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Paradise Lost: Book 04 Analysis

Author: Poetry of John Milton Type: Poetry Views: 826

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O, for that warning voice, which he, who sawThe Apocalypse, heard cry in Heaven aloud,Then when the Dragon, put to second rout,Came furious down to be revenged on men,Woe to the inhabitants on earth! that now,While time was, our first parents had been warnedThe coming of their secret foe, and 'scaped,Haply so 'scaped his mortal snare:For nowSatan, now first inflamed with rage, came down,The tempter ere the accuser of mankind,To wreak on innocent frail Man his lossOf that first battle, and his flight to Hell:Yet, not rejoicing in his speed, though boldFar off and fearless, nor with cause to boast,Begins his dire attempt; which nigh the birthNow rolling boils in his tumultuous breast,And like a devilish engine back recoilsUpon himself; horrour and doubt distractHis troubled thoughts, and from the bottom stirThe Hell within him; for within him HellHe brings, and round about him, nor from HellOne step, no more than from himself, can flyBy change of place:Now conscience wakes despair,That slumbered; wakes the bitter memoryOf what he was, what is, and what must beWorse; of worse deeds worse sufferings must ensue.Sometimes towards Eden, which now in his viewLay pleasant, his grieved look he fixes sad;Sometimes towards Heaven, and the full-blazing sun,Which now sat high in his meridian tower:Then, much revolving, thus in sighs began.O thou, that, with surpassing glory crowned,Lookest from thy sole dominion like the GodOf this new world; at whose sight all the starsHide their diminished heads; to thee I call,But with no friendly voice, and add thy name,Of Sun! to tell thee how I hate thy beams,That bring to my remembrance from what stateI fell, how glorious once above thy sphere;Till pride and worse ambition threw me downWarring in Heaven against Heaven's matchless King:Ah, wherefore! he deserved no such returnFrom me, whom he created what I wasIn that bright eminence, and with his goodUpbraided none; nor was his service hard.What could be less than to afford him praise,The easiest recompence, and pay him thanks,How due! yet all his good proved ill in me,And wrought but malice; lifted up so highI sdeined subjection, and thought one step higherWould set me highest, and in a moment quitThe debt immense of endless gratitude,So burdensome still paying, still to owe,Forgetful what from him I still received,And understood not that a grateful mindBy owing owes not, but still pays, at onceIndebted and discharged; what burden thenO, had his powerful destiny ordainedMe some inferiour Angel, I had stoodThen happy; no unbounded hope had raisedAmbition!Yet why not some other PowerAs great might have aspired, and me, though mean,Drawn to his part; but other Powers as greatFell not, but stand unshaken, from withinOr from without, to all temptations armed.Hadst thou the same free will and power to stand?Thou hadst: whom hast thou then or what to accuse,But Heaven's free love dealt equally to all?Be then his love accursed, since love or hate,To me alike, it deals eternal woe.Nay, cursed be thou; since against his thy willChose freely what it now so justly rues.Me miserable! which way shall I flyInfinite wrath, and infinite despair?Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell;And, in the lowest deep, a lower deepStill threatening to devour me opens wide,To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heaven.O, then, at last relent:Is there no placeLeft for repentance, none for pardon left?None left but by submission; and that wordDisdain forbids me, and my dread of shameAmong the Spirits beneath, whom I seducedWith other promises and other vauntsThan to submit, boasting I could subdueThe Omnipotent.Ay me! they little knowHow dearly I abide that boast so vain,Under what torments inwardly I groan,While they adore me on the throne of Hell.With diadem and scepter high advanced,The lower still I fall, only supremeIn misery:Such joy ambition finds.But say I could repent, and could obtain,By act of grace, my former state; how soonWould highth recall high thoughts, how soon unsayWhat feigned submission swore?Ease would recantVows made in pain, as violent and void.For never can true reconcilement grow,Where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep:Which would but lead me to a worse relapseAnd heavier fall:so should I purchase dearShort intermission bought with double smart.This knows my Punisher; therefore as farFrom granting he, as I from begging, peace;All hope excluded thus, behold, in steadMankind created, and for him this world.So farewell, hope; and with hope farewell, fear;Farewell, remorse! all good to me is lost;Evil, be thou my good; by thee at leastDivided empire with Heaven's King I hold,By thee, and more than half perhaps will reign;As Man ere long, and this new world, shall know.Thus while he spake, each passion dimmed his faceThrice changed with pale, ire, envy, and despair;Which marred his borrowed visage, and betrayedHim counterfeit, if any eye beheld.For heavenly minds from such distempers foulAre ever clear.Whereof he soon aware,Each perturbation smoothed with outward calm,Artificer of fraud; and was the firstThat practised falsehood under saintly show,Deep malice to conceal, couched with revenge:Yet not enough had practised to deceiveUriel once warned; whose eye pursued him downThe way he went, and on the Assyrian mountSaw him disfigured, more than could befallSpirit of happy sort; his gestures fierceHe marked and mad demeanour, then alone,As he supposed, all unobserved, unseen.So on he fares, and to the border comesOf Eden, where delicious Paradise,Now nearer, crowns with her enclosure green,As with a rural mound, the champaign headOf a steep wilderness, whose hairy sidesAccess denied; and overhead upgrewInsuperable height of loftiest shade,Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm,A sylvan scene, and, as the ranks ascend,Shade above shade, a woody theatreOf stateliest view. Yet higher than their topsThe verdurous wall of Paradise upsprung;Which to our general sire gave prospect largeInto his nether empire neighbouring round.And higher than that wall a circling rowOf goodliest trees, loaden with fairest fruit,Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue,Appeared, with gay enamelled colours mixed:On which the sun more glad impressed his beamsThan in fair evening cloud, or humid bow,When God hath showered the earth; so lovely seemedThat landskip:And of pure now purer airMeets his approach, and to the heart inspiresVernal delight and joy, able to driveAll sadness but despair:Now gentle gales,Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispenseNative perfumes, and whisper whence they stoleThose balmy spoils.As when to them who failBeyond the Cape of Hope, and now are pastMozambick, off at sea north-east winds blowSabean odours from the spicy shoreOf Araby the blest; with such delayWell pleased they slack their course, and many a leagueCheered with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles:So entertained those odorous sweets the Fiend,Who came their bane; though with them better pleasedThan Asmodeus with the fishy fumeThat drove him, though enamoured, from the spouseOf Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sentFrom Media post to Egypt, there fast bound.Now to the ascent of that steep savage hillSatan had journeyed on, pensive and slow;But further way found none, so thick entwined,As one continued brake, the undergrowthOf shrubs and tangling bushes had perplexedAll path of man or beast that passed that way.One gate there only was, and that looked eastOn the other side: which when the arch-felon saw,Due entrance he disdained; and, in contempt,At one flight bound high over-leaped all boundOf hill or highest wall, and sheer withinLights on his feet.As when a prowling wolf,Whom hunger drives to seek new haunt for prey,Watching where shepherds pen their flocks at eveIn hurdled cotes amid the field secure,Leaps o'er the fence with ease into the fold:Or as a thief, bent to unhoard the cashOf some rich burgher, whose substantial doors,Cross-barred and bolted fast, fear no assault,In at the window climbs, or o'er the tiles:So clomb this first grand thief into God's fold;So since into his church lewd hirelings climb.Thence up he flew, and on the tree of life,The middle tree and highest there that grew,Sat like a cormorant; yet not true lifeThereby regained, but sat devising deathTo them who lived; nor on the virtue thoughtOf that life-giving plant, but only usedFor prospect, what well used had been the pledgeOf immortality.So little knowsAny, but God alone, to value rightThe good before him, but perverts best thingsTo worst abuse, or to their meanest use.Beneath him with new wonder now he views,To all delight of human sense exposed,In narrow room, Nature's whole wealth, yea more,A Heaven on Earth:For blissful ParadiseOf God the garden was, by him in the eastOf Eden planted; Eden stretched her lineFrom Auran eastward to the royal towersOf great Seleucia, built by Grecian kings,Of where the sons of Eden long beforeDwelt in Telassar:In this pleasant soilHis far more pleasant garden God ordained;Out of the fertile ground he caused to growAll trees of noblest kind for sight, smell, taste;And all amid them stood the tree of life,High eminent, blooming ambrosial fruitOf vegetable gold; and next to life,Our death, the tree of knowledge, grew fast by,Knowledge of good bought dear by knowing ill.Southward through Eden went a river large,Nor changed his course, but through the shaggy hillPassed underneath ingulfed; for God had thrownThat mountain as his garden-mould high raisedUpon the rapid current, which, through veinsOf porous earth with kindly thirst up-drawn,Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rillWatered the garden; thence united fellDown the steep glade, and met the nether flood,Which from his darksome passage now appears,And now, divided into four main streams,Runs diverse, wandering many a famous realmAnd country, whereof here needs no account;But rather to tell how, if Art could tell,How from that sapphire fount the crisped brooks,Rolling on orient pearl and sands of gold,With mazy errour under pendant shadesRan nectar, visiting each plant, and fedFlowers worthy of Paradise, which not nice ArtIn beds and curious knots, but Nature boonPoured forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain,Both where the morning sun first warmly smoteThe open field, and where the unpierced shadeImbrowned the noontide bowers:Thus was this placeA happy rural seat of various view;Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and balm,Others whose fruit, burnished with golden rind,Hung amiable, Hesperian fables true,If true, here only, and of delicious taste:Betwixt them lawns, or level downs, and flocksGrazing the tender herb, were interposed,Or palmy hillock; or the flowery lapOf some irriguous valley spread her store,Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose:Another side, umbrageous grots and cavesOf cool recess, o'er which the mantling vineLays forth her purple grape, and gently creepsLuxuriant; mean while murmuring waters fallDown the slope hills, dispersed, or in a lake,That to the fringed bank with myrtle crownedHer crystal mirrour holds, unite their streams.The birds their quire apply; airs, vernal airs,Breathing the smell of field and grove, attuneThe trembling leaves, while universal Pan,Knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance,Led on the eternal Spring.Not that fair fieldOf Enna, where Proserpine gathering flowers,Herself a fairer flower by gloomy DisWas gathered, which cost Ceres all that painTo seek her through the world; nor that sweet groveOf Daphne by Orontes, and the inspiredCastalian spring, might with this ParadiseOf Eden strive; nor that Nyseian isleGirt with the river Triton, where old Cham,Whom Gentiles Ammon call and Libyan Jove,Hid Amalthea, and her florid sonYoung Bacchus, from his stepdame Rhea's eye;Nor where Abassin kings their issue guard,Mount Amara, though this by some supposedTrue Paradise under the Ethiop lineBy Nilus' head, enclosed with shining rock,A whole day's journey high, but wide remoteFrom this Assyrian garden, where the FiendSaw, undelighted, all delight, all kindOf living creatures, new to sight, and strangeTwo of far nobler shape, erect and tall,Godlike erect, with native honour cladIn naked majesty seemed lords of all:And worthy seemed; for in their looks divineThe image of their glorious Maker shone,Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure,(Severe, but in true filial freedom placed,)Whence true authority in men; though bothNot equal, as their sex not equal seemed;For contemplation he and valour formed;For softness she and sweet attractive grace;He for God only, she for God in him:His fair large front and eye sublime declaredAbsolute rule; and hyacinthine locksRound from his parted forelock manly hungClustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad:She, as a veil, down to the slender waistHer unadorned golden tresses woreDishevelled, but in wanton ringlets wavedAs the vine curls her tendrils, which impliedSubjection, but required with gentle sway,And by her yielded, by him best received,Yielded with coy submission, modest pride,And sweet, reluctant, amorous delay.Nor those mysterious parts were then concealed;Then was not guilty shame, dishonest shameOf nature's works, honour dishonourable,Sin-bred, how have ye troubled all mankindWith shows instead, mere shows of seeming pure,And banished from man's life his happiest life,Simplicity and spotless innocence!So passed they naked on, nor shunned the sightOf God or Angel; for they thought no ill:So hand in hand they passed, the loveliest pair,That ever since in love's embraces met;Adam the goodliest man of men since bornHis sons, the fairest of her daughters Eve.Under a tuft of shade that on a greenStood whispering soft, by a fresh fountain sideThey sat them down; and, after no more toilOf their sweet gardening labour than sufficedTo recommend cool Zephyr, and made easeMore easy, wholesome thirst and appetiteMore grateful, to their supper-fruits they fell,Nectarine fruits which the compliant boughsYielded them, side-long as they sat reclineOn the soft downy bank damasked with flowers:The savoury pulp they chew, and in the rind,Still as they thirsted, scoop the brimming stream;Nor gentle purpose, nor endearing smilesWanted, nor youthful dalliance, as beseemsFair couple, linked in happy nuptial league,Alone as they.About them frisking playedAll beasts of the earth, since wild, and of all chaseIn wood or wilderness, forest or den;Sporting the lion ramped, and in his pawDandled the kid; bears, tigers, ounces, pards,Gambolled before them; the unwieldy elephant,To make them mirth, used all his might, and wreathedHis?kithetmroboscis; close the serpent sly,Insinuating, wove with Gordian twineHis braided train, and of his fatal guileGave proof unheeded; others on the grassCouched, and now filled with pasture gazing sat,Or bedward ruminating; for the sun,Declined, was hasting now with prone careerTo the ocean isles, and in the ascending scaleOf Heaven the stars that usher evening rose:When Satan still in gaze, as first he stood,Scarce thus at length failed speech recovered sad.O Hell! what do mine eyes with grief behold!Into our room of bliss thus high advancedCreatures of other mould, earth-born perhaps,Not Spirits, yet to heavenly Spirits brightLittle inferiour; whom my thoughts pursueWith wonder, and could love, so lively shinesIn them divine resemblance, and such graceThe hand that formed them on their shape hath poured.Ah! gentle pair, ye little think how nighYour change approaches, when all these delightsWill vanish, and deliver ye to woe;More woe, the more your taste is now of joy;Happy, but for so happy ill securedLong to continue, and this high seat your HeavenIll fenced for Heaven to keep out such a foeAs now is entered; yet no purposed foeTo you, whom I could pity thus forlorn,Though I unpitied:League with you I seek,And mutual amity, so strait, so close,That I with you must dwell, or you with meHenceforth; my dwelling haply may not please,Like this fair Paradise, your sense; yet suchAccept your Maker's work; he gave it me,Which I as freely give:Hell shall unfold,To entertain you two, her widest gates,And send forth all her kings; there will be room,Not like these narrow limits, to receiveYour numerous offspring; if no better place,Thank him who puts me loth to this revengeOn you who wrong me not for him who wronged.And should I at your harmless innocenceMelt, as I do, yet publick reason just,Honour and empire with revenge enlarged,By conquering this new world, compels me nowTo do what else, though damned, I should abhor.So spake the Fiend, and with necessity,The tyrant's plea, excused his devilish deeds.Then from his lofty stand on that high treeDown he alights among the sportful herdOf those four-footed kinds, himself now one,Now other, as their shape served best his endNearer to view his prey, and, unespied,To mark what of their state he more might learn,By word or action marked. About them roundA lion now he stalks with fiery glare;Then as a tiger, who by chance hath spiedIn some purlieu two gentle fawns at play,Straight couches close, then, rising, changes oftHis couchant watch, as one who chose his ground,Whence rushing, he might surest seize them both,Griped in each paw: when, Adam first of menTo first of women Eve thus moving speech,Turned him, all ear to hear new utterance flow.Sole partner, and sole part, of all these joys,Dearer thyself than all; needs must the PowerThat made us, and for us this ample world,Be infinitely good, and of his goodAs liberal and free as infinite;That raised us from the dust, and placed us hereIn all this happiness, who at his handHave nothing merited, nor can performAught whereof he hath need; he who requiresFrom us no other service than to keepThis one, this easy charge, of all the treesIn Paradise that bear delicious fruitSo various, not to taste that only treeOf knowledge, planted by the tree of life;So near grows death to life, whate'er death is,Some dreadful thing no doubt; for well thou knowestGod hath pronounced it death to taste that tree,The only sign of our obedience left,Among so many signs of power and ruleConferred upon us, and dominion givenOver all other creatures that possessEarth, air, and sea.Then let us not think hardOne easy prohibition, who enjoyFree leave so large to all things else, and choiceUnlimited of manifold delights:But let us ever praise him, and extolHis bounty, following our delightful task,To prune these growing plants, and tend these flowers,Which were it toilsome, yet with thee were sweet.To whom thus Eve replied.O thou for whomAnd from whom I was formed, flesh of thy flesh,And without whom am to no end, my guideAnd head! what thou hast said is just and right.For we to him indeed all praises owe,And daily thanks; I chiefly, who enjoySo far the happier lot, enjoying theePre-eminent by so much odds, while thouLike consort to thyself canst no where find.That day I oft remember, when from sleepI first awaked, and found myself reposedUnder a shade on flowers, much wondering whereAnd what I was, whence thither brought, and how.Not distant far from thence a murmuring soundOf waters issued from a cave, and spreadInto a liquid plain, then stood unmovedPure as the expanse of Heaven; I thither wentWith unexperienced thought, and laid me downOn the green bank, to look into the clearSmooth lake, that to me seemed another sky.As I bent down to look, just oppositeA shape within the watery gleam appeared,Bending to look on me:I started back,It started back; but pleased I soon returned,Pleased it returned as soon with answering looksOf sympathy and love:There I had fixedMine eyes till now, and pined with vain desire,Had not a voice thus warned me;'What thou seest,'What there thou seest, fair Creature, is thyself;'With thee it came and goes: but follow me,'And I will bring thee where no shadow stays'Thy coming, and thy soft embraces, he'Whose image thou art; him thou shalt enjoy'Inseparably thine, to him shalt bear'Multitudes like thyself, and thence be called'Mother of human race.'What could I do,But follow straight, invisibly thus led?Till I espied thee, fair indeed and tall,Under a platane; yet methought less fair,Less winning soft, less amiably mild,Than that smooth watery image:Back I turned;Thou following cryedst aloud, 'Return, fair Eve;'Whom flyest thou?whom thou flyest, of him thou art,'His flesh, his bone; to give thee being I lent'Out of my side to thee, nearest my heart,'Substantial life, to have thee by my side'Henceforth an individual solace dear;'Part of my soul I seek thee, and thee claim'My other half:'With that thy gentle handSeised mine:I yielded;and from that time seeHow beauty is excelled by manly grace,And wisdom, which alone is truly fair.So spake our general mother, and with eyesOf conjugal attraction unreproved,And meek surrender, half-embracing leanedOn our first father; half her swelling breastNaked met his, under the flowing goldOf her loose tresses hid: he in delightBoth of her beauty, and submissive charms,Smiled with superiour love, as JupiterOn Juno smiles, when he impregns the cloudsThat shed Mayflowers; and pressed her matron lipWith kisses pure:Aside the Devil turnedFor envy; yet with jealous leer malignEyed them askance, and to himself thus plained.Sight hateful, sight tormenting! thus these two,Imparadised in one another's arms,The happier Eden, shall enjoy their fillOf bliss on bliss; while I to Hell am thrust,Where neither joy nor love, but fierce desire,Among our other torments not the least,Still unfulfilled with pain of longing pines.Yet let me not forget what I have gainedFrom their own mouths:All is not theirs, it seems;One fatal tree there stands, of knowledge called,Forbidden them to taste:Knowledge forbiddenSuspicious, reasonless.Why should their LordEnvy them that?Can it be sin to know?Can it be death?And do they only standBy ignorance?Is that their happy state,The proof of their obedience and their faith?O fair foundation laid whereon to buildTheir ruin! hence I will excite their mindsWith more desire to know, and to rejectEnvious commands, invented with designTo keep them low, whom knowledge might exaltEqual with Gods: aspiring to be such,They taste and die:What likelier can ensueBut first with narrow search I must walk roundThis garden, and no corner leave unspied;A chance but chance may lead where I may meetSome wandering Spirit of Heaven by fountain side,Or in thick shade retired, from him to drawWhat further would be learned.Live while ye may,Yet happy pair; enjoy, till I return,Short pleasures, for long woes are to succeed!So saying, his proud step he scornful turned,But with sly circumspection, and beganThrough wood, through waste, o'er hill, o'er dale, his roamMean while in utmost longitude, where HeavenWith earth and ocean meets, the setting sunSlowly descended, and with right aspectAgainst the eastern gate of ParadiseLevelled his evening rays:It was a rockOf alabaster, piled up to the clouds,Conspicuous far, winding with one ascentAccessible from earth, one entrance high;The rest was craggy cliff, that overhungStill as it rose, impossible to climb.Betwixt these rocky pillars Gabriel sat,Chief of the angelick guards, awaiting night;About him exercised heroick gamesThe unarmed youth of Heaven, but nigh at handCelestial armoury, shields, helms, and spears,Hung high with diamond flaming, and with gold.Thither came Uriel, gliding through the evenOn a sun-beam, swift as a shooting starIn autumn thwarts the night, when vapours firedImpress the air, and shows the marinerFrom what point of his compass to bewareImpetuous winds:He thus began in haste.Gabriel, to thee thy course by lot hath givenCharge and strict watch, that to this happy placeNo evil thing approach or enter in.This day at highth of noon came to my sphereA Spirit, zealous, as he seemed, to knowMore of the Almighty's works, and chiefly Man,God's latest image:I described his wayBent all on speed, and marked his aery gait;But in the mount that lies from Eden north,Where he first lighted, soon discerned his looksAlien from Heaven, with passions foul obscured:Mine eye pursued him still, but under shadeLost sight of him:One of the banished crew,I fear, hath ventured from the deep, to raiseNew troubles; him thy care must be to find.To whom the winged warriour thus returned.Uriel, no wonder if thy perfect sight,Amid the sun's bright circle where thou sitst,See far and wide:In at this gate none passThe vigilance here placed, but such as comeWell known from Heaven; and since meridian hourNo creature thence:If Spirit of other sort,So minded, have o'er-leaped these earthly boundsOn purpose, hard thou knowest it to excludeSpiritual substance with corporeal bar.But if within the circuit of these walks,In whatsoever shape he lurk, of whomThou tellest, by morrow dawning I shall know.So promised he; and Uriel to his chargeReturned on that bright beam, whose point now raisedBore him slope downward to the sun now fallenBeneath the Azores; whether the prime orb,Incredible how swift, had thither rolledDiurnal, or this less volubil earth,By shorter flight to the east, had left him thereArraying with reflected purple and goldThe clouds that on his western throne attend.Now came still Evening on, and Twilight grayHad in her sober livery all things clad;Silence accompanied; for beast and bird,They to their grassy couch, these to their nestsWere slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale;She all night long her amorous descant sung;Silence was pleased:Now glowed the firmamentWith living sapphires:Hesperus, that ledThe starry host, rode brightest, till the moon,Rising in clouded majesty, at lengthApparent queen unveiled her peerless light,And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw.When Adam thus to Eve.Fair Consort, the hourOf night, and all things now retired to rest,Mind us of like repose; since God hath setLabour and rest, as day and night, to menSuccessive; and the timely dew of sleep,Now falling with soft slumbrous weight, inclinesOur eye-lids:Other creatures all day longRove idle, unemployed, and less need rest;Man hath his daily work of body or mindAppointed, which declares his dignity,And the regard of Heaven on all his ways;While other animals unactive range,And of their doings God takes no account.To-morrow, ere fresh morning streak the eastWith first approach of light, we must be risen,And at our pleasant labour, to reformYon flowery arbours, yonder alleys green,Our walk at noon, with branches overgrown,That mock our scant manuring, and requireMore hands than ours to lop their wanton growth:Those blossoms also, and those dropping gums,That lie bestrown, unsightly and unsmooth,Ask riddance, if we mean to tread with ease;Mean while, as Nature wills, night bids us rest.To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adornedMy Author and Disposer, what thou bidstUnargued I obey:So God ordains;God is thy law, thou mine:To know no moreIs woman's happiest knowledge, and her praise.With thee conversing I forget all time;All seasons, and their change, all please alike.Sweet is the breath of Morn, her rising sweet,With charm of earliest birds:pleasant the sun,When first on this delightful land he spreadsHis orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower,Glistering with dew; fragrant the fertile earthAfter soft showers; and sweet the coming onOf grateful Evening mild; then silent Night,With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon,And these the gems of Heaven, her starry train:But neither breath of Morn, when she ascendsWith charm of earliest birds; nor rising sunOn this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower,Glistering with dew; nor fragrance after showers;Nor grateful Evening mild; nor silent Night,With this her solemn bird, nor walk by moon,Or glittering star-light, without thee is sweet.But wherefore all night long shine these? for whomThis glorious sight, when sleep hath shut all eyes?To whom our general ancestor replied.Daughter of God and Man, accomplished Eve,These have their course to finish round the earth,By morrow evening, and from land to landIn order, though to nations yet unborn,Ministring light prepared, they set and rise;Lest total Darkness should by night regainHer old possession, and extinguish lifeIn Nature and all things; which these soft firesNot only enlighten, but with kindly heatOf various influence foment and warm,Temper or nourish, or in part shed downTheir stellar virtue on all kinds that growOn earth, made hereby apter to receivePerfection from the sun's more potent ray.These then, though unbeheld in deep of night,Shine not in vain; nor think, though men were none,That Heaven would want spectators, God want praise:Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earthUnseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep:All these with ceaseless praise his works beholdBoth day and night:How often from the steepOf echoing hill or thicket have we heardCelestial voices to the midnight air,Sole, or responsive each to others note,Singing their great Creator? oft in bandsWhile they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk,With heavenly touch of instrumental soundsIn full harmonick number joined, their songsDivide the night, and lift our thoughts to Heaven.Thus talking, hand in hand alone they passedOn to their blissful bower: it was a placeChosen by the sovran Planter, when he framedAll things to Man's delightful use; the roofOf thickest covert was inwoven shadeLaurel and myrtle, and what higher grewOf firm and fragrant leaf; on either sideAcanthus, and each odorous bushy shrub,Fenced up the verdant wall; each beauteous flower,Iris all hues, roses, and jessamin,Reared high their flourished heads between, and wroughtMosaick; underfoot the violet,Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlayBroidered the ground, more coloured than with stoneOf costliest emblem:Other creature here,Bird, beast, insect, or worm, durst enter none,Such was their awe of Man.In shadier bowerMore sacred and sequestered, though but feigned,Pan or Sylvanus never slept, nor NymphNor Faunus haunted.Here, in close recess,With flowers, garlands, and sweet-smelling herbs,Espoused Eve decked first her nuptial bed;And heavenly quires the hymenaean sung,What day the genial Angel to our sireBrought her in naked beauty more adorned,More lovely, than Pandora, whom the GodsEndowed with all their gifts, and O! too likeIn sad event, when to the unwiser sonOf Japhet brought by Hermes, she ensnaredMankind with her fair looks, to be avengedOn him who had stole Jove's authentick fire.Thus, at their shady lodge arrived, both stood,Both turned, and under open sky adoredThe God that made both sky, air, earth, and heaven,Which they beheld, the moon's resplendent globe,And starry pole:Thou also madest the night,Maker Omnipotent, and thou the day,Which we, in our appointed work employed,Have finished, happy in our mutual helpAnd mutual love, the crown of all our blissOrdained by thee; and this delicious placeFor us too large, where thy abundance wantsPartakers, and uncropt falls to the ground.But thou hast promised from us two a raceTo fill the earth, who shall with us extolThy goodness infinite, both when we wake,And when we seek, as now, thy gift of sleep.This said unanimous, and other ritesObserving none, but adoration pureWhich God likes best, into their inmost bowerHanded they went; and, eased the putting offThese troublesome disguises which we wear,Straight side by side were laid; nor turned, I ween,Adam from his fair spouse, nor Eve the ritesMysterious of connubial love refused:Whatever hypocrites austerely talkOf purity, and place, and innocence,Defaming as impure what God declaresPure, and commands to some, leaves free to all.Our Maker bids encrease; who bids abstainBut our Destroyer, foe to God and Man?Hail, wedded Love, mysterious law, true sourceOf human offspring, sole proprietyIn Paradise of all things common else!By thee adulterous Lust was driven from menAmong the bestial herds to range; by theeFounded in reason, loyal, just, and pure,Relations dear, and all the charitiesOf father, son, and brother, first were known.Far be it, that I should write thee sin or blame,Or think thee unbefitting holiest place,Perpetual fountain of domestick sweets,Whose bed is undefiled and chaste pronounced,Present, or past, as saints and patriarchs used.Here Love his golden shafts employs, here lightsHis constant lamp, and waves his purple wings,Reigns here and revels; not in the bought smileOf harlots, loveless, joyless, unendeared,Casual fruition; nor in court-amours,Mixed dance, or wanton mask, or midnight ball,Or serenate, which the starved lover singsTo his proud fair, best quitted with disdain.These, lulled by nightingales, embracing slept,And on their naked limbs the flowery roofShowered roses, which the morn repaired.Sleep on,Blest pair; and O!yet happiest, if ye seekNo happier state, and know to know no more.Now had night measured with her shadowy coneHalf way up hill this vast sublunar vault,And from their ivory port the Cherubim,Forth issuing at the accustomed hour, stood armedTo their night watches in warlike parade;When Gabriel to his next in power thus spake.Uzziel, half these draw off, and coast the southWith strictest watch; these other wheel the north;Our circuit meets full west.As flame they part,Half wheeling to the shield, half to the spear.From these, two strong and subtle Spirits he calledThat near him stood, and gave them thus in charge.Ithuriel and Zephon, with winged speedSearch through this garden, leave unsearched no nook;But chiefly where those two fair creatures lodge,Now laid perhaps asleep, secure of harm.This evening from the sun's decline arrived,Who tells of some infernal Spirit seenHitherward bent (who could have thought?) escapedThe bars of Hell, on errand bad no doubt:Such, where ye find, seise fast, and hither bring.So saying, on he led his radiant files,Dazzling the moon; these to the bower directIn search of whom they sought:Him there they foundSquat like a toad, close at the ear of Eve,Assaying by his devilish art to reachThe organs of her fancy, and with them forgeIllusions, as he list, phantasms and dreams;Or if, inspiring venom, he might taintThe animal spirits, that from pure blood ariseLike gentle breaths from rivers pure, thence raiseAt least distempered, discontented thoughts,Vain hopes, vain aims, inordinate desires,Blown up with high conceits ingendering pride.Him thus intent Ithuriel with his spearTouched lightly; for no falshood can endureTouch of celestial temper, but returnsOf force to its own likeness:Up he startsDiscovered and surprised.As when a sparkLights on a heap of nitrous powder, laidFit for the tun some magazine to storeAgainst a rumoured war, the smutty grain,With sudden blaze diffused, inflames the air;So started up in his own shape the Fiend.Back stept those two fair Angels, half amazedSo sudden to behold the grisly king;Yet thus, unmoved with fear, accost him soon.Which of those rebel Spirits adjudged to HellComest thou, escaped thy prison? and, transformed,Why sat'st thou like an enemy in wait,Here watching at the head of these that sleep?Know ye not then said Satan, filled with scorn,Know ye not me? ye knew me once no mateFor you, there sitting where ye durst not soar:Not to know me argues yourselves unknown,The lowest of your throng; or, if ye know,Why ask ye, and superfluous beginYour message, like to end as much in vain?To whom thus Zephon, answering scorn with scorn.Think not, revolted Spirit, thy shape the same,Or undiminished brightness to be known,As when thou stoodest in Heaven upright and pure;That glory then, when thou no more wast good,Departed from thee; and thou resemblest nowThy sin and place of doom obscure and foul.But come, for thou, be sure, shalt give accountTo him who sent us, whose charge is to keepThis place inviolable, and these from harm.So spake the Cherub; and his grave rebuke,Severe in youthful beauty, added graceInvincible:Abashed the Devil stood,And felt how awful goodness is, and sawVirtue in her shape how lovely; saw, and pinedHis loss; but chiefly to find here observedHis lustre visibly impaired; yet seemedUndaunted.If I must contend, said he,Best with the best, the sender, not the sent,Or all at once; more glory will be won,Or less be lost.Thy fear, said Zephon bold,Will save us trial what the least can doSingle against thee wicked, and thence weak.The Fiend replied not, overcome with rage;But, like a proud steed reined, went haughty on,Champing his iron curb:To strive or flyHe held it vain; awe from above had quelledHis heart, not else dismayed.Now drew they nighThe western point, where those half-rounding guardsJust met, and closing stood in squadron joined,A waiting next command.To whom their Chief,Gabriel, from the front thus called aloud.O friends!I hear the tread of nimble feetHasting this way, and now by glimpse discernIthuriel and Zephon through the shade;And with them comes a third of regal port,But faded splendour wan; who by his gaitAnd fierce demeanour seems the Prince of Hell,Not likely to part hence without contest;Stand firm, for in his look defiance lours.He scarce had ended, when those two approached,And brief related whom they brought, where found,How busied, in what form and posture couched.To whom with stern regard thus Gabriel spake.Why hast thou, Satan, broke the bounds prescribedTo thy transgressions, and disturbed the chargeOf others, who approve not to transgressBy thy example, but have power and rightTo question thy bold entrance on this place;Employed, it seems, to violate sleep, and thoseWhose dwelling God hath planted here in bliss!To whom thus Satan with contemptuous brow.Gabriel? thou hadst in Heaven the esteem of wise,And such I held thee; but this question askedPuts me in doubt.Lives there who loves his pain!Who would not, finding way, break loose from Hell,Though thither doomed!Thou wouldst thyself, no doubtAnd boldly venture to whatever placeFarthest from pain, where thou mightst hope to changeTorment with ease, and soonest recompenseDole with delight, which in this place I sought;To thee no reason, who knowest only good,But evil hast not tried: and wilt objectHis will who bounds us!Let him surer barHis iron gates, if he intends our stayIn that dark durance:Thus much what was asked.The rest is true, they found me where they say;But that implies not violence or harm.Thus he in scorn.The warlike Angel moved,Disdainfully half smiling, thus replied.O loss of one in Heaven to judge of wiseSince Satan fell, whom folly overthrew,And now returns him from his prison 'scaped,Gravely in doubt whether to hold them wiseOr not, who ask what boldness brought him hitherUnlicensed from his bounds in Hell prescribed;So wise he judges it to fly from painHowever, and to 'scape his punishment!So judge thou still, presumptuous! till the wrath,Which thou incurrest by flying, meet thy flightSevenfold, and scourge that wisdom back to Hell,Which taught thee yet no better, that no painCan equal anger infinite provoked.But wherefore thou alone? wherefore with theeCame not all hell broke loose? or thou than theyLess hardy to endure?Courageous Chief!The first in flight from pain! hadst thou allegedTo thy deserted host this cause of flight,Thou surely hadst not come sole fugitive.To which the Fiend thus answered, frowning stern.Not that I less endure, or shrink from pain,Insulting Angel! well thou knowest I stoodThy fiercest, when in battle to thy aidThe blasting vollied thunder made all speed,And seconded thy else not dreaded spear.But still thy words at random, as before,Argue thy inexperience what behovesFrom hard assays and ill successes pastA faithful leader, not to hazard allThrough ways of danger by himself untried:I, therefore, I alone first undertookTo wing the desolate abyss, and spyThis new created world, whereof in HellFame is not silent, here in hope to findBetter abode, and my afflicted PowersTo settle here on earth, or in mid air;Though for possession put to try once moreWhat thou and thy gay legions dare against;Whose easier business were to serve their LordHigh up in Heaven, with songs to hymn his throne,And practised distances to cringe, not fight,To whom the warriour Angel soon replied.To say and straight unsay, pretending firstWise to fly pain, professing next the spy,Argues no leader but a liear traced,Satan, and couldst thou faithful add?O name,O sacred name of faithfulness profaned!Faithful to whom? to thy rebellious crew?Army of Fiends, fit body to fit head.Was this your discipline and faith engaged,Your military obedience, to dissolveAllegiance to the acknowledged Power supreme?And thou, sly hypocrite, who now wouldst seemPatron of liberty, who more than thouOnce fawned, and cringed, and servily adoredHeaven's awful Monarch? wherefore, but in hopeTo dispossess him, and thyself to reign?But mark what I arreed thee now, Avant;Fly neither whence thou fledst!If from this hourWithin these hallowed limits thou appear,Back to the infernal pit I drag thee chained,And seal thee so, as henceforth not to scornThe facile gates of Hell too slightly barred.So threatened he; but Satan to no threatsGave heed, but waxing more in rage replied.Then when I am thy captive talk of chains,Proud limitary Cherub! but ere thenFar heavier load thyself expect to feelFrom my prevailing arm, though Heaven's KingRide on thy wings, and thou with thy compeers,Us'd to the yoke, drawest his triumphant wheelsIn progress through the road of Heaven star-paved.While thus he spake, the angelick squadron brightTurned fiery red, sharpening in mooned hornsTheir phalanx, and began to hem him roundWith ported spears, as thick as when a fieldOf Ceres ripe for harvest waving bendsHer bearded grove of ears, which way the windSways them; the careful plowman doubting stands,Left on the threshing floor his hopeless sheavesProve chaff.On the other side, Satan, alarmed,Collecting all his might, dilated stood,Like Teneriff or Atlas, unremoved:His stature reached the sky, and on his crestSat Horrour plumed; nor wanted in his graspWhat seemed both spear and shield:Now dreadful deedsMight have ensued, nor only ParadiseIn this commotion, but the starry copeOf Heaven perhaps, or all the elementsAt least had gone to wrack, disturbed and tornWith violence of this conflict, had not soonThe Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray,Hung forth in Heaven his golden scales, yet seenBetwixt Astrea and the Scorpion sign,Wherein all things created first he weighed,The pendulous round earth with balanced airIn counterpoise, now ponders all events,Battles and realms:In these he put two weights,The sequel each of parting and of fight:The latter quick up flew, and kicked the beam,Which Gabriel spying, thus bespake the Fiend.Satan, I know thy strength, and thou knowest mine;Neither our own, but given:What folly thenTo boast what arms can do? since thine no moreThan Heaven permits, nor mine, though doubled nowTo trample thee as mire:For proof look up,And read thy lot in yon celestial sign;Where thou art weighed, and shown how light, how weak,If thou resist.The Fiend looked up, and knewHis mounted scale aloft:Nor more;but fledMurmuring, and with him fled the shades of night.


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