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The first book proposes, first in brief, the whole sub
ject, Man's disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise wherein he wus placed: Then touches the prime cause of his full,the Serpent or rather Satan in the Serpent; who, revolting from God, and drawing to his side many legions of angels, was, by the com vand of God, driven out of Heaven with all his crew, into the great deep. Whih action passed over, the poem hastens into the midst of thing's, presenting Satan and his angels now falling into llell described here, not in the center (for Heaven and Earth may be supposed as yet not made, certuinly not yet accursed) but in a place of utter darkness, fitliest called Chaos : here Satun with his angeis lying on the burning lake, thunder-struck and astonished, after a certain space recovers, us from confusion, calls up him who next in order and dignity lay by him: they confer of their miserable fall; Satan awakeñs 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 nero 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 that 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
Above the Aonian mount, while it pursues
And chiefly thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer
Say first, for heaven hides nothing from thy view,
Rais'd impious war in heaven, and battle proud,
72m For those rebellious; here their prison ordain'd In utter darkness, and their portion set As far remoy'd from God and light of heaven As from the center thrice to the 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, weltering by his side, One next himself in power, and next in crime, Long after known in Palestine, and nam'd Beëlzebub. To whom the Arch Enemy, And thence in heaven call’d Satan, with bold worde Breaking the horrid silence, thus began :
If thou beest he; But 0, how fallen! how chang'd From him, who in the happy realms of light, Cloth’d with transcendent brightness, didst outshine Myriad's though bright! if he whom mutual league, United thoughts and counsels, equal hope And hazard in the glorious enterprise, Join'd with me once, now misery hath join'd In equal ruin ! into what pit thou seest, From what highth fallen; 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 ir:flict, do I repent, or change, (Though chang’d in outward lustre) that fix'd mind, And high disdain from sense of injur'd merit,