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The new To sit indulgent, and with him partake but true Rural repast, permitting him the while heroic 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, cr 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
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 up 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 t
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?




Terrestrial Heaven, danced round by other His
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 Heaven
Is centre, yet extends to all, so thou
Centring receiv'st from all those orbs; in thee,
Not in themselves, all their known virtue ap-


Productive in herb, plant, and nobler birth
Of creatures animate with gradual life

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Of growth, sense, reason, all summed up in Man.
With what delight could I have walked thee

If I could joy in aught-sweet interchange
Of hill and valley, rivers, woods, and plains,
Now land, now sea, and shores with forest

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 Heaven much worse would be my


But neither here seek I, no, nor in Heaven,
To dwell, unless by mastering Heaven'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 destroyed,
Or won to what may work his utter loss,


He will For whom all this was made, all this will soon mar the Follow, as to him linked in weal or woe: six days In woe then, that destruction wide may range To me shall be the glory sole among

work in



The Infernal Powers, in one day to have marred
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
The Angelic Name, and thinner left the throng
Of his adorers. He, to be avenged,
And to repair his numbers thus impaired-
Whether such virtue, spent of old, now failed
More Angels to create (if they at least
Are his created), or to spite us more—
Determined to advance into our room
A creature formed of earth, and him endow,
Exalted from so base original,
With heavenly spoils, our spoils. What he de-



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
Their earthy charge. Of these the vigilance
I dread, and to elude, thus wrapt in mist
Of midnight vapour, glide obscure, and pry
In every
bush and brake, where hap may find 160
The Serpent sleeping, in whose mazy folds
To hide me, and the dark intent I bring.
O foul descent! that I, who erst contended
With Gods to sit the highest, am now constrained

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