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SATAN now in prospect of Eden, and nigh the place where he must now attempt the bold enterprise which he undertook alone against GoD and man, falls into many doubts with himself, and many passions, fear, envy, and despair; but at length confirms himself in evil, journeys on to paradise, whose outward prospect and situation is described, overleaps the bounds, sits in the shape of a cormorant on the Tree of life, as the highest in the garden to look about him. The garden described; Satan's first sight of Adam and Eve; his wonder at their excellent form and happy state, but with resolution to work their fall: overhears their discourse, thence gathers that the Tree of knowledge was forbidden them to eat of, under penalty of death; and thereon intends to found his temptation, by seducing them to transgress: then leaves them awhile to know further of their state by some other means. Mean while Uriel descending on a sunbeam warns Gabriel, who had in charge the gate of paradise, that some evil spirit had escaped the deep, and passed at noon by his sphere in the shape of a good angel down to paradise, discovered afterwards by his furious gestures in the mount. Gabriel promises to find him ere morning. Night coming on, Adam and Eve discourse of going to their rest: their bower described; their evening worship. Gabriel drawing forth his bands of nightwatch to walk the round of paradise, appoints two strong Angels to Adam's bower, lest the evil spirit should be there doing some harm to Adam or Eve sleeping; there they find him at the ear of Eve, tempting her in a dream, and bring him, though unwilling, to Gabriel; by whom, questioned, he scornfully answers, prepares resistance, but hindered by a sign from heaven flies out of paradise.
O FOR that warning voice, which he, who saw Th' Apocalypse, heard cry in heaven aloud, Then when the Dragon, put to second rout, Came furious down to be reveng'd on men, Woe to the inhabitants on earth! that now, While time was, our first parents had been warn'd The coming of their secret foe, and scap'd, Haply so scap'd his mortal snare; for now Satan, now first inflam'd with rage, came down, The tempter ere th' accuser of mankind, To wreak on innocent frail man his loss Of that first battle, and his flight to hell: Yet not rejoicing in his speed, though bold, Far off and fearless, nor with cause to boast, Begins his dire attempt, which, nigh the birth Now rolling, boils in his tumultuous breast, And like a devilish engine back recoils Upon himself; horror and doubt distract
17 devilish] Spenser's F. Qu. 1. 7. xiii. 'As when that devilish iron engine, wrought in deepest hell.'
17 recoils] see Hamlet, act iii. scene iv.
'Those devilish engines fierie fierce.'
'For 'tis the sport to have the engineer
And Ausonii Epigram, lxxii.
'Auctorem ut feriant tela retorta suum.' and Beaumont's Fair Maid of the Inn, act ii.
His troubled thoughts, and from the bottom stir
Of what he was, what is, and what must be,
O thou that, with surpassing glory crown'd, Look'st from thy sole dominion like the God Of this new world, at whose sight all the stars Hide their diminish'd heads, to thee I call, But with no friendly voice, and add thy name O Sun, to tell thee how I hate thy beams, That bring to my remembrance from what state I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere; Till pride and worse ambition threw me down, Warring in heav'n against heav'n's matchless King. Ah, wherefore! he deserv'd no such return From me, whom he created what I was In that bright eminence, and with his good
21 nor from hell] v. Fairfax's Tasso, c. xii. st. 77. 'Swift from myself I run, myself I fear,
Yet still my hell within myself I bear.' Todd.
30 tow'r] Virg. Culex, ver. 41.
'Igneus æthereas jam sol penetrârat in arces.' Richardson.
Upbraided none; nor was his service hard.
50 sdein'd] Drayton's Moses birth, B. 1.
'Which though it sdaind the pleasdnesse to confesse.' and Fairfax's Tasso, ver. xx. 128. He sdeignful eies.' Todd.
53 still paying] Still paying, ne'er discharged.'
Then happy; no unbounded hope had rais'd
v. Benlowe's Theophila, p. 29.
To me alike, it deals eternal woe:
Nay curs'd be thou; since against his thy will