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THE ARGUMENT.

Of living sapphire, once his native seat; And feel thy sovereign vital lamp; but thou
And fast by, hanging in a golden chain, Revisitest not these eyes, that roll in vain
This pendent world, in bigness as a star To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;
Of smallest magnitude close by the moon. So thick a drop serene hath quenched their orbs,
Thither, full fraught with mischievous revenge, Or dim suffusion veiled. Yet not the more
Accursed, and in a cursed hour, he hies. Cease I to wander, where the muses haunt

Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill,

Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief
BOOK III.

Thee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath,
That wash thy hallowed feet, and warbling flow,

Nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget God, sitting on his throne, sees Satan flying towards this Those other two equalled with me in fate, world, then newly created ; shows him to the Son, who sat at So were I equalled with them in renown, his right hand ; foretells the success of Satan in perverting Blind Thamyris and blind Mæonides, mankind; clears his own justice and wisdom from all impu. tation, having created man free, and able enough to have with. And Tiresias and Phineus, prophets old: stood his tempter; yet declares his purpose of grace towards Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move him, in regard he fell not of his own malice, as did Satan, but Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird by him seduced. The Son of God renders praises to his Fa. ther, for the manifestation of his gracious purpose towards Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid man; but Cod again declares that grace can not be extended Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year towards man without the satisfaction of divine justice; man Seasons return; but not to me returns hath offended the majesty of God by aspiring to Godhead, and, Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn, therefore, with all his progeny, devoted to death, must die, un. Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose less some one can be found sufficient to answer for his offence, Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine; and undergo his punishment. The Son of God freely offers himself a ransom for man: the Father accepts him, ordains But cloud instead, and ever-during dark his incarnation, pronounces his exaltation above all names in Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men Heaven and earth; commands all the angels to adore him; Cut off, and, for the book of knowledge fair they obey, and, hymning to their harps in full choir, cele'srate Presented with a universal blank the Father and the Son. Meanwhile Satan alights upon the of nature's works, to me expunged and razed, bare convex of this world's outermost orb; where wandering, he first finds a place since called the Limba of Vanity: wha! And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out. persons and things fly up thithez ; thence comes to the gate or So much the rather thou, celestial Light, Heaven, described ascending by stairs, and the waters above Shine inward, and the mind through all her power the firmament that flow about it; his passage thence to the Irradiate; there plant eyes, all mist from thence orb of the sun; he finds there Uriel

, the regent of that orb, Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell but first changes hiinself into the shape of a meaner angel; and pretending a zealous desire to behold the new creation, and of things invisible to mortal sight. Inan whom God had placed here, inquires of him the place Now had the almighty Father from above, of his habitation, and is directed : alights first on mount Ni. From the pure empyrean where he sits phates.

High throned above all height, bent down his eye,

His own works and their works at once to view: Hair, holy Light! offspring of Heaven first born! About him all the sanctities of Heaven Or of the eternal coeternal beam

Stood thick as stars, and from his sight received
May I express thee unblamed ? since God is light, Beatitude past utterance; on his right
And never but in unapproached light

The radiant irnage of his glory sat,
Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee, His only Son; on the earth he first beheld
Bright effluence of bright essence increate. Our two first parents, yet the only two
Or hearest thou rather pure ethereal stream. Of mankind, in the happy garden placed,
Whose fountain who shall tell ? Before the sun, Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love,
Before the heavens thou wert, and, at the voice Uninterrupted joy, unrivalled love,
Of God, as with a mantle, didst invest

In blissful solitude; he then surveyed
The rising world of waters dark and deep, Hell and the gulf between, and Satan there
Won from the void and formless infinite. Coasting the wall of Heaven on this side Night
Thee I revisit now with bolder wing,

In the dun air sublime, and ready now
F.scaped the Stygian pool, though long detained To stoop, with wearied wings, and willing feet,
In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight On the bare outside of this world, that seemed

Through utter and through middle darkness borne, Firm land embosomed, without firmament,
With other notes than to the Orphean lyre, Uncertain which, in ocean or in air.
I sung of Chaos and eternal Night,

Him God beholding from his prospect high Taught by the heavenly Muse to venture down Wherein past, present, future he beholds, The dark descent, and up to reascend, Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake. Though hard and rare: thee I revisit safe, “Only begotten Son, seest thou what rage

way

Transports our adversary? whom no bounds Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance
Prescribed, no bars of hell, nor all the chains

filled
Heaped on him there, nor yet the main abyss All Heaven, and in the blessed spirit elect
Wide interrupt can hold; so bent he seems Sense of new joy ineffable diffused:
On desperate revenge, that shall redound Beyond compare the Son of God was seen
Upon his own rebellious head. And now, Most glorious; in him all his Father shone
Through all restraint broke loose, he wings his Substantially expressed; and in his face

Divine compassion visibly appeared,
Nor far off Heaven, in the precincts of light,

Love without end, and without measure grace, Directly towards the new created world, Which uttering, thus he to his Father spake: And man there placed, with purpose to assay “O Father, gracious was that word which If him by force he can destroy, or, worse,

closed By some false guile pervert; and shall pervert: Thy sovereign sentence, that man should find For man will hearken to his glozing lies,

grace And easily transgress the sole command, For which both Heaven and earth shall high exto. Sole pledge of his obedience: so will fall Thy praises, with th' innumerable sound He and his faithless progeny: whose fault ? Of hymns and sacred songs, wherewith thy throne Whose but his own? Ingrate, he had of me Incompassed shall resound thee ever blest. All he could have; I made him just and right, For should man finally be lost, should man, Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall. Thy creature late so loved, thy youngest son Such I created all the ethereal powers

Fall circumvented thus by fraud, though joined And spirits, both them who stood and them who With his own folly? that be from thee far, failed;

That far be from thee, Father, who art judge Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell. Of all things made, and judgest only right. Not free, what proof could they have given sincere Or shall the adversary thus obtain Of true allegiance, constant faith or love, His end, and frustrate thine ? shall he fulfil Where only what they needs must do appeared, His malice, and thy goodness bring to nought, Not what they would ? what praise could they re-Or proud return, though to his heavier doom, ceive?

Yet with revenge accomplished, and to hell What pleasure I from such obedience paid, Draw after him the whole race of mankind, When will and reason (reason also is choice) By him corrupted? or wilt thou thyself Useless and vain, of freedom both despoiled,

Abolish thy creation, and unmake, Made passive both, had served necessity, For him, what for thy glory thou hast made? Not me? They, therefore, as to right belonged So should thy goodness and thy greatness both So were created, nor can justly accuse

| Be questioned and blasphemed without defence.” Their Maker, or their making, or their fate, To whom the great Creator thus replied, As if predestination overruled

“O Son, in whom my soul hath chief delight, Their will, disposed by absolute decree

Son of my bosom, Son who art alone Or high foreknowledge; they themselves decreed My word, my wisdom, and effectual might, Their own revolt, not 1; if I foreknew, All hast thou spoken as my thoughts are, all Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault, As my eternal purpose hath decreed: Which had no less proved certain unforeknown. Man shall not quite be lost, but saved who will; So without least impulse or shadow of fate, Yet not of will in him, but grace in me Or aught by me immutably foreseen,

Freely vouchsafed; once more I will renew They trespass, authors to themselves in all

His lapsed powers, though forfeit and inthralled Both what they judge and what they choose ; for so By sin to foul exorbitant desires; I formed them free, and free they must remain, Upheld by me, yet once more he shall stand Till they inthral themselves; I else must change On even ground against his mortal foe, Their nature, and revoke the high decree By me upheld, that he may know how frail Unchangeable, eternal, which ordained

His fallen condition is, and to me owe Their freedom; they themselves ordained their fall. All his deliverance, and to none but me. The first sort by their own suggestion fell, Some I have chosen of peculiar grace, Self-tempted, self-depraved: man falls, deceived Elect above the rest; so is my will: By the other first: man therefore shall find grace, The rest shall hear me call, and oft be warned The other none: in mercy and justice both, Their sinful state, and to appease betimes Through heaven and earth, so shall my glory ex- Th’incensed Deity, while offered grace cel :

Invites; for I will clear their senses dark, But mercy first and last chall brightest shine.” What may suffice and soften stony hearts

To pray, repent, and bring obedience due. Though now to Death I yield, and am his due
To prayer, repentance, and obedience due, All that of me can die; yet that debt paid
Though but endeavoured with sincere intent, Thou wilt not leave me in the loathsome grave
Mine ear shall not be slow, mine eye not shut. His prey, nor suffer my unspotted soul
And I will place within them as a guide For ever with corruption there to dwell;
My umpire Conscience, whom if they will hear, But I shall rise victorious, and subdue
Light after light well used they shall attain, My vanquisher, spoiled of his vaunted spoil;
And to the end persisting, safe arrive.

Death his death's wound shall then receive, ana
This my long sufferance and my day of grace stoop
They who neglect and scorn shall never taste; Inglorious, of his mortal sting disarmed,
But hard be hardened, blind be blinded more, I through the ample air in triumph high
That they may stumble on, and deeper fall; Shall lead hell captive, maugre hell, and show
And none but such from mercy I exclude. The powers of darkness bound. Thou, at the
But yet all is not done; man disobeying,

sight Disloyal, breaks his fealty, and sins

Pleased, out of Heaven shall look down and Against the high supremacy of Heaven,

smile, Affecting Godhead, and, so losing all,

While, by thee raised, I ruin all my foes, To expiate his treason hath naught left,

Death last, and with his carcass glut the grave: But to destruction sacred and devote,

Then with the multitude of my redeemed He with his whole posterity must die,

Shall enter Heaven, long absent, and return, Die he or justice must: unless for him

Father, to see thy face, wherein no cloud Some other able, and as willing, pay

Of anger shall remain, but peace assured The rigid satisfaction, death for death.

And reconcilement: wrath shall be no more Say, heavenly powers, where shall we find such Thenceforth, but in thy presence joy entire.” love?

His words here ended, but his meek aspect Which of ye will be mortal to redeem

Silent yet spake, and breathed immortal love Man's mortal crime, and just th’unjust to save ? To mortal men, above which only shone Dwells in all heaven charity so dear ?"

Filial obedience: as a sacrifice He asked, but all the heavenly choir stood Glad to be offered, he attends the will mute,

Of his great Father. Admiration seized And silence was in Heaven; on man's behalf All Heaven, what this might mean, and whither Patron or intercessor none appeared,

tend, Much less that durst upon his own head draw Wondering; but soon th’ Almighty thus replied. The deadly forfeiture, and ransom set.

“O thou, in Heaven and earth the only peace And now without redemption all mankind Found out for mankind under wrath! O thou, Must have been lost, adjudged to death and hell My sole complacence! well thou knowest how By doom severe, had not the Son of God

dear In whom the fulness dwells of love divine, To me are all my works, nor man the least, His dearest mediation thus renewed.

Though last created; that for him I spare “Father, thy word is past, man shall find grace; Thee from my bosom and right hand, to save, And shall grace not find means, that finds her By losing thee awhile, the whole race lost. way,

Thou, therefore, whom thou only canst redeem, The speediest of thy winged messengers, Their nature also to thy nature join; To visit all thy creatures, and to all

And be thyself man among men on earth, Comes unprevented, unimplored, unsought? Made flesh, when time shall be, of virgin seed, Happy for man, so coming; he her aid

By wondrous birth: be thou, in Adam's room, Can never seek, once dead in sins, and lost; The head of all mankind, though Adam's soil Atonement for himself or offering meet,

As in him perish all men, so in thee, Indebted and undone, hath none to bring: As from a second root, shall be restored Behold me then; me for him; life for life As many as are restored, without thee none. I offer; on me let thine anger fall;

His crime makes guilty all his sons; thy merit, Account me man; I for his sake will leave Imputed, shall absolve them who renounce Thy bosom, and this glory next to thee

Their own both righteous and unrighteous deeds, Freely put off, and for him lastly die

And live in thee transplanted, and from thee Well pleased; on me let Death wreak all his Receive new life. So man, as is most just, rage;

Shall satisfy for man, be judged and die, Under his gloomy power I shall not long And dying rise, and rising with him raise Lie vanquished; thou hast given me to possess His brethren, ransomed with his own dear life. Life in myself for ever: by thee I live.

So heavenly love shall outdo hellish hate.

Giving to death, and dying to redeem,

To Heaven removed, where first it grew, there So dearly to redeem what hellish hate

grows, So easily destroyed, and still destroys

And flowers, aloft, shading the fount of life, In those who, when they may, accept not grace. And where the river of bliss through midst of Nor shalt thou, by descending to assume

Heaven Man's nature, lessen or degrade thine own. Rolls o'er Elysian flowers her amber stream: Because thou hast, though throned in highest bliss With these that never fade the spirits elect Equal to God, and equally enjoying

Bind their resplendent locks inwreathed with Godlike fruition, quitted all to save

beams; A world from utter loss, and hast been found Now in loose garlands thick thrown off, the bright By merit more than birthright Son of God, Pavement, that like a sea of jasper shone, Found worthiest to be so by being good, Impurpled with celestial roses smiled. Far more than great or high; because in thee Then, crowned again, their golden harps they took, Love hath abounded more than glory abounds; Harps ever tuned, that, glittering by their side, Therefore thy humiliation shall exalt

Like quivers hung, and with preamble sweet With thee thy manhood also to this throne: Of charming symphony they introduce Here shalt thou sit incarnate, here shalt reign Their sacred song, and waken raptures high; Both God and man, Son both of God and man, No voice exempt, no voice but well could join Anointed universal King; all power

Melodious part, such concord is in Heaven. I give thee ; reign for ever, and assume

Thee, Father, first they sung, omnipotent, Thy merits ; under thee, as head supreme, Immutable, immortal, infinite, Thrones, princedoms, powers, dominions I reduce: Eternal King; the Author of all being, All knees to thee shall bow, of them that bide Fountain of light, thyself invisible In Heaven, or earth, or under earth in hell. Amidst the glorious brightness where thou sittest When thou, attended gloriously from Heaven, Throned inaccessible, but when thou shadest Shalt in the sky appear, and from thee send The full blaze of thy beams, and through a cloud The summoning archangels to proclaim Drawn round about thee like a radiant shrine, Thy dread tribunal, forthwith from all winds Dark with excessive bright thy skirts appear, The living, and forthwith the cited dead Yet dazzle Heaven, that brightest seraphim Of all past ages to the general doom

Approach not, but with both wings veil their eyes, Shall hasten, such a peal shall rouse their sleep. Thee next they sang, of all creation first, Then, all thy saints assembled, thou shalt judge Begotten Son, divine similitude, Bad men and angels ; they, arraigned, shall sink In whose conspicuous countenance, without cloud Beneath thy sentence; hell, her numbers full, Made visible, the Almighty Father shines, Thenceforth shall be for ever shut. Meanwhile Whom else no creature can behold; on thee The world shall burn, and from her ashes spring Impressed the effulgence of his glory abides, New Heaven and earth, wherein the just shall Transfused on thee his ample spirit rests. dwell,

He Heaven of Heavens, and all the powers And, after all their tribulations long,

therein, See golden days, fruitful of golden deeds, By thee created, and by thee threw down With joy and love triumphing, and fair truth. The aspiring dominations: thou that day Then thou thy regal sceptre shalt lay by, Thy Father's dreadful thunder didst not spare, For regal sceptre then no more shall need, Nor stop thy flaming chariot wheels, that shook God shall be all in all. But, all ye gods, Heaven's everlasting frame, while o'er the necks Adore him, who to compass all this dies; Thou drovest of warring angels disarrayed. Adore the Son, and honour him as me.” Back from pursuit thy powers with loud acclaim

No sooner had the Almighty ceased, but all Thee only extolled, Son of thy Father's might, The multitude of angels, with a shout

To execute fierce vengeance on his foes. Loud as from numbers without number, sweet Not so on man; him, through their malice fallen, As from blest voices, uttering joy, Heaven rung Father of mercy and grace, thou didst not doom With jubilee, and loud hosannas filled So strictly, but much more to pity incline: The eternal regions: lowly reverent

No sooner did thy dear and only Son Towarus either throne they bow, and to the ground Perceive thee purposed not to doom frail man With solemn adoration down they cast So strictly, but much more to pity inclined, Their crowns inwove with amaranth and gold; He, to appease thy wrath, and end the strife Immortal amaranth, a flower which once Of mercy and justice in thy face discerned, In Paradise, fast by the tree of life,

Regardless of the bliss wherein he sat Began to bloom; but soon for man's offence Second to thee, offered himself to die

For man's offence. O unexampled love, Of Sennaar, and still with vain design
Love no where to be found less than divine! New Babels, had they wherewithal would build:
Hail, Son of God, Saviour of men ! thy name Others came single: he who, to be deemed
Shall be the copious matter of my song

A god, leaped fondly into Ætna flames,
Henceforth, and never shall my harp thy praise Empedocles; and he who, to enjoy
Forget, nor from thy Father's praise disjoin. Plato's elysium, leaped into the sea,

Thus they in Heaven, above the starry sphere, Cleombrotus; and many more too long, Their happy hours in joy and hymning spent. Embryos, and idiots, eremites, and friars Meanwhile upon the firm opacious globe White, black, and gray, with all their trumpery Of this round world, whose first convex divides Here pilgrims roam, that strayed so far to seek Their luminous inferior orbs, inclosed

In Golgotha him dead, who lives in Heaven; From Chaos and th' inroad of Darkness old, And they who, to be sure of Paradise, Satan alighted walks: a globe far off

Dying put on the weeds of Dominic, It seemed, now seems a boundless continent, Or in Franciscan think to pass disguised; Dark, waste, and wild, under the frown of Night They pass the planets seven, and pass the fixed, Starless exposed, and ever-threatening storms And crystalline sphere, whose balance weighs Of Chaos blustering round, inclement sky; The trepidation talked, and that first moved : Save on that side which from the wall of Heaven, And now saint Peter at Heaven's wicket seems Though distant far, some small reflection gains To wait them with his keys, and now at foot Of glimmering air, less vexed with tempest loud : Of Heaven's ascent they list their feet, when lo Here walked the fiend at large in spacious field. A violent cross wind from either coast As when a vulture, on Imaus bred,

Blows them transverse ten thousand leagues awry Whose snowy ridge the roving Tartar bounds, Into the devious air; then might ye see Dislodging from a region scarce of prey

Cowls, hoods, and habits, with their wearers tost To gorge the flesh of lambs or yearling kids, And fluttered into rags; then reliques, beads, On hills where flocks are fed, flies towards the Indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls, springs

The sport of winds: all these, upwhirled aloft, Of Ganges or Hydaspes, Indian streams; Fly o'er the backside of the world far off But in his way lights on the barren plains Into a limbo large and broad, since called Of Sericana, where Chineses drive

The Paradise of fools, to few unknown With sails and wind their cany wagons light; Long after, now unpeopled, and untrod. So, on this windy sea of land, the fiend

All this dark globe the fiend found as he passed, Walked up and down alone, bent on his prey; And long he wandered till at last a gleam Alone, for other creature in this place,

Of dawning light turned thitherward in haste Living or lifeless to be found was none; His travelled steps: far distant he descries, None yet, but store hereafter from the earth Ascending by degrees magnificent Up bither like aerial vapours flew

Up to the wall of Heaven, a structure high; Of all things transitory and vain, when sin At top whereof, but far more rich, appeared With vanity had filled the works of men; The work as of a kingly palace gate, Both all things vain, and all who in vain things With frontispicce of diamond and gold Built their fond hopes of glory or lasting fame, Embellished; thick with sparkling orient gems Or happiness in this or the other life;

The portal shone, inimitable on earth All who have their reward on earth, the fruits By model, or by shading pencil drawn. Of painful superstition and blind zeal,

The stairs were such as whereon Jacob saw Nought seeking but the praise of men, here find Angels ascending and descending, bands Fit retribution, empty as their deeds;

Of guardians bright, when he from Esau fled All the unaccomplished works of Nature's hand, To Padan-Aram, in the field of Luz Abortive, monstrous, or unkindly mixed, Dreaming by night under the open sky, Dissolved on earth, fleet hither, and in vain, And waking cried, " This is the gate of Heaven." Till final dissolution wander here,

Each stair mysteriously was meant, nor stood Not in the neighb'ring moon, as some have There always, but drawn up to Heaven sometimes dreamed:

Viewless; and underneath a bright sea flowed Those argent fields more likely habitants, Of jasper, or of liquid pearl, whereon Translated saints, or middle spirits, hold Who after came from earth, sailing arrived Betwixt the angelical and human kind. Wafted by angels, or flew o'er the lake Hither, of ill-joined sons and daughters born, Rapt in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds. First from the ancient world those giants came The stairs were then let down, whether to dare With many a vain exploit though then renowned : The fiend by easy ascent, or aggravate The builders next of Babel on the plain

His sad exclusion from the doors of bliss ;

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