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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 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 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 hindered by a sign from Heaven, flies out of Paradise.
* PARADISE LOST.
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 Worse; of worse deeds worse suff'rings must ensue.
Cowls, hoods, and habits, with their wearers tost
sport of winds: all these upwhirld aloft
Wider by far than that of after times
discovers unaware The goodly prospect of some foreign land First seen, or some renown’d metropolis With glist'ting spires and pinnacles adorn'd, Which now the rising sun gilds with his beams; Such wonder seiz'd, though after heaven seen, The spirit malign, but much more envy seiz’d, At sight of all this world beheld so fair. Round he surveys (and well might, where he stood So high above the circling canopy Of night's extended shade) from eastern point of Libra to the fleecy star that bears Andromeda far off Atlantic seas Beyond th' horizon ; then from pole to pole He views in breadth, and without longer pause Downright into the world's first region throws His flight precipitant, and winds with ease Through the pure marble air, his oblique way Amongst innumerable stars, that shone Stars distant, but nigh hand seem’d other worlds ; Or other worlds they seem'd, or happy isles,
Like those Hesperian gardens fam'd of old,