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Paradise Lost
by John Milton
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of Heaven, The Mountain of the Congregation called; For thither he assembled all his train, Pretending so commanded to consult About the great reception of their King, Thither to come, and with calumnious art Of counterfeited truth thus held their ears. Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers; If these magnifick titles yet remain Not merely titular, since by decree Another now hath to himself engrossed All power, and us eclipsed under the name Of King anointed, for whom all this haste Of midnight-march, and hurried meeting here, This only to consult how we may best, With what may be devised of honours new, Receive him coming to receive from us Knee-tribute yet unpaid, prostration vile! Too much to one! but double how endured, To one, and to his image now proclaimed? But what if better counsels might erect Our minds, and teach us to cast off this yoke? Will ye submit your necks, and choose to bend The supple knee? Ye will not, if I trust To know ye right, or if ye know yourselves Natives and sons of Heaven possessed before By none; and if not equal all, yet free, Equally free; for orders and degrees Jar not with liberty, but well consist. Who can in reason then, or right, assume Monarchy over such as live by right His equals, if in power and splendour less, In freedom equal? or can introduce Law and edict on us, who without law Err not? much less for this to be our Lord, And look for adoration, to the abuse Of those imperial titles, which assert Our being ordained to govern, not to serve. Thus far his bold discourse without controul Had audience; when among the Seraphim Abdiel, than whom none with more zeal adored The Deity, and divine commands obeyed, Stood up, and in a flame of zeal severe The current of his fury thus opposed. O argument blasphemous, false, and proud! Words which no ear ever to hear in Heaven Expected, least of all from thee, Ingrate, In place thyself so high above thy peers. Canst thou with impious obloquy condemn The just decree of God, pronounced and sworn, That to his only Son, by right endued With regal scepter, every soul in Heaven Shall bend the knee, and in that honour due Confess him rightful King? unjust, thou sayest, Flatly unjust, to bind with laws the free, And equal over equals to let reign, One over all with unsucceeded power. Shalt thou give law to God? shalt thou dispute With him the points of liberty, who made Thee what thou art, and formed the Powers of Heaven Such as he pleased, and circumscribed their being? Yet, by experience taught, we know how good, And of our good and of our dignity How provident he is; how far from thought To make us less, bent rather to exalt Our happy state, under one head more near United. But to grant it thee unjust, That equal over equals monarch reign: Thyself, though great and glorious, dost thou count, Or all angelick nature joined in one, Equal to him begotten Son? by whom, As by his Word, the Mighty Father made All things, even thee; and all the Spirits of Heaven By him created in their bright degrees, Crowned them with glory, and to their glory named Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers, Essential Powers; nor by his reign obscured, But more illustrious made; since he the head One of our number thus reduced becomes; His laws our laws; all honour to him done Returns our own. Cease then this impious rage, And tempt not these; but hasten to appease The incensed Father, and the incensed Son, While pardon may be found in time besought. So spake the fervent Angel; but his zeal None seconded, as out of season judged, Or singular and rash: Whereat rejoiced The Apostate, and, more haughty, thus replied. That we were formed then sayest thou? and the work Of secondary hands, by task transferred From Father to his Son? strange point and new! Doctrine which we would know whence learned: who saw When this creation was? rememberest thou Thy making, while the Maker gave thee being? We know no time when we were not as now; Know none before us, self-begot, self-raised By our own quickening power, when fatal course Had circled his full orb, the birth mature Of this our native Heaven, ethereal sons. Our puissance is our own; our own right hand Shall teach us highest deeds, by proof to try Who is our equal: Then thou shalt behold Whether by supplication we intend Address, and to begirt the almighty throne Beseeching or besieging. This report, These tidings carry to the anointed King; And fly, ere evil intercept thy flight. He said; and, as the sound of waters deep, Hoarse murmur echoed to his words applause Through the infinite host; nor less for that The flaming Seraph fearless, though alone Encompassed round with foes, thus answered bold. O alienate from God, O Spirit accursed, Forsaken of all good! I see thy fall Determined, and thy hapless crew involved In this perfidious fraud, contagion spread Both of thy crime and punishment: Henceforth No more be troubled how to quit the yoke Of God's Messiah; those indulgent laws Will not be now vouchsafed; other decrees Against thee are gone forth without recall; That golden scepter, which thou didst reject, Is now an iron rod to bruise and break Thy disobedience. Well thou didst advise; Yet not for thy advice or threats I fly These wicked tents devoted, lest the wrath Impendent, raging into sudden flame, Distinguish not: For soon expect to feel His thunder on thy head, devouring fire. Then who created thee lamenting learn, When who can uncreate thee thou shalt know. So spake the Seraph Abdiel, faithful found Among the faithless, faithful only he; Among innumerable false, unmoved, Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified, His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal; Nor number, nor example, with him wrought To swerve from truth, or change his constant mind, Though single. From amidst them forth he passed, Long way through hostile scorn, which he sustained Superiour, nor of violence feared aught; And, with retorted scorn, his back he turned On those proud towers to swift destruction doomed.



Book VI

All night the dreadless Angel, unpursued, Through Heaven's wide champain held his way; till Morn, Waked by the circling Hours, with rosy hand Unbarred the gates of light. There is a cave Within the mount of God, fast by his throne, Where light and darkness in perpetual round Lodge and dislodge by turns, which makes through Heaven Grateful vicissitude, like day and night; Light issues forth, and at the other door Obsequious darkness enters, till her hour To veil the Heaven, though darkness there might well Seem twilight here: And now went forth the Morn Such as in highest Heaven arrayed in gold Empyreal; from before her vanished Night, Shot through with orient beams; when all the plain Covered with thick embattled squadrons bright, Chariots, and flaming arms, and fiery steeds, Reflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view: War he perceived, war in procinct; and found Already known what he for news had thought To have reported: Gladly then he mixed Among those friendly Powers, who him received With joy and acclamations loud, that one, That of so many myriads fallen, yet one Returned not lost. On to the sacred hill They led him high applauded, and present Before the seat supreme; from whence a voice, From midst a golden cloud, thus mild was heard. Servant of God. Well done; well hast thou fought The better fight, who single hast maintained Against revolted multitudes the cause Of truth, in word mightier than they in arms; And for the testimony of truth hast borne Universal reproach, far worse to bear Than violence; for this was all thy care To stand approved in sight of God, though worlds Judged thee perverse: The easier conquest now Remains thee, aided by this host of friends, Back on thy foes more glorious to return, Than scorned thou didst depart; and to subdue By force, who reason for their law refuse, Right reason for their law, and for their King Messiah, who by right of merit reigns. Go, Michael, of celestial armies prince, And thou, in military prowess next, Gabriel, lead forth to battle these my sons Invincible; lead forth my armed Saints, By thousands and by millions, ranged for fight, Equal in number to that Godless crew Rebellious: Them with fire and hostile arms Fearless assault; and, to the brow of Heaven Pursuing, drive them out from God and bliss, Into their place of punishment, the gulf Of Tartarus, which ready opens wide His fiery Chaos to receive their fall. So spake the Sovran Voice, and clouds began To darken all the hill, and smoke to roll In dusky wreaths, reluctant flames, the sign Of wrath awaked; nor with less dread the loud Ethereal trumpet from on high 'gan blow: At which command the Powers militant, That stood for Heaven, in mighty quadrate joined Of union irresistible, moved on In silence their bright legions, to the sound Of instrumental harmony, that breathed Heroick ardour to adventurous deeds Under their God-like leaders, in the cause Of God and his Messiah. On they move Indissolubly firm; nor obvious hill, Nor straitening vale, nor wood, nor stream, divides Their perfect ranks; for high above the ground Their march was, and the passive air upbore Their nimble tread; as when the total kind Of birds, in orderly array on wing, Came summoned over Eden to receive Their names of thee; so over many a tract Of Heaven they marched, and many a province wide, Tenfold the length of this terrene: At last, Far in the horizon to the north appeared From skirt to skirt a fiery region, stretched In battailous aspect, and nearer view Bristled with upright beams innumerable Of rigid spears, and helmets thronged, and shields Various, with boastful argument portrayed, The banded Powers of Satan hasting on With furious expedition; for they weened That self-same day, by fight or by surprise, To win the mount of God, and on his throne To set the Envier of his state, the proud Aspirer; but their thoughts proved fond and vain In the mid way: Though strange to us it seemed At first, that Angel should with Angel war, And in fierce hosting meet, who wont to meet So oft in festivals of joy and love Unanimous, as sons of one great Sire, Hymning the Eternal Father: But the shout Of battle now began, and rushing sound Of onset ended soon each milder thought. High in the midst, exalted as a God, The Apostate in his sun-bright chariot sat, Idol of majesty divine, enclosed With flaming Cherubim, and golden shields; Then lighted from his gorgeous throne, for now 'Twixt host and host but narrow space was left, A dreadful interval, and front to front Presented stood in terrible array Of hideous length: Before the cloudy van, On the rough edge of battle ere it joined, Satan, with vast and haughty strides advanced, Came towering, armed in adamant and gold; Abdiel that sight endured not, where he stood Among the mightiest, bent on highest deeds, And thus his own undaunted heart explores. O Heaven! that such resemblance of the Highest Should yet remain, where faith and realty Remain not: Wherefore should not strength and might There fail where virtue fails, or weakest prove Where boldest, though to fight unconquerable? His puissance, trusting in the Almighty's aid, I mean to try, whose reason I have tried Unsound and false; nor is it aught but just, That he, who in debate of truth hath won, Should win in arms, in both disputes alike Victor; though brutish that contest and foul, When reason hath to deal with force, yet so Most reason is that reason overcome. So pondering, and from his armed peers Forth stepping opposite, half-way he met His daring foe, at this prevention more Incensed, and thus securely him defied. Proud, art thou met? thy hope was to have reached The highth of thy aspiring unopposed, The throne of God unguarded, and his side Abandoned, at the terrour of thy power Or potent tongue: Fool! not to think how vain Against the Omnipotent to rise in arms; Who out of smallest things could, without end, Have raised incessant armies to defeat Thy folly; or with solitary hand Reaching beyond all limit, at one blow, Unaided, could have finished thee, and whelmed Thy legions under darkness: But thou seest All are not of thy train; there be, who faith Prefer, and piety to God, though then To thee not visible, when I alone Seemed in thy world erroneous to dissent From all: My sect thou seest; now learn too late How few sometimes may know, when thousands err. Whom the grand foe, with scornful eye askance, Thus answered. Ill for thee, but in wished hour Of my revenge, first sought for, thou returnest From flight, seditious Angel! to receive Thy merited reward, the first assay Of this right hand provoked, since first that tongue, Inspired with contradiction, durst oppose A third part of the Gods, in synod met Their deities to assert; who, while they feel Vigour divine within them, can allow Omnipotence to none. But well thou comest Before thy fellows, ambitious to win From me some plume, that thy success may show Destruction to the rest: This pause between, (Unanswered lest thou boast) to let thee know, At first I thought that Liberty and Heaven To heavenly souls had been all one; but now I see that most through sloth had rather serve, Ministring Spirits, trained up in feast and song! Such hast thou armed, the minstrelsy of Heaven, Servility with freedom to contend, As both their deeds compared this day shall prove. To whom in brief thus Abdiel stern replied. Apostate! still thou errest, nor end wilt find Of erring, from the path of truth remote: Unjustly thou depravest it with the name Of servitude, to serve whom God ordains, Or Nature: God and Nature bid the same, When he who rules is worthiest, and excels Them whom he governs. This is servitude, To serve the unwise, or him who hath rebelled Against his worthier, as thine now serve thee, Thyself not free, but to thyself enthralled; Yet lewdly darest our ministring upbraid. Reign thou in Hell, thy kingdom; let me serve In Heaven God ever blest, and his divine Behests obey, worthiest to be obeyed; Yet chains in Hell, not realms, expect: Mean while From me returned, as erst thou saidst, from flight, This greeting on thy impious crest receive. So saying, a noble stroke he lifted high, Which hung not, but so swift with tempest fell On the proud crest of Satan, that no sight, Nor motion of swift thought, less could his shield, Such ruin intercept: Ten paces huge He back recoiled; the tenth on bended knee His massy spear upstaid; as if on earth Winds under ground, or waters forcing way, Sidelong had pushed a mountain from his seat, Half sunk with all his pines. Amazement seised The rebel Thrones, but greater rage, to see Thus foiled their mightiest; ours joy filled, and shout, Presage of victory, and fierce desire Of battle: Whereat Michael bid sound The Arch-Angel trumpet; through the vast of Heaven It sounded, and the faithful armies rung Hosanna to the Highest: Nor stood at gaze The adverse legions, nor less hideous joined The horrid shock. Now storming fury rose, And clamour such as heard in Heaven till now Was never; arms on armour clashing brayed Horrible discord, and the madding wheels Of brazen chariots raged; dire was the noise Of conflict; over head the dismal hiss Of fiery darts in flaming vollies flew, And flying vaulted either host with fire. So under fiery cope together rushed Both battles main, with ruinous assault And inextinguishable rage. All Heaven Resounded; and had Earth been then, all Earth Had to her center shook. What wonder? when Millions of fierce encountering Angels fought On either side, the least of whom could wield These elements, and arm him with the force Of all their regions: How much more of power Army against army numberless to raise Dreadful combustion warring, and disturb, Though not destroy, their happy native seat; Had not the Eternal King Omnipotent, From his strong hold of Heaven, high over-ruled And limited their might; though numbered such As each divided legion might have seemed A numerous host; in strength each armed hand A legion; led in fight, yet leader seemed Each warriour single as in chief, expert When to advance, or stand, or turn the sway Of battle, open when, and when to close The ridges of grim war: No thought of flight, None of retreat, no unbecoming deed That argued fear; each on himself relied, As only in his arm the moment lay Of victory: Deeds of eternal fame Were done, but infinite; for wide was spread That war and various; sometimes on firm ground A standing fight, then, soaring on main wing, Tormented all the air; all air seemed then Conflicting fire. Long time in even scale The battle hung; till Satan, who that day Prodigious power had shown, and met in arms No equal, ranging through the dire attack Of fighting Seraphim confused, at length Saw where the sword of Michael smote, and felled Squadrons at once; with huge two-handed sway Brandished aloft, the horrid edge came down Wide-wasting; such destruction to withstand He hasted, and opposed the rocky orb Of tenfold adamant, his ample shield, A vast circumference. At his approach The great Arch-Angel from his warlike toil Surceased, and glad, as hoping here to end Intestine war in Heaven, the arch-foe subdued Or captive dragged in chains, with hostile frown And visage all inflamed first thus began. Author of evil, unknown till thy revolt, Unnamed in Heaven, now plenteous as thou seest These acts of hateful strife, hateful to all, Though heaviest by just measure on thyself, And thy adherents: How hast thou disturbed Heaven's blessed peace, and into nature brought Misery, uncreated till the crime Of thy rebellion! how hast thou instilled Thy malice into thousands, once upright And faithful, now proved false! But think not here To trouble holy rest; Heaven casts thee out From all her confines. Heaven, the seat of bliss, Brooks not the works of violence and war. Hence then, and evil go with thee along, Thy offspring, to the place of evil, Hell; Thou and thy wicked crew! there mingle broils, Ere this avenging sword begin thy doom, Or some more sudden vengeance, winged from God, Precipitate thee with augmented pain. So spake the Prince of Angels; to whom thus The Adversary. Nor think thou with wind Of aery threats to awe whom yet with deeds Thou canst not. Hast thou turned the least of these To flight, or if to fall, but that they rise Unvanquished, easier to transact with me That thou shouldst hope, imperious, and with threats To chase me hence? err not, that so shall end The strife which thou callest evil, but we style The strife of glory; which we mean to win, Or turn this Heaven itself into the Hell Thou fablest; here however to dwell free, If not to reign: Mean while thy utmost force, And join him named Almighty to thy aid, I fly not, but have sought thee far and nigh. They ended parle, and both addressed for fight Unspeakable; for who, though with the tongue Of Angels, can relate, or to what things Liken on earth conspicuous, that may lift Human imagination to such highth Of Godlike power? for likest Gods they seemed, Stood they or moved, in stature, motion, arms, Fit to decide the empire of great Heaven. Now waved their fiery swords, and in the air Made horrid circles; two broad suns their shields Blazed opposite, while Expectation stood In horrour: From each hand with speed retired, Where erst was thickest fight, the angelick throng, And left large field, unsafe within the wind Of such commotion; such as, to set forth Great things by small, if, nature's concord broke, Among the constellations war were sprung, Two planets, rushing from aspect malign Of fiercest opposition, in mid sky Should combat, and their jarring spheres confound. Together both with next to almighty arm Up-lifted imminent, one stroke they aimed That might determine, and not need repeat, As not of power at once; nor odds appeared In might or swift prevention: But the sword Of Michael from the armoury of God Was given him tempered so, that neither keen Nor solid might resist that edge: it met The sword of Satan, with steep force to smite Descending, and in half cut sheer; nor staid, But with swift wheel reverse, deep entering, shared All his right side: Then Satan first knew pain, And writhed him to and fro convolved; so sore The griding sword with discontinuous wound Passed through him: But the ethereal substance closed, Not long divisible; and from the gash A stream of necturous humour issuing flowed Sanguine, such as celestial Spirits may bleed, And all his armour stained, ere while so bright. Forthwith on all sides to his aid was run By Angels many and strong, who interposed Defence, while others bore him on their shields Back to his chariot, where it stood retired From off the files of war: There they him laid Gnashing for anguish, and despite, and shame, To find himself not matchless, and his pride Humbled by such rebuke, so far beneath His confidence to equal God in power. Yet soon he healed; for Spirits that live throughout Vital in every part, not as frail man In entrails, heart of head, liver or reins, Cannot but by annihilating die; Nor in their liquid texture mortal wound Receive, no more than can the fluid air: All heart they live, all head, all eye, all ear, All intellect, all sense; and, as they please, They limb themselves, and colour, shape, or size Assume, as likes them best, condense or rare. Mean while in other parts like deeds deserved Memorial, where the might of Gabriel fought, And with fierce ensigns pierced the deep array Of Moloch, furious king; who him defied, And at his chariot-wheels to drag him bound Threatened, nor from the Holy One of Heaven Refrained his tongue blasphemous; but anon Down cloven to the waist, with shattered arms And uncouth pain fled bellowing. On each wing Uriel, and Raphael, his vaunting foe, Though huge, and in a rock of diamond armed, Vanquished Adramelech, and Asmadai, Two potent Thrones, that to be less than Gods Disdained, but meaner thoughts learned in their flight, Mangled with ghastly wounds through plate and mail. Nor stood unmindful Abdiel to annoy The atheist crew, but with redoubled blow Ariel, and Arioch, and the violence Of Ramiel scorched and blasted, overthrew. I might relate of thousands, and their names Eternize here on earth; but those elect Angels, contented with their fame in Heaven, Seek not the praise of men: The other sort, In might though wonderous and in acts of war, Nor of renown less eager, yet by doom Cancelled from Heaven and sacred memory, Nameless in dark oblivion let them dwell. For strength from truth divided, and from just, Illaudable, nought merits but dispraise And ignominy; yet to glory aspires Vain-glorious, and through infamy seeks fame: Therefore eternal silence be their doom. And now, their mightiest quelled, the battle swerved, With many an inroad gored; deformed rout Entered, and foul disorder; all the ground With shivered armour strown, and on a heap Chariot and charioteer lay overturned, And fiery-foaming steeds; what stood, recoiled O'er-wearied, through the faint Satanick host Defensive scarce, or with pale fear surprised, Then first with fear surprised, and sense of pain, Fled ignominious, to such evil brought By sin of disobedience; till that hour Not liable to fear, or flight, or pain. Far otherwise the inviolable Saints, In cubick phalanx firm, advanced entire, Invulnerable, impenetrably armed; Such high advantages their innocence Gave them above their foes; not to have sinned, Not to have disobeyed; in fight they stood Unwearied, unobnoxious to be pained By wound, though from their place by violence moved, Now Night her course began, and, over Heaven Inducing darkness, grateful truce imposed, And silence on the odious din of war: Under her cloudy covert both retired, Victor and vanquished: On the foughten field Michael and his Angels prevalent Encamping, placed in guard their watches round, Cherubick waving fires: On the other part, Satan with his rebellious disappeared, Far in the dark dislodged; and, void of rest, His potentates to council called by night; And in the midst thus undismayed began. O now in danger tried, now known in arms Not to be overpowered, Companions dear, Found worthy not of liberty alone, Too mean pretence! but what we more affect, Honour, dominion, glory, and renown; Who have sustained one day in doubtful fight, (And if one day, why not eternal days?) What Heaven's Lord had powerfullest to send Against us from about his throne, and judged Sufficient to subdue us to his will, But proves not so: Then fallible, it seems, Of future we may deem him, though till now Omniscient thought. True is, less firmly armed, Some disadvantage we endured and pain, Till now not known, but, known, as soon contemned; Since now we find this our empyreal form Incapable of mortal injury, Imperishable, and, though pierced with wound, Soon closing, and by native vigour healed. Of evil then so small as easy think The remedy; perhaps more valid arms, Weapons more violent, when next we meet, May serve to better us, and worse our foes, Or equal what between us made the odds, In nature none: If other hidden cause Left them superiour, while we can preserve Unhurt our minds, and understanding sound, Due search and consultation will disclose. He sat; and in the assembly next upstood Nisroch, of Principalities the prime; As one he stood escaped from cruel fight, Sore toiled, his riven arms to havock hewn, And cloudy in aspect thus answering spake. Deliverer from new Lords, leader to free Enjoyment of our right as Gods; yet hard For Gods, and too unequal work we find, Against unequal arms to fight in pain, Against unpained, impassive; from which evil Ruin must needs ensue; for what avails Valour or strength, though matchless, quelled with pain Which all subdues, and makes remiss the hands Of mightiest? Sense of pleasure we may well Spare out of life perhaps, and not repine, But live content, which is the calmest life: But pain is perfect misery, the worst Of evils, and, excessive, overturns All patience. He, who therefore can invent With what more forcible we may offend Our yet unwounded enemies, or arm Ourselves with like defence, to me deserves No less than for deliverance what we owe. Whereto with look composed Satan replied. Not uninvented that, which thou aright Believest so main to our success, I bring. Which of us who beholds the bright surface Of this ethereous mould whereon we stand, This continent of spacious Heaven, adorned With plant, fruit, flower ambrosial, gems, and gold; Whose eye so superficially surveys These things, as not to mind from whence they grow Deep under ground, materials dark and crude, Of spiritous and fiery spume, till touched With Heaven's ray, and tempered, they shoot forth So beauteous, opening to the ambient light? These in their dark nativity the deep Shall yield us, pregnant with infernal flame; Which, into hollow engines, long and round, Thick rammed, at the other bore with touch of fire Dilated and infuriate, shall send forth From far, with thundering noise, among our foes Such implements of mischief, as shall dash To pieces, and o'erwhelm whatever stands Adverse, that they shall fear we have disarmed The Thunderer of his only dreaded bolt. Nor long shall be our labour; yet ere dawn, Effect shall end our wish. Mean while revive; Abandon fear; to strength and counsel joined Think nothing hard, much less to be despaired. He ended, and his words their drooping cheer Enlightened, and their languished hope revived. The invention all admired, and each, how he To be the inventer missed; so easy it seemed Once found, which yet unfound most would have thought Impossible: Yet, haply, of thy race In future days, if malice should abound, Some one intent on mischief, or inspired With devilish machination, might devise Like instrument to plague the sons of men For sin, on war and mutual slaughter bent. Forthwith from council to the work they flew; None arguing stood; innumerable hands Were ready; in a moment up they turned Wide the celestial soil, and saw beneath The originals of nature in their crude Conception; sulphurous and nitrous foam They found, they mingled, and, with subtle art, Concocted and adusted they reduced To blackest grain, and into store conveyed: Part hidden veins digged up (nor hath this earth Entrails unlike) of mineral and stone, Whereof to found their engines and their balls Of missive ruin; part incentive reed Provide, pernicious with one touch to fire. So all ere day-spring, under conscious night, Secret they finished, and in order set, With silent circumspection, unespied. Now when fair morn orient in Heaven appeared, Up rose the victor-Angels, and to arms The matin trumpet sung: In arms they stood Of golden panoply, refulgent host, Soon banded; others from the dawning hills Look round, and scouts each coast light-armed scour, Each quarter to descry the distant foe, Where lodged, or whither fled, or if for fight, In motion or in halt: Him soon they met Under spread ensigns moving nigh, in slow But firm battalion; back with speediest sail Zophiel, of Cherubim the swiftest wing, Came flying, and in mid air aloud thus cried. Arm, Warriours, arm for fight; the foe at hand, Whom fled we thought, will save us long pursuit This day; fear not his flight; so thick a cloud He comes, and settled in his face I see Sad resolution, and secure: Let each His adamantine coat gird well, and each Fit well his helm, gripe fast his orbed shield, Borne even or high; for this day will pour down, If I conjecture aught, no drizzling shower, But rattling storm of arrows barbed with fire. So warned he them, aware themselves, and soon In order, quit of all impediment; Instant without disturb they took alarm, And onward moved embattled: When behold! Not distant far with heavy pace the foe Approaching gross and huge, in hollow cube Training his devilish enginery, impaled On every side with shadowing squadrons deep, To hide the fraud. At interview both stood A while; but suddenly at head appeared Satan, and thus was heard commanding loud. Vanguard, to right and left the front unfold; That all may see who hate us, how we seek Peace and composure, and with open breast Stand ready to receive them, if they like Our overture; and turn not back perverse: But that I doubt; however witness, Heaven! Heaven, witness thou anon! while we discharge Freely our part: ye, who appointed stand Do as you have in charge, and briefly touch What we propound, and loud that all may hear! So scoffing in ambiguous words, he scarce Had ended; when to right and left the front Divided, and to either flank retired: Which to our eyes discovered, new and strange, A triple mounted row of pillars laid On wheels (for like to pillars most they seemed, Or hollowed bodies made of oak or fir, With branches lopt, in wood or mountain felled,) Brass, iron, stony mould, had not their mouths With hideous orifice gaped on us wide, Portending hollow truce: At each behind A Seraph stood, and in his hand a reed Stood waving tipt with fire; while we, suspense, Collected stood within our thoughts amused, Not long; for sudden all at once their reeds Put forth, and to a narrow vent applied With nicest touch. Immediate in a flame, But soon obscured with smoke, all Heaven appeared, From those deep-throated engines belched, whose roar Embowelled with outrageous noise the air, And all her entrails tore, disgorging foul Their devilish glut, chained thunderbolts and hail Of iron globes; which, on the victor host Levelled, with such impetuous fury smote, That, whom they hit, none on their feet might stand, Though standing else as rocks, but down they fell By thousands, Angel on Arch-Angel rolled; The sooner for their arms; unarmed, they might Have easily, as Spirits, evaded swift By quick contraction or remove; but now Foul dissipation followed, and forced rout; Nor served it to relax their serried files. What should they do? if on they rushed, repulse Repeated, and indecent overthrow Doubled, would render them yet more despised, And to their foes a laughter; for in view Stood ranked of Seraphim another row, In posture to displode their second tire Of thunder: Back defeated to return They worse abhorred. Satan beheld their plight, And to his mates thus in derision called. O Friends! why come not on these victors proud Ere while they fierce were coming; and when we, To entertain them fair with open front And breast, (what could we more?) propounded terms Of composition, straight they changed their minds, Flew off, and into strange vagaries fell, As they would dance; yet for a dance they seemed Somewhat extravagant and wild; perhaps For joy of offered peace: But I suppose, If our proposals once again were heard, We should compel them to a quick result. To whom thus Belial, in like gamesome mood. Leader! the terms we sent were terms of weight, Of hard contents, and full of force urged home; Such as we might perceive amused them all, And stumbled many: Who receives them right, Had need from head to foot well understand; Not understood, this gift they have besides, They show us when our foes walk not upright. So they among themselves in pleasant vein Stood scoffing, hightened in their thoughts beyond All doubt of victory: Eternal Might To match with their inventions they presumed So easy, and of his thunder made a scorn, And all his host derided, while they stood A while in trouble: But they stood not long; Rage prompted them at length, and found them arms Against such hellish mischief fit to oppose. Forthwith (behold the excellence, the power, Which God hath in his mighty Angels placed!) Their arms away they threw, and to the hills (For Earth hath this variety from Heaven Of pleasure situate in hill and dale,) Light as the lightning glimpse they ran, they flew; From their foundations loosening to and fro, They plucked the seated hills, with all their load, Rocks, waters, woods, and by the shaggy tops Up-lifting bore them in their hands: Amaze, Be sure, and terrour, seized the rebel host, When coming towards them so dread they saw The bottom of the mountains upward turned; Till on those cursed engines' triple-row They saw them whelmed, and all their confidence Under the weight of mountains buried deep; Themselves invaded next, and on their heads Main promontories flung, which in the air Came shadowing, and oppressed whole legions armed; Their armour helped their harm, crushed in and bruised Into their substance pent, which wrought them pain Implacable, and many a dolorous groan; Long struggling underneath, ere they could wind Out of such prison, though Spirits of purest light, Purest at first, now gross by sinning grown. The rest, in imitation, to like arms Betook them, and the neighbouring hills uptore: So hills amid the air encountered hills, Hurled to and fro with jaculation dire; That under ground they fought in dismal shade; Infernal noise! war seemed a civil game To this uproar; horrid confusion heaped Upon confusion rose: And now all Heaven Had gone to wrack, with ruin overspread; Had not the Almighty Father, where he sits Shrined in his sanctuary of Heaven secure, Consulting on the sum of things, foreseen This tumult, and permitted all, advised: That his great purpose he might so fulfil, To honour his anointed Son avenged Upon his enemies, and to declare All power on him transferred: Whence to his Son, The Assessour of his throne, he thus began. Effulgence of my glory, Son beloved, Son, in whose face invisible is beheld Visibly, what by Deity I am; And in whose hand what by decree I do, Second Omnipotence! two days are past, Two days, as we compute the days of Heaven, Since Michael and his Powers went forth to tame These disobedient: Sore hath been their fight, As likeliest was, when two such foes met armed; For to themselves I left them; and thou knowest, Equal in their creation they were formed, Save what sin hath impaired; which yet hath wrought Insensibly, for I suspend their doom; Whence in perpetual fight they needs must last Endless, and no solution will be found: War wearied hath performed what war can do, And to disordered rage let loose the reins With mountains, as with weapons, armed; which makes Wild work in Heaven, and dangerous to the main. Two days are therefore past, the third is thine; For thee I have ordained it; and thus far Have suffered, that the glory may be thine Of ending this great war, since none but Thou Can end it. Into thee such virtue and grace Immense I have transfused, that all may know In Heaven and Hell thy power above compare; And, this perverse commotion governed thus, To manifest thee worthiest to be Heir Of all things; to be Heir, and to be King By sacred unction, thy deserved right. Go then, Thou Mightiest, in thy Father's might; Ascend my chariot, guide the rapid wheels That shake Heaven's basis, bring forth all my war, My bow and thunder, my almighty arms Gird on, and sword upon thy puissant thigh; Pursue these sons of darkness, drive them out From all Heaven's bounds into the utter deep: There let them learn, as likes them, to despise God, and Messiah his anointed King. He said, and on his Son with rays direct Shone full; he all his Father full expressed Ineffably into his face received; And thus the Filial Godhead answering spake. O Father, O Supreme of heavenly Thrones, First, Highest, Holiest, Best; thou always seek'st To glorify thy Son, I always thee, As is most just: This I my glory account, My exaltation, and my whole delight, That thou, in me well pleased, declarest thy will Fulfilled, which to fulfil is all my bliss. Scepter and power, thy giving, I assume, And gladlier shall resign, when in the end Thou shalt be all in all, and I in thee For ever; and in me all whom thou lovest: But whom thou hatest, I hate, and can put on Thy terrours, as I put thy mildness on, Image of thee in all things; and shall soon, Armed with thy might, rid Heaven of these rebelled; To their prepared ill mansion driven down, To chains of darkness, and the undying worm; That from thy just obedience could revolt, Whom to obey is happiness entire. Then shall thy Saints unmixed, and from the impure Far separate, circling thy holy mount, Unfeigned Halleluiahs to thee sing, Hymns of high praise, and I among them Chief. So said, he, o'er his scepter bowing, rose From the right hand of Glory where he sat; And the third sacred morn began to shine, Dawning through Heaven. Forth rushed with whirlwind sound The chariot of Paternal Deity, Flashing thick flames, wheel within wheel undrawn, Itself instinct with Spirit, but convoyed By four Cherubick shapes; four faces each Had wonderous; as with stars, their bodies all And wings were set with eyes; with eyes the wheels Of beryl, and careering fires between; Over their heads a crystal firmament, Whereon a sapphire throne, inlaid with pure Amber, and colours of the showery arch. He, in celestial panoply all armed Of radiant Urim, work divinely wrought, Ascended; at his right hand Victory Sat eagle-winged; beside him hung his bow And quiver with three-bolted thunder stored; And from about him fierce effusion rolled Of smoke, and bickering flame, and sparkles dire: Attended with ten thousand thousand Saints, He onward came; far off his coming shone; And twenty thousand (I their number heard) Chariots of God, half on each hand, were seen; He on the wings of Cherub rode sublime On the crystalline sky, in sapphire throned, Illustrious far and wide; but by his own First seen: Them unexpected joy surprised, When the great ensign of Messiah blazed Aloft by Angels borne, his sign in Heaven; Under whose conduct Michael soon reduced His army, circumfused on either wing, Under their Head imbodied all in one. Before him Power Divine his way prepared; At his command the uprooted hills retired Each to his place; they heard his voice, and went Obsequious; Heaven his wonted face renewed, And with fresh flowerets hill and valley smiled. This saw his hapless foes, but stood obdured, And to rebellious fight rallied their Powers, Insensate, hope conceiving from despair. In heavenly Spirits could such perverseness dwell? But to convince the proud what signs avail, Or wonders move the obdurate to relent? They, hardened more by what might most reclaim, Grieving to see his glory, at the sight Took envy; and, aspiring to his highth, Stood re-embattled fierce, by force or fraud Weening to prosper, and at length prevail Against God and Messiah, or to fall In universal ruin last; and now To final battle drew, disdaining flight, Or faint retreat; when the great Son of God To all his host on either hand thus spake. Stand still in bright array, ye Saints; here stand, Ye Angels armed; this day from battle rest: Faithful hath been your warfare, and of God Accepted, fearless in his righteous cause; And as ye have received, so have ye done, Invincibly: But of this cursed crew The punishment to other hand belongs; Vengeance is his, or whose he sole appoints: Number to this day's work is not ordained, Nor multitude; stand only, and behold God's indignation on these godless poured By me; not you, but me, they have despised, Yet envied; against me is all their rage, Because the Father, to whom in Heaven s'preme Kingdom, and power, and glory appertains, Hath honoured me, according to his will. Therefore to me their doom he hath assigned; That they may have their wish, to try with me In battle which the stronger proves; they all, Or I alone against them; since by strength They measure all, of other excellence Not emulous, nor care who them excels; Nor other strife with them do I vouchsafe. So spake the Son, and into terrour changed His countenance too severe to be beheld, And full of wrath bent on his enemies. At once the Four spread out their starry wings With dreadful shade contiguous, and the orbs Of his fierce chariot rolled, as with the sound Of torrent floods, or of a numerous host. He on his impious foes right onward drove, Gloomy as night; under his burning wheels The stedfast empyrean shook throughout, All but the throne itself of God. Full soon Among them he arrived; in his right hand Grasping ten thousand thunders, which he sent Before him, such as in their souls infixed Plagues: They, astonished, all resistance lost, All courage; down their idle weapons dropt: O'er shields, and helms, and helmed heads he rode Of Thrones and mighty Seraphim prostrate, That wished the mountains now might be again Thrown on them, as a shelter from his ire. Nor less on either side tempestuous fell His arrows, from the fourfold-visaged Four Distinct with eyes, and from the living wheels Distinct alike with multitude of eyes; One Spirit in them ruled; and every eye Glared lightning, and shot forth pernicious fire Among the accursed, that withered all their strength, And of their wonted vigour left them drained, Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fallen. Yet half his strength he put not forth, but checked His thunder in mid volley; for he meant Not to destroy, but root them out of Heaven: The overthrown he raised, and as a herd Of goats or timorous flock together thronged Drove them before him thunder-struck, pursued With terrours, and with furies, to the bounds And crystal wall of Heaven; which, opening wide, Rolled inward, and a spacious gap disclosed Into the wasteful deep: The monstrous sight Struck them with horrour backward, but far worse Urged them behind: Headlong themselves they threw Down from the verge of Heaven; eternal wrath Burnt after them to the bottomless pit. Hell heard the unsufferable noise, Hell saw Heaven ruining from Heaven, and would have fled Affrighted; but strict Fate had cast too deep Her dark foundations, and too fast had bound. Nine days they fell: Confounded Chaos roared, And felt tenfold confusion in their fall Through his wild anarchy, so huge a rout Incumbered him with ruin: Hell at last Yawning received them whole, and on them closed; Hell, their fit habitation, fraught with fire Unquenchable, the house of woe and pain. Disburdened Heaven rejoiced, and soon repaired Her mural breach, returning whence it rolled. Sole victor, from the expulsion of his foes, Messiah his triumphal chariot turned: To meet him all his Saints, who silent stood Eye-witnesses of his almighty acts, With jubilee advanced; and, as they went, Shaded with branching palm, each Order bright, Sung triumph, and him sung victorious King, Son, Heir, and Lord, to him dominion given, Worthiest to reign: He, celebrated, rode Triumphant through mid Heaven, into the courts And temple of his Mighty Father throned On high; who into glory him received, Where now he sits at the right hand of bliss. Thus, measuring things in Heaven by things on Earth, At thy request, and that thou mayest beware By what is past, to thee I have revealed What might have else to human race been hid; The discord which befel, and war in Heaven Among the angelick Powers, and the deep fall Of those too high aspiring, who rebelled With Satan; he who envies now thy state, Who now is plotting how he may seduce Thee also from obedience, that, with him Bereaved of happiness, thou mayest partake His punishment, eternal misery; Which would be all his solace and revenge, As a despite done against the Most High, Thee once to gain companion of his woe. But listen not to his temptations, warn Thy weaker; let it profit thee to have heard, By terrible example, the reward Of disobedience; firm they might have stood, Yet fell; remember, and fear to transgress.



Book VII

Descend from Heaven, Urania, by that name If rightly thou art called, whose voice divine Following, above the Olympian hill I soar, Above the flight of Pegasean wing! The meaning, not the name, I call: for thou Nor of the Muses nine, nor on the top Of old Olympus dwellest; but, heavenly-born, Before the hills appeared, or fountain flowed, Thou with eternal Wisdom didst converse, Wisdom thy sister, and with her didst play In presence of the Almighty Father, pleased With thy celestial song. Up led by thee Into the Heaven of Heavens I have presumed, An earthly guest, and drawn empyreal air, Thy tempering: with like safety guided down Return me to my native element: Lest from this flying steed unreined, (as once Bellerophon, though from a lower clime,) Dismounted, on the Aleian field I fall, Erroneous there to wander, and forlorn. Half yet remains unsung, but narrower bound Within the visible diurnal sphere; Standing on earth, not rapt above the pole, More safe I sing with mortal voice, unchanged To hoarse or mute, though fallen on evil days, On evil days though fallen, and evil tongues; In darkness, and with dangers compassed round, And solitude; yet not alone, while thou Visitest my slumbers nightly, or when morn Purples the east: still govern thou my song, Urania, and fit audience find, though few. But drive far off the barbarous dissonance Of Bacchus and his revellers, the race Of that wild rout that tore the Thracian bard In Rhodope, where woods and rocks had ears To rapture, till the savage clamour drowned Both harp and voice; nor could the Muse defend Her son. So fail not thou, who thee implores: For thou art heavenly, she an empty dream. Say, Goddess, what ensued when Raphael, The affable Arch-Angel, had forewarned Adam, by dire example, to beware Apostasy, by what befel in Heaven To those apostates; lest the like befall In Paradise to Adam or his race, Charged not to touch the interdicted tree, If they transgress, and slight that sole command, So easily obeyed amid the choice Of all tastes else to please their appetite, Though wandering. He, with his consorted Eve, The story heard attentive, and was filled With admiration and deep muse, to hear Of things so high and strange; things, to their thought So unimaginable, as hate in Heaven, And war so near the peace of God in bliss, With such confusion: but the evil, soon Driven back, redounded as a flood on those From whom it sprung; impossible to mix With blessedness. Whence Adam soon repealed The doubts that in his heart arose: and now Led on, yet sinless, with desire to know What nearer might concern him, how this world Of Heaven and Earth conspicuous first began; When, and whereof created; for what cause; What within Eden, or without, was done Before his memory; as one whose drouth Yet scarce allayed still eyes the current stream, Whose liquid murmur heard new thirst excites, Proceeded thus to ask his heavenly guest. Great things, and full of wonder in our ears, Far differing from this world, thou hast revealed, Divine interpreter! by favour sent Down from the empyrean, to forewarn Us timely of what might else have been our loss, Unknown, which human knowledge could not reach; For which to the infinitely Good we owe Immortal thanks, and his admonishment Receive, with solemn purpose to observe Immutably his sovran will, the end Of what we are. But since thou hast vouchsafed Gently, for our instruction, to impart Things above earthly thought, which yet concerned Our knowing, as to highest wisdom seemed, Deign to descend now lower, and relate What may no less perhaps avail us known, How first began this Heaven which we behold Distant so high, with moving fires adorned Innumerable; and this which yields or fills All space, the ambient air wide interfused Embracing round this floried Earth; what cause Moved the Creator, in his holy rest Through all eternity, so late to build In Chaos; and the work begun, how soon Absolved; if unforbid thou mayest unfold What we, not to explore the secrets ask Of his eternal empire, but the more To magnify his works, the more we know. And the great light of day yet wants to run Much of his race though steep; suspense in Heaven, Held by thy voice, thy potent voice, he hears, And longer will delay to hear thee tell His generation, and the rising birth Of Nature from the unapparent Deep: Or if the star of evening and the moon Haste to thy audience, Night with her will bring, Silence; and Sleep, listening to thee, will watch; Or we can bid his absence, till thy song End, and dismiss thee ere the morning shine. Thus Adam his illustrious guest besought: And thus the Godlike Angel answered mild. This also thy request, with caution asked, Obtain; though to recount almighty works What words or tongue of Seraph can suffice, Or heart of man suffice to comprehend? Yet what thou canst attain, which best may serve To glorify the Maker, and infer Thee also happier, shall not be withheld Thy hearing; such commission from above I have received, to answer thy desire Of knowledge within bounds; beyond, abstain To ask; nor let thine own inventions hope Things not revealed, which the invisible King, Only Omniscient, hath suppressed in night; To none communicable in Earth or Heaven: Enough is left besides to search and know. But knowledge is as food, and needs no less Her temperance over appetite, to know In measure what the mind may well contain; Oppresses else with surfeit, and soon turns Wisdom to folly, as nourishment to wind. Know then, that, after Lucifer from Heaven (So call him, brighter once amidst the host Of Angels, than that star the stars among,) Fell with his flaming legions through the deep Into his place, and the great Son returned Victorious with his Saints, the Omnipotent Eternal Father from his throne beheld Their multitude, and to his Son thus spake. At least our envious Foe hath failed, who thought All like himself rebellious, by whose aid This inaccessible high strength, the seat Of Deity supreme, us dispossessed, He trusted to have seised, and into fraud Drew many, whom their place knows here no more: Yet far the greater part have kept, I see, Their station; Heaven, yet populous, retains Number sufficient to possess her realms Though wide, and this high temple to frequent With ministeries due, and solemn rites: But, lest his heart exalt him in the harm Already done, to have dispeopled Heaven, My damage fondly deemed, I can repair That detriment, if such it be to lose Self-lost; and in a moment will create Another world, out of one man a race Of men innumerable, there to dwell, Not here; till, by degrees of merit raised, They open to themselves at length the way Up hither, under long obedience tried; And Earth be changed to Heaven, and Heaven to Earth, One kingdom, joy and union without end. Mean while inhabit lax, ye Powers of Heaven; And thou my Word, begotten Son, by thee This I perform; speak thou, and be it done! My overshadowing Spirit and Might with thee I send along; ride forth, and bid the Deep Within appointed bounds be Heaven and Earth; Boundless the Deep, because I Am who fill Infinitude, nor vacuous the space. Though I, uncircumscribed myself, retire, And put not forth my goodness, which is free To act or not, Necessity and Chance Approach not me, and what I will is Fate. So spake the Almighty, and to what he spake His Word, the Filial Godhead, gave effect. Immediate are the acts of God, more swift Than time or motion, but to human ears Cannot without process of speech be told, So told as earthly notion can receive. Great triumph and rejoicing was in Heaven, When such was heard declared the Almighty's will; Glory they sung to the Most High, good will To future men, and in their dwellings peace; Glory to Him, whose just avenging ire Had driven out the ungodly from his sight And the habitations of the just; to Him Glory and praise, whose wisdom had ordained Good out of evil to create; instead Of Spirits malign, a better race to bring Into their vacant room, and thence diffuse His good to worlds and ages infinite. So sang the Hierarchies: Mean while the Son On his great expedition now appeared, Girt with Omnipotence, with radiance crowned Of Majesty Divine; sapience and love Immense, and all his Father in him shone. About his chariot numberless were poured Cherub, and Seraph, Potentates, and Thrones, And Virtues, winged Spirits, and chariots winged From the armoury of God; where stand of old Myriads, between two brazen mountains lodged Against a solemn day, harnessed at hand, Celestial equipage; and now came forth Spontaneous, for within them Spirit lived, Attendant on their Lord: Heaven opened wide Her ever-during gates, harmonious sound On golden hinges moving, to let forth The King of Glory, in his powerful Word And Spirit, coming to create new worlds. On heavenly ground they stood; and from the shore They viewed the vast immeasurable abyss Outrageous as a sea, dark, wasteful, wild, Up from the bottom turned by furious winds And surging waves, as mountains, to assault Heaven's highth, and with the center mix the pole. Silence, ye troubled Waves, and thou Deep, peace, Said then the Omnifick Word; your discord end! Nor staid; but, on the wings of Cherubim Uplifted, in paternal glory rode Far into Chaos, and the world unborn; For Chaos heard his voice: Him all his train Followed in bright procession, to behold Creation, and the wonders of his might. Then staid the fervid wheels, and in his hand He took the golden compasses, prepared In God's eternal store, to circumscribe This universe, and all created things: One foot he centered, and the other turned Round through the vast profundity obscure; And said, Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds, This be thy just circumference, O World! Thus God the Heaven created, thus the Earth, Matter unformed and void: Darkness profound Covered the abyss: but on the watery calm His brooding wings the Spirit of God outspread, And vital virtue infused, and vital warmth Throughout the fluid mass; but downward purged The black tartareous cold infernal dregs, Adverse to life: then founded, then conglobed Like things to like; the rest to several place Disparted, and between spun out the air; And Earth self-balanced on her center hung. Let there be light, said God; and forthwith Light Ethereal, first of things, quintessence pure, Sprung from the deep; and from her native east To journey through the aery gloom began, Sphered in a radiant cloud, for yet the sun Was not; she in a cloudy tabernacle Sojourned the while. God saw the light was good; And light from darkness by the hemisphere Divided: light the Day, and darkness Night, He named. Thus was the first day even and morn: Nor past uncelebrated, nor unsung By the celestial quires, when orient light Exhaling first from darkness they beheld; Birth-day of Heaven and Earth; with joy and shout The hollow universal orb they filled, And touched their golden harps, and hymning praised God and his works; Creator him they sung, Both when first evening was, and when first morn. Again, God said, Let there be firmament Amid the waters, and let it divide The waters from the waters; and God made The firmament, expanse of liquid, pure, Transparent, elemental air, diffused In circuit to the uttermost convex Of this great round; partition firm and sure, The waters underneath from those above Dividing: for as earth, so he the world Built on circumfluous waters calm, in wide Crystalline ocean, and the loud misrule Of Chaos far removed; lest fierce extremes Contiguous might distemper the whole frame: And Heaven he named the Firmament: So even And morning chorus sung the second day. The Earth was formed, but in the womb as yet Of waters, embryon immature involved, Appeared not: over all the face of Earth Main ocean flowed, not idle; but, with warm Prolifick humour softening all her globe, Fermented the great mother to conceive, Satiate with genial moisture; when God said, Be gathered now ye waters under Heaven Into one place, and let dry land appear. Immediately the mountains huge appear Emergent, and their broad bare backs upheave Into the clouds; their tops ascend the sky: So high as heaved the tumid hills, so low Down sunk a hollow bottom broad and deep, Capacious bed of waters: Thither they Hasted with glad precipitance, uprolled, As drops on dust conglobing from the dry: Part rise in crystal wall, or ridge direct, For haste; such flight the great command impressed On the swift floods: As armies at the call Of trumpet (for of armies thou hast heard) Troop to their standard; so the watery throng, Wave rolling after wave, where way they found, If steep, with torrent rapture, if through plain, Soft-ebbing; nor withstood them rock or hill; But they, or under ground, or circuit wide With serpent errour wandering, found their way, And on the washy oose deep channels wore; Easy, ere God had bid the ground be dry, All but within those banks, where rivers now Stream, and perpetual draw their humid train. The dry land, Earth; and the great receptacle Of congregated waters, he called Seas: And saw that it was good; and said, Let the Earth Put forth the verdant grass, herb yielding seed, And fruit-tree yielding fruit after her kind, Whose seed is in herself upon the Earth. He scarce had said, when the bare Earth, till then Desart and bare, unsightly, unadorned, Brought forth the tender grass, whose verdure clad Her universal face with pleasant green; Then herbs of every leaf, that sudden flowered Opening their various colours, and made gay Her bosom, smelling sweet: and, these scarce blown, Forth flourished thick the clustering vine, forth crept The swelling gourd, up stood the corny reed Embattled in her field, and the humble shrub, And bush with frizzled hair implicit: Last Rose, as in dance, the stately trees, and spread Their branches hung with copious fruit, or gemmed Their blossoms: With high woods the hills were crowned; With tufts the valleys, and each fountain side; With borders long the rivers: that Earth now Seemed like to Heaven, a seat where Gods might dwell, Or wander with delight, and love to haunt Her sacred shades: though God had yet not rained Upon the Earth, and man to till the ground None was; but from the Earth a dewy mist Went up, and watered all the ground, and each Plant of the field; which, ere it was in the Earth, God made, and every herb, before it grew On the green stem: God saw that it was good: So even and morn recorded the third day. Again the Almighty spake, Let there be lights High in the expanse of Heaven, to divide The day from night; and let them be for signs, For seasons, and for days, and circling years; And let them be for lights, as I ordain Their office in the firmament of Heaven, To give light on the Earth; and it was so. And God made two great lights, great for their use To Man, the greater to have rule by day, The less by night, altern; and made the stars, And set them in the firmament of Heaven To illuminate the Earth, and rule the day In their vicissitude, and rule the night, And light from darkness to divide. God saw, Surveying his great work, that it was good: For of celestial bodies first the sun A mighty sphere he framed, unlightsome first, Though of ethereal mould: then formed the moon Globose, and every magnitude of stars, And sowed with stars the Heaven, thick as a field: Of light by far the greater part he took, Transplanted from her cloudy shrine, and placed In the sun's orb, made porous to receive And drink the liquid light; firm to retain Her gathered beams, great palace now of light. Hither, as to their fountain, other stars Repairing, in their golden urns draw light, And hence the morning-planet gilds her horns; By tincture or reflection they augment Their small peculiar, though from human sight So far remote, with diminution seen, First in his east the glorious lamp was seen, Regent of day, and all the horizon round Invested with bright rays, jocund to run His longitude through Heaven's high road; the gray Dawn, and the Pleiades, before him danced, Shedding sweet influence: Less bright the moon, But opposite in levelled west was set, His mirrour, with full face borrowing her light From him; for other light she needed none In that aspect, and still that distance keeps Till night; then in the east her turn she shines, Revolved on Heaven's great axle, and her reign With thousand lesser lights dividual holds, With thousand thousand stars, that then appeared Spangling the hemisphere: Then first adorned With their bright luminaries that set and rose, Glad evening and glad morn crowned the fourth day. And God said, Let the waters generate Reptile with spawn abundant, living soul: And let fowl fly above the Earth, with wings Displayed on the open firmament of Heaven. And God created the great whales, and each Soul living, each that crept, which plenteously The waters generated by their kinds; And every bird of wing after his kind; And saw that it was good, and blessed them, saying. Be fruitful, multiply, and in the seas, And lakes, and running streams, the waters fill; And let the fowl be multiplied, on the Earth. Forthwith the sounds and seas, each creek and bay, With fry innumerable swarm, and shoals Of fish that with their fins, and shining scales, Glide under the green wave, in sculls that oft Bank the mid sea: part single, or with mate, Graze the sea-weed their pasture, and through groves Of coral stray; or, sporting with quick glance, Show to the sun their waved coats dropt with gold; Or, in their pearly shells at ease, attend Moist nutriment; or under rocks their food In jointed armour watch: on smooth the seal And bended dolphins play: part huge of bulk Wallowing unwieldy, enormous in their gait, Tempest the ocean: there leviathan, Hugest of living creatures, on the deep Stretched like a promontory sleeps or swims, And seems a moving land; and at his gills Draws in, and at his trunk spouts out, a sea. Mean while the tepid caves, and fens, and shores, Their brood as numerous hatch, from the egg that soon Bursting with kindly rupture forth disclosed Their callow young; but feathered soon and fledge They summed their pens; and, soaring the air sublime, With clang despised the ground, under a cloud In prospect; there the eagle and the stork On cliffs and cedar tops their eyries build: Part loosely wing the region, part more wise In common, ranged in figure, wedge their way, Intelligent of seasons, and set forth Their aery caravan, high over seas Flying, and over lands, with mutual wing Easing their flight; so steers the prudent crane Her annual voyage, borne on winds; the air Floats as they pass, fanned with unnumbered plumes: From branch to branch the smaller birds with song Solaced the woods, and spread their painted wings Till even; nor then the solemn nightingale Ceased warbling, but all night tun'd her soft lays: Others, on silver lakes and rivers, bathed Their downy breast; the swan with arched neck, Between her white wings mantling proudly, rows Her state with oary feet; yet oft they quit The dank, and, rising on stiff pennons, tower The mid aereal sky: Others on ground Walked firm; the crested cock whose clarion sounds The silent hours, and the other whose gay train Adorns him, coloured with the florid hue Of rainbows and starry eyes. The waters thus With fish replenished, and the air with fowl, Evening and morn solemnized the fifth day. The sixth, and of creation last, arose With evening harps and matin; when God said, Let the Earth bring forth soul living in her kind, Cattle, and creeping things, and beast of the Earth, Each in their kind. The Earth obeyed, and straight Opening her fertile womb teemed at a birth Innumerous living creatures, perfect forms, Limbed and full grown: Out of the ground up rose, As from his lair, the wild beast where he wons In forest wild, in thicket, brake, or den; Among the trees in pairs they rose, they walked: The cattle in the fields and meadows green: Those rare and solitary, these in flocks Pasturing at once, and in broad herds upsprung. The grassy clods now calved; now half appeared The tawny lion, pawing to get free His hinder parts, then springs as broke from bonds, And rampant shakes his brinded mane; the ounce, The libbard, and the tiger, as the mole Rising, the crumbled earth above them threw In hillocks: The swift stag from under ground Bore up his branching head: Scarce from his mould Behemoth biggest born of earth upheaved His vastness: Fleeced the flocks and bleating rose, As plants: Ambiguous between sea and land The river-horse, and scaly crocodile. At once came forth whatever creeps the ground, Insect or worm: those waved their limber fans For wings, and smallest lineaments exact In all the liveries decked of summer's pride With spots of gold and purple, azure and green: These, as a line, their long dimension drew, Streaking the ground with sinuous trace; not all Minims of nature; some of serpent-kind, Wonderous in length and corpulence, involved Their snaky folds, and added wings. First crept The parsimonious emmet, provident Of future; in small room large heart enclosed; Pattern of just equality perhaps Hereafter, joined in her popular tribes Of commonalty: Swarming next appeared The female bee, that feeds her husband drone Deliciously, and builds her waxen cells With honey stored: The rest are numberless, And thou their natures knowest, and gavest them names, Needless to thee repeated; nor unknown The serpent, subtlest beast of all the field, Of huge extent sometimes, with brazen eyes And hairy mane terrifick, though to thee Not noxious, but obedient at thy call. Now Heaven in all her glory shone, and rolled Her motions, as the great first Mover's hand First wheeled their course: Earth in her rich attire Consummate lovely smiled; air, water, earth, By fowl, fish, beast, was flown, was swum, was walked, Frequent; and of the sixth day yet remained: There wanted yet the master-work, the end Of all yet done; a creature, who, not prone And brute as other creatures, but endued With sanctity of reason, might erect His stature, and upright with front serene Govern the rest, self-knowing; and from thence Magnanimous to correspond with Heaven, But grateful to acknowledge whence his good Descends, thither with heart, and voice, and eyes Directed in devotion, to adore And worship God Supreme, who made him chief Of all his works: therefore the Omnipotent Eternal Father (for where is not he Present?) thus to his Son audibly spake. Let us make now Man in our image, Man In our similitude, and let them rule Over the fish and fowl of sea and air, Beast of the field, and over all the Earth, And every creeping thing that creeps the ground. This said, he formed thee, Adam, thee, O Man, Dust of the ground, and in thy nostrils breathed The breath of life; in his own image he Created thee, in the image of God Express; and thou becamest a living soul. Male he created thee; but thy consort Female, for race; then blessed mankind, and said, Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the Earth; Subdue it, and throughout dominion hold Over fish of the sea, and fowl of the air, And every living thing that moves on the Earth. Wherever thus created, for no place Is yet distinct by name, thence, as thou knowest, He brought thee into this delicious grove, This garden, planted with the trees of God, Delectable both to behold and taste; And freely all their pleasant fruit for food Gave thee; all sorts are here that all the Earth yields, Variety without end; but of the tree, Which, tasted, works knowledge of good and evil, Thou mayest not; in the day thou eatest, thou diest; Death is the penalty imposed; beware, And govern well thy appetite; lest Sin Surprise thee, and her black attendant Death. Here finished he, and all that he had made Viewed, and behold all was entirely good; So even and morn accomplished the sixth day: Yet not till the Creator from his work Desisting, though unwearied, up returned, Up to the Heaven of Heavens, his high abode; Thence to behold this new created world, The addition of his empire, how it showed In prospect from his throne, how good, how fair, Answering his great idea. Up he rode Followed with acclamation, and the sound Symphonious of ten thousand harps, that tuned Angelick harmonies: The earth, the air Resounded, (thou rememberest, for thou heardst,) The heavens and all the constellations rung, The planets in their station listening stood, While the bright pomp ascended jubilant. Open, ye everlasting gates! they sung, Open, ye Heavens! your living doors; let in The great Creator from his work returned Magnificent, his six days work, a World; Open, and henceforth oft; for God will deign To visit oft the dwellings of just men, Delighted; and with frequent intercourse Thither will send his winged messengers On errands of supernal grace. So sung The glorious train ascending: He through Heaven, That opened wide her blazing portals, led To God's eternal house direct the way; A broad and ample road, whose dust is gold And pavement stars, as stars to thee appear, Seen in the galaxy, that milky way, Which nightly, as a circling zone, thou seest Powdered with stars. And now on Earth the seventh Evening arose in Eden, for the sun Was set, and twilight from the east came on, Forerunning night; when at the holy mount Of Heaven's high-seated top, the imperial throne Of Godhead, fixed for ever firm and sure, The Filial Power arrived, and sat him down With his great Father; for he also went Invisible, yet staid, (such privilege Hath Omnipresence) and the work ordained, Author and End of all things; and, from work Now resting, blessed and hallowed the seventh day, As resting on that day from all his work, But not in silence holy kept: the harp Had work and rested not; the solemn pipe, And dulcimer, all organs of sweet stop, All sounds on fret by string or golden wire, Tempered soft tunings, intermixed with voice Choral or unison: of incense clouds, Fuming from golden censers, hid the mount. Creation and the six days acts they sung: Great are thy works, Jehovah! infinite Thy power! what thought can measure thee, or tongue Relate thee! Greater now in thy return Than from the giant Angels: Thee that day Thy thunders magnified; but to create Is greater than created to destroy. Who can impair thee, Mighty King, or bound Thy empire! Easily the proud attempt Of Spirits apostate, and their counsels vain, Thou hast repelled; while impiously they thought Thee to diminish, and from thee withdraw The number of thy worshippers. Who seeks To lessen thee, against his purpose serves To manifest the more thy might: his evil Thou usest, and from thence createst more good. Witness this new-made world, another Heaven From Heaven-gate not far, founded in view On the clear hyaline, the glassy sea; Of amplitude almost immense, with stars Numerous, and every star perhaps a world Of destined habitation; but thou knowest Their seasons: among these the seat of Men, Earth, with her nether ocean circumfused, Their pleasant dwelling-place. Thrice happy Men, And sons of Men, whom God hath thus advanced! Created in his image, there to dwell And worship him; and in reward to rule Over his works, on earth, in sea, or air, And multiply a race of worshippers Holy and just: Thrice happy, if they know Their happiness, and persevere upright! So sung they, and the empyrean rung With halleluiahs: Thus was sabbath kept. And thy request think now fulfilled, that asked How first this world and face of things began, And what before thy memory was done From the beginning; that posterity, Informed by thee, might know: If else thou seekest Aught, not surpassing human measure, say.



Book VIII

The Angel ended, and in Adam's ear So charming left his voice, that he a while Thought him still speaking, still stood fixed to hear; Then, as new waked, thus gratefully replied. What thanks sufficient, or what recompence Equal, have I to render thee, divine Historian, who thus largely hast allayed The thirst I had of knowledge, and vouchsafed This friendly condescension to relate Things, else by me unsearchable; now heard With wonder, but delight, and, as is due, With glory attributed to the high Creator! Something yet of doubt remains, Which only thy solution can resolve. When I behold this goodly frame, this world, Of Heaven and Earth consisting; and compute Their magnitudes; this Earth, a spot, a grain, An atom, with the firmament compared And all her numbered stars, that seem to roll Spaces incomprehensible, (for such Their distance argues, and their swift return Diurnal,) merely to officiate light Round this opacous Earth, this punctual spot, One day and night; in all her vast survey Useless besides; reasoning I oft admire, How Nature wise and frugal could commit Such disproportions, with superfluous hand So many nobler bodies to create, Greater so manifold, to this one use, For aught appears, and on their orbs impose Such restless revolution day by day Repeated; while the sedentary Earth, That better might with far less compass move, Served by more noble than herself, attains Her end without least motion, and receives, As tribute, such a sumless journey brought Of incorporeal speed, her warmth and light; Speed, to describe whose swiftness number fails. So spake our sire, and by his countenance seemed Entering on studious thoughts abstruse; which Eve Perceiving, where she sat retired in sight, With lowliness majestick from her seat, And grace that won who saw to wish her stay, Rose, and went forth among her fruits and flowers, To visit how they prospered, bud and bloom, Her nursery; they at her coming sprung, And, touched by her fair tendance, gladlier grew. Yet went she not, as not with such discourse Delighted, or not capable her ear Of what was high: such pleasure she reserved, Adam relating, she sole auditress; Her husband the relater she preferred Before the Angel, and of him to ask Chose rather; he, she knew, would intermix Grateful digressions, and solve high dispute With conjugal caresses: from his lip Not words alone pleased her. O! when meet now Such pairs, in love and mutual honour joined? With Goddess-like demeanour forth she went, Not unattended; for on her, as Queen, A pomp of winning Graces waited still, And from about her shot darts of desire Into all eyes, to wish her still in sight. And Raphael now, to Adam's doubt proposed, Benevolent and facile thus replied. To ask or search, I blame thee not; for Heaven Is as the book of God before thee set, Wherein to read his wonderous works, and learn His seasons, hours, or days, or months, or years: This to attain, whether Heaven move or Earth, Imports not, if thou reckon right; the rest From Man or Angel the great Architect Did wisely to conceal, and not divulge His secrets to be scanned by them who ought Rather admire; or, if they list to try Conjecture, he his fabrick of the Heavens Hath left to their disputes, perhaps to move His laughter at their quaint opinions wide Hereafter; when they come to model Heaven And calculate the stars, how they will wield The mighty frame; how build, unbuild, contrive To save appearances; how gird the sphere With centrick and eccentrick scribbled o'er, Cycle and epicycle, orb in orb: Already by thy reasoning this I guess, Who art to lead thy offspring, and supposest That bodies bright and greater should not serve The less not bright, nor Heaven such journeys run, Earth sitting still, when she alone receives The benefit: Consider first, that great Or bright infers not excellence: the Earth Though, in comparison of Heaven, so small, Nor glistering, may of solid good contain More plenty than the sun that barren shines; Whose virtue on itself works no effect, But in the fruitful Earth; there first received, His beams, unactive else, their vigour find. Yet not to Earth are those bright luminaries Officious; but to thee, Earth's habitant. And for the Heaven's wide circuit, let it speak The Maker's high magnificence, who built So spacious, and his line stretched out so far; That Man may know he dwells not in his own; An edifice too large for him to fill, Lodged in a small partition; and the rest Ordained for uses to his Lord best known. The swiftness of those circles attribute, Though numberless, to his Omnipotence, That to corporeal substances could add Speed almost spiritual: Me thou thinkest not slow, Who since the morning-hour set out from Heaven Where God resides, and ere mid-day arrived In Eden; distance inexpressible By numbers that have name. But this I urge, Admitting motion in the Heavens, to show Invalid that which thee to doubt it moved; Not that I so affirm, though so it seem To thee who hast thy dwelling here on Earth. God, to remove his ways from human sense, Placed Heaven from Earth so far, that earthly sight, If it presume, might err in things too high, And no advantage gain. What if the sun Be center to the world; and other stars, By his attractive virtue and their own Incited, dance about him various rounds? Their wandering course now high, now low, then hid, Progressive, retrograde, or standing still, In six thou seest; and what if seventh to these The planet earth, so stedfast though she seem, Insensibly three different motions move? Which else to several spheres thou must ascribe, Moved contrary with thwart obliquities; Or save the sun his labour, and that swift Nocturnal and diurnal rhomb supposed, Invisible else above all stars, the wheel Of day and night; which needs not thy belief, If earth, industrious of herself, fetch day Travelling east, and with her part averse From the sun's beam meet night, her other part Still luminous by his ray. What if that light, Sent from her through the wide transpicuous air, To the terrestrial moon be as a star, Enlightening her by day, as she by night This earth? reciprocal, if land be there, Fields and inhabitants: Her spots thou seest As clouds, and clouds may rain, and rain produce Fruits in her softened soil for some to eat Allotted there; and other suns perhaps, With their attendant moons, thou wilt descry, Communicating male and female light; Which two great sexes animate the world, Stored in each orb perhaps with some that live. For such vast room in Nature unpossessed By living soul, desart and desolate, Only to shine, yet scarce to contribute Each orb a glimpse of light, conveyed so far Down to this habitable, which returns Light back to them, is obvious to dispute. But whether thus these things, or whether not; But whether the sun, predominant in Heaven, Rise on the earth; or earth rise on the sun; He from the east his flaming road begin; Or she from west her silent course advance, With inoffensive pace that spinning sleeps On her soft axle, while she paces even, And bears thee soft with the smooth hair along; Sollicit not thy thoughts with matters hid; Leave them to God above; him serve, and fear! Of other creatures, as him pleases best, Wherever placed, let him dispose; joy thou In what he gives to thee, this Paradise And thy fair Eve; Heaven is for thee too high To know what passes there; be lowly wise: Think only what concerns thee, and thy being; Dream not of other worlds, what creatures there Live, in what state, condition, or degree; Contented that thus far hath been revealed Not of Earth only, but of highest Heaven. To whom thus Adam, cleared of doubt, replied. How fully hast thou satisfied me, pure Intelligence of Heaven, Angel serene! And, freed from intricacies, taught to live The easiest way; nor with perplexing thoughts To interrupt the sweet of life, from which God hath bid dwell far off all anxious cares, And not molest us; unless we ourselves Seek them with wandering thoughts, and notions vain. But apt the mind or fancy is to rove Unchecked, and of her roving is no end; Till warned, or by experience taught, she learn, That, not to know at large of things remote From use, obscure and subtle; but, to know That which before us lies in daily life, Is the prime wisdom: What is more, is fume, Or emptiness, or fond impertinence: And renders us, in things that most concern, Unpractised, unprepared, and still to seek. Therefore from this high pitch let us descend A lower flight, and speak of things at hand Useful; whence, haply, mention may arise Of something not unseasonable to ask, By sufferance, and thy wonted favour, deigned. Thee I have heard relating what was done Ere my remembrance: now, hear me relate My story, which perhaps thou hast not heard; And day is not yet spent; till then thou seest How subtly to detain thee I devise; Inviting thee to hear while I relate; Fond! were it not in hope of thy reply: For, while I sit with thee, I seem in Heaven; And sweeter thy discourse is to my ear Than fruits of palm-tree pleasantest to thirst And hunger both, from labour, at the hour Of sweet repast; they satiate, and soon fill, Though pleasant; but thy words, with grace divine Imbued, bring to their sweetness no satiety. To whom thus Raphael answered heavenly meek. Nor are thy lips ungraceful, Sire of men, Nor tongue ineloquent; for God on thee Abundantly his gifts hath also poured Inward and outward both, his image fair: Speaking, or mute, all comeliness and grace Attends thee; and each word, each motion, forms; Nor less think we in Heaven of thee on Earth Than of our fellow-servant, and inquire Gladly into the ways of God with Man: For God, we see, hath honoured thee, and set On Man his equal love: Say therefore on; For I that day was absent, as befel, Bound on a voyage uncouth and obscure, Far on excursion toward the gates of Hell; Squared in full legion (such command we had) To see that none thence issued forth a spy, Or enemy, while God was in his work; Lest he, incensed at such eruption bold, Destruction with creation might have mixed. Not that they durst without his leave attempt; But us he sends upon his high behests For state, as Sovran King; and to inure Our prompt obedience. Fast we found, fast shut, The dismal gates, and barricadoed strong; But long ere our approaching heard within Noise, other than the sound of dance or song, Torment, and loud lament, and furious rage. Glad we returned up to the coasts of light Ere sabbath-evening: so we had in charge. But thy relation now; for I attend, Pleased with thy words no less than thou with mine. So spake the Godlike Power, and thus our Sire. For Man to tell how human life began Is hard; for who himself beginning knew Desire with thee still longer to converse Induced me. As new waked from soundest sleep, Soft on the flowery herb I found me laid, In balmy sweat; which with his beams the sun Soon dried, and on the reeking moisture fed. Straight toward Heaven my wondering eyes I turned, And gazed a while the ample sky; till, raised By quick instinctive motion, up I sprung, As thitherward endeavouring, and upright Stood on my feet: about me round I saw Hill, dale, and shady woods, and sunny plains, And liquid lapse of murmuring streams; by these, Creatures that lived and moved, and walked, or flew; Birds on the branches warbling; all things smiled; With fragrance and with joy my heart o'erflowed. Myself I then perused, and limb by limb Surveyed, and sometimes went, and sometimes ran With supple joints, as lively vigour led: But who I was, or where, or from what cause, Knew not; to speak I tried, and forthwith spake; My tongue obeyed, and readily could name Whate'er I saw. Thou Sun, said I, fair light, And thou enlightened Earth, so fresh and gay, Ye Hills, and Dales, ye Rivers, Woods, and Plains, And ye that live and move, fair Creatures, tell, Tell, if ye saw, how I came thus, how here?— Not of myself;—by some great Maker then, In goodness and in power pre-eminent: Tell me, how may I know him, how adore, From whom I have that thus I move and live, And feel that I am happier than I know.— While thus I called, and strayed I knew not whither, From where I first drew air, and first beheld This happy light; when, answer none returned, On a green shady bank, profuse of flowers, Pensive I sat me down: There gentle sleep First found me, and with soft oppression seised My droused sense, untroubled, though I thought I then was passing to my former state Insensible, and forthwith to dissolve: When suddenly stood at my head a dream, Whose inward apparition gently moved My fancy to believe I yet had being, And lived: One came, methought, of shape divine, And said, "Thy mansion wants thee, Adam; rise, First Man, of men innumerable ordained First Father! called by thee, I come thy guide To the garden of bliss, thy seat prepared." So saying, by the hand he took me raised, And over fields and waters, as in air Smooth-sliding without step, last led me up A woody mountain; whose high top was plain, A circuit wide, enclosed, with goodliest trees Planted, with walks, and bowers; that what I saw Of Earth before scarce pleasant seemed. Each tree, Loaden with fairest fruit that hung to the eye Tempting, stirred in me sudden appetite To pluck and eat; whereat I waked, and found Before mine eyes all real, as the dream Had lively shadowed: Here had new begun My wandering, had not he, who was my guide Up hither, from among the trees appeared, Presence Divine. Rejoicing, but with awe, In adoration at his feet I fell Submiss: He reared me, and "Whom thou soughtest I am," Said mildly, "Author of all this thou seest Above, or round about thee, or beneath. This Paradise I give thee, count it thine To till and keep, and of the fruit to eat: Of every tree that in the garden grows Eat freely with glad heart; fear here no dearth: But of the tree whose operation brings Knowledge of good and ill, which I have set The pledge of thy obedience and thy faith, Amid the garden by the tree of life, Remember what I warn thee, shun to taste, And shun the bitter consequence: for know, The day thou eatest thereof, my sole command Transgressed, inevitably thou shalt die, From that day mortal; and this happy state Shalt lose, expelled from hence into a world Of woe and sorrow." Sternly he pronounced The rigid interdiction, which resounds Yet dreadful in mine ear, though in my choice Not to incur; but soon his clear aspect Returned, and gracious purpose thus renewed. "Not only these fair bounds, but all the Earth To thee and to thy race I give; as lords Possess it, and all things that therein live, Or live in sea, or air; beast, fish, and fowl. In sign whereof, each bird and beast behold After their kinds; I bring them to receive From thee their names, and pay thee fealty With low subjection; understand the same Of fish within their watery residence, Not hither summoned, since they cannot change Their element, to draw the thinner air." As thus he spake, each bird and beast behold Approaching two and two; these cowering low With blandishment; each bird stooped on his wing. I named them, as they passed, and understood Their nature, with such knowledge God endued My sudden apprehension: But in these I found not what methought I wanted still; And to the heavenly Vision thus presumed. O, by what name, for thou above all these, Above mankind, or aught than mankind higher, Surpassest far my naming; how may I Adore thee, Author of this universe, And all this good to man? for whose well being So amply, and with hands so liberal, Thou hast provided all things: But with me I see not who partakes. In solitude What happiness, who can enjoy alone, Or, all enjoying, what contentment find? Thus I presumptuous; and the Vision bright, As with a smile more brightened, thus replied. What callest thou solitude? Is not the Earth With various living creatures, and the air Replenished, and all these at thy command To come and play before thee? Knowest thou not Their language and their ways? They also know, And reason not contemptibly: With these Find pastime, and bear rule; thy realm is large. So spake the Universal Lord, and seemed So ordering: I, with leave of speech implored, And humble deprecation, thus replied. Let not my words offend thee, Heavenly Power; My Maker, be propitious while I speak. Hast thou not made me here thy substitute, And these inferiour far beneath me set? Among unequals what society Can sort, what harmony, or true delight? Which must be mutual, in proportion due Given and received; but, in disparity The one intense, the other still remiss, Cannot well suit with either, but soon prove Tedious alike: Of fellowship I speak Such as I seek, fit to participate All rational delight: wherein the brute Cannot be human consort: They rejoice Each with their kind, lion with lioness; So fitly them in pairs thou hast combined: Much less can bird with beast, or fish with fowl So well converse, nor with the ox the ape; Worse then can man with beast, and least of all. Whereto the Almighty answered, not displeased. A nice and subtle happiness, I see, Thou to thyself proposest, in the choice Of thy associates, Adam! and wilt taste No pleasure, though in pleasure, solitary. What thinkest thou then of me, and this my state? Seem I to thee sufficiently possessed Of happiness, or not? who am alone From all eternity; for none I know Second to me or like, equal much less. How have I then with whom to hold converse, Save with the creatures which I made, and those To me inferiour, infinite descents Beneath what other creatures are to thee? He ceased; I lowly answered. To attain The highth and depth of thy eternal ways All human thoughts come short, Supreme of things! Thou in thyself art perfect, and in thee Is no deficience found: Not so is Man, But in degree; the cause of his desire By conversation with his like to help Or solace his defects. No need that thou Shouldst propagate, already Infinite; And through all numbers absolute, though One: But Man by number is to manifest His single imperfection, and beget Like of his like, his image multiplied, In unity defective; which requires Collateral love, and dearest amity. Thou in thy secresy although alone, Best with thyself accompanied, seekest not Social communication; yet, so pleased, Canst raise thy creature to what highth thou wilt Of union or communion, deified: I, by conversing, cannot these erect From prone; nor in their ways complacence find. Thus I emboldened spake, and freedom used Permissive, and acceptance found; which gained This answer from the gracious Voice Divine. Thus far to try thee, Adam, I was pleased; And find thee knowing, not of beasts alone, Which thou hast rightly named, but of thyself; Expressing well the spirit within thee free, My image, not imparted to the brute; Whose fellowship therefore unmeet for thee Good reason was thou freely shouldst dislike; And be so minded still: I, ere thou spakest, Knew it not good for Man to be alone; And no such company as then thou sawest Intended thee; for trial only brought, To see how thou couldest judge of fit and meet: What next I bring shall please thee, be assured, Thy likeness, thy fit help, thy other self, Thy wish exactly to thy heart's desire. He ended, or I heard no more; for now My earthly by his heavenly overpowered, Which it had long stood under, strained to the highth In that celestial colloquy sublime, As with an object that excels the sense Dazzled and spent, sunk down; and sought repair Of sleep, which instantly fell on me, called By Nature as in aid, and closed mine eyes. Mine eyes he closed, but open left the cell Of fancy, my internal sight; by which, Abstract as in a trance, methought I saw, Though sleeping, where I lay, and saw the shape Still glorious before whom awake I stood: Who stooping opened my left side, and took From thence a rib, with cordial spirits warm, And life-blood streaming fresh; wide was the wound, But suddenly with flesh filled up and healed: The rib he formed and fashioned with his hands; Under his forming hands a creature grew, Man-like, but different sex; so lovely fair, That what seemed fair in all the world, seemed now Mean, or in her summed up, in her contained And in her looks; which from that time infused Sweetness into my heart, unfelt before, And into all things from her air inspired The spirit of love and amorous delight. She disappeared, and left me dark; I waked To find her, or for ever to deplore Her loss, and other pleasures all abjure: When out of hope, behold her, not far off, Such as I saw her in my dream, adorned With what all Earth or Heaven could bestow To make her amiable: On she came, Led by her heavenly Maker, though unseen, And guided by his voice; nor uninformed Of nuptial sanctity, and marriage rites: Grace was in all her steps, Heaven in her eye, In every gesture dignity and love. I, overjoyed, could not forbear aloud. This turn hath made amends; thou hast fulfilled Thy words, Creator bounteous and benign, Giver of all things fair! but fairest this Of all thy gifts! nor enviest. I now see Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, myself Before me: Woman is her name; of Man Extracted: for this cause he shall forego Father and mother, and to his wife adhere; And they shall be one flesh, one heart, one soul. She heard me thus; and though divinely brought, Yet innocence, and virgin modesty, Her virtue, and the conscience of her worth, That would be wooed, and not unsought be won, Not obvious, not obtrusive, but, retired, The more desirable; or, to say all, Nature herself, though pure of sinful thought, Wrought in her so, that, seeing me, she turned: I followed her; she what was honour knew, And with obsequious

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