Paradise Lost - John Milton - ebook

Of Man’s first disobedience, and the fruitOf that forbidden tree whose mortal tasteBrought death into the World, and all our woe,With loss of Eden, till one greater ManRestore us, and regain the blissful seat,Sing, Heavenly Muse, that, on the secret topOf Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspireThat shepherd who first taught the chosen seedIn the beginning how the heavens and earthRose out of Chaos: or, if Sion hillDelight thee more, and Siloa’s brook that flowedFast by the oracle of God, I thenceInvoke thy aid to my adventurous song,That with no middle flight intends to soarAbove th’ Aonian mount, while it pursuesThings unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.

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Paradise Lost

John Milton

First digital edition 2017 by Anna Ruggieri













Of Mans First Disobedience, and the Fruit   Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal tast   Brought Death into the World, and all our woe,   With loss of EDEN, till one greater Man   Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat,   Sing 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   Things unattempted yet in Prose or Rhime.   And chiefly Thou O Spirit, that dost prefer   Before all Temples th' upright heart and pure,   Instruct me, for Thou know'st; Thou from the first   Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread   Dove-like satst 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 highth of this great Argument   I may assert th' Eternal Providence,   And justifie the wayes of God to men.

Say first, for Heav'n hides nothing from thy view   Nor the deep Tract of Hell, say first what cause   Mov'd our Grand Parents in that happy State,   Favour'd of Heav'n so highly, to fall off   From their Creator, and transgress his Will   For one restraint, Lords of the World besides?   Who first seduc'd them to that fowl revolt?   Th' infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile   Stird up with Envy and Revenge, deceiv'd   The Mother of Mankinde, 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   Against the Throne and Monarchy of God   Rais'd impious War in Heav'n and Battel proud   With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power   Hurld headlong flaming from th' Ethereal Skie   With hideous ruine and combustion down   To bottomless perdition, there to dwell   In Adamantine Chains and penal Fire,   Who durst defie th' Omnipotent to Arms.   Nine times the Space that measures Day and Night   To mortal men, he with his horrid crew   Lay vanquisht, rowling in the fiery Gulfe   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 baleful eyes   That witness'd huge affliction and dismay   Mixt with obdurate pride and stedfast hate:   At once as far as Angels kenn he views   The dismal Situation waste and wilde,   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 comes   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 prepar'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.   O how unlike the place from whence they fell!   There the companions of his fall, o'rewhelm'd   With Floods and Whirlwinds of tempestuous 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   BEELZEBUB. To whom th' Arch-Enemy,   And thence in Heav'n call'd Satan, with bold words   Breaking the horrid silence thus began.

If thou beest he; But O how fall'n! how chang'd   From him, who in the happy Realms of Light   Cloth'd with transcendent brightnes didst outshine   Myriads though bright: If he whom mutual league,   United thoughts and counsels, equal hope,   And hazard in the Glorious Enterprize,   Joynd with me once, now misery hath joynd   In equal ruin: into what Pit thou seest   From what highth fal'n, so much the stronger provd   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 chang'd in outward lustre; that fixt mind   And high disdain, from sence of injur'd merit,   That with the mightiest rais'd me to contend,   And to the fierce contention brought along   Innumerable force of Spirits arm'd   That durst dislike his reign, and me preferring,   His utmost power with adverse power oppos'd   In dubious Battel on the Plains of Heav'n,   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 deifie his power   Who from the terrour 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 substance cannot fail,   Since through experience of this great event   In Arms not worse, in foresight much advanc't,   We may with more successful hope resolve   To wage by force or guile eternal Warr   Irreconcileable, to our grand Foe,   Who now triumphs, and in th' excess of joy   Sole reigning holds the Tyranny of Heav'n.

So spake th' Apostate Angel, though in pain,   Vaunting aloud, but rackt with deep despare:   And him thus answer'd soon his bold Compeer.

O Prince, O Chief of many Throned Powers,   That led th' imbattelld Seraphim to Warr   Under thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds   Fearless, endanger'd Heav'ns 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 remains   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   Then such could hav orepow'rd such force as ours)   Have left us this our spirit and strength intire   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 Warr, what e're 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 reply'd.

Fall'n Cherube, to be weak is miserable   Doing or Suffering: but of this be sure,   To do ought 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 perhaps   Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb   His inmost counsels from their destind aim.   But see the angry Victor hath recall'd   His Ministers of vengeance and pursuit   Back to the Gates of Heav'n: The Sulphurous Hail   Shot after us in storm, oreblown 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 wilde,   The seat of desolation, voyd 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 reassembling 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 despare.

Thus Satan talking to his neerest Mate   With Head up-lift 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,   BRIARIOS or TYPHON, whom the Den   By ancient TARSUS held, or that Sea-beast   LEVIATHAN, which God of all his works   Created hugest that swim th' Ocean stream:   Him haply slumbring on the NORWAY foam   The Pilot of some small night-founder'd Skiff,   Deeming some Island, oft, as Sea-men tell,   With fixed Anchor in his skaly rind   Moors by his side under the Lee, while Night   Invests the Sea, and wished Morn delayes:   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   Drivn backward slope their pointing spires, & rowld   In billows, leave i'th' midst a horrid Vale.   Then with expanded wings he stears 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 thundring AETNA, whose combustible   And fewel'd entrals thence conceiving Fire,   Sublim'd with Mineral fury, aid the Winds,   And leave a singed bottom all involv'd   With stench and smoak: 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 their own recover'd strength,   Not by the sufferance of supernal Power.

Is this the Region, this the Soil, the Clime,   Said then the lost Arch Angel, this the seat   That we must change for Heav'n, this mournful gloom   For that celestial light? Be it so, since hee   Who now is Sovran can dispose and bid   What shall be right: fardest from him is best   Whom reason hath equald, force hath made supream   Above his equals. Farewel happy Fields   Where Joy for ever dwells: Hail horrours, hail   Infernal world, and thou profoundest Hell   Receive thy new Possessor: One who brings   A mind not to be chang'd by Place or Time.   The mind is its own place, and in it self   Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n.   What matter where, if I be still the same,   And what I should be, all but less then hee   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 reign secure, and in my choyce   To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:   Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav'n.   But wherefore let we then our faithful friends,   Th' associates and copartners of our loss   Lye thus astonisht 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   Regaind in Heav'n, or what more lost in Hell?

So SATAN spake, and him BEELZEBUB   Thus answer'd. Leader of those Armies bright,   Which but th' Omnipotent none could have foyld,   If once they hear that voyce, their liveliest pledge   Of hope in fears and dangers, heard so oft   In worst extreams, and on the perilous edge   Of battel when it rag'd, in all assaults   Their surest signal, they will soon resume   New courage and revive, though now they lye   Groveling and prostrate on yon Lake of Fire,   As we erewhile, astounded and amaz'd,   No wonder, fall'n such a pernicious highth.

He scarce had ceas't when the superiour Fiend   Was moving toward the shore; his ponderous shield   Ethereal temper, massy, large and round,   Behind him cast; the broad circumference   Hung on his shoulders like the Moon, whose Orb   Through Optic Glass the TUSCAN Artist views   At Ev'ning from the top of FESOLE,   Or in VALDARNO, to descry new Lands,   Rivers or Mountains in her spotty Globe.   His Spear, to equal which the tallest Pine   Hewn on NORWEGIAN hills, to be the Mast   Of some great Ammiral, were but a wand,   He walkt with to support uneasie steps   Over the burning Marle, not like those steps   On Heavens Azure, and the torrid Clime   Smote on him sore besides, vaulted with Fire;   Nathless he so endur'd, till on the Beach   Of that inflamed Sea, he stood and call'd   His Legions, Angel Forms, who lay intrans't   Thick as Autumnal Leaves that strow the Brooks   In VALLOMBROSA, where th' ETRURIAN shades   High overarch't imbowr; or scatterd sedge   Afloat, when with fierce Winds ORION arm'd   Hath vext the Red-Sea Coast, whose waves orethrew   BUSIRIS and his MEMPHIAN Chivalrie,   VVhile with perfidious hatred they pursu'd   The Sojourners of GOSHEN, who beheld   From the safe shore their floating Carkases   And broken Chariot Wheels, so thick bestrown   Abject and lost lay these, covering the Flood,   Under amazement of their hideous change.   He call'd so loud, that all the hollow Deep   Of Hell resounded. Princes, Potentates,   Warriers, the Flowr of Heav'n, once yours, now lost,   If such astonishment as this can sieze   Eternal spirits; or have ye chos'n this place   After the toyl of Battel to repose   Your wearied vertue, for the ease you find   To slumber here, as in the Vales of Heav'n?   Or in this abject posture have ye sworn   To adore the Conquerour? who now beholds   Cherube and Seraph rowling in the Flood   With scatter'd Arms and Ensigns, till anon   His swift pursuers from Heav'n Gates discern   Th' advantage, and descending tread us down   Thus drooping, or with linked Thunderbolts   Transfix us to the bottom of this Gulfe.   Awake, arise, or be for ever fall'n.

They heard, and were abasht, and up they sprung   Upon the wing, as when men wont to watch   On duty, sleeping found by whom they dread,   Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake.   Nor did they not perceave the evil plight   In which they were, or the fierce pains not feel;   Yet to their Generals Voyce they soon obeyd   Innumerable. As when the potent Rod   Of AMRAMS Son in EGYPTS evill day   Wav'd round the Coast, up call'd a pitchy cloud   Of LOCUSTS, warping on the Eastern Wind,   That ore the Realm of impious PHAROAH hung   Like Night, and darken'd all the Land of NILE:   So numberless were those bad Angels seen   Hovering on wing under the Cope of Hell   'Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding Fires;   Till, as a signal giv'n, th' uplifted Spear   Of their great Sultan waving to direct   Thir course, in even ballance down they light   On the firm brimstone, and fill all the Plain;   A multitude, like which the populous North   Pour'd never from her frozen loyns, to pass   RHENE or the DANAW, when her barbarous Sons   Came like a Deluge on the South, and spread   Beneath GIBRALTAR to the LYBIAN sands.   Forthwith from every Squadron and each Band   The Heads and Leaders thither hast where stood   Their great Commander; Godlike shapes and forms   Excelling human, Princely Dignities,   And Powers that earst in Heaven sat on Thrones;   Though of their Names in heav'nly Records now   Be no memorial, blotted out and ras'd   By thir Rebellion, from the Books of Life.   Nor had they yet among the Sons of EVE   Got them new Names, till wandring ore the Earth,   Through Gods high sufferance for the tryal of man,   By falsities and lyes the greatest part   Of Mankind they corrupted to forsake   God their Creator, and th' invisible   Glory of him, that made them, to transform   Oft to the Image of a Brute, adorn'd   With gay Religions full of Pomp and Gold,   And Devils to adore for Deities:   Then were they known to men by various Names,   And various Idols through the Heathen World.   Say, Muse, their Names then known, who first, who last,   Rous'd from the slumber, on that fiery Couch,   At thir great Emperors call, as next in worth   Came singly where he stood on the bare strand,   While the promiscuous croud stood yet aloof?   The chief were those who from the Pit of Hell   Roaming to seek their prey on earth, durst fix   Their Seats long after next the Seat of God,   Their Altars by his Altar, Gods ador'd   Among the Nations round, and durst abide   JEHOVAH thundring out of SION, thron'd   Between the Cherubim; yea, often plac'd   Within his Sanctuary it self their Shrines,   Abominations; and with cursed things   His holy Rites, and solemn Feasts profan'd,   And with their darkness durst affront his light.   First MOLOCH, horrid King besmear'd with blood   Of human sacrifice, and parents tears,   Though for the noyse of Drums and Timbrels loud   Their childrens cries unheard, that past through fire   To his grim Idol. Him the AMMONITE   Worshipt in RABBA and her watry Plain,   In ARGOB and in BASAN, to the stream   Of utmost ARNON. Nor content with such   Audacious neighbourhood, the wisest heart   Of SOLOMON he led by fraud to build   His Temple right against the Temple of God   On that opprobrious Hill, and made his Grove   The pleasant Vally of HINNOM, TOPHET thence   And black GEHENNA call'd, the Type of Hell.   Next CHEMOS, th' obscene dread of MOABS Sons,   From AROER to NEBO, and the wild   Of Southmost ABARIM; in HESEBON   And HERONAIM, SEONS Realm, beyond   The flowry Dale of SIBMA clad with Vines,   And ELEALE to th' ASPHALTICK Pool.   PEOR his other Name, when he entic'd   ISRAEL in SITTIM on their march from NILE   To do him wanton rites, which cost them woe.   Yet thence his lustful Orgies he enlarg'd   Even to that Hill of scandal, by the Grove   Of MOLOCH homicide, lust hard by hate;   Till good JOSIAH drove them thence to Hell.   With these came they, who from the bordring flood   Of old EUPHRATES to the Brook that parts   EGYPT from SYRIAN ground, had general Names   Of BAALIM and ASHTAROTH, those male,   These Feminine. For Spirits when they please   Can either Sex assume, or both; so soft   And uncompounded is their Essence pure,   Not ti'd or manacl'd with joynt or limb,   Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones,   Like cumbrous flesh; but in what shape they choose   Dilated or condens't, bright or obscure,   Can execute their aerie purposes,   And works of love or enmity fulfill.   For those the Race of ISRAEL oft forsook   Their living strength, and unfrequented left   His righteous Altar, bowing lowly down   To bestial Gods; for which their heads as low   Bow'd down in Battel, sunk before the Spear   Of despicable foes. With these in troop   Came ASTORETH, whom the PHOENICIANS call'd   ASTARTE, Queen of Heav'n, with crescent Horns;   To whose bright Image nightly by the Moon   SIDONIAN Virgins paid their Vows and Songs,   In SION also not unsung, where stood   Her Temple on th' offensive Mountain, built   By that uxorious King, whose heart though large,   Beguil'd by fair Idolatresses, fell   To Idols foul. THAMMUZ came next behind,   Whose annual wound in LEBANON allur'd   The SYRIAN Damsels to lament his fate   In amorous dittyes all a Summers day,   While smooth ADONIS from his native Rock   Ran purple to the Sea, suppos'd with blood   Of THAMMUZ yearly wounded: the Love-tale   Infected SIONS daughters with like heat,   Whose wanton passions in the sacred Porch   EZEKIEL saw, when by the Vision led   His eye survay'd the dark Idolatries   Of alienated JUDAH. Next came one   Who mourn'd in earnest, when the Captive Ark   Maim'd his brute Image, head and hands lopt off   In his own Temple, on the grunsel edge,   Where he fell flat, and sham'd his Worshipers:   DAGON his Name, Sea Monster, upward Man   And downward Fish: yet had his Temple high   Rear'd in AZOTUS, dreaded through the Coast   Of PALESTINE, in GATH and ASCALON,   And ACCARON and GAZA's frontier bounds.   Him follow'd RIMMON, whose delightful Seat   Was fair DAMASCUS, on the fertil Banks   Of ABBANA and PHARPHAR, lucid streams.   He also against the house of God was bold:   A Leper once he lost and gain'd a King,   AHAZ his sottish Conquerour, whom he drew   Gods Altar to disparage and displace   For one of SYRIAN mode, whereon to burn   His odious offrings, and adore the Gods   Whom he had vanquisht. After these appear'd   A crew who under Names of old Renown,   OSIRIS, ISIS, ORUS and their Train   With monstrous shapes and sorceries abus'd   Fanatic EGYPT and her Priests, to seek   Thir wandring Gods disguis'd in brutish forms   Rather then human. Nor did ISRAEL scape   Th' infection when their borrow'd Gold compos'd   The Calf in OREB: and the Rebel King   Doubl'd that sin in BETHEL and in DAN,   Lik'ning his Maker to the Grazed Ox,   JEHOVAH, who in one Night when he pass'd   From EGYPT marching, equal'd with one stroke   Both her first born and all her bleating Gods.   BELIAL came last, then whom a Spirit more lewd   Fell not from Heaven, or more gross to love   Vice for it self: To him no Temple stood   Or Altar smoak'd; yet who more oft then hee   In Temples and at Altars, when the Priest   Turns Atheist, as did ELY'S Sons, who fill'd   With lust and violence the house of God.   In Courts and Palaces he also Reigns   And in luxurious Cities, where the noyse   Of riot ascends above thir loftiest Towrs,   And injury and outrage: And when Night   Darkens the Streets, then wander forth the Sons   Of BELIAL, flown with insolence and wine.   Witness the Streets of SODOM, and that night   In GIBEAH, when hospitable Dores   Yielded thir Matrons to prevent worse rape.   These were the prime in order and in might;   The rest were long to tell, though far renown'd,   Th' IONIAN Gods, of JAVANS Issue held   Gods, yet confest later then Heav'n and Earth   Thir boasted Parents; TITAN Heav'ns first born   With his enormous brood, and birthright seis'd   By younger SATURN, he from mightier JOVE   His own and RHEA'S Son like measure found;   So JOVE usurping reign'd: these first in CREET   And IDA known, thence on the Snowy top   Of cold OLYMPUS rul'd the middle Air   Thir highest Heav'n; or on the DELPHIAN Cliff,   Or in DODONA, and through all the bounds   Of DORIC Land; or who with SATURN old   Fled over ADRIA to th' HESPERIAN Fields,   And ore the CELTIC roam'd the utmost Isles.   All these and more came flocking; but with looks   Down cast and damp, yet such wherein appear'd   Obscure som glimps of joy, to have found thir chief   Not in despair, to have found themselves not lost   In loss it self; which on his count'nance cast   Like doubtful hue: but he his wonted pride   Soon recollecting, with high words, that bore   Semblance of worth not substance, gently rais'd   Their fainted courage, and dispel'd their fears.   Then strait commands that at the warlike sound   Of Trumpets loud and Clarions be upreard   His mighty Standard; that proud honour claim'd   AZAZEL as his right, a Cherube tall:   Who forthwith from the glittering Staff unfurld   Th' Imperial Ensign, which full high advanc't   Shon like a Meteor streaming to the Wind   With Gemms and Golden lustre rich imblaz'd,   Seraphic arms and Trophies: all the while   Sonorous mettal blowing Martial sounds:   At which the universal Host upsent   A shout that tore Hells Concave, and beyond   Frighted the Reign of CHAOS and old Night.   All in a moment through the gloom were seen   Ten thousand Banners rise into the Air   With Orient Colours waving: with them rose   A Forrest huge of Spears: and thronging Helms   Appear'd, and serried Shields in thick array   Of depth immeasurable: Anon they move   In perfect PHALANX to the Dorian mood   Of Flutes and soft Recorders; such as rais'd   To highth of noblest temper Hero's old   Arming to Battel, and in stead of rage   Deliberate valour breath'd, firm and unmov'd   With dread of death to flight or foul retreat,   Nor wanting power to mitigate and swage   With solemn touches, troubl'd thoughts, and chase   Anguish and doubt and fear and sorrow and pain   From mortal or immortal minds. Thus they   Breathing united force with fixed thought   Mov'd on in silence to soft Pipes that charm'd   Thir painful steps o're the burnt soyle; and now   Advanc't in view they stand, a horrid Front   Of dreadful length and dazling Arms, in guise   Of Warriers old with order'd Spear and Shield,   Awaiting what command thir mighty Chief   Had to impose: He through the armed Files   Darts his experienc't eye, and soon traverse   The whole Battalion views, thir order due,   Thir visages and stature as of Gods,   Thir number last he summs. And now his heart   Distends with pride, and hardning in his strength   Glories: For never since created man,   Met such imbodied force, as nam'd with these   Could merit more then that small infantry   Warr'd on by Cranes: though all the Giant brood   Of PHLEGRA with th' Heroic Race were joyn'd   That fought at THEB'S and ILIUM, on each side   Mixt with auxiliar Gods; and what resounds   In Fable or ROMANCE of UTHERS Son   Begirt with BRITISH and ARMORIC Knights;   And all who since, Baptiz'd or Infidel   Jousted in ASPRAMONT or MONTALBAN,   DAMASCO, or MAROCCO, or TREBISOND,   Or whom BISERTA sent from AFRIC shore   When CHARLEMAIN with all his Peerage fell   By FONTARABBIA. Thus far these beyond   Compare of mortal prowess, yet observ'd   Thir dread Commander: he above the rest   In shape and gesture proudly eminent   Stood like a Towr; his form had yet not lost   All her Original brightness, nor appear'd   Less then Arch Angel ruind, and th' excess   Of Glory obscur'd: As when the Sun new ris'n   Looks through the Horizontal misty Air   Shorn of his Beams, or from behind the Moon   In dim Eclips disastrous twilight sheds   On half the Nations, and with fear of change   Perplexes Monarchs. Dark'n'd so, yet shon   Above them all th' Arch Angel: but his face   Deep scars of Thunder had intrencht, and care   Sat on his faded cheek, but under Browes   Of dauntless courage, and considerate Pride   Waiting revenge: cruel his eye, but cast   Signs of remorse and passion to behold   The fellows of his crime, the followers rather   (Far other once beheld in bliss) condemn'd   For ever now to have their lot in pain,   Millions of Spirits for his fault amerc't   Of Heav'n, and from Eternal Splendors flung   For his revolt, yet faithfull how they stood,   Thir Glory witherd. As when Heavens Fire   Hath scath'd the Forrest Oaks, or Mountain Pines,   With singed top their stately growth though bare   Stands on the blasted Heath. He now prepar'd   To speak; whereat their doubl'd Ranks they bend   From Wing to Wing, and half enclose him round   With all his Peers: attention held them mute.   Thrice he assayd, and thrice in spite of scorn,   Tears such as Angels weep, burst forth: at last   Words interwove with sighs found out their way.

O Myriads of immortal Spirits, O Powers   Matchless, but with th' Almighty, 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   Foreseeing or presaging, from the Depth   Of knowledge past or present, could have fear'd,   How such united force of Gods, how such   As stood like these, could ever know repulse?   For who can yet beleeve, though after loss,   That all these puissant Legions, whose exile   Hath emptied Heav'n, shall faile to re-ascend   Self-rais'd, and repossess their native seat.   For me, be witness all the Host of Heav'n,   If counsels different, or danger shun'd   By me, have lost our hopes. But he who reigns   Monarch in Heav'n, till then as one secure   Sat on his Throne, upheld by old repute,   Consent or custome, and his Regal State   Put forth at full, but still his strength conceal'd,   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 warr, provok't; 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 Heav'n 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 prie, shall be perhaps   Our first eruption, thither or elsewhere:   For this Infernal Pit shall never hold   Caelestial Spirits in Bondage, nor th' Abysse   Long under darkness cover. But these thoughts   Full Counsel must mature: Peace is despaird,   For who can think Submission? Warr then, Warr   Open or understood must be resolv'd.

He spake: and to confirm his words, out-flew   Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs   Of mighty Cherubim; the sudden blaze   Far round illumin'd hell: highly they rag'd   Against the Highest, and fierce with grasped arm's   Clash'd on their sounding shields the din of war,   Hurling defiance toward the vault of Heav'n.

There stood a Hill not far whose griesly top   Belch'd fire and rowling smoak; the rest entire   Shon with a glossie scurff, undoubted sign   That in his womb was hid metallic Ore,   The work of Sulphur. Thither wing'd with speed   A numerous Brigad hasten'd. As when bands   Of Pioners with Spade and Pickaxe arm'd   Forerun the Royal Camp, to trench a Field,   Or cast a Rampart. MAMMON led them on,   MAMMON, the least erected Spirit that fell   From heav'n, for ev'n in heav'n his looks & thoughts   Were always downward bent, admiring more   The riches of Heav'ns pavement, trod'n Gold,   Then aught divine or holy else enjoy'd   In vision beatific: by him first   Men also, and by his suggestion taught,   Ransack'd the Center, and with impious hands   Rifl'd the bowels of thir mother Earth   For Treasures better hid. Soon had his crew   Op'nd into the Hill a spacious wound   And dig'd out ribs of Gold. Let none admire   That riches grow in Hell; that soyle may best   Deserve the pretious bane. And here let those   Who boast in mortal things, and wondring tell   Of BABEL, and the works of MEMPHIAN Kings,   Learn how thir greatest Monuments of Fame,   And Strength and Art are easily outdone   By Spirits reprobate, and in an hour   What in an age they with incessant toyle   And hands innumerable scarce perform   Nigh on the Plain in many cells prepar'd,   That underneath had veins of liquid fire   Sluc'd from the Lake, a second multitude   With wondrous Art founded the massie Ore,   Severing each kinde, and scum'd the Bullion dross:   A third as soon had form'd within the ground   A various mould, and from the boyling cells   By strange conveyance fill'd each hollow nook,   As in an Organ from one blast of wind   To many a row of Pipes the sound-board breaths.   Anon out of the earth a Fabrick huge   Rose like an Exhalation, with the sound   Of Dulcet Symphonies and voices sweet,   Built like a Temple, where PILASTERS round   Were set, and Doric pillars overlaid   With Golden Architrave; nor did there want   Cornice or Freeze, with bossy Sculptures grav'n,   The Roof was fretted Gold. Not BABILON,   Nor great ALCAIRO such magnificence   Equal'd in all thir glories, to inshrine   BELUS or SERAPIS thir Gods, or seat   Thir Kings, when AEGYPT with ASSYRIA strove   In wealth and luxurie. Th' ascending pile   Stood fixt her stately highth, and strait the dores   Op'ning thir brazen foulds discover wide   Within, her ample spaces, o're the smooth   And level pavement: from the arched roof   Pendant by suttle Magic many a row   Of Starry Lamps and blazing Cressets fed   With Naphtha and ASPHALTUS yeilded light   As from a sky. The hasty multitude   Admiring enter'd, and the work some praise   And some the Architect: his hand was known   In Heav'n by many a Towred structure high,   Where Scepter'd Angels held thir residence,   And sat as Princes, whom the supreme King   Exalted to such power, and gave to rule,   Each in his Herarchie, the Orders bright.   Nor was his name unheard or unador'd   In ancient Greece; and in AUSONIAN land   Men call'd him MULCIBER; and how he fell   From Heav'n, they fabl'd, thrown by angry JOVE   Sheer o're the Chrystal Battlements: from Morn   To Noon he fell, from Noon to dewy Eve,   A Summers day; and with the setting Sun   Dropt from the Zenith like a falling Star,   On LEMNOS th' AEGAEAN Ile: thus they relate,   Erring; for he with this rebellious rout   Fell long before; nor aught avail'd him now   To have built in Heav'n high Towrs; nor did he scape   By all his Engins, but was headlong sent   With his industrious crew to build in hell.   Mean while the winged Haralds by command   Of Sovran power, with awful Ceremony   And Trumpets sound throughout the Host proclaim   A solemn Councel forthwith to be held   At PANDAEMONIUM, the high Capital   Of Satan and his Peers: thir summons call'd   From every and Band squared Regiment   By place or choice the worthiest; they anon   With hundreds and with thousands trooping came   Attended: all access was throng'd, the Gates   And Porches wide, but chief the spacious Hall   (Though like a cover'd field, where Champions bold   Wont ride in arm'd, and at the Soldans chair   Defi'd the best of Panim chivalry   To mortal combat or carreer with Lance)   Thick swarm'd, both on the ground and in the air,   Brusht with the hiss of russling wings. As Bees   In spring time, when the Sun with Taurus rides,   Poure forth thir populous youth about the Hive   In clusters; they among fresh dews and flowers   Flie to and fro, or on the smoothed Plank,   The suburb of thir Straw-built Cittadel,   New rub'd with Baume, expatiate and confer   Thir State affairs. So thick the aerie crowd   Swarm'd and were straitn'd; till the Signal giv'n,   Behold a wonder! they but now who seemd   In bigness to surpass Earths Giant Sons   Now less then smallest Dwarfs, in narrow room   Throng numberless, like that Pigmean Race   Beyond the INDIAN Mount, or Faerie Elves,   Whose midnight Revels, by a Forrest side   Or Fountain fome belated Peasant sees,   Or dreams he sees, while over head the Moon   Sits Arbitress, and neerer to the Earth   Wheels her pale course, they on thir mirth & dance   Intent, with jocond Music charm his ear;   At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.   Thus incorporeal Spirits to smallest forms   Reduc'd thir shapes immense, and were at large,   Though without number still amidst the Hall   Of that infernal Court. But far within   And in thir own dimensions like themselves   The great Seraphic Lords and Cherubim   In close recess and secret conclave sat   A thousand Demy-Gods on golden seat's,   Frequent and full. After short silence then   And summons read, the great consult began.


High on a Throne of Royal State, which far   Outshon the wealth of ORMUS and of IND,   Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand   Showrs on her Kings BARBARIC Pearl & Gold,   Satan exalted sat, by merit rais'd   To that bad eminence; and from despair   Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires   Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue   Vain Warr with Heav'n, and by success untaught   His proud imaginations thus displaid.

Powers and Dominions, Deities of Heav'n,   For since no deep within her gulf can hold   Immortal vigor, though opprest and fall'n,   I give not Heav'n for lost. From this descent   Celestial vertues rising, will appear   More glorious and more dread then from no fall,   And trust themselves to fear no second fate:   Mee though just right, and the fixt Laws of Heav'n   Did first create your Leader, next, free choice,   With what besides, in Counsel or in Fight,   Hath bin achievd of merit, yet this loss   Thus farr at least recover'd, hath much more   Establisht in a safe unenvied Throne   Yeilded with full consent. The happier state   In Heav'n, which follows dignity, might draw   Envy from each inferior; but who here   Will envy whom the highest place exposes   Formost to stand against the Thunderers aime   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 then can be in Heav'n, we now return   To claim our just inheritance of old,   Surer to prosper then prosperity   Could have assur'd us; and by what best way,   Whether of open Warr or covert guile,   We now debate; who can advise, may speak.

He ceas'd, and next him MOLOC, Scepter'd King   Stood up, the strongest and the fiercest Spirit   That fought in Heav'n; now fiercer by despair:   His trust was with th' Eternal to be deem'd   Equal in strength, and rather then be less   Car'd not to be at all; with that care lost   Went all his fear: of God, or Hell, or worse   He reckd not, and these words thereafter spake.

My sentence is for open Warr: 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 lingring here   Heav'ns fugitives, and for thir dwelling place   Accept this dark opprobrious Den of shame,   The Prison of his Tyranny who Reigns   By our delay? no, let us rather choose   Arm'd with Hell flames and fury all at once   O're Heav'ns high Towrs to force resistless way,   Turning our Tortures into horrid Arms   Against the Torturer; when to meet the noise   Of his Almighty Engin he shall hear   Infernal Thunder, and for Lightning see   Black fire and horror shot with equal rage   Among his Angels; and his Throne it self   Mixt 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 benumme not still,   That in our proper 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 brok'n Rear   Insulting, and pursu'd us through the Deep,   With what compulsion and laborious flight   We sunk thus low? Th' ascent is easie then;   Th' event is fear'd; 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 destroy'd: what can be worse   Then to dwell here, driv'n out from bliss, condemn'd   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 houre   Calls us to Penance? More destroy'd then thus   We should be quite abolisht and expire.   What fear we then? what doubt we to incense   His utmost ire? which to the highth enrag'd,   Will either quite consume us, and reduce   To nothing this essential, happier farr   Then 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 Heav'n,   And with perpetual inrodes to Allarme,   Though inaccessible, his fatal Throne:   Which if not Victory is yet Revenge.

He ended frowning, and his look denounc'd   Desperate revenge, and Battel dangerous   To less then Gods. On th' other side up rose   BELIAL, in act more graceful and humane;   A fairer person lost not Heav'n; he seemd   For dignity compos'd and high exploit:   But all was false and hollow; though his Tongue   Dropt Manna, and could make the worse appear   The better reason, to perplex and dash   Maturest Counsels: for his thoughts were low;   To vice industrious, but to Nobler deeds   Timorous and slothful: yet he pleas'd the eare,   And with perswasive accent thus began.

I should be much for open Warr, O Peers,   As not behind in hate; if what was urg'd   Main reason to perswade immediate Warr,   Did not disswade 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 Towrs of Heav'n are fill'd   With Armed watch, that render all access   Impregnable; oft on the bordering Deep   Encamp thir Legions, or with obscure wing   Scout farr and wide into the Realm of night,   Scorning surprize. Or could we break our way   By force, and at our heels all Hell should rise   With blackest Insurrection, to confound   Heav'ns purest Light, yet our great Enemie   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 repuls'd, 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 loose,   Though full of pain, this intellectual being,   Those thoughts that wander through Eternity,   To perish rather, swallowd 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 thir wish, and end   Them in his anger, whom his anger saves   To punish endless? wherefore cease we then?   Say they who counsel Warr, we are decreed,   Reserv'd and destin'd 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, pursu'd and strook   With Heav'ns afflicting Thunder, and besought   The Deep to shelter us? this Hell then seem'd   A refuge from those wounds: or when we lay   Chain'd on the burning Lake? that sure was worse.   What if the breath that kindl'd those grim fires   Awak'd should blow them into sevenfold rage   And plunge us in the Flames? or from above   Should intermitted vengeance Arme again   His red right hand to plague us? what if all   Her stores were op'n'd, and this Firmament   Of Hell should spout her Cataracts of Fire,   Impendent horrors, threatning hideous fall   One day upon our heads; while we perhaps   Designing or exhorting glorious Warr,   Caught in a fierie Tempest shall be hurl'd   Each on his rock transfixt, the sport and prey   Of racking whirlwinds, or for ever sunk   Under yon boyling Ocean, wrapt in Chains;   There to converse with everlasting groans,   Unrespited, unpitied, unrepreevd,   Ages of hopeless end; this would be worse.   Warr therefore, open or conceal'd, alike   My voice disswades; for what can force or guile   With him, or who deceive his mind, whose eye   Views all things at one view? he from heav'ns highth   All these our motions vain, sees and derides;   Not more Almighty to resist our might   Then wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles.   Shall we then live thus vile, the race of Heav'n   Thus trampl'd, thus expell'd to suffer here   Chains & these Torments? better these then worse   By my advice; since fate inevitable   Subdues us, and Omnipotent Decree,   The Victors will. To suffer, as to doe,   Our strength is equal, nor the Law unjust   That so ordains: this was at first resolv'd,   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 vent'rous, if that fail them, shrink and fear   What yet they know must follow, to endure   Exile, or ignominy, or bonds, or pain,   The sentence of thir Conquerour: This is now   Our doom; which if we can sustain and bear,   Our Supream Foe in time may much remit   His anger, and perhaps thus farr remov'd   Not mind us not offending, satisfi'd   With what is punish't; whence these raging fires   Will slack'n, if his breath stir not thir flames.   Our purer essence then will overcome   Thir noxious vapour, or enur'd not feel,   Or chang'd at length, and to the place conformd   In temper and in nature, will receive   Familiar the fierce heat, and void of pain;   This horror will grow milde, 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 appeers   For happy though but ill, for ill not worst,   If we procure not to our selves more woe.

Thus BELIAL with words cloath'd in reasons garb   Counsel'd ignoble ease, and peaceful sloath,   Not peace: and after him thus MAMMON spake.

Either to disinthrone the King of Heav'n   We warr, if warr be best, or to regain   Our own right lost: him to unthrone we then   May hope, when everlasting Fate shall yeild   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 Heav'ns bound, unless Heav'ns Lord supream   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 impos'd, to celebrate his Throne   With warbl'd Hymns, and to his Godhead sing   Forc't Halleluiah's; while he Lordly sits   Our envied Sovran, and his Altar breathes   Ambrosial Odours and Ambrosial Flowers,   Our servile offerings. This must be our task   In Heav'n, this our delight; how wearisom   Eternity so spent in worship paid   To whom we hate. Let us not then pursue   By force impossible, by leave obtain'd   Unacceptable, though in Heav'n, our state   Of splendid vassalage, but rather seek   Our own good from our selves, and from our own   Live to our selves, though in this vast recess,   Free, and to none accountable, preferring   Hard liberty before the easie 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 so e're