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Nor stop thy flaming chariot-wheels, that shook
Heav'n's everlasting frame, while o'er the necks 395
Thou drov'st of warring Angels disarray'd.
Back from pursuit thy Pow'rs with loud acclaim
Thee only' extoll'd, Son of thy Father's might,
To execute fierce vengeance on his foes,
Not so on Man: Him thro' their malice fall'n,
Father of mercy' and grace, thou didst not doom
So strictly, but much more to pity' incline;
No sooner did thy dear and only Son
Perceive thee purposed not to doom frail Man
So strictly, but much more to pity' inclined,
He to appease thy wrath, and end the strife
Of mercy' and justice in thy face discern'd,
Regardless of the bliss wherein he sat
Second to thee, offer'd himself to die
For man's offence. O unexampled love!
Love no where to be found less than Divine!
Hail Son of God, Saviour of Men, thy name
Shall be the copious matter of my song
Henceforth, and never shall my harp thy praise
Forget, nor from thy Father's praise disjoin.

Thus they in Heav'n, above the starry sphere,
Their happy hours in joy and hymning spent.
Mean while upon the firm opacous globe

Of this round world, whose first convex divides

The luminous inferior orbs, inclosed





From Chaos and th' inroad of Darkness old,
Satan alighted walks: a globe far off

It seem'd, now seems a boundless continent


Dark, waste, and wild, under the frown of Night
Starless exposed, and ever-threat'ning storms
Of Chaos blust'ring round, inclement sky;
Save on that side which from the wall of Heav'n,
Though distant far, some small reflection gains
Of glimm'ring air less vex'd with tempest loud :
Here walk'd the Fiend at large in spacious field. 430
As when a vulture on Imaus bred,

Whose snowy ridge the roving Tartar bounds,

412. Milton has been hitherto professedly repeating the sub stance of the angels' song. He here speaks of his own deter mination. 431. Imaus, a celebrated mountain in Asia. G

Dislodging from a region scarce of prey

To gorge the flesh of lambs or yeanling kids


On hills where flocks are fed, flies toward the springs
Of Ganges or Hydaspes, Indian streams;

But in his way lights on the barren plains
Of Sericana, where Chineses drive

With sails and wind their cany waggons light:
So on this windy sea of land, the Fiend
Walk'd up and down alone, bent on his prey:
Alone; for other creature in this place,
Living or lifeless, to be found was none;
None yet, but store hereafter from the earth
Up hither like aëreal vapours flew


Of all things transit'ry and vain, when sin
With vanity had fill'd the works of men ;
Both all things vain, and all who in vain things
Built their fond hopes of glory', or lasting fame,
Or happiness, in this or th' other life;



All who have their reward on earth, the fruits
Of painful superstition and blind zeal,

Nought seeking but the praise of men, here find
Fit retribution, empty as their deeds:

All th' unaccomplish'd works of Nature's hand, 455
Abortive, monstrous, or unkindly mix'd,
Dissolved on earth, fleet hither, and in vain,

Till final dissolution, wander here;


Not in the neighb'ring moon, as some have dream'd;
Those argent fields more likely habitants,
Translated Saints or middle Spirits, hold
Betwixt th' angelical and human kind.

Hither of ill-join'd sons and daughters born

First from the ancient world those giants came, 464
With many a vain exploit, though then renown'd:

The builders next of Babel on the plain
Of Sennaar, and still with vain design
New Babels, had they wherewithal, would build :
Others came single; he who to be deem'd
A God, leap'd fondly into Etna flames,


438. Sericana; that part of India called Cathay: it is remarkable for the smoothness of its plains. The description of limbo, which follows, has been greatly reprobated by Mr. Addison, and others. But here, as in other places, Milton is best defended by calling to mind the character and design of his poem.

463. See Gen. vi. 4. 467. Sennaar, or Shinar.

Empedocles; and he who to enjoy
Plato's Elysium, leap'd into the sea,
Cleombrotus; and many more too long,
Embryos and idiots, eremites and friars

White, black and grey, with all their trumpery. 475
Here Pilgrims roam, that stray'd so far to seek

In Golgotha him dead, who lives in Heav'n;
And they who, to be sure of Paradise,
Dying put on the weeds of Dominic,



Or in Franciscan think to pass disguised:
They pass the planets sev'n, and pass the fix'd,
And that crystalline sphere whose balance weighs
The trepidation talk'd, and that first moved;
And now Saint Peter at Heav'n's wicket seems
To wait them with his keys, and now at foot
Of Heav'n's ascent they lift their feet, when lo,
A violent cross wind from either coast
Blows them transverse ten thousand leagues awry
Into the devious air; then might ye see
Cowls, hoods, and habits, with their wearers, tost
And flutter'd into rags; then reliques, beads,
Indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls,
The sport of winds: all these upwhirl'd aloft
Fly o'er the backside of the world far off
Into a Limbo large and broad, since call'd
The Paradise of Fools, to few unknown
Long after, now unpeopled, and untrod.

All this dark globe the Fiend found as he pass'd,
And long he wander'd, till at last a gleam



Of dawning light turn'd thitherward in haste 500
His travell'd steps: far distant he descries
Ascending by degrees magnificent

Up to the wall of Heav'n a structure high;
At top whereof, but far more rich, appear'd
The work as of a kingly palace gate,

471. Empedocles was a Pythagorean philosopher, who threw himself into the crater of Mount Etna.

473. Cleombrotus was a young man, who, having been deeply interested with Plato's reflections on the immortality of the soul, leaped into the sea that he might at once enjoy the felicity mentioned.

482. Milton here follows the ancient or Ptolemaic system of astronomy. Tasso mentions the same spheres in describing Michael's descent from heaven, only in an inverse order.

489. The second person is here put indefimtely; then might be




With frontispiece of diamond and gold
Embellish'd thick with sparkling orient gems
The portal shone, inimitable on earth
By model, or by shading pencil drawn.
The stairs were such as whereon Jacob saw
Angels ascending and descending, bands
Of guardians bright, when he from Esau fled
To Padan-Aram in the field of Luz,
Dreaming by night under the open sky,
And waking cry'd, This is the gate of Heav'n.
Each stair mysteriously was meant, nor stood
There always, but drawn up to Heav'n sometimes
Viewless and underneath a bright sea flow'd
Of jasper, or of liquid pearl, whereon
Who after came from earth, sailing arrived,
Wafted by Angels, or flew o'er the lake
Rapt in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds.
The stairs were then let down, whether to dare
The Fiend by easy 'scent, or aggravate
His sad exclusion from the doors of bliss:
Direct against which open'd from beneath,
Just o'er the blissful seat of Paradise,

A passage down to th' Earth, a passage wide,

Wider by far than that of after-times



Over mount Sion, and, though that were large, 530 Over the Promised Land, to God so dear,

By which, to visit oft those happy tribes,

On high behests his Angels to and fro

Pass'd frequent, and his eye with choice regard
From Paneas the fount of Jordan's flood


To Beërsaba, where the Holy Land

Borders on Egypt and th' Arabian shore :


So wide the op'ning seem'd, where bounds were set
To darkness, such as bound the ocean wave.
Satan from hence, now on the lower stair
That scaled by steps of gold to Heaven gate,
Looks down with wonder at the sudden view
Of all this world at once. As when a scout
Through dark and desert ways with peril gone
All night, at last by break of cheerful dawn

510. See Gen. xxviii. 12, 13.

534 Pass'd frequent, is to be understood after regard. 540. The description and comparison here are very noble.


Obtains the brow of some high-climbing hill,
Which to his eye discovers unaware

The goodly prospect of some foreign land
First seen, or some renown'd metropolis
With glist'ring spires and pinnacles adorn'd,
Which now the rising Sun gilds with his beams :
Such wonder seized, though after Heaven seen,
The Spirit malign, but much more envy seized,
At sight of all this world beheld so fair.



Round he surveys (and well might, where he stood So high above the circling canopy

Of Night's extended shade) from eastern point
Of Libra to the fleecy star that bears
Andromeda far off Atlantic seas

Beyond th' horizon; then from pole to pole
He views in breadth, and without longer pause
Down right into the world's first region throws
His flight precipitant, and winds with ease
Through the pure marble air his oblique way
Amongst innumerable stars, that shone



Stars distant, but nigh hand seem'd other worlds;
Or other worlds they seem'd, or happy isles,
Like those Hesperian gardens famed of old,
Fortunate fields, and groves, and flow'ry vales,
Thrice happy isles; but who dwelt happy there 570
He stay'd not to inquire: above them all


The golden Sun, in splendour likest Heav'n,
Allured his eye: thither his course he bends
Through the calm firmament (but up or down,
By centre, or eccentric, hard to tell,
Or longitude) where the great luminary
Aloof the vulgar constellations thick,
That from his lordly eye keep distance due,
Dispenses light from far; they as they move
Their starry dance in numbers that compute
Days, months, and years, tow'rds his all-cheering lamp
Turn swift their various motions, or are turn'd
By his magnetic beam, that gently warms
The universe, and to each inward part


The fleecy

558 Constellations directly opposite to each other. star is Aries, which is said to bear Andromeda, because just under it.

568. Hesperian gardens; celebrated among the ancients, and supposed to have been the Cape Verd Islands.

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