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Thy Father's dreadful thunder didst not spare,
Nor stop thy flaming chariot wheels, that shook
Heaven's everlasting frame, while o'er the necks 395
Thou drovest of warring Angels disarray'd.
Back from pursuit thy Powers with loud acclaim

Thee only extoll'd, Son of thy Father's might,
To execute fierce vengeance on his foes,

Not so on Man: Him through their malice fallen, 400
Father of mercy and grace, thou didst not doom
So strictly, but much more to pity incline:
No sooner did thy dear and only Son
Perceive thee purposed not to doom frail Man
So strictly, but much more to pity inclined,
He to appease thy wrath, and end the strife
Of mercy and justice in thy face discern'd,
Regardless of the bliss wherein he sat
Second to thee, offer'd himself to die

For Man's offence. O unexampled love,
Love no where to be found less than Divine !
Hail, Son of God, Saviour of Men! Thy name
Shall be the copious matter of my song
Henceforth, and never shall my heart thy praise
Forget, nor from thy Father's praise disjoin.

Thus they in Heaven, above the starry sphere,
Their happy hours in joy and hymning spent.
Meanwhile upon the firm opacous globe




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Dark, waste, and wild, under the frown of Night
Starless exposed, and ever threatening storms
Of Chaos blustering round, inclement sky;
Save on that side which from the wall of Heaven.
Though distant far, some small reflection gains
Of glimmering air less vex'd with tempest loud:
Here walk'd the Fiend at large in spacious field. 430

As when a vulture on Imaus bred,

Whose snowy ridge the roving Tartar bounds,
Dislodging from a region scarce of prey

To gorge the flesh of lambs or yeanling kids,

On hills where flocks are fed, flies toward the springs
Of Ganges or Hydaspes, Indian streams;
But in his way lights on the barren plains


Of Sericana, where Chineses drive

With sails and wind their cany waggons light:
So, on this windy sea of land, the Fiend


Walk'd up and down alone, bent on his prey;
Alone, for other creature in this place,
Living or lifeless, to be found was none;

None yet, but store hereafter from the earth
Up hither like aerial vapours flew


Of all things transitory and vain, when sin
With vanity had fill'd the works of men:
Both all things vain, and all who on vain things
Built their fond hopes of glory or lasting fame,
Or happiness in this or the other life;


All who have their reward on earth, the fruits

Of painful superstition and blind zeal,

Nought seeking but the praise of men, here find
Fit retribution, empty as their deeds;

All the unaccomplish'd works of Nature's hand, 455
Abortive, monstrous, or unkindly mix'd,

Dissolved on earth, fleet hither, and in vain,

Till final dissolution, wander here;

Not in the neighbouring moon as some have dream'd;

Those argent fields more likely habitants,
Translated Saints, or middle Spirits hold
Betwixt the angelical and human kind.
Hither of ill join'd sons and daughters born


First from the ancient world those giants came
With many a vain exploit, though then renown'd: 465
The builders next of Babel on the plain

Of Sennaar, and still with vain design,

New Babels, had they wherewithal, would build ·


Others came single; he who, to be deem'd
A God, leap'd fondly into Ætna flames,
Empedocles; and he who, to enjoy
Plato's Elysium, leap'd into the sea,
Cleombrotus; and many more too long,
Embryos, and idiots, eremites, and friars

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White, black, and gray, with all their trumpery 47%
Here pilgrims roam, that stray'd so far to seek
In Golgotha him dead who lives in Heaven;
And they who, to be sure of Paradise,
Dying, put on the weeds of Dominic,
Or in Franciscan think to pass disguised;
They pass the planets seven, and pass the fix'd,
And that crystalline sphere whose balance weighs
The trepidation talk'd, and that first moved;
And now Saint Peter at Heaven's wicket seems
To wait them with his keys, and now at foot
Of Heaven's ascent they lift their feet, when lo
A violent cross-wind from either coast
Blows them transverse, ten thousand leagues awry
Into the devious air: Then might ye see


Cowls, hoods, and habits, with their wearers, toss'd
And flutter'd into rags; then reliques, beads,
Indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls,


The sport of winds: All these, up-whirl'd aloft,
Fly o'er the backside of the world far off

Into a Limbo large and broad, since call'd


The Paradise of Fools, to few unknown

Long after, now unpeopled and untrod.

All this dark globe the Fiend found as he pass'd,
And long he wander'd, till at last a gleam
Of dawning light turn'd thitherward in haste
His travel'd steps: far distant he descries
Ascending by degrees magnificent
Up to the wall of Heaven a structure high,
At top whereof, but far more rich, appear'd
The work as of a kingly palace-gate,
With frontispiece of diamond and gold



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Embellish'd; thick with sparkling orient gems

The portal shone, inimitable on earth

By model, or by shading pencil drawn.

The stairs were such as whereon Jacob saw
Angels ascending and descending, bands
Of guardians bright, when he from Esau fled
To Padan-Aram, in the field of Luz
Dreaming by night under the open sky,


And waking cried, This is the gate of Heaven.
Each stair mysteriously was meant, nor stood
There always, but drawn up to Heaven sometimes
Viewless; and underneath a bright sea flow'd
Of jasper, or of liquid pearl, whereon


Who after came from earth, sailing arrived
Wafted by Angels, or flew o'er the lake


Wrapp'd in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds.

The stairs were then let down, whether to dare

The Fiend by easy ascent, or aggravate

His sad exclusion from the doors of bliss:


Direct against which open'd from beneath,
Just o'er the blissful seat of Paradise,

A passage down to the Earth, a passage wide,
Wider by far than that of aftertimes

Over mount Sion, and, though that were large,


Over the Promised Land to, God so dear;

By which to visit oft those happy tribes,
On high behests his Angels to and fro

Pass'd frequent, and his eye with choice regard
From Paneas, the fount of Jordan's flood,
To Beersaba where the Holy Land


Borders on Egypt and the Arabian shore ;


So wide the opening seem'd, where bounds were set
To darkness, such as bound the ocean wave
Satan from hence, now on the lower stair,
That scaled by steps of gold to Heaven-gate,
Looks down with wonder at the sudden view
Of all this world at once. As when a scout,
Through dark and desert ways with peril gone

All night, at last by break of cheerful dawn
Obtains the brow of some high-climbing hill,
Which to his eye discovers unaware

The goodly prospect of some foreign land
First seen, or some renown'd metropolis
With glistering spires and pinnacles adorn'd,
Which now the rising sun gilds with his beams ·
Such wonder seized, though after Heaven seen,
The Spirit malign, but much more envy seized,
At sight of all this world beheld so fair.



Round he surveys (and well might, where he stood
So high above the circling canopy


Of night's extended shade,) from eastern point
Of Libra to the fleecy star that bears
Andromeda far off Atlantic seas

Beyond the horizon; then from pole to pole


He views in breadth, and without longer pause
Down right into the world's first region throws
His flight precipitant, and winds with ease
Through the pure marble air his oblique way
Amongst innumerable stars, that shone.


Stars distant, but nigh hand seem'd other worlds;
Or other worlds they seem'd, or happy isles,
Like those Hesperian gardens famed of old,
Fortunate fields, and groves, and flowery vales,
Thrice happy isles; but who dwelt happy there
He staid not to inquire: Above them all
The golden sun, in splendour likest Heaven,
Allured his eye; thither his course he bends
Through the calm firmament (but up or down,
By centre, or eccentric, hard to tell,
Or longitude,) where the great luminary
Aloof the vulgar constellations thick,



That from his lordly eye keep distance due,
Dispenses light from far; they, as they move
Their starry dance in numbers that compute
Days, months, and years, towards his all cheering lamp
Turn swift their various motions, or are turn'd


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