Paradise Regained - John Milton - ebook

Paradise Regained ebook

John Milton



Paradise Regained John Milton - Paradise Regained is a poem by English poet John Milton, first published in 1671.The volume in which it appeared also contained the poet's closetDramaSamson Agonistes. Paradise Regained is connected by name to his earlier and more famous epic poem Paradise Lost, with which it shares similar theological themes; indeed, its title, its use of blank verse, and its progression through ChristianHistoryrecall the earlier work. However, this effort deals primarily with the temptation of Christ as recounted in the Gospel of Luke.

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John Milton
Paradise Regained


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The First Book

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

  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

  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

  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,

  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,

  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

  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

  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

  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;

  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

  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:

  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,

  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,

  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,

  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,

  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

  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,

  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,

  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

  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!

  When I was yet a child, no childish play  To me was pleasing; all my mind was set  Serious to learn and know, and thence to do,  What might be public good; myself I thought  Born to that end, born to promote all truth,  All righteous things. Therefore, above my years,  The Law of God I read, and found it sweet;  Made it my whole delight, and in it grew