Page images



With diadem, and sceptre, high advanc'd,
The lower ftill I fall, only fupreme
In mifery; fuch joy ambition finds!
But fay I could repent, and could obtain,
By act of grace, my former state; how foon
Would height recall high thoughts, how soon un-say
What feign'd fubmiffion swore! ease would recant
Vows made in pain, as violent and void;
(For never can true reconcilement grow
Where wounds of deadly hate have pierc'd fo deep)
Which would but lead me to a worse relapse, 100
And heavier fall: fo fhould I purchase dear
Short intermiffion, bought with double smart.
This knows my punisher; therefore as far
From granting He, as I from begging peace.
All hope excluded thus, behold! in stead
Of us out-caft, exil'd, his new delight
Mankind created, and for him this world.
So farewel hope! and with hope, farewel fear!
Farewel remorfe! all good to me is loft:
Evil be thou my good! By thee at leaft
Divided empire with heav'n's King I hold;
By thee, and more than half perhaps, will reign:
As man e'er-long, and this new world, shall know.



Thus while he spake, each paffion dimm'd his face, Thrice chang'd with pale, ire, envy, and despair, 115 Which marr'd his borrow'd vifage, and betray'd Him counterfeit, if any eye beheld.

(For heav'nly minds from such distempers foul Are ever clear.) Whereof he soon aware,

Each perturbation smooth'd with outward calm, 120 Artificer of fraud! and was the first

That practis'd falfhood, under faintly few
Deep malice to conceal, couch'd with revenge.
Yet not enough had practis'd, to deceive 124
Uriel once warn'd; whofe eye pursu'd him down
The way he went, and on th' Affyrian mount
`Saw him disfigur'd, more than could befall
Spirit of happy fort: his geftures fierce

He mark'd, and mad demeanor, then alone,
As he fuppos'd, all un-obferv'd, un-feen.
So, on he fares; and to the border comes
Of Eden, where delicious Paradise,
Now nearer, crowns with her enclosure green,
As with a rural mound, the champain head
Of a steep wilderness; whofe hairy fides
With thicket overgrown, grotesque, and wild,
Accefs deny'd: and over head up-grew
Infuperable height of loftieft fhade,

Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm,
A fylvan scene! and as the ranks afcend
Shade above fhade, a woody theatre
Of statelieft view. Yet higher than their tops
The verdurous wall of Paradife up-fprung:
Which to our general fire gave profpect large
Into his neather empire, neighb'ring round.
And higher than that wall a circling row
Of goodliest trees, loaden with fairest fruit,
Bloffoms, and fruits at once of golden hue,
Appear'd, with gay enamel'd colors mix'd:






On which the fun more glad imprefs'd his beams,
Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow, 151
When God hath show'r'd the earth; fo lovely feem'd
That landscape! and of pure now purer air
Meets his approach; and to the heart infpires
Vernal delight, and joy, able to drive
All fadness, but defpair: now gentle gales,
Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they ftole
Those balmy spoils. As when to them who fail
Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past
Mozambic, off at sea north-east winds blow
Sabaan odor, from the fpicy shore
Of Araby the Bleft, with fuch delay [league
Well-pleas'd they flack their course, and many a
Chear'd with the grateful smell old Ocean fmiles :
So entertain'd those odorous fweets the fiend, 166
Who came their bane; though with them better
Than Afmodeus with the fishy fume [pleas'd
That drove him, though enamour'd, from the spouse
Of Tobit's fon, and with a vengeance fent 170
From Media poft to Egypt, there fast bound.
Now to th' afcent of that steep favage hill
Satan had journied on, penfive, and flow;
But further way found none, fo thick entwin'd,
As one continu'd brake, the undergrowth
Of fhrubs, and tangling bushes, had perplex'd
All path of man, or beast, that pass'd that way.
One gate there only was, and that look'd eaft
On th' other fide: which when th' arch-fellon faw,





Due entrance he disdain'd, and in contempt
At one flight bound high over-leap'd all bound
Of hill, or highest wall, and sheer within
Lights on his feet. As when a prowling wolf,
Whom hunger drives to seek new haunt for prey,
Watching where shepherds pen their flocks at eve
In hurdl'd cotes, amid the field fecure,
Leaps o'er the fence with ease into the fold:
Or as a thief, bent to un-hoard the cash
Of fome rich burgher, whose substantial doors,
Crofs-barr'd, and bolted fast, fear no affault,
In at the window climbs, or o'er the tiles :
So clomb this first grand thief into God's fold;
(So fince into his Church lewd hirelings climb.)
Thence up he flew, and on the Tree of Life,
(The middle tree, and highest there that grew) 195
Sat like a cormorant; yet not true life
Thereby regain'd, but fat devifing death

To them who liv'd: nor on the virtue thought

[ocr errors]



Of that life-giving plant, but only us'd

For prospect, what well-us'd had been the pledge
Of immortality. (So little knows

Any, but God alone, to value right

The good before him, but perverts beft things
To worst abufe, or to their meanest use.)
Beneath him, with new wonder, now he views,
To all delight of human fenfe expos'd
In narrow room, nature's whole wealth, yea more,
A heav'n on earth! for blissful Paradife


Of God the garden was, by him in th' east




Of Eden planted; Eden ftretch'd her line
From Auran eastward to the royal tow'rs
Of great Seleucia, built by Grecian Kings,
Or where the fons of Eden long before
Dwelt in Telaffar. In this pleasant foil
His far more pleasant garden God ordain'd.
Out of the fertile ground he caus'd to grow
All trees of nobleft kind, for fight, fmell, tafte
And all amid them ftood the Tree of Life,
High eminent, blooming ambrofial fruit
Of vegetable gold: and next to life,
Our death, the Tree of Knowledge, grew faft by;
Knowledge of good bought dear by knowing ill!
Southward through Eden went a river large,
Nor chang'd his course, but through the shaggy hill
Pafs'd underneath ingulf'd; for God had thrown 225
That mountain as His garden mound, high rais'd
Upon the rapid current, which through veins
Of porous earth with kindly thirst up drawn,
Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill
Water'd the garden; thence united fell
Down the steep glade, and met the neather flood,
Which from his darksome passage now appears :
And now divided into four main ftreams,
Runs diverfe, wandring many a famous realm
And country, whereof here needs no account :
But rather to tell how, (if art could tell
How) from that faphire fount the crifped brooks
Rowling on orient pearl, and fands of gold,
With mazy error under pendent shades



« PreviousContinue »