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PARADISE LOST.

BOOK I.

THE ARGUMENT.

This first book proposes, first in brief, the whole subject, Man's disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise wherein he was plac'd: 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 com mand of God driven out of Heaven with all his crew into the great deep. Which action passed over, the poem hastens into the midst of things, presenting Satan with his Angels now fallen into hell, not in the center (for Heaven and Earth may be suppos'd as yet not made, certainly not yet accurs'd) but in a place of utter darkness, fitliest called Chaos: Here Satan with his Angels lying on the burning lake, thunder struck and astonish'd, 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 opmion 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..

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E Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden Tree, whose mortal taste

Brought death into the world, and all our woe, -
With loss of Eden, till one greater Mån›
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
Sing, heav'nly Muse, that on the sacred top-
of Ored or of Sinai, didst inspire

That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed,

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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
Invok'd thy aid to my advent'rous song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above the Aonian mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme..
And chiefly Thou O Spi'rit, that dost prefer
Before all temples th' upright heart and pure,

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Instruct me, for Thou know'st: Thou from the first

Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread
Dove like set'st brooding on the vast abyss,
And mad'st it pregnant ; what in me is dark
Illumine, what is low raise and support;

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That to the height of this great argument.

I may assert eternal Providence,

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And justify the ways of God to men.

Say first, for Heav'n hides nothing from thy view,

Nor the deep tract of Hell, say first what cause

Mov'd our grand parents, in that happy state,

Favor'd of Heav'n so highly, to fall off

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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,.

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He trusted to have equall'd the Most High,

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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 th' ethereal sky,
With hideous ruin and combustion, down
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell

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In adamantine chains and penal fire,

Who durst defy th' Omnipotent to arms.

Nine mes the space that measures day and night

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To mortal men, he with his horrid crew

Lay vanquish'd rolling in the frery gulf,

Confounded though immortal: But his doom

Reserv'd him to more wrath; for now the thought
Both of lost happiness and lasting pain

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Torments him; round he throws his baleful eyes,

That witness'd huge affliction and dismay,

Mix'd with obdurate pride and stedfast hate :-
At once, as far as angels ken, he views.
The dismal situation waste and wild;
A dungeon horrible on all sides round

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As one great furnace flam'd, yet from those flames
No light, but rather darkness visible.
Serv'd only to discover sights of woe;

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Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where Peace
And Rest can never dwell, Hope never comes
That comes to all; but torture without end.
Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed

With ever burning sulphur unconsum'd:
Such place eternal Justice had prepar'd
For those rebellious, here their pris'on ordain'd
In utter darkness, and their portion set
As far remov'd from God and light of Heav'n
As from the center thrice to th❜utmost pole.
O how unlike the place from whence they-fell!
There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelm'd
With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire,
He soon discerns, and welt'ring by his side

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One next himself in pow'r and next in crime,

Long after known in Palestine, and nam'd
Beelzebub. To whom th' Arch enemy,

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And thence in heav'n call'd Satan, with bold words
Breaking the horrid silence thus began..
If thou beest he; but Q how fall'n

how chang'd

From him who in the happy realms of Light

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Cloth'd with transcendant brightness didst outshine

Myriads though bright! If he whom mutual league,
United thoughts and counsels, equal hope

And hazard in the glorious enterprise,

Join'd with me once, now misery hath join'd

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In equal ruin : Into what pit thou seest

From what height fall'n, so much the stronger prov'd

He with his thunder; and till then who knew
The force of those dire arms? Yet not for those,
Nor what the potent Victor in his rage
Can else inflict, do I repent or change,

Though chang'd in outward lustre, that fix'd mind,
And high disdain from sense of injur'd merit,
That with the mightiest rais'd me to contend,
And to the fierce contention brought along
Innumerable force of spirits arm'd,

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That durst dislike his reign, and me preferring,

His utmost pow'r with adverse pow'r oppos'd

In dubious battle on the plains of Heav'n,

And shook his throne. What though the field be lost?

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All is not lost; th' unconquerable will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield,
And what is else not to be overcome ;:
That glory never shall his wrath or might
Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace
With suppliant knee, and deify his power,
Who from the terror of this arm so late
Doubted his empire; that were low indeed,
That were an ignominy' and shame beneath
This downfall; since by fate the strength of gods
And this empyreal substance cannot fail,
Since through experience of this great event
In arms not worse, in foresight much advanc'd,
We may with more successful hope resolve
To wage by force or guile eternal war,
Irreconcilable to our grand Foe,

Who now triumphs, and in th' excess of joy
Sole reigning holds the tyranny of Heaven.

So spake th' apostate angel, though in pain,
Vaunting aloud, but rack'd with deep despair:
And him thus answer'd soon his bold compeer.
O prince, O chief of many throned powers,
That led th' embattl'd seraphim to war
Under thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds
Fearless, endanger'd Heav'n's perpetual King,
And put to proof his high supremacy,

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Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate :
Too well I see and rue the dirc event,

That with sad overthrow and foul defeat

Hath lost us Heav'n, and all this mighty host.
In horrible destruction laid thus low,

As far as gods and heav'nly essences

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Can perish For the mind and spir'it remains
Invincible, and vigor soon returns,

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Though all our glory' extinct, and happy state

Here swallow'd up in endless misery.

But what if he our conq'ror (whom I now

Of force believe almighty, since no less

Than such could have o'erpow'red such force as ours)
Have left us this our spir'it and strength entire
Strongly to suffer and support our pains,
That we may so suffice his vengeful ire,
Or do him mightier service as his thralls
By right of war, whate'er his bus'ness be,
Here in the heart of Hell to work in fire,
Or do his errands in the gloomy deep;
What can it then avail, though yet we feel
Strength undiminish'd, or eternal being
To undergo eternal punishment ?

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Whereto with speedy words th' Arch fiend reply'd.

Fall'n Cherub, to be weak is miserable

Doing or suffering: But of this be sure,

To do ought good never will be our task,
But ever to do ill our soul delight,
As be'ing the contrary to his high will
Whom we resist. If then his providence
Out of our evil seek to bring forth good,
Our labor must be to prevent that end,
And out of good still to find means of evil :
Which oft times may succeed, so as perhaps
Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb
His inmost counsels from their destin'd aim.

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But see the angry victor hath recall'd
His ministers of vengeance and pursuit

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Back to the gates of Heav'n: The sulph'rous hail

Shot after us in storm, o'erblown hath laid
The fiery surge that from the precipice

Of Heav'n receiv'd us falling; and the thunder,
Wing'd with red light'ning and impetuous rage,
Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now

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