« PreviousContinue »
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.
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.
F Man's firft disobedience, and the fruit
That shepherd, who first taught the chofen feed,
Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flow'd
Illumin, what is low raise and support;
Say firft, for Heav'n hides nothing from thy v