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To-day deep thoughts resolve with me to drench
In mirth that after no repenting draws;
Let Euclid rest, and Archimedes pause,
And what the Swede intend, and what the
To measure life learn thou betimes, and know Toward solid good what leads the nearest way;
For other things mild Heaven a time ordains, And disapproves that care, though wise in show, That with superfluous burden loads the day, And, when God sends a cheerful hour, refrains.
Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
Sing, heavenly Muse, that, on the secret top
Of Öreb,1 or of Sinai, didst inspire
That shepherd who first taught the chosen seed
In the beginning how the heavens and earth
Rose out of Chaos: or, if Sion hill
Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that
Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast Abyss,
And mad'st it pregnant: what in me is dark
Illumine, what is low raise and support;
That, to the height of this great argument
I may assert Eternal Providence,
And justify the ways of God to men.
Say first-for Heaven hides nothing from thy view,
Nor the deep tract of Hell-say first what cause
Moved our grand Parents, in that happy state,
Favour'd of Heaven so highly, to fall off
From their Creator, and transgress his will
For one restraint, lords of the World besides.
Who first seduced them to that foul revolt?
Th' infernal serpent; he it was whose guile,
Stirred up with envy and revenge, deceived
The mother of mankind, what time his pride
Had cast him out from Heaven, with all his host
Of rebel Angels, by whose aid, aspiring
1Oreb: Sinai. At Oreb (Horeb) God spoke to Moses out of the burning bush; from Mt. Sinai Moses received the Law. Erod. iii. 1, and xxiv., 12-18.
The pool or brook of Siloah near the temple at Jerusalem.
A dungeon horrible, on all sides round,
As one great furnace flamed; yet from those flames
No light; but rather darkness visible
Served only to discover sights of woe,
Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where
And rest can never dwell, hope never comes
That comes to all, but torture without end
Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed
With ever-burning sulphur unconsumed.
Such place Eternal Justice had prepared
For those rebellious; here their prison ordained
In utter darkness, and their portion set,
As far removed from God and light of Heaven, As from the centre thrice to the utmost pole." O how unlike the place from whence they fell! 75 There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelmed With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous
He soon discerns; and, weltering by his side
One next himself in power, and next in crime,
Long after known in Palestine, and named
Beelzebub. To whom the Arch-Enemy,
And thence in Heaven called Satan, with bold words
Breaking the horrid silence, thus began:—
"If thou beest he-but Oh how fallen! how changed
From him!-who, in the happy realms of light, Cloth'd with transcendent brightness, didst outshine
4 Bore witness to.
According to the old astronomy, the earth was the center of the physical universe. Milton declares that the distance from hell to heaven is thrice the distance from the earth to the outer limit of the physical universe, or the utmost pole."
6 The name Satan means in Hebrew an enemy, or adversary.
Myriads, though bright-If he whom mutual league,
United thoughts and counsels, equal hope
And hazard in the glorious enterprise,
Joined with me once, now misery hath joined 90
In equal ruin; into what pit thou seest
From what height fallen; so much the stronger proved
He with his thunder: and till then who knew
The force of those dire arms? Yet not for those,
Nor what the potent Victor in his rage
Can else inflict, do I repent, or change,
Though changed in outward lustre, that fixed
And high disdain from sense of injured merit,
That with the Mightiest raised me to contend,
And to the fierce contention brought along 100
Innumerable force of Spirits armed,
That durst dislike his reign, and, me preferring,
His utmost power with adverse power opposed
In dubious battle on the plains of Heaven,
And shook his throne. What though the field
All is not lost the unconquerable will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield:
And what is else not to be overcome?
That glory never shall his wrath or might
Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace
With suppliant knee, and deify his power
Who, from the terror of his arm, so late
Doubted his empire-that were low indeed;
That were an ignominy and shame beneath 115
This downfall; since, by fate, the strength of
And this empyreal substance, cannot fail;
Since, through experience of this great event,
In arms not worse, in foresight much advanced,
We may with more successful hope resolve
To wage by force or guile eternal war,
Irreconcilable to our grand Foe,
Who now triumphs, and in the excess of joy
Sole reigning holds the tyranny of Heaven."
So spake the apostate Angel, though in pain,125
Vaunting aloud, but racked with deep despair;
And him thus answered soon his bold com-
"O Prince, O chief of many-throned Powers, That led the embattled Seraphim to war Under thy conduct, and, in dreadful deeds Fearless, endangered Heaven's perpetual King, And put to proof his high supremacy, Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate! Too well I see and rue the dire event That, with sad overthrow, and foul defeat, Hath lost us Heaven, and all this mighty host In horrible destruction laid thus low, As far as Gods and Heavenly Essences Can perish: for the mind and spirit remain Invincible, and vigour soon returns, Though all our glory extinct, and happy state Here swallowed up in endless misery. But what if He our Conqueror (whom I now Of force believe Almighty, since no less Than such could have o'erpower'd such force as
"Fallen Cherub! to be weak is miserable, Doing or suffering: but of this be sure— To do aught good, never will be our task, But ever to do ill our sole delight, As being the contrary to His high will Whom we resist. If then his providence Out of our evil seek to bring forth good, Our labour must be to pervert that end, And out of good still to find means of evil; 165 Which oft-times may succeed, so as perhaps Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb His inmost counsels from their destined aim. But see! the angry Victor hath recalled His ministers of vengeance and pursuit Back to the gates of Heaven; the sulphurous
Leviathan, which God of all his works
Created hugest that swim the ocean stream.
Him, haply slumbering on the Norway foam,
The pilot of some small night-foundered skiff,
Deeming some island, oft, as seamen tell,
With fixed anchor in his scaly rind,
Moors by his side under the lee, while night
Invests the sea, and wished morn delays.
So stretched out huge in length the Arch-Fiend
Chained on the burning lake; nor ever thence
Had risen, or heaved his head, but that the will
And high permission of all-ruling Heaven
Left him at large to his own dark designs,
That with reiterated crimes he might
Heap on himself damnation, while he sought 215
Evil to others, and enraged might see
How all his malice served but to bring forth
Infinite goodness, grace, and mercy, shown
On Man by him seduced, but on himself
Treble confusion, wrath, and vengeance poured.
Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool
His mighty stature; on each hand the flames,
Driv'n backward, slope their pointing spires,
In billows, leave i' the midst a horrid vale.
Then with expanded wings he steers his flight
Aloft, incumbent on the dusky air,
That felt unusual weight; till on dry land
He lights-if it were land that ever burned
With solid, as the lake with liquid fire,
And such appeared in hue: as when the force
Of subterranean wind transports a hill
Torn from Pelorus, 10 or the shattered side
Of thundering Etna, whose combustible
And fuelled entrails, thence conceiving fire, 234
Sublimed" with mineral fury, aid the winds,
And leave a singèd bottom all involved
With stench and smoke. Such resting found the sole
Of unblest feet. Him follow'd his next mate; Both glorying to have scaped the Stygian flood As gods, and by their own recovered strength, Not by the sufferance of supernal power.
"Is this the region, this the soil, the clime," Said then the lost Archangel, "this the seat That we must change for Heaven?-this mournful gloom
For that celestial light? Be it so, since he
Who now is sovran can dispose and bid
What shall be right: farthest from Him is best,
Whom reason hath equalled, force hath made
Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at least
We shall be free: the Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
Here we may reign secure; and, in my choice,
To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.
But wherefore let we then our faithful friends,
The associates and co-partners of our loss,
Lie thus astonished on the oblivious pool,"
And call them not to share with us their part
In this unhappy mansion, or once more
With rallied arms to try what may be yet
Regained in Heaven, or what more lost in Hell?"
So Satan spake; and him Beëlzebub 271
Thus answered:-"Leader of those armies
Which, but the Omnipotent, none could have foiled!
If once they hear that voice, their liveliest pledge
Of hope in fears and dangers—heard so oft 275
In worst extremes, and on the perilous edge
Of battle, when it raged, in all assaults
Their surest signal-they will soon resume
New courage and revive, though now they lie
Grovelling and prostrate on yon lake of fire, 280
As we erewhile, astounded and amazed
No wonder, fallen such a pernicious height!"
He scarce had ceased, when the superior Fiend Was moving toward the shore; his ponderous shield,
Ethereal temper, massy, large, and round,
Behind him cast. The broad circumference
Hung on his shoulders like the moon, whose orb
Through optic glass the Tuscan artist12 views
At evening, from the top of Fesolè,13
Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands,
Rivers, or mountains, in her spotty globe.
His spear to equal which the tallest pine
Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mast
Of some great ammiral' were but a wand-
He walked with, to support uneasy steps
Over the burning marle, not like those steps
On Heaven's azure; and the torrid clime
Smote on him sore besides, vaulted with fire.
Nathless he so endured, till on the beach
Of that inflamed sea he stood, and called
His legions-Angel Forms, who lay entranced,
Thick as autumnal leaves, that strow the brooks
In Vallombrosa, 15 where the Etrurian shades,
High over-arched embower; or scattered sedge
Afloat, when with fierce winds Orion armed 305
Hath vexed the Red-Sea coast, whose waves
Busiris 16 and his Memphian chivalry, While with perfidious hatred they pursued The sojourners of Goshen, who beheld From the safe shore their floating carcasses
And broken chariot-wheels. So thick bestrown,
Abject and lost, lay these, covering the flood,
Under amazement of their hideous change.
He called so loud that all the hollow deep
Of Hell resounded:-"Princes, Potentates, 315
Warriors, the Flower of Heaven-once yours;
If such astonishment as this can seize
Eternal Spirits! Or have ye chosen this place
After the toil of battle to repose
Your wearied virtue, for the ease you find
To slumber here, as in the vales of heaven?
Or in this abject posture have ye sworn
To adore the Conqueror, who now beholds
Cherub and Seraph rolling in the flood
With scattered arms and ensigns, till anon
His swift pursuers from Heaven-gates discern
The advantage, and descending, tread us down
Thus drooping, or with linked thunderbolts
Transfix us to the bottom of this gulf?—
Awake, arise, or be for ever fallen!"
They heard, and were abashed, and up they sprung
Upon the wing, as when men wont to watch,
On duty sleeping found by whom they dread,
Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake.
Nor did they not perceive the evil plight
In which they were, or the fierce pains not feel;
Yet to their General's voice they soon obeyed
Innumerable. As when the potent rod
Of Amram's son," in Egypt's evil day,
Waved round the coast, up-called a pitchy cloud
Of locusts, warping on the eastern wind,
That o'er the realm of impious Pharaoh hung
Like Night, and darkened all the land of Nile;
So numberless were those bad Angels seen
Hovering on wing under the cope of Hell,
"Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding fires;
Till, as a signal given, th' uplifted spear
Of their great Sultan waving to direct
Their course, in even balance down they light
On the firm brimstone, and fill all the plain: 350
A multitude like which the populous North
Poured never from her frozen loins, to pass
Rhene's or the Danaw,19 when her barbarous
God their Creator, and the invisible
Glory of Him that made them to transform 370
Oft to the image of a brute, adorned
With gay religions full of pomp and gold,
And devils to adore for deities:
Then were they known to men by various names, And various idols through the heathen world. Say, Muse, their names then known, who first, who last,
Roused from the slumber on that fiery couch,
At their great Emperor's call, as next in worth,
Came singly where he stood on the bare strand,
While the promiscuous crowd stood yet aloof.
The chief were those who, from the pit of
Roaming to seek their prey on Earth, durst fix
Their seats, long after, next the seat of God,
Their altars by His altar, gods adored
Among the nations round, and durst abide 385
Jehovah thundering out of Sion, throned
Between the Cherubim; yea, often placed
Within His sanctuary itself their shrines,
Abominations; and with cursed things
His holy rites and solemn feasts profaned,
And with their darkness durst affront his light.
First, Moloch, horrid king, besmeared with
Of human sacrifice, and parents' tears; Though, for the noise of drums and timbrels loud,
Their children's cries unheard that passed through fire
To his grim idol. Him the Ammonite
Worshipp'd in Rabba20 and her watery plain,
In Argob and in Basan, to the stream
Of utmost Arnon. Nor content with such
Audacious neighbourhood, the wisest heart 400
Of Solomon he led by fraud to build
His temple right against the temple of God
On that opprobrious hill,21 and made his grove
The pleasant valley of Hinnom,22 Tophet
And black Gehenna called, the type of Hell. Next, Chemos, 23 the obscene dread of Moab's
sons, From Aroar to Nebo, and the wild Of southmost Abarim: in Hesebon And Horonaim, Seon's realm, beyond The flowery dale of Sibma clad with vines, And Eleale to the Asphaltic24 pool: Peor his other name, when he enticed Israel in Sittim, 25 on their march from Nile, To do him wanton rites, which cost them woe. Yet thence his lustful orgies he enlarged Even to that hill of scandal, by the grove Of Moloch homicide, lust hard by hate;
20 "City of Waters," capital of the land of the Ammorites.
The Mount of Olives. I Kings, xi. 7.
#Hinnom (Tophet, or Gehenna) a beautiful valley near Jerusalem, which, after it had been defiled by the sacrificial worship of Moloch, was converted into a repulsive place where the refuse of the city was cast and burnt.
23 The chief god, or Baal of the Moabites, and worshipped as Moloch by the Ammonites. He is spoken of as Baal Peor (Numb. xxv. 3) i. e. the Baal who was wor shipped at Mt. Peor, in Moab.
The Dead Sea.
* A valley in the land of Moab. Numb. xxv,
Till good Josiah 26 drove them thence to Hell. With these came they, who, from the bordering flood
Of old Euphrates to the brook that parts
Egypt from Syrian ground, had general names
Of Baalim and Ashtoroth-those male,
These feminine: For Spirits, when they please,
Can either sex assume, or both; so soft
And uncompounded is their essence pure,
Not tied or manacled with joint or limb,
Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones,
Like cumbrous flesh; but, in what shape they
Dilated or condensed, bright or obscure,
Can execute their aery purposes,
And works of love or enmity fulfil.
For those the race of Israel oft forsook
Their Living Strength, and unfrequented left
His righteous altar, bowing lowly down
To bestial gods; for which their heads as low 435
Bowed down in battle, sunk before the spear
Of despicable foes. With these in troop,
Came Astoreth, whom the Phoenicians called
Astarte, queen of heaven, with crescent horns;
To whose bright image nightly by the moon 440
Sidonian virgins paid their vows and songs:
In Sion also not unsung, where stood
Her temple on the offensive mountain, built
By that uxorious king whose heart, though
Beguiled by fair idolatresses, fell
To idols foul. Thammuz28 came next behind,
Whose annual wound in Lebanon allured
The Syrian damsels to lament his fate
In amorous ditties all a summer's day,
While smooth Adonis from his native rock
Ran purple to the sea, supposed with blood
Of Thammuz yearly wounded: the love-tale
Infected Sion's daughters with like heat,
Whose wanton passions in the sacred porch
Ezekiel saw, when, by the vision led,
His eye survey'd the dark idolatries'
Of alienated Judah. Next came one
Who mourned in earnest, when the captive ark
Maim'd his brute image, head and hands lopt
"A Syrian god (v. II Kings, v).
In his own temple, on the grunsel edge, 29
Where he fell flat, and shamed his worshippers:
Dagon his name, sea-monster, upward man
And downward fish; yet had his temple high
Reared in Azotus, dreaded through the coast
Of Palestine, in Gath and Ascalon,
And Accaron, and Gaza's frontier bounds.
Him follow'd Rimmon,31 whose delightful seat
Josiah. II Kings, xxiii. 10.
"Baalim-Ashtoroth, the Hebrew plurals of Baal (the sun god) and Astoroth (the moon-goddess). Milton means that with the gods before named, came other gods of the sun and moon, worshipped under various names from the Euphrates on the East to the brook Sihor. (Joshua,
xv. 4) that divided Egypt from Syria.
The Oriental original of the Greek Adonis. Thammuz (or Tammuz) was killed by a wild boar, and every year, when the stream Adonis (which flows from Lebanon, the scene of his death) was colored by the red washings of its upper banks, the waters were supposed to be tinged with his blood.
30 The god of the Philistines.
Was fair Damascus, on the fertile banks
Of Abbana and Pharphar, lucid streams.
He also against the house of God was bold: 470
A leper once he lost, and gained a king—
Ahaz, his sottish conqueror, whom he drew
God's altar to disparage and displace
For one of Syrian mode, whereon to burn
His odious offerings, and adore the gods
Whom he had vanquished. After these, ap-
A crew who, under names of old renown-
Osiris, Isis, Orus, and their train—
With monstrous shapes and sorceries, abused
Fanatic Egypt and her priests to seek
Their wandering gods disguised in brutish
Rather than human. Nor did Israel scape
The infection, when their borrowed gold com-
The calf in Oreb; and the rebel king32
Doubled that sin in Bethel and in Dan,
Likening his Maker to the grazèd ox—
Jehovah, who in one night, when he passed
From Egypt marching, equall'd with one
Both her first-born and all her bleating gods. Belial33 came last; than whom a Spirit more lewd
Fell not from Heaven, or more gross to love
Vice for itself. To him no temple stood,
Or altar smoked; yet who more oft than he
In temples and at altars, when the priest
Turns atheist, as Eli's sons,
With lust and violence the house of God?
In courts and palaces he also reigns,
And in luxurious cities, where the noise
Of riot ascends above their loftiest towers,
And injury and outrage; and when night
Darkens the streets, then wander forth the