Imatges de pàgina
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That name,

Bases and tinsel trappings, gorgeous knights
At joust and tournament; then marshal'd feast
Serv'd up in hall with sewers, and seneschals;
The skill of artifice or office mean,
Not that which justly gives heroic name
To person or to poem. Me of these
Nor skill'd nor studious, higher argument
Remains, sufficient of itself to raise

unless an age too late, or cold
Climate, or years damp my intended wing
Depress'd, and much they may, if all be mine,
Not hers who brings it nightly to my ear.

The sun was sunk, and after him the star Of Hesperus, whose office is to bring Twilight upon the Earıh, short arbiter

50 'Twixt day and night, and now from end to end Night's hemisphere had veil'd th' horizon round: When Satan who late fled before the threats Of Gabriel out of Eden, now improv'd In meditated fraud and malice, bent On man's destruction, maugre what might hap Of heavier on himself, fearless return'd. By night he fled, and at midnight return'd From compassing the Earth, cautious of day, Since Uriel, regent of the sun, descry'd

60 His entrance, and forewarnd ihe cherubim That kept their watch; thence full of anguish driven, The space of sev'n continued nights he rode With Darkness, thrice the equinoctial line He circled, four times cross'd the ear of Night

From pole to pole, travérsing each colure;
On th’eighth return’d, and on the coast averse
From entrance or cherubic watch, by stealth
Found unsuspected way. There was a place, 69
Now not, tho' Sin, not Time, first wrought the change,
Where Tigris at the foot of Paradise
Into a gulf shot under ground, till part
Rose up a fountain by the Tree of Life;
In with the river sunk, and with it rose
Satan involv'd in rising mist, then sought
Where to lie hid; sea he had search'd and land
From Eden over Pontus, and the pool
Mæotis, up beyond the river Ob;
Downward as far antarctic; and in length
West from Orontes to the ocean barr'd

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At Darien, thence to the land where flows
Ganges and Indus: thus the orb he roam'd
With narrow search, and with inspection deep,
Consider'd every creature, which of all
Most opportune might serve his wiles, and found
The serpent subilest beast of all the field;
Him after long debate, irresolutę
Of thoughts revolvid, his final sentence chose
Fit vessel, fittest imp of fraud, in whom
To enter, and his dark suggestions hide
from sharpest sight: for in the wily snake,
Whatever sleights none would suspicious mark,
As from his wit and native subtlety
Proceeding, which in other beasts obsery'd
Doubt might beget of diabolic power
Volume II.

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Active within beyond the sense of brute.
Thus he resolv'd, but first from inward grief
His bursting passion into plaints thus pourd:

O Earth, how like to Heav'n, if not preferr'd
More justly, seat worthier of gods, as built
With second thoughts, reforming what was old!
For what God after better worse would build?
Terrestrial Heav'n, danc'd round by other heav'ns
That shine, yet bear their bright officious lamps,
Light above light, for thee alone, as seems
In thee concentring all their precious beams
Of sacred influence! As God in Heav'n
Is center, yet extends to all, so thou
Centring receiv'st from all those orbs; in thee,
Not in themselves, all their known virtue' appears
Productive in herb, plant, and nobler birth
Of creatures animate with gradual life.
Of growth, sense, reason, all summ'd up in man,
With what delight could I have waik'd thee round,
If I could joy in ought, sweet interchange
Of hill, and valley, rivers, woods, and plains,
Now land, now sea, and shores with forest crown'd,
Rocks, dens, and caves! but I in.none of these
Find place or refuge ; and ihe more I see
Pleasures about me, so much more I feel
Torment within me', as from the hateful siege
Of contraries; all good to me becomes
Bane, and in Heav'n much worse would be my state.
But neither here seek I, no nor in Heavin
Todwell, unless by mast’ring Heav'n's Supreme;

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Nor hope to be myself less miserable
By what I seek, but others to make such
As I, though thereby worse to me redound:
For only in destroying I fiod ea e
To my relentless thoughts; and him destroy'd, 130
Or wun to what may work his utter loss,
For whom all this was made, all this will soon
Follow, as to him link'd in weal or woe,
In woe then; that Destruction wide may range:
To me shall be the glory sole among
Th’infernal powers, in one day to have marr’d
What he Almighty stild, six nights and days
Continued making, and who knows how long
Before had been contriving, though perhaps
Not longer than since I in one night freed 140
From servitude inglorious well nigh half
Th’angelic name, and thinner left the throng
Of his adorers: he to be aveng'd,
And to repair his numbers thus impair’d,
Whether such virtue spent of old now fail'd
More angels to create, if they at least
Are his created, or to spite us more,
Determin'd to advance into our room
A creature form’d of earth, and him endow,
Exalted from so base original,

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With heav'nly spoils, our spoils: what he decreed
He' effected; Man he made, and for him built,
Magnificent this world, and Earth his seat,
Him lord pronounc'd, and, O indignity!
Subjected to his service angel wings,

And Alaming ministers to watch and tend
Their earthly charge : of these the vigilance
I dread, and to elude, thus wrapt in mist
Of midnight vapour glide obscure, and pry
In every bush and brake, where hap may find 160
The serpent sleeping, in whose mazy folds
To hide me, and the dark intent I bring.
O foul descent! that I who erst contended
With gods to sit the high’est, am now constrain'd
Into a beast, and mix'd with bestial slime,
This essence to incarnate and imbrute,
That to the heighth of Deity aspir'd;
But what will not Ambition and Revenge
Descend to ? who aspires must down as low
As high he soar'd, obnoxious first or last
To basest things. Revenge, at first though sweet, 1.
Bitter ere long back on itself recoils;
Let it; I reck not, so it light well aim'd,
Since higher I fall short, on him who next
Provokes my envy, this new favourite
Of Heav'n, this man of clay, Son of Despite,
Whom us the more to spite, his Maker rais'd
From dust: spite then with spite is best repaid.

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So saying, through each thicket dank or dry
Like a black mist low creeping, he held on 180
His midnight search, where soonest he might find
The serpent: him fast sleeping soon he found
In labyrinth of many a round self-roll'd,
His head the midst, well stor'd with subtle wiles:
Not yet in horrid shade or dismal den,

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