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So parted Followed with benediction :- Since to part, they Go, Heavenly Guest, Ethereal Messenger,

Sent from whose sovran goodness I adore!
Gentle to me and affable hath been

Thy condescension, and shall be honoured ever
With graceful memory. Thou to Mankind 650
Be good and friendly still, and oft return!'

So parted they, the Angel up to Heaven
From the thick shade, and Adam to his bower.





SATAN, having compassed the Earth, with meditated guile returns as a mist by night into Paradise; enters into the Serpent sleeping. Adam and Eve in the morning go forth to their labours, which Eve proposes to divide in several places, each labouring apart : Adam consents not, alleging the danger lest that enemy of whom they were forewarned should attempt her found alone. Eve, loth to be thought not circumspect or firm enough, urges her going apart, the rather desirous to make trial of her strength; Adam at last yields. The Serpent finds her alone: his subtle approach, first gazing, then speaking, with much flattery extolling Eve above all other creatures. Eve, wondering to hear the Serpent speak, asks how he attained to human speech and such understanding not till now; the Serpent answers that by tasting of a certain tree in the Garden he attained both to speech and reason, till then void of both. Eve requires him to bring her to that tree, and finds it to be the Tree of Knowledge forbidden the Serpent, now grown bolder, with many wiles and arguments induces her at length to eat. She, pleased with the taste, deliberates a while whether to impart thereof to Adam or not; at last brings him of the fruit relates what persuaded her to eat thereof. Adam, at first amazed, but perceiving her lost, resolves, through vehemence of love, to perish with her, and, extenuating the trespass, eats also of the fruit. The effect thereof in them both; they seek to cover their nakedness; then fall to variance and accusation of one another.


No more of talk where God or Angel Guest
With Man, as with his friend, familiar used


The new To sit indulgent, and with him partake
but true Rural repast, permitting him the while
Venial discourse unblamed. I now must change
Those notes to tragic-foul distrust, and breach
Disloyal, on the part of man, revolt
And disobedience; on the part of Heaven,
Now alienated, distance and distaste,

Anger and just rebuke, and judgement given, 10
That brought into this World a world of woe,
Sin and her shadow Death, and Misery,
Death's harbinger.
Sad task! yet argument
Not less but more heroic than the wrath
Of stern Achilles on his foe pursued
Thrice fugitive about Troy wall; or rage
Of Turnus for Lavinia disespoused;
Or Neptune's ire, or Juno's, that so long
Perplexed the Greek, and Cytherea's son:
If answerable style I can obtain
Of my celestial Patroness, who deigns
Her nightly visitation unimplored,
And dictates to me slumbering, or inspires
Easy my unpremeditated verse,
Since first this subject for heroic song
Pleased me, long choosing and beginning late,
Not sedulous by nature to indite

Wars, hitherto the only argument


Heroic deemed, chief mastery to dissect
With long and tedious havoc fabled knights 30
In battles feigned (the better fortitude
Of patience and heroic martyrdom
Unsung), or to describe races and games,
Or tilting furniture, emblazoned shields,
Impresses quaint, caparisons and steeds,
Bases and tinsel trappings, gorgeous knights


wander. ings of Satan

At joust and tournament; then marshalled feast The
Served in hall with sewers and seneshals:
The skill of artifice or office mean;
Not that which justly gives heroic name
To person or to poem! Me, of these
Nor skilled nor studious, higher argument
Remains, sufficient of itself to raise
That name, unless an age too late, or cold
Climate, or years, damp my intended wing
Depressed; 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 veiled the 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 returned.
By night he fled, and at midnight returned
From compassing the Earth-cautious of day
Since Uriel, Regent of the Sun, descried
His entrance, and forewarned the Cherubim
That kept their watch. Thence, full of anguish,


The space of seven continued nights he rode
With darkness—thrice the equinoctial line
He circled, four times crossed the car of Night
From pole to pole, traversing each colure-
On the eighth returned, and on the coast averse
From entrance or cherubic watch by stealth
Found unsuspected way. There was a place

Satan (Now not, though Sin, not Time, first wrought chooses the change)



the Where Tigris, at the foot of Paradise, for his Into a gulf shot under ground, till part disguise 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 searched 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 barred At Darien, thence to the land where flows Ganges and Indus. Thus the orb he roamed With narrow search, and with inspection deep Considered every creature, which of all Most opportune might serve his wiles, and found 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 poured :-

'O Earth, how like to Heaven, if not preferred
More justly, seat worthier of Gods, as built 100
With second thoughts, reforming what was old!
For what God, after better, worse would build?


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