched no nook;
But chiefly where those two fair creatures lodge
Now laid perhaps asleepsecure 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 Hellon errand bad no doubt:
Suchwhere ye findseise fastand hither bring.
So sayingon 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 toadclose at the ear of Eve
Assaying by his devilish art to reach
The organs of her fancyand with them forge
Illusionsas he listphantasms and dreams;
Or ifinspiring venomhe might taint
The animal spiritsthat from pure blood arise
Like gentle breaths from rivers purethence raise
At least distempereddiscontented thoughts
Vain hopesvain aimsinordinate 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 temperbut returns
Of force to its own likeness: Up he starts
Discovered and surprised. As when a spark
Lights on a heap of nitrous powderlaid
Fit for the tun some magazine to store
Against a rumoured warthe smutty grain
With sudden blaze diffusedinflames the air;
So started up in his own shape the Fiend.
Back stept those two fair Angelshalf amazed
So sudden to behold the grisly king;
Yet thusunmoved with fearaccost him soon.
Which of those rebel Spirits adjudged to Hell
Comest thouescaped thy prison? andtransformed
Why sat'st thou like an enemy in wait
Here watching at the head of these that sleep?
Know ye not then said Satanfilled with scorn



Know ye not me? ye knew me once no mate
For youthere sitting where ye durst not soar:
Not to know me argues yourselves unknown
The lowest of your throng; orif ye know
Why ask yeand superfluous begin
Your messagelike to end as much in vain?
To whom thus Zephonanswering scorn with scorn.
Think notrevolted Spiritthy shape the same
Or undiminished brightness to be known
As when thou stoodest in Heaven upright and pure;
That glory thenwhen thou no more wast good
Departed from thee; and thou resemblest now
Thy sin and place of doom obscure and foul.
But comefor thoube sureshalt give account
To him who sent uswhose charge is to keep
This place inviolableand these from harm.
So spake the Cherub; and his grave rebuke
Severe in youthful beautyadded grace
Invincible: Abashed the Devil stood
And felt how awful goodness isand saw
Virtue in her shape how lovely; sawand pined
His loss; but chiefly to find here observed
His lustre visibly impaired; yet seemed
Undaunted. If I must contendsaid he
Best with the bestthe sendernot the sent
Or all at once; more glory will be won
Or less be lost. Thy fearsaid Zephon bold
Will save us trial what the least can do
Single against thee wickedand thence weak.
The Fiend replied notovercome with rage;
Butlike a proud steed reinedwent haughty on
Champing his iron curb: To strive or fly
He held it vain; awe from above had quelled
His heartnot else dismayed. Now drew they nigh
The western pointwhere those half-rounding guards
Just metand closing stood in squadron joined
A waiting next command. To whom their Chief
Gabrielfrom the front thus called aloud.
O friends! I hear the tread of nimble feet
Hasting this wayand 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 firmfor in his look defiance lours.
He scarce had endedwhen those two approached
And brief related whom they broughtwhere found
How busiedin what form and posture couched.
To whom with stern regard thus Gabriel spake.
Why hast thouSatanbroke the bounds prescribed
To thy transgressionsand disturbed the charge
Of otherswho approve not to transgress
By thy examplebut have power and right
To question thy bold entrance on this place;
Employedit seemsto violate sleepand 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 notfinding waybreak loose from Hell
Though thither doomed! Thou wouldst thyselfno doubt
And boldly venture to whatever place



Farthest from painwhere thou mightst hope to change
Torment with easeand soonest recompense
Dole with delightwhich in this place I sought;
To thee no reasonwho knowest only good
But evil hast not tried: and wilt object
His will who bounds us! Let him surer bar
His iron gatesif he intends our stay
In that dark durance: Thus much what was asked.
The rest is truethey found me where they say;
But that implies not violence or harm.
Thus he in scorn. The warlike Angel moved
Disdainfully half smilingthus replied.
O loss of one in Heaven to judge of wise
Since Satan fellwhom folly overthrew
And now returns him from his prison 'scaped
Gravely in doubt whether to hold them wise
Or notwho ask what boldness brought him hither
Unlicensed from his bounds in Hell prescribed;
So wise he judges it to fly from pain
Howeverand to 'scape his punishment!
So judge thou stillpresumptuous! till the wrath
Which thou incurrest by flyingmeet thy flight
Sevenfoldand scourge that wisdom back to Hell
Which taught thee yet no betterthat 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 answeredfrowning stern.
Not that I less endureor shrink from pain
Insulting Angel! well thou knowest I stood
Thy fiercestwhen in battle to thy aid
The blasting vollied thunder made all speed
And seconded thy else not dreaded spear.
But still thy words at randomas before
Argue thy inexperience what behoves
From hard assays and ill successes past
A faithful leadernot to hazard all
Through ways of danger by himself untried:
IthereforeI alone first undertook
To wing the desolate abyssand spy
This new created worldwhereof in Hell
Fame is not silenthere in hope to find
Better abodeand my afflicted Powers
To settle here on earthor 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 Heavenwith songs to hymn his throne
And practised distances to cringenot fight
To whom the warriour Angel soon replied.
To say and straight unsaypretending first
Wise to fly painprofessing next the spy
Argues no leader but a liear traced
Satanand couldst thou faithful add? O name
O sacred name of faithfulness profaned!
Faithful to whom? to thy rebellious crew?
Army of Fiendsfit body to fit head.
Was this your discipline and faith engaged
Your military obedienceto dissolve
Allegiance to the acknowledged Power supreme?



And thously hypocritewho now wouldst seem
Patron of libertywho more than thou
Once fawnedand cringedand servily adored
Heaven's awful Monarch? whereforebut in hope
To dispossess himand thyself to reign?
But mark what I arreed thee nowAvant;
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 soas henceforth not to scorn
The facile gates of Hell too slightly barred.
So threatened he; but Satan to no threats
Gave heedbut 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 armthough Heaven's King
Ride on thy wingsand thou with thy compeers
Us'd to the yokedrawest his triumphant wheels
In progress through the road of Heaven star-paved.
While thus he spakethe angelick squadron bright
Turned fiery redsharpening in mooned horns
Their phalanxand began to hem him round
With ported spearsas thick as when a field
Of Ceres ripe for harvest waving bends
Her bearded grove of earswhich way the wind
Sways them; the careful plowman doubting stands
Left on the threshing floor his hopeless sheaves
Prove chaff. On the other sideSatanalarmed
Collecting all his mightdilated stood
Like Teneriff or Atlasunremoved:
His stature reached the skyand on his crest
Sat Horrour plumed; nor wanted in his grasp
What seemed both spear and shield: Now dreadful deeds
Might have ensuednor only Paradise
In this commotionbut the starry cope
Of Heaven perhapsor all the elements
At least had gone to wrackdisturbed and torn
With violence of this conflicthad not soon
The Eternalto prevent such horrid fray
Hung forth in Heaven his golden scalesyet seen
Betwixt Astrea and the Scorpion sign
Wherein all things created first he weighed
The pendulous round earth with balanced air
In counterpoisenow ponders all events
Battles and realms: In these he put two weights
The sequel each of parting and of fight:
The latter quick up flewand kicked the beam
Which Gabriel spyingthus bespake the Fiend.
SatanI know thy strengthand thou knowest mine;
Neither our ownbut given: What folly then
To boast what arms can do? since thine no more
Than Heaven permitsnor minethough doubled now
To trample thee as mire: For proof look up
And read thy lot in yon celestial sign;
Where thou art weighedand shown how lighthow weak
If thou resist. The Fiend looked upand knew
His mounted scale aloft: Nor more;but fled
Murmuringand with him fled the shades of night.

Book V


Now Mornher rosy steps in the eastern clime
Advancingsowed the earth with orient pearl
When Adam wakedso customed; for his sleep
Was aery-lightfrom pure digestion bred
And temperate vapours blandwhich the only sound
Of leaves and fuming rillsAurora's fan
Lightly dispersedand the shrill matin song
Of birds on every bough; so much the more
His wonder was to find unwakened Eve
With tresses discomposedand glowing cheek
As through unquiet rest: Heon his side
Leaning half raisedwith looks of cordial love
Hung over her enamouredand beheld
Beautywhichwhether waking or asleep
Shot forth peculiar graces; then with voice
Mildas when Zephyrus on Flora breathes
Her hand soft touchingwhispered thus. Awake
My fairestmy espousedmy latest found
Heaven's last best giftmy ever new delight!
Awake: The morning shinesand the fresh field
Calls us; we lose the primeto mark how spring
Our tender plantshow blows the citron grove
What drops the myrrhand what the balmy reed
How nature paints her colourshow the bee
Sits on the bloom extracting liquid sweet.
Such whispering waked herbut with startled eye
On Adamwhom embracingthus she spake.
O sole in whom my thoughts find all repose
My glorymy perfection! glad I see
Thy faceand morn returned; for I this night
(Such night till this I never passed) have dreamed
If dreamednotas I oft am wontof thee
Works of day pastor morrow's next design
But of offence and troublewhich 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 thouEve? now is the pleasant time
'The coolthe silentsave where silence yields
'To the night-warbling birdthat now awake
'Tunes sweetest his love-laboured song; now reigns
'Full-orbed the moonand 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 theeNature's desire?
'In whose sight all things joywith ravishment
'Attracted by thy beauty still to gaze.'
I rose as at thy callbut found thee not;
To find thee I directed then my walk;
And onmethoughtalone 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:
Andas I wondering lookedbeside 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 loadand taste thy sweet
'Nor Godnor Man? Is knowledge so despised?
'Or envyor what reserve forbids to taste?
'Forbid who willnone shall from me withhold
'Longer thy offered good; why else set here?



This saidhe paused notbut with venturous arm
He pluckedhe tasted; me damp horrour chilled
At such bold words vouched with a deed so bold:
But he thusoverjoyed; 'O fruit divine
'Sweet of thyselfbut much more sweet thus cropt
'Forbidden hereit seemsas only fit
'For Godsyet able to make Gods of Men:
'And why not Gods of Men; since goodthe more
'Communicatedmore abundant grows
'The author not impairedbut honoured more?
'Herehappy creaturefair angelick Eve!
'Partake thou also; happy though thou art
'Happier thou mayest beworthier canst not be:
'Taste thisand be henceforth among the Gods
'Thyself a Goddessnot to earth confined
'But sometimes in the airas wesometimes
'Ascend to Heavenby merit thineand see
'What life the Gods live thereand such live thou!'
So sayinghe drew nighand to me held
Even to my mouth of that same fruit held part
Which he had plucked; the pleasant savoury smell
So quickened appetitethat Imethought
Could not but taste. Forthwith up to the clouds
With him I flewand underneath beheld
The earth outstretched immensea prospect wide
And various: Wondering at my flight and change
To this high exaltation; suddenly
My guide was goneand Imethoughtsunk down
And fell asleep; but Ohow glad I waked
To find this but a dream! Thus Eve her night
Relatedand thus Adam answered sad.
Best image of myselfand dearer half
The trouble of thy thoughts this night in sleep
Affects me equally; nor can I like
This uncouth dreamof evil sprungI fear;
Yet evil whence? in thee can harbour none
Created pure. But know that in the soul
Are many lesser facultiesthat serve
Reason as chief; among these Fancy next
Her office holds; of all external things
Which the five watchful senses represent
She forms imaginationsaery shapes
Which Reasonjoining or disjoiningframes
All what we affirm or what denyand call
Our knowledge or opinion; then retires
Into her private cellwhen nature rests.
Oft in her absence mimick Fancy wakes
To imitate her; butmisjoining shapes
Wild work produces oftand most in dreams;
Ill matching words and deeds long past or late.
Some such resemblancesmethinksI find
Of our last evening's talkin this thy dream
But with addition strange; yet be not sad.
Evil into the mind of God or Man
May come and goso unreprovedand 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 thennor 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 grovesthe fountainsand the flowers
That open now their choisest bosomed smells



Reserved from nightand kept for thee in store.
So cheered he his fair spouseand she was cheered;
But silently a gentle tear let fall
From either eyeand wiped them with her hair;
Two other precious drops that ready stood
Each in their crystal sluicehe ere they fell
Kissedas the gracious signs of sweet remorse
And pious awethat feared to have offended.
So all was clearedand to the field they haste.
But firstfrom under shady arborous roof
Soon as they forth were come to open sight
Of day-springand the sunwhoscarce 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 adoringand began
Their orisonseach morning duly paid
In various style; for neither various style
Nor holy rapture wanted they to praise
Their Makerin fit strains pronouncedor sung
Unmeditated; such prompt eloquence
Flowed from their lipsin prose or numerous verse
More tuneable than needed lute or harp
To add more sweetness; and they thus began.
These are thy glorious worksParent of good
Almighty! Thine this universal frame
Thus wonderous fair; Thyself how wonderous then!
Unspeakablewho sitst above these heavens
To us invisibleor dimly seen
In these thy lowest works; yet these declare
Thy goodness beyond thoughtand power divine.
Speakye who best can tellye sons of light
Angels; for ye behold himand with songs
And choral symphoniesday without night
Circle his throne rejoicing; ye in Heaven
On Earth join all ye Creatures to extol
Him firsthim lasthim midstand without end.
Fairest of starslast in the train of night
If better thou belong not to the dawn
Sure pledge of daythat crownest the smiling morn
With thy bright circletpraise him in thy sphere
While day arisesthat sweet hour of prime.
Thou Sunof this great world both eye and soul
Acknowledge him thy greater; sound his praise
In thy eternal courseboth when thou climbest
And when high noon hast gainedand when thou fallest.
Moonthat now meetest the orient sunnow flyest
With the fixed Starsfixed in their orb that flies;
And ye five other wandering Firesthat move
In mystick dance not without songresound
His praisewho out of darkness called up light.
Airand ye Elementsthe eldest birth
Of Nature's wombthat in quaternion run
Perpetual circlemultiform; and mix
And nourish all things; let your ceaseless change
Vary to our great Maker still new praise.
Ye Mists and Exhalationsthat now rise
From hill or steaming lakedusky 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 praiseye Windsthat from four quarters blow
Breathe soft or loud; andwave your topsye Pines
With every plantin sign of worship wave.
Fountainsand ye that warbleas ye flow
Melodious murmurswarbling tune his praise.
Join voicesall 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 glideand ye that walk
The earthand stately treador lowly creep;
Witness if I be silentmorn or even
To hillor valleyfountainor fresh shade
Made vocal by my songand taught his praise.
Hailuniversal Lordbe bounteous still
To give us only good; and if the night
Have gathered aught of evilor concealed
Disperse itas now light dispels the dark!
So prayed they innocentand to their thoughts
Firm peace recovered soonand 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 boughsand needed hands to check
Fruitless embraces: or they led the vine
To wed her elm; shespousedabout him twines
Her marriageable armsand with him brings
Her dowerthe adopted clustersto adorn
His barren leaves. Them thus employed beheld
With pity Heaven's high Kingand to him called
Raphaelthe sociable Spiritthat deigned
To travel with Tobiasand secured
His marriage with the seventimes-wedded maid.
Raphaelsaid hethou hearest what stir on Earth
Satanfrom 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 thereforehalf this day as friend with friend
Converse with Adamin 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 willhis will though free
Yet mutable; whence warn him to beware
He swerve nottoo secure: Tell him withal
His dangerand from whom; what enemy
Late fallen himself from Heavenis plotting now
The fall of others from like state of bliss;
By violence? nofor that shall be withstood;
But by deceit and lies: This let him know
Lestwilfully transgressinghe pretend
Surprisalunadmonishedunforewarned.
So spake the Eternal Fatherand fulfilled
All justice: Nor delayed the winged Saint
After his charge received; but from among
Thousand celestial Ardourswhere he stood
Veiled with his gorgeous wingsup springing light
Flew through the midst of Heaven; the angelick quires
On each hand partingto his speed gave way
Through all the empyreal road; tillat the gate
Of Heaven arrivedthe gate self-opened wide
On golden hinges turningas by work



Divine the sovran Architect had framed.
From hence no cloudorto obstruct his sight
Star interposedhowever small he sees
Not unconformed to other shining globes
Earthand the garden of Godwith cedars crowned
Above all hills. As when by night the glass
Of Galileoless assuredobserves
Imagined lands and regions in the moon:
Or pilotfrom amidst the Cyclades
Delos or Samos first appearingkens
A cloudy spot. Down thither prone in flight
He speedsand through the vast ethereal sky
Sails between worlds and worldswith steady wing
Now on the polar windsthen with quick fan
Winnows the buxom air; tillwithin soar
Of towering eaglesto all the fowls he seems
A phoenixgazed by all as that sole bird
Whento enshrine his reliques in the Sun's
Bright templeto Egyptian Thebes he flies.
At once on the eastern cliff of Paradise
He lightsand to his proper shape returns
A Seraph winged: Six wings he woreto shade
His lineaments divine; the pair that clad
Each shoulder broadcame mantling o'er his breast
With regal ornament; the middle pair
Girt like a starry zone his waistand 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 plumesthat heavenly fragrance filled
The circuit wide. Straight knew him all the bands
Of Angels under watch; and to his state
And to his message highin honour rise;
For on some message high they guessed him bound.
Their glittering tents he passedand now is come
Into the blissful fieldthrough groves of myrrh
And flowering odourscassianardand balm;
A wilderness of sweets; for Nature here
Wantoned as in her primeand played at will
Her virgin fancies pouring forth more sweet
Wild above rule or artenormous bliss.
Him through the spicy forest onward come
Adam discernedas in the door he sat
Of his cool bowerwhile now the mounted sun
Shot down direct his fervid rays to warm
Earth's inmost wombmore warmth than Adam needs:
And Eve withindue at her hour prepared
For dinner savoury fruitsof taste to please
True appetiteand not disrelish thirst
Of nectarous draughts betweenfrom milky stream
Berry or grape: To whom thus Adam called.
Haste hitherEveand worth thy sight behold
Eastward among those treeswhat glorious shape
Comes this way moving; seems another morn
Risen on mid-noon; some great behest from Heaven
To us perhaps he bringsand will vouchsafe
This day to be our guest. But go with speed
Andwhat thy stores containbring forthand pour
Abundancefit to honour and receive
Our heavenly stranger: Well we may afford
Our givers their own giftsand large bestow
From large bestowedwhere Nature multiplies
Her fertile growthand by disburthening grows


More fruitfulwhich instructs us not to spare.
To whom thus Eve. Adamearth's hallowed mould
Of God inspired! small store will servewhere store
All seasonsripe for use hangs on the stalk;
Save what by frugal storing firmness gains
To nourishand superfluous moist consumes:
But I will hasteand from each bough and brake
Each plant and juciest gourdwill pluck such choice
To entertain our Angel-guestas he
Beholding shall confessthat here on Earth
God hath dispensed his bounties as in Heaven.
So sayingwith dispatchful looks in haste
She turnson hospitable thoughts intent
What choice to choose for delicacy best
What orderso contrived as not to mix
Tastesnot well joinedinelegantbut bring
Taste after taste upheld with kindliest change;
Bestirs her thenand from each tender stalk
Whatever Earthall-bearing motheryields
In India East or Westor middle shore
In Pontus or the Punick coastor where
Alcinous reignedfruit of all kindsin coat
Roughor smooth rindor bearded huskor shell
She gatherstribute largeand on the board
Heaps with unsparing hand; for drink the grape
She crushesinoffensive mustand meaths
From many a berryand 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 sireto meet
His God-like guestwalks forthwithout more train
Accompanied than with his own complete
Perfections; in himself was all his state
More solemn than the tedious pomp that waits
On princeswhen their rich retinue long
Of horses ledand grooms besmeared with gold
Dazzles the croudand sets them all agape.
Nearer his presence Adamthough not awed
Yet with submiss approach and reverence meek
As to a superiour nature bowing low
Thus said. Native of Heavenfor other place
None can than Heaven such glorious shape contain;
Sinceby descending from the thrones above
Those happy places thou hast deigned a while
To wantand honour thesevouchsafe with us
Two onlywho yet by sovran gift possess
This spacious groundin yonder shady bower
To rest; and what the garden choicest bears
To sit and tastetill this meridian heat
Be overand the sun more cool decline.
Whom thus the angelick Virtue answered mild.
AdamI therefore came; nor art thou such
Createdor such place hast here to dwell
As may not oft invitethough Spirits of Heaven
To visit thee; lead on then where thy bower
O'ershades; for these mid-hourstill evening rise
I have at will. So to the sylvan lodge
They camethat like Pomona's arbour smiled
With flowerets deckedand fragrant smells; but Eve
Undecked save with herselfmore lovely fair
Than Wood-Nymphor the fairest Goddess feigned
Of three that in mount Ida naked strove
Stood to entertain her guest from Heaven; no veil


She neededvirtue-proof; no thought infirm
Altered her cheek. On whom the Angel Hail
Bestowedthe holy salutation used
Long after to blest Marysecond Eve.
HailMother of Mankindwhose 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 wasand mossy seats had round
And on her ample square from side to side
All autumn piledthough spring and autumn here
Danced hand in hand. A while discourse they hold;
No fear lest dinner cool; when thus began
Our author. Heavenly strangerplease to taste
These bountieswhich our Nourisherfrom whom
All perfect goodunmeasured outdescends
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
Spiritualmay 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 sensewhereby they hearseesmelltouchtaste
Tasting concoctdigestassimilate
And corporeal to incorporeal turn.
For knowwhatever was createdneeds
To be sustained and fed: Of elements
The grosser feeds the purerearth the sea
Earth and the sea feed airthe air those fires
Etherealand as lowest first the moon;
Whence in her visage round those spotsunpurged
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 allreceives
From all his alimental recompence
In humid exhalationsand at even
Sups with the ocean. Though in Heaven the trees
Of life ambrosial fruitage bearand vines
Yield nectar; though from off the boughs each morn
We brush mellifluous dewsand 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 Angelnor in mistthe common gloss
Of Theologians; but with keen dispatch
Of real hungerand concoctive heat
To transubstantiate: What redoundstranspires
Through Spirits with ease; nor wonder;if by fire
Of sooty coal the empirick alchemist
Can turnor holds it possible to turn
Metals of drossiest ore to perfect gold
As from the mine. Mean while at table Eve
Ministered nakedand their flowing cups
With pleasant liquours crowned: O innocence
Deserving Paradise! if everthen
Then had the sons of God excuse to have been


Enamoured at that sight; but in those hearts
Love unlibidinous reignednor jealousy
Was understoodthe injured lover's hell.
Thus when with meats and drinks they had sufficed
Not burdened naturesudden mind arose
In Adamnot to let the occasion pass
Given him by this great conference to know
Of things above his worldand of their being
Who dwell in Heavenwhose excellence he saw
Transcend his own so far; whose radiant forms
Divine effulgencewhose high powerso far
Exceeded human; and his wary speech
Thus to the empyreal minister he framed.
Inhabitant with Godnow know I well
Thy favourin this honour done to Man;
Under whose lowly roof thou hast vouchsafed
To enterand these earthly fruits to taste
Food not of Angelsyet 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 AdamOne Almighty isfrom whom
All things proceedand up to him return
If not depraved from goodcreated all
Such to perfectionone first matter all
Endued with various formsvarious degrees
Of substanceandin things that liveof life;
But more refinedmore spiritousand pure
As nearer to him placedor nearer tending
Each in their several active spheres assigned
Till body up to spirit workin bounds
Proportioned to each kind. So from the root
Springs lighter the green stalkfrom thence the leaves
More aerylast the bright consummate flower
Spirits odorous breathes: flowers and their fruit
Man's nourishmentby gradual scale sublimed
To vital spirits aspireto animal
To intellectual; give both life and sense
Fancy and understanding; whence the soul
Reason receivesand reason is her being
Discursiveor intuitive; discourse
Is oftest yoursthe latter most is ours
Differing but in degreeof kind the same.
Wonder not thenwhat God for you saw good
If I refuse notbut convertas you
To proper substance. Time may comewhen Men
With Angels may participateand find
No inconvenient dietnor too light fare;
And from these corporal nutriments perhaps
Your bodies may at last turn all to spirit
Improved by tract of timeandwingedascend
Etherealas we; or mayat choice
Here or in heavenly Paradises dwell;
If ye be found obedientand retain
Unalterably firm his love entire
Whose progeny you are. Mean while enjoy
Your fill what happiness this happy state
Can comprehendincapable of more.
To whom the patriarch of mankind replied.
O favourable Spiritpropitious guest
Well hast thou taught the way that might direct
Our knowledgeand 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 joinedIf ye be found
Obedient? Can we want obedience then
To himor 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 happyowe to God;
That thou continuest suchowe to thyself
That isto thy obedience; therein stand.
This was that caution given thee; be advised.
God made thee perfectnot immutable;
And good he made theebut to persevere
He left it in thy power; ordained thy will
By nature freenot over-ruled by fate
Inextricableor strict necessity:
Our voluntary service he requires
Not our necessitated; such with him
Finds no acceptancenor can find; for how
Can heartsnot freebe tried whether they serve
Willing or nowho will but what they must
By destinyand can no other choose?
Myselfand all the angelick hostthat stand
In sight of Godenthronedour happy state
Holdas you yourswhile our obedience holds;
On other surety none: Freely we serve
Because we freely loveas in our will
To love or not; in this we stand or fall:
And some are fallento disobedience fallen
And so from Heaven to deepest Hell; O fall
From what high state of blissinto what woe!
To whom our great progenitor. Thy words
Attentiveand with more delighted ear
Divine instructerI have heardthan 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 Makerand obey him whose command
Single is yet so justmy constant thoughts
Assured meand still assure: Though what thou tellest
Hath passed in Heavensome doubt within me move
But more desire to hearif thou consent
The full relationwhich must needs be strange
Worthy of sacred silence to be heard;
And we have yet large dayfor scarce the sun
Hath finished half his journeyand scarce begins
His other half in the great zone of Heaven.
Thus Adam made request; and Raphael
After short pause assentingthus began.
High matter thou enjoinest meO prime of men
Sad task and hard: For how shall I relate
To human sense the invisible exploits
Of warring Spirits? howwithout remorse
The ruin of so many glorious once
And perfect while they stood? how last unfold
The secrets of another worldperhaps
Not lawful to reveal? yet for thy good
This is dispensed; and what surmounts the reach
Of human senseI shall delineate so
By likening spiritual to corporal forms
As may express them best; though what if Earth
Be but a shadow of Heavenand things therein


Each to other likemore than on earth is thought?
As yet this world was notand Chaos wild
Reigned where these Heavens now rollwhere Earth now rests
Upon her center poised; when on a day
(For timethough in eternityapplied
To motionmeasures all things durable
By presentpastand future) on such day
As Heaven's great year brings forththe empyreal host
Of Angels by imperial summons called
Innumerable before the Almighty's throne
Forthwithfrom all the ends of Heavenappeared
Under their Hierarchs in orders bright:
Ten thousand thousand ensigns high advanced
Standards and gonfalons 'twixt van and rear
Stream in the airand for distinction serve
Of hierarchiesof ordersand degrees;
Or in their glittering tissues bear imblazed
Holy memorialsacts of zeal and love
Recorded eminent. Thus when in orbs
Of circuit inexpressible they stood
Orb within orbthe Father Infinite
By whom in bliss imbosomed sat the Son
Amidst as from a flaming mountwhose top
Brightness had made invisiblethus spake.
Hearall ye Angelsprogeny of light
ThronesDominationsPrincedomsVirtuesPowers;
Hear my decreewhich unrevoked shall stand.
This day I have begot whom I declare
My only Sonand on this holy hill
Him have anointedwhom ye now behold
At my right hand; your head I him appoint;
And by myself have swornto him shall bow
All knees in Heavenand shall confess him Lord:
Under his great vice-gerent reign abide
Unitedas one individual soul
For ever happy: Him who disobeys
Me disobeysbreaks unionand that day
Cast out from God and blessed visionfalls
Into utter darknessdeep ingulfedhis place
Ordained without redemptionwithout end.
So spake the Omnipotentand with his words
All seemed well pleased; all seemedbut were not all.
That dayas other solemn daysthey spent
In song and dance about the sacred hill;
Mystical dancewhich yonder starry sphere
Of planetsand of fixedin all her wheels
Resembles nearestmazes intricate
Eccentrickintervolvedyet regular
Then mostwhen most irregular they seem;
And in their motions harmony divine
So smooths her charming tonesthat God's own ear
Listens delighted. Evening now approached
(For we have also our evening and our morn
We ours for change delectablenot need;)
Forthwith from dance to sweet repast they turn
Desirous; all in circles as they stood
Tables are setand on a sudden piled
With Angels foodand rubied nectar flows
In pearlin diamondand massy gold
Fruit of delicious vinesthe growth of Heaven.
On flowers reposedand with fresh flowerets crowned
They eatthey drinkand in communion sweet
Quaff immortality and joysecure
Of surfeitwhere full measure only bounds


Excessbefore the all-bounteous Kingwho showered
With copious handrejoicing in their joy.
Now when ambrosial night with clouds exhaled
From that high mount of Godwhence light and shade
Spring boththe 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 plainand wider far
Than all this globous earth in plain outspread
(Such are the courts of God) the angelick throng
Dispersed in bands and filestheir camp extend
By living streams among the trees of life
Pavilions numberlessand sudden reared
Celestial tabernacleswhere they slept
Fanned with cool winds; save thosewhoin their course
Melodious hymns about the sovran throne
Alternate all night long: but not so waked
Satan; so call him nowhis former name
Is heard no more in Heaven; he of the first
If not the first Arch-Angelgreat in power
In favour and pre-eminenceyet fraught
With envy against the Son of Godthat day
Honoured by his great Fatherand proclaimed
Messiah King anointedcould not bear
Through pride that sightand thought himself impaired.
Deep malice thence conceiving and disdain
Soon as midnight brought on the dusky hour
Friendliest to sleep and silencehe resolved
With all his legions to dislodgeand leave
Unworshiptunobeyedthe throne supreme
Contemptuous; and his next subordinate
Awakeningthus to him in secret spake.
Sleepest thouCompanion dear? What sleep can close
Thy eye-lids? and rememberest what decree
Of yesterdayso late hath passed the lips
Of Heaven's Almighty. Thou to me thy thoughts
Wast wontI 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 reignsnew minds may raise
In us who servenew 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 themthat by commandere yet dim night
Her shadowy cloud withdrawsI am to haste
And all who under me their banners wave
Homewardwith flying marchwhere we possess
The quarters of the north; there to prepare
Fit entertainment to receive our King
The great Messiahand his new commands
Who speedily through all the hierarchies
Intends to pass triumphantand give laws.
So spake the false Arch-Angeland infused
Bad influence into the unwary breast
Of his associate: He together calls
Or several one by onethe regent Powers
Under him Regent; tellsas he was taught
That the Most High commandingnow ere night
Now ere dim night had disincumbered Heaven
The great hierarchal standard was to move;
Tells the suggested causeand casts between
Ambiguous words and jealousiesto sound


Or taint integrity: But all obeyed
The wonted signaland superiour voice
Of their great Potentate; for great indeed
His nameand high was his degree in Heaven;
His countenanceas the morning-star that guides
The starry flockallured themand with lies
Drew after him the third part of Heaven's host.
Mean while the Eternal eyewhose sight discerns
Abstrusest thoughtsfrom forth his holy mount
And from within the golden lamps that burn
Nightly before himsaw without their light
Rebellion rising; saw in whomhow spread
Among the sons of mornwhat multitudes
Were banded to oppose his high decree;
Andsmilingto his only Son thus said.
Sonthou in whom my glory I behold
In full resplendenceHeir of all my might
Nearly it now concerns us to be sure
Of our Omnipotenceand with what arms
We mean to hold what anciently we claim
Of deity or empire: Such a foe
Is risingwho intends to erect his throne
Equal to oursthroughout the spacious north;
Nor so contenthath in his thought to try
In battlewhat our power isor our right.
Let us adviseand to this hazard draw
With speed what force is leftand all employ
In our defence; lest unawares we lose
This our high placeour sanctuaryour hill.
To whom the Son with calm aspect and clear
Lightning divineineffableserene
Made answer. Mighty Fatherthou thy foes
Justly hast in derisionandsecure
Laughest at their vain designs and tumults vain
Matter to me of glorywhom their hate
Illustrateswhen they see all regal power
Given me to quell their prideand in event
Know whether I be dextrous to subdue
Thy rebelsor be found the worst in Heaven.
So spake the Son; but Satanwith his Powers
Far was advanced on winged speed; an host
Innumerable as the stars of night
Or stars of morningdew-dropswhich the sun
Impearls on every leaf and every flower.
Regions they passedthe mighty regencies
Of Seraphimand Potentatesand Thrones
In their triple degrees; regions to which
All thy dominionAdamis no more
Than what this garden is to all the earth
And all the seafrom 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 hillfar blazingas a mount
Raised on a mountwith pyramids and towers
From diamond quarries hewnand rocks of gold;
The palace of great Lucifer(so call
That structure in the dialect of men
Interpreted) which not long afterhe
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 comeand with calumnious art
Of counterfeited truth thus held their ears.
ThronesDominationsPrincedomsVirtuesPowers;
If these magnifick titles yet remain
Not merely titularsince by decree
Another now hath to himself engrossed
All powerand us eclipsed under the name
Of King anointedfor whom all this haste
Of midnight-marchand 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 unpaidprostration vile!
Too much to one! but double how endured
To oneand to his image now proclaimed?
But what if better counsels might erect
Our mindsand teach us to cast off this yoke?
Will ye submit your necksand choose to bend
The supple knee? Ye will notif I trust
To know ye rightor if ye know yourselves
Natives and sons of Heaven possessed before
By none; and if not equal allyet free
Equally free; for orders and degrees
Jar not with libertybut well consist.
Who can in reason thenor rightassume
Monarchy over such as live by right
His equalsif in power and splendour less
In freedom equal? or can introduce
Law and edict on uswho without law
Err not? much less for this to be our Lord
And look for adorationto the abuse
Of those imperial titleswhich assert
Our being ordained to governnot to serve.
Thus far his bold discourse without controul
Had audience; when among the Seraphim
Abdielthan whom none with more zeal adored
The Deityand divine commands obeyed
Stood upand in a flame of zeal severe
The current of his fury thus opposed.
O argument blasphemousfalseand proud!
Words which no ear ever to hear in Heaven
Expectedleast of all from theeIngrate
In place thyself so high above thy peers.
Canst thou with impious obloquy condemn
The just decree of Godpronounced and sworn
That to his only Sonby right endued
With regal scepterevery soul in Heaven
Shall bend the kneeand in that honour due
Confess him rightful King? unjustthou sayest
Flatly unjustto 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 libertywho made
Thee what thou artand formed the Powers of Heaven
Such as he pleasedand circumscribed their being?
Yetby experience taughtwe know how good
And of our good and of our dignity
How provident he is; how far from thought
To make us lessbent rather to exalt
Our happy stateunder one head more near
United. But to grant it thee unjust


That equal over equals monarch reign:
Thyselfthough great and gloriousdost thou count
Or all angelick nature joined in one
Equal to him begotten Son? by whom
As by his Wordthe Mighty Father made
All thingseven thee; and all the Spirits of Heaven
By him created in their bright degrees
Crowned them with gloryand to their glory named
ThronesDominationsPrincedomsVirtuesPowers
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 Fatherand the incensed Son
While pardon may be found in time besought.
So spake the fervent Angel; but his zeal
None secondedas out of season judged
Or singular and rash: Whereat rejoiced
The Apostateandmore haughtythus replied.
That we were formed then sayest thou? and the work
Of secondary handsby 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 makingwhile the Maker gave thee being?
We know no time when we were not as now;
Know none before usself-begotself-raised
By our own quickening powerwhen fatal course
Had circled his full orbthe birth mature
Of this our native Heavenethereal sons.
Our puissance is our own; our own right hand
Shall teach us highest deedsby proof to try
Who is our equal: Then thou shalt behold
Whether by supplication we intend
Addressand to begirt the almighty throne
Beseeching or besieging. This report
These tidings carry to the anointed King;
And flyere evil intercept thy flight.
He said; andas the sound of waters deep
Hoarse murmur echoed to his words applause
Through the infinite host; nor less for that
The flaming Seraph fearlessthough alone
Encompassed round with foesthus answered bold.
O alienate from GodO Spirit accursed
Forsaken of all good! I see thy fall
Determinedand thy hapless crew involved
In this perfidious fraudcontagion 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 scepterwhich 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 devotedlest the wrath
Impendentraging into sudden flame
Distinguish not: For soon expect to feel
His thunder on thy headdevouring fire.
Then who created thee lamenting learn
When who can uncreate thee thou shalt know.


So spake the Seraph Abdielfaithful found
Among the faithlessfaithful only he;
Among innumerable falseunmoved
Unshakenunseducedunterrified
His loyalty he kepthis lovehis zeal;
Nor numbernor examplewith him wrought
To swerve from truthor change his constant mind
Though single. From amidst them forth he passed
Long way through hostile scornwhich he sustained
Superiournor of violence feared aught;
Andwith retorted scornhis back he turned
On those proud towers to swift destruction doomed.


Book VI


All night the dreadless Angelunpursued
Through Heaven's wide champain held his way; till Morn
Waked by the circling Hourswith rosy hand
Unbarred the gates of light. There is a cave
Within the mount of Godfast by his throne
Where light and darkness in perpetual round
Lodge and dislodge by turnswhich makes through Heaven
Grateful vicissitudelike day and night;
Light issues forthand at the other door
Obsequious darkness enterstill her hour
To veil the Heaventhough 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
Chariotsand flaming armsand fiery steeds
Reflecting blaze on blazefirst met his view:
War he perceivedwar in procinct; and found
Already known what he for news had thought
To have reported: Gladly then he mixed
Among those friendly Powerswho him received
With joy and acclamations loudthat one
That of so many myriads fallenyet one
Returned not lost. On to the sacred hill
They led him high applaudedand present
Before the seat supreme; from whence a voice
From midst a golden cloudthus mild was heard.
Servant of God. Well done; well hast thou fought
The better fightwho single hast maintained
Against revolted multitudes the cause
Of truthin word mightier than they in arms;
And for the testimony of truth hast borne
Universal reproachfar worse to bear
Than violence; for this was all thy care
To stand approved in sight of Godthough worlds
Judged thee perverse: The easier conquest now
Remains theeaided by this host of friends
Back on thy foes more glorious to return
Than scorned thou didst depart; and to subdue
By forcewho reason for their law refuse
Right reason for their lawand for their King
Messiahwho by right of merit reigns.
GoMichaelof celestial armies prince
And thouin military prowess next
Gabriellead forth to battle these my sons



Invincible; lead forth my armed Saints
By thousands and by millionsranged for fight
Equal in number to that Godless crew
Rebellious: Them with fire and hostile arms
Fearless assault; andto the brow of Heaven
Pursuingdrive them out from God and bliss
Into their place of punishmentthe gulf
Of Tartaruswhich ready opens wide
His fiery Chaos to receive their fall.
So spake the Sovran Voiceand clouds began
To darken all the hilland smoke to roll
In dusky wreathsreluctant flamesthe 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 Heavenin mighty quadrate joined
Of union irresistiblemoved on
In silence their bright legionsto the sound
Of instrumental harmonythat breathed
Heroick ardour to adventurous deeds
Under their God-like leadersin the cause
Of God and his Messiah. On they move
Indissolubly firm; nor obvious hill
Nor straitening valenor woodnor streamdivides
Their perfect ranks; for high above the ground
Their march wasand the passive air upbore
Their nimble tread; as when the total kind
Of birdsin orderly array on wing
Came summoned over Eden to receive
Their names of thee; so over many a tract
Of Heaven they marchedand 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 regionstretched
In battailous aspectand nearer view
Bristled with upright beams innumerable
Of rigid spearsand helmets throngedand shields
Variouswith boastful argument portrayed
The banded Powers of Satan hasting on
With furious expedition; for they weened
That self-same dayby fight or by surprise
To win the mount of Godand on his throne
To set the Envier of his statethe proud
Aspirer; but their thoughts proved fond and vain
In the mid way: Though strange to us it seemed
At firstthat Angel should with Angel war
And in fierce hosting meetwho wont to meet
So oft in festivals of joy and love
Unanimousas sons of one great Sire
Hymning the Eternal Father: But the shout
Of battle now beganand rushing sound
Of onset ended soon each milder thought.
High in the midstexalted as a God
The Apostate in his sun-bright chariot sat
Idol of majesty divineenclosed
With flaming Cherubimand golden shields;
Then lighted from his gorgeous thronefor 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:

00482129

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 nightand now from end to end

Night's hemisphere had veil'd the horizon round:

When satanwho late fled before the threats

Of Gabriel out of Edennow improv'd

In meditated fraud and malicebent

On Man's destructionmaugre what might hap

Of heavier on himselffearless returned

From compassing the earth; cautious of day

Since Urielregent of the sundescried

His entranceand 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 poletraversing each colure;
On the eighth returned; andon the coast averse
From entrance or Cherubick watchby stealth
Found unsuspected way. There was a place
Now notthough sinnot timefirst wrought the change
Where Tigrisat the foot of Paradise
Into a gulf shot under groundtill part
Rose up a fountain by the tree of life:
In with the river sunkand with it rose
Sataninvolved in rising mist; then sought
Where to lie hid; sea he had searchedand land
From Eden over Pontus and the pool
Maeotisup 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 creaturewhich of all
Most opportune might serve his wiles; and found
The Serpent subtlest beast of all the field.
Him after long debateirresolute
Of thoughts revolvedhis final sentence chose
Fit vesselfittest imp of fraudin whom
To enterand his dark suggestions hide
From sharpest sight: forin the wily snake
Whatever sleightsnone would suspicious mark
As from his wit and native subtlety
Proceeding; whichin other beasts observed
Doubt might beget of diabolick power
Active withinbeyond the sense of brute.
Thus he resolvedbut first from inward grief
His bursting passion into plaints thus poured.
More justlyseat worthier of Godsas built
With second thoughtsreforming what was old!
O Earthhow like to Heavenif not preferred
For what Godafter betterworse would build?
Terrestrial Heavendanced round by other Heavens
That shineyet bear their bright officious lamps
Light above lightfor thee aloneas seems
In thee concentring all their precious beams
Of sacred influence! As God in Heaven
Is centeryet extends to all; so thou
Centringreceivest from all those orbs: in thee
Not in themselvesall their known virtue appears
Productive in herbplantand nobler birth
Of creatures animate with gradual life
Of growthsensereasonall summed up in Man.
With what delight could I have walked thee round
If I could joy in aughtsweet interchange
Of hilland valleyriverswoodsand plains
Now landnow sea and shores with forest crowned
Rocksdensand caves! But I in none of these
Find place or refuge; and the more I see
Pleasures about meso much more I feel
Torment within meas from the hateful siege
Of contraries: all good to me becomes
Baneand in Heaven much worse would be my state.
But neither here seek Ino nor in Heaven
To dwellunless by mastering Heaven's Supreme;
Nor hope to be myself less miserable


By what I seekbut others to make such
As Ithough thereby worse to me redound:
For only in destroying I find ease
To my relentless thoughts; andhim destroyed
Or won to what may work his utter loss
For whom all this was madeall this will soon
Followas 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 Powersin one day to have marred
What heAlmighty styledsix nights and days
Continued making; and who knows how long
Before had been contriving? though perhaps
Not longer than since Iin one nightfreed
From servitude inglorious well nigh half
The angelick nameand thinner left the throng
Of his adorers: Heto be avenged
And to repair his numbers thus impaired
Whether such virtue spent of old now failed
More Angels to createif they at least
Are his createdorto spite us more
Determined to advance into our room
A creature formed of earthand him endow
Exalted from so base original
With heavenly spoilsour spoils: What he decreed
He effected; Man he madeand for him built
Magnificent this worldand earth his seat
Him lord pronounced; andO indignity!
Subjected to his service angel-wings
And flaming ministers to watch and tend
Their earthly charge: Of these the vigilance
I dread; andto eludethus wrapt in mist
Of midnight vapour glide obscureand pry
In every bush and brakewhere hap may find
The serpent sleeping; in whose mazy folds
To hide meand the dark intent I bring.
O foul descent! that Iwho erst contended
With Gods to sit the highestam now constrained
Into a beast; andmixed 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 aspiresmust down as low
As high he soared; obnoxiousfirst or last
To basest things. Revengeat first though sweet
Bitter ere longback on itself recoils:
Let it; I reck notso it light well aimed
Since higher I fall shorton him who next
Provokes my envythis new favourite
Of Heaventhis man of clayson of despite
Whomus the more to spitehis Maker raised
From dust: Spite then with spite is best repaid.
So sayingthrough each thicket dank or dry
Like a black mist low-creepinghe held on
His midnight-searchwhere soonest he might find
The serpent; him fast-sleeping soon he found
In labyrinth of many a round self-rolled
His head the midstwell stored with subtile wiles:
Not yet in horrid shade or dismal den
Nor nocent yet; buton the grassy herb
Fearless unfeared he slept: in at his mouth
The Devil entered; and his brutal sense
In heart or headpossessingsoon inspired
With act intelligential; but his sleep


Disturbed notwaiting close the approach of morn.
Nowwhen as sacred light began to dawn
In Eden on the humid flowersthat breathed
Their morning incensewhen all thingsthat breathe
From the Earth's great altar send up silent praise
To the Creatorand his nostrils fill
With grateful smellforth came the human pair
And joined their vocal worship to the quire
Of creatures wanting voice; that donepartake
The season prime for sweetest scents and airs:
Then communehow 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.
Adamwell may we labour still to dress
This gardenstill to tend plantherband flower
Our pleasant task enjoined; buttill more hands
Aid usthe work under our labour grows
Luxurious by restraint; what we by day
Lop overgrownor pruneor propor 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; thouwhere choice
Leads theeor where most needswhether to wind
The woodbine round this arbouror direct
The clasping ivy where to climb; while I
In yonder spring of roses intermixed
With myrtlefind what to redress till noon:
Forwhile so near each other thus all day
Our task we choosewhat wonder if so near
Looks intervene and smilesor object new
Casual discourse draw on; which intermits
Our day's workbrought to littlethough begun
Earlyand the hour of supper comes unearned?
To whom mild answer Adam thus returned.
Sole Eveassociate soleto me beyond
Compare above all living creatures dear!
Well hast thou motionedwell 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 womanthan to study houshold good
And good works in her husband to promote.
Yet not so strictly hath our Lord imposed
Labouras to debar us when we need
Refreshmentwhether foodor talk between
Food of the mindor this sweet intercourse
Of looks and smiles; for smiles from reason flow
To brute deniedand are of love the food;
Lovenot the lowest end of human life.
For not to irksome toilbut to delight
He made usand delight to reason joined.
These paths and bowers doubt not but our joint hands
Will keep from wilderness with easeas wide
As we need walktill younger hands ere long
Assist us; Butif much converse perhaps
Thee satiateto short absence I could yield:
For solitude sometimes is best society
And short retirement urges sweet return.
But other doubt possesses melest harm
Befall thee severed from me; for thou knowest
What hath been warned uswhat malicious foe
Envying our happinessand of his own


Despairingseeks to work us woe and shame
By sly assault; and somewhere nigh at hand
Watchesno doubtwith greedy hope to find
His wish and best advantageus asunder;
Hopeless to circumvent us joinedwhere each
To other speedy aid might lend at need:
Whether his first design be to withdraw
Our fealty from Godor to disturb
Conjugal lovethan which perhaps no bliss
Enjoyed by us excites his envy more;
Or thisor worseleave not the faithful side
That gave thee beingstill shades theeand protects.
The wifewhere danger or dishonour lurks
Safest and seemliest by her husband stays
Who guards heror with her the worst endures.
To whom the virgin majesty of Eve
As one who lovesand some unkindness meets
With sweet austere composure thus replied.
Offspring of Heaven and Earthand all Earth's Lord!
That such an enemy we havewho seeks
Our ruinboth 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.
Butthat thou shouldst my firmness therefore doubt
To God or theebecause we have a foe
May tempt itI expected not to hear.
His violence thou fearest notbeing such
As wenot capable of death or pain
Can either not receiveor can repel.
His fraud is then thy fear; which plain infers
Thy equal fearthat my firm faith and love
Can by his fraud be shaken or seduced;
Thoughtswhich how found they harbour in thy breast
Adammis-thought of her to thee so dear?
To whom with healing words Adam replied.
Daughter of God and Manimmortal Eve!
For such thou art; from sin and blame entire:
Not diffident of thee do I dissuade
Thy absence from my sightbut to avoid
The attempt itselfintended by our foe.
For he who temptsthough in vainat least asperses
The tempted with dishonour foul; supposed
Not incorruptible of faithnot 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 alonewhich on us both at once
The enemythough boldwill hardly dare;
Or daringfirst on me the assault shall light.
Nor thou his malice and false guile contemn;
Subtle he needs must bewho could seduce
Angels; nor think superfluous other's aid.
Ifrom the influence of thy looksreceive
Access in every virtue; in thy sight
More wisemore watchfulstrongerif need were
Of outward strength; while shamethou looking on
Shame to be overcome or over-reached
Would utmost vigour raiseand raised unite.
Why shouldst not thou like sense within thee feel
When I am presentand thy trial choose
With mebest witness of thy virtue tried?
So spake domestick Adam in his care



And matrimonial love; but Evewho thought
Less attributed to her faith sincere
Thus her reply with accent sweet renewed.
If this be our conditionthus to dwell
In narrow circuit straitened by a foe
Subtle or violentwe not endued
Single with like defencewherever met;
How are we happystill in fear of harm?
But harm precedes not sin: only our foe
Temptingaffronts us with his foul esteem
Of our integrity: his foul esteem
Sticks no dishonour on our frontbut 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 Heavenour witnessfrom the event.
And what is faithlovevirtueunassayed
Alonewithout 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 happinessif this be so
And Eden were no Edenthus exposed.
To whom thus Adam fervently replied.
O Womanbest are all things as the will
Of God ordained them: His creating hand
Nothing imperfect or deficient left
Of all that he createdmuch less Man
Or aught that might his happy state secure
Secure from outward force; within himself
The danger liesyet lies within his power:
Against his will he can receive no harm.
But God left free the will; for what obeys
Reasonis free; and Reason he made right
But bid her well be wareand still erect;
Lestby some fair-appearing good surprised
She dictate false; and mis-inform the will
To do what God expressly hath forbid.
Not then mistrustbut tender loveenjoins
That I should mind thee oft; and mind thou me.
Firm we subsistyet possible to swerve;
Since Reason not impossibly may meet
Some specious object by the foe suborned
And fall into deception unaware
Not keeping strictest watchas she was warned.
Seek not temptation thenwhich to avoid
Were betterand most likely if from me
Thou sever not: Trial will come unsought.
Wouldst thou approve thy constancyapprove
First thy obedience; the other who can know
Not seeing thee attemptedwho attest?
Butif thou thinktrial unsought may find
Us both securer than thus warned thou seemest
Go; for thy staynot freeabsents thee more;
Go in thy native innocencerely
On what thou hast of virtue; summon all!
For God towards thee hath done his partdo thine.
So spake the patriarch of mankind; but Eve
Persisted; yet submissthough lastreplied.
With thy permission thenand thus forewarned
Chiefly by what thy own last reasoning words
Touched only; that our trialwhen least sought
May find us both perhaps far less prepared
The willinger I gonor much expect



A foe so proud will first the weaker seek;
So bentthe more shall shame him his repulse.
Thus sayingfrom her husband's hand her hand
Soft she withdrew; andlike a Wood-Nymph light
Oread or Dryador of Delia's train
Betook her to the groves; but Delia's self
In gait surpassedand Goddess-like deport
Though not as she with bow and quiver armed
But with such gardening tools as Art yet rude
Guiltless of firehad formedor Angels brought.
To Palesor Pomonathus adorned
Likest she seemedPomona when she fled
Vertumnusor to Ceres in her prime
Yet virgin of Proserpina from Jove.
Her long with ardent look his eye pursued
Delightedbut 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 repastor afternoon's repose.
O much deceivedmuch failinghapless Eve
Of thy presumed return! event perverse!
Thou never from that hour in Paradise
Foundst either sweet repastor sound repose;
Such ambushhid among sweet flowers and shades
Waited with hellish rancour imminent
To intercept thy wayor send thee back
Despoiled of innocenceof faithof bliss!
For nowand since first break of dawnthe Fiend
Mere serpent in appearanceforth was come;
And on his questwhere likeliest he might find
The only two of mankindbut in them
The whole included racehis purposed prey.
In bower and field he soughtwhere any tuft
Of grove or garden-plot more pleasant lay
Their tendanceor plantation for delight;
By fountain or by shady rivulet
He sought them bothbut wished his hap might find
Eve separate; he wishedbut not with hope
Of what so seldom chanced; when to his wish
Beyond his hopeEve separate he spies
Veiled in a cloud of fragrancewhere she stood
Half spiedso thick the roses blushing round
About her glowedoft stooping to support
Each flower of slender stalkwhose headthough gay
Carnationpurpleazureor specked with gold
Hung drooping unsustained; them she upstays
Gently with myrtle bandmindless the while
Herselfthough fairest unsupported flower
From her best prop so farand storm so nigh.
Nearer he drewand many a walk traversed
Of stateliest covertcedarpineor palm;
Then voluble and boldnow hidnow seen
Among thick-woven arboretsand flowers
Imbordered on each bankthe hand of Eve:
Spot more delicious than those gardens feigned
Or of revived Adonisor renowned
Alcinoushost of old Laertes' son;
Or thatnot mystickwhere the sapient king
Held dalliance with his fair Egyptian spouse.
Much he the place admiredthe person more.
As one who long in populous city pent
Where houses thick and sewers annoy the air



Forth issuing on a summer's mornto breathe
Among the pleasant villages and farms
Adjoinedfrom each thing met conceives delight;
The smell of grainor tedded grassor kine
Or dairyeach rural sighteach rural sound;
If chancewith nymph-like stepfair virgin pass
What pleasing seemedfor her now pleases more;
She mostand in her look sums all delight:
Such pleasure took the Serpent to behold
This flowery platthe sweet recess of Eve
Thus earlythus alone: Her heavenly form
Angelickbut more softand feminine
Her graceful innocenceher every air
Of gestureor least actionoverawed
His maliceand with rapine sweet bereaved
His fierceness of the fierce intent it brought:
That space the Evil-one abstracted stood
From his own eviland for the time remained
Stupidly good; of enmity disarmed
Of guileof hateof envyof revenge:
But the hot Hell that always in him burns
Though in mid Heavensoon ended his delight
And tortures him now morethe more he sees
Of pleasurenot for him ordained: then soon
Fierce hate he recollectsand all his thoughts
Of mischiefgratulatingthus excites.
Thoughtswhither have ye led me! with what sweet
Compulsion thus transportedto forget
What hither brought us! hatenot love;nor hope
Of Paradise for Hellhope here to taste
Of pleasure; but all pleasure to destroy
Save what is in destroying; other joy
To me is lost. Thenlet me not let pass
Occasion which now smiles; behold alone
The womanopportune to all attempts
Her husbandfor I view far roundnot nigh
Whose higher intellectual more I shun
And strengthof courage haughtyand of limb
Heroick builtthough of terrestrial mould;
Foe not informidable! exempt from wound
I not; so much hath Hell debasedand pain
Enfeebled meto what I was in Heaven.
She fairdivinely fairfit love for Gods!
Not terriblethough terrour be in love
And beautynot approached by stronger hate
Hate strongerunder show of love well feigned;
The way which to her ruin now I tend.
So spake the enemy of mankindenclosed
In serpentinmate bad! and toward Eve
Addressed his way: not with indented wave
Prone on the groundas since; but on his rear
Circular base of rising foldsthat towered
Fold above folda surging maze! his head
Crested aloftand carbuncle his eyes;
With burnished neck of verdant golderect
Amidst his circling spiresthat on the grass
Floated redundant: pleasing was his shape
And lovely; never since of serpent-kind
Loveliernot those that in Illyria changed
Hermione and Cadmusor the god
In Epidaurus; nor to which transformed
Ammonian Joveor Capitolinewas seen;
He with Olympias; this with her who bore
Scipiothe highth of Rome. With tract oblique


At firstas one who sought accessbut feared
To interruptside-long he works his way.
As when a shipby skilful steersmen wrought
Nigh river's mouth or forelandwhere the wind
Veers oftas oft so steersand shifts her sail:
So varied heand of his tortuous train
Curled many a wanton wreath in sight of Eve
To lure her eye; shebusiedheard the sound
Of rusling leavesbut minded notas used
To such disport before her through the field
From every beast; more duteous at her call
Than at Circean call the herd disguised.
Hebolder nowuncalled before her stood
But as in gaze admiring: oft he bowed
His turret crestand 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; heglad
Of her attention gainedwith serpent-tongue
Organickor impulse of vocal air
His fraudulent temptation thus began.
Wonder notsovran Mistressif perhaps
Thou canstwho art sole wonder! much less arm
Thy looksthe Heaven of mildnesswith disdain
Displeased that I approach thee thusand gaze
Insatiate; I thus single;nor have feared
Thy awful browmore awful thus retired.
Fairest resemblance of thy Maker fair
Thee all things living gaze onall things thine
By giftand thy celestial beauty adore
With ravishment beheld! there best beheld
Where universally admired; but here
In this enclosure wildthese beasts among
Beholders rudeand shallow to discern
Half what in thee is fairone man except
Who sees thee? and what is one? who should be seen
A Goddess among Godsadored and served
By Angels numberlessthy daily train.
So glozed the Tempterand his proem tuned:
Into the heart of Eve his words made way
Though at the voice much marvelling; at length
Not unamazedshe thus in answer spake.
What may this mean? language of man pronounced
By tongue of bruteand human sense expressed?
The firstat leastof these I thought denied
To beasts; whom Godon their creation-day
Created mute to all articulate sound:
The latter I demur; for in their looks
Much reasonand in their actionsoft appears.
TheeSerpentsubtlest beast of all the field
I knewbut not with human voice endued;
Redouble then this miracleand say
How camest thou speakable of muteand how
To me so friendly grown above the rest
Of brutal kindthat daily are in sight?
Sayfor such wonder claims attention due.
To whom the guileful Tempter thus replied.
Empress of this fair worldresplendent 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 herbof abject thoughts and low
As was my food; nor aught but food discerned
Or sexand apprehended nothing high:



Tillon a day roving the fieldI 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 appetitemore pleased my sense
Than smell of sweetest fennelor the teats
Of ewe or goat dropping with milk at even
Unsucked of lamb or kidthat tend their play.
To satisfy the sharp desire I had
Of tasting those fair applesI resolved
Not to defer; hunger and thirst at once
Powerful persuadersquickened at the scent
Of that alluring fruiturged me so keen.
About the mossy trunk I wound me soon;
Forhigh from groundthe branches would require
Thy utmost reach or Adam's: Round the tree
All other beasts that sawwith like desire
Longing and envying stoodbut could not reach.
Amid the tree now gotwhere plenty hung
Tempting so nighto pluck and eat my fill
I spared not; forsuch pleasure till that hour
At feed or fountainnever had I found.
Sated at lengthere long I might perceive
Strange alteration in meto 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 thoughtsand with capacious mind
Considered all things visible in Heaven
Or Earthor Middle; all things fair and good:
But all that fair and good in thy divine
Semblanceand in thy beauty's heavenly ray
United I beheld; no fair to thine
Equivalent or second! which compelled
Me thusthough importune perhapsto come
And gazeand worship thee of right declared
Sovran of creaturesuniversal Dame!
So talked the spirited sly Snake; and Eve
Yet more amazedunwary thus replied.
Serpentthy overpraising leaves in doubt
The virtue of that fruitin thee first proved:
But saywhere grows the tree? from hence how far?
For many are the trees of God that grow
In Paradiseand variousyet unknown
To us; in such abundance lies our choice
As leaves a greater store of fruit untouched
Still hanging incorruptibletill men
Grow up to their provisionand more hands
Help to disburden Nature of her birth.
To whom the wily Adderblithe and glad.
Empressthe way is readyand not long;
Beyond a row of myrtleson a flat
Fast by a fountainone small thicket past
Of blowing myrrh and balm: if thou accept
My conductI can bring thee thither soon
Lead thensaid Eve. Heleadingswiftly rolled
In tanglesand made intricate seem straight
To mischief swift. Hope elevatesand joy
Brightens his crest; as when a wandering fire
Compact of unctuous vapourwhich the night
Condensesand the cold environs round
Kindled through agitation to a flame
Which oftthey saysome evil Spirit attends


Hovering and blazing with delusive light
Misleads the amazed night-wanderer from his way
To bogs and miresand oft through pond or pool;
There swallowed up and lostfrom succour far.
So glistered the dire Snakeand into fraud
Led Eveour credulous motherto the tree
Of prohibitionroot of all our woe;
Which when she sawthus to her guide she spake.
Serpentwe might have spared our coming hither
Fruitless to methough fruit be here to excess
The credit of whose virtue rest with thee;
Wonderous indeedif cause of such effects.
But of this tree we may not taste nor touch;
God so commandedand left that command
Sole daughter of his voice; the restwe 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 Eveyet sinless. Of the fruit
Of each tree in the garden we may eat;
But of the fruit of this fair tree amidst
The gardenGod hath saidYe shall not eat
Thereofnor shall ye touch itlest ye die.
She scarce had saidthough briefwhen now more bold
The Tempterbut with show of zeal and love
To Manand indignation at his wrong
New part puts on; andas to passion moved
Fluctuates disturbedyet comely and in act
Raisedas of some great matter to begin.
As when of old some orator renowned
In Athens or free Romewhere eloquence
Flourishedsince mute! to some great cause addressed
Stood in himself collected; while each part
Motioneach actwon audience ere the tongue;
Sometimes in highth beganas no delay
Of preface brookingthrough his zeal of right:
So standingmovingor to highth up grown
The Tempterall impassionedthus began.
O sacredwiseand wisdom-giving Plant
Mother of science! now I feel thy power
Within me clear; not only to discern
Things in their causesbut to trace the ways
Of highest agentsdeemed 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
Mewho have touched and tasted; yet both live
And life more perfect have attained than Fate
Meant meby venturing higher than my lot.
Shall that be shut to Manwhich to the Beast
Is open? or will God incense his ire
For such a petty trespass? and not praise
Rather your dauntless virtuewhom the pain
Of death denouncedwhatever thing death be
Deterred not from achieving what might lead
To happier lifeknowledge of good and evil;
Of goodhow just? of evilif what is evil
Be realwhy not knownsince easier shunned?
God therefore cannot hurt yeand be just;
Not justnot God; not feared thennor obeyed:
Your fear itself of death removes the fear.



Why then was this forbid? Whybut to awe;
Whybut to keep ye low and ignorant
His worshippers? He knows that in the day
Ye eat thereofyour eyes that seem so clear
Yet are but dimshall perfectly be then
Opened and clearedand ye shall be as Gods
Knowing both good and evilas they know.
That ye shall be as Godssince I as Man
Internal Manis but proportion meet;
Iof brutehuman; yeof humanGods.
So ye shall die perhapsby putting off
Humanto put on Gods; death to be wished
Though threatenedwhich no worse than this can bring.
And what are Godsthat Man may not become
As theyparticipating God-like food?
The Gods are firstand that advantage use
On our beliefthat all from them proceeds:
I question it; for this fair earth I see
Warmed by the sunproducing every kind;
Themnothing: if they all thingswho enclosed
Knowledge of good and evil in this tree
That whoso eats thereofforthwith attains
Wisdom without their leave? and wherein lies
The offencethat Man should thus attain to know?
What can your knowledge hurt himor this tree
Impart against his willif all be his?
Or is it envy? and can envy dwell
In heavenly breasts? Thesetheseand many more
Causes import your need of this fair fruit.
Goddess humanereach thenand freely taste!
He ended; and his wordsreplete with guile
Into her heart too easy entrance won:
Fixed on the fruit she gazedwhich to behold
Might tempt alone; and in her ears the sound
Yet rung of his persuasive wordsimpregned
With reasonto her seemingand with truth:
Mean while the hour of noon drew onand waked
An eager appetiteraised by the smell
So savoury of that fruitwhich with desire
Inclinable now grown to touch or taste
Solicited her longing eye; yet first
Pausing a whilethus to herself she mused.
Great are thy virtuesdoubtlessbest of fruits
Though kept from manand worthy to be admired;
Whose tastetoo long forbornat first assay
Gave elocution to the muteand taught
The tongue not made for speech to speak thy praise:
Thy praise he alsowho forbids thy use
Conceals not from usnaming thee the tree
Of knowledgeknowledge both of good and evil;
Forbids us then to taste! but his forbidding
Commends thee morewhile it infers the good
By thee communicatedand our want:
For good unknown sure is not had; orhad
And yet unknownis as not had at all.
In plain thenwhat forbids he but to know
Forbids us goodforbids us to be wise?
Such prohibitions bind not. Butif death
Bind us with after-bandswhat profits then
Our inward freedom? In the day we eat
Of this fair fruitour doom iswe shall die!
How dies the Serpent? he hath eaten and lives
And knowsand speaksand reasonsand discerns
Irrational till then. For us alone



Was death invented? or to us denied
This intellectual foodfor beasts reserved?
For beasts it seems: yet that one beast which first
Hath tasted envies notbut brings with joy
The good befallen himauthor unsuspect
Friendly to manfar from deceit or guile.
What fear I then? ratherwhat know to fear
Under this ignorance of good and evil
Of God or deathof law or penalty?
Here grows the cure of allthis fruit divine
Fair to the eyeinviting to the taste
Of virtue to make wise: What hinders then
To reachand feed at once both body and mind?
So sayingher rash hand in evil hour
Forth reaching to the fruitshe pluckedshe eat!
Earth felt the wound; and Nature from her seat
Sighing through all her worksgave 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 tastenought else
Regarded; such delight till thenas seemed
In fruit she never tastedwhether true
Or fancied sothrough 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 winejocund and boon
Thus to herself she pleasingly began.
O sovranvirtuousprecious of all trees
In Paradise! of operation blest
To sapiencehitherto obscuredinfamed.
And thy fair fruit let hangas to no end
Created; but henceforth my early care
Not without songeach morningand due praise
Shall tend theeand the fertile burden ease
Of thy full branches offered free to all;
Tilldieted by theeI grow mature
In knowledgeas the Godswho all things know;
Though others envy what they cannot give:
Forhad the gift been theirsit had not here
Thus grown. Experiencenextto thee I owe
Best guide; not following theeI had remained
In ignorance; thou openest wisdom's way
And givest accessthough secret she retire.
And I perhaps am secret: Heaven is high
Highand remote to see from thence distinct
Each thing on Earth; and other care perhaps
May have diverted from continual watch
Our great Forbiddersafe with all his spies
About him. But to Adam in what sort
Shall I appear? shall I to him make known
As yet my changeand give him to partake
Full happiness with meor rather not
But keeps the odds of knowledge in my power
Without copartner? so to add what wants
In female sexthe more to draw his love
And render me more equal; and perhaps
A thing not undesirablesometime
Superiour; forinferiourwho is free
This may be well: But what if God have seen
And death ensue? then I shall be no more!
And Adamwedded to another Eve
Shall live with her enjoyingI extinct;
A death to think! Confirmed then I resolve



Adam shall share with me in bliss or woe:
So dear I love himthat with him all deaths
I could endurewithout him live no life.
So sayingfrom the tree her step she turned;
But first low reverence doneas to the Power
That dwelt withinwhose presence had infused
Into the plant sciential sapderived
From nectardrink of Gods. Adam the while
Waiting desirous her returnhad wove
Of choicest flowers a garlandto adorn
Her tressesand her rural labours crown;
As reapers oft are wont their harvest-queen.
Great joy he promised to his thoughtsand new
Solace in her returnso long delayed:
Yet oft his heartdivine of something ill
Misgave him; he the faltering measure felt;
And forth to meet her wentthe 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 fruitthat downy smiled
New gatheredand ambrosial smell diffused.
To him she hasted; in her face excuse
Came prologueand apology too prompt;
Whichwith bland words at willshe thus addressed.
Hast thou not wonderedAdamat my stay?
Thee I have missedand thought it longdeprived
Thy presence; agony of love till now
Not feltnor shall be twice; for never more
Mean I to trywhat rash untried I sought
The pain of absence from thy sight. But strange
Hath been the causeand wonderful to hear:
This tree is notas we are tolda tree
Of danger tastednor to evil unknown
Opening the waybut of divine effect
To open eyesand make them Gods who taste;
And hath been tasted such: The serpent wise
Or not restrained as weor not obeying
Hath eaten of the fruit; and is become
Not deadas we are threatenedbut thenceforth
Endued with human voice and human sense
Reasoning to admiration; and with me
Persuasively hath so prevailedthat I
Have also tastedand have also found
The effects to correspond; opener mine eyes
Dim erstdilated spiritsampler heart
And growing up to Godhead; which for thee
Chiefly I soughtwithout thee can despise.
For blissas thou hast partto me is bliss;
Tediousunshared with theeand odious soon.
Thou therefore also tastethat equal lot
May join usequal joyas equal love;
Lestthou not tastingdifferent degree
Disjoin usand I then too late renounce
Deity for theewhen Fate will not permit.
Thus Eve with countenance blithe her story told;
But in her cheek distemper flushing glowed.
On the other side Adamsoon as he heard
The fatal trespass done by Eveamazed
Astonied stood and blankwhile horrour chill
Ran through his veinsand all his joints relaxed;
From his slack hand the garland wreathed for Eve
Down droptand all the faded roses shed:
Speechless he stood and paletill thus at length



First to himself he inward silence broke.
O fairest of Creationlast and best
Of all God's worksCreature in whom excelled
Whatever can to sight or thought be formed
Holydivinegoodamiableor sweet!
How art thou lost! how on a sudden lost
Defaceddefloweredand now to death devote!
Ratherhow hast thou yielded to transgress
The strict forbiddancehow to violate
The sacred fruit forbidden! Some cursed fraud
Of enemy hath beguiled theeyet 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 converseand love so dearly joined
To live again in these wild woods forlorn!
Should God create another Eveand I
Another rib affordyet loss of thee
Would never from my heart: nono!I feel
The link of Nature draw me: flesh of flesh
Bone of my bone thou artand from thy state
Mine never shall be partedbliss or woe.
So having saidas one from sad dismay
Recomfortedand after thoughts disturbed
Submitting to what seemed remediless
Thus in calm mood his words to Eve he turned.
Bold deed thou hast presumedadventurous Eve
And peril great provokedwho thus hast dared
Had it been only coveting to eye
That sacred fruitsacred to abstinence
Much more to taste it under ban to touch.
But past who can recallor done undo?
Not God Omnipotentnor Fate; yet so
Perhaps thou shalt not dieperhaps the fact
Is not so heinous nowforetasted fruit
Profaned first by the serpentby him first
Made commonand unhallowedere our taste;
Nor yet on him found deadly; yet he lives;
Livesas thou saidstand gains to liveas Man
Higher degree of life; inducement strong
To usas likely tasting to attain
Proportional ascent; which cannot be
But to be Godsor Angelsdemi-Gods.
Nor can I think that GodCreator wise
Though threateningwill in earnest so destroy
Us his prime creaturesdignified so high
Set over all his works; which in our fall
For us createdneeds with us must fail
Dependant made; so God shall uncreate
Be frustratedoundoand labour lose;
Not well conceived of Godwhothough his power
Creation could repeatyet would be loth
Us to abolishlest the Adversary
Triumphand say; "Fickle their state whom God
Most favours; who can please him long? Me first
He ruinednow Mankind; whom will he next?"
Matter of scornnot to be given the Foe.
However I with thee have fixed my lot
Certain to undergo like doom: If death
Consort with theedeath is to me as life;
So forcible within my heart I feel
The bond of Nature draw me to my own;
My own in theefor 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 evidenceexample high!
Engaging me to emulate; butshort
Of thy perfectionhow shall I attain
Adamfrom whose dear side I boast me sprung
And gladly of our union hear thee speak
One heartone soul in both; whereof good proof
This day affordsdeclaring thee resolved
Rather than deathor aught than death more dread
Shall separate uslinked in love so dear
To undergo with me one guiltone crime
If any beof tasting this fair fruit;
Whose virtue for of good still good proceeds
Director by occasionhath presented
This happy trial of thy lovewhich else
So eminently never had been known?
Were it I thought death menaced would ensue
This my attemptI would sustain alone
The worstand not persuade theerather die
Desertedthan oblige thee with a fact
Pernicious to thy peace; chiefly assured
Remarkably so late of thy so true
So faithfullove unequalled: but I feel
Far otherwise the event; not deathbut life
Augmentedopened eyesnew hopesnew joys
Taste so divinethat what of sweet before
Hath touched my senseflat seems to thisand harsh.
On my experienceAdamfreely taste
And fear of death deliver to the winds.
So sayingshe embraced himand for joy
Tenderly wept; much wonthat he his love
Had so ennobledas of choice to incur
Divine displeasure for her sakeor 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 entrailsas again
In pangs; and Nature gave a second groan;
Sky loured; andmuttering thundersome 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 fearedthe more to sooth
Him with her loved society; that now
As with new wine intoxicated both
They swim in mirthand 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.
Evenow I see thou art exact of taste
And elegantof sapience no small part;
Since to each meaning savour we apply
And palate call judicious; I the praise
Yield theeso well this day thou hast purveyed.
Much pleasure we have lostwhile we abstained



From this delightful fruitnor known till now
True relishtasting; if such pleasure be
In things to us forbiddenit might be wished
For this one tree had been forbidden ten.
But comeso well refreshednow let us play
As meet isafter such delicious fare;
For never did thy beautysince the day
I saw thee first and wedded theeadorned
With all perfectionsso inflame my sense
With ardour to enjoy theefairer now
Than ever; bounty of this virtuous tree!
So said heand forbore not glance or toy
Of amorous intent; well understood
Of Evewhose 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
Pansiesand violetsand asphodel
And hyacinth; Earth's freshest softest lap.
There they their fill of love and love's disport
Took largelyof their mutual guilt the seal
The solace of their sin; till dewy sleep
Oppressed themwearied with their amorous play
Soon as the force of that fallacious fruit
That with exhilarating vapour bland
About their spirits had playedand inmost powers
Made errwas now exhaled; and grosser sleep
Bred of unkindly fumeswith conscious dreams
Incumberednow had left them; up they rose
As from unrest; andeach the other viewing
Soon found their eyes how openedand their minds
How darkened; innocencethat as a veil
Had shadowed them from knowing illwas gone;
Just confidenceand native righteousness
And honourfrom about themnaked left
To guilty Shame; he coveredbut his robe
Uncovered more. So rose the Danite strong
Herculean Samsonfrom the harlot-lap
Of Philistean Dalilahand waked
Shorn of his strength. They destitute and bare
Of all their virtue: Silentand in face
Confoundedlong they satas strucken mute:
Till Adamthough not less than Eve abashed
At length gave utterance to these words constrained.
O Evein evil hour thou didst give ear
To that false wormof whomsoever taught
To counterfeit Man's voice; true in our fall
False in our promised rising; since our eyes
Opened we find indeedand find we know
Both good and evil; good lostand evil got;
Bad fruit of knowledgeif this be to know;
Which leaves us naked thusof honour void
Of innocenceof faithof purity
Our wonted ornaments now soiled and stained
And in our faces evident the signs
Of foul concupiscence; whence evil store;
Even shamethe last of evils; of the first
Be sure then.--How shall I behold the face
Henceforth of God or Angelerst 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
Obscuredwhere highest woodsimpenetrable


To star or sun-lightspread their umbrage broad
And brown as evening: Cover meye Pines!
Ye Cedarswith innumerable boughs
Hide mewhere I may never see them more!--
But let us nowas in bad plightdevise
What best may for the present serve to hide
The parts of each from otherthat seem most
To shame obnoxiousand unseemliest seen;
Some treewhose broad smooth leaves together sewed
And girded on our loinsmay cover round
Those middle parts; that this new comerShame
There sit notand reproach us as unclean.
So counselled heand 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 dayto Indians known
In Malabar or Decan spreads her arms
Branching so broad and longthat in the ground
The bended twigs take rootand daughters grow
About the mother treea pillared shade
High over-archedand echoing walks between:
There oft the Indian herdsmanshunning heat
Shelters in cooland tends his pasturing herds
At loop-holes cut through thickest shade: Those leaves
They gatheredbroad as Amazonian targe;
Andwith what skill they hadtogether sewed
To gird their waist; vain coveringif to hide
Their guilt and dreaded shame! Ohow unlike
To that first naked glory! Such of late
Columbus found the Americanso girt
With feathered cincture; naked elseand wild
Among the trees on isles and woody shores.
Thus fencedandas they thoughttheir shame in part
Coveredbut not at rest or ease of mind
They sat them down to weep; nor only tears
Rained at their eyesbut high winds worse within
Began to risehigh passionsangerhate
Mistrustsuspiciondiscord; and shook sore
Their inward state of mindcalm region once
And full of peacenow tost and turbulent:
For Understanding ruled notand the Will
Heard not her lore; both in subjection now
To sensual Appetitewho from beneath
Usurping over sovran Reason claimed
Superiour sway: From thus distempered breast
Adamestranged in look and altered style
Speech intermitted thus to Eve renewed.
Would thou hadst hearkened to my wordsand staid
With meas I besought theewhen that strange
Desire of wanderingthis unhappy morn
I know not whence possessed thee; we had then
Remained still happy; notas nowdespoiled
Of all our good; shamednakedmiserable!
Let none henceforth seek needless cause to approve
The faith they owe; when earnestly they seek
Such proofconcludethey then begin to fail.
To whomsoon moved with touch of blamethus Eve.
What words have passed thy lipsAdam severe!
Imputest thou that to my defaultor will
Of wanderingas thou callest itwhich who knows
But might as ill have happened thou being by
Or to thyself perhaps? Hadst thou been there
Or here the attemptthou couldst not have discerned
Fraud in the Serpentspeaking as he spake;


No ground of enmity between us known
Why he should mean me illor seek to harm.
Was I to have never parted from thy side?
As good have grown there still a lifeless rib.
Being as I amwhy didst not thouthe head
Command me absolutely not to go
Going into such dangeras thou saidst?
Too facile thenthou didst not much gainsay;
Naydidst permitapproveand fair dismiss.
Hadst thou been firm and fixed in thy dissent
Neither had I transgressednor thou with me.
To whomthen first incensedAdam replied.
Is this the loveis this the recompence
Of mine to theeingrateful Eve! expressed
Immutablewhen thou wert lostnot I;
Who might have livedand 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 seemsin thy restraint: What could I more
I warned theeI admonished theeforetold
The dangerand the lurking enemy
That lay in wait; beyond thishad been force;
And force upon free will hath here no place.
But confidence then bore thee on; secure
Either to meet no dangeror to find
Matter of glorious trial; and perhaps
I also erredin overmuch admiring
What seemed in thee so perfectthat I thought
No evil durst attempt thee; but I rue
The errour nowwhich is become my crime
And thou the accuser. Thus it shall befall
Himwhoto worth in women overtrusting
Lets her will rule: restraint she will not brook;
Andleft to herselfif evil thence ensue
She first his weak indulgence will accuse.
Thus they in mutual accusation spent
The fruitless hoursbut neither self-condemning;
And of their vain contest appeared no end.


Book X


Mean while the heinous and despiteful act
Of Satandone in Paradise; and how
Hein the serpenthad perverted Eve
Her husband sheto taste the fatal fruit
Was known in Heaven; for what can 'scape the eye
Of God all-seeingor deceive his heart
Omniscient? whoin all things wise and just
Hindered not Satan to attempt the mind
Of Manwith strength entire and free will armed
Complete to have discovered and repulsed
Whatever wiles of foe or seeming friend.
For still they knewand ought to have still remembered
The high injunctionnot to taste that fruit
Whoever tempted; which they not obeying
(Incurred what could they less?) the penalty;
Andmanifold in sindeserved to fall.
Up into Heaven from Paradise in haste
The angelick guards ascendedmuteand 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-gatedispleased
All were who heard; dim sadness did not spare
That time celestial visagesyetmixed
With pityviolated not their bliss.
About the new-arrivedin multitudes
The ethereal people ranto hear and know
How all befel: They towards the throne supreme
Accountablemade hasteto make appear
With righteous pleatheir utmost vigilance
And easily approved; when the Most High
Eternal Fatherfrom his secret cloud
Amidst in thunder uttered thus his voice.
Assembled Angelsand 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 prevailand speed
On his bad errand; Man should be seduced
And flattered out of allbelieving lies
Against his Maker; no decree of mine
Concurring to necessitate his fall
Or touch with lightest moment of impulse
His free willto her own inclining left
In even scale. But fallen he is; and now
What restsbut that the mortal sentence pass
On his transgression--death denounced that day?
Which he presumes already vain and void
Because not yet inflictedas he feared
By some immediate stroke; but soon shall find
Forbearance no acquittanceere 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 judgementwhether in Heavenor Earthor Hell.
Easy it may be seen that I intend
Mercy colleague with justicesending thee
Man's friendhis Mediatorhis designed
Both ransom and Redeemer voluntary
And destined Man himself to judge Man fallen.
So spake the Father; andunfolding bright
Toward the right hand his gloryon the Son
Blazed forth unclouded Deity: He full
Resplendent all his Father manifest
Expressedand thus divinely answered mild.
Father Eternalthine is to decree;
Mineboth in Heaven and Earthto do thy will
Supreme; that thou in methy Son beloved
Mayest ever rest well pleased. I go to judge
On earth these thy transgressours; but thou knowest
Whoever judgedthe worst on me must light
When time shall be; for so I undertook
Before thee; andnot repentingthis obtain
Of rightthat I may mitigate their doom
On me derived; yet I shall temper so
Justice with mercyas may illustrate most
Them fully satisfiedand thee appease.
Attendance none shall neednor trainwhere none
Are to behold the judgementbut the judged
Those two; the third best absent is condemned
Convict by flightand rebel to all law:


Conviction to the serpent none belongs.
Thus sayingfrom his radiant seat he rose
Of high collateral glory: Him Thronesand Powers
Princedomsand Dominations ministrant
Accompanied to Heaven-gate; from whence
Edenand all the coastin prospect lay.
Down he descended straight; the speed of Gods
Time counts notthough with swiftest minutes winged.
Now was the sun in western cadence low
From noonand gentle airsdue at their hour
To fan the earth now wakedand usher in
The evening cool; when hefrom wrath more cool
Came the mild Judgeand Intercessour both
To sentence Man: The voice of God they heard
Now walking in the gardenby soft winds
Brought to their earswhile day declined; they heard
And from his presence hid themselves among
The thickest treesboth man and wife; till God
Approachingthus to Adam called aloud.
Where art thouAdamwont with joy to meet
My coming seen far off? I miss thee here
Not pleasedthus entertained with solitude
Where obvious duty ere while appeared unsought:
Or come I less conspicuousor what change
Absents theeor what chance detains?--Come forth!
He came; and with him Evemore loththough first
To offend; discountenanced bothand discomposed;
Love was not in their lookseither to God
Or to each other; but apparent guilt
And shameand perturbationand despair
Angerand obstinacyand hateand guile.
Whence Adamfaltering longthus answered brief.
I heard thee in the gardenand of thy voice
Afraidbeing nakedhid myself. To whom
The gracious Judge without revile replied.
My voice thou oft hast heardand hast not feared
But still rejoiced; how is it now become
So dreadful to thee? That thou art nakedwho
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 crimeor to accuse
My other selfthe partner of my life;
Whose failingwhile her faith to me remains
I should concealand not expose to blame
By my complaint: but strict necessity
Subdues meand calamitous constraint;
Lest on my head both sin and punishment
However insupportablebe all
Devolved; though should I hold my peaceyet thou
Wouldst easily detect what I conceal.--
This Womanwhom thou madest to be my help
And gavest me as thy perfect giftso good
So fitso acceptableso divine
That from her hand I could suspect no ill
And what she didwhatever in itself
Her doing seemed to justify the deed;
She gave me of the treeand I did eat.
To whom the Sovran Presence thus replied.
Was she thy Godthat her thou didst obey
Before his voice? or was she made thy guide
Superiouror but equalthat to her



Thou didst resign thy manhoodand the place
Wherein God set thee above her made of thee
And for theewhose perfection far excelled
Hers in all real dignity? Adorned
She was indeedand lovelyto attract
Thy lovenot thy subjection; and her gifts
Were suchas under government well seemed;
Unseemly to bear rule; which was thy part
And personhadst thou known thyself aright.
So having saidhe thus to Eve in few.
SayWomanwhat is this which thou hast done?
To whom sad Evewith shame nigh overwhelmed
Confessing soonyet not before her Judge
Bold or loquaciousthus abashed replied.
The Serpent me beguiledand I did eat.
Which when the Lord God heardwithout delay
To judgement he proceeded on the accused
Serpentthough brute; unable to transfer
The guilt on himwho made him instrument
Of mischiefand 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 termsjudged as then best:
And on the Serpent thus his curse let fall.
Because thou hast done thisthou art accursed
Above all cattleeach 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
Enmityand between thine and her seed;
Her seed shall bruise thy headthou bruise his heel.
So spake this oraclethen verified
When JesusSon of Marysecond Eve
Saw Satan falllike lightningdown from Heaven
Prince of the air; thenrising from his grave
Spoiled Principalities and Powerstriumphed
In open show; andwith ascension bright
Captivity led captive through the air
The realm itself of Satanlong usurped;
Whom he shall tread at last under our feet;
Even hewho 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 treeconcerning which
I charged theesayingThou shalt not eat thereof:
Cursed is the ground for thy sake; thou in sorrow
Shalt eat thereofall 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 takenknow thy birth
For dust thou artand shalt to dust return.
So judged he Manboth Judge and Saviour sent;
And the instant stroke of deathdenounced that day
Removed far off; thenpitying how they stood



Before him naked to the airthat now
Must suffer changedisdained not to begin
Thenceforth the form of servant to assume;
As when he washed his servants feet; so now
As father of his familyhe clad
Their nakedness with skins of beastsor 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 beastsbut inward nakednessmuch more.
Opprobriouswith his robe of righteousness
Arrayingcovered from his Father's sight.
To him with swift ascent he up returned
Into his blissful bosom reassumed
In gloryas of old; to him appeased
Allthough all-knowingwhat had passed with Man
Recountedmixing intercession sweet.
Mean whileere thus was sinned and judged on Earth
Within the gates of Hell sat Sin and Death
In counterview within the gatesthat now
Stood open widebelching outrageous flame
Far into Chaossince the Fiend passed through
Sin opening; who thus now to Death began.
O Sonwhy sit we here each other viewing
Idlywhile Satanour great authorthrives
In other worldsand happier seat provides
For ushis offspring dear? It cannot be
But that success attends him; if mishap
Ere this he had returnedwith fury driven
By his avengers; since no place like this
Can fit his punishmentor their revenge.
Methinks I feel new strength within me rise
Wings growingand dominion given me large
Beyond this deep; whatever draws me on
Or sympathyor some connatural force
Powerful at greatest distance to unite
With secret amitythings of like kind
By secretest conveyance. Thoumy shade
Inseparablemust with me along;
For Death from Sin no power can separate.
Butlest the difficulty of passing back
Stay his return perhaps over this gulf
Impassableimpervious; let us try
Adventurous workyet to thy power and mine
Not unagreeableto 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 hencefor intercourse
Or transmigrationas their lot shall lead.
Nor can I miss the wayso strongly drawn
By this new-felt attraction and instinct.
Whom thus the meager Shadow answered soon.
Gowhither Fateand inclination strong
Leads thee; I shall not lag behindnor err
The waythou leading; such a scent I draw
Of carnageprey innumerableand taste
The savour of death from all things there that live:
Nor shall I to the work thou enterprisest
Be wantingbut afford thee equal aid.
So sayingwith delight he snuffed the smell
Of mortal change on earth. As when a flock
Of ravenous fowlthough many a league remote
Against the day of battleto a field



Where armies lie encampedcome flyinglured
With scent of living carcasses designed
For deaththe following dayin bloody fight:
So scented the grim Featureand upturned
His nostril wide into the murky air;
Sagacious of his quarry from so far.
Then both from out Hell-gatesinto the waste
Wide anarchy of Chaosdamp and dark
Flew diverse; and with power (their power was great)
Hovering upon the waterswhat they met
Solid or slimyas in raging sea
Tost up and downtogether crouded drove
From each side shoaling towards the mouth of Hell;
As when two polar windsblowing adverse
Upon the Cronian seatogether drive
Mountains of icethat stop the imagined way
Beyond Petsora eastwardto the rich
Cathaian coast. The aggregated soil
Death with his mace petrifickcold and dry
As with a tridentsmote; and fixed as firm
As Delosfloating once; the rest his look
Bound with Gorgonian rigour not to move;
And with Asphaltick slimebroad as the gate
Deep to the roots of Hell the gathered beach
They fastenedand the mole immense wrought on
Over the foaming deep high-archeda bridge
Of length prodigiousjoining to the wall
Immoveable of this now fenceless world
Forfeit to Death; from hence a passage broad
Smootheasyinoffensivedown to Hell.
Soif great things to small may be compared
Xerxesthe liberty of Greece to yoke
From Susahis Memnonian palace high
Came to the sea: andover Hellespont
Bridging his wayEurope with Asia joined
And scourged with many a stroke the indignant waves.
Now had they brought the work by wonderous art
Pontificala ridge of pendant rock
Over the vexed abyssfollowing the track
Of Satan to the self-same place where he
First lighted from his wingand landed safe
From out of Chaosto the outside bare
Of this round world: With pins of adamant
And chains they made all fasttoo fast they made
And durable! And now in little space
The confines met of empyrean Heaven
And of this World; andon the left handHell
With long reach interposed; three several ways
In sightto each of these three places led.
And now their way to Earth they had descried
To Paradise first tending; whenbehold!
Satanin likeness of an Angel bright
Betwixt the Centaur and the Scorpion steering
His zenithwhile the sun in Aries rose:
Disguised he came; but those his children dear
Their parent soon discernedthough in disguise.
Heafter Eve seducedunminded slunk
Into the wood fast by; andchanging shape
To observe the sequelsaw his guileful act
By Evethough all unweetingseconded
Upon her husband; saw their shame that sought
Vain covertures; but when he saw descend
The Son of God to judge themterrified
He fled; not hoping to escapebut shun


The present; fearingguiltywhat his wrath
Might suddenly inflict; that pastreturned
By nightand listening where the hapless pair
Sat in their sad discourseand various plaint
Thence gathered his own doom; which understood
Not instantbut of future timewith joy
And tidings fraughtto Hell he now returned;
And at the brink of Chaosnear the foot
Of this new wonderous pontificeunhoped
Metwho to meet him camehis offspring dear.
Great joy was at their meetingand at sight
Of that stupendious bridge his joy encreased.
Long he admiring stoodtill Sinhis fair
Enchanting daughterthus the silence broke.
O Parentthese are thy magnifick deeds
Thy trophies! which thou viewest as not thine own;
Thou art their authorand prime architect:
For I no sooner in my heart divined
My heartwhich by a secret harmony
Still moves with thinejoined in connexion sweet
That thou on earth hadst prosperedwhich thy looks
Now also evidencebut straight I felt
Though distant from thee worlds betweenyet felt
That I must after theewith 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 libertyconfined
Within Hell-gates till now; thou us impowered
To fortify thus farand overlay
With this portentous bridgethe 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 lostand 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
Retiringby his own doom alienated;
And henceforth monarchy with thee divide
Of all thingsparted by the empyreal bounds
His quadraturefrom thy orbicular world;
Or try thee now more dangerous to his throne.
Whom thus the Prince of darkness answered glad.
Fair Daughterand 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 meof all
The infernal empirethat so near Heaven's door
Triumphal with triumphal act have met
Minewith this glorious work; and made one realm
Hell and this worldone realmone continent
Of easy thorough-fare. Thereforewhile I
Descend through darknesson your road with ease
To my associate Powersthem to acquaint
With these successesand with them rejoice;
You two this wayamong these numerous orbs
All yoursright down to Paradise descend;
There dwelland reign in bliss; thence on the earth
Dominion exercise and in the air
Chiefly on Mansole lord of all declared;
Him first make sure your thralland lastly kill.
My substitutes I send yeand create



Plenipotent on earthof 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 prevailthe affairs of Hell
No detriment need fear; goand 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 planetsplanet-struckreal 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 unguardedSatan passed
And all about found desolate; for those
Appointed to sit therehad left their charge
Flown to the upper world; the rest were all
Far to the inland retiredabout the walls
Of Pandemonium; city and proud seat
Of Luciferso by allusion called
Of that bright star to Satan paragoned;
There kept their watch the legionswhile the Grand
In council satsolicitous what chance
Might intercept their emperour sent; so he
Departing gave commandand they observed.
As when the Tartar from his Russian foe
By Astracanover the snowy plains
Retires; or Bactrin Sophifrom the horns
Of Turkish crescentleaves all waste beyond
The realm of Aladulein his retreat
To Tauris or Casbeen: So thesethe late
Heaven-banished hostleft desart utmost Hell
Many a dark leaguereduced in careful watch
Round their metropolis; and now expecting
Each hour their great adventurerfrom the search
Of foreign worlds: He through the midst unmarked
In show plebeian Angel militant
Of lowest orderpassed; and from the door
Of that Plutonian hallinvisible
Ascended his high throne; whichunder state
Of richest texture spreadat the upper end
Was placed in regal lustre. Down a while
He satand round about him saw unseen:
At lastas from a cloudhis fulgent head
And shape star-bright appearedor brighter; clad
With what permissive glory since his fall
Was left himor false glitter: All amazed
At that so sudden blaze the Stygian throng
Bent their aspectand whom they wished beheld
Their mighty Chief returned: loud was the acclaim:
Forth rushed in haste the great consulting peers
Raised from their dark Divanand with like joy
Congratulant approached him; who with hand
Silenceand with these words attentionwon.
ThronesDominationsPrincedomsVirtuesPowers;
For in possession suchnot only of right
I call yeand declare ye now; returned
Successful beyond hopeto lead ye forth
Triumphant out of this infernal pit
Abominableaccursedthe house of woe
And dungeon of our tyrant: Now possess
As Lordsa spacious worldto our native Heaven


Little inferiourby my adventure hard
With peril great achieved. Long were to tell
What I have done; what suffered;with what pain
Voyaged th' unrealvastunbounded 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 passageforced to ride
The untractable abyssplunged in the womb
Of unoriginal Night and Chaos wild;
Thatjealous of their secretsfiercely opposed
My journey strangewith clamorous uproar
Protesting Fate supreme; thence how I found
The new created worldwhich fame in Heaven
Long had foretolda fabrick wonderful
Of absolute perfection! therein Man
Placed in a Paradiseby our exile
Made happy: Him by fraud I have seduced
From his Creator; andthe more to encrease
Your wonderwith an apple; hethereat
Offendedworth your laughter! hath given up
Both his beloved Manand all his world
To Sin and Death a preyand so to us
Without our hazardlabouror alarm;
To range inand to dwelland over Man
To ruleas over all he should have ruled.
True isme also he hath judgedor rather
Me notbut 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 seedwhen is not setshall 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 remainsye Gods
But upand enter now into full bliss?
So having saida while he stoodexpecting
Their universal shoutand high applause
To fill his ear; whencontraryhe hears
On all sidesfrom innumerable tongues
A dismal universal hissthe sound
Of publick scorn; he wonderedbut not long
Had leisurewondering at himself now more
His visage drawn he felt to sharp and spare;
His arms clung to his ribs; his legs entwining
Each othertill supplanted down he fell
A monstrous serpent on his belly prone
Reluctantbut in vain; a greater power
Now ruled himpunished 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
Aliketo serpents allas accessories
To his bold riot: Dreadful was the din
Of hissing through the hallthick swarming now
With complicated monsters head and tail
Scorpionand Aspand Amphisbaena dire
Cerastes hornedHydrusand Elops drear
And Dipsas; (not so thick swarmed once the soil
Bedropt with blood of Gorgonor the isle
Ophiusa) but still greatest he the midst
Now Dragon grownlarger than whom the sun
Ingendered in the Pythian vale or slime
Huge Pythonand his power no less he seemed


Above the rest still to retain; they all
Him followedissuing forth to the open field
Where all yet left of that revolted rout
Heaven-fallenin station stood or just array;
Sublime with expectation when to see
In triumph issuing forth their glorious Chief;
They sawbut other sight instead! a croud
Of ugly serpents; horrour on them fell
And horrid sympathy; forwhat they saw
They felt themselvesnow changing; down their arms
Down fell both spear and shield; down they as fast;
And the dire hiss renewedand the dire form
Catchedby contagion; like in punishment
As in their crime. Thus was the applause they meant
Turned to exploding hisstriumph to shame
Cast on themselves from their own mouths. There stood
A grove hard bysprung up with this their change
His will who reigns aboveto aggravate
Their penanceladen with fair fruitlike that
Which grew in Paradisethe bait of Eve
Used by the Tempter: on that prospect strange
Their earnest eyes they fixedimagining
For one forbidden tree a multitude
Now risento work them further woe or shame;
Yetparched with scalding thirst and hunger fierce
Though to delude them sentcould not abstain;
But on they rolled in heapsandup the trees
Climbingsat thicker than the snaky locks
That curled Megaera: greedily they plucked
The fruitage fair to sightlike that which grew
Near that bituminous lake where Sodom flamed;
This more delusivenot the touchbut taste
Deceived; theyfondly thinking to allay
Their appetite with gustinstead of fruit
Chewed bitter asheswhich 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 illusionnot as Man
Whom they triumphed once lapsed. Thus were they plagued
And worn with faminelong and ceaseless hiss
Till their lost shapepermittedthey resumed;
Yearly enjoinedsome sayto undergo
This annual humbling certain numbered days
To dash their prideand joyfor Man seduced.
Howeversome tradition they dispersed
Among the Heathenof their purchase got
And fabled how the Serpentwhom they called
Ophionwith Eurynomethe wide--
Encroaching Eve perhapshad first the rule
Of high Olympus; thence by Saturn driven
And Opsere yet Dictaean Jove was born.
Mean while in Paradise the hellish pair
Too soon arrived; Sinthere in power before
Once actual; now in bodyand to dwell
Habitual habitant; behind her Death
Close following pace for pacenot mounted yet
On his pale horse: to whom Sin thus began.
Second of Satan sprungall-conquering Death!
What thinkest thou of our empire nowthough earned
With travel difficultnot better far
Than still at Hell's dark threshold to have sat watch
Unnamedundreadedand thyself half starved?


Whom thus the Sin-born monster answered soon.
To mewho with eternal famine pine
Alike is Hellor Paradiseor Heaven;
There bestwhere most with ravine I may meet;
Which herethough plenteousall too little seems
To stuff this mawthis vast unhide-bound corps.
To whom the incestuous mother thus replied.
Thou therefore on these herbsand fruitsand flowers
Feed first; on each beast nextand fishand fowl;
No homely morsels! andwhatever thing
The sithe of Time mows downdevour unspared;
Till Iin Man residingthrough the race
His thoughtshis lookswordsactionsall infect;
And season him thy last and sweetest prey.
This saidthey both betook them several ways
Both to destroyor unimmortal make
All kindsand 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.
Seewith what heat these dogs of Hell advance
To waste and havock yonder worldwhich I
So fair and good created; and had still
Kept in that statehad not the folly of Man
Let in these wasteful furieswho impute
Folly to me; so doth the Prince of Hell
And his adherentsthat with so much ease
I suffer them to enter and possess
A place so heavenly; andconnivingseem
To gratify my scornful enemies
That laughas iftransported with some fit
Of passionI to them had quitted all
At random yielded up to their misrule;
And know not that I calledand drew them thither
My Hell-houndsto lick up the draff and filth
Which Man's polluting sin with taint hath shed
On what was pure; tilcrammed and gorgednigh burst
With sucked and glutted offalat one sling
Of thy victorious armwell-pleasing Son
Both Sinand Deathand yawning Graveat last
Through Chaos hurledobstruct the mouth of Hell
For everand seal up his ravenous jaws.
Then Heaven and Earth renewed shall be made pure
To sanctitythat shall receive no stain:
Till thenthe curse pronounced on both precedes.
He endedand the heavenly audience loud
Sung Halleluiahas the sound of seas
Through multitude that sung: Just are thy ways
Righteous are thy decrees on all thy works;
Who can extenuate thee? Nextto the Son
Destined Restorer of mankindby whom
New Heaven and Earth shall to the ages rise
Or down from Heaven descend.--Such was their song;
While the Creatorcalling forth by name
His mighty Angelsgave them several charge
As sorted best with present things. The sun
Had first his precept so to moveso 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 motionsand aspects
In sextilesquareand trineand opposite



Of noxious efficacyand when to join
In synod unbenign; and taught the fixed
Their influence malignant when to shower
Which of them rising with the sunor falling
Should prove tempestuous: To the winds they set
Their cornerswhen with bluster to confound
Seaairand shore; the thunder when to roll
With terrour through the dark aereal hall.
Some sayhe bid his Angels turn ascanse
The poles of earthtwice ten degrees and more
From the sun's axle; they with labour pushed
Oblique the centrick globe: Some saythe sun
Was bid turn reins from the equinoctial road
Like distant breadth to Taurus with the seven
Atlantick Sistersand the Spartan Twins
Up to the Tropick Crab: thence down amain
By Leoand the Virginand 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 nightsexcept to those
Beyond the polar circles; to them day
Had unbenighted shonewhile the low sun
To recompense his distancein their sight
Had rounded still the horizonand not known
Or east or west; which had forbid the snow
From cold Estotilandand south as far
Beneath Magellan. At that tasted fruit
The sunas from Thyestean banquetturned
His course intended; elsehow had the world
Inhabitedthough sinlessmore than now
Avoided pinching cold and scorching heat?
These changes in the Heavensthough slowproduced
Like change on sea and land; sideral blast
Vapourand mistand exhalation hot
Corrupt and pestilent: Now from the north
Of Norumbegaand the Samoed shore
Bursting their brazen dungeonarmed with ice
And snowand hailand stormy gust and flaw
Boreasand Caeciasand Argestes loud
And Thrasciasrend the woodsand seas upturn;
With adverse blast upturns them from the south
Notusand Afer black with thunderous clouds
From Serraliona; thwart of theseas fierce
Forth rush the Levant and the Ponent winds
Eurus and Zephyrwith their lateral noise
Sirocco and Libecchio. Thus began
Outrage from lifeless things; but Discord first
Daughter of Sinamong the irrational
Death introducedthrough fierce antipathy:
Beast now with beast 'gan warand fowl with fowl
And fish with fish; to graze the herb all leaving
Devoured each other; nor stood much in awe
Of Manbut fled him; orwith countenance grim
Glared on him passing. These were from without
The growing miserieswhich Adam saw
Already in partthough hid in gloomiest shade
To sorrow abandonedbut worse felt within;
Andin 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 worldand me so late
The glory of that glorywho now become
Accursedof blessed? hide me from the face


Of Godwhom to behold was then my highth
Of happiness!--Yet wellif here would end
The misery; I deserved itand would bear
My own deservings; but this will not serve:
All that I eat or drinkor shall beget
Is propagated curse. O voiceonce heard
DelightfullyEncrease and multiply;
Now death to hear! for what can I encrease
Or multiplybut curses on my head?
Who of all ages to succeedbutfeeling
The evil on him brought by mewill curse
My head? Ill fare our ancestor impure
For this we may thank Adam! but his thanks
Shall be the execration: sobesides
Mine own that bide upon meall from me
Shall with a fierce reflux on me rebound;
On meas on their natural centerlight
Heavythough in their place. O fleeting joys
Of Paradisedear bought with lasting woes!
Did I request theeMakerfrom my clay
To mould me Man? did I solicit thee
From darkness to promote meor here place
In this delicious garden? As my will
Concurred not to my beingit 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 hardby which I was to hold
The good I sought not. To the loss of that
Sufficient penaltywhy hast thou added
The sense of endless woes? Inexplicable
Why am I mocked with deathand lengthened out
To deathless pain? How gladly would I meet
Mortality my sentenceand 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 meand to my offspringwould torment me
With cruel expectation. Yet one doubt
Pursues me stilllest all I cannot die;
Lest that pure breath of lifethe spirit of Man
Which God inspiredcannot together perish
With this corporeal clod; thenin the grave
Or in some other dismal placewho knows
But I shall die a living death? O thought
Horridif 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 doubtsince human reach no further knows.
For though the Lord of all be infinite
Is his wrath also? Be itMan is not so
But mortal doomed. How can he exercise
Wrath without end on Manwhom death must end?
Can he make deathless death? That were to make
Strange contradictionwhich to God himself
Impossible is held; as argument
Of weaknessnot of power. Will he draw out
For anger's sakefinite to infinite
In punished Manto satisfy his rigour
Satisfied never? That were to extend
His sentence beyond dust and Nature's law;
By which all causes elseaccording still


To the reception of their matteract;
Not to the extent of their own sphere. But say
That death be not one strokeas I supposed
Bereaving sensebut endless misery
From this day onward; which I feel begun
Both in meand 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 eternaland incorporate both;
Nor I on my part single; in me all
Posterity stands cursed: Fair patrimony
That I must leave yeSons! Owere I able
To waste it all myselfand leave ye none!
So disinheritedhow would you bless
Menow your curse! Ahwhy should all mankind
For one man's faultthus guiltless be condemned
It guiltless? But from me what can proceed
But all corrupt; both mind and will depraved
Not to do onlybut to will the same
With me? How can they then acquitted stand
In sight of God? Himafter all disputes
Forced I absolve: all my evasions vain
And reasoningsthough through mazeslead me still
But to my own conviction: first and last
On meme onlyas the source and spring
Of all corruptionall the blame lights due;
So might the wrath! Fond wish!couldst thou support
That burdenheavier than the earth to bear;
Than all the world much heavierthough divided
With that bad Woman? Thuswhat thou desirest
And what thou fearestalike destroys all hope
Of refugeand 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 wayfrom deep to deeper plunged!
Thus Adam to himself lamented loud
Through the still night; not nowas ere Man fell
Wholesomeand cooland mildbut with black air
Accompanied; with dampsand dreadful gloom;
Which to his evil conscience represented
All things with double terrour: On the ground
Outstretched he layon the cold ground; and oft
Cursed his creation; Death as oft accused
Of tardy executionsince denounced
The day of his offence. Why comes not Death
Said hewith 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 woodsO fountainshillocksdalesand bowers!
With other echo late I taught your shades
To answerand resound far other song.--
Whom thus afflicted when sad Eve beheld
Desolate where she satapproaching nigh
Soft words to his fierce passion she assayed:
But her with stern regard he thus repelled.
Out of my sightthou Serpent! That name best
Befits thee with him leaguedthyself as false
And hateful; nothing wantsbut that thy shape
Like hisand colour serpentinemay show


Thy inward fraud; to warn all creatures from thee
Henceforth; lest that too heavenly formpretended
To hellish falshoodsnare them! But for thee
I had persisted happy; had not thy pride
And wandering vanitywhen least was safe
Rejected my forewarningand disdained
Not to be trusted; longing to be seen
Though by the Devil himself; him overweening
To over-reach; butwith the serpent meeting
Fooled and beguiled; by him thouI by thee
To trust thee from my side; imagined wise
Constantmatureproof against all assaults;
And understood not all was but a show
Rather than solid virtue; all but a rib
Crooked by naturebentas now appears
More to the part sinisterfrom me drawn;
Well if thrown outas supernumerary
To my just number found. O! why did God
Creator wisethat peopled highest Heaven
With Spirits masculinecreate at last
This novelty on earththis fair defect
Of natureand not fill the world at once
With Menas Angelswithout 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 matebut such
As some misfortune brings himor mistake;
Or whom he wishes most shall seldom gain
Through her perversenessbut shall see her gained
By a far worse; orif she lovewithheld
By parents; or his happiest choice too late
Shall meetalready linked and wedlock-bound
To a fell adversaryhis hate or shame:
Which infinite calamity shall cause
To human lifeand houshold peace confound.
He added notand from her turned; but Eve
Not so repulsedwith tears that ceased not flowing
And tresses all disorderedat his feet
Fell humble; andembracing thembesought
His peaceand thus proceeded in her plaint.
Forsake me not thusAdam! witness Heaven
What love sincereand reverence in my heart
I bear theeand unweeting have offended
Unhappily deceived! Thy suppliant
I begand clasp thy knees; bereave me not
Whereon I livethy gentle looksthy aid
Thy counselin this uttermost distress
My only strength and stay: Forlorn of thee
Whither shall I betake mewhere subsist?
While yet we livescarce one short hour perhaps
Between us two let there be peace; both joining
As joined in injuriesone 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 lostme 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 sentencefrom thy head removedmay light


On mesole cause to thee of all this woe;
Meme onlyjust object of his ire!
She ended weeping; and her lowly plight
Immoveabletill peace obtained from fault
Acknowledged and deploredin Adam wrought
Commiseration: Soon his heart relented
Towards herhis life so lateand sole delight
Now at his feet submissive in distress;
Creature so fair his reconcilement seeking
His counselwhom she had displeasedhis aid:
As one disarmedhis anger all he lost
And thus with peaceful words upraised her soon.
Unwaryand too desirousas before
So now of what thou knowest notwho desirest
The punishment all on thyself; alas!
Bear thine own firstill able to sustain
His full wrathwhose thou feelest as yet least part
And my displeasure bearest so ill. If prayers
Could alter high decreesI to that place
Would speed before theeand be louder heard
That on my head all might be visited;
Thy frailty and infirmer sex forgiven
To me committedand by me exposed.
But rise;--let us no more contendnor blame
Each otherblamed enough elsewhere; but strive
In offices of lovehow we may lighten
Each other's burdenin our share of woe;
Since this day's death denouncedif aught I see
Will prove no suddenbut a slow-paced evil;
A long day's dyingto augment our pain;
And to our seed (O hapless seed!) derived.
To whom thus Everecovering heartreplied.
Adamby 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 theevile as I amto place
Of new acceptancehopeful to regain
Thy lovethe sole contentment of my heart
Living or dyingfrom 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 sadyet tolerable
As in our evilsand of easier choice.
If care of our descent perplex us most
Which must be born to certain woedevoured
By Death at last; and miserable it is
To be to others cause of misery
Our own begottenand 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 liesyet ere conception to prevent
The race unblestto being yet unbegot.
Childless thou artchildless remain: so Death
Shall be deceived his glutand with us two
Be forced to satisfy his ravenous maw.
But if thou judge it hard and difficult
Conversinglookinglovingto abstain
From love's due rightsnuptial 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;



Thenboth ourselves and seed at once to free
From what we fear for bothlet us make short--
Let us seek Death; -- orhe not foundsupply
With our own hands his office on ourselves:
Why stand we longer shivering under fears
That show no end but deathand have the power
Of many ways to die the shortest choosing
Destruction with destruction to destroy? --
She ended hereor vehement despair
Broke off the rest: so much of death her thoughts
Had entertainedas dyed her cheeks with pale.
But Adamwith such counsel nothing swayed
To better hopes his more attentive mind
Labouring had raised; and thus to Eve replied.
Evethy contempt of life and pleasure seems
To argue in thee something more sublime
And excellentthan what thy mind contemns;
But self-destruction therefore soughtrefutes
That excellence thought in thee; and implies
Not thy contemptbut anguish and regret
For loss of life and pleasure overloved.
Or if thou covet deathas utmost end
Of miseryso thinking to evade
The penalty pronounced; doubt not but God
Hath wiselier armed his vengeful irethan so
To be forestalled; much more I fear lest death
So snatchedwill not exempt us from the pain
We are by doom to pay; rathersuch acts
Of contumacy will provoke the Highest
To make death in us live: Then let us seek
Some safer resolutionwhich methinks
I have in viewcalling to mind with heed
Part of our sentencethat thy seed shall bruise
The Serpent's head; piteous amends! unless
Be meantwhom I conjectureour grand foe
Satan; whoin the serpenthath contrived
Against us this deceit: To crush his head
Would be revenge indeed! which will be lost
By death brought on ourselvesor childless days
Resolvedas thou proposest; so our foe
Shal 'scape his punishment ordainedand 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 prideimpatience and despite
Reluctance against God and his just yoke
Laid on our necks. Remember with what mild
And gracious temper he both heardand judged
Without wrath or reviling; we expected
Immediate dissolutionwhich 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; andlest cold
Or heat should injure ushis timely care
Hathunbesoughtprovided; and his hands
Clothed us unworthypitying while he judged;
How much moreif we pray himwill his ear
Be openand his heart to pity incline
And teach us further by what means to shun


The inclement seasonsrainicehailand snow!
Which now the skywith various facebegins
To show us in this mountain; while the winds
Blow moist and keenshattering the graceful locks
Of these fair spreading trees; which bids us seek
Some better shroudsome better warmth to cherish
Our limbs benummedere this diurnal star
Leave cold the nighthow we his gathered beams
Reflected may with matter sere foment;
Orby collision of two bodiesgrind
The air attrite to fire; as late the clouds
Justlingor pushed with windsrude in their shock
Tine the slant lightning; whose thwart flamedriven 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 prayingand of grace
Beseeching him; so as we need not fear
To pass commodiously this lifesustained
By him with many comfortstill we end
In dustour final rest and native home.
What better can we dothanto the place
Repairing where he judged usprostrate fall
Before him reverent; and there confess
Humbly our faultsand pardon beg; with tears
Watering the groundand with our sighs the air
Frequentingsent from hearts contritein sign
Of sorrow unfeignedand humiliation meek

Book XI

Undoubtedly he will relentand turn
From his displeasure; in whose look serene
When angry most he seemed and most severe
What else but favourgraceand mercyshone?
So spake our father penitent; nor Eve
Felt less remorse: theyforthwith to the place
Repairing where he judged themprostrate fell
Before him reverent; and both confessed
Humbly their faultsand pardon begged; with tears
Watering the groundand with their sighs the air
Frequentingsent from hearts contritein sign
Of sorrow unfeignedand humiliation meek.
Thus theyin lowliest plightrepentant stood
Praying; for from the mercy-seat above
Prevenient grace descending had removed
The stony from their heartsand made new flesh
Regenerate grow instead; that sighs now breathed
Unutterable; which the Spirit of prayer
Inspiredand winged for Heaven with speedier flight
Than loudest oratory: Yet their port
Not of mean suitors; nor important less
Seemed their petitionthan when the ancient pair
In fables oldless ancient yet than these
Deucalion and chaste Pyrrhato restore
The race of mankind drownedbefore the shrine
Of Themis stood devout. To Heaven their prayers
Flew upnor missed the wayby envious winds
Blown vagabond or frustrate: in they passed


Dimensionless through heavenly doors; then clad
With incensewhere the golden altar fumed
By their great intercessourcame in sight
Before the Father's throne: them the glad Son
Presentingthus to intercede began.
See$ Fatherwhat first-fruits on earth are sprung
From thy implanted grace in Man; these sighs
And prayerswhich in this golden censer mixed
With incenseI thy priest before thee bring;
Fruits of more pleasing savourfrom thy seed
Sown with contrition in his heartthan those
Whichhis own hand manuringall the trees
Of Paradise could have producedere fallen
From innocence. Now thereforebend thine ear
To supplication; hear his sighsthough mute;
Unskilful with what words to praylet me
Interpret for him; mehis advocate
And propitiation; all his works on me
Goodor not goodingraft; my merit those
Shall perfectand for these my death shall pay.
Accept me; andin mefrom these receive
The smell of peace toward mankind: let him live
Before thee reconciledat least his days
Numberedthough sad; till deathhis doom(which I
To mitigate thus pleadnot to reverse)
To better life shall yield him: where with me
All my redeemed may dwell in joy and bliss;
Made one with meas I with thee am one.
To whom the Fatherwithout cloudserene.
All thy request for Manaccepted Son
Obtain; all thy request was my decree:
Butlonger in that Paradise to dwell
The law I gave to Nature him forbids:
Those pure immortal elementsthat know
No grossno unharmonious mixture foul
Eject himtainted now; and purge him off
As a distempergrossto air as gross
And mortal food; as may dispose him best
For dissolution wrought by sinthat first
Distempered all thingsand of incorrupt
Corrupted. Iat firstwith 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; andafter life
Tried in sharp tribulationand refined
By faith and faithful worksto 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 statethough firmstood more confirmed.
He endedand the Son gave signal high
To the bright minister that watched; he blew
His trumpetheard in Oreb since perhaps
When God descendedand perhaps once more
To sound at general doom. The angelick blast
Filled all the regions: from their blisful bowers
Of amarantine shadefountain or spring
By the waters of lifewhere'er they sat
In fellowships of joythe sons of light


Hastedresorting to the summons high;
And took their seats; till from his throne supreme
The Almighty thus pronounced his sovran will.
O Sonslike one of us Man is become
To know both good and evilsince his taste
Of that defended fruit; but let him boast
His knowledge of good lostand evil got;
Happier! had it sufficed him to have known
Good by itselfand evil not at all.
He sorrows nowrepentsand prays contrite
My motions in him; longer than they move
His heart I knowhow variable and vain
Self-left. Lest therefore his now bolder hand
Reach also of the tree of lifeand eat
And live for everdream at least to live
For everto remove him I decree
And send him from the garden forth to till
The ground whence he was takenfitter soil.
Michaelthis my behest have thou in charge;
Take to thee from among the Cherubim
Thy choice of flaming warriourslest the Fiend
Or in behalf of Manor to invade
Vacant possessionsome new trouble raise:
Haste theeand from the Paradise of God
Without remorse drive out the sinful pair;
From hallowed ground the unholy; and denounce
To themand to their progenyfrom thence
Perpetual banishment. Yetlest they faint
At the sad sentence rigorously urged
(For I behold them softenedand 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 forththough sorrowingyet 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 fouland 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
Hadlike a double Janus; all their shape
Spangled with eyes more numerous than those
Of Argusand more wakeful than to drouse
Charmed with Arcadian pipethe pastoral reed
Of Hermesor 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 orisonsand found
Strength added from above; new hope to spring
Out of despair; joybut with fear yet linked;
Which thus to Eve his welcome words renewed.
Eveeasily my faith admitthat all
The good which we enjoy from Heaven descends;
Butthat from us aught should ascend to Heaven
So prevalent as to concern the mind



Of God high-blestor to incline his will
Hard to belief may seem; yet this will prayer
Or one short sigh of human breathupborne
Even to the seat of God. For since I sought
By prayer the offended Deity to appease;
Kneeledand 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 breastand to my memory
His promisethat thy seed shall bruise our foe;
Whichthen not minded in dismayyet now
Assures me that the bitterness of death
Is pastand we shall live. Whence hail to thee
Eve rightly calledmother of all mankind
Mother of all things livingsince 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; whofor thee ordained
A helpbecame thy snare; to me reproach
Rather belongsdistrustand all dispraise:
But infinite in pardon was my Judge
That Iwho first brought death on allam 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 usnow with sweat imposed
Though after sleepless night; for see!the morn
All unconcerned with our unrestbegins
Her rosy progress smiling: let us forth;
I never from thy side henceforth to stray
Where'er our day's work liesthough now enjoined
Laborioustill day droop; while here we dwell
What can be toilsome in these pleasant walks?
Here let us livethough in fallen statecontent.
So spakeso wished much humbled Eve; but Fate
Subscribed not: Nature first gave signsimpressed
On birdbeastair; air suddenly eclipsed
After short blush of morn; nigh in her sight
The bird of Jovestooped from his aery tour
Two birds of gayest plume before him drove;
Down from a hill the beast that reigns in woods
First hunter thenpursued a gentle brace
Goodliest of all the foresthart and hind;
Direct to the eastern gate was bent their flight.
Adam observedand with his eye the chase
Pursuingnot unmovedto Eve thus spake.
O Evesome further change awaits us nigh
Which Heavenby these mute signs in Natureshows
Forerunners of his purpose; or to warn
Ushaply too secureof our discharge
From penaltybecause from death released
Some days: how longand what till then our life
Who knows? or more than thisthat we are dust
And thither must returnand be no more?
Why else this double object in our sight
Of flight pursued in the airand o'er the ground
One way the self-same hour? why in the east
Darkness ere day's mid-courseand morning-light
More orient in yon western cloudthat 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 Paradiseand on a hill made halt;
A glorious apparitionhad not doubt
And carnal fear that day dimmed Adam's eye.
Not that more gloriouswhen the Angels met
Jacob in Mahanaimwhere he saw
The field pavilioned with his guardians bright;
Nor thatwhich on the flaming mount appeared
In Dothancovered with a camp of fire
Against the Syrian kingwho to surprise
One manassassin-likehad levied war
War unproclaimed. The princely Hierarch
In their bright stand there left his Powersto seise
Possession of the garden; he alone
To find where Adam shelteredtook his way
Not unperceived of Adam; who to Eve
While the great visitant approachedthus spake.
Eve$ now expect great tidingswhich perhaps
Of us will soon determineor impose
New laws to be observed; for I descry
From yonder blazing cloud that veils the hill
One of the heavenly host; andby 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 Raphaelthat I should much confide;
But solemn and sublime; whom not to offend
With reverence I must meetand thou retire.
He ended: and the Arch-Angel soon drew nigh
Not in his shape celestialbut as man
Clad to meet man; over his lucid arms
A military vest of purple flowed
Livelier than Meliboeanor the grain
Of Sarraworn 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 zodiackhung the sword
Satan's dire dread; and in his hand the spear.
Adam bowed low; hekinglyfrom his state
Inclined notbut his coming thus declared.
AdamHeaven'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 Lordappeased
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 takenfitter soil.
He added not; for Adam at the news
Heart-struck with chilling gripe of sorrow stood
That all his senses bound; Evewho unseen
Yet all had heardwith audible lament
Discovered soon the place of her retire.
O unexpected strokeworse than of Death!
Must I thus leave thee$ Paradise? thus leave
Theenative soil! these happy walks and shades
Fit haunt of Gods? where I had hope to spend
Quiet though sadthe respite of that day



That must be mortal to us both. O flowers
That never will in other climate grow
My early visitationand my last


;t evenwhich I bred up with tender hand
From the first opening budand gave ye names!
Who now shall rear ye to the sunor rank
Your tribesand water from the ambrosial fount?
Thee lastlynuptial bower! by me adorned
With what to sight or smell was sweet! from thee
How shall I partand whither wander down
Into a lower world; to this obscure
And wild? how shall we breathe in other air
Less pureaccustomed to immortal fruits?
Whom thus the Angel interrupted mild.
Lament notEvebut patiently resign
What justly thou hast lostnor set thy heart
Thus over-fondon that which is not thine:
Thy going is not lonely; with thee goes
Thy husband; whom to follow thou art bound;
Where he abidesthink there thy native soil.
Adamby this from the cold sudden damp
Recoveringand his scattered spirits returned
To Michael thus his humble words addressed.
Celestialwhether among the Thronesor named
Of them the highest; for such of shape may seem
Prince above princes! gently hast thou told
Thy messagewhich might else in telling wound
And in performing end us; what besides
Of sorrowand dejectionand despair
Our frailty can sustainthy tidings bring
Departure from this happy placeour sweet
Recessand only consolation left
Familiar to our eyes! all places else
Inhospitable appearand desolate;
Nor knowing usnor known: Andif by prayer
Incessant I could hope to change the will
Of Him who all things canI 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 methatdeparting hence
As from his face I shall be hiddeprived
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 turfand pile up every stone
Of lustre from the brookin memory
Or monument to ages; and theron
Offer sweet-smelling gumsand fruitsand flowers:
In yonder nether world where shall I seek
His bright appearancesor foot-step trace?
For though I fled him angryyet recalled
To life prolonged and promised raceI now
Gladly behold though but his utmost skirts
Of glory; and far off his steps adore.
To whom thus Michael with regard benign.
Adamthou knowest Heaven hisand all the Earth;
Not this rock only; his Omnipresence fills


Landseaand airand 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 Paradiseor Eden: this had been
Perhaps thy capital seatfrom whence had spread
All generations; and had hither come
From all the ends of the earthto celebrate
And reverence theetheir great progenitor.
But this pre-eminence thou hast lostbrought down
To dwell on even ground now with thy sons:
Yet doubt not but in valleyand in plain
God isas here; and will be found alike
Present; and of his presence many a sign
Still following theestill compassing thee round
With goodness and paternal lovehis face
Expressand of his steps the track divine.
Which that thou mayest believeand be confirmed
Ere thou from hence depart; knowI am sent
To show thee what shall come in future days
To theeand to thy offspring: good with bad
Expect to hear; supernal grace contending
With sinfulness of men; thereby to learn
True patienceand 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 lifeand 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 sleptstwhile she to life was formed.
To whom thus Adam gratefully replied.
AscendI follow theesafe Guidethe path
Thou leadest me; and to the hand of Heaven submit
However chastening; to the evil turn
My obvious breast; arming to overcome
By sufferingand 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 earthin clearest ken
Stretched out to the amplest reach of prospect lay.
Not higher that hillnor wider looking round
Whereonfor different causethe Tempter set
Our second Adamin the wilderness;
To show him all Earth's kingdomsand their glory.
His eye might there command wherever stood
City of old or modern famethe seat
Of mightiest empirefrom the destined walls
Of Cambaluseat of Cathaian Can
And Samarchand by OxusTemir'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 sator 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
Ercocoand the less maritim kings
Mombazaand Quiloaand Melind
And Sofalathought Ophirto the realm


Of Congoand Angola farthest south;
Or thence from Niger flood to Atlas mount
The kingdoms of AlmansorFez and Sus
Moroccoand Algiersand Tremisen;
On Europe thenceand where Rome was to sway
The world: in spirit perhaps he also saw
Rich Mexicothe seat of Montezume
And Cusco in Peruthe richer seat
Of Atabalipa; and yet unspoiled
Guianawhose 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 nervefor 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 Adamnow enforced to close his eyes
Sunk downand all his spirits became entranced;
But him the gentle Angel by the hand
Soon raisedand his attention thus recalled.
Adamnow ope thine eyes; and first behold
The effectswhich 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
Corruptionto bring forth more violent deeds.
His eyes he openedand beheld a field
Part arable and tilthwhereon were sheaves
New reaped; the other part sheep-walks and folds;
I' the midst an altar as the land-mark stood
Rustickof grassy sord; thither anon
A sweaty reaper from his tillage brought
First fruitsthe green earand the yellow sheaf
Unculledas came to hand; a shepherd next
More meekcame with the firstlings of his flock
Choicest and best; thensacrificinglaid
The inwards and their fatwith incense strowed
On the cleft woodand all due rights performed:
His offering soon propitious fire from Heaven
Consumed with nimble glanceand grateful steam;
The other's notfor his was not sincere;
Whereat he inly ragedandas they talked
Smote him into the midriff with a stone
That beat out life; he fell;anddeadly pale
Groaned out his soul with gushing blood effused.
Much at that sight was Adam in his heart
Dismayedand thus in haste to the Angel cried.
O Teachersome great mischief hath befallen
To that meek manwho well had sacrificed;
Is piety thus and pure devotion paid?
To whom Michael thushe also movedreplied.
These two are brethrenAdamand 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 faithapproved
Lose no reward; though here thou see him die
Rolling in dust and gore. To which our sire.
Alas! both for the deedand for the cause!
But have I now seen Death? Is this the way
I must return to native dust? O sight
Of terrourfoul and ugly to behold



Horrid to thinkhow horrible to feel!
To whom thus Michael. Death thou hast seen
In his first shape on Man; but many shapes
Of Deathand many are the ways that lead
To his grim caveall dismal; yet to sense
More terrible at the entrancethan within.
Someas thou sawestby violent stroke shall die;
By firefloodfamineby intemperance more
In meats and drinkswhich on the earth shall bring
Diseases direof 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 appearedsadnoisomedark;
A lazar-house it seemed; wherein were laid
Numbers of all diseased; all maladies
Of ghastly spasmor racking torturequalms
Of heart-sick agonyall feverous kinds
Convulsionsepilepsiesfierce catarrhs
Intestine stone and ulcercolick-pangs
Demoniack phrenzymoaping melancholy
And moon-struck madnesspining atrophy
Marasmusand wide-wasting pestilence
Dropsiesand asthmasand joint-racking rheums.
Dire was the tossingdeep the groans; Despair
Tended the sick busiest from couch to couch;
And over them triumphant Death his dart
Shookbut delayed to strikethough oft invoked
With vowsas their chief goodand final hope.
Sight so deform what heart of rock could long
Dry-eyed behold? Adam could notbut wept
Though not of woman born; compassion quelled
His best of manand gave him up to tears
A spacetill firmer thoughts restrained excess;
Andscarce recovering wordshis plaint renewed.
O miserable mankindto what fall
Degradedto what wretched state reserved!
Better end here unborn. Why is life given
To be thus wrested from us? ratherwhy
Obtruded on us thus? whoif we knew
What we receivewould either no accept
Life offeredor soon beg to lay it down;
Glad to be so dismissed in peace. Can thus
The image of God in Mancreated once
So goodly and erectthough faulty since
To such unsightly sufferings be debased
Under inhuman pains? Why should not Man
Retaining still divine similitude
In partfrom such deformities be free
Andfor his Maker's image sakeexempt?
Their Maker's imageanswered Michaelthen
Forsook themwhen themselves they vilified
To serve ungoverned Appetite; and took
His image whom they serveda brutish vice
Inductive mainly to the sin of Eve.
Therefore so abject is their punishment
Disfiguring not God's likenessbut their own;
Or if his likenessby themselves defaced;
While they pervert pure Nature's healthful rules
To loathsome sickness; worthilysince they
God's image did not reverence in themselves.
I yield it justsaid Adamand submit.
But is there yet no other waybesides
These painful passageshow we may come


To deathand mix with our connatural dust?
There issaid Michaelif thou well observe
The rule of Not too much; by temperance taught
In what thou eatest and drinkest; seeking from thence
Due nourishmentnot gluttonous delight
Till many years over thy head return:
So mayest thou live; tilllike ripe fruitthou drop
Into thy mother's lap; or be with ease
Gatherednor harshly plucked; for death mature:
This is Old Age; but thenthou must outlive
Thy youththy strengththy beauty; which will change
To witheredweakand gray; thy senses then
Obtuseall taste of pleasure must forego
To what thou hast; andfor the air of youth
Hopeful and cheerfulin thy blood will reign
A melancholy damp of cold and dry
To weigh thy spirits downand last consume
The balm of life. To whom our ancestor.
Henceforth I fly not deathnor would prolong
Life much; bent ratherhow I may be quit
Fairest and easiestof this cumbrous charge;
Which I must keep till my appointed day
Of rendering upand patiently attend
My dissolution. Michael replied.
Nor love thy lifenor hate; but what thou livest
Live well; how longor shortpermit to Heaven:
And now prepare thee for another sight.
He lookedand saw a spacious plainwhereon
Were tents of various hue; by somewere herds
Of cattle grazing; otherswhence the sound
Of instrumentsthat made melodious chime
Was heardof harp and organ; andwho moved
Their stops and chordswas seen; his volant touch
Instinct through all proportionslow and high
Fled and pursued transverse the resonant fugue.
In other part stood one whoat the forge
Labouringtwo 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; thenwhat might else be wrought
Fusil or graven in metal. After these
But on the hither sidea different sort
From the high neighbouring hillswhich was their seat
Down to the plain descended; by their guise
Just men they seemedand all their study bent
To worship God arightand know his works
Not hid; nor those things lastwhich might preserve
Freedom and peace to Men; they on the plain
Long had not walkedwhen from the tentsbehold!
A bevy of fair womenrichly gay
In gems and wanton dress; to the harp they sung
Soft amorous dittiesand in dance came on:
The menthough graveeyed them; and let their eyes
Rove without rein; tillin the amorous net
Fast caughtthey liked; and each his liking chose;
And now of love they treattill the evening-star
Love's harbingerappeared; thenall in heat
They light the nuptial torchand bid invoke
Hymenthen first to marriage rites invoked:
With feast and musick all the tents resound.


Such happy interviewand fair event
Of love and youth not lostsongsgarlandsflowers
And charming symphoniesattached the heart
Of Adamsoon inclined to admit delight
The bent of nature; which he thus expressed.
True opener of mine eyesprime Angel blest;
Much better seems this visionand more hope
Of peaceful days portendsthan those two past;
Those were of hate and deathor pain much worse;
Here Nature seems fulfilled in all her ends.
To whom thus Michael. Judge not what is best
By pleasurethough to nature seeming meet;
Createdas thou artto nobler end
Holy and pureconformity divine.
Those tents thou sawest so pleasantwere the tents
Of wickednesswherein shall dwell his race
Who slew his brother; studious they appear
Of arts that polish lifeinventers rare;
Unmindful of their Makerthough his Spirit
Taught them; but they his gifts acknowledged none.
Yet they a beauteous offspring shall beget;
For that fair female troop thou sawestthat seemed
Of Goddessesso blitheso smoothso gay
Yet empty of all good wherein consists
Woman's domestick honour and chief praise;
Bred only and completed to the taste
Of lustful appetenceto singto dance
To dressand troll the tongueand roll the eye:
To these that sober race of menwhose lives
Religious titled them the sons of God
Shall yield up all their virtueall their fame
Ignoblyto the trains and to the smiles
Of these fair atheists; and now swim in joy
Erelong to swim at large; and laughfor which
The world erelong a world of tears must weep.
To whom thus Adamof short joy bereft.
O pity and shamethat theywho to live well
Entered so fairshould turn aside to tread
Paths indirector in the mid way faint!
But still I see the tenour of Man's woe
Holds on the samefrom Woman to begin.
From Man's effeminate slackness it begins
Said the Angelwho should better hold his place
By wisdomand superiour gifts received.
But now prepare thee for another scene.
He lookedand saw wide territory spread
Before himtownsand rural works between;
Cities of men with lofty gates and towers
Concourse in armsfierce faces threatening war
Giants of mighty bone and bold emprise;
Part wield their armspart curb the foaming steed
Single or in array of battle ranged
Both horse and footnor idly mustering stood;
One way a band select from forage drives
A herd of beevesfair 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 aidwhich makes a bloody fray;
With cruel tournament the squadrons join;
Where cattle pastured latenow scattered lies
With carcasses and arms the ensanguined field
Deserted: Others to a city strong
Lay siegeencamped; by batteryscaleand mine



Assaulting; others from the wall defend
With dart and javelinstonesand sulphurous fire;
On each hand slaughterand gigantick deeds.
In other part the sceptered heralds call
To councilin the city-gates; anon
Gray-headed men and gravewith warriours mixed
Assembleand harangues are heard; but soon
In factious opposition; till at last
Of middle age one risingeminent
In wise deportspake much of right and wrong
Of justiceor religiontruthand peace
And judgement from above: him old and young
Explodedand had seized with violent hands
Had not a cloud descending snatched him thence
Unseen amid the throng: so violence
Proceededand oppressionand sword-law
Through all the plainand refuge none was found.
Adam was all in tearsand to his guide
Lamenting turned full sad; O!what are these
Death's ministersnot men? who thus deal death
Inhumanly to menand multiply
Ten thousandfold the sin of him who slew
His brother: for of whom such massacre
Make theybut of their brethren; men of men
But who was that just manwhom had not Heaven
Rescuedhad 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 matchedwho of themselves
Abhor to join; andby imprudence mixed
Produce prodigious births of body or mind.
Such were these giantsmen of high renown;
For in those days might only shall be admired
And valour and heroick virtue called;
To overcome in battleand subdue
Nationsand bring home spoils with infinite
Man-slaughtershall be held the highest pitch
Of human glory; and for glory done
Of triumphto be styled great conquerours
Patrons of mankindGodsand sons of Gods;
Destroyers rightlier calledand plagues of men.
Thus fame shall be achievedrenown on earth;
And what most merits famein silence hid.
But hethe seventh from theewhom thou beheldst
The only righteous in a world preverse
And therefore hatedtherefore so beset
With foesfor daring single to be just
And utter odious truththat God would come
To judge them with his Saints; him the Most High
Rapt in a balmy cloud with winged steeds
Didas thou sawestreceiveto 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 lookedand 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 riotfeast and dance;
Marrying or prostitutingas befel
Rape or adulterywhere 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 assemblieswhereso met
Triumphs or festivals; and to them preached
Conversion and repentanceas to souls
In prisonunder judgements imminent:
But all in vain: which when he sawhe ceased
Contendingand removed his tents far off;
Thenfrom the mountain hewing timber tall
Began to build a vessel of huge bulk;
Measured by cubitlengthand breadthand highth;
Smeared round with pitch; and in the side a door
Contrived; and of provisions laid in large
For man and beast: when loa wonder strange!
Of every beastand birdand insect small
Came sevensand 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 roseandwith black wings
Wide-hoveringall the clouds together drove
From under Heaven; the hills to their supply
Vapourand exhalation dusk and moist
Sent up amain; and now the thickened sky
Like a dark cieling stood; down rushed the rain
Impetuous; and continuedtill the earth
No more was seen: the floating vessel swum
Upliftedand secure with beaked prow
Rode tilting o'er the waves; all dwellings else
Flood overwhelmedand them with all their pomp
Deep under water rolled; sea covered sea
Sea without shore; and in their palaces
Where luxury late reignedsea-monsters whelped
And stabled; of mankindso numerous late
All leftin one small bottom swum imbarked.
How didst thou grieve thenAdamto behold
The end of all thy offspringend so sad
Depopulation! Thee another flood
Of tears and sorrow a floodthee also drowned
And sunk thee as thy sons; tillgently reared
By the Angelon thy feet thou stoodest at last
Though comfortless; as when a father mourns
His childrenall 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 onlyeach day's lot
Enough to bear; those nowthat were dispensed
The burden of many ageson me light
At onceby my foreknowledge gaining birth
Abortiveto torment me ere their being
With thought that they must be. Let no man seek
Henceforth to be foretoldwhat 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 ceasedand 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? unfoldcelestial Guide
And whether here the race of Man will end.
To whom thus Michael. Thosewhom last thou sawest
In triumph and luxurious wealthare they
First seen in acts of prowess eminent
And great exploitsbut of true virtue void;
Whohaving spilt much bloodand done much wast
Subduing nationsand achieved thereby
Fame in the worldhigh titlesand rich prey;
Shall change their course to pleasureeaseand sloth
Surfeitand lust; till wantonness and pride
Raise out of friendship hostile deeds in peace.
The conquered alsoand enslaved by war
Shallwith their freedom lostall virtue lose
And fear of God; from whom their piety feigned
In sharp contest of battle found no aid
Against invaders; thereforecooled in zeal
Thenceforth shall practice how to live secure
Worldly or dissoluteon what their lords
Shall leave them to enjoy; for the earth shall bear
More than enoughthat temperance may be tried:
So all shall turn degenerateall depraved;
Justice and temperancetruth and faithforgot;
One man exceptthe only son of light
In a dark ageagainst example good
Against allurementcustomand a world
Offended: fearless of reproach and scorn
The grand-childwith twelve sons encreaseddeparts
From Canaanto a land hereafter called
Egyptdivided by the river Nile;
See where it flowsdisgorging at seven mouths
Into the sea: To sojourn in that land
He comesinvited by a younger son
In time of dearth; a sonwhose worthy deeds
Raise him to be the second in that realm
Of Pharaoh: There he diesand leaves his race
Growing into a nationand now grown
Suspected to a sequent kingwho seeks
To stop their overgrowthas inmate guests
Or violencehe of their wicked ways
Shall them admonish; and before them set
The paths of righteousnesshow much more safe
And full of peace; denouncing wrath to come
On their impenitence; and shall return
Of them deridedbut of God observed
The one just man alive; by his command
Shall build a wonderous arkas thou beheldst
To save himselfand housholdfrom amidst
A world devote to universal wrack.
No sooner hewith them of man and beast
Select for lifeshall in the ark be lodged
And sheltered round; but all the cataracts
Of Heaven set open on the Earth shall pour
Rainday and night; all fountains of the deep
Broke upshall 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 placepushed by the horned flood
With all his verdure spoiledand trees adrift
Down the great river to the opening gulf
And there take root an island salt and bare
The haunt of sealsand orcsand sea-mews' clang:
To teach thee that God attributes to place


No sanctityif none be thither brought
By men who there frequentor therein dwell.
And nowwhat further shall ensuebehold.
He lookedand saw the ark hull on the flood
Which now abated; for the clouds were fled
Driven by a keen north-windthatblowing dry
Wrinkled the face of delugeas decayed;
And the clear sun on his wide watery glass
Gazed hotand of the fresh wave largely drew
As after thirst; which made their flowing shrink
From standing lake to tripping ebbthat stole
With soft foot towards the deep; who now had stopt
His slucesas the Heaven his windows shut.
The ark no more now floatsbut seems on ground
Fast on the top of some high mountain fixed.
And now the tops of hillsas rocksappear;
With clamour thence the rapid currents drive
Towards the retreating seatheir furious tide.
Forthwith from out the ark a raven flies
And after himthe surer messenger
A dove sent forth once and again to spy
Green tree or groundwhereon his foot may light:
The second time returningin his bill
An olive-leaf he bringspacifick sign:
Anon dry ground appearsand from his ark
The ancient sire descendswith all his train;
Then with uplifted handsand eyes devout
Grateful to Heavenover his head beholds
A dewy cloudand in the cloud a bow
Conspicuous with three lifted colours gay
Betokening peace from Godand covenant new.
Whereat the heart of Adamerst so sad
Greatly rejoiced; and thus his joy broke forth.
O thouwho future things canst represent
As presentheavenly Instructer! I revive
At this last sight; assured that Man shall live
With all the creaturesand their seed preserve.
Far less I now lament for one whole world
Of wicked sons destroyedthan I rejoice
For one man found so perfectand so just
That God vouchsafes to raise another world
From himand all his anger to forget.
But saywhat mean those coloured streaks in Heaven
Distendedas the brow of God appeased?
Or serve theyas a flowery vergeto bind
The fluid skirts of that same watery cloud
Lest it again dissolveand 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 heartwhen looking down he saw
The whole earth filled with violenceand all flesh
Corrupting each their way; yetthose removed
Such grace shall one just man find in his sight
That he relentsnot 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; butwhen he brings
Over the earth a cloudwill therein set
His triple-coloured bowwhereon to look
And call to mind his covenant: Day and night
Seed-time and harvestheat and hoary frost
Shall hold their course; till fire purge all things new



Both Heaven and Earthwherein 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;
Thenwith transition sweetnew speech resumes.
Thus thou hast seen one world beginand end;
And Manas from a second stockproceed.
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 audienceand attend.
This second source of Menwhile yet but few
And while the dread of judgement past remains
Fresh in their mindsfearing the Deity
With some regard to what is just and right
Shall lead their livesand multiply apace;
Labouring the soiland reaping plenteous crop
Cornwineand oil; andfrom the herd or flock
Oft sacrificing bullocklambor kid
With large wine-offerings pouredand sacred feast
Shall spend their days in joy unblamed; and dwell
Long time in peaceby families and tribes
Under paternal rule: till one shall rise
Of proud ambitious heart; whonot content
With fair equalityfraternal state
Will arrogate dominion undeserved
Over his brethrenand quite dispossess
Concord and law of nature from the earth;
Hunting (and men not beasts shall be his game)
With warand hostile snaresuch 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 Heavenclaiming second sovranty;
And from rebellion shall derive his name
Though of rebellion others he accuse.
He with a crewwhom like ambition joins
With him or under him to tyrannize
Marching from Eden towards the westshall find
The plainwherein a black bituminous gurge
Boils out from under groundthe mouth of Hell:
Of brickand of that stuffthey cast to build
A city and towerwhose top may reach to Heaven;
And get themselves a name; lestfar dispersed
In foreign landstheir memory be lost;
Regardless whether good or evil fame.
But Godwho oft descends to visit men
Unseenand through their habitations walks
To mark their doingsthem beholding soon
Comes down to see their cityere the tower
Obstruct Heaven-towersand in derision sets
Upon their tongues a various spiritto rase
Quite out their native language; andinstead
To sow a jangling noise of words unknown:
Forthwith a hideous gabble rises loud
Among the builders; each to other calls



Not understood; till hoarseand all in rage
As mocked they storm: great laughter was in Heaven
And looking downto see the hubbub strange
And hear the din: Thus was the building left
Ridiculousand the work Confusion named.
Whereto thus Adamfatherly displeased.
O execrable son! so to aspire
Above his brethren; to himself assuming
Authority usurpedfrom God not given:
He gave us only over beastfishfowl
Dominion absolute; that right we hold
By his donation; but man over men
He made not lord; such title to himself
Reservinghuman 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 thitherto sustain
Himself and his rash army; where thin air
Above the clouds will pine his entrails gross
And famish him of breathif not of bread?
To whom thus Michael. Justly thou abhorrest
That sonwho on the quiet state of men
Such trouble broughtaffecting to subdue
Rational liberty; yet know withal
Since thy original lapsetrue liberty
Is lostwhich always with right reason dwells
Twinnedand from her hath no dividual being:
Reason in man obscuredor not obeyed
Immediately inordinate desires
And upstart passionscatch the government
From reason; and to servitude reduce
Mantill then free. Thereforesince he permits
Within himself unworthy powers to reign
Over free reasonGodin 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 virtuewhich is reasonthat no wrong
But justiceand some fatal curse annexed
Deprives them of their outward liberty;
Their inward lost: Witness the irreverent son
Of him who built the ark; whofor the shame
Done to his fatherheard this heavy curse
Servant of servantson his vicious race.
Thus will this latteras the former world
Still tend from bad to worse; till God at last
Wearied with their iniquitieswithdraw
His presence from among themand avert
His holy eyes; resolving from thenceforth
To leave them to their own polluted ways;
And one peculiar nation to select
From all the restof whom to be invoked
A nation from one faithful man to spring:
Him on this side Euphrates yet residing
Bred up in idol-worship: Othat men
(Canst thou believe?) should be so stupid grown
While yet the patriarch livedwho 'scaped the flood
As to forsake the living Godand fall
To worship their own work in wood and stone
For Gods! Yet him God the Most High vouchsafes
To call by visionfrom his father's house



His kindredand false Godsinto a land
Which he will show him; and from him will raise
A mighty nation; and upon him shower
His benediction sothat in his seed
All nations shall be blest: he straight obeys;
Not knowing to what landyet firm believes:
I see himbut thou canst notwith what faith
He leaves his Godshis friendsand native soil
Ur of Chaldaeapassing now the ford
To Haran; after him a cumbrous train
Of herds and flocksand numerous servitude;
Not wandering poorbut trusting all his wealth
With Godwho called himin a land unknown.
Canaan he now attains; I see his tents
Pitched about Sechemand 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 callthough yet unnamed;)
From Hermon east to the great western Sea;
Mount Hermonyonder sea; each place behold
In prospectas I point them; on the shore
Mount Carmel; herethe double-founted stream
Jordantrue limit eastward; but his sons
Shall dwell to Senirthat long ridge of hills.
This ponderthat all nations of the earth
Shall in his seed be blessed: By that seed
Is meant thy great Delivererwho 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 sonand of his son a grand-childleaves;
Like him in faithin wisdomand renown:
The grandchildwith twelve sons increaseddeparts
From Canaan to a land hereafter called
Egyptdivided by the river Nile
See where it flowsdisgorging at seven mouths
Into the sea. To sojourn in that land
He comesinvited by a younger son
In time of deartha son whose worthy deeds
Raise him to be the second in that realm
Of Pharaoh. There he diesand leaves his race
Growing into a nationand now grown
Suspected to a sequent kingwho seeks
To stop their overgrowthas inmate guests
Too numerous; whence of guests he makes them slaves
Inhospitablyand kills their infant males:
Till by two brethren (these two brethren call
Moses and Aaron) sent from God to claim
His people from enthralmentthey return
With glory and spoilback to their promised land.
But firstthe lawless tyrantwho denies
To know their Godor message to regard
Must be compelled by signs and judgements dire;
To blood unshed the rivers must be turned;
Frogsliceand fliesmust all his palace fill
With loathed intrusionand 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 firemust rend the Egyptians sky
And wheel on the earthdevouring where it rolls;
What it devours notherbor fruitor grain
A darksome cloud of locusts swarming down


Must eatand on the ground leave nothing green;
Darkness must overshadow all his bounds
Palpable darknessand blot out three days;
Lastwith one midnight strokeall the first-born
Of Egypt must lie dead. Thus with ten wounds
The river-dragon tamed at length submits
To let his sojourners departand oft
Humbles his stubborn heart; but stillas ice
More hardened after thaw; tillin his rage
Pursuing whom he late dismissedthe sea
Swallows him with his host; but them lets pass
As on dry landbetween two crystal walls;
Awed by the rod of Moses so to stand
Dividedtill 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 cloudand pillar of fire;
By day a cloudby night a pillar of fire;
To guide them in their journeyand remove
Behind themwhile the obdurate king pursues:
All night he will pursue; but his approach
Darkness defends between till morning watch;
Then through the fiery pillarand 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 Desartnot the readiest way;
Lestentering on the Canaanite alarmed
War terrify them inexpertand fear
Return them back to Egyptchoosing rather
Inglorious life with servitude; for life
To noble and ignoble is more sweet
Untrained in armswhere rashness leads not on.
This also shall they gain by their delay
In the wide wilderness; there they shall found
Their governmentand their great senate choose
Through the twelve tribesto rule by laws ordained:
God from the mount of Sinaiwhose gray top
Shall tremblehe descendingwill himself
In thunderlightningand loud trumpets' sound
Ordain them laws; partsuch as appertain
To civil justice; partreligious rites
Of sacrifice; informing themby types
And shadowsof that destined Seed to bruise
The Serpentby 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 Mediatorwhose high office now
Moses in figure bears; to introduce
One greaterof whose day he shall foretel
And all the Prophets in their age the times
Of great Messiah shall sing. Thuslaws and rites
Establishedsuch delight hath God in Men
Obedient to his willthat 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 cedaroverlaid with gold; therein
An arkand in the ark his testimony
The records of his covenant; over these
A mercy-seat of goldbetween 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 daya fiery gleam by night;
Save when they journeyand at length they come
Conducted by his Angelto 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 entireand night's due course adjourn
Man's voice commanding'Sunin Gibeon stand
'And thou moon in the vale of Aialon
'Till Israel overcome! so call the third
From Abrahamson of Isaac; and from him
His whole descentwho thus shall Canaan win.
Here Adam interposed. O sent from Heaven
Enlightener of my darknessgracious things
Thou hast revealed; those chieflywhich concern
Just Abraham and his seed: now first I find
Mine eyes true-openingand my heart much eased;
Erewhile perplexed with thoughtswhat would become
Of me and all mankind: But now I see
His dayin whom all nations shall be blest;
Favour unmerited by mewho sought
Forbidden knowledge by forbidden means.
This yet I apprehend notwhy 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 themas of thee begot;
And therefore was law given themto evince
Their natural pravityby stirring up
Sin against law to fight: that when they see
Law can discover sinbut not remove
Save by those shadowy expiations weak
The blood of bulls and goatsthey may conclude
Some blood more precious must be paid for Man;
Just for unjust; thatin such righteousness
To them by faith imputedthey may find
Justification towards Godand peace
Of conscience; which the law by ceremonies
Cannot appease; nor Man the mortal part
Perform; andnot performingcannot live.
So law appears imperfect; and but given
With purpose to resign themin 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 Mosesthough of God
Highly belovedbeing but the minister
Of lawhis people into Canaan lead;
But Joshuawhom the Gentiles Jesus call
His name and office bearingwho shall quell
The adversary-Serpentand bring back
Through the world's wilderness long-wandered Man


Safe to eternal Paradise of rest.
Mean while theyin their earthly Canaan placed
Long time shall dwell and prosperbut when sins
National interrupt their publick peace
Provoking God to raise them enemies;
From whom as oft he saves them penitent
By Judges firstthen under Kings; of whom
The secondboth for piety renowned
And puissant deedsa promise shall receive
Irrevocablethat his regal throne
For ever shall endure; the like shall sing
All Prophecythat of the royal stock
Of David (so I name this king) shall rise
A Sonthe Woman's seed to thee foretold
Foretold to Abrahamas in whom shall trust
All nations; and to kings foretoldof kings
The last; for of his reign shall be no end.
But firsta long succession must ensue;
And his next sonfor wealth and wisdom famed
The clouded ark of Godtill then in tents
Wanderingshall in a glorious temple enshrine.
Such follow himas shall be registered
Part goodpart bad; of bad the longer scroll;
Whose foul idolatriesand other faults
Heaped to the popular sumwill so incense
Godas to leave themand expose their land
Their cityhis templeand his holy ark
With all his sacred thingsa scorn and prey
To that proud citywhose 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 mercyand his covenant sworn
To Davidstablished as the days of Heaven.
Returned from Babylon by leave of kings
Their lordswhom God disposedthe house of God
They first re-edify; and for a while
In mean estate live moderate; tillgrown
In wealth and multitudefactious they grow;
But first among the priests dissention springs
Men who attend the altarand should most
Endeavour peace: their strife pollution brings
Upon the temple itself: at last they seise
The scepterand regard not David's sons;
Then lose it to a strangerthat the true
Anointed King Messiah might be born
Barred of his right; yet at his birth a star
Unseen before in Heavenproclaims him come;
And guides the eastern sageswho inquire
His placeto offer incensemyrrhand gold:
His place of birth a solemn Angel tells
To simple shepherdskeeping watch by night;
They gladly thither hasteand by a quire
Of squadroned Angels hear his carol sung.
A virgin is his motherbut his sire
The power of the Most High: He shall ascend
The throne hereditaryand bound his reign
With Earth's wide boundshis glory with the Heavens.
He ceaseddiscerning Adam with such joy
Surchargedas had like grief been dewed in tears
Without the vent of words; which these he breathed.
O prophet of glad tidingsfinisher
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 Motherhail
High in the love of Heaven; yet from my loins
Thou shalt proceedand 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 fightwhat stroke shall bruise the victor's heel.
To whom thus Michael. Dream not of their fight
As of a duelor the local wounds
Of head or heel: Not therefore joins the Son
Manhood to Godheadwith more strength to foil
Thy enemy; nor so is overcome
Satanwhose fall from Heavena deadlier bruise
Disablednot to give thee thy death's wound:
Which hewho comes thy Saviourshall recure
Not by destroying Satanbut his works
In theeand in thy seed: Nor can this be
But by fulfilling that which thou didst want
Obedience to the law of Godimposed
On penalty of deathand 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 lovethough love
Alone fulfil the law; thy punishment
He shall endureby coming in the flesh
To a reproachful lifeand cursed death;
Proclaiming life to all who shall believe
In his redemption; and that his obedience
Imputedbecomes theirs by faith; his merits
To save themnot their ownthough legalworks.
For this he shall live hatedbe blasphemed
Seised on by forcejudgedand to death condemned
A shameful and accursednailed to the cross
By his own nation; slain for bringing life:
But to the cross he nails thy enemies
The law that is against theeand the sins
Of all mankindwith 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
Returnthe stars of morn shall see him rise
Out of his gravefresh as the dawning light
Thy ransom paidwhich Man from death redeems
His death for Manas many as offered life
Neglect notand the benefit embrace
By faith not void of works: This God-like act
Annuls thy doomthe death thou shouldest have died
In sin for ever lost from life; this act
Shall bruise the head of Satancrush his strength
Defeating Sin and Deathhis 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 deathlike sleep
A gentle wafting to immortal life.
Nor after resurrection shall he stay
Longer on earththan certain times to appear
To his disciplesmen 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 streamthe sign
Of washing them from guilt of sin to life
Pureand in mind preparedif so befall
For deathlike that which the Redeemer died.
All nations they shall teach; forfrom that day
Not only to the sons of Abraham's loins
Salvation shall be preachedbut 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 victorytriumphing through the air
Over his foes and thine; there shall surprise
The Serpentprince of airand drag in chains
Through all his realmand there confounded leave;
Then enter into gloryand resume
His seat at God's right handexalted 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 deadbut to reward
His faithfuland receive them into bliss
Whether in Heaven or Earth; for then the Earth
Shall all be Paradisefar happier place
Than this of Edenand 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 wonderthus replied.
O Goodness infiniteGoodness 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 doneand occasioned; or rejoice
Much morethat much more good thereof shall spring;
To God more glorymore good-will to Men
From Godand over wrath grace shall abound.
But sayif our Deliverer up to Heaven
Must re-ascendwhat will betide the few
His faithfulleft among the unfaithful herd
The enemies of truth? Who then shall guide
His peoplewho defend? Will they not deal
Worse with his followers than with him they dealt?
Be sure they willsaid the Angel; but from Heaven
He to his own a Comforter will send
The promise of the Fatherwho shall dwell
His Spirit within them; and the law of faith
Working through loveupon their hearts shall write
To guide them in all truth; and also arm
With spiritual armourable to resist
Satan's assaultsand quench his fiery darts;
What man can do against themnot 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 Apostleswhom he sends
To evangelize the nationsthen on all
Baptizedshall them with wonderous gifts endue
To speak all tonguesand 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 performedand race well run


Their doctrine and their story written left
They die; but in their roomas they forewarn
Wolves shall succeed for teachersgrievous 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
Placesand titlesand with these to join
Secular power; though feigning still to act
By spiritualto themselves appropriating
The Spirit of Godpromised alike and given
To all believers; andfrom that pretence
Spiritual laws by carnal power shall force
On every conscience; laws which none shall find
Left them inrolledor what the Spirit within
Shall on the heart engrave. What will they then
But force the Spirit of Grace itselfand bind
His consort Liberty? whatbut unbuild
His living templesbuilt by faith to stand
Their own faithnot another's? foron earth
Who against faith and conscience can be heard
Infallible? yet many will presume:
Whence heavy persecution shall arise
On allwho in the worship persevere
Of spirit and truth; the restfar greater part
Will deem in outward rites and specious forms
Religion satisfied; Truth shall retire
Bestuck with slanderous dartsand works of faith
Rarely be found: So shall the world go on
To good malignantto bad men benign;
Under her own weight groaning; till the day
Appear of respiration to the just
And vengeance to the wickedat return
Of him so lately promised to thy aid
The Woman's Seed; obscurely then foretold
Now ampler known thy Saviour and thy Lord;
Lastin the cloudsfrom Heaven to be revealed
In glory of the Fatherto dissolve
Satan with his perverted world; then raise
From the conflagrant masspurged and refined
New Heavensnew Earthages of endless date
Founded in righteousnessand peaceand love;
To bring forth fruitsjoy and eternal bliss.
He ended; and thus Adam last replied.
How soon hath thy predictionSeer blest
Measured this transient worldthe race of time
Till time stand fixed! Beyond is all abyss
Eternitywhose end no eye can reach.
Greatly-instructed I shall hence depart;
Greatly in peace of thought; and have my fill
Of knowledgewhat this vessel can contain;
Beyond which was my folly to aspire.
Henceforth I learnthat 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 workswith good
Still overcoming eviland by small
Accomplishing great thingsby things deemed weak
Subverting worldly strongand worldly wise
By simply meek: that suffering for truth's sake



Is fortitude to highest victory
Andto the faithfuldeath the gate of life;
Taught this by his examplewhom I now
Acknowledge my Redeemer ever blest.
To whom thus also the Angel last replied.
This having learnedthou hast attained the sum
Of wisdom; hope no higherthough all the stars
Thou knewest by nameand all the ethereal powers
All secrets of the deepall Nature's works
Or works of God in Heavenairearthor sea
And all the riches of this world enjoyedst
And all the ruleone empire; only add
Deeds to thy knowledge answerable; add faith
Add virtuepatiencetemperance; add love
By name to come called charitythe soul
Of all the rest: then wilt thou not be loth
To leave this Paradisebut shalt possess
A Paradise within theehappier 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 hillexpect
Their motion; at whose front a flaming sword
In signal of removewaves fiercely round:
We may no longer stay: gowaken Eve;
Her also I with gentle dreams have calmed
Portending goodand all her spirits composed
To meek submission: thouat 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 livewhich will be many days
Both in one faith unanimousthough sad
With causefor evils past; yet much more cheered
With meditation on the happy end.
He endedand they both descend the hill;
DescendedAdam to the bowerwhere Eve
Lay sleepingran before; but found her waked;
And thus with words not sad she him received.
Whence thou returnestand whither wentestI know;
For God is also in sleep; and dreams advise
Which he hath sent propitioussome great good
Presagingsince 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 $Heavenall 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 pleasedbut answered not: For nowtoo nigh
The Arch-Angel stood; andfrom the other hill
To their fixed stationall in bright array
The Cherubim descended; on the ground
Gliding meteorousas 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 parentsand to the eastern gate
Led them directand down the cliff as fast
To the subjected plain; then disappeared.
Theylooking backall the eastern side beheld
Of Paradiseso late their happy seat
Waved over by that flaming brand; the gate
With dreadful faces throngedand fiery arms:
Some natural tears they droptbut wiped them soon;
The world was all before themwhere to choose
Their place of restand Providence their guide:
Theyhand in handwith wandering steps and slow
Through Eden took their solitary way.