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    Chapter 1

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    Chapter 1
    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 Oreb, 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 flowed
    Fast by the oracle of God, I thence
    Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song,
    That with no middle flight intends to soar
    Above th' Aonian mount, while it pursues
    Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.
    And chiefly thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer
    Before all temples th' upright heart and pure,
    Instruct me, for thou know'st; thou from the first
    Wast present, and, with mighty wings outspread,
    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,
    Favoured 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
    To set himself in glory above his peers,
    He trusted to have equalled the Most High,
    If he opposed, and with ambitious aim
    Against the throne and monarchy of God,
    Raised impious war in Heaven and battle proud,
    With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power
    Hurled headlong flaming from th' ethereal sky,
    With hideous ruin and combustion, down
    To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
    In adamantine chains and penal fire,
    Who durst defy th' Omnipotent to arms.
    Nine times the space that measures day and night
    To mortal men, he, with his horrid crew,
    Lay vanquished, rolling in the fiery gulf,
    Confounded, though immortal. But his doom
    Reserved him to more wrath; for now the thought
    Both of lost happiness and lasting pain
    Torments him: round he throws his baleful eyes,
    That witnessed huge affliction and dismay,
    Mixed with obdurate pride and steadfast hate.
    At once, as far as Angels ken, he views
    The dismal situation waste and wild.
    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 peace
    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 has 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 th' utmost pole.
    Oh how unlike the place from whence they fell!
    There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelmed
    With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire,
    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 th' Arch-Enemy,
    And thence in Heaven called Satan, with bold words
    Breaking the horrid silence, thus began:--
    "If thou beest he--but O how fallen! how changed
    From him who, in the happy realms of light
    Clothed with transcendent brightness, didst outshine
    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
    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 mind,
    And high disdain from sense of injured merit,
    That with the Mightiest raised me to contend,
    And to the fierce contentions brought along
    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 be lost?
    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 this arm, so late
    Doubted his empire--that were low indeed;
    That were an ignominy and shame beneath
    This downfall; since, by fate, the strength of Gods,
    And this empyreal sybstance, 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 th' excess of joy
    Sole reigning holds the tyranny of Heaven."
    So spake th' apostate Angel, though in pain,
    Vaunting aloud, but racked with deep despair;
    And him thus answered soon his bold compeer:--
    "O Prince, O Chief of many throned Powers
    That led th' 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 remains
    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'erpowered such force as ours)
    Have left us this our spirit and strength entire,
    Strongly to suffer and support our pains,
    That we may so suffice his vengeful ire,
    Or do him mightier service as his thralls
    By right of war, whate'er his business be,
    Here in the heart of Hell to work in fire,
    Or do his errands in the gloomy Deep?
    What can it the avail though yet we feel
    Strength undiminished, or eternal being
    To undergo eternal punishment?"
    Whereto with speedy words th' Arch-Fiend replied:--
    "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;
    Which ofttimes 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 hail,
    Shot after us in storm, o'erblown hath laid
    The fiery surge that from the precipice
    Of Heaven received us falling; and the thunder,
    Winged with red lightning and impetuous rage,
    Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now
    To bellow through the vast and boundless Deep.
    Let us not slip th' occasion, whether scorn
    Or satiate fury yield it from our Foe.
    Seest thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild,
    The seat of desolation, void of light,
    Save what the glimmering of these livid flames
    Casts pale and dreadful? Thither let us tend
    From off the tossing of these fiery waves;
    There rest, if any rest can harbour there;
    And, re-assembling our afflicted powers,
    Consult how we may henceforth most offend
    Our enemy, our own loss how repair,
    How overcome this dire calamity,
    What reinforcement we may gain from hope,
    If not, what resolution from despair."
    Thus Satan, talking to his nearest mate,
    With head uplift above the wave, and eyes
    That sparkling blazed; his other parts besides
    Prone on the flood, extended long and large,
    Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge
    As whom the fables name of monstrous size,
    Titanian or Earth-born, that warred on Jove,
    Briareos or Typhon, whom the den
    By ancient Tarsus held, or that sea-beast
    Leviathan, which God of all his works
    Created hugest that swim th' 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 lay,
    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
    Evil to others, and enraged might see
    How all his malice served but to bring forth
    Infinite goodness, grace, and mercy, shewn
    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
    Driven backward slope their pointing spires, and,rolled
    In billows, leave i' th' 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 transprots a hill
    Torn from Pelorus, or the shattered side
    Of thundering Etna, whose combustible
    And fuelled entrails, thence conceiving fire,
    Sublimed with mineral fury, aid the winds,
    And leave a singed bottom all involved
    With stench and smoke. Such resting found the sole
    Of unblest feet. Him followed 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 sovereign can dispose and bid
    What shall be right: farthest from him is best
    Whom reason hath equalled, force hath made supreme
    Above his equals. Farewell, happy fields,
    Where joy for ever dwells! Hail, horrors! hail,
    Infernal world! and thou, profoundest Hell,
    Receive thy new possessor--one who brings
    A mind not to be changed by place or time.
    The mind is its own place, and in itself
    Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.
    What matter where, if I be still the same,
    And what I should be, all but less than he
    Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at least
    We shall be free; th' Almighty hath not built
    Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
    Here we may reigh 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,
    Th' associates and co-partners of our loss,
    Lie thus astonished on th' 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 Beelzebub
    Thus answered:--"Leader of those armies bright
    Which, but th' Omnipotent, none could have foiled!
    If once they hear that voice, their liveliest pledge
    Of hope in fears and dangers--heard so oft
    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,
    As we erewhile, astounded and amazed;
    No wonder, fallen such a pernicious height!"
    He scare 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 artist views
    At evening, from the top of Fesole,
    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 marl, 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, where th' Etrurian shades
    High over-arched embower; or scattered sedge
    Afloat, when with fierce winds Orion armed
    Hath vexed the Red-Sea coast, whose waves o'erthrew
    Busiris and his Memphian chivalry,
    While with perfidious hatred they pursued
    The sojourners of Goshen, who beheld
    From the safe shore their floating carcases
    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,
    Warriors, the Flower of Heaven--once yours; now lost,
    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
    Th' 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:
    A multitude like which the populous North
    Poured never from her frozen loins to pass
    Rhene or the Danaw, when her barbarous sons
    Came like a deluge on the South, and spread
    Beneath Gibraltar to the Libyan sands.
    Forthwith, form every squadron and each band,
    The heads and leaders thither haste where stood
    Their great Commander--godlike Shapes, and Forms
    Excelling human; princely Dignities;
    And Powers that erst in Heaven sat on thrones,
    Though on their names in Heavenly records now
    Be no memorial, blotted out and rased
    By their rebellion from the Books of Life.
    Nor had they yet among the sons of Eve
    Got them new names, till, wandering o'er the earth,
    Through God's high sufferance for the trial of man,
    By falsities and lies the greatest part
    Of mankind they corrupted to forsake
    God their Creator, and th' invisible
    Glory of him that made them to transform
    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 Hell
    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
    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 blood
    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
    Worshiped in Rabba and her watery plain,
    In Argob and in Basan, to the stream
    Of utmost Arnon. Nor content with such
    Audacious neighbourhood, the wisest heart
    Of Solomon he led by fraoud to build
    His temple right against the temple of God
    On that opprobrious hill, and made his grove
    The pleasant valley of Hinnom, Tophet thence
    And black Gehenna called, the type of Hell.
    Next Chemos, th' obscene dread of Moab's sons,
    From Aroar to Nebo and the wild
    Of southmost Abarim; in Hesebon
    And Horonaim, Seon's real, beyond
    The flowery dale of Sibma clad with vines,
    And Eleale to th' Asphaltic Pool:
    Peor his other name, when he enticed
    Israel in Sittim, 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,
    Till good Josiah 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 Ashtaroth--those male,
    These feminine. For Spirits, when they please,
    Can either sex assume, or both; so soft
    And uncompounded is their essence pure,
    Not tried or manacled with joint or limb,
    Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones,
    Like cumbrous flesh; but, in what shape they choose,
    Dilated or condensed, bright or obscure,
    Can execute their airy 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
    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 nigntly by the moon
    Sidonian virgins paid their vows and songs;
    In Sion also not unsung, where stood
    Her temple on th' offensive mountain, built
    By that uxorious king whose heart, though large,
    Beguiled by fair idolatresses, fell
    To idols foul. Thammuz 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 proch
    Ezekiel saw, when, by the vision led,
    His eye surveyed the dark idolatries
    Of alienated Judah. Next came one
    Who mourned in earnest, when the captive ark
    Maimed his brute image, head and hands lopt off,
    In his own temple, on the grunsel-edge,
    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 followed Rimmon, whose delightful seat
    Was fair Damascus, on the fertile banks
    Of Abbana and Pharphar, lucid streams.
    He also against the house of God was bold:
    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 appeared
    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 forms
    Rather than human. Nor did Israel scape
    Th' infection, when their borrowed gold composed
    The calf in Oreb; and the rebel king
    Doubled that sin in Bethel and in Dan,
    Likening his Maker to the grazed ox--
    Jehovah, who, in one night, when he passed
    From Egypt marching, equalled with one stroke
    Both her first-born and all her bleating gods.
    Belial 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 did Eli's sons, who filled
    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 sons
    Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine.
    Witness the streets of Sodom, and that night
    In Gibeah, when the hospitable door
    Exposed a matron, to avoid worse rape.
    These were the prime in order and in might:
    The rest were long to tell; though far renowned
    Th' Ionian gods--of Javan's issue held
    Gods, yet confessed later than Heaven and Earth,
    Their boasted parents;--Titan, Heaven's first-born,
    With his enormous brood, and birthright seized
    By younger Saturn: he from mightier Jove,
    His own and Rhea's son, like measure found;
    So Jove usurping reigned. These, first in Crete
    And Ida known, thence on the snowy top
    Of cold Olympus ruled the middle air,
    Their highest heaven; or on the Delphian cliff,
    Or in Dodona, and through all the bounds
    Of Doric land; or who with Saturn old
    Fled over Adria to th' Hesperian fields,
    And o'er the Celtic roamed the utmost Isles.
    All these and more came flocking; but with looks
    Downcast and damp; yet such wherein appeared
    Obscure some glimpse of joy to have found their Chief
    Not in despair, to have found themselves not lost
    In loss itself; which on his countenance cast
    Like doubtful hue. But he, his wonted pride
    Soon recollecting, with high words, that bore
    Semblance of worth, not substance, gently raised
    Their fainting courage, and dispelled their fears.
    Then straight commands that, at the warlike sound
    Of trumpets loud and clarions, be upreared
    His mighty standard. That proud honour claimed
    Azazel as his right, a Cherub tall:
    Who forthwith from the glittering staff unfurled
    Th' imperial ensign; which, full high advanced,
    Shone like a meteor streaming to the wind,
    With gems and golden lustre rich emblazed,
    Seraphic arms and trophies; all the while
    Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds:
    At which the universal host up-sent
    A shout that tore Hell's concave, and beyond
    Frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night.
    All in a moment through the gloom were seen
    Ten thousand banners rise into the air,
    With orient colours waving: with them rose
    A forest huge of spears; and thronging helms
    Appeared, and serried shields in thick array
    Of depth immeasurable. Anon they move
    In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood
    Of flutes and soft recorders--such as raised
    To height of noblest temper heroes old
    Arming to battle, and instead of rage
    Deliberate valour breathed, firm, and unmoved
    With dread of death to flight or foul retreat;
    Nor wanting power to mitigate and swage
    With solemn touches troubled thoughts, and chase
    Anguish and doubt and fear and sorrow and pain
    From mortal or immortal minds. Thus they,
    Breathing united force with fixed thought,
    Moved on in silence to soft pipes that charmed
    Their painful steps o'er the burnt soil. And now
    Advanced in view they stand--a horrid front
    Of dreadful length and dazzling arms, in guise
    Of warriors old, with ordered spear and shield,
    Awaiting what command their mighty Chief
    Had to impose. He through the armed files
    Darts his experienced eye, and soon traverse
    The whole battalion views--their order due,
    Their visages and stature as of gods;
    Their number last he sums. And now his heart
    Distends with pride, and, hardening in his strength,
    Glories: for never, since created Man,
    Met such embodied force as, named with these,
    Could merit more than that small infantry
    Warred on by cranes--though all the giant brood
    Of Phlegra with th' heroic race were joined
    That fought at Thebes and Ilium, on each side
    Mixed with auxiliar gods; and what resounds
    In fable or romance of Uther's son,
    Begirt with British and Armoric knights;
    And all who since, baptized or infidel,
    Jousted in Aspramont, or Montalban,
    Damasco, or Marocco, or Trebisond,
    Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore
    When Charlemain with all his peerage fell
    By Fontarabbia. Thus far these beyond
    Compare of mortal prowess, yet observed
    Their dread Commander. He, above the rest
    In shape and gesture proudly eminent,
    Stood like a tower. His form had yet not lost
    All her original brightness, nor appeared
    Less than Archangel ruined, and th' excess
    Of glory obscured: as when the sun new-risen
    Looks through the horizontal misty air
    Shorn of his beams, or, from behind the moon,
    In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds
    On half the nations, and with fear of change
    Perplexes monarchs. Darkened so, yet shone
    Above them all th' Archangel: but his face
    Deep scars of thunder had intrenched, and care
    Sat on his faded cheek, but under brows
    Of dauntless courage, and considerate pride
    Waiting revenge. Cruel his eye, but cast
    Signs of remorse and passion, to behold
    The fellows of his crime, the followers rather
    (Far other once beheld in bliss), condemned
    For ever now to have their lot in pain--
    Millions of Spirits for his fault amerced
    Of Heaven, and from eteranl splendours flung
    For his revolt--yet faithful how they stood,
    Their glory withered; as, when heaven's fire
    Hath scathed the forest oaks or mountain pines,
    With singed top their stately growth, though bare,
    Stands on the blasted heath. He now prepared
    To speak; whereat their doubled ranks they bend
    From wing to wing, and half enclose him round
    With all his peers: attention held them mute.
    Thrice he assayed, and thrice, in spite of scorn,
    Tears, such as Angels weep, burst forth: at last
    Words interwove with sighs found out their way:--
    "O myriads of immortal Spirits! O Powers
    Matchless, but with th' Almighth!--and that strife
    Was not inglorious, though th' event was dire,
    As this place testifies, and this dire change,
    Hateful to utter. But what power of mind,
    Forseeing or presaging, from the depth
    Of knowledge past or present, could have feared
    How such united force of gods, how such
    As stood like these, could ever know repulse?
    For who can yet believe, though after loss,
    That all these puissant legions, whose exile
    Hath emptied Heaven, shall fail to re-ascend,
    Self-raised, and repossess their native seat?
    For me, be witness all the host of Heaven,
    If counsels different, or danger shunned
    By me, have lost our hopes. But he who reigns
    Monarch in Heaven till then as one secure
    Sat on his throne, upheld by old repute,
    Consent or custom, and his regal state
    Put forth at full, but still his strength concealed--
    Which tempted our attempt, and wrought our fall.
    Henceforth his might we know, and know our own,
    So as not either to provoke, or dread
    New war provoked: our better part remains
    To work in close design, by fraud or guile,
    What force effected not; that he no less
    At length from us may find, who overcomes
    By force hath overcome but half his foe.
    Space may produce new Worlds; whereof so rife
    There went a fame in Heaven that he ere long
    Intended to create, and therein plant
    A generation whom his choice regard
    Should favour equal to the Sons of Heaven.
    Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhaps
    Our first eruption--thither, or elsewhere;
    For this infernal pit shall never hold
    Celestial Spirits in bondage, nor th' Abyss
    Long under darkness cover. But these thoughts
    Full counsel must mature. Peace is despaired;
    For who can think submission? War, then, war
    Open or understood, must be resolved."
    He spake; and, to confirm his words, outflew
    Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs
    Of mighty Cherubim; the sudden blaze
    Far round illumined Hell. Highly they raged
    Against the Highest, and fierce with grasped arms
    Clashed on their sounding shields the din of war,
    Hurling defiance toward the vault of Heaven.
    There stood a hill not far, whose grisly top
    Belched fire and rolling smoke; the rest entire
    Shone with a glossy scurf--undoubted sign
    That in his womb was hid metallic ore,
    The work of sulphur. Thither, winged with speed,
    A numerous brigade hastened: as when bands
    Of pioneers, with spade and pickaxe armed,
    Forerun the royal camp, to trench a field,
    Or cast a rampart. Mammon led them on--
    Mammon, the least erected Spirit that fell
    From Heaven; for even in Heaven his looks and thoughts
    Were always downward bent, admiring more
    The riches of heaven's pavement, trodden gold,
    Than aught divine or holy else enjoyed
    In vision beatific. By him first
    Men also, and by his suggestion taught,
    Ransacked the centre, and with impious hands
    Rifled the bowels of their mother Earth
    For treasures better hid. Soon had his crew
    Opened into the hill a spacious wound,
    And digged out ribs of gold. Let none admire
    That riches grow in Hell; that soil may best
    Deserve the precious bane. And here let those
    Who boast in mortal things, and wondering tell
    Of Babel, and the works of Memphian kings,
    Learn how their greatest monuments of fame
    And strength, and art, are easily outdone
    By Spirits reprobate, and in an hour
    What in an age they, with incessant toil
    And hands innumerable, scarce perform.
    Nigh on the plain, in many cells prepared,
    That underneath had veins of liquid fire
    Sluiced from the lake, a second multitude
    With wondrous art founded the massy ore,
    Severing each kind, and scummed the bullion-dross.
    A third as soon had formed within the ground
    A various mould, and from the boiling cells
    By strange conveyance filled each hollow nook;
    As in an organ, from one blast of wind,
    To many a row of pipes the sound-board breathes.
    Anon out of the earth a fabric huge
    Rose like an exhalation, with the sound
    Of dulcet symphonies and voices sweet--
    Built like a temple, where pilasters round
    Were set, and Doric pillars overlaid
    With golden architrave; nor did there want
    Cornice or frieze, with bossy sculptures graven;
    The roof was fretted gold. Not Babylon
    Nor great Alcairo such magnificence
    Equalled in all their glories, to enshrine
    Belus or Serapis their gods, or seat
    Their kings, when Egypt with Assyria strove
    In wealth and luxury. Th' ascending pile
    Stood fixed her stately height, and straight the doors,
    Opening their brazen folds, discover, wide
    Within, her ample spaces o'er the smooth
    And level pavement: from the arched roof,
    Pendent by subtle magic, many a row
    Of starry lamps and blazing cressets, fed
    With naptha and asphaltus, yielded light
    As from a sky. The hasty multitude
    Admiring entered; and the work some praise,
    And some the architect. His hand was known
    In Heaven by many a towered structure high,
    Where sceptred Angels held their residence,
    And sat as Princes, whom the supreme King
    Exalted to such power, and gave to rule,
    Each in his Hierarchy, the Orders bright.
    Nor was his name unheard or unadored
    In ancient Greece; and in Ausonian land
    Men called him Mulciber; and how he fell
    From Heaven they fabled, thrown by angry Jove
    Sheer o'er the crystal battlements: from morn
    To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve,
    A summer's day, and with the setting sun
    Dropt from the zenith, like a falling star,
    On Lemnos, th' Aegaean isle. Thus they relate,
    Erring; for he with this rebellious rout
    Fell long before; nor aught aviled him now
    To have built in Heaven high towers; nor did he scape
    By all his engines, but was headlong sent,
    With his industrious crew, to build in Hell.
    Meanwhile the winged Heralds, by command
    Of sovereign power, with awful ceremony
    And trumpet's sound, throughout the host proclaim
    A solemn council forthwith to be held
    At Pandemonium, the high capital
    Of Satan and his peers. Their summons called
    From every band and squared regiment
    By place or choice the worthiest: they anon
    With hundreds and with thousands trooping came
    Attended. All access was thronged; the gates
    And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall
    (Though like a covered field, where champions bold
    Wont ride in armed, and at the Soldan's chair
    Defied the best of Paynim chivalry
    To mortal combat, or career with lance),
    Thick swarmed, both on the ground and in the air,
    Brushed with the hiss of rustling wings. As bees
    In spring-time, when the Sun with Taurus rides.
    Pour forth their populous youth about the hive
    In clusters; they among fresh dews and flowers
    Fly to and fro, or on the smoothed plank,
    The suburb of their straw-built citadel,
    New rubbed with balm, expatiate, and confer
    Their state-affairs: so thick the airy crowd
    Swarmed and were straitened; till, the signal given,
    Behold a wonder! They but now who seemed
    In bigness to surpass Earth's giant sons,
    Now less than smallest dwarfs, in narrow room
    Throng numberless--like that pygmean race
    Beyond the Indian mount; or faery elves,
    Whose midnight revels, by a forest-side
    Or fountain, some belated peasant sees,
    Or dreams he sees, while overhead the Moon
    Sits arbitress, and nearer to the Earth
    Wheels her pale course: they, on their mirth and dance
    Intent, with jocund music charm his ear;
    At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.
    Thus incorporeal Spirits to smallest forms
    Reduced their shapes immense, and were at large,
    Though without number still, amidst the hall
    Of that infernal court. But far within,
    And in their own dimensions like themselves,
    The great Seraphic Lords and Cherubim
    In close recess and secret conclave sat,
    A thousand demi-gods on golden seats,
    Frequent and full. After short silence then,
    And summons read, the great consult began.
    Next Chapter
    Chapter 1
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