can behold; on thee Impressed the effulgence of his glory abides, Transfused on thee his ample Spirit rests. He Heaven of Heavens and all the Powers therein By thee created; and by thee threw down The aspiring Dominations: Thou that day 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 Thou drovest of warring Angels disarrayed. Back from pursuit thy Powers with loud acclaim Thee only extolled, Son of thy Father's might, To execute fierce vengeance on his foes, Not so on Man: Him through their malice fallen, 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 discerned, Regardless of the bliss wherein he sat Second to thee, offered 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. Mean while upon the firm opacous globe Of this round world, whose first convex divides The luminous inferiour orbs, enclosed From Chaos, and the inroad of Darkness old, Satan alighted walks: A globe far off It seemed, now seems a boundless continent 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 vexed with tempest loud: Here walked the Fiend at large in spacious field. As when a vultur 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 Walked 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 aereal vapours flew Of all things transitory and vain, when sin With vanity had filled the works of men: Both all things vain, and all who in 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 unaccomplished works of Nature's hand, Abortive, monstrous, or unkindly mixed, Dissolved on earth, fleet hither, and in vain, Till final dissolution, wander here; Not in the neighbouring moon as some have dreamed; Those argent fields more likely habitants, Translated Saints, or middle Spirits hold Betwixt the angelical and human kind. Hither of ill-joined sons and daughters born First from the ancient world those giants came With many a vain exploit, though then renowned: 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 deemed A God, leaped fondly into Aetna flames, Empedocles; and he, who, to enjoy Plato's Elysium, leaped into the sea, Cleombrotus; and many more too long, Embryos, and idiots, eremites, and friars White, black, and gray, with all their trumpery. Here pilgrims roam, that strayed 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 Dominick, Or in Franciscan think to pass disguised; They pass the planets seven, and pass the fixed, And that crystalling sphere whose balance weighs The trepidation talked, 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, tost And fluttered into rags; then reliques, beads, Indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls, The sport of winds: All these, upwhirled aloft, Fly o'er the backside of the world far off Into a Limbo large and broad, since called The Paradise of Fools, to few unknown Long after; now unpeopled, and untrod. All this dark globe the Fiend found as he passed, And long he wandered, till at last a gleam Of dawning light turned thither-ward in haste His travelled 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, appeared The work as of a kingly palace-gate, With frontispiece of diamond and gold Embellished; thick with sparkling orient gems The portal shone, inimitable on earth By model, or by shading pencil, drawn. These 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 flowed Of jasper, or of liquid pearl, whereon Who after came from earth, failing arrived Wafted by Angels, or flew o'er the lake Rapt 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 opened 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 after-times 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 Passed 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 seemed, 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 renowned metropolis With glistering spires and pinnacles adorned, Which now the rising sun gilds with his beams: Such wonder seised, though after Heaven seen, The Spirit malign, but much more envy seised, 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 Atlantick 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 seemed other worlds; Or other worlds they seemed, 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 center, or eccentrick, 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 turned By his magnetick beam, that gently warms The universe, and to each inward part With gentle penetration, though unseen, Shoots invisible virtue even to the deep; So wonderously was set his station bright. There lands the Fiend, a spot like which perhaps Astronomer in the sun's lucent orb Through his glazed optick tube yet never saw. The place he found beyond expression bright, Compared with aught on earth, metal or stone; Not all parts like, but all alike informed With radiant light, as glowing iron with fire; If metal, part seemed gold, part silver clear; If stone, carbuncle most or chrysolite, Ruby or topaz, to the twelve that shone In Aaron's breast-plate, and a stone besides Imagined rather oft than elsewhere seen, That stone, or like to that which here below Philosophers in vain so long have sought, In vain, though by their powerful art they bind Volatile Hermes, and call up unbound In various shapes old Proteus from the sea, Drained through a limbeck to his native form. What wonder then if fields and regions here Breathe forth Elixir pure, and rivers run Potable gold, when with one virtuous touch The arch-chemick sun, so far from us remote, Produces, with terrestrial humour mixed, Here in the dark so many precious things Of colour glorious, and effect so rare? Here matter new to gaze the Devil met Undazzled; far and wide his eye commands; For sight no obstacle found here, nor shade, But all sun-shine, as when his beams at noon Culminate from the equator, as they now Shot upward still direct, whence no way round Shadow from body opaque can fall; and the air, No where so clear, sharpened his visual ray To objects distant far, whereby he soon Saw within ken a glorious Angel stand, The same whom John saw also in the sun: His back was turned, but not his brightness hid; Of beaming sunny rays a golden tiar Circled his head, nor less his locks behind Illustrious on his shoulders fledge with wings Lay waving round; on some great charge employed He seemed, or fixed in cogitation deep. Glad was the Spirit impure, as now in hope To find who might direct his wandering flight To Paradise, the happy seat of Man, His journey's end and our beginning woe. But first he casts to change his proper shape, Which else might work him danger or delay: And now a stripling Cherub he appears, Not of the prime, yet such as in his face Youth smiled celestial, and to every limb Suitable grace diffused, so well he feigned: Under a coronet his flowing hair In curls on either cheek played; wings he wore Of many a coloured plume, sprinkled with gold; His habit fit for speed succinct, and held Before his decent steps a silver wand. He drew not nigh unheard; the Angel bright, Ere he drew nigh, his radiant visage turned, Admonished by his ear, and straight was known The Arch-Angel Uriel, one of the seven Who in God's presence, nearest to his throne, Stand ready at command, and are his eyes That run through all the Heavens, or down to the Earth Bear his swift errands over moist and dry, O'er sea and land: him Satan thus accosts. Uriel, for thou of those seven Spirits that stand In sight of God's high throne, gloriously bright, The first art wont his great authentick will Interpreter through highest Heaven to bring, Where all his sons thy embassy attend; And here art likeliest by supreme decree Like honour to obtain, and as his eye To visit oft this new creation round; Unspeakable desire to see, and know All these his wonderous works, but chiefly Man, His chief delight and favour, him for whom All these his works so wonderous he ordained, Hath brought me from the quires of Cherubim Alone thus wandering. Brightest Seraph, tell In which of all these shining orbs hath Man His fixed seat, or fixed seat hath none, But all these shining orbs his choice to dwell; That I may find him, and with secret gaze Or open admiration him behold, On whom the great Creator hath bestowed Worlds, and on whom hath all these graces poured; That both in him and all things, as is meet, The universal Maker we may praise; Who justly hath driven out his rebel foes To deepest Hell, and, to repair that loss, Created this new happy race of Men To serve him better: Wise are all his ways. So spake the false dissembler unperceived; For neither Man nor Angel can discern Hypocrisy, the only evil that walks Invisible, except to God alone, By his permissive will, through Heaven and Earth: And oft, though wisdom wake, suspicion sleeps At wisdom's gate, and to simplicity Resigns her charge, while goodness thinks no ill Where no ill seems: Which now for once beguiled Uriel, though regent of the sun, and held The sharpest-sighted Spirit of all in Heaven; Who to the fraudulent impostor foul, In his uprightness, answer thus returned. Fair Angel, thy desire, which tends to know The works of God, thereby to glorify The great Work-master, leads to no excess That reaches blame, but rather merits praise The more it seems excess, that led thee hither From thy empyreal mansion thus alone, To witness with thine eyes what some perhaps, Contented with report, hear only in Heaven: For wonderful indeed are all his works, Pleasant to know, and worthiest to be all Had in remembrance always with delight; But what created mind can comprehend Their number, or the wisdom infinite That brought them forth, but hid their causes deep? I saw when at his word the formless mass, This world's material mould, came to a heap: Confusion heard his voice, and wild uproar Stood ruled, stood vast infinitude confined; Till at his second bidding Darkness fled, Light shone, and order from disorder sprung: Swift to their several quarters hasted then The cumbrous elements, earth, flood, air, fire; And this ethereal quintessence of Heaven Flew upward, spirited with various forms, That rolled orbicular, and turned to stars Numberless, as thou seest, and how they move; Each had his place appointed, each his course; The rest in circuit walls this universe. Look downward on that globe, whose hither side With light from hence, though but reflected, shines; That place is Earth, the seat of Man; that light His day, which else, as the other hemisphere, Night would invade; but there the neighbouring moon (So call that opposite fair star) her aid Timely interposes, and her monthly round Still ending, still renewing, through mid Heaven, With borrowed light her countenance triform Hence fills and empties to enlighten the Earth, And in her pale dominion checks the night. That spot, to which I point, is Paradise, Adam's abode; those lofty shades, his bower. Thy way thou canst not miss, me mine requires. Thus said, he turned; and Satan, bowing low, As to superiour Spirits is wont in Heaven, Where honour due and reverence none neglects, Took leave, and toward the coast of earth beneath, Down from the ecliptick, sped with hoped success, Throws his steep flight in many an aery wheel; Nor staid, till on Niphates' top he lights.
O, for that warning voice, which he, who saw The Apocalypse, heard cry in Heaven aloud, Then when the Dragon, put to second rout, Came furious down to be revenged on men, Woe to the inhabitants on earth! that now, While time was, our first parents had been warned The coming of their secret foe, and 'scaped, Haply so 'scaped his mortal snare: For now Satan, now first inflamed with rage, came down, The tempter ere the 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; horrour and doubt distract His troubled thoughts, and from the bottom stir The Hell within him; for within him Hell He brings, and round about him, nor from Hell One step, no more than from himself, can fly By change of place: Now conscience wakes despair, That slumbered; wakes the bitter memory Of what he was, what is, and what must be Worse; of worse deeds worse sufferings must ensue. Sometimes towards Eden, which now in his view Lay pleasant, his grieved look he fixes sad; Sometimes towards Heaven, and the full-blazing sun, Which now sat high in his meridian tower: Then, much revolving, thus in sighs began. O thou, that, with surpassing glory crowned, Lookest from thy sole dominion like the God Of this new world; at whose sight all the stars Hide their diminished heads; to thee I call, But with no friendly voice, and add thy name, Of 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 Heaven against Heaven's matchless King: Ah, wherefore! he deserved no such return From me, whom he created what I was In that bright eminence, and with his good Upbraided none; nor was his service hard. What could be less than to afford him praise, The easiest recompence, and pay him thanks, How due! yet all his good proved ill in me, And wrought but malice; lifted up so high I 'sdeined subjection, and thought one step higher Would set me highest, and in a moment quit The debt immense of endless gratitude, So burdensome still paying, still to owe, Forgetful what from him I still received, And understood not that a grateful mind By owing owes not, but still pays, at once Indebted and discharged; what burden then O, had his powerful destiny ordained Me some inferiour Angel, I had stood Then happy; no unbounded hope had raised Ambition! Yet why not some other Power As great might have aspired, and me, though mean, Drawn to his part; but other Powers as great Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within Or from without, to all temptations armed. Hadst thou the same free will and power to stand? Thou hadst: whom hast thou then or what to accuse, But Heaven's free love dealt equally to all? Be then his love accursed, since love or hate, To me alike, it deals eternal woe. Nay, cursed be thou; since against his thy will Chose freely what it now so justly rues. Me miserable! which way shall I fly Infinite wrath, and infinite despair? Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell; And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep Still threatening to devour me opens wide, To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heaven. O, then, at last relent: Is there no place Left for repentance, none for pardon left? None left but by submission; and that word Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame Among the Spirits beneath, whom I seduced With other promises and other vaunts Than to submit, boasting I could subdue The Omnipotent. Ay me! they little know How dearly I abide that boast so vain, Under what torments inwardly I groan, While they adore me on the throne of Hell. With diadem and scepter high advanced, The lower still I fall, only supreme In misery: Such joy ambition finds. But say I could repent, and could obtain, By act of grace, my former state; how soon Would highth recall high thoughts, how soon unsay What feigned submission swore? Ease would recant Vows made in pain, as violent and void. For never can true reconcilement grow, Where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep: Which would but lead me to a worse relapse And heavier fall: so should I purchase dear Short intermission bought with double smart. This knows my Punisher; therefore as far From granting he, as I from begging, peace; All hope excluded thus, behold, instead Of us out-cast, exil'd, his new delight, Mankind created, and for him this world. So farewell, hope; and with hope farewell, fear; Farewell, remorse! all good to me is lost; Evil, be thou my good; by thee at least Divided empire with Heaven's King I hold, By thee, and more than half perhaps will reign; As Man ere long, and this new world, shall know. Thus while he spake, each passion dimmed his face Thrice changed with pale, ire, envy, and despair; Which marred his borrowed visage, and betrayed Him counterfeit, if any eye beheld. For heavenly minds from such distempers foul Are ever clear. Whereof he soon aware, Each perturbation smoothed with outward calm, Artificer of fraud; and was the first That practised falsehood under saintly show, Deep malice to conceal, couched with revenge: Yet not enough had practised to deceive Uriel once warned; whose eye pursued him down The way he went, and on the Assyrian mount Saw him disfigured, more than could befall Spirit of happy sort; his gestures fierce He marked and mad demeanour, then alone, As he supposed, all unobserved, unseen. 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 champaign head Of a steep wilderness, whose hairy sides With thicket overgrown, grotesque and wild, Access denied; and overhead upgrew Insuperable height of loftiest shade, Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm, A sylvan scene, and, as the ranks ascend, Shade above shade, a woody theatre Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops The verdurous wall of Paradise upsprung; Which to our general sire gave prospect large Into his nether empire neighbouring round. And higher than that wall a circling row Of goodliest trees, loaden with fairest fruit, Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue, Appeared, with gay enamelled colours mixed: On which the sun more glad impressed his beams Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow, When God hath showered the earth; so lovely seemed That landskip: And of pure now purer air Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires Vernal delight and joy, able to drive All sadness but despair: Now gentle gales, Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole Those balmy spoils. As when to them who fail Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past Mozambick, off at sea north-east winds blow Sabean odours from the spicy shore Of Araby the blest; with such delay Well pleased they slack their course, and many a league Cheered with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles: So entertained those odorous sweets the Fiend, Who came their bane; though with them better pleased Than Asmodeus with the fishy fume That drove him, though enamoured, from the spouse Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent From Media post to Egypt, there fast bound. Now to the ascent of that steep savage hill Satan had journeyed on, pensive and slow; But further way found none, so thick entwined, As one continued brake, the undergrowth Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplexed All path of man or beast that passed that way. One gate there only was, and that looked east On the other side: which when the arch-felon saw, Due entrance he disdained; and, in contempt, At one flight bound high over-leaped 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 hurdled cotes amid the field secure, Leaps o'er the fence with ease into the fold: Or as a thief, bent to unhoard the cash Of some rich burgher, whose substantial doors, Cross-barred and bolted fast, fear no assault, In at the window climbs, or o'er the tiles: So clomb this first grand thief into God's fold; So since into his church lewd hirelings climb. Thence up he flew, and on the tree of life, The middle tree and highest there that grew, Sat like a cormorant; yet not true life Thereby regained, but sat devising death To them who lived; nor on the virtue thought Of that life-giving plant, but only used For prospect, what well used had been the pledge Of immortality. So little knows Any, but God alone, to value right The good before him, but perverts best things To worst abuse, or to their meanest use. Beneath him with new wonder now he views, To all delight of human sense exposed, In narrow room, Nature's whole wealth, yea more, A Heaven on Earth: For blissful Paradise Of God the garden was, by him in the east Of Eden planted; Eden stretched her line From Auran eastward to the royal towers Of great Seleucia, built by Grecian kings, Or where the sons of Eden long before Dwelt in Telassar: In this pleasant soil His far more pleasant garden God ordained; Out of the fertile ground he caused to grow All trees of noblest kind for sight, smell, taste; And all amid them stood the tree of life, High eminent, blooming ambrosial fruit Of vegetable gold; and next to life, Our death, the tree of knowledge, grew fast by, Knowledge of good bought dear by knowing ill. Southward through Eden went a river large, Nor changed his course, but through the shaggy hill Passed underneath ingulfed; for God had thrown That mountain as his garden-mould high raised Upon the rapid current, which, through veins Of porous earth with kindly thirst up-drawn, Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill Watered the garden; thence united fell Down the steep glade, and met the nether flood, Which from his darksome passage now appears, And now, divided into four main streams, Runs diverse, wandering many a famous realm And country, whereof here needs no account; But rather to tell how, if Art could tell, How from that sapphire fount the crisped brooks, Rolling on orient pearl and sands of gold, With mazy errour under pendant shades Ran nectar, visiting each plant, and fed Flowers worthy of Paradise, which not nice Art In beds and curious knots, but Nature boon Poured forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain, Both where the morning sun first warmly smote The open field, and where the unpierced shade Imbrowned the noontide bowers: Thus was this place A happy rural seat of various view; Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and balm, Others whose fruit, burnished with golden rind, Hung amiable, Hesperian fables true, If true, here only, and of delicious taste: Betwixt them lawns, or level downs, and flocks Grazing the tender herb, were interposed, Or palmy hillock; or the flowery lap Of some irriguous valley spread her store, Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose: Another side, umbrageous grots and caves Of cool recess, o'er which the mantling vine Lays forth her purple grape, and gently creeps Luxuriant; mean while murmuring waters fall Down the slope hills, dispersed, or in a lake, That to the fringed bank with myrtle crowned Her crystal mirrour holds, unite their streams. The birds their quire apply; airs, vernal airs, Breathing the smell of field and grove, attune The trembling leaves, while universal Pan, Knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance, Led on the eternal Spring. Not that fair field Of Enna, where Proserpine gathering flowers, Herself a fairer flower by gloomy Dis Was gathered, which cost Ceres all that pain To seek her through the world; nor that sweet grove Of Daphne by Orontes, and the inspired Castalian spring, might with this Paradise Of Eden strive; nor that Nyseian isle Girt with the river Triton, where old Cham, Whom Gentiles Ammon call and Libyan Jove, Hid Amalthea, and her florid son Young Bacchus, from his stepdame Rhea's eye; Nor where Abassin kings their issue guard, Mount Amara, though this by some supposed True Paradise under the Ethiop line By Nilus' head, enclosed with shining rock, A whole day's journey high, but wide remote From this Assyrian garden, where the Fiend Saw, undelighted, all delight, all kind Of living creatures, new to sight, and strange Two of far nobler shape, erect and tall, Godlike erect, with native honour clad In naked majesty seemed lords of all: And worthy seemed; for in their looks divine The image of their glorious Maker shone, Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure, (Severe, but in true filial freedom placed,) Whence true authority in men; though both Not equal, as their sex not equal seemed; For contemplation he and valour formed; For softness she and sweet attractive grace; He for God only, she for God in him: His fair large front and eye sublime declared Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks Round from his parted forelock manly hung Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad: She, as a veil, down to the slender waist Her unadorned golden tresses wore Dishevelled, but in wanton ringlets waved As the vine curls her tendrils, which implied Subjection, but required with gentle sway, And by her yielded, by him best received, Yielded with coy submission, modest pride, And sweet, reluctant, amorous delay. Nor those mysterious parts were then concealed; Then was not guilty shame, dishonest shame Of nature's works, honour dishonourable, Sin-bred, how have ye troubled all mankind With shows instead, mere shows of seeming pure, And banished from man's life his happiest life, Simplicity and spotless innocence! So passed they naked on, nor shunned the sight Of God or Angel; for they thought no ill: So hand in hand they passed, the loveliest pair, That ever since in love's embraces met; Adam the goodliest man of men since born His sons, the fairest of her daughters Eve. Under a tuft of shade that on a green Stood whispering soft, by a fresh fountain side They sat them down; and, after no more toil Of their sweet gardening labour than sufficed To recommend cool Zephyr, and made ease More easy, wholesome thirst and appetite More grateful, to their supper-fruits they fell, Nectarine fruits which the compliant boughs Yielded them, side-long as they sat recline On the soft downy bank damasked with flowers: The savoury pulp they chew, and in the rind, Still as they thirsted, scoop the brimming stream; Nor gentle purpose, nor endearing smiles Wanted, nor youthful dalliance, as beseems Fair couple, linked in happy nuptial league, Alone as they. About them frisking played All beasts of the earth, since wild, and of all chase In wood or wilderness, forest or den; Sporting the lion ramped, and in his paw Dandled the kid; bears, tigers, ounces, pards, Gambolled before them; the unwieldy elephant, To make them mirth, used all his might, and wreathed His lithe proboscis; close the serpent sly, Insinuating, wove with Gordian twine His braided train, and of his fatal guile Gave proof unheeded; others on the grass Couched, and now filled with pasture gazing sat, Or bedward ruminating; for the sun, Declined, was hasting now with prone career To the ocean isles, and in the ascending scale Of Heaven the stars that usher evening rose: When Satan still in gaze, as first he stood, Scarce thus at length failed speech recovered sad. O Hell! what do mine eyes with grief behold! Into our room of bliss thus high advanced Creatures of other mould, earth-born perhaps, Not Spirits, yet to heavenly Spirits bright Little inferiour; whom my thoughts pursue With wonder, and could love, so lively shines In them divine resemblance, and such grace The hand that formed them on their shape hath poured. Ah! gentle pair, ye little think how nigh Your change approaches, when all these delights Will vanish, and deliver ye to woe; More woe, the more your taste is now of joy; Happy, but for so happy ill secured Long to continue, and this high seat your Heaven Ill fenced for Heaven to keep out such a foe As now is entered; yet no purposed foe To you, whom I could pity thus forlorn, Though I unpitied: League with you I seek, And mutual amity, so strait, so close, That I with you must dwell, or you with me Henceforth; my dwelling haply may not please, Like this fair Paradise, your sense; yet such Accept your Maker's work; he gave it me, Which I as freely give: Hell shall unfold, To entertain you two, her widest gates, And send forth all her kings; there will be room, Not like these narrow limits, to receive Your numerous offspring; if no better place, Thank him who puts me loth to this revenge On you who wrong me not for him who wronged. And should I at your harmless innocence Melt, as I do, yet publick reason just, Honour and empire with revenge enlarged, By conquering this new world, compels me now To do what else, though damned, I should abhor. So spake the Fiend, and with necessity, The tyrant's plea, excused his devilish deeds. Then from his lofty stand on that high tree Down he alights among the sportful herd Of those four-footed kinds, himself now one, Now other, as their shape served best his end Nearer to view his prey, and, unespied, To mark what of their state he more might learn, By word or action marked. About them round A lion now he stalks with fiery glare; Then as a tiger, who by chance hath spied In some purlieu two gentle fawns at play, Straight couches close, then, rising, changes oft His couchant watch, as one who chose his ground, Whence rushing, he might surest seize them both, Griped in each paw: when, Adam first of men To first of women Eve thus moving speech, Turned him, all ear to hear new utterance flow. Sole partner, and sole part, of all these joys, Dearer thyself than all; needs must the Power That made us, and for us this ample world, Be infinitely good, and of his good As liberal and free as infinite; That raised us from the dust, and placed us here In all this happiness, who at his hand Have nothing merited, nor can perform Aught whereof he hath need; he who requires From us no other service than to keep This one, this easy charge, of all the trees In Paradise that bear delicious fruit So various, not to taste that only tree Of knowledge, planted by the tree of life; So near grows death to life, whate'er death is, Some dreadful thing no doubt; for well thou knowest God hath pronounced it death to taste that tree, The only sign of our obedience left, Among so many signs of power and rule Conferred upon us, and dominion given Over all other creatures that possess Earth, air, and sea. Then let us not think hard One easy prohibition, who enjoy Free leave so large to all things else, and choice Unlimited of manifold delights: But let us ever praise him, and extol His bounty, following our delightful task, To prune these growing plants, and tend these flowers, Which were it toilsome, yet with thee were sweet. To whom thus Eve replied. O thou for whom And from whom I was formed, flesh of thy flesh, And without whom am to no end, my guide And head! what thou hast said is just and right. For we to him indeed all praises owe, And daily thanks; I chiefly, who enjoy So far the happier lot, enjoying thee Pre-eminent by so much odds, while thou Like consort to thyself canst no where find. That day I oft remember, when from sleep I first awaked, and found myself reposed Under a shade on flowers, much wondering where And what I was, whence thither brought, and how. Not distant far from thence a murmuring sound Of waters issued from a cave, and spread Into a liquid plain, then stood unmoved Pure as the expanse of Heaven; I thither went With unexperienced thought, and laid me down On the green bank, to look into the clear Smooth lake, that to me seemed another sky. As I bent down to look, just opposite A shape within the watery gleam appeared, Bending to look on me: I started back, It started back; but pleased I soon returned, Pleased it returned as soon with answering looks Of sympathy and love: There I had fixed Mine eyes till now, and pined with vain desire, Had not a voice thus warned me; "What thou seest, What there thou seest, fair Creature, is thyself; With thee it came and goes: but follow me, And I will bring thee where no shadow stays Thy coming, and thy soft embraces, he Whose image thou art; him thou shalt enjoy Inseparably thine, to him shalt bear Multitudes like thyself, and thence be called Mother of human race." What could I do, But follow straight, invisibly thus led? Till I espied thee, fair indeed and tall, Under a platane; yet methought less fair, Less winning soft, less amiably mild, Than that smooth watery image: Back I turned; Thou following cryedst aloud, "Return, fair Eve; Whom flyest thou? whom thou flyest, of him thou art, His flesh, his bone; to give thee being I lent Out of my side to thee, nearest my heart, Substantial life, to have thee by my side Henceforth an individual solace dear; Part of my soul I seek thee, and thee claim My other half:" With that thy gentle hand Seised mine: I yielded; and from that time see How beauty is excelled by manly grace, And wisdom, which alone is truly fair. So spake our general mother, and with eyes Of conjugal attraction unreproved, And meek surrender, half-embracing leaned On our first father; half her swelling breast Naked met his, under the flowing gold Of her loose tresses hid: he in delight Both of her beauty, and submissive charms, Smiled with superiour love, as Jupiter On Juno smiles, when he impregns the clouds That shed Mayflowers; and pressed her matron lip With kisses pure: Aside the Devil turned For envy; yet with jealous leer malign Eyed them askance, and to himself thus plained. Sight hateful, sight tormenting! thus these two, Imparadised in one another's arms, The happier Eden, shall enjoy their fill Of bliss on bliss; while I to Hell am thrust, Where neither joy nor love, but fierce desire, Among our other torments not the least, Still unfulfilled with pain of longing pines. Yet let me not forget what I have gained From their own mouths: All is not theirs, it seems; One fatal tree there stands, of knowledge called, Forbidden them to taste: Knowledge forbidden Suspicious, reasonless. Why should their Lord Envy them that? Can it be sin to know? Can it be death? And do they only stand By ignorance? Is that their happy state, The proof of their obedience and their faith? O fair foundation laid whereon to build Their ruin! hence I will excite their minds With more desire to know, and to reject Envious commands, invented with design To keep them low, whom knowledge might exalt Equal with Gods: aspiring to be such, They taste and die: What likelier can ensue But first with narrow search I must walk round This garden, and no corner leave unspied; A chance but chance may lead where I may meet Some wandering Spirit of Heaven by fountain side, Or in thick shade retired, from him to draw What further would be learned. Live while ye may, Yet happy pair; enjoy, till I return, Short pleasures, for long woes are to succeed! So saying, his proud step he scornful turned, But with sly circumspection, and began Through wood, through waste, o'er hill, o'er dale, his roam Mean while in utmost longitude, where Heaven With earth and ocean meets, the setting sun Slowly descended, and with right aspect Against the eastern gate of Paradise Levelled his evening rays: It was a rock Of alabaster, piled up to the clouds, Conspicuous far, winding with one ascent Accessible from earth, one entrance high; The rest was craggy cliff, that overhung Still as it rose, impossible to climb. Betwixt these rocky pillars Gabriel sat, Chief of the angelick guards, awaiting night; About him exercised heroick games The unarmed youth of Heaven, but nigh at hand Celestial armoury, shields, helms, and spears, Hung high with diamond flaming, and with gold. Thither came Uriel, gliding through the even On a sun-beam, swift as a shooting star In autumn thwarts the night, when vapours fired Impress the air, and shows the mariner From what point of his compass to beware Impetuous winds: He thus began in haste. Gabriel, to thee thy course by lot hath given Charge and strict watch, that to this happy place No evil thing approach or enter in. This day at highth of noon came to my sphere A Spirit, zealous, as he seemed, to know More of the Almighty's works, and chiefly Man, God's latest image: I described his way Bent all on speed, and marked his aery gait; But in the mount that lies from Eden north, Where he first lighted, soon discerned his looks Alien from Heaven, with passions foul obscured: Mine eye pursued him still, but under shade Lost sight of him: One of the banished crew, I fear, hath ventured from the deep, to raise New troubles; him thy care must be to find. To whom the winged warriour thus returned. Uriel, no wonder if thy perfect sight, Amid the sun's bright circle where thou sitst, See far and wide: In at this gate none pass The vigilance here placed, but such as come Well known from Heaven; and since meridian hour No creature thence: If Spirit of other sort, So minded, have o'er-leaped these earthly bounds On purpose, hard thou knowest it to exclude Spiritual substance with corporeal bar. But if within the circuit of these walks, In whatsoever shape he lurk, of whom Thou tellest, by morrow dawning I shall know. So promised he; and Uriel to his charge Returned on that bright beam, whose point now raised Bore him slope downward to the sun now fallen Beneath the Azores; whether the prime orb, Incredible how swift, had thither rolled Diurnal, or this less volubil earth, By shorter flight to the east, had left him there Arraying with reflected purple and gold The clouds that on his western throne attend. Now came still Evening on, and Twilight gray Had in her sober livery all things clad; Silence accompanied; for beast and bird, They to their grassy couch, these to their nests Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale; She all night long her amorous descant sung; Silence was pleased: Now glowed the firmament With living sapphires: Hesperus, that led The starry host, rode brightest, till the moon, Rising in clouded majesty, at length Apparent queen unveiled her peerless light, And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw. When Adam thus to Eve. Fair Consort, the hour Of night, and all things now retired to rest, Mind us of like repose; since God hath set Labour and rest, as day and night, to men Successive; and the timely dew of sleep, Now falling with soft slumbrous weight, inclines Our eye-lids: Other creatures all day long Rove idle, unemployed, and less need rest; Man hath his daily work of body or mind Appointed, which declares his dignity, And the regard of Heaven on all his ways; While other animals unactive range, And of their doings God takes no account. To-morrow, ere fresh morning streak the east With first approach of light, we must be risen, And at our pleasant labour, to reform Yon flowery arbours, yonder alleys green, Our walk at noon, with branches overgrown, That mock our scant manuring, and require More hands than ours to lop their wanton growth: Those blossoms also, and those dropping gums, That lie bestrown, unsightly and unsmooth, Ask riddance, if we mean to tread with ease; Mean while, as Nature wills, night bids us rest. To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adorned My Author and Disposer, what thou bidst Unargued I obey: So God ordains; God is thy law, thou mine: To know no more Is woman's happiest knowledge, and her praise. With thee conversing I forget all time; All seasons, and their change, all please alike. Sweet is the breath of Morn, her rising sweet, With charm of earliest birds: pleasant the sun, When first on this delightful land he spreads His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower, Glistering with dew; fragrant the fertile earth After soft showers; and sweet the coming on Of grateful Evening mild; then silent Night, With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon, And these the gems of Heaven, her starry train: But neither breath of Morn, when she ascends With charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower, Glistering with dew; nor fragrance after showers; Nor grateful Evening mild; nor silent Night, With this her solemn bird, nor walk by moon, Or glittering star-light, without thee is sweet. But wherefore all night long shine these? for whom This glorious sight, when sleep hath shut all eyes? To whom our general ancestor replied. Daughter of God and Man, accomplished Eve, These have their course to finish round the earth, By morrow evening, and from land to land In order, though to nations yet unborn, Ministring light prepared, they set and rise; Lest total Darkness should by night regain Her old possession, and extinguish life In Nature and all things; which these soft fires Not only enlighten, but with kindly heat Of various influence foment and warm, Temper or nourish, or in part shed down Their stellar virtue on all kinds that grow On earth, made hereby apter to receive Perfection from the sun's more potent ray. These then, though unbeheld in deep of night, Shine not in vain; nor think, though men were none, That Heaven would want spectators, God want praise: Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep: All these with ceaseless praise his works behold Both day and night: How often from the steep Of echoing hill or thicket have we heard Celestial voices to the midnight air, Sole, or responsive each to others note, Singing their great Creator? oft in bands While they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk, With heavenly touch of instrumental sounds In full harmonick number joined, their songs Divide the night, and lift our thoughts to Heaven. Thus talking, hand in hand alone they passed On to their blissful bower: it was a place Chosen by the sovran Planter, when he framed All things to Man's delightful use; the roof Of thickest covert was inwoven shade Laurel and myrtle, and what higher grew Of firm and fragrant leaf; on either side Acanthus, and each odorous bushy shrub, Fenced up the verdant wall; each beauteous flower, Iris all hues, roses, and jessamin, Reared high their flourished heads between, and wrought Mosaick; underfoot the violet, Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlay Broidered the ground, more coloured than with stone Of costliest emblem: Other creature here, Bird, beast, insect, or worm, durst enter none, Such was their awe of Man. In shadier bower More sacred and sequestered, though but feigned, Pan or Sylvanus never slept, nor Nymph Nor Faunus haunted. Here, in close recess, With flowers, garlands, and sweet-smelling herbs, Espoused Eve decked first her nuptial bed; And heavenly quires the hymenaean sung, What day the genial Angel to our sire Brought her in naked beauty more adorned, More lovely, than Pandora, whom the Gods Endowed with all their gifts, and O! too like In sad event, when to the unwiser son Of Japhet brought by Hermes, she ensnared Mankind with her fair looks, to be avenged On him who had stole Jove's authentick fire. Thus, at their shady lodge arrived, both stood, Both turned, and under open sky adored The God that made both sky, air, earth, and heaven, Which they beheld, the moon's resplendent globe, And starry pole: Thou also madest the night, Maker Omnipotent, and thou the day, Which we, in our appointed work employed, Have finished, happy in our mutual help And mutual love, the crown of all our bliss Ordained by thee; and this delicious place For us too large, where thy abundance wants Partakers, and uncropt falls to the ground. But thou hast promised from us two a race To fill the earth, who shall with us extol Thy goodness infinite, both when we wake, And when we seek, as now, thy gift of sleep. This said unanimous, and other rites Observing none, but adoration pure Which God likes best, into their inmost bower Handed they went; and, eased the putting off These troublesome disguises which we wear, Straight side by side were laid; nor turned, I ween, Adam from his fair spouse, nor Eve the rites Mysterious of connubial love refused: Whatever hypocrites austerely talk Of purity, and place, and innocence, Defaming as impure what God declares Pure, and commands to some, leaves free to all. Our Maker bids encrease; who bids abstain But our Destroyer, foe to God and Man? Hail, wedded Love, mysterious law, true source Of human offspring, sole propriety In Paradise of all things common else! By thee adulterous Lust was driven from men Among the bestial herds to range; by thee Founded in reason, loyal, just, and pure, Relations dear, and all the charities Of father, son, and brother, first were known. Far be it, that I should write thee sin or blame, Or think thee unbefitting holiest place, Perpetual fountain of domestick sweets, Whose bed is undefiled and chaste pronounced, Present, or past, as saints and patriarchs used. Here Love his golden shafts employs, here lights His constant lamp, and waves his purple wings, Reigns here and revels; not in the bought smile Of harlots, loveless, joyless, unendeared, Casual fruition; nor in court-amours, Mixed dance, or wanton mask, or midnight ball, Or serenate, which the starved lover sings To his proud fair, best quitted with disdain. These, lulled by nightingales, embracing slept, And on their naked limbs the flowery roof Showered roses, which the morn repaired. Sleep on, Blest pair; and O! yet happiest, if ye seek No happier state, and know to know no more. Now had night measured with her shadowy cone Half way up hill this vast sublunar vault, And from their ivory port the Cherubim, Forth issuing at the accustomed hour, stood armed To their night watches in warlike parade; When Gabriel to his next in power thus spake. Uzziel, half these draw off, and coast the south With strictest watch; these other wheel the north; Our circuit meets full west. As flame they part, Half wheeling to the shield, half to the spear. From these, two strong and subtle Spirits he called That near him stood, and gave them thus in charge. Ithuriel and Zephon, with winged speed Search through this garden, leave unsearched no nook; But chiefly where those two fair creatures lodge, Now laid perhaps asleep, secure of harm. This evening from the sun's decline arrived, Who tells of some infernal Spirit seen Hitherward bent (who could have thought?) escaped The bars of Hell, on errand bad no doubt: Such, where ye find, seise fast, and hither bring. So saying, on he led his radiant files, Dazzling the moon; these to the bower direct In search of whom they sought: Him there they found Squat like a toad, close at the ear of Eve, Assaying by his devilish art to reach The organs of her fancy, and with them forge Illusions, as he list, phantasms and dreams; Or if, inspiring venom, he might taint The animal spirits, that from pure blood arise Like gentle breaths from rivers pure, thence raise At least distempered, discontented thoughts, Vain hopes, vain aims, inordinate desires, Blown up with high conceits ingendering pride. Him thus intent Ithuriel with his spear Touched lightly; for no falshood can endure Touch of celestial temper, but returns Of force to its own likeness: Up he starts Discovered and surprised. As when a spark Lights on a heap of nitrous powder, laid Fit for the tun some magazine to store Against a rumoured war, the smutty grain, With sudden blaze diffused, inflames the air; So started up in his own shape the Fiend. Back stept those two fair Angels, half amazed So sudden to behold the grisly king; Yet thus, unmoved with fear, accost him soon. Which of those rebel Spirits adjudged to Hell Comest thou, escaped thy prison? and, transformed, Why sat'st thou like an enemy in wait, Here watching at the head of these that sleep? Know ye not then said Satan, filled with scorn, Know ye not me? ye knew me once no mate For you, there sitting where ye durst not soar: Not to know me argues yourselves unknown, The lowest of your throng; or, if ye know, Why ask ye, and superfluous begin Your message, like to end as much in vain? To whom thus Zephon, answering scorn with scorn. Think not, revolted Spirit, thy shape the same, Or undiminished brightness to be known, As when thou stoodest in Heaven upright and pure; That glory then, when thou no more wast good, Departed from thee; and thou resemblest now Thy sin and place of doom obscure and foul. But come, for thou, be sure, shalt give account To him who sent us, whose charge is to keep This place inviolable, and these from harm. So spake the Cherub; and his grave rebuke, Severe in youthful beauty, added grace Invincible: Abashed the Devil stood, And felt how awful goodness is, and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely; saw, and pined His loss; but chiefly to find here observed His lustre visibly impaired; yet seemed Undaunted. If I must contend, said he, Best with the best, the sender, not the sent, Or all at once; more glory will be won, Or less be lost. Thy fear, said Zephon bold, Will save us trial what the least can do Single against thee wicked, and thence weak. The Fiend replied not, overcome with rage; But, like a proud steed reined, went haughty on, Champing his iron curb: To strive or fly He held it vain; awe from above had quelled His heart, not else dismayed. Now drew they nigh The western point, where those half-rounding guards Just met, and closing stood in squadron joined, A waiting next command. To whom their Chief, Gabriel, from the front thus called aloud. O friends! I hear the tread of nimble feet Hasting this way, and now by glimpse discern Ithuriel and Zephon through the shade; And with them comes a third of regal port, But faded splendour wan; who by his gait And fierce demeanour seems the Prince of Hell, Not likely to part hence without contest; Stand firm, for in his look defiance lours. He scarce had ended, when those two approached, And brief related whom they brought, where found, How busied, in what form and posture couched. To whom with stern regard thus Gabriel spake. Why hast thou, Satan, broke the bounds prescribed To thy transgressions, and disturbed the charge Of others, who approve not to transgress By thy example, but have power and right To question thy bold entrance on this place; Employed, it seems, to violate sleep, and those Whose dwelling God hath planted here in bliss! To whom thus Satan with contemptuous brow. Gabriel? thou hadst in Heaven the esteem of wise, And such I held thee; but this question asked Puts me in doubt. Lives there who loves his pain! Who would not, finding way, break loose from Hell, Though thither doomed! Thou wouldst thyself, no doubt And boldly venture to whatever place Farthest from pain, where thou mightst hope to change Torment with ease, and soonest recompense Dole with delight, which in this place I sought; To thee no reason, who knowest only good, But evil hast not tried: and wilt object His will who bounds us! Let him surer bar His iron gates, if he intends our stay In that dark durance: Thus much what was asked. The rest is true, they found me where they say; But that implies not violence or harm. Thus he in scorn. The warlike Angel moved, Disdainfully half smiling, thus replied. O loss of one in Heaven to judge of wise Since Satan fell, whom folly overthrew, And now returns him from his prison 'scaped, Gravely in doubt whether to hold them wise Or not, who ask what boldness brought him hither Unlicensed from his bounds in Hell prescribed; So wise he judges it to fly from pain However, and to 'scape his punishment! So judge thou still, presumptuous! till the wrath, Which thou incurrest by flying, meet thy flight Sevenfold, and scourge that wisdom back to Hell, Which taught thee yet no better, that no pain Can equal anger infinite provoked. But wherefore thou alone? wherefore with thee Came not all hell broke loose? or thou than they Less hardy to endure? Courageous Chief! The first in flight from pain! hadst thou alleged To thy deserted host this cause of flight, Thou surely hadst not come sole fugitive. To which the Fiend thus answered, frowning stern. Not that I less endure, or shrink from pain, Insulting Angel! well thou knowest I stood Thy fiercest, when in battle to thy aid The blasting vollied thunder made all speed, And seconded thy else not dreaded spear. But still thy words at random, as before, Argue thy inexperience what behoves From hard assays and ill successes past A faithful leader, not to hazard all Through ways of danger by himself untried: I, therefore, I alone first undertook To wing the desolate abyss, and spy This new created world, whereof in Hell Fame is not silent, here in hope to find Better abode, and my afflicted Powers To settle here on earth, or in mid air; Though for possession put to try once more What thou and thy gay legions dare against; Whose easier business were to serve their Lord High up in Heaven, with songs to hymn his throne, And practised distances to cringe, not fight, To whom the warriour Angel soon replied. To say and straight unsay, pretending first Wise to fly pain, professing next the spy, Argues no leader but a liar traced, Satan, and couldst thou faithful add? O name, O sacred name of faithfulness profaned! Faithful to whom? to thy rebellious crew? Army of Fiends, fit body to fit head. Was this your discipline and faith engaged, Your military obedience, to dissolve Allegiance to the acknowledged Power supreme? And thou, sly hypocrite, who now wouldst seem Patron of liberty, who more than thou Once fawned, and cringed, and servilely adored Heaven's awful Monarch? wherefore, but in hope To dispossess him, and thyself to reign? But mark what I arreed thee now, Avant; Fly neither whence thou fledst! If from this hour Within these hallowed limits thou appear, Back to the infernal pit I drag thee chained, And seal thee so, as henceforth not to scorn The facile gates of Hell too slightly barred. So threatened he; but Satan to no threats Gave heed, but waxing more in rage replied. Then when I am thy captive talk of chains, Proud limitary Cherub! but ere then Far heavier load thyself expect to feel From my prevailing arm, though Heaven's King Ride on thy wings, and thou with thy compeers, Us'd to the yoke, drawest his triumphant wheels In progress through the road of Heaven star-paved. While thus he spake, the angelick squadron bright Turned fiery red, sharpening in mooned horns Their phalanx, and began to hem him round With ported spears, as thick as when a field Of Ceres ripe for harvest waving bends Her bearded grove of ears, which way the wind Sways them; the careful plowman doubting stands, Left on the threshing floor his hopeless sheaves Prove chaff. On the other side, Satan, alarmed, Collecting all his might, dilated stood, Like Teneriff or Atlas, unremoved: His stature reached the sky, and on his crest Sat Horrour plumed; nor wanted in his grasp What seemed both spear and shield: Now dreadful deeds Might have ensued, nor only Paradise In this commotion, but the starry cope Of Heaven perhaps, or all the elements At least had gone to wrack, disturbed and torn With violence of this conflict, had not soon The Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray, Hung forth in Heaven his golden scales, yet seen Betwixt Astrea and the Scorpion sign, Wherein all things created first he weighed, The pendulous round earth with balanced air In counterpoise, now ponders all events, Battles and realms: In these he put two weights, The sequel each of parting and of fight: The latter quick up flew, and kicked the beam, Which Gabriel spying, thus bespake the Fiend. Satan, I know thy strength, and thou knowest mine; Neither our own, but given: What folly then To boast what arms can do? since thine no more Than Heaven permits, nor mine, though doubled now To trample thee as mire: For proof look up, And read thy lot in yon celestial sign; Where thou art weighed, and shown how light, how weak, If thou resist. The Fiend looked up, and knew His mounted scale aloft: Nor more; but fled Murmuring, and with him fled the shades of night.
Now Morn, her rosy steps in the eastern clime Advancing, sowed the earth with orient pearl, When Adam waked, so customed; for his sleep Was aery-light, from pure digestion bred, And temperate vapours bland, which the only sound Of leaves and fuming rills, Aurora's fan, Lightly dispersed, and the shrill matin song Of birds on every bough; so much the more His wonder was to find unwakened Eve With tresses discomposed, and glowing cheek, As through unquiet rest: He, on his side Leaning half raised, with looks of cordial love Hung over her enamoured, and beheld Beauty, which, whether waking or asleep, Shot forth peculiar graces; then with voice Mild, as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes, Her hand soft touching, whispered thus. Awake, My fairest, my espoused, my latest found, Heaven's last best gift, my ever new delight! Awake: The morning shines, and the fresh field Calls us; we lose the prime, to mark how spring Our tender plants, how blows the citron grove, What drops the myrrh, and what the balmy reed, How nature paints her colours, how the bee Sits on the bloom extracting liquid sweet. Such whispering waked her, but with startled eye On Adam, whom embracing, thus she spake. O sole in whom my thoughts find all repose, My glory, my perfection! glad I see Thy face, and morn returned; for I this night (Such night till this I never passed) have dreamed, If dreamed, not, as I oft am wont, of thee, Works of day past, or morrow's next design, But of offence and trouble, which my mind Knew never till this irksome night: Methought, Close at mine ear one called me forth to walk With gentle voice; I thought it thine: It said, "Why sleepest thou, Eve? now is the pleasant time, The cool, the silent, save where silence yields To the night-warbling bird, that now awake Tunes sweetest his love-laboured song; now reigns Full-orbed the moon, and with more pleasing light Shadowy sets off the face of things; in vain, If none regard; Heaven wakes with all his eyes, Whom to behold but thee, Nature's desire? In whose sight all things joy, with ravishment Attracted by thy beauty still to gaze." I rose as at thy call, but found thee not; To find thee I directed then my walk; And on, methought, alone I passed through ways That brought me on a sudden to the tree Of interdicted knowledge: fair it seemed, Much fairer to my fancy than by day: And, as I wondering looked, beside it stood One shaped and winged like one of those from Heaven By us oft seen; his dewy locks distilled Ambrosia; on that tree he also gazed; And "O fair plant," said he, "with fruit surcharged, Deigns none to ease thy load, and taste thy sweet, Nor God, nor Man? Is knowledge so despised? Or envy, or what reserve forbids to taste? Forbid who will, none shall from me withhold Longer thy offered good; why else set here?" This said, he paused not, but with venturous arm He plucked, he tasted; me damp horrour chilled At such bold words vouched with a deed so bold: But he thus, overjoyed; "O fruit divine, Sweet of thyself, but much more sweet thus cropt, Forbidden here, it seems, as only fit For Gods, yet able to make Gods of Men: And why not Gods of Men; since good, the more Communicated, more abundant grows, The author not impaired, but honoured more? Here, happy creature, fair angelick Eve! Partake thou also; happy though thou art, Happier thou mayest be, worthier canst not be: Taste this, and be henceforth among the Gods Thyself a Goddess, not to earth confined, But sometimes in the air, as we, sometimes Ascend to Heaven, by merit thine, and see What life the Gods live there, and such live thou!" So saying, he drew nigh, and to me held, Even to my mouth of that same fruit held part Which he had plucked; the pleasant savoury smell So quickened appetite, that I, methought, Could not but taste. Forthwith up to the clouds With him I flew, and underneath beheld The earth outstretched immense, a prospect wide And various: Wondering at my flight and change To this high exaltation; suddenly My guide was gone, and I, methought, sunk down, And fell asleep; but O, how glad I waked To find this but a dream! Thus Eve her night Related, and thus Adam answered sad. Best image of myself, and dearer half, The trouble of thy thoughts this night in sleep Affects me equally; nor can I like This uncouth dream, of evil sprung, I fear; Yet evil whence? in thee can harbour none, Created pure. But know that in the soul Are many lesser faculties, that serve Reason as chief; among these Fancy next Her office holds; of all external things Which the five watchful senses represent, She forms imaginations, aery shapes, Which Reason, joining or disjoining, frames All what we affirm or what deny, and call Our knowledge or opinion; then retires Into her private cell, when nature rests. Oft in her absence mimick Fancy wakes To imitate her; but, misjoining shapes, Wild work produces oft, and most in dreams; Ill matching words and deeds long past or late. Some such resemblances, methinks, I find Of our last evening's talk, in this thy dream, But with addition strange; yet be not sad. Evil into the mind of God or Man May come and go, so unreproved, and leave No spot or blame behind: Which gives me hope That what in sleep thou didst abhor to dream, Waking thou never will consent to do. Be not disheartened then, nor cloud those looks, That wont to be more cheerful and serene, Than when fair morning first smiles on the world; And let us to our fresh employments rise Among the groves, the fountains, and the flowers That open now their choisest bosomed smells, Reserved from night, and kept for thee in store. So cheered he his fair spouse, and she was cheered; But silently a gentle tear let fall From either eye, and wiped them with her hair; Two other precious drops that ready stood, Each in their crystal sluice, he ere they fell Kissed, as the gracious signs of sweet remorse And pious awe, that feared to have offended. So all was cleared, and to the field they haste. But first, from under shady arborous roof Soon as they forth were come to open sight Of day-spring, and the sun, who, scarce up-risen, With wheels yet hovering o'er the ocean-brim, Shot parallel to the earth his dewy ray, Discovering in wide landskip all the east Of Paradise and Eden's happy plains, Lowly they bowed adoring, and began Their orisons, each morning duly paid In various style; for neither various style Nor holy rapture wanted they to praise Their Maker, in fit strains pronounced, or sung Unmeditated; such prompt eloquence Flowed from their lips, in prose or numerous verse, More tuneable than needed lute or harp To add more sweetness; and they thus began. These are thy glorious works, Parent of good, Almighty! Thine this universal frame, Thus wonderous fair; Thyself how wonderous then! Unspeakable, who sitst above these heavens To us invisible, or dimly seen In these thy lowest works; yet these declare Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine. Speak, ye who best can tell, ye sons of light, Angels; for ye behold him, and with songs And choral symphonies, day without night, Circle his throne rejoicing; ye in Heaven On Earth join all ye Creatures to extol Him first, him last, him midst, and without end. Fairest of stars, last in the train of night, If better thou belong not to the dawn, Sure pledge of day, that crownest the smiling morn With thy bright circlet, praise him in thy sphere, While day arises, that sweet hour of prime. Thou Sun, of this great world both eye and soul, Acknowledge him thy greater; sound his praise In thy eternal course, both when thou climbest, And when high noon hast gained, and when thou fallest. Moon, that now meetest the orient sun, now flyest, With the fixed Stars, fixed in their orb that flies; And ye five other wandering Fires, that move In mystick dance not without song, resound His praise, who out of darkness called up light. Air, and ye Elements, the eldest birth Of Nature's womb, that in quaternion run Perpetual circle, multiform; and mix And nourish all things; let your ceaseless change Vary to our great Maker still new praise. Ye Mists and Exhalations, that now rise From hill or steaming lake, dusky or gray, Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold, In honour to the world's great Author rise; Whether to deck with clouds the uncoloured sky, Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers, Rising or falling still advance his praise. His praise, ye Winds, that from four quarters blow, Breathe soft or loud; and, wave your tops, ye Pines, With every plant, in sign of worship wave. Fountains, and ye that warble, as ye flow, Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise. Join voices, all ye living Souls: Ye Birds, That singing up to Heaven-gate ascend, Bear on your wings and in your notes his praise. Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk The earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep; Witness if I be silent, morn or even, To hill, or valley, fountain, or fresh shade, Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise. Hail, universal Lord, be bounteous still To give us only good; and if the night Have gathered aught of evil, or concealed, Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark! So prayed they innocent, and to their thoughts Firm peace recovered soon, and wonted calm. On to their morning's rural work they haste, Among sweet dews and flowers; where any row Of fruit-trees over-woody reached too far Their pampered boughs, and needed hands to check Fruitless embraces: or they led the vine To wed her elm; she, spoused, about him twines Her marriageable arms, and with him brings Her dower, the adopted clusters, to adorn His barren leaves. Them thus employed beheld With pity Heaven's high King, and to him called Raphael, the sociable Spirit, that deigned To travel with Tobias, and secured His marriage with the seventimes-wedded maid. Raphael, said he, thou hearest what stir on Earth Satan, from Hell 'scaped through the darksome gulf, Hath raised in Paradise; and how disturbed This night the human pair; how he designs In them at once to ruin all mankind. Go therefore, half this day as friend with friend Converse with Adam, in what bower or shade Thou findest him from the heat of noon retired, To respite his day-labour with repast, Or with repose; and such discourse bring on, As may advise him of his happy state, Happiness in his power left free to will, Left to his own free will, his will though free, Yet mutable; whence warn him to beware He swerve not, too secure: Tell him withal His danger, and from whom; what enemy, Late fallen himself from Heaven, is plotting now The fall of others from like state of bliss; By violence? no, for that shall be withstood; But by deceit and lies: This let him know, Lest, wilfully transgressing, he pretend Surprisal, unadmonished, unforewarned. So spake the Eternal Father, and fulfilled All justice: Nor delayed the winged Saint After his charge received; but from among Thousand celestial Ardours, where he stood Veiled with his gorgeous wings, up springing light, Flew through the midst of Heaven; the angelick quires, On each hand parting, to his speed gave way Through all the empyreal road; till, at the gate Of Heaven arrived, the gate self-opened wide On golden hinges turning, as by work Divine the sovran Architect had framed. From hence no cloud, or, to obstruct his sight, Star interposed, however small he sees, Not unconformed to other shining globes, Earth, and the garden of God, with cedars crowned Above all hills. As when by night the glass Of Galileo, less assured, observes Imagined lands and regions in the moon: Or pilot, from amidst the Cyclades Delos or Samos first appearing, kens A cloudy spot. Down thither prone in flight He speeds, and through the vast ethereal sky Sails between worlds and worlds, with steady wing Now on the polar winds, then with quick fan Winnows the buxom air; till, within soar Of towering eagles, to all the fowls he seems A phoenix, gazed by all as that sole bird, When, to enshrine his reliques in the Sun's Bright temple, to Egyptian Thebes he flies. At once on the eastern cliff of Paradise He lights, and to his proper shape returns A Seraph winged: Six wings he wore, to shade His lineaments divine; the pair that clad Each shoulder broad, came mantling o'er his breast With regal ornament; the middle pair Girt like a starry zone his waist, and round Skirted his loins and thighs with downy gold And colours dipt in Heaven; the third his feet Shadowed from either heel with feathered mail, Sky-tinctured grain. Like Maia's son he stood, And shook his plumes, that heavenly fragrance filled The circuit wide. Straight knew him all the bands Of Angels under watch; and to his state, And to his message high, in honour rise; For on some message high they guessed him bound. Their glittering tents he passed, and now is come Into the blissful field, through groves of myrrh, And flowering odours, cassia, nard, and balm; A wilderness of sweets; for Nature here Wantoned as in her prime, and played at will Her virgin fancies pouring forth more sweet, Wild above rule or art, enormous bliss. Him through the spicy forest onward come Adam discerned, as in the door he sat Of his cool bower, while now the mounted sun Shot down direct his fervid rays to warm Earth's inmost womb, more warmth than Adam needs: And Eve within, due at her hour prepared For dinner savoury fruits, of taste to please True appetite, and not disrelish thirst Of nectarous draughts between, from milky stream, Berry or grape: To whom thus Adam called. Haste hither, Eve, and worth thy sight behold Eastward among those trees, what glorious shape Comes this way moving; seems another morn Risen on mid-noon; some great behest from Heaven To us perhaps he brings, and will vouchsafe This day to be our guest. But go with speed, And, what thy stores contain, bring forth, and pour Abundance, fit to honour and receive Our heavenly stranger: Well we may afford Our givers their own gifts, and large bestow From large bestowed, where Nature multiplies Her fertile growth, and by disburthening grows More fruitful, which instructs us not to spare. To whom thus Eve. Adam, earth's hallowed mould, Of God inspired! small store will serve, where store, All seasons, ripe for use hangs on the stalk; Save what by frugal storing firmness gains To nourish, and superfluous moist consumes: But I will haste, and from each bough and brake, Each plant and juciest gourd, will pluck such choice To entertain our Angel-guest, as he Beholding shall confess, that here on Earth God hath dispensed his bounties as in Heaven. So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent What choice to choose for delicacy best, What order, so contrived as not to mix Tastes, not well joined, inelegant, but bring Taste after taste upheld with kindliest change; Bestirs her then, and from each tender stalk Whatever Earth, all-bearing mother, yields In India East or West, or middle shore In Pontus or the Punick coast, or where Alcinous reigned, fruit of all kinds, in coat Rough, or smooth rind, or bearded husk, or shell, She gathers, tribute large, and on the board Heaps with unsparing hand; for drink the grape She crushes, inoffensive must, and meaths From many a berry, and from sweet kernels pressed She tempers dulcet creams; nor these to hold Wants her fit vessels pure; then strows the ground With rose and odours from the shrub unfumed. Mean while our primitive great sire, to meet His God-like guest, walks forth, without more train Accompanied than with his own complete Perfections; in himself was all his state, More solemn than the tedious pomp that waits On princes, when their rich retinue long Of horses led, and grooms besmeared with gold, Dazzles the croud, and sets them all agape. Nearer his presence Adam, though not awed, Yet with submiss approach and reverence meek, As to a superiour nature bowing low, Thus said. Native of Heaven, for other place None can than Heaven such glorious shape contain; Since, by descending from the thrones above, Those happy places thou hast deigned a while To want, and honour these, vouchsafe with us Two only, who yet by sovran gift possess This spacious ground, in yonder shady bower To rest; and what the garden choicest bears To sit and taste, till this meridian heat Be over, and the sun more cool decline. Whom thus the angelick Virtue answered mild. Adam, I therefore came; nor art thou such Created, or such place hast here to dwell, As may not oft invite, though Spirits of Heaven, To visit thee; lead on then where thy bower O'ershades; for these mid-hours, till evening rise, I have at will. So to the sylvan lodge They came, that like Pomona's arbour smiled, With flowerets decked, and fragrant smells; but Eve, Undecked save with herself, more lovely fair Than Wood-Nymph, or the fairest Goddess feigned Of three that in mount Ida naked strove, Stood to entertain her guest from Heaven; no veil She needed, virtue-proof; no thought infirm Altered her cheek. On whom the Angel Hail Bestowed, the holy salutation used Long after to blest Mary, second Eve. Hail, Mother of Mankind, whose fruitful womb Shall fill the world more numerous with thy sons, Than with these various fruits the trees of God Have heaped this table!—Raised of grassy turf Their table was, and mossy seats had round, And on her ample square from side to side All autumn piled, though spring and autumn here Danced hand in hand. A while discourse they hold; No fear lest dinner cool; when thus began Our author. Heavenly stranger, please to taste These bounties, which our Nourisher, from whom All perfect good, unmeasured out, descends, To us for food and for delight hath caused The earth to yield; unsavoury food perhaps To spiritual natures; only this I know, That one celestial Father gives to all. To whom the Angel. Therefore what he gives (Whose praise be ever sung) to Man in part Spiritual, may of purest Spirits be found No ingrateful food: And food alike those pure Intelligential substances require, As doth your rational; and both contain Within them every lower faculty Of sense, whereby they hear, see, smell, touch, taste, Tasting concoct, digest, assimilate, And corporeal to incorporeal turn. For know, whatever was created, needs To be sustained and fed: Of elements The grosser feeds the purer, earth the sea, Earth and the sea feed air, the air those fires Ethereal, and as lowest first the moon; Whence in her visage round those spots, unpurged Vapours not yet into her substance turned. Nor doth the moon no nourishment exhale From her moist continent to higher orbs. The sun that light imparts to all, receives From all his alimental recompence In humid exhalations, and at even Sups with the ocean. Though in Heaven the trees Of life ambrosial fruitage bear, and vines Yield nectar; though from off the boughs each morn We brush mellifluous dews, and find the ground Covered with pearly grain: Yet God hath here Varied his bounty so with new delights, As may compare with Heaven; and to taste Think not I shall be nice. So down they sat, And to their viands fell; nor seemingly The Angel, nor in mist, the common gloss Of Theologians; but with keen dispatch Of real hunger, and concoctive heat To transubstantiate: What redounds, transpires Through Spirits with ease; nor wonder; if by fire Of sooty coal the empirick alchemist Can turn, or holds it possible to turn, Metals of drossiest ore to perfect gold, As from the mine. Mean while at table Eve Ministered naked, and their flowing cups With pleasant liquours crowned: O innocence Deserving Paradise! if ever, then, Then had the sons of God excuse to have been Enamoured at that sight; but in those hearts Love unlibidinous reigned, nor jealousy Was understood, the injured lover's hell. Thus when with meats and drinks they had sufficed, Not burdened nature, sudden mind arose In Adam, not to let the occasion pass Given him by this great conference to know Of things above his world, and of their being Who dwell in Heaven, whose excellence he saw Transcend his own so far; whose radiant forms, Divine effulgence, whose high power, so far Exceeded human; and his wary speech Thus to the empyreal minister he framed. Inhabitant with God, now know I well Thy favour, in this honour done to Man; Under whose lowly roof thou hast vouchsafed To enter, and these earthly fruits to taste, Food not of Angels, yet accepted so, As that more willingly thou couldst not seem At Heaven's high feasts to have fed: yet what compare To whom the winged Hierarch replied. O Adam, One Almighty is, from whom All things proceed, and up to him return, If not depraved from good, created all Such to perfection, one first matter all, Endued with various forms, various degrees Of substance, and, in things that live, of life; But more refined, more spiritous, and pure, As nearer to him placed, or nearer tending Each in their several active spheres assigned, Till body up to spirit work, in bounds Proportioned to each kind. So from the root Springs lighter the green stalk, from thence the leaves More aery, last the bright consummate flower Spirits odorous breathes: flowers and their fruit, Man's nourishment, by gradual scale sublimed, To vital spirits aspire, to animal, To intellectual; give both life and sense, Fancy and understanding; whence the soul Reason receives, and reason is her being, Discursive, or intuitive; discourse Is oftest yours, the latter most is ours, Differing but in degree, of kind the same. Wonder not then, what God for you saw good If I refuse not, but convert, as you To proper substance. Time may come, when Men With Angels may participate, and find No inconvenient diet, nor too light fare; And from these corporal nutriments perhaps Your bodies may at last turn all to spirit, Improved by tract of time, and, winged, ascend Ethereal, as we; or may, at choice, Here or in heavenly Paradises dwell; If ye be found obedient, and retain Unalterably firm his love entire, Whose progeny you are. Mean while enjoy Your fill what happiness this happy state Can comprehend, incapable of more. To whom the patriarch of mankind replied. O favourable Spirit, propitious guest, Well hast thou taught the way that might direct Our knowledge, and the scale of nature set From center to circumference; whereon, In contemplation of created things, By steps we may ascend to God. But say, What meant that caution joined, If ye be found Obedient? Can we want obedience then To him, or possibly his love desert, Who formed us from the dust and placed us here Full to the utmost measure of what bliss Human desires can seek or apprehend? To whom the Angel. Son of Heaven and Earth, Attend! That thou art happy, owe to God; That thou continuest such, owe to thyself, That is, to thy obedience; therein stand. This was that caution given thee; be advised. God made thee perfect, not immutable; And good he made thee, but to persevere He left it in thy power; ordained thy will By nature free, not over-ruled by fate Inextricable, or strict necessity: Our voluntary service he requires, Not our necessitated; such with him Finds no acceptance, nor can find; for how Can hearts, not free, be tried whether they serve Willing or no, who will but what they must By destiny, and can no other choose? Myself, and all the angelick host, that stand In sight of God, enthroned, our happy state Hold, as you yours, while our obedience holds; On other surety none: Freely we serve, Because we freely love, as in our will To love or not; in this we stand or fall: And some are fallen, to disobedience fallen, And so from Heaven to deepest Hell; O fall From what high state of bliss, into what woe! To whom our great progenitor. Thy words Attentive, and with more delighted ear, Divine instructer, I have heard, than when Cherubick songs by night from neighbouring hills Aereal musick send: Nor knew I not To be both will and deed created free; Yet that we never shall forget to love Our Maker, and obey him whose command Single is yet so just, my constant thoughts Assured me, and still assure: Though what thou tellest Hath passed in Heaven, some doubt within me move, But more desire to hear, if thou consent, The full relation, which must needs be strange, Worthy of sacred silence to be heard; And we have yet large day, for scarce the sun Hath finished half his journey, and scarce begins His other half in the great zone of Heaven. Thus Adam made request; and Raphael, After short pause assenting, thus began. High matter thou enjoinest me, O prime of men, Sad task and hard: For how shall I relate To human sense the invisible exploits Of warring Spirits? how, without remorse, The ruin of so many glorious once And perfect while they stood? how last unfold The secrets of another world, perhaps Not lawful to reveal? yet for thy good This is dispensed; and what surmounts the reach Of human sense, I shall delineate so, By likening spiritual to corporal forms, As may express them best; though what if Earth Be but a shadow of Heaven, and things therein Each to other like, more than on earth is thought? As yet this world was not, and Chaos wild Reigned where these Heavens now roll, where Earth now rests Upon her center poised; when on a day (For time, though in eternity, applied To motion, measures all things durable By present, past, and future,) on such day As Heaven's great year brings forth, the empyreal host Of Angels by imperial summons called, Innumerable before the Almighty's throne Forthwith, from all the ends of Heaven, appeared Under their Hierarchs in orders bright: Ten thousand thousand ensigns high advanced, Standards and gonfalons 'twixt van and rear Stream in the air, and for distinction serve Of hierarchies, of orders, and degrees; Or in their glittering tissues bear imblazed Holy memorials, acts of zeal and love Recorded eminent. Thus when in orbs Of circuit inexpressible they stood, Orb within orb, the Father Infinite, By whom in bliss imbosomed sat the Son, Amidst as from a flaming mount, whose top Brightness had made invisible, thus spake. Hear, all ye Angels, progeny of light, Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers; Hear my decree, which unrevoked shall stand. This day I have begot whom I declare My only Son, and on this holy hill Him have anointed, whom ye now behold At my right hand; your head I him appoint; And by myself have sworn, to him shall bow All knees in Heaven, and shall confess him Lord: Under his great vice-gerent reign abide United, as one individual soul, For ever happy: Him who disobeys, Me disobeys, breaks union, and that day, Cast out from God and blessed vision, falls Into utter darkness, deep ingulfed, his place Ordained without redemption, without end. So spake the Omnipotent, and with his words All seemed well pleased; all seemed, but were not all. That day, as other solemn days, they spent In song and dance about the sacred hill; Mystical dance, which yonder starry sphere Of planets, and of fixed, in all her wheels Resembles nearest, mazes intricate, Eccentrick, intervolved, yet regular Then most, when most irregular they seem; And in their motions harmony divine So smooths her charming tones, that God's own ear Listens delighted. Evening now approached, (For we have also our evening and our morn, We ours for change delectable, not need;) Forthwith from dance to sweet repast they turn Desirous; all in circles as they stood, Tables are set, and on a sudden piled With Angels food, and rubied nectar flows In pearl, in diamond, and massy gold, Fruit of delicious vines, the growth of Heaven. On flowers reposed, and with fresh flowerets crowned, They eat, they drink, and in communion sweet Quaff immortality and joy, secure Of surfeit, where full measure only bounds Excess, before the all-bounteous King, who showered With copious hand, rejoicing in their joy. Now when ambrosial night with clouds exhaled From that high mount of God, whence light and shade Spring both, the face of brightest Heaven had changed To grateful twilight, (for night comes not there In darker veil) and roseate dews disposed All but the unsleeping eyes of God to rest; Wide over all the plain, and wider far Than all this globous earth in plain outspread, (Such are the courts of God) the angelick throng, Dispersed in bands and files, their camp extend By living streams among the trees of life, Pavilions numberless, and sudden reared, Celestial tabernacles, where they slept Fanned with cool winds; save those, who, in their course, Melodious hymns about the sovran throne Alternate all night long: but not so waked Satan; so call him now, his former name Is heard no more in Heaven; he of the first, If not the first Arch-Angel, great in power, In favour and pre-eminence, yet fraught With envy against the Son of God, that day Honoured by his great Father, and proclaimed Messiah King anointed, could not bear Through pride that sight, and thought himself impaired. Deep malice thence conceiving and disdain, Soon as midnight brought on the dusky hour Friendliest to sleep and silence, he resolved With all his legions to dislodge, and leave Unworshipt, unobeyed, the throne supreme, Contemptuous; and his next subordinate Awakening, thus to him in secret spake. Sleepest thou, Companion dear? What sleep can close Thy eye-lids? and rememberest what decree Of yesterday, so late hath passed the lips Of Heaven's Almighty. Thou to me thy thoughts Wast wont, I mine to thee was wont to impart; Both waking we were one; how then can now Thy sleep dissent? New laws thou seest imposed; New laws from him who reigns, new minds may raise In us who serve, new counsels to debate What doubtful may ensue: More in this place To utter is not safe. Assemble thou Of all those myriads which we lead the chief; Tell them, that by command, ere yet dim night Her shadowy cloud withdraws, I am to haste, And all who under me their banners wave, Homeward, with flying march, where we possess The quarters of the north; there to prepare Fit entertainment to receive our King, The great Messiah, and his new commands, Who speedily through all the hierarchies Intends to pass triumphant, and give laws. So spake the false Arch-Angel, and infused Bad influence into the unwary breast Of his associate: He together calls, Or several one by one, the regent Powers, Under him Regent; tells, as he was taught, That the Most High commanding, now ere night, Now ere dim night had disincumbered Heaven, The great hierarchal standard was to move; Tells the suggested cause, and casts between Ambiguous words and jealousies, to sound Or taint integrity: But all obeyed The wonted signal, and superiour voice Of their great Potentate; for great indeed His name, and high was his degree in Heaven; His countenance, as the morning-star that guides The starry flock, allured them, and with lies Drew after him the third part of Heaven's host. Mean while the Eternal eye, whose sight discerns Abstrusest thoughts, from forth his holy mount, And from within the golden lamps that burn Nightly before him, saw without their light Rebellion rising; saw in whom, how spread Among the sons of morn, what multitudes Were banded to oppose his high decree; And, smiling, to his only Son thus said. Son, thou in whom my glory I behold In full resplendence, Heir of all my might, Nearly it now concerns us to be sure Of our Omnipotence, and with what arms We mean to hold what anciently we claim Of deity or empire: Such a foe Is rising, who intends to erect his throne Equal to ours, throughout the spacious north; Nor so content, hath in his thought to try In battle, what our power is, or our right. Let us advise, and to this hazard draw With speed what force is left, and all employ In our defence; lest unawares we lose This our high place, our sanctuary, our hill. To whom the Son with calm aspect and clear, Lightning divine, ineffable, serene, Made answer. Mighty Father, thou thy foes Justly hast in derision, and, secure, Laughest at their vain designs and tumults vain, Matter to me of glory, whom their hate Illustrates, when they see all regal power Given me to quell their pride, and in event Know whether I be dextrous to subdue Thy rebels, or be found the worst in Heaven. So spake the Son; but Satan, with his Powers, Far was advanced on winged speed; an host Innumerable as the stars of night, Or stars of morning, dew-drops, which the sun Impearls on every leaf and every flower. Regions they passed, the mighty regencies Of Seraphim, and Potentates, and Thrones, In their triple degrees; regions to which All thy dominion, Adam, is no more Than what this garden is to all the earth, And all the sea, from one entire globose Stretched into longitude; which having passed, At length into the limits of the north They came; and Satan to his royal seat High on a hill, far blazing, as a mount Raised on a mount, with pyramids and towers From diamond quarries hewn, and rocks of gold; The palace of great Lucifer, (so call That structure in the dialect of men Interpreted,) which not long after, he Affecting all equality with God, In imitation of that mount whereon Messiah was declared in sight