תמונות בעמוד

So that no room is here for writers left,
But to detect their ignorance, or theft.

That majesty which through thy work doth reign,
Draws the devout, deterring the profane:
And things divine thou treat'st of in such state,
As them préserves, and thee inviolate.
At once delight and horror on us seize,
Thou sing'st with so much gravity and ease; .

With plume so strong, so equal, and so soft ;
The bird nam’d from that Paradise you sing
So never flags, but always keeps on wing.

Where couldst thou words of such a compass find ?
Whence furnish such a vast expanse of mind?
Just Heav’n thee, like Tiresias, to requite,
Rewards with prophecy thy loss of sight.

Well might'st thou scorn thy readers to allure
With tinkling rhyme of thy own sense secure;
While the town-hoy writes all the while and spells,
And, like a pack horse, tires without his bells :
Their fancies like our bushy points appear,
The poets tag them, we for fashion wear.
I too transported by the mode commend,
And while I mean to praise thee, must offend.
Thy verse created like thy theme sublime,
In number, weight, and measure, needs not rhyme.





This first hook proposes first (in brief) the whole subject, Man's disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise wherein he was placed; then touches the prime cause of his fall—the Serpent, or rather Satan in the serpent; who, revolting from God, and drawing to his side many legions of Angels, was, by the command of God, driven out of Heaven, with all his crew, into the great deep. Whịch action passed over, the poem hastes into the midst of things; presenting Satan with his Angels now fallen into Hell, described here not in the centre (for Heaven and Earth may be supposed as yet not made, certainly not yet accursed) but in a place of utter darkness, fitliest called Chaos: here Satan, with his Angels lying on the burning lake, thunderstruck and astonished, after a certain space recovers, as from confusion, calls up him who next in order and dignity lay by him; they confer of their miserable fall. Satan awakens all his legions, who lay till then in the same manner confounded : they rise, their numbers, array of battle, their chief leaders named, according to the idols known afterwards in Canaan, and the countries adjoining. To these Satan directs his speech; comforts them with hope yet of regaining Heaven; but tells them, lastly, of a new world and new kind of creature to be created, according to an ancient prophecy or report in Heaven ; (for that Angels were long before this visible creation was the opinion of many ancient Fathers.) To find out the truth of this prophecy, and what to determine thereon, he refers to a full council. What his associates thence attempt. Pandemonium, the palace of Satan, rises, suddenly built out of the deep; the infernal peers there sit in council.



OF Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose inortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
Sing, heavenly Muse, that on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed,
In the beginning how the Heav'ns and Earth
Rose out of Chaos! Or, if Sion hill
Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook, that flow'd
Fast by the oracle of God; I thence
Invoke thy aid to my advent'rous song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above th’ Aonian mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.
And chiefly Thou, 0 Spi'rit that dost prefer
Before all temples th' upright heart and pure,
Instruct me, for Thou know'st; Thou from the first
Was present, and with mighty wings outspread,
Dove-like, sat'st brooding on the vast abyss,
And mad'st it pregnant: what in me is dark,
Illumine; what is low, raise and support;
That to the height of this great argument
I may assert eternal Providence, ..
And justify the ways'of God to men.

Say first ; for Heaven hides nothing from thy view, .


Nor the deep tract of Hell; say first what cause
Moved our grand parents, in that happy state,
Favour'd of Heav'n so highly, to fall off
From their Creator, and transgress his will
For one restraint, lords of the world besides ?
Who first seduc'd them to that foul revolt ?
Th'infernal Serpent; he it was whose guile,
Stirr'd up with envy and revenge, deceiv'd
The mother of mankind, what time his pride
Had cast him out from Heav'n with all his host
Of rebel Angels, by whose aid aspiring
To set himself in glory' above his peers,
He trusted to have equall’d the Most High,
If he oppos'd ; and with ambitious aim
against the throne and monarchy of God,
Rais'd impious war in Heav'n, and battle proud
With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power
Hurl'd headlong flaming from the etherial sky,
With hideous ruin and combustion, down
ar bottomless perdition, there to dwell n
In adamantine chains and penal fire,
Who durst defy th’ Omnipotent to arms.
Nine times the space that measures day and night
To mortal men, he with his horrid crew
Lay vanquish’d, rolling in the fiery gulf,
Confounded, though immortal: but his doom
Reserv'd him to more wrath; for now the thought
Both of lost happiness and lasting pain
Torments him; round he throws his baleful eyes,
That witness'd huge affliction and dismay,
Mix'd with obdurate pride and steadfast hate :
At once, as far as Angels ken, he views
The dismal situation waste and wild ;
A dungeon horrible on all sides round
As one great furnace flam'd; yet from those flames
No light, but rather darkness visible
Sery'd only to discover sights of woe,



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