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Paradise Lost: Book 10 Analysis



Author: poem of John Milton Type: poem Views: 9

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Mean while the heinous and despiteful act

Of Satan, done in Paradise; and how

He, in the serpent, had perverted Eve,

Her husband she, to taste the fatal fruit,

Was known in Heaven; for what can 'scape the eye

Of God all-seeing, or deceive his heart

Omniscient? who, in all things wise and just,

Hindered not Satan to attempt the mind

Of Man, with strength entire and free will armed,

Complete to have discovered and repulsed

Whatever wiles of foe or seeming friend.

For still they knew, and ought to have still remembered,

The high injunction, not to taste that fruit,

Whoever tempted; which they not obeying,

(Incurred what could they less?) the penalty;

And, manifold in sin, deserved to fall.

Up into Heaven from Paradise in haste

The angelick guards ascended, mute, and sad,

For Man; for of his state by this they knew,

Much wondering how the subtle Fiend had stolen

Entrance unseen.  Soon as the unwelcome news

From Earth arrived at Heaven-gate, displeased

All were who heard; dim sadness did not spare

That time celestial visages, yet, mixed

With pity, violated not their bliss.

About the new-arrived, in multitudes

The ethereal people ran, to hear and know

How all befel:  They towards the throne supreme,

Accountable, made haste, to make appear,

With righteous plea, their utmost vigilance

And easily approved; when the Most High

Eternal Father, from his secret cloud,

Amidst in thunder uttered thus his voice.

Assembled Angels, and ye Powers returned

From unsuccessful charge; be not dismayed,

Nor troubled at these tidings from the earth,

Which your sincerest care could not prevent;

Foretold so lately what would come to pass,

When first this tempter crossed the gulf from Hell.

I told ye then he should prevail, and speed

On his bad errand; Man should be seduced,

And flattered out of all, believing lies

Against his Maker; no decree of mine

Concurring to necessitate his fall,

Or touch with lightest moment of impulse

His free will, to her own inclining left

In even scale.  But fallen he is; and now

What rests, but that the mortal sentence pass

On his transgression,--death denounced that day?

Which he presumes already vain and void,

Because not yet inflicted, as he feared,

By some immediate stroke; but soon shall find

Forbearance no acquittance, ere day end.

Justice shall not return as bounty scorned.

But whom send I to judge them? whom but thee,

Vicegerent Son?  To thee I have transferred

All judgement, whether in Heaven, or Earth, or Hell.

Easy it may be seen that I intend

Mercy colleague with justice, sending thee

Man's friend, his Mediator, his designed

Both ransom and Redeemer voluntary,

And destined Man himself to judge Man fallen.

So spake the Father; and, unfolding bright

Toward the right hand his glory, on the Son

Blazed forth unclouded Deity: He full

Resplendent all his Father manifest

Expressed, and thus divinely answered mild.

Father Eternal, thine is to decree;

Mine, both in Heaven and Earth, to do thy will

Supreme; that thou in me, thy Son beloved,

Mayest ever rest well pleased.  I go to judge

On earth these thy transgressours; but thou knowest,

Whoever judged, the worst on me must light,

When time shall be; for so I undertook

Before thee; and, not repenting, this obtain

Of right, that I may mitigate their doom

On me derived; yet I shall temper so

Justice with mercy, as may illustrate most

Them fully satisfied, and thee appease.

Attendance none shall need, nor train, where none

Are to behold the judgement, but the judged,

Those two; the third best absent is condemned,

Convict by flight, and rebel to all law:

Conviction to the serpent none belongs.

Thus saying, from his radiant seat he rose

Of high collateral glory: Him Thrones, and Powers,

Princedoms, and Dominations ministrant,

Accompanied to Heaven-gate; from whence

Eden, and all the coast, in prospect lay.

Down he descended straight; the speed of Gods

Time counts not, though with swiftest minutes winged.

Now was the sun in western cadence low

From noon, and gentle airs, due at their hour,

To fan the earth now waked, and usher in

The evening cool; when he, from wrath more cool,

Came the mild Judge, and Intercessour both,

To sentence Man:  The voice of God they heard

Now walking in the garden, by soft winds

Brought to their ears, while day declined; they heard,

And from his presence hid themselves among

The thickest trees, both man and wife; till God,

Approaching, thus to Adam called aloud.

Where art thou, Adam, wont with joy to meet

My coming seen far off?  I miss thee here,

Not pleased, thus entertained with solitude,

Where obvious duty ere while appeared unsought:

Or come I less conspicuous, or what change

Absents thee, or what chance detains?--Come forth!

He came; and with him Eve, more loth, though first

To offend; discountenanced both, and discomposed;

Love was not in their looks, either to God,

Or to each other; but apparent guilt,

And shame, and perturbation, and despair,

Anger, and obstinacy, and hate, and guile.

Whence Adam, faltering long, thus answered brief.

I heard thee in the garden, and of thy voice

Afraid, being naked, hid myself.  To whom

The gracious Judge without revile replied.

My voice thou oft hast heard, and hast not feared,

But still rejoiced; how is it now become

So dreadful to thee?  That thou art naked, who

Hath told thee?  Hast thou eaten of the tree,

Whereof I gave thee charge thou shouldst not eat?

To whom thus Adam sore beset replied.

O Heaven! in evil strait this day I stand

Before my Judge; either to undergo

Myself the total crime, or to accuse

My other self, the partner of my life;

Whose failing, while her faith to me remains,

I should conceal, and not expose to blame

By my complaint: but strict necessity

Subdues me, and calamitous constraint;

Lest on my head both sin and punishment,

However insupportable, be all

Devolved; though should I hold my peace, yet thou

Wouldst easily detect what I conceal.--

This Woman, whom thou madest to be my help,

And gavest me as thy perfect gift, so good,

So fit, so acceptable, so divine,

That from her hand I could suspect no ill,

And what she did, whatever in itself,

Her doing seemed to justify the deed;

She gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

To whom the Sovran Presence thus replied.

Was she thy God, that her thou didst obey

Before his voice? or was she made thy guide,

Superiour, or but equal, that to her

Thou didst resign thy manhood, and the place

Wherein God set thee above her made of thee,

And for thee, whose perfection far excelled

Hers in all real dignity?  Adorned

She was indeed, and lovely, to attract

Thy love, not thy subjection; and her gifts

Were such, as under government well seemed;

Unseemly to bear rule; which was thy part

And person, hadst thou known thyself aright.

So having said, he thus to Eve in few.

Say, Woman, what is this which thou hast done?

To whom sad Eve, with shame nigh overwhelmed,

Confessing soon, yet not before her Judge

Bold or loquacious, thus abashed replied.

The Serpent me beguiled, and I did eat.

Which when the Lord God heard, without delay

To judgement he proceeded on the accused

Serpent, though brute; unable to transfer

The guilt on him, who made him instrument

Of mischief, and polluted from the end

Of his creation; justly then accursed,

As vitiated in nature:  More to know

Concerned not Man, (since he no further knew)

Nor altered his offence; yet God at last

To Satan first in sin his doom applied,

Though in mysterious terms, judged as then best:

And on the Serpent thus his curse let fall.

Because thou hast done this, thou art accursed

Above all cattle, each beast of the field;

Upon thy belly groveling thou shalt go,

And dust shalt eat all the days of thy life.

Between thee and the woman I will put

Enmity, and between thine and her seed;

Her seed shall bruise thy head, thou bruise his heel.

So spake this oracle, then verified

When Jesus, Son of Mary, second Eve,

Saw Satan fall, like lightning, down from Heaven,

Prince of the air; then, rising from his grave

Spoiled Principalities and Powers, triumphed

In open show; and, with ascension bright,

Captivity led captive through the air,

The realm itself of Satan, long usurped;

Whom he shall tread at last under our feet;

Even he, who now foretold his fatal bruise;

And to the Woman thus his sentence turned.

Thy sorrow I will greatly multiply

By thy conception; children thou shalt bring

In sorrow forth; and to thy husband's will

Thine shall submit; he over thee shall rule.

On Adam last thus judgement he pronounced.

Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife,

And eaten of the tree, concerning which

I charged thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat thereof:

Cursed is the ground for thy sake; thou in sorrow

Shalt eat thereof, all the days of thy life;

Thorns also and thistles it shall bring thee forth

Unbid; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,

Till thou return unto the ground; for thou

Out of the ground wast taken, know thy birth,

For dust thou art, and shalt to dust return.

So judged he Man, both Judge and Saviour sent;

And the instant stroke of death, denounced that day,

Removed far off; then, pitying how they stood

Before him naked to the air, that now

Must suffer change, disdained not to begin

Thenceforth the form of servant to assume;

As when he washed his servants feet; so now,

As father of his family, he clad

Their nakedness with skins of beasts, or slain,

Or as the snake with youthful coat repaid;

And thought not much to clothe his enemies;

Nor he their outward only with the skins

Of beasts, but inward nakedness, much more.

Opprobrious, with his robe of righteousness,

Arraying, covered from his Father's sight.

To him with swift ascent he up returned,

Into his blissful bosom reassumed

In glory, as of old; to him appeased

All, though all-knowing, what had passed with Man

Recounted, mixing intercession sweet.

Mean while, ere thus was sinned and judged on Earth,

Within the gates of Hell sat Sin and Death,

In counterview within the gates, that now

Stood open wide, belching outrageous flame

Far into Chaos, since the Fiend passed through,

Sin opening; who thus now to Death began.

O Son, why sit we here each other viewing

Idly, while Satan, our great author, thrives

In other worlds, and happier seat provides

For us, his offspring dear?  It cannot be

But that success attends him; if mishap,

Ere this he had returned, with fury driven

By his avengers; since no place like this

Can fit his punishment, or their revenge.

Methinks I feel new strength within me rise,

Wings growing, and dominion given me large

Beyond this deep; whatever draws me on,

Or sympathy, or some connatural force,

Powerful at greatest distance to unite,

With secret amity, things of like kind,

By secretest conveyance.  Thou, my shade

Inseparable, must with me along;

For Death from Sin no power can separate.

But, lest the difficulty of passing back

Stay his return perhaps over this gulf

Impassable, impervious; let us try

Adventurous work, yet to thy power and mine

Not unagreeable, to found a path

Over this main from Hell to that new world,

Where Satan now prevails; a monument

Of merit high to all the infernal host,

Easing their passage hence, for intercourse,

Or transmigration, as their lot shall lead.

Nor can I miss the way, so strongly drawn

By this new-felt attraction and instinct.

Whom thus the meager Shadow answered soon.

Go, whither Fate, and inclination strong,

Leads thee; I shall not lag behind, nor err

The way, thou leading; such a scent I draw

Of carnage, prey innumerable, and taste

The savour of death from all things there that live:

Nor shall I to the work thou enterprisest

Be wanting, but afford thee equal aid.

So saying, with delight he snuffed the smell

Of mortal change on earth.  As when a flock

Of ravenous fowl, though many a league remote,

Against the day of battle, to a field,

Where armies lie encamped, come flying, lured

With scent of living carcasses designed

For death, the following day, in bloody fight:

So scented the grim Feature, and upturned

His nostril wide into the murky air;

Sagacious of his quarry from so far.

Then both from out Hell-gates, into the waste

Wide anarchy of Chaos, damp and dark,

Flew diverse; and with power (their power was great)

Hovering upon the waters, what they met

Solid or slimy, as in raging sea

Tost up and down, together crouded drove,

From each side shoaling towards the mouth of Hell;

As when two polar winds, blowing adverse

Upon the Cronian sea, together drive

Mountains of ice, that stop the imagined way

Beyond Petsora eastward, to the rich

Cathaian coast.  The aggregated soil

Death with his mace petrifick, cold and dry,

As with a trident, smote; and fixed as firm

As Delos, floating once; the rest his look

Bound with Gorgonian rigour not to move;

And with Asphaltick slime, broad as the gate,

Deep to the roots of Hell the gathered beach

They fastened, and the mole immense wrought on

Over the foaming deep high-arched, a bridge

Of length prodigious, joining to the wall

Immoveable of this now fenceless world,

Forfeit to Death; from hence a passage broad,

Smooth, easy, inoffensive, down to Hell.

So, if great things to small may be compared,

Xerxes, the liberty of Greece to yoke,

From Susa, his Memnonian palace high,

Came to the sea: and, over Hellespont

Bridging his way, Europe with Asia joined,

And scourged with many a stroke the indignant waves.

Now had they brought the work by wonderous art

Pontifical, a ridge of pendant rock,

Over the vexed abyss, following the track

Of Satan to the self-same place where he

First lighted from his wing, and landed safe

From out of Chaos, to the outside bare

Of this round world:  With pins of adamant

And chains they made all fast, too fast they made

And durable!  And now in little space

The confines met of empyrean Heaven,

And of this World; and, on the left hand, Hell

With long reach interposed; three several ways

In sight, to each of these three places led.

And now their way to Earth they had descried,

To Paradise first tending; when, behold!

Satan, in likeness of an Angel bright,

Betwixt the Centaur and the Scorpion steering

His zenith, while the sun in Aries rose:

Disguised he came; but those his children dear

Their parent soon discerned, though in disguise.

He, after Eve seduced, unminded slunk

Into the wood fast by; and, changing shape,

To observe the sequel, saw his guileful act

By Eve, though all unweeting, seconded

Upon her husband; saw their shame that sought

Vain covertures; but when he saw descend

The Son of God to judge them, terrified

He fled; not hoping to escape, but shun

The present; fearing, guilty, what his wrath

Might suddenly inflict; that past, returned

By night, and listening where the hapless pair

Sat in their sad discourse, and various plaint,

Thence gathered his own doom; which understood

Not instant, but of future time, with joy

And tidings fraught, to Hell he now returned;

And at the brink of Chaos, near the foot

Of this new wonderous pontifice, unhoped

Met, who to meet him came, his offspring dear.

Great joy was at their meeting, and at sight

Of that stupendious bridge his joy encreased.

Long he admiring stood, till Sin, his fair

Enchanting daughter, thus the silence broke.

O Parent, these are thy magnifick deeds,

Thy trophies! which thou viewest as not thine own;

Thou art their author, and prime architect:

For I no sooner in my heart divined,

My heart, which by a secret harmony

Still moves with thine, joined in connexion sweet,

That thou on earth hadst prospered, which thy looks

Now also evidence, but straight I felt,

Though distant from thee worlds between, yet felt,

That I must after thee, with this thy son;

Such fatal consequence unites us three!

Hell could no longer hold us in our bounds,

Nor this unvoyageable gulf obscure

Detain from following thy illustrious track.

Thou hast achieved our liberty, confined

Within Hell-gates till now; thou us impowered

To fortify thus far, and overlay,

With this portentous bridge, the dark abyss.

Thine now is all this world; thy virtue hath won

What thy hands builded not; thy wisdom gained

With odds what war hath lost, and fully avenged

Our foil in Heaven; here thou shalt monarch reign,

There didst not; there let him still victor sway,

As battle hath adjudged; from this new world

Retiring, by his own doom alienated;

And henceforth monarchy with thee divide

Of all things, parted by the empyreal bounds,

His quadrature, from thy orbicular world;

Or try thee now more dangerous to his throne.

Whom thus the Prince of darkness answered glad.

Fair Daughter, and thou Son and Grandchild both;

High proof ye now have given to be the race

Of Satan (for I glory in the name,

Antagonist of Heaven's Almighty King,)

Amply have merited of me, of all

The infernal empire, that so near Heaven's door

Triumphal with triumphal act have met,

Mine, with this glorious work; and made one realm,

Hell and this world, one realm, one continent

Of easy thorough-fare.  Therefore, while I

Descend through darkness, on your road with ease,

To my associate Powers, them to acquaint

With these successes, and with them rejoice;

You two this way, among these numerous orbs,

All yours, right down to Paradise descend;

There dwell, and reign in bliss; thence on the earth

Dominion exercise and in the air,

Chiefly on Man, sole lord of all declared;

Him first make sure your thrall, and lastly kill.

My substitutes I send ye, and create

Plenipotent on earth, of matchless might

Issuing from me: on your joint vigour now

My hold of this new kingdom all depends,

Through Sin to Death exposed by my exploit.

If your joint power prevail, the affairs of Hell

No detriment need fear; go, and be strong!

So saying he dismissed them; they with speed

Their course through thickest constellations held,

Spreading their bane; the blasted stars looked wan,

And planets, planet-struck, real eclipse

Then suffered.  The other way Satan went down

The causey to Hell-gate:  On either side

Disparted Chaos overbuilt exclaimed,

And with rebounding surge the bars assailed,

That scorned his indignation:  Through the gate,

Wide open and unguarded, Satan passed,

And all about found desolate; for those,

Appointed to sit there, had left their charge,

Flown to the upper world; the rest were all

Far to the inland retired, about the walls

Of Pandemonium; city and proud seat

Of Lucifer, so by allusion called

Of that bright star to Satan paragoned;

There kept their watch the legions, while the Grand

In council sat, solicitous what chance

Might intercept their emperour sent; so he

Departing gave command, and they observed.

As when the Tartar from his Russian foe,

By Astracan, over the snowy plains,

Retires; or Bactrin Sophi, from the horns

Of Turkish crescent, leaves all waste beyond

The realm of Aladule, in his retreat

To Tauris or Casbeen:  So these, the late

Heaven-banished host, left desart utmost Hell

Many a dark league, reduced in careful watch

Round their metropolis; and now expecting

Each hour their great adventurer, from the search

Of foreign worlds:  He through the midst unmarked,

In show plebeian Angel militant

Of lowest order, passed; and from the door

Of that Plutonian hall, invisible

Ascended his high throne; which, under state

Of richest texture spread, at the upper end

Was placed in regal lustre.  Down a while

He sat, and round about him saw unseen:

At last, as from a cloud, his fulgent head

And shape star-bright appeared, or brighter; clad

With what permissive glory since his fall

Was left him, or false glitter:  All amazed

At that so sudden blaze the Stygian throng

Bent their aspect, and whom they wished beheld,

Their mighty Chief returned: loud was the acclaim:

Forth rushed in haste the great consulting peers,

Raised from their dark Divan, and with like joy

Congratulant approached him; who with hand

Silence, and with these words attention, won.

Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers;

For in possession such, not only of right,

I call ye, and declare ye now; returned

Successful beyond hope, to lead ye forth

Triumphant out of this infernal pit

Abominable, accursed, the house of woe,

And dungeon of our tyrant:  Now possess,

As Lords, a spacious world, to our native Heaven

Little inferiour, by my adventure hard

With peril great achieved.  Long were to tell

What I have done; what suffered;with what pain

Voyaged th' unreal, vast, unbounded deep

Of horrible confusion; over which

By Sin and Death a broad way now is paved,

To expedite your glorious march; but I

Toiled out my uncouth passage, forced to ride

The untractable abyss, plunged in the womb

Of unoriginal Night and Chaos wild;

That, jealous of their secrets, fiercely opposed

My journey strange, with clamorous uproar

Protesting Fate supreme; thence how I found

The new created world, which fame in Heaven

Long had foretold, a fabrick wonderful

Of absolute perfection! therein Man

Placed in a Paradise, by our exile

Made happy:  Him by fraud I have seduced

From his Creator; and, the more to encrease

Your wonder, with an apple; he, thereat

Offended, worth your laughter! hath given up

Both his beloved Man, and all his world,

To Sin and Death a prey, and so to us,

Without our hazard, labour, or alarm;

To range in, and to dwell, and over Man

To rule, as over all he should have ruled.

True is, me also he hath judged, or rather

Me not, but the brute serpent in whose shape

Man I deceived: that which to me belongs,

Is enmity which he will put between

Me and mankind; I am to bruise his heel;

His seed, when is not set, shall bruise my head:

A world who would not purchase with a bruise,

Or much more grievous pain?--Ye have the account

Of my performance:  What remains, ye Gods,

But up, and enter now into full bliss?

So having said, a while he stood, expecting

Their universal shout, and high applause,

To fill his ear; when, contrary, he hears

On all sides, from innumerable tongues,

A dismal universal hiss, the sound

Of publick scorn; he wondered, but not long

Had leisure, wondering at himself now more,

His visage drawn he felt to sharp and spare;

His arms clung to his ribs; his legs entwining

Each other, till supplanted down he fell

A monstrous serpent on his belly prone,

Reluctant, but in vain; a greater power

Now ruled him, punished in the shape he sinned,

According to his doom: he would have spoke,

But hiss for hiss returned with forked tongue

To forked tongue; for now were all transformed

Alike, to serpents all, as accessories

To his bold riot:  Dreadful was the din

Of hissing through the hall, thick swarming now

With complicated monsters head and tail,

Scorpion, and Asp, and Amphisbaena dire,

Cerastes horned, Hydrus, and Elops drear,

And Dipsas; (not so thick swarmed once the soil

Bedropt with blood of Gorgon, or the isle

Ophiusa,) but still greatest he the midst,

Now Dragon grown, larger than whom the sun

Ingendered in the Pythian vale or slime,

Huge Python, and his power no less he seemed

Above the rest still to retain; they all

Him followed, issuing forth to the open field,

Where all yet left of that revolted rout,

Heaven-fallen, in station stood or just array;

Sublime with expectation when to see

In triumph issuing forth their glorious Chief;

They saw, but other sight instead! a croud

Of ugly serpents; horrour on them fell,

And horrid sympathy; for, what they saw,

They felt themselves, now changing; down their arms,

Down fell both spear and shield; down they as fast;

And the dire hiss renewed, and the dire form

Catched, by contagion; like in punishment,

As in their crime.  Thus was the applause they meant,

Turned to exploding hiss, triumph to shame

Cast on themselves from their own mouths.  There stood

A grove hard by, sprung up with this their change,

His will who reigns above, to aggravate

Their penance, laden with fair fruit, like that

Which grew in Paradise, the bait of Eve

Used by the Tempter: on that prospect strange

Their earnest eyes they fixed, imagining

For one forbidden tree a multitude

Now risen, to work them further woe or shame;

Yet, parched with scalding thirst and hunger fierce,

Though to delude them sent, could not abstain;

But on they rolled in heaps, and, up the trees

Climbing, sat thicker than the snaky locks

That curled Megaera: greedily they plucked

The fruitage fair to sight, like that which grew

Near that bituminous lake where Sodom flamed;

This more delusive, not the touch, but taste

Deceived; they, fondly thinking to allay

Their appetite with gust, instead of fruit

Chewed bitter ashes, which the offended taste

With spattering noise rejected: oft they assayed,

Hunger and thirst constraining; drugged as oft,

With hatefullest disrelish writhed their jaws,

With soot and cinders filled; so oft they fell

Into the same illusion, not as Man

Whom they triumphed once lapsed.  Thus were they plagued

And worn with famine, long and ceaseless hiss,

Till their lost shape, permitted, they resumed;

Yearly enjoined, some say, to undergo,

This annual humbling certain numbered days,

To dash their pride, and joy, for Man seduced.

However, some tradition they dispersed

Among the Heathen, of their purchase got,

And fabled how the Serpent, whom they called

Ophion, with Eurynome, the wide--

Encroaching Eve perhaps, had first the rule

Of high Olympus; thence by Saturn driven

And Ops, ere yet Dictaean Jove was born.

Mean while in Paradise the hellish pair

Too soon arrived; Sin, there in power before,

Once actual; now in body, and to dwell

Habitual habitant; behind her Death,

Close following pace for pace, not mounted yet

On his pale horse: to whom Sin thus began.

Second of Satan sprung, all-conquering Death!

What thinkest thou of our empire now, though earned

With travel difficult, not better far

Than still at Hell's dark threshold to have sat watch,

Unnamed, undreaded, and thyself half starved?

Whom thus the Sin-born monster answered soon.

To me, who with eternal famine pine,

Alike is Hell, or Paradise, or Heaven;

There best, where most with ravine I may meet;

Which here, though plenteous, all too little seems

To stuff this maw, this vast unhide-bound corps.

To whom the incestuous mother thus replied.

Thou therefore on these herbs, and fruits, and flowers,

Feed first; on each beast next, and fish, and fowl;

No homely morsels! and, whatever thing

The sithe of Time mows down, devour unspared;

Till I, in Man residing, through the race,

His thoughts, his looks, words, actions, all infect;

And season him thy last and sweetest prey.

This said, they both betook them several ways,

Both to destroy, or unimmortal make

All kinds, and for destruction to mature

Sooner or later; which the Almighty seeing,

From his transcendent seat the Saints among,

To those bright Orders uttered thus his voice.

See, with what heat these dogs of Hell advance

To waste and havock yonder world, which I

So fair and good created; and had still

Kept in that state, had not the folly of Man

Let in these wasteful furies, who impute

Folly to me; so doth the Prince of Hell

And his adherents, that with so much ease

I suffer them to enter and possess

A place so heavenly; and, conniving, seem

To gratify my scornful enemies,

That laugh, as if, transported with some fit

Of passion, I to them had quitted all,

At random yielded up to their misrule;

And know not that I called, and drew them thither,

My Hell-hounds, to lick up the draff and filth

Which Man's polluting sin with taint hath shed

On what was pure; til, crammed and gorged, nigh burst

With sucked and glutted offal, at one sling

Of thy victorious arm, well-pleasing Son,

Both Sin, and Death, and yawning Grave, at last,

Through Chaos hurled, obstruct the mouth of Hell

For ever, and seal up his ravenous jaws.

Then Heaven and Earth renewed shall be made pure

To sanctity, that shall receive no stain:

Till then, the curse pronounced on both precedes.

He ended, and the heavenly audience loud

Sung Halleluiah, as the sound of seas,

Through multitude that sung:  Just are thy ways,

Righteous are thy decrees on all thy works;

Who can extenuate thee?  Next, to the Son,

Destined Restorer of mankind, by whom

New Heaven and Earth shall to the ages rise,

Or down from Heaven descend.--Such was their song;

While the Creator, calling forth by name

His mighty Angels, gave them several charge,

As sorted best with present things.  The sun

Had first his precept so to move, so shine,

As might affect the earth with cold and heat

Scarce tolerable; and from the north to call

Decrepit winter; from the south to bring

Solstitial summer's heat.  To the blanc moon

Her office they prescribed; to the other five

Their planetary motions, and aspects,

In sextile, square, and trine, and opposite,

Of noxious efficacy, and when to join

In synod unbenign; and taught the fixed

Their influence malignant when to shower,

Which of them rising with the sun, or falling,

Should prove tempestuous:  To the winds they set

Their corners, when with bluster to confound

Sea, air, and shore; the thunder when to roll

With terrour through the dark aereal hall.

Some say, he bid his Angels turn ascanse

The poles of earth, twice ten degrees and more,

From the sun's axle; they with labour pushed

Oblique the centrick globe:  Some say, the sun

Was bid turn reins from the equinoctial road

Like distant breadth to Taurus with the seven

Atlantick Sisters, and the Spartan Twins,

Up to the Tropick Crab: thence down amain

By Leo, and the Virgin, and the Scales,

As deep as Capricorn; to bring in change

Of seasons to each clime; else had the spring

Perpetual smiled on earth with vernant flowers,

Equal in days and nights, except to those

Beyond the polar circles; to them day

Had unbenighted shone, while the low sun,

To recompense his distance, in their sight

Had rounded still the horizon, and not known

Or east or west; which had forbid the snow

From cold Estotiland, and south as far

Beneath Magellan.  At that tasted fruit

The sun, as from Thyestean banquet, turned

His course intended; else, how had the world

Inhabited, though sinless, more than now,

Avoided pinching cold and scorching heat?

These changes in the Heavens, though slow, produced

Like change on sea and land; sideral blast,

Vapour, and mist, and exhalation hot,

Corrupt and pestilent:  Now from the north

Of Norumbega, and the Samoed shore,

Bursting their brazen dungeon, armed with ice,

And snow, and hail, and stormy gust and flaw,

Boreas, and Caecias, and Argestes loud,

And Thrascias, rend the woods, and seas upturn;

With adverse blast upturns them from the south

Notus, and Afer black with thunderous clouds

From Serraliona; thwart of these, as fierce,

Forth rush the Levant and the Ponent winds,

Eurus and Zephyr, with their lateral noise,

Sirocco and Libecchio.  Thus began

Outrage from lifeless things; but Discord first,

Daughter of Sin, among the irrational

Death introduced, through fierce antipathy:

Beast now with beast 'gan war, and fowl with fowl,

And fish with fish; to graze the herb all leaving,

Devoured each other; nor stood much in awe

Of Man, but fled him; or, with countenance grim,

Glared on him passing.  These were from without

The growing miseries, which Adam saw

Already in part, though hid in gloomiest shade,

To sorrow abandoned, but worse felt within;

And, in a troubled sea of passion tost,

Thus to disburden sought with sad complaint.

O miserable of happy!  Is this the end

Of this new glorious world, and me so late

The glory of that glory, who now become

Accursed, of blessed? hide me from the face

Of God, whom to behold was then my highth

Of happiness!--Yet well, if here would end

The misery; I deserved it, and would bear

My own deservings; but this will not serve:

All that I eat or drink, or shall beget,

Is propagated curse.  O voice, once heard

Delightfully, Encrease and multiply;

Now death to hear! for what can I encrease,

Or multiply, but curses on my head?

Who of all ages to succeed, but, feeling

The evil on him brought by me, will curse

My head?  Ill fare our ancestor impure,

For this we may thank Adam! but his thanks

Shall be the execration: so, besides

Mine own that bide upon me, all from me

Shall with a fierce reflux on me rebound;

On me, as on their natural center, light

Heavy, though in their place.  O fleeting joys

Of Paradise, dear bought with lasting woes!

Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay

To mould me Man? did I solicit thee

From darkness to promote me, or here place

In this delicious garden?  As my will

Concurred not to my being, it were but right

And equal to reduce me to my dust;

Desirous to resign and render back

All I received; unable to perform

Thy terms too hard, by which I was to hold

The good I sought not.  To the loss of that,

Sufficient penalty, why hast thou added

The sense of endless woes?  Inexplicable

Why am I mocked with death, and lengthened out

To deathless pain?  How gladly would I meet

Mortality my sentence, and be earth

Insensible!  How glad would lay me down

As in my mother's lap!  There I should rest,

And sleep secure; his dreadful voice no more

Would thunder in my ears; no fear of worse

To me, and to my offspring, would torment me

With cruel expectation.  Yet one doubt

Pursues me still, lest all I cannot die;

Lest that pure breath of life, the spirit of Man

Which God inspired, cannot together perish

With this corporeal clod; then, in the grave,

Or in some other dismal place, who knows

But I shall die a living death?  O thought

Horrid, if true!  Yet why? It was but breath

Of life that sinned; what dies but what had life

And sin?  The body properly had neither,

All of me then shall die: let this appease

The doubt, since human reach no further knows.

For though the Lord of all be infinite,

Is his wrath also?  Be it, Man is not so,

But mortal doomed.  How can he exercise

Wrath without end on Man, whom death must end?

Can he make deathless death?  That were to make

Strange contradiction, which to God himself

Impossible is held; as argument

Of weakness, not of power.  Will he draw out,

For anger's sake, finite to infinite,

In punished Man, to satisfy his rigour,

Satisfied never?  That were to extend

His sentence beyond dust and Nature's law;

By which all causes else, according still

To the reception of their matter, act;

Not to the extent of their own sphere.  But say

That death be not one stroke, as I supposed,

Bereaving sense, but endless misery

From this day onward; which I feel begun

Both in me, and without me; and so last

To perpetuity;--Ay me!that fear

Comes thundering back with dreadful revolution

On my defenceless head; both Death and I

Am found eternal, and incorporate both;

Nor I on my part single; in me all

Posterity stands cursed:  Fair patrimony

That I must leave ye, Sons!  O, were I able

To waste it all myself, and leave ye none!

So disinherited, how would you bless

Me, now your curse!  Ah, why should all mankind,

For one man's fault, thus guiltless be condemned,

It guiltless?  But from me what can proceed,

But all corrupt; both mind and will depraved

Not to do only, but to will the same

With me?  How can they then acquitted stand

In sight of God?  Him, after all disputes,

Forced I absolve: all my evasions vain,

And reasonings, though through mazes, lead me still

But to my own conviction: first and last

On me, me only, as the source and spring

Of all corruption, all the blame lights due;

So might the wrath!  Fond wish!couldst thou support

That burden, heavier than the earth to bear;

Than all the world much heavier, though divided

With that bad Woman?  Thus, what thou desirest,

And what thou fearest, alike destroys all hope

Of refuge, and concludes thee miserable

Beyond all past example and future;

To Satan only like both crime and doom.

O Conscience! into what abyss of fears

And horrours hast thou driven me; out of which

I find no way, from deep to deeper plunged!

Thus Adam to himself lamented loud,

Through the still night; not now, as ere Man fell,

Wholesome, and cool, and mild, but with black air

Accompanied; with damps, and dreadful gloom;

Which to his evil conscience represented

All things with double terrour:  On the ground

Outstretched he lay, on the cold ground; and oft

Cursed his creation;  Death as oft accused

Of tardy execution, since denounced

The day of his offence.  Why comes not Death,

Said he, with one thrice-acceptable stroke

To end me?  Shall Truth fail to keep her word,

Justice Divine not hasten to be just?

But Death comes not at call; Justice Divine

Mends not her slowest pace for prayers or cries,

O woods, O fountains, hillocks, dales, and bowers!

With other echo late I taught your shades

To answer, and resound far other song.--

Whom thus afflicted when sad Eve beheld,

Desolate where she sat, approaching nigh,

Soft words to his fierce passion she assayed:

But her with stern regard he thus repelled.

Out of my sight, thou Serpent!  That name best

Befits thee with him leagued, thyself as false

And hateful; nothing wants, but that thy shape,

Like his, and colour serpentine, may show

Thy inward fraud; to warn all creatures from thee

Henceforth; lest that too heavenly form, pretended

To hellish falshood, snare them!  But for thee

I had persisted happy; had not thy pride

And wandering vanity, when least was safe,

Rejected my forewarning, and disdained

Not to be trusted; longing to be seen,

Though by the Devil himself; him overweening

To over-reach; but, with the serpent meeting,

Fooled and beguiled; by him thou, I by thee

To trust thee from my side; imagined wise,

Constant, mature, proof against all assaults;

And understood not all was but a show,

Rather than solid virtue; all but a rib

Crooked by nature, bent, as now appears,

More to the part sinister, from me drawn;

Well if thrown out, as supernumerary

To my just number found.  O! why did God,

Creator wise, that peopled highest Heaven

With Spirits masculine, create at last

This novelty on earth, this fair defect

Of nature, and not fill the world at once

With Men, as Angels, without feminine;

Or find some other way to generate

Mankind?  This mischief had not been befallen,

And more that shall befall; innumerable

Disturbances on earth through female snares,

And strait conjunction with this sex: for either

He never shall find out fit mate, but such

As some misfortune brings him, or mistake;

Or whom he wishes most shall seldom gain

Through her perverseness, but shall see her gained

By a far worse; or, if she love, withheld

By parents; or his happiest choice too late

Shall meet, already linked and wedlock-bound

To a fell adversary, his hate or shame:

Which infinite calamity shall cause

To human life, and houshold peace confound.

He added not, and from her turned; but Eve,

Not so repulsed, with tears that ceased not flowing

And tresses all disordered, at his feet

Fell humble; and, embracing them, besought

His peace, and thus proceeded in her plaint.

Forsake me not thus, Adam! witness Heaven

What love sincere, and reverence in my heart

I bear thee, and unweeting have offended,

Unhappily deceived!  Thy suppliant

I beg, and clasp thy knees; bereave me not,

Whereon I live, thy gentle looks, thy aid,

Thy counsel, in this uttermost distress,

My only strength and stay:  Forlorn of thee,

Whither shall I betake me, where subsist?

While yet we live, scarce one short hour perhaps,

Between us two let there be peace; both joining,

As joined in injuries, one enmity

Against a foe by doom express assigned us,

That cruel Serpent:  On me exercise not

Thy hatred for this misery befallen;

On me already lost, me than thyself

More miserable!  Both have sinned;but thou

Against God only; I against God and thee;

And to the place of judgement will return,

There with my cries importune Heaven; that all

The sentence, from thy head removed, may light

On me, sole cause to thee of all this woe;

Me, me only, just object of his ire!

She ended weeping; and her lowly plight,

Immoveable, till peace obtained from fault

Acknowledged and deplored, in Adam wrought

Commiseration:  Soon his heart relented

Towards her, his life so late, and sole delight,

Now at his feet submissive in distress;

Creature so fair his reconcilement seeking,

His counsel, whom she had displeased, his aid:

As one disarmed, his anger all he lost,

And thus with peaceful words upraised her soon.

Unwary, and too desirous, as before,

So now of what thou knowest not, who desirest

The punishment all on thyself; alas!

Bear thine own first, ill able to sustain

His full wrath, whose thou feelest as yet least part,

And my displeasure bearest so ill.  If prayers

Could alter high decrees, I to that place

Would speed before thee, and be louder heard,

That on my head all might be visited;

Thy frailty and infirmer sex forgiven,

To me committed, and by me exposed.

But rise;--let us no more contend, nor blame

Each other, blamed enough elsewhere; but strive

In offices of love, how we may lighten

Each other's burden, in our share of woe;

Since this day's death denounced, if aught I see,

Will prove no sudden, but a slow-paced evil;

A long day's dying, to augment our pain;

And to our seed (O hapless seed!) derived.

To whom thus Eve, recovering heart, replied.

Adam, by sad experiment I know

How little weight my words with thee can find,

Found so erroneous; thence by just event

Found so unfortunate:  Nevertheless,

Restored by thee, vile as I am, to place

Of new acceptance, hopeful to regain

Thy love, the sole contentment of my heart

Living or dying, from thee I will not hide

What thoughts in my unquiet breast are risen,

Tending to some relief of our extremes,

Or end; though sharp and sad, yet tolerable,

As in our evils, and of easier choice.

If care of our descent perplex us most,

Which must be born to certain woe, devoured

By Death at last; and miserable it is

To be to others cause of misery,

Our own begotten, and of our loins to bring

Into this cursed world a woeful race,

That after wretched life must be at last

Food for so foul a monster; in thy power

It lies, yet ere conception to prevent

The race unblest, to being yet unbegot.

Childless thou art, childless remain: so Death

Shall be deceived his glut, and with us two

Be forced to satisfy his ravenous maw.

But if thou judge it hard and difficult,

Conversing, looking, loving, to abstain

From love's due rights, nuptial embraces sweet;

And with desire to languish without hope,

Before the present object languishing

With like desire; which would be misery

And torment less than none of what we dread;

Then, both ourselves and seed at once to free

From what we fear for both, let us make short, --

Let us seek Death; -- or, he not found, supply

With our own hands his office on ourselves:

Why stand we longer shivering under fears,

That show no end but death, and have the power,

Of many ways to die the shortest choosing,

Destruction with destruction to destroy? --

She ended here, or vehement despair

Broke off the rest: so much of death her thoughts

Had entertained, as dyed her cheeks with pale.

But Adam, with such counsel nothing swayed,

To better hopes his more attentive mind

Labouring had raised; and thus to Eve replied.

Eve, thy contempt of life and pleasure seems

To argue in thee something more sublime

And excellent, than what thy mind contemns;

But self-destruction therefore sought, refutes

That excellence thought in thee; and implies,

Not thy contempt, but anguish and regret

For loss of life and pleasure overloved.

Or if thou covet death, as utmost end

Of misery, so thinking to evade

The penalty pronounced; doubt not but God

Hath wiselier armed his vengeful ire, than so

To be forestalled; much more I fear lest death,

So snatched, will not exempt us from the pain

We are by doom to pay; rather, such acts

Of contumacy will provoke the Highest

To make death in us live:  Then let us seek

Some safer resolution, which methinks

I have in view, calling to mind with heed

Part of our sentence, that thy seed shall bruise

The Serpent's head; piteous amends! unless

Be meant, whom I conjecture, our grand foe,

Satan; who, in the serpent, hath contrived

Against us this deceit:  To crush his head

Would be revenge indeed! which will be lost

By death brought on ourselves, or childless days

Resolved, as thou proposest; so our foe

Shal 'scape his punishment ordained, and we

Instead shall double ours upon our heads.

No more be mentioned then of violence

Against ourselves; and wilful barrenness,

That cuts us off from hope; and savours only

Rancour and pride, impatience and despite,

Reluctance against God and his just yoke

Laid on our necks.  Remember with what mild

And gracious temper he both heard, and judged,

Without wrath or reviling; we expected

Immediate dissolution, which we thought

Was meant by death that day; when lo!to thee

Pains only in child-bearing were foretold,

And bringing forth; soon recompensed with joy,

Fruit of thy womb:  On me the curse aslope

Glanced on the ground; with labour I must earn

My bread; what harm? Idleness had been worse;

My labour will sustain me; and, lest cold

Or heat should injure us, his timely care

Hath, unbesought, provided; and his hands

Clothed us unworthy, pitying while he judged;

How much more, if we pray him, will his ear

Be open, and his heart to pity incline,

And teach us further by what means to shun

The inclement seasons, rain, ice, hail, and snow!

Which now the sky, with various face, begins

To show us in this mountain; while the winds

Blow moist and keen, shattering the graceful locks

Of these fair spreading trees; which bids us seek

Some better shroud, some better warmth to cherish

Our limbs benummed, ere this diurnal star

Leave cold the night, how we his gathered beams

Reflected may with matter sere foment;

Or, by collision of two bodies, grind

The air attrite to fire; as late the clouds

Justling, or pushed with winds, rude in their shock,

Tine the slant lightning; whose thwart flame, driven down

Kindles the gummy bark of fir or pine;

And sends a comfortable heat from far,

Which might supply the sun:  Such fire to use,

And what may else be remedy or cure

To evils which our own misdeeds have wrought,

He will instruct us praying, and of grace

Beseeching him; so as we need not fear

To pass commodiously this life, sustained

By him with many comforts, till we end

In dust, our final rest and native home.

What better can we do, than, to the place

Repairing where he judged us, prostrate fall

Before him reverent; and there confess

Humbly our faults, and pardon beg; with tears

Watering the ground, and with our sighs the air

Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign

Of sorrow unfeigned, and humiliation meek.






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