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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 night, and now from end to end
Night's hemisphere had veil'd th' horizon round,
When Satan, who late fled before the threats
Of Gabriel out of Eden, now improved
In meditated fraud and malice, bent




On Man's destruction, maugre what might hap
Of heavier on himself, fearless return'd.
By night he fled, and at midnight return'd
From compassing the earth, cautious of day,
Since Uriel, regent of the sun, descry'd
His entrance, and forewarn'd the Cherubim
That kept their watch: thence full of anguish driven,
The space of sev'n continued nights he rode
With darkness; thrice the equinoctial line
He circled; four times cross'd the car of night
From pole to pole, traversing each colure;
On th' eighth return'd, and on the coast averse
From entrance or Cherubic watch, by stealth
Found unsuspected way. There was a place,



Now not, tho' sin, not time, first wrought the change,

Where Tigris at the foot of Paradise


Into a gulf shot under ground, till part

Rose up a fountain by the tree of life:

In with the river sunk, and with it rose

Satan involved in rising mist, then sought


Where to lie hid. Sea he had search'd and land

From Eden over Pontus, and the pool

Mæotis, up beyond the river Ob;

Downward as far antarctic; and in length
West from Orontes to the ocean barr'd


At Darien, thence to the land where flows

77. Pontus, the Euxine or Black Sea.-The pool Maotis, Palus Mæotis, a lake on the coast of Crim Tartary.-Ob, a river of Muscovy.-Orontes, a river of Syria.-Darien, the Isthmus which loins North and South America.-Ocean barr'd, see Job xxxviti. 19,

Ganges and Indus: thus the orb he roam'd
With narrow search, and with inspection deep
Consider'd every creature; which of all

Most opportune might serve his wiles, and found 85
The serpent subtlest beast of all the field.

Him, after long debate, irresolute

Of thoughts revolved, his final sentence chose

Fit vessel, fittest imp of fraud, in whom

To enter and his dark suggestions hide


From sharpest sight: for in the wily snake,

Whatever sleights none would suspicious mark,
As from his wit and native subtlety



Proceeding, which in other beasts observed
Doubt might beget of diabolic power
Active within beyond the sense of brute.
Thus he resolved; but first from inward grief
His bursting passion into plaints thus pour'd:
O Earth, how like to Heav'n, if not preferr'd
More justly! seat worthier of Gods! as built
With second thoughts, reforming what was old!
For what God after better worse would build!
Terrestrial Heav'n, danced round by other Heav'ns
That shine, yet bear their bright officious lamps,
Light above light, for thee alone, as seems,
In thee concentring all their precious beams
Of sacred influence! As God in Heav'n

Is centre, yet extends to all, so thou



Centring receiv'st from all those orbs; in thee,
Not in themselves, all their known virtue' appears
Productive in herb, plant, and nobler birth
Of creatures animate with gradual life
Of growth, sense, reason, all summ'd up in Man.
With what delight could I have walk'd thee round,

86. The subtlety of the serpent has been always noticed. It is supposed, that Satan might choose this animal in preference to any other, for his purpose, since its subtlety being known it would excite less surprise in the minds of his victims, to find it speaking and reasoning, than would have been the case in respect to any other of the beasts of the field.

113. It were to be wished that Milton had not so nearly approached in expression the ideas of the materialists. He has been accused of formally supporting their doctrines, but the contents of the poem and the elevation of his sentiments on the mysteries of universal being tend greatly to prove he was by no means an advocate of opinions which are as insupportable by reason as they are by Christianity.

If I could joy in aught, sweet interchange

Of hill and valley, rivers, woods and plains;


Now land, now sea, and shores with forests crown'd
Rocks, dens, and caves! but I in none of these
Find place or refuge; and the more I see
Pleasures about me, so much more I feel
Torment within me', as from the hateful siege


Of contraries: all good to me becomes

Bane, and in Heav'n much worse would be my state. But neither here seek I, no, nor in Heav'n

To dwell, unless by mast'ring Heav'n's Supreme;

Nor hope to be myself less miserable


By what I seek, but others to make such
As I, though thereby worse to me redound:
For only in destroying I find ease

To my relentless thoughts; and him destroy'd,
Or won to what may work his utter loss,
For whom all this was made, all this will soon
Follow, as to him link'd in weal or woe;
In woe then, that destruction wide may range.
To me shall be the glory sole among
Th' infernal Pow'rs, in one day to have marr'd
What he, Almighty styled, six nights and days
Continued making, and who knows how long
Before had been contriving, though perhaps
Not longer than since I in one night freed
From servitude inglorious well nigh half




Th' angelic name, and thinner left the throng

Of his adorers; he to be avenged,

And to repair his numbers thus impair'd,

Whether such virtue spent of old now fail'd


More Angels to create, if they at least
Are his created, or to spite us more,
Determined to advance into our room

A creature form'd of earth, and him endow,
Exalted from so base original,


With heav'nly spoils, our spoils. What he decreed

He' effected; Man he made, and for him built
Magnificent this world, and earth his seat,
Him lord pronounced, and, O indignity!
Subjected to his service Angel wings,
And flaming ministers, to watch and tend

156. Ps. civ. 4.


Their earthly charge. Of these the vigilance
I dread, and to elude, thus wrapt in mist
Of midnight vapour, glide obscure, and pry
In ev'ry bush and brake, where hap may find
The serpent sleeping, in whose mazy folds
To hide me, and the dark intent I bring.
O foul descent! that 1, who erst contended
With Gods to sit the high'st, am now constrain'd
Into a beast, and mix'd with bestial slime,



This essence to incarnate and imbrute,

That to the height of deity aspired!

But what will not ambition and revenge

Descend to? Who aspires must down as low
As high he soar'd, obnoxious first or last


To basest things. Revenge, at first though sweet, Bitter ere long back on itself recoils.


Let it I reck not, so it light well aim'd,
Since higher I fall short, on him who next
Provokes my envy, this new fav'rite
Of Heav'n, this man of clay, son of despite,
Whom us the more to spite his Maker raised
From dust. Spite then with spite is best repaid.
So saying, through each thicket dank or dry,
Like a black mist low creeping, he held on
His midnight search, where soonest he might find
The serpent: him fast sleeping soon he found,
In labyrinth of many a round self-roll'd,


His head the midst, well stored with subtle wiles:

Nor yet in horrid shade or dismal den,
Nor nocent yet, but on the grassy herb


Fearless, unfear'd, he slept. In at his mouth
The devil enter'd, and his brutal sense,
In heart or head, possessing soon inspired
With act intelligential; but his sleep
Disturb'd not, waiting close th' approach of morn.
Now when as sacred light began to dawn
In Eden on the humid flow'rs, that breathed


173. The character of Satan is finely managed in this passage; the darkness of despair is made more dark by the loftiness of thought and the gleam of arch-angel grandeur still remaining. 186. Not nocent yet, in the first edition.

192. This is the morning of the ninth day. On the first Satan came to the earth; for seven he was voyaging round it, and is bere represented as entering Paradise on the ninth.

193. Breath, like the Latin spiro.

Their morning incense, when all things that breathe,
From th' earth's great altar send up silent praise
To the Creator, and his nostrils fill





With grateful smell, forth came the human pair,
And join'd their vocal worship to the choir
Of creatures wanting voice: that done partake
The season, prime for sweetest sents and airs;
Then commune how that day they best may ply
Their growing work: for much their work outgrew
The hands dispatch of two gard'ning so wide:
And Eve first to her husband thus began:
Adam, well may we labour still to dress
This garden, still to tend plant, herb, and flow'r,
Our pleasant task enjoin'd; but till more hands
Aid us, the work under our labour grows,
Luxurious by restraint; what we by day
Lop overgrown, or prune, or prop, or bind,
One night or two with wanton growth derides
Tending to wild. Thou therefore now advise,
Or hear what to my mind first thoughts present:
Let us divide our labours; thou where choice
Leads thee, or where most needs, whether to wind
The woodbine round this arbour, or direct
The clasping ivy where to climb; while I
In yonder spring of roses, intermix'd
With myrtle, find what to redress till noon:
For while so near each other thus all day
Our task we choose, what wonder if so near
Looks intervene and smiles, or object new
Casual discourse draw on, which intermits
Our day's work brought to little, though begun
Early, and th' hour of supper comes unearn'd.
To whom mild answer Adam thus return'd:
Sole Eve, associate sole; to me beyond
Compare above all living creatures dear,




Well hast thou motion'd, well thy thoughts employ'd How we might best fulfil the work which here 230 God hath assign'd us; nor of me shalt pass

200. Milton spells scent without the c, according to the
Italian Sentiendo.

213. Bear instead of hear, in some editions.

228. Compare for comparison; a verb converted into a noun as adjectives sometimes are.

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