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But thou, Infernal Serpent ! shalt not long
Rule in the clouds. Like an autumnal star,
Or lightning, thou shalt fall from Heaven, trod

Under his feet. For proof, ere this thou feel'st
Thy wound (yet not thy last and deadliest wound)
By this repulse received, and hold'st in Hell
No triumph ; in all her gates Abaddon rues
Thy bold attempt.

Hereafter learn with awe
To dread the Son of God. He, all unarmed,
Shall chase thee, with the terror of his voice,
From thy demoniac holds, possession foul-
Thee and thy legions ; yelling they shall fly,
And beg to hide them in a herd of swine,
Lest he command them down into the Deep,
Bound, and to torment sent before their time.
Hail, Son of the Most High, heir of both Worlds,
Queller of Satan! On thy glorious work
Now enter, and begin to save Mankind.”

Thus they the Son of God, our Saviour meek,
Sung victor, and, from heavenly feast refreshed,
Brought on his way with joy. He, unobserved,
Home to his mother's house private returned.




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Milton is remembered mainly as an epic poet. But his final choice of the epic form for his greatest poem and its companion was the result of deliberation. Apparently it was even a departure from his original inclination, when in his early manhood he had debated with himself in what form of poetry his genius would have fullest scope. Two of his early English poems had not only been dramatic, but had actually been performed. The Arcades was “part of an entertainment presented to the Countess-Dowager of Derby at Harefield by some noble persons of her family," probably in the year 1633 ; and Comus, the finest and most extensive of all Milton's minor poems, was nothing else than an elaborate "masque," performed, in the year 1634, at Ludlow Castle, in Shropshire, before the Earl of Bridgewater, Lord President of Wales, by way of an entertainment to the gentry of the neighbourhood. (See Introductions to these two Poems.) Whether Milton was present at the performance of either the Arcades or the Comus is not known; but the fact of his having written two such dramatic pieces for actual performance by the members of a family with which he had relations of acquaintance shows that at that time,-i.e. when he was twenty-six years of age,he had no objection to this kind of entertainment, then so fashionable at Court and among noble families of literary tastes. That he had seen masques performed, — masques of Ben Jonson, Carew, and Shirley,—may be taken for granted; and we have his own assurance that, when at Cambridge, he attended dramatic representations

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