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THIS First Book 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. Which action passed over, the poem hastens 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, thunder-struck 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 hopes 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.

7F Man's first disobedience and the fruit Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal


Brought death into the World and all our

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 heavens and earth
Rose out of Chaos. Or, if Sion hill

Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flowed
Fast by the oracle of God, I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventrous song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above the Aonian mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in prose or rime.


And chiefly thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer Before all temples the upright heart and pure, Instruct me, for thou knowest; thou from the first Wast present, and, with mighty wings outspread, 20 Dovelike satest brooding on the vast Abyss, And madest it pregnant. What in me is dark Illumine, what is low raise and support; That, to the highth 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,
Favoured of Heaven so highly, to fall off
From their Creator, and transgress his will,
For one restraint lords of the world besides;
Who first seduced them to that foul revolt.
The infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile,
Stirred up with envy and revenge, deceived
The mother of mankind, what time his pride
Had cast him out from Heaven, with all his host
Of rebel Angels, by whose aid, aspiring
To set himself in glory above his peers,
He trusted to have equalled the Most High,
If he opposed; and with ambitious aim
Against the throne and monarchy of God
Raised impious war in Heaven and battle proud,
With vain attempt. Him the almighty Power
Hurled headlong flaming from the ethereal sky,
With hideous ruin and combustion, down
To bottomless perdition; there to dwell,
In adamantine chains and penal fire,
Who durst defy the Omnipotent to arms.




Nine times the space that measures day and night
To mortal men, he with his horrid crew
Lay, vanquished, rolling in the fiery gulf,
Confounded though immortal. But his doom
Reserved him to more wrath; for now the thought
Both of lost happiness and lasting pain

Torments him. Round he throws his baleful eyes,
That witnessed huge affliction and dismay,
Mixed with obdurate pride and steadfast hate.
At once, as far as Angel's ken, he views

The dismal situation waste and wild.

A dungeon horrible on all sides round


As one great furnace flamed; yet from those flames


No light, but rather darkness visible
Served only to discover sights of woe,
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 unconsumed.
Such place eternal Justice had prepared
For those rebellious, here there prison ordained
In utter darkness, and their portion set,
As far removed from God and light of Heaven
As from the centre thrice to the utmost pole.
Oh how unlike the place from whence they fell!
There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelmed
With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire,
He soon discerns, and, weltering by his side,
One next himself in power and next in crime,
Long after known in Palestine and named
Beelzebub to whom the arch-enemy,
And thence in Heaven called Satan, with bold words
Breaking the horrid silence, thus began:


If thou beest he, - but oh how fallen! how

From him, who, in the happy realms of light,
Clothed with transcendent brightness didst outshine
Myriads though bright!—if he, whom mutual league,
United thoughts and counsels, equal hope
And hazard in the glorious enterprise

Joined with me once, now misery hath joined 90
In equal ruin. . . into what pit thou seest
From what highth fallen, so much the stronger proved
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

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