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    Chapter 4

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    Chapter 4
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    O, for that warning voice, which he, who saw
    The 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 warned
    The coming of their secret foe, and 'scaped,
    Haply so 'scaped his mortal snare: For now
    Satan, now first inflamed with rage, came down,
    The tempter ere the accuser of mankind,
    To wreak on innocent frail Man his loss
    Of that first battle, and his flight to Hell:
    Yet, not rejoicing in his speed, though bold
    Far off and fearless, nor with cause to boast,
    Begins his dire attempt; which nigh the birth
    Now rolling boils in his tumultuous breast,
    And like a devilish engine back recoils
    Upon himself; horrour and doubt distract
    His troubled thoughts, and from the bottom stir
    The Hell within him; for within him Hell
    He brings, and round about him, nor from Hell
    One step, no more than from himself, can fly
    By change of place: Now conscience wakes despair,
    That slumbered; wakes the bitter memory
    Of what he was, what is, and what must be
    Worse; of worse deeds worse sufferings must ensue.
    Sometimes towards Eden, which now in his view
    Lay 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 God
    Of this new world; at whose sight all the stars
    Hide 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 state
    I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere;
    Till pride and worse ambition threw me down
    Warring in Heaven against Heaven's matchless King:
    Ah, wherefore! he deserved no such return
    From me, whom he created what I was
    In that bright eminence, and with his good
    Upbraided 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 high
    I sdeined subjection, and thought one step higher
    Would set me highest, and in a moment quit
    The 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 mind
    By owing owes not, but still pays, at once
    Indebted and discharged; what burden then
    O, had his powerful destiny ordained
    Me some inferiour Angel, I had stood
    Then happy; no unbounded hope had raised
    Ambition! Yet why not some other Power
    As great might have aspired, and me, though mean,
    Drawn to his part; but other Powers as great
    Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within
    Or 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 will
    Chose freely what it now so justly rues.
    Me miserable! which way shall I fly
    Infinite wrath, and infinite despair?
    Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell;
    And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep
    Still threatening to devour me opens wide,
    To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heaven.
    O, then, at last relent: Is there no place
    Left for repentance, none for pardon left?
    None left but by submission; and that word
    Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame
    Among the Spirits beneath, whom I seduced
    With other promises and other vaunts
    Than to submit, boasting I could subdue
    The Omnipotent. Ay me! they little know
    How 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 supreme
    In misery: Such joy ambition finds.
    But say I could repent, and could obtain,
    By act of grace, my former state; how soon
    Would highth recall high thoughts, how soon unsay
    What feigned submission swore? Ease would recant
    Vows 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 relapse
    And heavier fall: so should I purchase dear
    Short intermission bought with double smart.
    This knows my Punisher; therefore as far
    From granting he, as I from begging, peace;
    All hope excluded thus, behold, in stead
    Mankind 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 least
    Divided 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 face
    Thrice changed with pale, ire, envy, and despair;
    Which marred his borrowed visage, and betrayed
    Him counterfeit, if any eye beheld.
    For heavenly minds from such distempers foul
    Are ever clear. Whereof he soon aware,
    Each perturbation smoothed with outward calm,
    Artificer of fraud; and was the first
    That practised falsehood under saintly show,
    Deep malice to conceal, couched with revenge:
    Yet not enough had practised to deceive
    Uriel once warned; whose eye pursued him down
    The way he went, and on the Assyrian mount
    Saw him disfigured, more than could befall
    Spirit of happy sort; his gestures fierce
    He marked and mad demeanour, then alone,
    As he supposed, all unobserved, unseen.
    So on he fares, and to the border comes
    Of Eden, where delicious Paradise,
    Now nearer, crowns with her enclosure green,
    As with a rural mound, the champaign head
    Of a steep wilderness, whose hairy sides
    Access denied; and overhead upgrew
    Insuperable 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 theatre
    Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops
    The verdurous wall of Paradise upsprung;

    Which to our general sire gave prospect large
    Into his nether empire neighbouring round.
    And higher than that wall a circling row
    Of 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 beams
    Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow,
    When God hath showered the earth; so lovely seemed
    That landskip: And of pure now purer air
    Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires
    Vernal delight and joy, able to drive
    All sadness but despair: Now gentle gales,
    Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense
    Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole
    Those balmy spoils. As when to them who fail
    Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past
    Mozambick, off at sea north-east winds blow
    Sabean odours from the spicy shore
    Of Araby the blest; with such delay
    Well pleased they slack their course, and many a league
    Cheered with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles:
    So entertained those odorous sweets the Fiend,
    Who came their bane; though with them better pleased
    Than Asmodeus with the fishy fume
    That drove him, though enamoured, from the spouse
    Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent
    From Media post to Egypt, there fast bound.
    Now to the ascent of that steep savage hill
    Satan had journeyed on, pensive and slow;
    But further way found none, so thick entwined,
    As one continued brake, the undergrowth
    Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplexed
    All path of man or beast that passed that way.
    One gate there only was, and that looked east
    On the other side: which when the arch-felon saw,
    Due entrance he disdained; and, in contempt,
    At one flight bound high over-leaped all bound
    Of hill or highest wall, and sheer within
    Lights on his feet. As when a prowling wolf,
    Whom hunger drives to seek new haunt for prey,
    Watching where shepherds pen their flocks at eve
    In hurdled cotes amid the field secure,
    Leaps o'er the fence with ease into the fold:
    Or as a thief, bent to unhoard the cash
    Of 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 life
    Thereby regained, but sat devising death
    To them who lived; nor on the virtue thought
    Of that life-giving plant, but only used
    For prospect, what well used had been the pledge
    Of immortality. So little knows
    Any, but God alone, to value right
    The good before him, but perverts best things
    To 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 Paradise
    Of God the garden was, by him in the east
    Of Eden planted; Eden stretched her line
    From Auran eastward to the royal towers
    Of great Seleucia, built by Grecian kings,
    Of where the sons of Eden long before
    Dwelt in Telassar: In this pleasant soil
    His far more pleasant garden God ordained;
    Out of the fertile ground he caused to grow
    All trees of noblest kind for sight, smell, taste;
    And all amid them stood the tree of life,
    High eminent, blooming ambrosial fruit
    Of 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 hill
    Passed underneath ingulfed; for God had thrown
    That mountain as his garden-mould high raised
    Upon the rapid current, which, through veins
    Of porous earth with kindly thirst up-drawn,
    Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill
    Watered the garden; thence united fell
    Down 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 realm
    And 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 shades
    Ran nectar, visiting each plant, and fed
    Flowers worthy of Paradise, which not nice Art
    In beds and curious knots, but Nature boon
    Poured forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain,
    Both where the morning sun first warmly smote
    The open field, and where the unpierced shade
    Imbrowned the noontide bowers: Thus was this place
    A 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 flocks
    Grazing the tender herb, were interposed,
    Or palmy hillock; or the flowery lap
    Of some irriguous valley spread her store,
    Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose:
    Another side, umbrageous grots and caves
    Of cool recess, o'er which the mantling vine
    Lays forth her purple grape, and gently creeps
    Luxuriant; mean while murmuring waters fall
    Down the slope hills, dispersed, or in a lake,
    That to the fringed bank with myrtle crowned
    Her crystal mirrour holds, unite their streams.
    The birds their quire apply; airs, vernal airs,
    Breathing the smell of field and grove, attune
    The trembling leaves, while universal Pan,
    Knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance,
    Led on the eternal Spring. Not that fair field
    Of Enna, where Proserpine gathering flowers,
    Herself a fairer flower by gloomy Dis
    Was gathered, which cost Ceres all that pain
    To seek her through the world; nor that sweet grove
    Of Daphne by Orontes, and the inspired
    Castalian spring, might with this Paradise
    Of Eden strive; nor that Nyseian isle
    Girt with the river Triton, where old Cham,
    Whom Gentiles Ammon call and Libyan Jove,
    Hid Amalthea, and her florid son
    Young Bacchus, from his stepdame Rhea's eye;
    Nor where Abassin kings their issue guard,
    Mount Amara, though this by some supposed
    True Paradise under the Ethiop line
    By Nilus' head, enclosed with shining rock,
    A whole day's journey high, but wide remote
    From this Assyrian garden, where the Fiend
    Saw, undelighted, all delight, all kind
    Of living creatures, new to sight, and strange
    Two of far nobler shape, erect and tall,
    Godlike erect, with native honour clad
    In naked majesty seemed lords of all:
    And worthy seemed; for in their looks divine
    The 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 both
    Not 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 declared
    Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks
    Round from his parted forelock manly hung
    Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad:
    She, as a veil, down to the slender waist
    Her unadorned golden tresses wore
    Dishevelled, but in wanton ringlets waved
    As the vine curls her tendrils, which implied
    Subjection, 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 shame
    Of nature's works, honour dishonourable,
    Sin-bred, how have ye troubled all mankind
    With 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 sight
    Of 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 born
    His sons, the fairest of her daughters Eve.
    Under a tuft of shade that on a green
    Stood whispering soft, by a fresh fountain side
    They sat them down; and, after no more toil
    Of their sweet gardening labour than sufficed
    To recommend cool Zephyr, and made ease
    More easy, wholesome thirst and appetite
    More grateful, to their supper-fruits they fell,
    Nectarine fruits which the compliant boughs
    Yielded them, side-long as they sat recline
    On 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 smiles
    Wanted, nor youthful dalliance, as beseems
    Fair couple, linked in happy nuptial league,
    Alone as they. About them frisking played
    All beasts of the earth, since wild, and of all chase
    In wood or wilderness, forest or den;
    Sporting the lion ramped, and in his paw
    Dandled the kid; bears, tigers, ounces, pards,
    Gambolled before them; the unwieldy elephant,
    To make them mirth, used all his might, and wreathed
    His?kithetmroboscis; close the serpent sly,
    Insinuating, wove with Gordian twine
    His braided train, and of his fatal guile
    Gave proof unheeded; others on the grass
    Couched, and now filled with pasture gazing sat,
    Or bedward ruminating; for the sun,
    Declined, was hasting now with prone career
    To the ocean isles, and in the ascending scale
    Of 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 advanced
    Creatures of other mould, earth-born perhaps,
    Not Spirits, yet to heavenly Spirits bright
    Little inferiour; whom my thoughts pursue
    With wonder, and could love, so lively shines
    In them divine resemblance, and such grace
    The hand that formed them on their shape hath poured.
    Ah! gentle pair, ye little think how nigh
    Your change approaches, when all these delights
    Will vanish, and deliver ye to woe;
    More woe, the more your taste is now of joy;
    Happy, but for so happy ill secured
    Long to continue, and this high seat your Heaven
    Ill fenced for Heaven to keep out such a foe
    As now is entered; yet no purposed foe
    To 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 me
    Henceforth; my dwelling haply may not please,
    Like this fair Paradise, your sense; yet such
    Accept 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 receive
    Your numerous offspring; if no better place,
    Thank him who puts me loth to this revenge
    On you who wrong me not for him who wronged.
    And should I at your harmless innocence
    Melt, as I do, yet publick reason just,
    Honour and empire with revenge enlarged,
    By conquering this new world, compels me now
    To 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 tree
    Down he alights among the sportful herd
    Of those four-footed kinds, himself now one,
    Now other, as their shape served best his end
    Nearer to view his prey, and, unespied,
    To mark what of their state he more might learn,
    By word or action marked. About them round
    A lion now he stalks with fiery glare;
    Then as a tiger, who by chance hath spied
    In some purlieu two gentle fawns at play,
    Straight couches close, then, rising, changes oft
    His couchant watch, as one who chose his ground,
    Whence rushing, he might surest seize them both,
    Griped in each paw: when, Adam first of men
    To 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 Power
    That made us, and for us this ample world,
    Be infinitely good, and of his good
    As liberal and free as infinite;
    That raised us from the dust, and placed us here
    In all this happiness, who at his hand
    Have nothing merited, nor can perform
    Aught whereof he hath need; he who requires
    From us no other service than to keep
    This one, this easy charge, of all the trees
    In Paradise that bear delicious fruit
    So various, not to taste that only tree
    Of 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 knowest
    God hath pronounced it death to taste that tree,
    The only sign of our obedience left,
    Among so many signs of power and rule
    Conferred upon us, and dominion given
    Over all other creatures that possess
    Earth, air, and sea. Then let us not think hard
    One easy prohibition, who enjoy
    Free leave so large to all things else, and choice
    Unlimited of manifold delights:
    But let us ever praise him, and extol
    His 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 whom
    And from whom I was formed, flesh of thy flesh,
    And without whom am to no end, my guide
    And head! what thou hast said is just and right.
    For we to him indeed all praises owe,
    And daily thanks; I chiefly, who enjoy
    So far the happier lot, enjoying thee
    Pre-eminent by so much odds, while thou
    Like consort to thyself canst no where find.
    That day I oft remember, when from sleep
    I first awaked, and found myself reposed
    Under a shade on flowers, much wondering where
    And what I was, whence thither brought, and how.
    Not distant far from thence a murmuring sound
    Of waters issued from a cave, and spread
    Into a liquid plain, then stood unmoved
    Pure as the expanse of Heaven; I thither went
    With unexperienced thought, and laid me down
    On the green bank, to look into the clear
    Smooth lake, that to me seemed another sky.
    As I bent down to look, just opposite
    A 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 looks
    Of sympathy and love: There I had fixed
    Mine 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 hand
    Seised mine: I yielded;and from that time see
    How beauty is excelled by manly grace,
    And wisdom, which alone is truly fair.
    So spake our general mother, and with eyes
    Of conjugal attraction unreproved,
    And meek surrender, half-embracing leaned
    On our first father; half her swelling breast
    Naked met his, under the flowing gold
    Of her loose tresses hid: he in delight
    Both of her beauty, and submissive charms,
    Smiled with superiour love, as Jupiter
    On Juno smiles, when he impregns the clouds
    That shed Mayflowers; and pressed her matron lip
    With kisses pure: Aside the Devil turned
    For envy; yet with jealous leer malign
    Eyed 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 fill
    Of 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 gained
    From their own mouths: All is not theirs, it seems;
    One fatal tree there stands, of knowledge called,
    Forbidden them to taste: Knowledge forbidden
    Suspicious, reasonless. Why should their Lord
    Envy them that? Can it be sin to know?
    Can it be death? And do they only stand
    By ignorance? Is that their happy state,
    The proof of their obedience and their faith?
    O fair foundation laid whereon to build
    Their ruin! hence I will excite their minds
    With more desire to know, and to reject
    Envious commands, invented with design
    To keep them low, whom knowledge might exalt
    Equal with Gods: aspiring to be such,
    They taste and die: What likelier can ensue
    But first with narrow search I must walk round
    This garden, and no corner leave unspied;
    A chance but chance may lead where I may meet
    Some wandering Spirit of Heaven by fountain side,
    Or in thick shade retired, from him to draw
    What 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 began
    Through wood, through waste, o'er hill, o'er dale, his roam
    Mean while in utmost longitude, where Heaven
    With earth and ocean meets, the setting sun
    Slowly descended, and with right aspect
    Against the eastern gate of Paradise
    Levelled his evening rays: It was a rock
    Of alabaster, piled up to the clouds,
    Conspicuous far, winding with one ascent
    Accessible from earth, one entrance high;
    The rest was craggy cliff, that overhung
    Still as it rose, impossible to climb.
    Betwixt these rocky pillars Gabriel sat,
    Chief of the angelick guards, awaiting night;
    About him exercised heroick games
    The unarmed youth of Heaven, but nigh at hand
    Celestial armoury, shields, helms, and spears,
    Hung high with diamond flaming, and with gold.
    Thither came Uriel, gliding through the even
    On a sun-beam, swift as a shooting star
    In autumn thwarts the night, when vapours fired
    Impress the air, and shows the mariner
    From what point of his compass to beware
    Impetuous winds: He thus began in haste.
    Gabriel, to thee thy course by lot hath given
    Charge and strict watch, that to this happy place
    No evil thing approach or enter in.
    This day at highth of noon came to my sphere
    A Spirit, zealous, as he seemed, to know
    More of the Almighty's works, and chiefly Man,
    God's latest image: I described his way
    Bent all on speed, and marked his aery gait;
    But in the mount that lies from Eden north,
    Where he first lighted, soon discerned his looks
    Alien from Heaven, with passions foul obscured:
    Mine eye pursued him still, but under shade
    Lost sight of him: One of the banished crew,
    I fear, hath ventured from the deep, to raise
    New 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 pass
    The vigilance here placed, but such as come
    Well known from Heaven; and since meridian hour
    No creature thence: If Spirit of other sort,
    So minded, have o'er-leaped these earthly bounds
    On purpose, hard thou knowest it to exclude
    Spiritual substance with corporeal bar.
    But if within the circuit of these walks,
    In whatsoever shape he lurk, of whom
    Thou tellest, by morrow dawning I shall know.
    So promised he; and Uriel to his charge
    Returned on that bright beam, whose point now raised
    Bore him slope downward to the sun now fallen
    Beneath the Azores; whether the prime orb,
    Incredible how swift, had thither rolled
    Diurnal, or this less volubil earth,
    By shorter flight to the east, had left him there
    Arraying with reflected purple and gold
    The clouds that on his western throne attend.
    Now came still Evening on, and Twilight gray
    Had in her sober livery all things clad;
    Silence accompanied; for beast and bird,
    They to their grassy couch, these to their nests
    Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale;
    She all night long her amorous descant sung;
    Silence was pleased: Now glowed the firmament
    With living sapphires: Hesperus, that led
    The starry host, rode brightest, till the moon,
    Rising in clouded majesty, at length
    Apparent queen unveiled her peerless light,
    And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw.
    When Adam thus to Eve. Fair Consort, the hour
    Of night, and all things now retired to rest,
    Mind us of like repose; since God hath set
    Labour and rest, as day and night, to men
    Successive; and the timely dew of sleep,
    Now falling with soft slumbrous weight, inclines
    Our eye-lids: Other creatures all day long
    Rove idle, unemployed, and less need rest;
    Man hath his daily work of body or mind
    Appointed, 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 east
    With first approach of light, we must be risen,
    And at our pleasant labour, to reform
    Yon flowery arbours, yonder alleys green,
    Our walk at noon, with branches overgrown,
    That mock our scant manuring, and require
    More 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 adorned
    My Author and Disposer, what thou bidst
    Unargued I obey: So God ordains;
    God is thy law, thou mine: To know no more
    Is 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 spreads
    His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower,
    Glistering with dew; fragrant the fertile earth
    After soft showers; and sweet the coming on
    Of 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 ascends
    With charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun
    On 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 whom
    This 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 land
    In order, though to nations yet unborn,
    Ministring light prepared, they set and rise;
    Lest total Darkness should by night regain
    Her old possession, and extinguish life
    In Nature and all things; which these soft fires
    Not only enlighten, but with kindly heat
    Of various influence foment and warm,
    Temper or nourish, or in part shed down
    Their stellar virtue on all kinds that grow
    On earth, made hereby apter to receive
    Perfection 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 earth
    Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep:
    All these with ceaseless praise his works behold
    Both day and night: How often from the steep
    Of echoing hill or thicket have we heard
    Celestial voices to the midnight air,
    Sole, or responsive each to others note,
    Singing their great Creator? oft in bands
    While they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk,
    With heavenly touch of instrumental sounds
    In full harmonick number joined, their songs
    Divide the night, and lift our thoughts to Heaven.
    Thus talking, hand in hand alone they passed
    On to their blissful bower: it was a place
    Chosen by the sovran Planter, when he framed
    All things to Man's delightful use; the roof
    Of thickest covert was inwoven shade
    Laurel and myrtle, and what higher grew
    Of firm and fragrant leaf; on either side
    Acanthus, 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 wrought
    Mosaick; underfoot the violet,
    Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlay
    Broidered the ground, more coloured than with stone
    Of costliest emblem: Other creature here,
    Bird, beast, insect, or worm, durst enter none,
    Such was their awe of Man. In shadier bower
    More sacred and sequestered, though but feigned,
    Pan or Sylvanus never slept, nor Nymph
    Nor 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 sire
    Brought her in naked beauty more adorned,
    More lovely, than Pandora, whom the Gods
    Endowed with all their gifts, and O! too like
    In sad event, when to the unwiser son
    Of Japhet brought by Hermes, she ensnared
    Mankind with her fair looks, to be avenged
    On him who had stole Jove's authentick fire.
    Thus, at their shady lodge arrived, both stood,
    Both turned, and under open sky adored
    The 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 help
    And mutual love, the crown of all our bliss
    Ordained by thee; and this delicious place
    For us too large, where thy abundance wants
    Partakers, and uncropt falls to the ground.
    But thou hast promised from us two a race
    To fill the earth, who shall with us extol
    Thy goodness infinite, both when we wake,
    And when we seek, as now, thy gift of sleep.
    This said unanimous, and other rites
    Observing none, but adoration pure
    Which God likes best, into their inmost bower
    Handed they went; and, eased the putting off
    These troublesome disguises which we wear,
    Straight side by side were laid; nor turned, I ween,
    Adam from his fair spouse, nor Eve the rites
    Mysterious of connubial love refused:
    Whatever hypocrites austerely talk
    Of purity, and place, and innocence,
    Defaming as impure what God declares
    Pure, and commands to some, leaves free to all.
    Our Maker bids encrease; who bids abstain
    But our Destroyer, foe to God and Man?
    Hail, wedded Love, mysterious law, true source
    Of human offspring, sole propriety
    In Paradise of all things common else!
    By thee adulterous Lust was driven from men
    Among the bestial herds to range; by thee
    Founded in reason, loyal, just, and pure,
    Relations dear, and all the charities
    Of 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 lights
    His constant lamp, and waves his purple wings,
    Reigns here and revels; not in the bought smile
    Of harlots, loveless, joyless, unendeared,
    Casual fruition; nor in court-amours,
    Mixed dance, or wanton mask, or midnight ball,
    Or serenate, which the starved lover sings
    To his proud fair, best quitted with disdain.
    These, lulled by nightingales, embracing slept,
    And on their naked limbs the flowery roof
    Showered roses, which the morn repaired. Sleep on,
    Blest pair; and O!yet happiest, if ye seek
    No happier state, and know to know no more.
    Now had night measured with her shadowy cone
    Half way up hill this vast sublunar vault,
    And from their ivory port the Cherubim,
    Forth issuing at the accustomed hour, stood armed
    To their night watches in warlike parade;
    When Gabriel to his next in power thus spake.
    Uzziel, half these draw off, and coast the south
    With 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 called
    That near him stood, and gave them thus in charge.
    Ithuriel and Zephon, with winged speed
    Search 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 seen
    Hitherward bent (who could have thought?) escaped
    The 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 direct
    In search of whom they sought: Him there they found
    Squat like a toad, close at the ear of Eve,
    Assaying by his devilish art to reach
    The organs of her fancy, and with them forge
    Illusions, as he list, phantasms and dreams;
    Or if, inspiring venom, he might taint
    The animal spirits, that from pure blood arise
    Like gentle breaths from rivers pure, thence raise
    At least distempered, discontented thoughts,
    Vain hopes, vain aims, inordinate desires,
    Blown up with high conceits ingendering pride.
    Him thus intent Ithuriel with his spear
    Touched lightly; for no falshood can endure
    Touch of celestial temper, but returns
    Of force to its own likeness: Up he starts
    Discovered and surprised. As when a spark
    Lights on a heap of nitrous powder, laid
    Fit for the tun some magazine to store
    Against 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 amazed
    So sudden to behold the grisly king;
    Yet thus, unmoved with fear, accost him soon.
    Which of those rebel Spirits adjudged to Hell
    Comest 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 mate
    For 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 begin
    Your 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 now
    Thy sin and place of doom obscure and foul.
    But come, for thou, be sure, shalt give account
    To him who sent us, whose charge is to keep
    This place inviolable, and these from harm.
    So spake the Cherub; and his grave rebuke,
    Severe in youthful beauty, added grace
    Invincible: Abashed the Devil stood,
    And felt how awful goodness is, and saw
    Virtue in her shape how lovely; saw, and pined
    His loss; but chiefly to find here observed
    His lustre visibly impaired; yet seemed
    Undaunted. 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 do
    Single 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 fly
    He held it vain; awe from above had quelled
    His heart, not else dismayed. Now drew they nigh
    The western point, where those half-rounding guards
    Just 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 feet
    Hasting this way, and now by glimpse discern
    Ithuriel and Zephon through the shade;
    And with them comes a third of regal port,
    But faded splendour wan; who by his gait
    And 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 prescribed
    To thy transgressions, and disturbed the charge
    Of others, who approve not to transgress
    By thy example, but have power and right
    To question thy bold entrance on this place;
    Employed, it seems, to violate sleep, and those
    Whose 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 asked
    Puts 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 doubt
    And boldly venture to whatever place
    Farthest from pain, where thou mightst hope to change
    Torment with ease, and soonest recompense
    Dole with delight, which in this place I sought;
    To thee no reason, who knowest only good,
    But evil hast not tried: and wilt object
    His will who bounds us! Let him surer bar
    His iron gates, if he intends our stay
    In 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 wise
    Since Satan fell, whom folly overthrew,
    And now returns him from his prison 'scaped,
    Gravely in doubt whether to hold them wise
    Or not, who ask what boldness brought him hither
    Unlicensed from his bounds in Hell prescribed;
    So wise he judges it to fly from pain
    However, and to 'scape his punishment!
    So judge thou still, presumptuous! till the wrath,
    Which thou incurrest by flying, meet thy flight
    Sevenfold, and scourge that wisdom back to Hell,
    Which taught thee yet no better, that no pain
    Can equal anger infinite provoked.
    But wherefore thou alone? wherefore with thee
    Came not all hell broke loose? or thou than they
    Less hardy to endure? Courageous Chief!
    The first in flight from pain! hadst thou alleged
    To 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 stood
    Thy fiercest, when in battle to thy aid
    The 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 behoves
    From hard assays and ill successes past
    A faithful leader, not to hazard all
    Through ways of danger by himself untried:
    I, therefore, I alone first undertook
    To wing the desolate abyss, and spy
    This new created world, whereof in Hell
    Fame is not silent, here in hope to find
    Better abode, and my afflicted Powers
    To settle here on earth, or in mid air;
    Though for possession put to try once more
    What thou and thy gay legions dare against;
    Whose easier business were to serve their Lord
    High 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 first
    Wise 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 dissolve
    Allegiance to the acknowledged Power supreme?
    And thou, sly hypocrite, who now wouldst seem
    Patron of liberty, who more than thou
    Once fawned, and cringed, and servily adored
    Heaven's awful Monarch? wherefore, but in hope
    To dispossess him, and thyself to reign?
    But mark what I arreed thee now, Avant;
    Fly neither whence thou fledst! If from this hour
    Within these hallowed limits thou appear,
    Back to the infernal pit I drag thee chained,
    And seal thee so, as henceforth not to scorn
    The facile gates of Hell too slightly barred.
    So threatened he; but Satan to no threats
    Gave heed, but waxing more in rage replied.
    Then when I am thy captive talk of chains,
    Proud limitary Cherub! but ere then
    Far heavier load thyself expect to feel
    From my prevailing arm, though Heaven's King
    Ride on thy wings, and thou with thy compeers,
    Us'd to the yoke, drawest his triumphant wheels
    In progress through the road of Heaven star-paved.
    While thus he spake, the angelick squadron bright
    Turned fiery red, sharpening in mooned horns
    Their phalanx, and began to hem him round
    With ported spears, as thick as when a field
    Of Ceres ripe for harvest waving bends
    Her bearded grove of ears, which way the wind
    Sways them; the careful plowman doubting stands,
    Left on the threshing floor his hopeless sheaves
    Prove 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 crest
    Sat Horrour plumed; nor wanted in his grasp
    What seemed both spear and shield: Now dreadful deeds
    Might have ensued, nor only Paradise
    In this commotion, but the starry cope
    Of Heaven perhaps, or all the elements
    At least had gone to wrack, disturbed and torn
    With violence of this conflict, had not soon
    The Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray,
    Hung forth in Heaven his golden scales, yet seen
    Betwixt Astrea and the Scorpion sign,
    Wherein all things created first he weighed,
    The pendulous round earth with balanced air
    In 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 then
    To boast what arms can do? since thine no more
    Than Heaven permits, nor mine, though doubled now
    To 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 knew
    His mounted scale aloft: Nor more;but fled
    Murmuring, and with him fled the shades of night.
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