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Satan, now in prospect of Eden, and nigh the place where he must now attempt the bold enterprise which he undertook alone against God and Man, falls into many doubts with himself and many passions—fear, envy, and despair ; but at length confirms himself in evil ; journeys on to Paradise, whose outward prospect and situation is described ; overleaps the bounds; sits, in the shape of a cormorant, on the Tree of Life, as highest in the Garden, to look about him. The Garden described ; Satan's first sight of Adam and Eve ; his wonder at their excellent form and happy state, but with resolution to work their fall ; overhears their discourse ; thence gathers that the Tree of Knowledge was forbidden them to eat of under penalty of death, and thereon intends to found his temptation by seducing them to transgress; then leaves them a while, to know further of their state by some other means. Meanwhile Uriel, descending on a sunbeam, warns Gabriel, who had in charge the gate of Paradise, that some evil Spirit had escaped the Deep, and passed at noon by his Sphere, in the shape of a good Angel, down to Paradise, discovered after by his furious gestures in the mount. Gabriel promises to find him ere morning Night coming on, Adam and Eve discourse of going to their rest ; their bower described ; their evening worship. Gabriel, drawing forth his bands of night-watch to walk the rounds of Paradise, appoints two strong Angels to Adam's bower, lest the evil Spirit should be there doing some harm to Adam or Eve sleeping : there they find him at the ear of Eve, tempting her in a dream, and bring him, though unwilling, to Gabriel ; by whom questioned, he scornfully answers ; prepares resistance ; but, hindered by a sign from Heaven, flies out of Paradise.
O FOR that warning voice, which he who saw
While time was, our first parents had been warned
30 Then, much revolving, thus in sighs began :
"O thou that, with surpassing glory crowned, Look'st from thy sole dominion like the god Of this new World—at whose sight all the stars Hide their diminished heads—to thee I call, But with no friendly voice, and add thy name, O Sun, to tell thee how I hate thy beams, That bring to my remembrance from what state I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere, Till pride and worse ambition threw me down, 40
Warring in Heaven against Heaven's matchless King !
But other Powers as great Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within Or from without to all temptations armed ! Hadst thou the same free will and power to stand ? Thou hadst. Whom hast thou then, or what, to accuse, But Heaven's free love dealt equally to all ? Be then his love accursed, since, love or hate, To me alike it deals eternal woe.
70 Nay, cursed be thou ; since against his thy will Chose freely what it now so justly rues. Me miserable! which way shall I fly Infinite wrath and infinite despair ? Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell ;
And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep
90 The lower still I fall, only supreme In misery : such joy ambition finds ! But say I could repent, and could obtain, By act of grace, my former state ; how soon Would highth recall high thoughts, how soon unsay What feigned submission swore !. Ease would recant Vows made in pain, as violent and void (For never can true reconcilement grow Where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep); Which would but lead me to a worse relapse And heavier fall: so should I purchase dear Short intermission, bought with double smart. This knows my Punisher; therefore as far From granting he, as I from begging, peace. All hope excluded thus, behold, instead Of us, outcast, exiled, his new delight, Mankind, created, and for him this World ! So farewell hope, and, with hope, farewell fear, Farewell remorse! All good to me is lost; Evil, be thou my Good : by thee at least
Divided empire with Heaven's King I hold,
Thus while he spake, each passion dimmed his face,
130 So on he fares, and to the border comes Of Eden, where delicious Paradise, Now nearer, crowns with her enclosure green, As with a rural mound, the champaign head Of a steep wilderness, whose hairy sides With thicket overgrown, grotesque and wild, Access denied ; and overhead up-grew Insuperable highth of loftiest shade, Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm, A sylvan scene, and, as the ranks ascend,
140 Shade above shade, a woody theatre Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops The verdurous wall of Paradise up-sprung ; Which to our general sire gave prospect large Into his nether empire neighbouring round.