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Hadst thou the same free will and pow'r to star d?
Thou hadst: whom hast thou then or what t' accuse
But heav'n's free love dealt equally to all?
Be then his love accursed, since love or hate
To me alike, it deals eternal wo.
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
Still threat'ning to devour me opens wide,
To which the hell I suffer seems a heav'n.
O then at last relent: is there no place
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 recall high thoughts, how soon unsay
What feign'd submission swore? ease would recant
Vows made in pain, as violent and void:
. or 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
1 his 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 remorse: 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^>ith 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:
Which to our general sire gave prospect large
Into his nether empire neighb'ring round.
And higher than that wall, a circling row
Of goodliest trees Ioaden with fairest fruit,
Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue,
Appear'd, with gay enammel'd colours mix'd:
On which the sun more glad impress'd his beams
Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow,
When God hath show'r'd the earth; so lovely seemed
That landscape: And of pure, now purer air
Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires
Vernal delight and joy, able to drive
All sadness but despair: now gentle gales
Fanning their odoriferous wings dispense
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole
Those balmy spoils. As when to them who sail
Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past
Mozambic, off at sea north-east winds blew
Sabean odours from the spicy shore
Of Araby the blest, with such delay
Well pleased they slack their course, and many a
league Cheer'd with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles: So entertain'd these odorous sweets the fiend Who came their bane, though with them better pleased Than Asmodeus with the fishy fume That drove him, though enamour'd, from the spouse Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent From Media post to Egypt, there fast bound. Now to th' ascent of that steep savage hill, Satan had journeyed on, pensive and slow; But further way found none so thick entwin'd, As one continued brake, the undergrowth Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplex'd All path of man or beast that pass'd that way: One gate there only was, and that look'd east On th' other side: which when th' arch-felon saw, Due entrance he disdain'd, and in contempt, At one slight bound high overleap'd all bound
Of hill or highest wall, and sheer within
Lights on his feet. As when a prowling wolf,
Whom hunger drives to seek new haunt for prey,
Watching where shepherds pen their flocks at eve.
In hurdled cotes, amid the field secure,
Leaps o'er the fence with ease into the fold:
Or as a thief bent to unhoard the cash
Of some rich burgher, whose substantial doors,
Cross-barr'd and bolted fast, fear no assault,
In at the window climbs, or o'er the tiles:
So clomb this first grand thief into God's fold:
So since into his church lewd hirelings climb.
Thence up he flew, and on the tree of life,
The middle tree, and highest there that grew,
Sat like a cormorant; yet not true life
Thereby regain'd, but sat devising death
To them who liv'd; nor on the virtue thought
Of that life giving plant, but only us'd
For prospect, what well us'd, had been the pledge
Of immortality. So little knows
Any but God alone, to value right
The good before him, but perverts best things
To worst abuse, or to their meanest use.
Beneath him with new wonder now he views
To all delight of human sense expos'd,
In narrow room Nature's whole wealth, yea more,
A heaven on earth: for blissful Paradise
Of God the garden was, by him in th' east
Of Eden planted; Eden stretch'd her line
From Auran eastward to the royal towers
Of great Seleucia, built by Grecian kings,
Or where the sons of Eden long before
Dwelt in Telassar: in this pleasant soil
His far more pleasant garden God ordained :
Out of the fertile ground he caus'd to grow
All trees of noblest kind for sight, smell, taste;
And all amid them stood the tree of life,
High eminent, blooming ambrosial fruit
Of vegetable gold ; and next to life.
Our death, the tree of knowledge grew fast by,
Knowledge of good bought dear by knowing ill.
Southward through Eden went a river large,
Nor chang'd his course, but through the shaggy hill
Pass'd underneath ingulf'd; for God had thrown
That mountain as his garden mould high rais'd
Upon the rapid current, which through veins
Of porous earth, with kindly thirst up drawn,
Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill
Water'd the garden; thence united fell
Down the steep glade, and met the nether flood,
Which from his darksome passage now appears,
And now divided into four main streams,
Runs diverse, wand'ring many a famous realm
And country, whereof here needs no account;
But rather to tell how, if art could tell,
How from that sapphire fount the crisped brooks,
Rolling on orient pearl and sands of gold,
With mazy error under pendent shades
Ran nectar, visiting each plant, and fed
Flow'rs, worthy of Paradise, which not nice art
In beds and curious knots, but nature boon
Pour'd forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain,
Both where the morning sun first warmly smote
The open field, and where the unpicrc'd shade
Imbrown'd the noon-tidebow'rs: thus was this place
A happy rural seat of various view;
Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and