Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

THE ARGUMENT.

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.

BOOK IV.

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
And flutter'd into rags, then reliques, beads,
Indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls,
The

sport of winds: all these upwhirld aloft
Fly o'er the backside of the world far off
Into a limbo large and broad, since callid
The paradise of fools, to few unknown
Long after, now unpeopled, and untrod.
All this dark globe the fiend found as he pass'd,
And long he wander'd, till at last a gleam
Of dawning light turn'd thither-ward in haste
His travellid steps: far distant he descries.
Ascending by degrees magnificent
Up to the wall of heav'n, a structure high;
At top whereof, but far more rich appear'd
The work as of a kingly palace gate,
With frontispiece of diamond and gold
Embellish'd: thick with sparkling orient gems
The portal shone, inimitable on earth
By model, or by shading pencil drawn.
The stairs were such as whereon Jacob saw
Angels ascending and descending, bands
Of guardians bright, when he from Esau fled
To Padan-Aram, in the field of Luz
Dreaming by night under the open sky,
And waking cry'd, This is the gate of heav'n.
Each stair mysteriously was meant, nor stood
There always, but drawn up to heav'n sometimes
Viewless; and underneath a bright sea flow'd
Of jasper, or of liquid pearl, whereon
Who after came from earth, sailing arriv'd
Wafted by angels, or flew o'er the lake
Rapt in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds.
The stairs were then let down, whether to dare
The fiend by easy ascent, or aggravate

.
His sad exclusion from the doors of bliss :
Direct against which open'd from beneath,
Just o'er the blissful seat of Paradise,
A passage down to th' earth, a passage wide,

Wider by far than that of after times
Over mount Sion; and, though that were large,
Over the promis'd land, to God so dear,
By which, to visit oft those happy tribes,
On high behests his angels to and fro
Pass'd frequent, and his eye with choice regard,
From Paneas the fount of Jordan's flood
To Beersheba, where the Holy Land
Borders on Egypt, and the Arabian shore :
So wide the op'ning seemd, where bounds were set
To darkness, such as bound the ocean wave.
Satan from hence, now on the lower stair
That scal’d by steps of gold to heaven gate,
Looks down with wonder at the sudden view
Of all this world at once. As when a scout
Through dark and desert ways with peril gone
All night, at last by break of cheerful dawn
Obtains the brow of some high-climbing hill,
Which to his

eye

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,
Fortunate fields, and groves, and flow'ry vales,
Thrice happy isles, but who dwelt happy there
He stay'd not to inquire: above them all
The golden sun in splendour likest heav'n
Allur'd his eye; thither his course he bends
Through the calm firmament (but up or down,
By centre, or eccentric, hard to tell,
Or longitude,) where the great luminary
Aloof the vulgar constellations thick,
That from his lordly eye keep distance due,
Dispenses light from far; they as they move
Their starry dance in numbers that compute
Days, months, and years, tow'rds his all-cheering

lamp
Turns swift their various motions, or are turn'd
By his magnetic beam, that gently warms
The universe, and to each inward part
With gentle penetration, though unseen,
Shoots invisible virtue ev'n to the deep;
So wondrously was set his station bright.
There lands the fiend, a spot like which perhaps
Astronomer in the sun's lucent orb
Through his glaz'd optic tube yet never saw.
The place he found beyond expression bright,
Compar’d with aught on earth, metal of stone;
Not all parts like, but all alike inform'd
With radiant light, as glowing iron with fire ;
If metal, part seem'd gold, part silver clear;
If stone, carbuncle most or chrysolite,
Ruby or topaz, to the twelve that shone
In Aaron's breast-plate, and a stone besides
Imagin'd rather oft than elsewhere seen,
That stone, or like to that which here below
Philosophers in vain so long have sought,
In vain, though by their pow'rful art they bind
Volatile hermes, and call up unbound
In various shapes old Proteus from the sea,
Drain'd through a limbec to his native form.

« AnteriorContinuar »