Meet us on:
Entire Site
    Try our fun game

    Dueling book covers…may the best design win!

    Random Quote
    "I take it that what all men are really after is some form or perhaps only some formula of peace."

    Subscribe to Our Newsletter

    Follow us on Twitter

    Never miss a good book again! Follow Read Print on Twitter

    Chapter 10

    • Rate it:
    • Average Rating: 3.6 out of 5 based on 16 ratings
    • 23 Favorites on Read Print
    Launch Reading Mode Next Chapter
    Chapter 10
    Previous Chapter
    Mean while the heinous and despiteful act
    Of Satan, done in Paradise; and how
    He, in the serpent, had perverted Eve,
    Her husband she, to taste the fatal fruit,
    Was known in Heaven; for what can 'scape the eye
    Of God all-seeing, or deceive his heart
    Omniscient? who, in all things wise and just,
    Hindered not Satan to attempt the mind
    Of Man, with strength entire and free will armed,
    Complete to have discovered and repulsed
    Whatever wiles of foe or seeming friend.
    For still they knew, and ought to have still remembered,
    The high injunction, not to taste that fruit,
    Whoever tempted; which they not obeying,
    (Incurred what could they less?) the penalty;
    And, manifold in sin, deserved to fall.
    Up into Heaven from Paradise in haste
    The angelick guards ascended, mute, and sad,
    For Man; for of his state by this they knew,
    Much wondering how the subtle Fiend had stolen
    Entrance unseen. Soon as the unwelcome news
    From Earth arrived at Heaven-gate, displeased
    All were who heard; dim sadness did not spare
    That time celestial visages, yet, mixed
    With pity, violated not their bliss.
    About the new-arrived, in multitudes
    The ethereal people ran, to hear and know
    How all befel: They towards the throne supreme,
    Accountable, made haste, to make appear,
    With righteous plea, their utmost vigilance
    And easily approved; when the Most High
    Eternal Father, from his secret cloud,
    Amidst in thunder uttered thus his voice.
    Assembled Angels, and ye Powers returned
    From unsuccessful charge; be not dismayed,
    Nor troubled at these tidings from the earth,
    Which your sincerest care could not prevent;
    Foretold so lately what would come to pass,
    When first this tempter crossed the gulf from Hell.
    I told ye then he should prevail, and speed
    On his bad errand; Man should be seduced,
    And flattered out of all, believing lies
    Against his Maker; no decree of mine
    Concurring to necessitate his fall,
    Or touch with lightest moment of impulse
    His free will, to her own inclining left
    In even scale. But fallen he is; and now
    What rests, but that the mortal sentence pass
    On his transgression,--death denounced that day?
    Which he presumes already vain and void,
    Because not yet inflicted, as he feared,
    By some immediate stroke; but soon shall find
    Forbearance no acquittance, ere day end.
    Justice shall not return as bounty scorned.
    But whom send I to judge them? whom but thee,
    Vicegerent Son? To thee I have transferred
    All judgement, whether in Heaven, or Earth, or Hell.
    Easy it may be seen that I intend
    Mercy colleague with justice, sending thee
    Man's friend, his Mediator, his designed
    Both ransom and Redeemer voluntary,
    And destined Man himself to judge Man fallen.
    So spake the Father; and, unfolding bright
    Toward the right hand his glory, on the Son
    Blazed forth unclouded Deity: He full
    Resplendent all his Father manifest
    Expressed, and thus divinely answered mild.
    Father Eternal, thine is to decree;
    Mine, both in Heaven and Earth, to do thy will
    Supreme; that thou in me, thy Son beloved,
    Mayest ever rest well pleased. I go to judge
    On earth these thy transgressours; but thou knowest,
    Whoever judged, the worst on me must light,
    When time shall be; for so I undertook
    Before thee; and, not repenting, this obtain
    Of right, that I may mitigate their doom
    On me derived; yet I shall temper so
    Justice with mercy, as may illustrate most
    Them fully satisfied, and thee appease.
    Attendance none shall need, nor train, where none
    Are to behold the judgement, but the judged,
    Those two; the third best absent is condemned,
    Convict by flight, and rebel to all law:
    Conviction to the serpent none belongs.
    Thus saying, from his radiant seat he rose
    Of high collateral glory: Him Thrones, and Powers,
    Princedoms, and Dominations ministrant,
    Accompanied to Heaven-gate; from whence
    Eden, and all the coast, in prospect lay.
    Down he descended straight; the speed of Gods
    Time counts not, though with swiftest minutes winged.
    Now was the sun in western cadence low
    From noon, and gentle airs, due at their hour,
    To fan the earth now waked, and usher in
    The evening cool; when he, from wrath more cool,
    Came the mild Judge, and Intercessour both,
    To sentence Man: The voice of God they heard
    Now walking in the garden, by soft winds
    Brought to their ears, while day declined; they heard,
    And from his presence hid themselves among
    The thickest trees, both man and wife; till God,
    Approaching, thus to Adam called aloud.
    Where art thou, Adam, wont with joy to meet
    My coming seen far off? I miss thee here,
    Not pleased, thus entertained with solitude,
    Where obvious duty ere while appeared unsought:
    Or come I less conspicuous, or what change
    Absents thee, or what chance detains?--Come forth!
    He came; and with him Eve, more loth, though first
    To offend; discountenanced both, and discomposed;
    Love was not in their looks, either to God,
    Or to each other; but apparent guilt,
    And shame, and perturbation, and despair,
    Anger, and obstinacy, and hate, and guile.
    Whence Adam, faltering long, thus answered brief.
    I heard thee in the garden, and of thy voice
    Afraid, being naked, hid myself. To whom
    The gracious Judge without revile replied.
    My voice thou oft hast heard, and hast not feared,
    But still rejoiced; how is it now become
    So dreadful to thee? That thou art naked, who
    Hath told thee? Hast thou eaten of the tree,
    Whereof I gave thee charge thou shouldst not eat?
    To whom thus Adam sore beset replied.
    O Heaven! in evil strait this day I stand
    Before my Judge; either to undergo
    Myself the total crime, or to accuse
    My other self, the partner of my life;
    Whose failing, while her faith to me remains,
    I should conceal, and not expose to blame
    By my complaint: but strict necessity
    Subdues me, and calamitous constraint;
    Lest on my head both sin and punishment,
    However insupportable, be all
    Devolved; though should I hold my peace, yet thou
    Wouldst easily detect what I conceal.--
    This Woman, whom thou madest to be my help,
    And gavest me as thy perfect gift, so good,
    So fit, so acceptable, so divine,
    That from her hand I could suspect no ill,
    And what she did, whatever in itself,
    Her doing seemed to justify the deed;
    She gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
    To whom the Sovran Presence thus replied.
    Was she thy God, that her thou didst obey
    Before his voice? or was she made thy guide,
    Superiour, or but equal, that to her
    Thou didst resign thy manhood, and the place
    Wherein God set thee above her made of thee,
    And for thee, whose perfection far excelled
    Hers in all real dignity? Adorned
    She was indeed, and lovely, to attract
    Thy love, not thy subjection; and her gifts
    Were such, as under government well seemed;
    Unseemly to bear rule; which was thy part
    And person, hadst thou known thyself aright.
    So having said, he thus to Eve in few.
    Say, Woman, what is this which thou hast done?
    To whom sad Eve, with shame nigh overwhelmed,
    Confessing soon, yet not before her Judge
    Bold or loquacious, thus abashed replied.
    The Serpent me beguiled, and I did eat.
    Which when the Lord God heard, without delay
    To judgement he proceeded on the accused
    Serpent, though brute; unable to transfer
    The guilt on him, who made him instrument
    Of mischief, and polluted from the end
    Of his creation; justly then accursed,
    As vitiated in nature: More to know
    Concerned not Man, (since he no further knew)
    Nor altered his offence; yet God at last
    To Satan first in sin his doom applied,
    Though in mysterious terms, judged as then best:
    And on the Serpent thus his curse let fall.
    Because thou hast done this, thou art accursed
    Above all cattle, each beast of the field;
    Upon thy belly groveling thou shalt go,
    And dust shalt eat all the days of thy life.
    Between thee and the woman I will put
    Enmity, and between thine and her seed;
    Her seed shall bruise thy head, thou bruise his heel.
    So spake this oracle, then verified
    When Jesus, Son of Mary, second Eve,
    Saw Satan fall, like lightning, down from Heaven,
    Prince of the air; then, rising from his grave
    Spoiled Principalities and Powers, triumphed
    In open show; and, with ascension bright,
    Captivity led captive through the air,
    The realm itself of Satan, long usurped;
    Whom he shall tread at last under our feet;
    Even he, who now foretold his fatal bruise;
    And to the Woman thus his sentence turned.
    Thy sorrow I will greatly multiply
    By thy conception; children thou shalt bring
    In sorrow forth; and to thy husband's will
    Thine shall submit; he over thee shall rule.
    On Adam last thus judgement he pronounced.
    Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife,
    And eaten of the tree, concerning which
    I charged thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat thereof:
    Cursed is the ground for thy sake; thou in sorrow
    Shalt eat thereof, all the days of thy life;
    Thorns also and thistles it shall bring thee forth
    Unbid; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
    In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,
    Till thou return unto the ground; for thou
    Out of the ground wast taken, know thy birth,
    For dust thou art, and shalt to dust return.
    So judged he Man, both Judge and Saviour sent;
    And the instant stroke of death, denounced that day,
    Removed far off; then, pitying how they stood
    Before him naked to the air, that now
    Must suffer change, disdained not to begin
    Thenceforth the form of servant to assume;
    As when he washed his servants feet; so now,
    As father of his family, he clad
    Their nakedness with skins of beasts, or slain,
    Or as the snake with youthful coat repaid;
    And thought not much to clothe his enemies;
    Nor he their outward only with the skins
    Of beasts, but inward nakedness, much more.
    Opprobrious, with his robe of righteousness,
    Arraying, covered from his Father's sight.
    To him with swift ascent he up returned,
    Into his blissful bosom reassumed
    In glory, as of old; to him appeased
    All, though all-knowing, what had passed with Man
    Recounted, mixing intercession sweet.
    Mean while, ere thus was sinned and judged on Earth,
    Within the gates of Hell sat Sin and Death,
    In counterview within the gates, that now
    Stood open wide, belching outrageous flame
    Far into Chaos, since the Fiend passed through,
    Sin opening; who thus now to Death began.
    O Son, why sit we here each other viewing
    Idly, while Satan, our great author, thrives
    In other worlds, and happier seat provides
    For us, his offspring dear? It cannot be
    But that success attends him; if mishap,
    Ere this he had returned, with fury driven
    By his avengers; since no place like this
    Can fit his punishment, or their revenge.
    Methinks I feel new strength within me rise,
    Wings growing, and dominion given me large
    Beyond this deep; whatever draws me on,
    Or sympathy, or some connatural force,
    Powerful at greatest distance to unite,
    With secret amity, things of like kind,
    By secretest conveyance. Thou, my shade
    Inseparable, must with me along;
    For Death from Sin no power can separate.
    But, lest the difficulty of passing back
    Stay his return perhaps over this gulf
    Impassable, impervious; let us try
    Adventurous work, yet to thy power and mine
    Not unagreeable, to found a path
    Over this main from Hell to that new world,
    Where Satan now prevails; a monument
    Of merit high to all the infernal host,
    Easing their passage hence, for intercourse,
    Or transmigration, as their lot shall lead.
    Nor can I miss the way, so strongly drawn
    By this new-felt attraction and instinct.
    Whom thus the meager Shadow answered soon.
    Go, whither Fate, and inclination strong,
    Leads thee; I shall not lag behind, nor err
    The way, thou leading; such a scent I draw
    Of carnage, prey innumerable, and taste
    The savour of death from all things there that live:
    Nor shall I to the work thou enterprisest
    Be wanting, but afford thee equal aid.
    So saying, with delight he snuffed the smell
    Of mortal change on earth. As when a flock
    Of ravenous fowl, though many a league remote,
    Against the day of battle, to a field,
    Where armies lie encamped, come flying, lured
    With scent of living carcasses designed
    For death, the following day, in bloody fight:
    So scented the grim Feature, and upturned
    His nostril wide into the murky air;
    Sagacious of his quarry from so far.
    Then both from out Hell-gates, into the waste
    Wide anarchy of Chaos, damp and dark,
    Flew diverse; and with power (their power was great)
    Hovering upon the waters, what they met
    Solid or slimy, as in raging sea
    Tost up and down, together crouded drove,
    From each side shoaling towards the mouth of Hell;
    As when two polar winds, blowing adverse
    Upon the Cronian sea, together drive
    Mountains of ice, that stop the imagined way
    Beyond Petsora eastward, to the rich
    Cathaian coast. The aggregated soil
    Death with his mace petrifick, cold and dry,
    As with a trident, smote; and fixed as firm
    As Delos, floating once; the rest his look
    Bound with Gorgonian rigour not to move;
    And with Asphaltick slime, broad as the gate,
    Deep to the roots of Hell the gathered beach
    They fastened, and the mole immense wrought on
    Over the foaming deep high-arched, a bridge
    Of length prodigious, joining to the wall
    Immoveable of this now fenceless world,
    Forfeit to Death; from hence a passage broad,
    Smooth, easy, inoffensive, down to Hell.
    So, if great things to small may be compared,
    Xerxes, the liberty of Greece to yoke,
    From Susa, his Memnonian palace high,
    Came to the sea: and, over Hellespont
    Bridging his way, Europe with Asia joined,
    And scourged with many a stroke the indignant waves.
    Now had they brought the work by wonderous art
    Pontifical, a ridge of pendant rock,
    Over the vexed abyss, following the track
    Of Satan to the self-same place where he
    First lighted from his wing, and landed safe
    From out of Chaos, to the outside bare
    Of this round world: With pins of adamant
    And chains they made all fast, too fast they made
    And durable! And now in little space
    The confines met of empyrean Heaven,
    And of this World; and, on the left hand, Hell
    With long reach interposed; three several ways
    In sight, to each of these three places led.
    And now their way to Earth they had descried,
    To Paradise first tending; when, behold!
    Satan, in likeness of an Angel bright,
    Betwixt the Centaur and the Scorpion steering
    His zenith, while the sun in Aries rose:
    Disguised he came; but those his children dear
    Their parent soon discerned, though in disguise.
    He, after Eve seduced, unminded slunk
    Into the wood fast by; and, changing shape,
    To observe the sequel, saw his guileful act
    By Eve, though all unweeting, seconded
    Upon her husband; saw their shame that sought
    Vain covertures; but when he saw descend
    The Son of God to judge them, terrified
    He fled; not hoping to escape, but shun
    The present; fearing, guilty, what his wrath
    Might suddenly inflict; that past, returned
    By night, and listening where the hapless pair
    Sat in their sad discourse, and various plaint,
    Thence gathered his own doom; which understood
    Not instant, but of future time, with joy
    And tidings fraught, to Hell he now returned;
    And at the brink of Chaos, near the foot
    Of this new wonderous pontifice, unhoped
    Met, who to meet him came, his offspring dear.
    Great joy was at their meeting, and at sight
    Of that stupendious bridge his joy encreased.
    Long he admiring stood, till Sin, his fair
    Enchanting daughter, thus the silence broke.
    O Parent, these are thy magnifick deeds,
    Thy trophies! which thou viewest as not thine own;
    Thou art their author, and prime architect:
    For I no sooner in my heart divined,
    My heart, which by a secret harmony
    Still moves with thine, joined in connexion sweet,
    That thou on earth hadst prospered, which thy looks
    Now also evidence, but straight I felt,
    Though distant from thee worlds between, yet felt,
    That I must after thee, with this thy son;
    Such fatal consequence unites us three!
    Hell could no longer hold us in our bounds,
    Nor this unvoyageable gulf obscure
    Detain from following thy illustrious track.
    Thou hast achieved our liberty, confined
    Within Hell-gates till now; thou us impowered
    To fortify thus far, and overlay,
    With this portentous bridge, the dark abyss.
    Thine now is all this world; thy virtue hath won
    What thy hands builded not; thy wisdom gained
    With odds what war hath lost, and fully avenged
    Our foil in Heaven; here thou shalt monarch reign,
    There didst not; there let him still victor sway,
    As battle hath adjudged; from this new world
    Retiring, by his own doom alienated;
    And henceforth monarchy with thee divide
    Of all things, parted by the empyreal bounds,
    His quadrature, from thy orbicular world;
    Or try thee now more dangerous to his throne.
    Whom thus the Prince of darkness answered glad.
    Fair Daughter, and thou Son and Grandchild both;
    High proof ye now have given to be the race
    Of Satan (for I glory in the name,
    Antagonist of Heaven's Almighty King,)
    Amply have merited of me, of all
    The infernal empire, that so near Heaven's door
    Triumphal with triumphal act have met,
    Mine, with this glorious work; and made one realm,
    Hell and this world, one realm, one continent
    Of easy thorough-fare. Therefore, while I
    Descend through darkness, on your road with ease,
    To my associate Powers, them to acquaint
    With these successes, and with them rejoice;
    You two this way, among these numerous orbs,
    All yours, right down to Paradise descend;
    There dwell, and reign in bliss; thence on the earth
    Dominion exercise and in the air,
    Chiefly on Man, sole lord of all declared;
    Him first make sure your thrall, and lastly kill.
    My substitutes I send ye, and create
    Plenipotent on earth, of matchless might
    Issuing from me: on your joint vigour now
    My hold of this new kingdom all depends,
    Through Sin to Death exposed by my exploit.
    If your joint power prevail, the affairs of Hell
    No detriment need fear; go, and be strong!
    So saying he dismissed them; they with speed
    Their course through thickest constellations held,
    Spreading their bane; the blasted stars looked wan,
    And planets, planet-struck, real eclipse
    Then suffered. The other way Satan went down
    The causey to Hell-gate: On either side
    Disparted Chaos overbuilt exclaimed,
    And with rebounding surge the bars assailed,
    That scorned his indignation: Through the gate,
    Wide open and unguarded, Satan passed,
    And all about found desolate; for those,
    Appointed to sit there, had left their charge,
    Flown to the upper world; the rest were all
    Far to the inland retired, about the walls
    Of Pandemonium; city and proud seat
    Of Lucifer, so by allusion called
    Of that bright star to Satan paragoned;
    There kept their watch the legions, while the Grand
    In council sat, solicitous what chance
    Might intercept their emperour sent; so he
    Departing gave command, and they observed.
    As when the Tartar from his Russian foe,
    By Astracan, over the snowy plains,
    Retires; or Bactrin Sophi, from the horns
    Of Turkish crescent, leaves all waste beyond
    The realm of Aladule, in his retreat
    To Tauris or Casbeen: So these, the late
    Heaven-banished host, left desart utmost Hell
    Many a dark league, reduced in careful watch
    Round their metropolis; and now expecting
    Each hour their great adventurer, from the search
    Of foreign worlds: He through the midst unmarked,
    In show plebeian Angel militant
    Of lowest order, passed; and from the door
    Of that Plutonian hall, invisible
    Ascended his high throne; which, under state
    Of richest texture spread, at the upper end
    Was placed in regal lustre. Down a while
    He sat, and round about him saw unseen:
    At last, as from a cloud, his fulgent head
    And shape star-bright appeared, or brighter; clad
    With what permissive glory since his fall
    Was left him, or false glitter: All amazed
    At that so sudden blaze the Stygian throng
    Bent their aspect, and whom they wished beheld,
    Their mighty Chief returned: loud was the acclaim:
    Forth rushed in haste the great consulting peers,
    Raised from their dark Divan, and with like joy
    Congratulant approached him; who with hand
    Silence, and with these words attention, won.
    Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers;
    For in possession such, not only of right,
    I call ye, and declare ye now; returned
    Successful beyond hope, to lead ye forth
    Triumphant out of this infernal pit
    Abominable, accursed, the house of woe,
    And dungeon of our tyrant: Now possess,
    As Lords, a spacious world, to our native Heaven
    Little inferiour, by my adventure hard
    With peril great achieved. Long were to tell
    What I have done; what suffered;with what pain
    Voyaged th' unreal, vast, unbounded deep
    Of horrible confusion; over which
    By Sin and Death a broad way now is paved,
    To expedite your glorious march; but I
    Toiled out my uncouth passage, forced to ride
    The untractable abyss, plunged in the womb
    Of unoriginal Night and Chaos wild;
    That, jealous of their secrets, fiercely opposed
    My journey strange, with clamorous uproar
    Protesting Fate supreme; thence how I found
    The new created world, which fame in Heaven
    Long had foretold, a fabrick wonderful
    Of absolute perfection! therein Man
    Placed in a Paradise, by our exile
    Made happy: Him by fraud I have seduced
    From his Creator; and, the more to encrease
    Your wonder, with an apple; he, thereat
    Offended, worth your laughter! hath given up
    Both his beloved Man, and all his world,
    To Sin and Death a prey, and so to us,
    Without our hazard, labour, or alarm;
    To range in, and to dwell, and over Man
    To rule, as over all he should have ruled.
    True is, me also he hath judged, or rather
    Me not, but the brute serpent in whose shape
    Man I deceived: that which to me belongs,
    Is enmity which he will put between
    Me and mankind; I am to bruise his heel;
    His seed, when is not set, shall bruise my head:
    A world who would not purchase with a bruise,
    Or much more grievous pain?--Ye have the account
    Of my performance: What remains, ye Gods,
    But up, and enter now into full bliss?
    So having said, a while he stood, expecting
    Their universal shout, and high applause,
    To fill his ear; when, contrary, he hears
    On all sides, from innumerable tongues,
    A dismal universal hiss, the sound
    Of publick scorn; he wondered, but not long
    Had leisure, wondering at himself now more,
    His visage drawn he felt to sharp and spare;
    His arms clung to his ribs; his legs entwining
    Each other, till supplanted down he fell
    A monstrous serpent on his belly prone,
    Reluctant, but in vain; a greater power
    Now ruled him, punished in the shape he sinned,
    According to his doom: he would have spoke,
    But hiss for hiss returned with forked tongue
    To forked tongue; for now were all transformed
    Alike, to serpents all, as accessories
    To his bold riot: Dreadful was the din
    Of hissing through the hall, thick swarming now
    With complicated monsters head and tail,
    Scorpion, and Asp, and Amphisbaena dire,
    Cerastes horned, Hydrus, and Elops drear,
    And Dipsas; (not so thick swarmed once the soil
    Bedropt with blood of Gorgon, or the isle
    Ophiusa,) but still greatest he the midst,
    Now Dragon grown, larger than whom the sun
    Ingendered in the Pythian vale or slime,
    Huge Python, and his power no less he seemed
    Above the rest still to retain; they all
    Him followed, issuing forth to the open field,
    Where all yet left of that revolted rout,
    Heaven-fallen, in station stood or just array;
    Sublime with expectation when to see
    In triumph issuing forth their glorious Chief;
    They saw, but other sight instead! a croud
    Of ugly serpents; horrour on them fell,
    And horrid sympathy; for, what they saw,
    They felt themselves, now changing; down their arms,
    Down fell both spear and shield; down they as fast;
    And the dire hiss renewed, and the dire form
    Catched, by contagion; like in punishment,
    As in their crime. Thus was the applause they meant,
    Turned to exploding hiss, triumph to shame
    Cast on themselves from their own mouths. There stood
    A grove hard by, sprung up with this their change,
    His will who reigns above, to aggravate
    Their penance, laden with fair fruit, like that
    Which grew in Paradise, the bait of Eve
    Used by the Tempter: on that prospect strange
    Their earnest eyes they fixed, imagining
    For one forbidden tree a multitude
    Now risen, to work them further woe or shame;
    Yet, parched with scalding thirst and hunger fierce,
    Though to delude them sent, could not abstain;
    But on they rolled in heaps, and, up the trees
    Climbing, sat thicker than the snaky locks
    That curled Megaera: greedily they plucked
    The fruitage fair to sight, like that which grew
    Near that bituminous lake where Sodom flamed;
    This more delusive, not the touch, but taste
    Deceived; they, fondly thinking to allay
    Their appetite with gust, instead of fruit
    Chewed bitter ashes, which the offended taste
    With spattering noise rejected: oft they assayed,
    Hunger and thirst constraining; drugged as oft,
    With hatefullest disrelish writhed their jaws,
    With soot and cinders filled; so oft they fell
    Into the same illusion, not as Man
    Whom they triumphed once lapsed. Thus were they plagued
    And worn with famine, long and ceaseless hiss,
    Till their lost shape, permitted, they resumed;
    Yearly enjoined, some say, to undergo,
    This annual humbling certain numbered days,
    To dash their pride, and joy, for Man seduced.
    However, some tradition they dispersed
    Among the Heathen, of their purchase got,
    And fabled how the Serpent, whom they called
    Ophion, with Eurynome, the wide--
    Encroaching Eve perhaps, had first the rule
    Of high Olympus; thence by Saturn driven
    And Ops, ere yet Dictaean Jove was born.
    Mean while in Paradise the hellish pair
    Too soon arrived; Sin, there in power before,
    Once actual; now in body, and to dwell
    Habitual habitant; behind her Death,
    Close following pace for pace, not mounted yet
    On his pale horse: to whom Sin thus began.
    Second of Satan sprung, all-conquering Death!
    What thinkest thou of our empire now, though earned
    With travel difficult, not better far
    Than still at Hell's dark threshold to have sat watch,
    Unnamed, undreaded, and thyself half starved?
    Whom thus the Sin-born monster answered soon.
    To me, who with eternal famine pine,
    Alike is Hell, or Paradise, or Heaven;
    There best, where most with ravine I may meet;
    Which here, though plenteous, all too little seems
    To stuff this maw, this vast unhide-bound corps.
    To whom the incestuous mother thus replied.
    Thou therefore on these herbs, and fruits, and flowers,
    Feed first; on each beast next, and fish, and fowl;
    No homely morsels! and, whatever thing
    The sithe of Time mows down, devour unspared;
    Till I, in Man residing, through the race,
    His thoughts, his looks, words, actions, all infect;
    And season him thy last and sweetest prey.
    This said, they both betook them several ways,
    Both to destroy, or unimmortal make
    All kinds, and for destruction to mature
    Sooner or later; which the Almighty seeing,
    From his transcendent seat the Saints among,
    To those bright Orders uttered thus his voice.
    See, with what heat these dogs of Hell advance
    To waste and havock yonder world, which I
    So fair and good created; and had still
    Kept in that state, had not the folly of Man
    Let in these wasteful furies, who impute
    Folly to me; so doth the Prince of Hell
    And his adherents, that with so much ease
    I suffer them to enter and possess
    A place so heavenly; and, conniving, seem
    To gratify my scornful enemies,
    That laugh, as if, transported with some fit
    Of passion, I to them had quitted all,
    At random yielded up to their misrule;
    And know not that I called, and drew them thither,
    My Hell-hounds, to lick up the draff and filth
    Which Man's polluting sin with taint hath shed
    On what was pure; til, crammed and gorged, nigh burst
    With sucked and glutted offal, at one sling
    Of thy victorious arm, well-pleasing Son,
    Both Sin, and Death, and yawning Grave, at last,
    Through Chaos hurled, obstruct the mouth of Hell
    For ever, and seal up his ravenous jaws.
    Then Heaven and Earth renewed shall be made pure
    To sanctity, that shall receive no stain:
    Till then, the curse pronounced on both precedes.
    He ended, and the heavenly audience loud
    Sung Halleluiah, as the sound of seas,
    Through multitude that sung: Just are thy ways,
    Righteous are thy decrees on all thy works;
    Who can extenuate thee? Next, to the Son,
    Destined Restorer of mankind, by whom
    New Heaven and Earth shall to the ages rise,
    Or down from Heaven descend.--Such was their song;
    While the Creator, calling forth by name
    His mighty Angels, gave them several charge,
    As sorted best with present things. The sun
    Had first his precept so to move, so shine,
    As might affect the earth with cold and heat
    Scarce tolerable; and from the north to call
    Decrepit winter; from the south to bring
    Solstitial summer's heat. To the blanc moon
    Her office they prescribed; to the other five
    Their planetary motions, and aspects,
    In sextile, square, and trine, and opposite,
    Of noxious efficacy, and when to join
    In synod unbenign; and taught the fixed
    Their influence malignant when to shower,
    Which of them rising with the sun, or falling,
    Should prove tempestuous: To the winds they set
    Their corners, when with bluster to confound
    Sea, air, and shore; the thunder when to roll
    With terrour through the dark aereal hall.
    Some say, he bid his Angels turn ascanse
    The poles of earth, twice ten degrees and more,
    From the sun's axle; they with labour pushed
    Oblique the centrick globe: Some say, the sun
    Was bid turn reins from the equinoctial road
    Like distant breadth to Taurus with the seven
    Atlantick Sisters, and the Spartan Twins,
    Up to the Tropick Crab: thence down amain
    By Leo, and the Virgin, and the Scales,
    As deep as Capricorn; to bring in change
    Of seasons to each clime; else had the spring
    Perpetual smiled on earth with vernant flowers,
    Equal in days and nights, except to those
    Beyond the polar circles; to them day
    Had unbenighted shone, while the low sun,
    To recompense his distance, in their sight
    Had rounded still the horizon, and not known
    Or east or west; which had forbid the snow
    From cold Estotiland, and south as far
    Beneath Magellan. At that tasted fruit
    The sun, as from Thyestean banquet, turned
    His course intended; else, how had the world
    Inhabited, though sinless, more than now,
    Avoided pinching cold and scorching heat?
    These changes in the Heavens, though slow, produced
    Like change on sea and land; sideral blast,
    Vapour, and mist, and exhalation hot,
    Corrupt and pestilent: Now from the north
    Of Norumbega, and the Samoed shore,
    Bursting their brazen dungeon, armed with ice,
    And snow, and hail, and stormy gust and flaw,
    Boreas, and Caecias, and Argestes loud,
    And Thrascias, rend the woods, and seas upturn;
    With adverse blast upturns them from the south
    Notus, and Afer black with thunderous clouds
    From Serraliona; thwart of these, as fierce,
    Forth rush the Levant and the Ponent winds,
    Eurus and Zephyr, with their lateral noise,
    Sirocco and Libecchio. Thus began
    Outrage from lifeless things; but Discord first,
    Daughter of Sin, among the irrational
    Death introduced, through fierce antipathy:
    Beast now with beast 'gan war, and fowl with fowl,
    And fish with fish; to graze the herb all leaving,
    Devoured each other; nor stood much in awe
    Of Man, but fled him; or, with countenance grim,
    Glared on him passing. These were from without
    The growing miseries, which Adam saw
    Already in part, though hid in gloomiest shade,
    To sorrow abandoned, but worse felt within;
    And, in a troubled sea of passion tost,
    Thus to disburden sought with sad complaint.
    O miserable of happy! Is this the end
    Of this new glorious world, and me so late
    The glory of that glory, who now become
    Accursed, of blessed? hide me from the face
    Of God, whom to behold was then my highth
    Of happiness!--Yet well, if here would end
    The misery; I deserved it, and would bear
    My own deservings; but this will not serve:
    All that I eat or drink, or shall beget,
    Is propagated curse. O voice, once heard
    Delightfully, Encrease and multiply;
    Now death to hear! for what can I encrease,
    Or multiply, but curses on my head?
    Who of all ages to succeed, but, feeling
    The evil on him brought by me, will curse
    My head? Ill fare our ancestor impure,
    For this we may thank Adam! but his thanks
    Shall be the execration: so, besides
    Mine own that bide upon me, all from me
    Shall with a fierce reflux on me rebound;
    On me, as on their natural center, light
    Heavy, though in their place. O fleeting joys
    Of Paradise, dear bought with lasting woes!
    Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
    To mould me Man? did I solicit thee
    From darkness to promote me, or here place
    In this delicious garden? As my will
    Concurred not to my being, it were but right
    And equal to reduce me to my dust;
    Desirous to resign and render back
    All I received; unable to perform
    Thy terms too hard, by which I was to hold
    The good I sought not. To the loss of that,
    Sufficient penalty, why hast thou added
    The sense of endless woes? Inexplicable
    Why am I mocked with death, and lengthened out
    To deathless pain? How gladly would I meet
    Mortality my sentence, and be earth
    Insensible! How glad would lay me down
    As in my mother's lap! There I should rest,
    And sleep secure; his dreadful voice no more
    Would thunder in my ears; no fear of worse
    To me, and to my offspring, would torment me
    With cruel expectation. Yet one doubt
    Pursues me still, lest all I cannot die;
    Lest that pure breath of life, the spirit of Man
    Which God inspired, cannot together perish
    With this corporeal clod; then, in the grave,
    Or in some other dismal place, who knows
    But I shall die a living death? O thought
    Horrid, if true! Yet why? It was but breath
    Of life that sinned; what dies but what had life
    And sin? The body properly had neither,
    All of me then shall die: let this appease
    The doubt, since human reach no further knows.
    For though the Lord of all be infinite,
    Is his wrath also? Be it, Man is not so,
    But mortal doomed. How can he exercise
    Wrath without end on Man, whom death must end?
    Can he make deathless death? That were to make
    Strange contradiction, which to God himself
    Impossible is held; as argument
    Of weakness, not of power. Will he draw out,
    For anger's sake, finite to infinite,
    In punished Man, to satisfy his rigour,
    Satisfied never? That were to extend
    His sentence beyond dust and Nature's law;
    By which all causes else, according still
    To the reception of their matter, act;
    Not to the extent of their own sphere. But say
    That death be not one stroke, as I supposed,
    Bereaving sense, but endless misery
    From this day onward; which I feel begun
    Both in me, and without me; and so last
    To perpetuity;--Ay me!that fear
    Comes thundering back with dreadful revolution
    On my defenceless head; both Death and I
    Am found eternal, and incorporate both;
    Nor I on my part single; in me all
    Posterity stands cursed: Fair patrimony
    That I must leave ye, Sons! O, were I able
    To waste it all myself, and leave ye none!
    So disinherited, how would you bless
    Me, now your curse! Ah, why should all mankind,
    For one man's fault, thus guiltless be condemned,
    It guiltless? But from me what can proceed,
    But all corrupt; both mind and will depraved
    Not to do only, but to will the same
    With me? How can they then acquitted stand
    In sight of God? Him, after all disputes,
    Forced I absolve: all my evasions vain,
    And reasonings, though through mazes, lead me still
    But to my own conviction: first and last
    On me, me only, as the source and spring
    Of all corruption, all the blame lights due;
    So might the wrath! Fond wish!couldst thou support
    That burden, heavier than the earth to bear;
    Than all the world much heavier, though divided
    With that bad Woman? Thus, what thou desirest,
    And what thou fearest, alike destroys all hope
    Of refuge, and concludes thee miserable
    Beyond all past example and future;
    To Satan only like both crime and doom.
    O Conscience! into what abyss of fears
    And horrours hast thou driven me; out of which
    I find no way, from deep to deeper plunged!
    Thus Adam to himself lamented loud,
    Through the still night; not now, as ere Man fell,
    Wholesome, and cool, and mild, but with black air
    Accompanied; with damps, and dreadful gloom;
    Which to his evil conscience represented
    All things with double terrour: On the ground
    Outstretched he lay, on the cold ground; and oft
    Cursed his creation; Death as oft accused
    Of tardy execution, since denounced
    The day of his offence. Why comes not Death,
    Said he, with one thrice-acceptable stroke
    To end me? Shall Truth fail to keep her word,
    Justice Divine not hasten to be just?
    But Death comes not at call; Justice Divine
    Mends not her slowest pace for prayers or cries,
    O woods, O fountains, hillocks, dales, and bowers!
    With other echo late I taught your shades
    To answer, and resound far other song.--
    Whom thus afflicted when sad Eve beheld,
    Desolate where she sat, approaching nigh,
    Soft words to his fierce passion she assayed:
    But her with stern regard he thus repelled.
    Out of my sight, thou Serpent! That name best
    Befits thee with him leagued, thyself as false
    And hateful; nothing wants, but that thy shape,
    Like his, and colour serpentine, may show
    Thy inward fraud; to warn all creatures from thee
    Henceforth; lest that too heavenly form, pretended
    To hellish falshood, snare them! But for thee
    I had persisted happy; had not thy pride
    And wandering vanity, when least was safe,
    Rejected my forewarning, and disdained
    Not to be trusted; longing to be seen,
    Though by the Devil himself; him overweening
    To over-reach; but, with the serpent meeting,
    Fooled and beguiled; by him thou, I by thee
    To trust thee from my side; imagined wise,
    Constant, mature, proof against all assaults;
    And understood not all was but a show,
    Rather than solid virtue; all but a rib
    Crooked by nature, bent, as now appears,
    More to the part sinister, from me drawn;
    Well if thrown out, as supernumerary
    To my just number found. O! why did God,
    Creator wise, that peopled highest Heaven
    With Spirits masculine, create at last
    This novelty on earth, this fair defect
    Of nature, and not fill the world at once
    With Men, as Angels, without feminine;
    Or find some other way to generate
    Mankind? This mischief had not been befallen,
    And more that shall befall; innumerable
    Disturbances on earth through female snares,
    And strait conjunction with this sex: for either
    He never shall find out fit mate, but such
    As some misfortune brings him, or mistake;
    Or whom he wishes most shall seldom gain
    Through her perverseness, but shall see her gained
    By a far worse; or, if she love, withheld
    By parents; or his happiest choice too late
    Shall meet, already linked and wedlock-bound
    To a fell adversary, his hate or shame:
    Which infinite calamity shall cause
    To human life, and houshold peace confound.
    He added not, and from her turned; but Eve,
    Not so repulsed, with tears that ceased not flowing
    And tresses all disordered, at his feet
    Fell humble; and, embracing them, besought
    His peace, and thus proceeded in her plaint.
    Forsake me not thus, Adam! witness Heaven
    What love sincere, and reverence in my heart
    I bear thee, and unweeting have offended,
    Unhappily deceived! Thy suppliant
    I beg, and clasp thy knees; bereave me not,
    Whereon I live, thy gentle looks, thy aid,
    Thy counsel, in this uttermost distress,
    My only strength and stay: Forlorn of thee,
    Whither shall I betake me, where subsist?
    While yet we live, scarce one short hour perhaps,
    Between us two let there be peace; both joining,
    As joined in injuries, one enmity
    Against a foe by doom express assigned us,
    That cruel Serpent: On me exercise not
    Thy hatred for this misery befallen;
    On me already lost, me than thyself
    More miserable! Both have sinned;but thou
    Against God only; I against God and thee;
    And to the place of judgement will return,
    There with my cries importune Heaven; that all
    The sentence, from thy head removed, may light
    On me, sole cause to thee of all this woe;
    Me, me only, just object of his ire!
    She ended weeping; and her lowly plight,
    Immoveable, till peace obtained from fault
    Acknowledged and deplored, in Adam wrought
    Commiseration: Soon his heart relented
    Towards her, his life so late, and sole delight,
    Now at his feet submissive in distress;
    Creature so fair his reconcilement seeking,
    His counsel, whom she had displeased, his aid:
    As one disarmed, his anger all he lost,
    And thus with peaceful words upraised her soon.
    Unwary, and too desirous, as before,
    So now of what thou knowest not, who desirest
    The punishment all on thyself; alas!
    Bear thine own first, ill able to sustain
    His full wrath, whose thou feelest as yet least part,
    And my displeasure bearest so ill. If prayers
    Could alter high decrees, I to that place
    Would speed before thee, and be louder heard,
    That on my head all might be visited;
    Thy frailty and infirmer sex forgiven,
    To me committed, and by me exposed.
    But rise;--let us no more contend, nor blame
    Each other, blamed enough elsewhere; but strive
    In offices of love, how we may lighten
    Each other's burden, in our share of woe;
    Since this day's death denounced, if aught I see,
    Will prove no sudden, but a slow-paced evil;
    A long day's dying, to augment our pain;
    And to our seed (O hapless seed!) derived.
    To whom thus Eve, recovering heart, replied.
    Adam, by sad experiment I know
    How little weight my words with thee can find,
    Found so erroneous; thence by just event
    Found so unfortunate: Nevertheless,
    Restored by thee, vile as I am, to place
    Of new acceptance, hopeful to regain
    Thy love, the sole contentment of my heart
    Living or dying, from thee I will not hide
    What thoughts in my unquiet breast are risen,
    Tending to some relief of our extremes,
    Or end; though sharp and sad, yet tolerable,
    As in our evils, and of easier choice.
    If care of our descent perplex us most,
    Which must be born to certain woe, devoured
    By Death at last; and miserable it is
    To be to others cause of misery,
    Our own begotten, and of our loins to bring
    Into this cursed world a woeful race,
    That after wretched life must be at last
    Food for so foul a monster; in thy power
    It lies, yet ere conception to prevent
    The race unblest, to being yet unbegot.
    Childless thou art, childless remain: so Death
    Shall be deceived his glut, and with us two
    Be forced to satisfy his ravenous maw.
    But if thou judge it hard and difficult,
    Conversing, looking, loving, to abstain
    From love's due rights, nuptial embraces sweet;
    And with desire to languish without hope,
    Before the present object languishing
    With like desire; which would be misery
    And torment less than none of what we dread;
    Then, both ourselves and seed at once to free
    From what we fear for both, let us make short, --
    Let us seek Death; -- or, he not found, supply
    With our own hands his office on ourselves:
    Why stand we longer shivering under fears,
    That show no end but death, and have the power,
    Of many ways to die the shortest choosing,
    Destruction with destruction to destroy? --
    She ended here, or vehement despair
    Broke off the rest: so much of death her thoughts
    Had entertained, as dyed her cheeks with pale.
    But Adam, with such counsel nothing swayed,
    To better hopes his more attentive mind
    Labouring had raised; and thus to Eve replied.
    Eve, thy contempt of life and pleasure seems
    To argue in thee something more sublime
    And excellent, than what thy mind contemns;
    But self-destruction therefore sought, refutes
    That excellence thought in thee; and implies,
    Not thy contempt, but anguish and regret
    For loss of life and pleasure overloved.
    Or if thou covet death, as utmost end
    Of misery, so thinking to evade
    The penalty pronounced; doubt not but God
    Hath wiselier armed his vengeful ire, than so
    To be forestalled; much more I fear lest death,
    So snatched, will not exempt us from the pain
    We are by doom to pay; rather, such acts
    Of contumacy will provoke the Highest
    To make death in us live: Then let us seek
    Some safer resolution, which methinks
    I have in view, calling to mind with heed
    Part of our sentence, that thy seed shall bruise
    The Serpent's head; piteous amends! unless
    Be meant, whom I conjecture, our grand foe,
    Satan; who, in the serpent, hath contrived
    Against us this deceit: To crush his head
    Would be revenge indeed! which will be lost
    By death brought on ourselves, or childless days
    Resolved, as thou proposest; so our foe
    Shal 'scape his punishment ordained, and we
    Instead shall double ours upon our heads.
    No more be mentioned then of violence
    Against ourselves; and wilful barrenness,
    That cuts us off from hope; and savours only
    Rancour and pride, impatience and despite,
    Reluctance against God and his just yoke
    Laid on our necks. Remember with what mild
    And gracious temper he both heard, and judged,
    Without wrath or reviling; we expected
    Immediate dissolution, which we thought
    Was meant by death that day; when lo!to thee
    Pains only in child-bearing were foretold,
    And bringing forth; soon recompensed with joy,
    Fruit of thy womb: On me the curse aslope
    Glanced on the ground; with labour I must earn
    My bread; what harm? Idleness had been worse;
    My labour will sustain me; and, lest cold
    Or heat should injure us, his timely care
    Hath, unbesought, provided; and his hands
    Clothed us unworthy, pitying while he judged;
    How much more, if we pray him, will his ear
    Be open, and his heart to pity incline,
    And teach us further by what means to shun
    The inclement seasons, rain, ice, hail, and snow!
    Which now the sky, with various face, begins
    To show us in this mountain; while the winds
    Blow moist and keen, shattering the graceful locks
    Of these fair spreading trees; which bids us seek
    Some better shroud, some better warmth to cherish
    Our limbs benummed, ere this diurnal star
    Leave cold the night, how we his gathered beams
    Reflected may with matter sere foment;
    Or, by collision of two bodies, grind
    The air attrite to fire; as late the clouds
    Justling, or pushed with winds, rude in their shock,
    Tine the slant lightning; whose thwart flame, driven down
    Kindles the gummy bark of fir or pine;
    And sends a comfortable heat from far,
    Which might supply the sun: Such fire to use,
    And what may else be remedy or cure
    To evils which our own misdeeds have wrought,
    He will instruct us praying, and of grace
    Beseeching him; so as we need not fear
    To pass commodiously this life, sustained
    By him with many comforts, till we end
    In dust, our final rest and native home.
    What better can we do, than, to the place
    Repairing where he judged us, prostrate fall
    Before him reverent; and there confess
    Humbly our faults, and pardon beg; with tears
    Watering the ground, and with our sighs the air
    Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign
    Of sorrow unfeigned, and humiliation meek
    Next Chapter
    Chapter 10
    Previous Chapter
    If you're writing a John Milton essay and need some advice, post your John Milton essay question on our Facebook page where fellow bookworms are always glad to help!

    Top 5 Authors

    Top 5 Books

    Book Status
    Want to read

    Are you sure you want to leave this group?