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Following his track, such was the will of Heaven,
Pav'd after him a broad and beaten way
Over the dark abyss, whose boiling gulf


Tamely endur'd a bridge of wond'rous length

From Hell continued reaching th' utmost orb

Of this frail world; by which the Spi'rits perverse ·
With easy intercourse pass to and fro


To tempt and punish mortals, except whom
God and good Angels guard by special grace.
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,
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 th' empyreal Heav'n, extended wide
In circuit, undetermin'd square or round,
With opal tow'rs and battlements adorn'd
Of living sapphire, once his native seat ;
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,
Accurs'd, and in a cursed hour he hies.






God sitting on his throne sees Satan flying towards this world, then newly created; shews him to the Son who sat at his right hand; foretels 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 hima 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 must 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;

mands all the Angels to adore him; they obey, and hymning to their harps in full quire, celebrate the Father and the Son. Mean while 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 himself into the shape of a meaner Angel; and pretending a zealous desire to behold the new creation and Man 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 Heav'n first born,

Or of th' Eternal coeternal beam

May I express thee' unblam'd? Since God is light,
And never but in unapproached light

Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee,

Bright effluence of bright essence increate.


Or hears't thou rather pure ethereal stream,
Whose fountain who shall tell? Before the sun,
Before the Heav'ns 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,

Escap'd the Stygian pool, though long detain'd

In that obscure sojourn, white in my flight


Through utter and through middle darkness borne
With other notes than to the Orpkean lyre
sung of Chaos and eternal Night,


Taught by the heav'nly Muse to venture down
The dark descent, and up to reascend,
Though hard and rare: Thee I revisit safe,
And feel thy sov'reign 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 quench'd their orbs,
Or dim suffusion veil'd. Yet not the more
Cease I to wander, where the Muscs haunt
Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny bill,
Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief
Thee, Zion, and the flow'ry brooks bereath,
That wash thy hallow'd feet, and warbling flow,
Nightly I visit: Nor sometimes forget
Those other two equal'd with me in fate,
So were I equal'd with them in renown,
Blind Thamyris and blind Mæonides,
And Tiresias and Phineas prophets old :
Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move
Harmonious numbers, as the wakeful bird
Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid
Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the
Seasons return, but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of ev'n or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But cloud instead, and ever during dark
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair
Presented with and universal blank








So much the rather thou, celestial Light,

Of nature's works to me expung’d and raz’d,
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.

Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers


Irradiate, there plant eyes, all mist from thence

Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell

Of things invisible to mortal sight.


Now had th' almighty Father from above,

From the pure empyrean where he sits

High thron'd above all height, bent down his eye,

His own works and their works at once to view :
About him all the Sanctities of Heav'n


Stood thick as stars, and from his sight receiv'd
Beatitude past utterance; on his right
The radiant image of his glory sat,
His only Son; on earth he first beheld
Our two first parents, yet the only two
Of mankind, in the happy garden plac'd,
Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love,
Uninterrupted joy, unrival'ď love.
In blissful solitude; he then survey'd
Hell and the gulf between, and Satan there
Coasting the wall of Heav'n on this side Night
In the dun air sublime, and ready now

To stoop with wearied wings and willing feet
On the bare outside of this world, that seem'd
Firm land embosom'd, without firmament,
Uncertain which, in ocean or in air.
Him God beholding from his prospect high,
Wherein past, present, future he beholds,
Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake.

Only begotten Son, seest thou what rage
Transports our Adversary? Whom no bounds
Prescrib'd, no bars of Hell, nor all the chains
Heap'd on him there, nor yet the main abyss
Wide interrupt can hold; so bent he seems
On desperate revenge, that shall redound
Upon his own rebellious head. And now
Through all restraint broke loose he wings his way
Not far of Heav'n, in the precincts of light,
Directly tow'rds the new created world,
And Man there plac'd, wish purpose to essay







If him by force he can destroy, or worse,
By some false guile pervert; and shall pervert,
For Man will hearken to his glozing lies,
And easily transgress the sole command,
Sole pledge of his obedience : So will fall,
He and his faithless progeny: Whose fault?
Whose but his own? Ingrate, he had of me
All he could have; I made him just and right,
Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.

And spirits, both them who stood and them who fail'd ;

Such I created all th' ethereal powers

Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell.

Not free, what proof could they have giv'n sincere

Of true allegiance, constant faith or love,

Where only what they needs must do appear'd,




Not what they would? What praise could they receive? ·
What pleasure I from such obedience paid,
When will and reason (reason also' is choice),
Useless and vain, of freedom bath despoil'd,..
Made passive both, had serv'd necessity.


Not me! They therefore as to right belong'd,
So were created, nor can justly accuse

Their maker, or their making, or their fate,.
As if predestination over rul'd

Their will, dispos'd by absolute decree


Or high foreknowledge; they themselves decreed:

Their own revolt, not I; if I foreknew,

Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault,
Which had no less prov'd certain unføre known,
So without least impulse or shadow' of fate,
Or ought by me immutably foreseen,
They trespass, authors to themselves in all

Both what they judge and what they choose; for so

I form'd them free, and free they must remain,


Till they enthrall themselves; I else must change 125, Their nature, and revoke the high decree

Unchangeable, eternal, which ordain'd

Their freedom, they themselves ordain'd their fall.

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The first sort by their own suggestion fell,
Self tempted, self deprav'd: Man falls, deceiv'd
By th' other first: Man therefore shall find grace,
The other none: In mercy' and justice both,


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