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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 awhile, 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 bad es. caped 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 round 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 hin dered by a sign from Heaven, flies out of Paradise.
O FOR that warning voice, which he who saw Th' Apocalypse heard cry in heav'n aloud, Then when the dragon, put to second rout, Came furious down to be reveng'd on men, Wo to the inhabitants on earth! that now, While time was, our first parents had been warn'd The coming of their secret foe, and 'scap'd, Haply so 'scap'd his mortal snare : for now Satan, now first inflam'd with rage, came down, The tempter ere th' accuser of mankind, To wreck on innocent frail man his loss . Of that first battle, and his flight to hell ; Yet not rejoicing in his speed, though bold Far off and fearless, nor with cause to boast, Begins his dire attempt, which nigh the birth Now rolling boils in his tumultuous breast, And like a devilish engine back recoils Upon himself; horror and doubt distract His troubled thoughts, and from the bottom stir. The hell within him; for within him hell He brings, and round about him, nor from hell One step no more than from himself can fly By change of place: now concience wakes despair That slumber'd, wakes the bitter memory Of what he was, what is, and what must be i Worse; of worse deeds worse suff'rings must ensue.
Sometimes tow'rds Eden, which now in his view
Lay pleasant, his griev'd look he fixes sad ;
Sometimes tow'rds heav'n and the full-blazing sun,
Which now sat high in his meridian tower:
Then much revolving, thus in sighs began:
O thou that with surpassing glory crown'd,
Look'st from thy sole dominion like the God
Of this new world; at whose sight all the stars
Hide their diminish'd 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
Warring in heav'n against heav'n's matchless King;
Ah wherefore! he deserv'd no such return
From me, whom he created what I was
In that bright eminence, and with his good
Upbraided none; nor was his service hard.
What could be less than to afford him praise,
The easiest recompense, and pay him thanks,
How due ! yet all his good prov'd ill in me,
And wrought but malice; lifted up so high
I 'sdain'd subjection; and thought one step higher
Would set me highest, and in a moment quit
The debt immense of endless gratitude,
So burdensome still paying, still to owe,
Forgetful what from him I still receiv'd,
And understood not that a grateful mind
By owing owes not, but still pays, at once
Indebted and discharg'd; what burden then ?
O had his pow'rful destiny ordain'd .
Me some inferior angel, I had stood
Chen happy ; no unbounded hope had rais'd
Ambition. Yet why not? some other power
As great might have aspir'd, and me, though mean,
Drawn to his part; but other pow'rs as great
Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within,
Or from without, to all temptations arm’d.
Hadst thou the same free will and pow'r to stand ?
Thou hadst: whom hast thou then or what t'accuse,
But heav'n's free love dealt equally to all ?
Be then his love accurs’d, since love or hate
To me alike, it deals eternal wo.
Nay curs'd 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
Still threat’ning to devour me opens wide,
To which the hell I suffer seems a heav'n.
0 then at last relent: is there no place
Left for repentance, none for pardon left ?
None left but by submission; and that word
Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame
Among the spirits beneath, whom I seduc'd
With other promises and other vaunts
Than to submit, boasting I could subdue
Th’ Omnipotent. Ay me! they little know
How dearly I abide that boast so vain,
Under what torments inwardly I groan,
While they adore me on the throne of hell.
With diadem and sceptre high advanc'd,
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 height recal high thoughts, how soon unsay
What feign'd submission swore ? ease would reçant
Vows made in pain, as violent and void :
For never can true reconcilement grow
Where wounds of deadly hate have pierc'd 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 out-cast, exil'd, his new delight
Mankind created, and for him this world.
So farewell hope, and with hope farewell fear,
Farewell remcrse : all good to me is lost
Evil be thou my good; by thee at least
Divided empire with heav'n's King I hold,
By thee, and more than half perhaps will reign;
As man ere long, and this new world shall know.
Thus while he spake, each passion dimm'd his face,
Thrice chang’d with pale, ire, envy, and despair ;
Which marr'd his borrow'd visage, and betray'd
Him counterfeit, if any eye beheld;
For heav'nly minds from such distempers foul
Are ever clear. Whereof he soon aware,
Each perturbation smooth'd with outward calm,
Artificer of fraud; and was the first
That practis'd falsehood under saintly show,
Deep malice to conceal, couch'd with revenge;
Yet not enough had practis'd to deceive
Uriel once warn'd; whose eye pursu'd him down
The way he went, and on th’ Assyrian mount
Saw him disfigur’d more than could befal
Spirit of happy sort; his gestures fierce
He mark'd, and mad demeanour, then alone,
As he suppos'd, all unobserv'd, unseen.
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 deny'd : and over head up grew
Insuperable height of loftiest shade,
Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm,
A sylvan scene, and as the ranks ascend
Shade above shade, a woody theatre
Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops
The verd'rous wall of Paradise up sprung: