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Satan And Spirits of this nethermost Abyss,

and Chaos and ancient Night, I come no spy 970 Chaos With

purpose to explore or to disturb
The secrets of your realm; but, by constraint
Wandering this darksome desert, as my way
Lies through your spacious empire up to light,
Alone and without guide, half lost, I seek,
What readiest path leads where your gloomy

bounds
Confine with Heaven ; or, if some other place,
From
your
dominion

won,

the Ethereal King
Possesses lately, thither to arrive
I travel this profound. Direct my course : 980
Directed, no mean recompense it brings
To your behoof, if I that region lost,
All usurpation thence expelled, reduce
To her original darkness and your sway
(Which is my present journey), and once more
Èrect the standard there of ancient Night.
Yours be the advantage all, mine the revenge!'

Thus Satan; and him thus the Anarch old,
With faltering speech and visage incomposed,
Answered:- I know thee, stranger, who thou

art

991

That mighty leading Angel, who of late
Made head against Heaven's King, though

overthrown.
I saw and heard; for such a numerous host
Fled not in silence through the frighted Deep,
With ruin upon ruin, rout on rout,
Confusion worse confounded; and Heaven-gates
Poured out by millions her victorious bands,
Pursuing. I upon my frontiers here
Keep residence; if all I can will serve

1000 Satan

That little which is left so to defend,
Encroached on still through our intestine broils with diffi-
Weakening the sceptre of old Night: first, Hell

, moves on
Your dungeon, stretching far and wide beneath;
Now lately Heaven and Earth, another world
Hung o'er my realm, linked in a golden chain
To that side Heaven from whence your legions

fell !
If that way be your walk, you have not far;
So much the nearer danger. Go, and speed ;
Havoc, and spoil, and ruin, are my gain.

He ceased; and Satan staid not to reply, 1010
But, glad that now his sea should find a shore,
With fresh alacrity and force renewed
Springs upward, like a pyramid of fire,
Into the wild expanse, and through the shock
Of fighting elements, on all sides round
Environed, wins his way; harder beset
And more endangered than when Argo passed
Through Bosporus betwixt the justling rocks,
Or when Ulysses on the larboard shunned
Charybdis, and by the other whirlpool steered. 1020
So he with difficulty and labour hard
Moved on.

With difficulty and labour he ;
But, he once passed, soon after, when Man fell,
Strange alteration! Sin and Death amain,
Following his track (such was the will of

Heaven)
Paved after him a broad and beaten way
Over the dark Abyss, whose boiling gulf
Tamely endured a bridge of wondrous length,
From Hell continued, reaching the utmost Orb
Of this frail World; by which the Spirits per-

verze

1030

A glim. With easy intercourse pass to and fro
mering To tempt or punish mortals, except whom
dawn of God and good Angels guard by special grace.
light

But now at last the sacred influence
Of light appears,

and from the walls of Heaven
Shoots far into the bosom of dim Night
A glimmering dawn. Here Nature first begins
Her farthest verge, and Chaos to retire,
As from her outmost works, a broken foe,
With tumult less and with less hostile din ; 1040
That Satan with less toil, and now with ease,
Wafts on the calmer wave by dubious light,
And, like a weather-beaten vessel, holds
Gladly the port, though shrouds and tackle torn;
Or in the emptier waste, resembling air,
Weighs his spread wings, at leisure to behold
Far off the empyreal Heaven, extended wide
In circuit, undetermined square or round,
With opal towers and battlements adorned
Of living sapphire, once his native seat, 1050
And, fast by, hanging in a golden chain,
This pendent World, in bigness as a star
Of smallest magnitude close by the moon.
Thither, full fraught with mischievous revenge,
Accurst, and in a cursed hour, he hies.

THE END OF THE SECOND BOOK

PARADISE LOST

BOOK III

THE ARGUMENT

God, sitting on his throne, sees Satan Aying towards this World, then newly created ; shows him to the Son, who sat at his right hand ; foretells the success of Satan in perverting mankind ; clears his own justice and wisdom from all imputation, having created Man free, and able enough to have withstood his Tempter ; yet declares his purpose of grace towards him, in regard he fell not of his own malice, as did Satan, but by him seduced. The Son of God renders praises to his Father for the manifestation of his gracious purpose towards Man: but God again declares that grace cannot be extended towards Man without the satisfaction of Divine Justice ; Man hath offended the majesty of God by aspiring to Godhead, and therefore, with all his progeny, devoted to death, niust die, unless some one can be found sufficient to answer for his offence, and undergo his punishment. The Son of God freely offers himself a ransom for Man : the Father accepts him, ordains his incarnation, pronounces his exaltation above all names in Heaven and Earth ; commands all the Angels to adore him. They obey, and, hymning to their harps in full quire, celebrate the Father and the Son. Meanwhile Satan alights upon the bare convex of this World's outermost orb; where wandering he first finds a place since called the Limbo of Vanity ; what persons and things fly up thither : thence comes to the gate of Heaven, described ascending by stairs, and the waters above the firmament that flow about it. His passage thence to the orb of the Sun: he finds there Uriel, the regent of that orb, but first changes

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Hail, himself into the shape of a meaner Angel, and, pretend

holy ing a zealous desire to behold the new Creation, and Man Light! whom God had placed here, inquires of him the place of

his habitation, and is directed : Alights first on Mount
Niphates.
Hail, holy Light, offspring of Heaven first-born!
Or of the Eternal coeternal beam
May I express thee unblamed ? since God is

light,
And never but in unapproached light
Dwelt from eternity-dwelt then in thee,
Bright effluence of bright essence increate !
Or hear'st thou rather

pure

Ethereal stream,
Whose fountain who shall tell? Before the Sun,
Before the Heavens, thou wert, and at the voice
Of God, as with a mantle, didst invest
The rising World of waters dark and deep,
Won from the void and formless Infinite !
Thee I revisit now with bolder wing,
Escaped the Stygian Pool, though long detained
In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight,
Through utter and through middle Darkness

borne,
With other notes than to the Orphean lyre
I sung of Chaos and eternal Night,
Taught by the Heavenly Muse to venture down
The

dark descent, and up to re-ascend,
Though hard and rare. Thee I revisit safe,
And feel thy sovran vital lamp; but thou
Revisit’st not these eyes, that roll in vain
To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn ;
So thick a drop serene hath quenched their orbs,
Or dim suffusion veiled. Yet not the more
Cease I to wander where the Muses haunt

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