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JOHN MILTON (1608-1674) in he wis plac't: Then touches the prime

cause of his fall, the Serpent, or rather PARADISE LOST

Satan in the Serpent; who revolting from

God, and drawing to his side many THE VERSE

Legions of Angels, was by the command The Measure is English Heroic Verse of God driven out of Heaven with all his without Rime, as that of Homer in Greek, Crew into the great Deep. Which action and of Virgil in Latin; Rime being no past over, the Poem hasts into the midst necessary Adjunct or true Ornament of of things, presenting Satan with his Angels Poem or good Verse, in longer Works es- now fallen into Hell, describ'd here not pecially, but the Invention of a barbarous in the Center (for Heaven and Earth Age, to set off wretched matter and lame may be suppos'd as yet not made, cerMeeter; grac't indeed since by the use of tainly not yet accurst) but in a place of some famous modern Poets, carried away utter darknesse, fitliest callid Chaos: by Custom, but much to thir own vexa

Here Satan with his Angels lying on tion, hindrance, and constraint to express the burning Lake, thunder-struck and many things otherwise, and for the most astonisht, after a certain space recovers, part worse than else they would have as from confusion, calls up him who next exprest them. Not without cause there- in Order and Dignity lay by him; they fore some both Italian and Spanish Poets confer of thir miserable fall. Satan of prime note have rejected Rime both awakens all his Legions, who lay till then in longer and shorter Works, as have also in the same manner confounded; They long since our best English Tragedies, as rise, thir Numbers, array of Battel, thir a thing of it self, to all judicious eares, chief Leaders nam'd, according to the triveal and of no true musical delight; Idols known afterwards in Canaan and which consists only in a pt Numbers, fit the Countries adjoyning. To these Satan quantity of Syllables, and the sense vari- directs his Speech, comforts them with ously drawn out from one Verse into an- hope yet of regaining Heaven, but tells other; not in the jingling sound of like them lastly of a new World and new kind endings, a fault avoyded by the learned of Creature to be created, according to an Ancients both in Poetry and all good ancient Prophesie or report in Heaven; Oratory. This neglect then of Rime so for that Angels were long before this little is to be taken for a defect, though it visible Creation, was the opinion of many may seem so perhaps to vulgar Readers, ancient Fathers. To find out the truth of that it rather is to be esteem'd an ex- this Prophesie, and what to determin ample set, the first in English, of ancient thereon, he refers to a full Councell. liberty recover'd to Heroic Poem from the What his Associates thence attempt. troublesom and modern bondage of Pandemonium the Palace of Satan rises, Rimeing.

suddenly built out of the Deep: The in

fernal Peers there sit in Counsel. Воок І THE ARGUMENT OF THE FIRST

Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit BOOK

Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste

Brought death into the world, and all our The first Book proposes first in brief

woe, the whole Subject, Man's disobedience, With loss of Eden, till one greater Man and the loss thereupon of Paradise where- Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,


Sing, Heav'nly Muse, that on the secret

top Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire That shepherd, who first taught the

chosen seed In the beginning how the Heav'ns and

Earth Rose out of Chaos: or, if Sion hill Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that

flow'd Fast by the oracle of God, I thence Invoke thy aid to my adventrous song, That with no middle flight intends to soar Above th’ Aonian mount,' while it pursues Tbings unattempted yet in prose or rime. And chiefly thou, O Spirit, that dost pre

fer Before all temples th' upright heart and

pure, Instruct me, for thou know'st; thou from

the first Wast present, and, with mighty wings

outspread, Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast

abyss, And mad'st it pregnant: what in me is

dark Illumine, what is low raise and support; That to the height of this great argu

ment I may assert ? Eternal Providence, And justify the ways of God to men. Say first (for Heav'n hides nothing

from thy view, Nor the deep tract of Hell) say first what

Th' infernal Serpent; he it was, whose

guile Stir'd up with envy and revenge,

deceiv'd The Mother of Mankind, what time his

pride Had cast him out from Heav'n, with all

his host Of rebel Angels, by whose aid aspiring To set himself in glory above his peers, He trusted to have equal'd the Most High, If he oppos'd; and with ambitious aim 41 Against the throne and monarchy of God Rais'd impious war in Heav'n and battle

proud, With vain attempt. Him the Almighty

Power Hurl'd headlong flaming from th' ethereal

sky, With hideous ruin and combustion, down To bottomless perdition; there to dwel! In adamantine chains and penal fire, Who durst defy th’ Omnipotent to arms. Nine times the space that measures

day and night To mortal men, he with his horrid crew Lay vanquisht, rolling in the fiery gulf, Confounded though immortal. But his

doom Reserv'd him to more wrath; for now the

thought Both of lost happiness and lasting pain Torments him; round he throws his bale



ful eyes,



Mov'd our grand parents, in that happy

state, Favour'd of Heav'n so highly, to fall off 30 From their Creator, and transgress his

will For one restraint, lords of the world be

That witness'd huge affliction and dismay, Mixt with obdurate pride and steadfast

hate. At once, as far as Angels ken, he views The dismal situation waste and wild: A dungeon horrible, on all sides round, As one great furnace flam'd; yet from

those flames No light, but rather darkness visible Serv'd only to discover sights of woe, Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where

peace And rest can never dwell, hope never

sides. Who first seduc'd them to that foul re



2 vindicate

· Mount Helicon, used as

a symbol for Greek poetry.




That comes to all; but torture without

end Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed With ever-burning sulphur unconsum’d. Such place Eternal Justice had pre

par'd For those rebellious; here their prison

ordain'd In utter darkness, and their portion set, As far remov'd from God and light of

Heav'n As from the center thrice to th' utmost

pole. Oh how unlike the place from whence

they fell! There the companions of his fall, o'er

whelm'd With floods and whirlwinds of tempes

tuous fire, He soon discerns; and, weltring by his

side, One next himself in power, and next in

crime, Long after known in Palestine, and nam'd Beëlzebub. To whom th' Arch-Enemy, 81 And thence in Heav'n callid Satan, with

bold words Breaking the horrid silence, thus began: “If thou beest hebut Oh how fall’n!

how chang'd From him, who in the happy realms of

light, Cloth'd with transcendent brightness,

didst outshine Myriads, though bright! if he whom

mutual league, United thoughts and counsels, equal hope And hazard in the glorious enterprize, Join'd with me once, now misery hath

join'a In equal ruin: into what pit thou seest From what height fall'n, so much the

Nor what the potent Victor in his rage Can else inflict, do I repent or change, Though chang'd in outward lustre, that

fixt mind, And high disdain from sense of injur'd

merit, That with the Mightiest rais'd me to con

tend, And to the fierce contention brought along Innumerable force of Spirits arm’d That durst dislike his reign, and, me pre

ferring, His utmost power with adverse power

oppos'd 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


stronger prov'd He with his thunder: and till then who

knew The force of those dire arms? Yet not

for those,

With suppliant knee, and deify his power
Who, from the terror of this arm, so late
Doubted his empire—that were low in-

That were an ignominy and shame be-

neath This downfall; since by fate the strength

of gods And this empyreal substance cannot

fail : Since, through experience of this great

event, In arms not worse, in foresight much ad

We may with more successful hope re-

To wage by force or guile eternal war,
Irreconcilable to our grand foe,
Who now triumphs, and in th' excess of

Sole reigning holds the tyranny of


I 20



So spake th' apostate Angel, though in

pain, Vaunting aloud, but rackt with deep

despair; And him thus answer'd soon his bold

compeer: "O Prince, O Chief of many throned

powers, That led th' imbattled Seraphim 1 to war Under thy conduct, and, in dreadful

deeds Fearless, endanger'd Heav'n'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 Heav'n, and all this mighty

host In horrible destruction laid thus low, As far as gods and Heav'nly essences Can perish: for the mind and spirit re

mains Invincible, and vigour soon returns, Though all our glory extinct, and happy

state, Here swallow'd up in endless misery. But what if he our Conquerour (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 3 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 then avail, though yet we

feel Strength undiminisht, or eternal being

To undergo eternal punishment?” Whereto with speedy words th' Arch

Fiend replied: "Fall'n 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 oft times may succeed, so as per

haps Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb His inmost counsels from their destin'd

aim. But see! the angry Victor hath recall’d His ministers of vengeance and pursuit 170 Back to the gates of Heav'n; the

sulphurous hail, Shot after us in storm, o'erblown hath

laid The fiery surge that from the precipice Of Heav'n receiv'd us falling; and the

thunder, Wing'd 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 harbor there; And, re-assembling our afflicted Powers, Consult how we may henceforth most





• The highest in rank ? command among the angels.

8 satisfy




Our enemy, our own loss how repair,
How overcome this dire calamity,
What reinforcement we may gain from

If not what resolution from despair."

Thus Satan, talking to his nearest mate, With head uplift above the wave, and eyes That sparkling blaz'd; his other parts

besides, Prone on the flood, extended long and

large, Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge As whom the fables name of monstrous

size, Titanian, or Earth-born, that warr'd on

Jove, Briareos? or Typhon, whom the den By ancient Tarsus held, or that sea-beast Leviathan, which God of all his works Created hugest that swim the ocean

stream. Him, haply, slumb'ring on the Norway

foam, The pilot of some small night-founder'd

skiff Deeming some island, oft, as seamen tell, With fixed anchor in his scaly rind, Moors by his side under the lee, while

night Invests the sea, and wished morn delays. So stretcht out huge in length the Arch

Fiend lay, Chain'd on the burning lake; nor ever

thence Had ris'n or heav'd his head, but that the

will And high permission of all-ruling Heaven Left him at large to his own dark designs, That with reiterated crimes he might Heap on himself damnation, while he

sought Evil to others, and enrag'd might see How all his malice serv'd but to bring

forth Infinite goodness, grace and mercy shewn

On Man by him seduc't, but on himself Treble confusion, wrath and vengeance

pour'd. Forthwith upright he rears from off the

pool His mighty stature; on each hand the

flames Driv'n backward slope their pointing

spires, and, roll'd In billows, leave i th' midst a horrid

vale. Then with expanded wings he steers his

flight Aloft, incumbent on the dusky air, That felt unusual weight; till on dry land He lights—if it were land that ever

burn'd With solid, as the lake with liquid fire, And such appear'd in hue, as when the

force Of subterranean wind transports a hill Torn from Pelorus, or the shatter'd side Of thundering Ætna, whose combustible And fewel'd entrails thence conceiving

fire, Sublim’d 6 with mineral fury, aid the

winds, And leave a singed bottom all involv'd With stench and smoke: such resting

found the sole Of unblest feet. Him followed his next

mate, Both glorying to have scap't the Stygian

flood As gods, and by thir own recover'd

strength, Not by the sufferance of supernal power. "Is this the region, this the soil, the




clime,” Said then the lost Archangel, “this the

seat That we must change for Heav'n? this

mournful gloom For that celestial light? Be it so, since

he Who now is Sovran can dispose and bid * a promontory in Sicily o sublimated

1a giant ia Titan

Ta sea monster

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