Page images

Matter of glorious trial; and perhaps

For still they knew, and ought to have still reI also erred, in over much admiring

membered What seemed in thee so perfect, that I thought The high injunction not to taste that fruit, No evil durst attempt thee; but I rue

Whoever tempted; which they not obeying, That error now, which is become my crime, Incurred (what could they less ?) the penalty And thou the accuser. Thus it shall befall

And, manifold in sin, deserved to fall. Him, who, to worth in woman overtrusting, Up into Heaven from Paradise in haste Lets her will rule: restraint she will not brook; The angelic guards ascended, mute and sad And, left to herself, if evil thence ensue,

For man, for of his state by this they knew, | She first his weak indulgence will accuse." Much wondering how the subtle fiend had stolen Thus they in mutual accusation spent

Entrance unseen. Soon as the unwelcome news The fruitless hours, but neither self-condemning, From earth arrived at Heaven gate, displeased And of their vain contest appeared no end. All were who heard; dim sadness did not spare

That time celestial visages, yet, mixed

With pity, violated not their bliss.

About the new-arrived, in multitudes
Th'ethereal people ran, to hear and know

How all befell: they towards the throne supreme, THE ARGUMENT. Man's transgression known, the guardian angels forsake Accountable, made haste to make appear, Paradise, anul return up to Heaven to approve their vigilance, With righteous plea, their utmost vigilance, and are approved; Gual declaring that the entrance of Satan And easily approved; when the most High could not be by them prevented. He sends his Son to judge Eternal Father, from his secret cloud, the transgressors, who descends and gives sentence accord. ingly; then in pity clothes them both, and reascends. Sin Amidst in thunder uttered thus his voice. and Death, sitting till then at the gates of hell, by wondrous

" Assembled angels, and ye powers returned sympathy feeling the success of Satan in this new world, and From unsuccessful charge, be not dismayed, the sin by man there committed, resolve to sit no longer con- Nor troubled at these tidings from the earth, fined in hell, bu to follow Satan their sire up to the place of which your sincerest care could not prevent; man; to make the way easier from hell to this world to and fro, they pave a broad highway or bridge over chaos, accord. Foretold so lately what would come to pass, ing w the track that Satan first made; then, preparing for When first this tempter crossed the gulf from he earth, they meet him, proud of his success, returning to hell; I told ye then he should prevail, and speed their mutual gratulation. Satan arrives at Pandemonium; in On his bad errand; man should be seduced, full aesembly relates with boasting his success against man; And flattered out of all, believing lies instead of applause is entertained with a general hiss by all lis audience, transformed with himself also suddenly into Against his Maker; no decree of mine serpents, according to his doom given in Paradise ; then de Concurring to necessitate his fall, luded with a show of the forbidden tree springing up before or touch with lightest moment of impulse them, they, greedily reaching to take of the fruit, chew dust His free will, to her own inclining left and bitter ashes. The proceedings of Sin and Death; God In even scale. But fallen he is; and now foretells the final victory of his son over them, and the renew.

What rests, but that the mortal sentence pass ing of all things; but, for the present, commands his angels to make several alterations in the Heav ans and elements. On his transgression,-death denounced that day? Adam, more and more perceiving his fallen condition, heavily Which he presumes already vain and void, bewailə, rejects the condolement of Eve; she persists, and at Because not yet inflicted, as he feared, length appeases him ; then to evade the curse likely to fall on

By some immediate stroke; but soon shall find their offspring, proposes to Adam violent ways, which he proves not; but, conceiving better hope, puts her in mind of Forbearance no acquittance, ere day end. the late promise made them, that the seed should be revenged Justice shall not return as bounty scorned. on the serpent, and exhorts her with him to seek peace of the But whom send I to judge them ? whom but thee, offended Deity, by repentance and supplication.

Vicegerent Son? to thee I have transferred

All judgment, whether in Heaven, or earth, or MEANWHILE, the heinous and despiteful act hell. Of Satan done in Paradise, and how

Easy it may be seen that I intend
He in the serpent had perverted Eve,

Mercy colleague with justice, sending thee,
Her husband she, to taste the fatal fruit, Man's friend, his mediator, his designed
Was known in Heaven; for what can 'scape the Both ransom and Redeemer voluntary,

And destined man himself to judge man fallen.” Of God all-seeing, or deceive his heart

So spake the Father, and unfolding bright Omniscient? who, in all things wise and just, Toward the right-hand his glory, on the Son Hindered not Satan to attempt the mind Blazed forth unclouded Deity; he full Of man, with strength entire and free will armed, Resplendent all his Father manifest Complete to have discovered and repulsed Expressed, and thus divinely answered mild. Whatever wiles of foe or seeming friend.

“Father eternal, thine is to decree;


eat ?"

Mine, both in Heaven and earth, to dc thy will Whereof I gave thee charge thou should'st not
Supreme; that thou in me, thy Son beloved,
Mayest ever rest well pleased. I go to judge To whom thus Adam, sore beset, replied.
On earth these thy transgressors; but thou know-" O Heaven! in evil strait this day I stand

Before my Judge, either to undergo
Whoever judged, the worst on me must light, Myself the total crime, or to accuse
When time shall be; for so I undertook My other self, the partner of my life;
Before thee; and, not repenting, this obtain Whose failing, while her faith to me remains,
Of right, that I may mitigate their doom I should conceal, and expose to blame
On me derived; yei I shall temper so

By my complaint; but strict necessity Justice with mercy, as may illustrate most Subdues me, and calamitous constraint, Them fully satisfied, and thee appease.

Lest on my head both sin and punishment, Attendance none shall nced, nor train, where none However insupportable, be all Are to behold the judgment, but the judged, Devolved; though, should I hold my peace, yet thou Those two; the third best absent is condemned, Wouldst easily detect what I conceal. Convict by fight, and rebel to all law:

This woman, whom thou mad'st to be my help, Conviction to the serpent none belongs." And gav'st me as thy perfect gift, so good,

Thus saying, from his radiant seat he rose So fit, so acceptable, so divine,
Of high collateral glory: him thrones, and powers, That from her hand I could suspect no ill,
Princedoms, and dominations ministrant, And what she did, whatever in itself,
Accompanied to Heaven gate; from whence Her doing seemed to justify the deed;
Eden and all the coast in prospect lay.

She gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
Down he descended straight; the speed of gods To whom the sovereign Presence thus replied.
Time counts not, though with swiftest minutes" Was she thy God, that her thou didst obey

Before his voice, or was she made thy guide, Now was the sun in western cadence low Superior, or but equal, that to her From noon, and gentle airs, due at their hour, Thou didst resign thy manhood, and the place To fan the earth now waked, and usher in Wherein God set thee above her made of thee, The evening cool; when he, from wrath more cool, And for thee, whose perfection far excelled Came the mild Judge, and Intercessor both, Hers in all real dignity ? Adorned To sentence man: the voice of God they heard, She was indeed, and lovely, to attract Now walking in the garden, by soft winds Thy love, not thy subjection; and her gifts Brought to their ears, while day declined; they Were such as under government well seemed, heard,

Unseemly to bear rule, which was thy part And from his presence hid themselves among And person, hadst thou known thyself aright.” The thickest trees, both man and wife; till God, So having said, he thus to Eve in few. Approaching, thus to Adam called aloud.

Say, woman, what is this which thou hast done ?" “Where art thou, Adam, wont with joy to meet To whom sad Eve, with shame nigh overMy coming seen far off? I miss thee here,

whelmed, Not pleased, thus entertained with solitude, Confessing soon, yet not before her Judge Where obvious duty erewhile appeared unsought: Bold or loquacious, thus abashed replied. Or come I less conspicuous, or what change “The serpent me beguiled, and I did eat." Absents thee, or what chance detains? Come Which when the Lord God heard, without delay forth."

To judgment he proceeded on the accused He came, and with him Eve, more loath, though Serpent, though brute, unable to transfer first

The guilt on him who made him instrument
To offend; discountenanced both, and discomposed: Of mischief, and polluted from the end
Love was not in their looks, either to God Of his creation: justly then accursed
Or to each other, but apparent guilt,

As vitiated in nature: more to know
And shame, and perturbation, and despair, Concerned not man (since he no further knew
Anger, and obstinacy, and hate, and guile, Nor altered his offence; yet God at last
Whence Adam, faltering long, thus answered brief: To Satan, first in sin, his doom applied,
"I heard thee in the garden, and of thy voice Though in mysterious terms, judged as then best
Afraid, being naked, hid myself.” To whom And on the serpent thus his curse let fall.
The gracious Judge without revile replied:

“ Because thou hast done this, thou art accursed “My voice thou oft hast heard, and hast not feared, Above all cattle, each beast of the field; But still rejoiced; how is it now become Upon thy belly grovelling thou shalt go, So dreadful to thee? that thou art naked, who And dust thou shalt eat all the days of thy life. Hath told thee? hast thou eaten of the tree Between thee and the woman I will put

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

Enmity, and between thine and her seed; Sin opening; who thus now to Death began. Her seed shall bruise thy head, thou bruise his “O son, why sit we here each other viewing

Idly, while Satan, our great author, thrives So spake this oracle, then verified

In other worlds, and happier seat provides
When Jesus, son of Mary, second Eve,

For us, his offspring dear? It can not be
Saw Satan fall, like lightning, down from Heaven, But that success attends him; if mishap,
Prince of the air; then, rising from his grave, Ere this he had returned, with fury driven
Spoiled principalities and powers, triumphed By his avengers, since no place like this
In open show, and, with ascension bright, Can fit his punishment or their revenge.
Captivity led captive through the air,

Methinks I feel new strength within me rise,
The realm itself of Satan long usurped, Wings growing, and dominion given me large
Whom he shall tread at last under our feet; Beyond this deep; whatever draws me on,
Even he who now foretold his fatal bruise; Or sympathy, or some unnatural force,
And to the woman thus his sentence turned. Powerful at greatest distance to unite,

“Thy sorrow I will greatly multiply With secret amity, things of like kind, By thy conception: children thou shalt bring By secretest conveyance. Thou my shade In sorrow forth; and to thy husband's will Inseparable, must with me long: Thine shall submit; he over thee shall rule.” For Death from Sin no power can separate.

On Adam last thus judgment he pronounced: But lest the difficulty of passing back Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy Stay his return perhaps over this gulf wife,

Impassable, impervious, let us try
And eaten of the tree concerning which Adventurous work, yet to thy power and mine
I charged thee, saying, 'Thou shalt not eat thereof.' Not unagreeable, to found a path
Cursed is the ground for thy sake; thou in sorrow Over this main from hell to that new world,
Shalt eat thereof all the days of thy life; Where Satan now prevails; a monument
Thorns also and thistles it shall bring thee forth Of merit high to all the infernal host,
Unbid; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; Easing their passage hence, for intercourse,
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, Or transmigration, as their lot shall lead.
Till thou return unto the ground; for thou Nor can I miss the way, so strongly drawn
Out of the ground wast taken, know thy birth, By this new felt attraction and instinct.”
For dust thou art, and shalt to dust return." Whom thus the meagre shadow answered soon.

So judged he man, both Judge and Saviour sent;" Go whither fate and inclination strong
And the instant stroke of death denounced that Leads thee; I shall not lag behind, nor err

The way, thou leading; such a scent I draw Rernoved far off; then, pitying how they stood Of carnage, prey innumerable, and taste Before him naked to the air, that now

The savour of death from all things there that live; Must suffer change, disdained not to begin Nor shall I to the work thou enterprisest, Thenceforth the form of servant to assume, Be wanting, but afford thee equal aid." As when he washed his servants' feet; so now. So saying, with delight he snuffed the smell As father of his family, he clad

Of mortal change on earth. As when a flock Their nakedness with skins of beasts, or slain; Of ravenous fowl, though many a league remote, Or as the snake with youthful coat repaid; Against the day of battle, to a field, And thought not much to clothe his enemies: Where armies lie' encamped, come flying, lured Nor he their outward only with the skins With scent of living carcasses designed Of beasts, but inward nakedness much more For death, the following day, in bloody fight: Opprobrious, with his robe of righteousness So scented the grim feature, and upturned Arraying, covered from his Father's sight. His nostril wide into the murky air, To him with swift ascent he up returned, Sagacious of his quarry from so far. Into his blissful bosom reassumed

Then both from out hell gates into the waste In glory, as of old; to him appeased

Wide anarchy of Chaos, damp and dark, All, though all-knowing, what had passed with Flew diverse, and with power (their power was

great) Recounted, mixing intercession sweet. Hovering upon the waters, what they met Meanwhile ere thus was sinned and judged on Solid or slimy, as in raging sea earth,

Tost up and down, together crowded drove Within the gates of hell sat Sin and Death, From each side shoaling towards the mouth of hell: In counterview within the gates, that now As when two polar winds, blowing adverse Stood open wide, belching outrageous flame Upon the Cronian sea, together drive Far into Chaos, since the fiend passed through, Mountains of ice, that stop th' imagined way





Beyond Petsora eastward, to the rich

Great joy was at their meeting, and at sight Cathaian coast. The aggregated soil

Of that stupendous bridge his joy increased. Death with his mace petrific, cold and dry, Long he admiring stood, till Sin, his fair As with a trident smote, and fixed as firm Enchanting daughter, thus the silence broke. As Delos, tloating once; the rest his look

“O parent, these are thy magnific deeds, Bound with Gorgonian rigour not to move; Thy trophies, which thou viewest as not thine And with asphaltic slime, broad as the gate,

own; Deep to the roots of hell the gathered beach Thou art their author and prime architect: They fastened, and the mole immense wrought on For I no sooner in my heart divined; Over the foaming deep high arched, a bridge My heart, which by a secret harmony Of length prodigious, joining to the wall Still moves with thine, joined in connexion sweet, Immoveable of this now fenceless world, That thou on earth had’st prospered, which thy Forfeit to Death; from hence a passage broad, looks Smooth, easy, inoffensive, down to hell. Now also evidence, but straight I felt, So, if great things to small may be compared, Though distant from thee worlds between, yet Xerxes, the liberty of Greece to yoke,

felt, From Susa, his Memnonian palace high, That I must after thee, with this thy son; Came to the sea, and, over Hellespont

Such fatal consequence unites us three ! Bridging his way, Europe with Asia joined, Hell could no longer hold us in her bounds, And scourged with many a stroke the indignant Nor this unvoyageable gulf obscure

Detain from following thy illustrious track. Now had they brought the work by wondrous art Thou hast achieved our liberty, confined Pontifical, a ridge of pendent rock,

Within hell gates till now; thou us empowered Over the vexed abyss, following the track To fortify thus far, and overlay Of Satan to the self-same place where he With this portentous bridge the dark abyss. First lighted from his wing, and landed safe Thine now is all this world; thy virtue hath won From out of Chaos, to the outside bare

What thy hands builded not, thy wisdom gained Of this round world : with pins of adamant With odds what war hath lost, and fully avenged And chains they made all fast, too fast they made Our foil in Heaven; here thou shalt monarch And durable; and now in little space

reign, The confines met of empyrean Heaven,

There didst not; there let him still victor sway; And of this world, and, on the left hand, hell As battle hath adjudged; from this new world With long reach interposed; three several ways Retiring, by his own doom alienated; In sight, to each of these three places led. And henceforth monarchy with thee divide And now their way to earth they had descried, Of all things, parted by th' empyreal bounds, To Paradise first tending, when, behold! His quadrature, from thy orbicular world, Satan, in likeness of an angel bright,

Or try thee now more dangerous to his throne.” Betwixt the Centaur and the Scorpion steering Whom thus the prince of darkness answered His zenith, while the sun in Aries rose:

glad, Disguised he came; but those his children dear "Fair daughter, and thou son and grandchild Their parent soon discerned, though in disguise. both, He, after Eve seduced, unminded slunk High proof ye now have given to be the race Into the wood fast by, and, changing shape of Satan (for I glory in the name, To observe the sequel, saw his guileful act Antagonist of Heaven's almighty King,) By Eve, though all unweeting, seconded Amply have merited of me, of all Upon her husband, saw their shame that sought Th' infernal empire, that so near Heaven's door Vain covertures; but when he saw descend Triumphal with triumphal act have met, The Son of God to judge them, terrified

Mine with this glorious work, and made one realm He fled; not hoping to escape, but shun Hell and this world, one realm, one continent The present; fearing, guilty, what his wrath Of easy thoroughfare. Therefore, while I Might suddenly inflict; that past, returned Descend through darkness, on your road with By night, and listening where the hapless pair ease, Sat in their sad discourse, and various plaint, To my associate powers, them to acquaint Thence gathered his own doom, which understood With these successes, and with them rejoice; Not instant, but of future time, with joy You two this way, among these numerous orbs, And tidings fraught, to hell he now returned; All yours right down to Paradise descend; And at the brink of Chaos, near the foot There dwell and reign in bliss; thence on the Of this new wondrous pontifice, unboped

earth Met, who to meet him came his offspring dear. Dominion exercise and in the air,

Chiefly on man, sole lord of all declared;

“ Thrones, dominations, princedoms, virtues, Him first make sure your thrall, and lastly kill. powers, My substitutes I send ye, and create

For in possession such not only of right, Plenipotent on earth, of matchless might I call ye, and declare ye now; returned, Issuing from me: on your joint vigour now Successful beyond hope, to lead ye forth My hold of this new kingdom all depends, Triumphant out of this infernal pit Through Sin to Death exposed by my exploit. Abominable, accursed, the house of wo, If your joint power prevail

, th' affairs of hell And dungeon of our tyrant: now possess No detriment need fear; go, and be strong!" As lords, a spacious world, to our native Heaven

So saying, he disinissed them; they with speed Little inferior, by my adventure hard Their course through thickest constellations held, With peril great achieved. Long were to tell Spreading their bane; the blasted stars looked wan, What I have done, what suffered, with what pain And planets, planet-struck, real eclipse Voyaged the unreal, vast, unbounded deep Then suffered. Th' other way Satan went down Of horrible confusion, over which The causey to hell gate: on either side

By Sin and Death a broad way now is paved, Disparted Chaos overbuilt exclaimed,

To expedite your glorious march; but I And with rebounding surge the bars assailed, Toiled out my uncouth passage, forced to ride That scorned his indignation : through the gate, The untractable abyss, plunged in the womb Wide open and unguarded Satan passed, Of unoriginal night and Chaos wild, And all about found desolate; for those

That, jealous of their secrets fiercely opposed
Appointed to sit there had left their charge, My journey strange, with clamorous uproar
Flown to the upper world; the rest were all Protesting Fate supreme; thence how I found
Far to the inland retired about the walls The new created world, which fame in Heaven
Of Pandemonium, city and proud seat Long had foretold, a fabric wonderful
Of Lucifer, so by allusion called

Of absolute perfection; therein man
Of that bright star to Satan paragoned. Placed in a Paradise, by our exile
There kept their watch the legions, while the grand Made happy: him by fraud I have seduced
In council sat, solicitous what chance

From his Creator, and, the more to increase
Might intercept their emperor sent; so he Your wonder, with an apple; he, thereat
Departing gave command, and they observed Offended, worth your laughter! hath given up
As when the Tartar from his Russian foe, Both his beloved man and all his world,
By Astracan over the snowy plains

To Sin and Death a prey, and so to us, Retires, or Bactrian sophi, from the horns Without our hazard, labour, or alarm, Of Turkish crescent, leaves all waste beyond To range in, and to dwell, and over man The realm of Aladule, in his retreat

To rule, as over all he should have ruled. To Tauris or Casbeen: so these, the late True is, me also he hath judged, or rather Heaven banished host, left desert utmost hell Me not, but the brute serpent in whose shape Many a dark league, reduced in careful watch Man I deceived: that which to me belongs Round their metropolis, and now expecting Is enmity, which he will put between Each hour their great adventurer, from the search Me and mankind; I am to bruise his heel; Of foreign worlds: he through the midst unmarked His seed, when is not set, shall bruise my head : In show plebeian angel militant

A world who would not purchase with a bruise, Of lowest order, passed; and from the door Or much more grievous pain ? Ye have the account Of that Plutonian hall, invisible

Of my performance; what remains, ye gods, Ascends his high throne; which, under state But up, and enter now into full bliss !" Of richest texture spread, at th’ upper end So having said, awhile he stood, expecting Was placed in regal lustre. Down awhile Their universal shout, and high applause, He sat, and round about him saw unseen: To fill his ear; when, contrary, he hears At last as from a cloud, his fulgent head On all sides, from innumerable tongues, And shape star bright appeared, or brighter; clad A dismal universal hiss, the sound With what permissive glory since his fall Of public scorn; he wondered, but not long Was left him, or false glitter: all amazed Had leisure, wondering at himself now more At that so sudden blaze, the Stygian throng His visage drawn he felt to sharp and spare; Bent their aspect, and whom they wished beheld, His arms clung to his ribs ; his legs intwining Their mighty chief returned : loud was the acclaim: Each other, till supplanted down he fell Forth rushed in haste the great consulting peers, A monstrous serpent on his belly prone, Raised from their dark divan, and with like joy Reluctant, but in vain; a greater power Congratulant approached him, who with hand Now ruled him, punished in the shape he sinned, Silence and with these words attention, won. According to his doom: he would have spoke,


« PreviousContinue »