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This first book proposes first (in brief) the whole subject, Man's disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise wherein he was placed; then touches the prime cause of his fall-the Serpent, or rather Satan in the serpent; who, revolting from God, and drawing to his side many legions of Angels, was, by the command of God, driven out of Heaven, with all his crew, into the great deep. Which action passed over, the poem hastes into the midst of things; presenting Satan with his Angels now fallen into Hell, described here not in the centre (for Heaven and Earth may be supposed as yet not made, certainly not yet accursed) but in a place of utter darkness, fitliest called Chaos here Satan, with his Angels lying on the burning lake, thunderstruck and astonished, after a certain space recovers, as from confusion, calls up him who next in order and dignity lay by him; they confer of their miserable fall. Satan awakens all his legions, who lay till then in the same manner confounded: they rise, their numbers, array of battle, their chief leaders named, according to the idols known afterwards in Canaan, and the countries adjoining. To these Satan directs his speech; comforts them with hope yet of regaining Heaven; but tells them, lastly, 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 visible creation' was the opinion of many ancient Fathers.) To find out the truth of this prophecy, and what to determine thereon, he refers to a full council. What his associates thence attempt. Pandemonium, the palace of Satan, rises, suddenly built out of the deep; the infernal peers there sit in council.



OF Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man

Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
Sing, heavenly Muse, that on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire

That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed,
In the beginning how the Heav'ns and Earth
Rose out of Chaos! Or, if Sion hill

Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook, that flow'd
Fast by the oracle of God; I thence
Invoke thy aid to my advent❜rous song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above th' Aonian mount, while it


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And chiefly Thou, O Spi'rit that dost prefer
Before all temples th' upright heart and pure,

Instruct me, for Thou know'st; Thou from the first
Was present, and with mighty wings outspread,
Dove-like, sat'st brooding on the vast abyss,
And mad'st it pregnant: what in me is dark,
Illumine; what is low, raise and support;
That to the height of this great argument


I may assert eternal Providence,


And justify the ways of God to men.

Say first; for Heaven hides nothing from thy view,

Nor the deep tract of Hell; say first what cause
Moved our grand parents, in that happy state,
Favour'd of Heav'n so highly, to fall off
From their Creator, and transgress his will
For one restraint, lords of the world besides ?
Who first seduc'd them to that foul revolt?
Th' infernal Serpent; he it was whose guile,
Stirr'd up with envy and revenge, deceiv'd
The mother of mankind, what time his pride
Had cast him out from Heav'n with all his host
Of rebel Angels, by whose aid aspiring
To set himself in glory' above his peers,
He trusted to have equall'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 battle proud
With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power
Hurl'd headlong flaming from the etherial sky,
With hideous ruin and combustion, down

bottomless perdition, there to dwell

In adamantine chains and penal fire,

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Who durst 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,

Confounded, though immortal: but his doom

Reserv'd him to more wrath; for now the thought

Both of lost happiness and lasting pain


Torments him; round he throws his baleful eyes,

That witness'd huge affliction and dismay,

Mix'd with obdurate pride and steadfast hate:

At once, as far as Angels ken, he views

The dismal situation waste and wild;

A dungeon horrible on all sides round

As one great furnace flam'd; yet from those flames

No light, but rather darkness visible

Sery'd only to discover sights of woe,


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Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace

And rest can never dwell, hope never comes
That comes to all, but torture without end
Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed
With ever-burning sulphur unconsum'd.
Such place eternal Justice had prepar'd

For those rebellious; here their pris❜on ordain'd
In utter darkness; and their portion set
As far remov'd from God and light of Heav'n,
A's from the centre thrice to th' utmost pole.
O how unlike the place from whence they fell!
There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelm'd
With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire,
He soon discerns, and, welt'ring by his side,
One next himself in pow'r, and next in crime,
Long after known in Palestine, and nam'd
Beelzebub. To whom th' Arch Enemy,





And thence in Heav'n call'd Satan; with bold words

Breaking the horrid silence, thus began.

"If thou beest he; but O how fall'n! how chang'd
From him, who in the happy realms of light,
Clothed with transcendent brightness, didst outshine
Myriads though bright! If he whom mutual league,
United thoughts and counsels, equal hope


And hazard in the glorious enterprize,

Join'd with me once, now misery hath join'd


In equal ruin: into what pit thou seest,

From what height fall'n; so much the stronger prov'd

He with his thunder and till then who knew

The force of those dire arms? Yet not for those,

Nor what the potent Victor in his rage

Can else inflict, do I repent, or change

(Though chang'd in outward lustre) that fix'd mind,
And high disdain, from sense of injured merit,

That with the Mightiest raised me to contend,
And to the fierce contention brought along
Innumerable force of Spirits arm'd,



That durst dislike his reign, and, me preferring,

His utmost pow'r with adverse pow'r oppos'd

In dubious battle on the plains of Heav'n,

And shook his throne. What tho' the field be lost?


All is not lost; th' unconquerable will,

And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield,
And what is else not to be overcome;
That glory never shall his wrath or might
Extort from me. To bow and sue for
With suppliant knee, and deify his pow'r,
Who from the terror of this arm so late
Doubted his empire, that were low indeed!
That were an ignominy, and shame beneath

This downfall! since by fate the strength of Gods
And this empyreal substance cannot fail,
Since, through experience of this great event,
In arms not worse, in foresight much advanc'd,
may with more successful hope resolve
To wage, by force of guile, eternal war;
Irreconcileable to our grand foe,
Who now triumphs, and in the excess of joy,
Sole reigning, holds the tyranny of Heav'n."

So spoke th' apostate Angel, though in pain,
Vaunting aloud, but rack'd with deep despair:
And him thus answer'd soon his bold compeer.

"O Prince, O Chief of many throned powers;
That led th' embattled Seraphim to war
Under thy conduct, and, in dreadful deeds
Fearless, endanger'd Heav'n's perpetual King,
And put to proof his high supremacy ;·






Whether upheld by strength or chance, or fate;
Too well I see and rue the dire event,

That with sad overthrow and foul defeat


Hath lost us Heav'n, and all this mighty host

In horrible destruction laid thus low,

As far as Gods and heav'nly essences

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