Paradise Regained - John Milton - ebook

Paradise Regained deals primarily with the temptation of Christ as recounted in the Gospel of Luke. One major concept emphasized throughout Paradise Regained is the idea of reversals. As implied by its title, Milton sets out to reverse the loss of Paradise.

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John Milton

John Milton

Paradise Regained

New Edition





New Edition

Published by Urban Romantics

This Edition

First published in 2016

Copyright © 2016 Urban Romantics

All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781911535058







I, WHO erewhile the happy Garden sung

By one man’s disobedience lost, now sing

Recovered Paradise to all mankind,

By one man’s firm obedience fully tried

Through all temptation, and the Tempter foiled

In all his wiles, defeated and repulsed,

And Eden raised in the waste Wilderness.

Thou Spirit, who led’st this glorious Eremite

Into the desert, his victorious field

Against the spiritual foe, and brought’st him thence 10

By proof the undoubted Son of God, inspire,

As thou art wont, my prompted song, else mute,

And bear through highth or depth of Nature’s bounds,

With prosperous wing full summed, to tell of deeds

Above heroic, though in secret done,

And unrecorded left through many an age:

Worthy to have not remained so long unsung.

Now had the great Proclaimer, with a voice

More awful than the sound of trumpet, cried

Repentance, and Heaven’s kingdom nigh at hand 20

To all baptized. To his great baptism flocked

With awe the regions round, and with them came

From Nazareth the son of Joseph deemed

To the flood Jordan—came as then obscure,

Unmarked, unknown. But him the Baptist soon

Descried, divinely warned, and witness bore

As to his worthier, and would have resigned

To him his heavenly office. Nor was long

His witness unconfirmed: on him baptized

Heaven opened, and in likeness of a Dove 30

The Spirit descended, while the Father’s voice

From Heaven pronounced him his beloved Son.

That heard the Adversary, who, roving still

About the world, at that assembly famed

Would not be last, and, with the voice divine

Nigh thunder-struck, the exalted man to whom

Such high attest was given a while surveyed

With wonder; then, with envy fraught and rage,

Flies to his place, nor rests, but in mid air

To council summons all his mighty Peers, 40

Within thick clouds and dark tenfold involved,

A gloomy consistory; and them amidst,

With looks aghast and sad, he thus bespake:—

“O ancient Powers of Air and this wide World

(For much more willingly I mention Air,

This our old conquest, than remember Hell,

Our hated habitation), well ye know

How many ages, as the years of men,

This Universe we have possessed, and ruled

In manner at our will the affairs of Earth, 50

Since Adam and his facile consort Eve

Lost Paradise, deceived by me, though since

With dread attending when that fatal wound

Shall be inflicted by the seed of Eve

Upon my head. Long the decrees of Heaven

Delay, for longest time to Him is short;

And now, too soon for us, the circling hours

This dreaded time have compassed, wherein we

Must bide the stroke of that long-threatened wound

(At least, if so we can, and by the head 60

Broken be not intended all our power

To be infringed, our freedom and our being

In this fair empire won of Earth and Air)—

For this ill news I bring: The Woman’s Seed,

Destined to this, is late of woman born.

His birth to our just fear gave no small cause;

But his growth now to youth’s full flower, displaying

All virtue, grace and wisdom to achieve

Things highest, greatest, multiplies my fear.

Before him a great Prophet, to proclaim 70

His coming, is sent harbinger, who all

Invites, and in the consecrated stream

Pretends to wash off sin, and fit them so

Purified to receive him pure, or rather

To do him honour as their King. All come,

And he himself among them was baptized—

Not thence to be more pure, but to receive

The testimony of Heaven, that who he is

Thenceforth the nations may not doubt. I saw

The Prophet do him reverence; on him, rising 80

Out of the water, Heaven above the clouds

Unfold her crystal doors; thence on his head

A perfet Dove descend (whate’er it meant);

And out of Heaven the sovraign voice I heard,

‘This is my Son beloved,—in him am pleased.’

His mother, than, is mortal, but his Sire

He who obtains the monarchy of Heaven;

And what will He not do to advance his Son?

His first-begot we know, and sore have felt,

When his fierce thunder drove us to the Deep; 90

Who this is we must learn, for Man he seems

In all his lineaments, though in his face

The glimpses of his Father’s glory shine.

Ye see our danger on the utmost edge

Of hazard, which admits no long debate,

But must with something sudden be opposed

(Not force, but well-couched fraud, well-woven snares),

Ere in the head of nations he appear,

Their king, their leader, and supreme on Earth.

I, when no other durst, sole undertook 100

The dismal expedition to find out

And ruin Adam, and the exploit performed

Successfully: a calmer voyage now

Will waft me; and the way found prosperous once

Induces best to hope of like success.”

He ended, and his words impression left

Of much amazement to the infernal crew,

Distracted and surprised with deep dismay

At these sad tidings. But no time was then

For long indulgence to their fears or grief: 110

Unanimous they all commit the care

And management of this man enterprise

To him, their great Dictator, whose attempt

At first against mankind so well had thrived

In Adam’s overthrow, and led their march

From Hell’s deep-vaulted den to dwell in light,

Regents, and potentates, and kings, yea gods,

Of many a pleasant realm and province wide.

So to the coast of Jordan he directs

His easy steps, girded with snaky wiles, 120

Where he might likeliest find this new-declared,

This man of men, attested Son of God,

Temptation and all guile on him to try—

So to subvert whom he suspected raised

To end his reign on Earth so long enjoyed:

But, contrary, unweeting he fulfilled

The purposed counsel, pre-ordained and fixed,

Of the Most High, who, in full frequence bright

Of Angels, thus to Gabriel smiling spake:—

“Gabriel, this day, by proof, thou shalt behold, 130

Thou and all Angels conversant on Earth

With Man or men’s affairs, how I begin

To verify that solemn message late,

On which I sent thee to the Virgin pure

In Galilee, that she should bear a son,

Great in renown, and called the Son of God.

Then told’st her, doubting how these things could be

To her a virgin, that on her should come

The Holy Ghost, and the power of the Highest

O’ershadow her. This Man, born and now upgrown, 140

To shew him worthy of his birth divine

And high prediction, henceforth I expose

To Satan; let him tempt, and now assay

His utmost subtlety, because he boasts

And vaunts of his great cunning to the throng

Of his Apostasy. He might have learnt

Less overweening, since he failed in Job,

Whose constant perseverance overcame

Whate’er his cruel malice could invent.

He now shall know I can produce a man, 150

Of female seed, far abler to resist

All his solicitations, and at length

All his vast force, and drive him back to Hell—

Winning by conquest what the first man lost

By fallacy surprised. But first I mean

To exercise him in the Wilderness;

There he shall first lay down the rudiments

Of his great warfare, ere I send him forth

To conquer Sin and Death, the two grand foes.

By humiliation and strong sufferance 160

His weakness shall o’ercome Satanic strength,

And all the world, and mass of sinful flesh;

That all the Angels and aethereal Powers—

They now, and men hereafter—may discern

From what consummate virtue I have chose

This perfet man, by merit called my Son,

To earn salvation for the sons of men.”

So spake the Eternal Father, and all Heaven

Admiring stood a space; then into hymns

Burst forth, and in celestial measures moved, 170

Circling the throne and singing, while the hand

Sung with the voice, and this the argument:—

“Victory and triumph to the Son of God,

Now entering his great duel, not of arms,

But to vanquish by wisdom hellish wiles!

The Father knows the Son; therefore secure

Ventures his filial virtue, though untried,

Against whate’er may tempt, whate’er seduce,

Allure, or terrify, or undermine.

Be frustrate, all ye stratagems of Hell, 180

And, devilish machinations, come to nought!”

So they in Heaven their odes and vigils tuned.

Meanwhile the Son of God, who yet some days

Lodged in Bethabara, where John baptized,

Musing and much revolving in his breast

How best the mighty work he might begin

Of Saviour to mankind, and which way first

Publish his godlike office now mature,

One day forth walked alone, the Spirit leading

And his deep thoughts, the better to converse 190

With solitude, till, far from track of men,

Thought following thought, and step by step led on,

He entered now the bordering Desert wild,

And, with dark shades and rocks environed round,

His holy meditations thus pursued:—

“O what a multitude of thoughts at once

Awakened in me swarm, while I consider

What from within I feel myself, and hear

What from without comes often to my ears,

Ill sorting with my present state compared! 200