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of rhyme fo little is to be taken for a defect, it may seem so perhaps to vulgar readers, rather is to be efteemed an example fet, t in English, of ancient liberty recovered to poem, from the troublesome and modern b of rhyming.






B 2

This firft Book proposes, firft in brief, the whole fubject, Man's disobedience, and the lofs thereupon of Paradife wherein he was plac'd: Then touches the prime cause of his fall, the Serpent, or rather Satan in the ferpent; who revolting from God, and drawing to his fide many legions of Angels, was by the command of God driven out of Heaven with all his crew into the great deep. Which action pafs'd over, the poem haftes into the midst of things, presenting Satan with his Angels now falling into Hell, defcrib'd here, not in the center (for Heaven and Earth may be fuppos'd as yet not made, certainly not yet accurs'd) but in a place of utter darkness, fitlieft call'd Chaos: Here Satan with his Angels lying on the burning lake, thunder-ftruck and aftonifh'd, after a certain fpace recovers, as from confufion, calls up him who next in order and dignity lay by him; they confer of their miferable fall. Satan awakens all his legions, who lay till then in the fame manner confounded: They rife, their numbers, array of battel, their chief leaders nam'd, according to the idols known afterwards in Canaan and the countries adjoining. To thefe Satan directs his fpeech, comforts them with hope yet of regaining Heaven, but tells them laftly of a new world and new kind of creature to be created, according to an ancient prophecy or report in Heaven; for that Angels were long before this vifible creation, was the opinion of many ancient Fathers. To find out the truth of this prophecy, and what to determin thereon, he refers to a full council. What his affociates thence attempt. Pandemonium the palace of Satan rifes, fuddenly built out of the deep: The infernal peers there fit in council.

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F Man's firft disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
With lofs of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
Sing, heav'nly Muse, that on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire

That shepherd, who first taught the chofen feed,
In the beginning how the Heav'ns and Earth
Rofe out of Chaos: Or if Sion hill

Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flow'd
Faft by the oracle of God; I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventrous fong,
That with no middle flight intends to foar
Above th' Aonian mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in profe or rhyme.
And chiefly Thou, O Spi'rit, that dost prefer
Before all temples th' upright heart and pure,
Inftruct me, for Thou know'st; Thou from the first
Waft prefent, and with mighty wings outspread
Dove-like fatft brooding on the vast abyss,
And mad'ft it pregnant: what in me is dark

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Illumin, what is low raise and support;
That to the height of this great argument
I may affert eternal Providence,
And justify the ways of God to Men.

Say firft, for Heav'n hides nothing from thy v
Nor the deep tract of Hell, say first what cause
Mov'd our grand parents, in that happy state,
Favor'd of Heav'n so highly, to fall off
From their Creator, and tranfgrefs his will
For one restraint, lords of the world befides?
Who first seduc'd them to that foul revolt?
Th' infernal Serpent; he it was, whofe guile,
Stirr'd up with envy and revenge, deceiv'd
The mother of mankind, what time his pride
Had caft him out from Heav'n, with all his hoft
Of rebel Angels, by whofe aid aspiring
To fet himself in glory' above his peers,
He trufted to have equal'd the most High,
If he oppos'd; and with ambitious aim
Against the throne and monarchy of God
Rais'd impious war in Heav'n and battel proud
With vain attempt. Him the almighty Power
Hurl'd headlong flaming from th' ethereal sky,
With hideous ruin and combustion, down
To bottomlefs perdition, there to dwell
In adamantin chains and penal fire,
Who durft defy th' Omnipotent to arms.
Nine times the space that measures day and night
To mortal men, he with his horrid crew
Lay vanquish'd, rolling in the fiery gulf,


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