Imatges de pÓgina
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The first Book proposes, first in brief, the whole subject, Man's dir.

obedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise wherein he was placed: Then touches the prime cause of his Fall, the Serpent, or rather Satan in the Serpent; who, revolting from God, and drawing to his side many legions of Angels, was, by the command of God, driven out of Heaven, with all his crew, into the great deep. Which action passed over, the Poem hastens into the midst of things, presenting Satan with his Angels now falling into Hell, described here, not in the centre (for Heaven and Earth may be supposed as yet not made, certainly not yet accursed,) but in a place of utter darkness fitliest called Chaos: Here Şatan with his Angels lying on the burning lake, thunderstruck and astonished, after a certain space recovers, as from confusion, calls up him who next in order and dignity lay by him; They confer of their miserable fall; Satan awakens all his legions, who lay till then in the same manner confounded. They rise; their numbers; array of battle; their chief leaders named, according to the idols known afterwards in Canaan and the countries adjoining. To these Satan directs his speech, comforts them with hope yet of regaining Heaven, but tells them lastly of a new world and new kind of creature to be created, according to an ancient prophecy or report in Heaven; for, that Angels were long before this visible creation, was the opinion of many ancient Fathers. To find out the truth of this prophecy, and what to determine thereon, he refers to a full council. What his associates thence attempt. Pandemonium, the palace of Satan, rises, suddenly built out of the deep: The infernal peers there sit in council.


Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
Sing, heavenly Muse, that on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed,
In the beginning how the Heavens and Earth
Rose out of Chaos; Or if Sihon hill.
Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flow'd
Fast by the oraele of God; I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar


Above the Aönian mount, while it pursues

15 Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme. And chiefly Thou, O Spirit, thạt dost prefer Before all temples the upright heart and pure, Instruct


for 'Thou know'st; Thou from the first Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread 20 Dovelike sat'st brooding on the vast abyss, And madest it pregnant: What in me is dark, Illumine; what is low, raise and support; That in the height of this great argument I may assert Eternal Providence,

25 And justify the ways of God to men.

Say first, for Heaven hides nothing from thy view, Nor the deep tract of Hell ; say first, what cause Moved our grand Parents, in that happy state, Favourd of Heaven so highly, to fall off

30 From their Creator, and transgress his will For one restraint, lords of the world besides ? Who first seduced them to that foul revolt? The infernal Serpent; he it was,

whose guile, Stirrd up with eavy and revenge, deceived 35 The mother of mankind, what time his pride Had cast hirmu toj Heaven, with all his host Of rebel Angels: by whose aid, aspiring To set himself in glory above his peers, He trusied to have equal'd the Most High, 40 If he opposed : and, with ambitious aim Against the throne and monarchy of God, Raised impious war in Heaven, and battle proud, With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power Hurld headlong flaming from the ethereal sky, 45 With hideous ruin and combustion, down To bottomless perdition; there to dwell In adamantine chains and penal fire, Who durst defy the Omnipotent to arms. Nine times the space that measures day and night 50 To mortal men, he with his horrid crew Lay vanquish'd, rolling in the fiery gulf,

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