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النشر الإلكتروني

PARADISE LOST.

BOOK I.
THE ARGUMENT,

The First Book proposes, first in brief, the whole subject—Man's disobedience, 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 fallen 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 Satan, 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 a 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 6

Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire 7

That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed,
In the beginning how the Heavens and Earth
Rose out of Chaos : Or, if Sion hill
Delight thee more, and Siloa's' brook that flow'd
Fast by the oracle of God; I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above the Aonian mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhime.
And chiefly Thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer
Before all temples the upright heart and pure,
Instruct me, for Thou know'st ; Thou from the first
Wast present, and, with mighty wings outspread 20
Dove-like, sat'st brooding on the vast abyss,
And mad'st it pregnant: What in me is dark,
Illumine : what is low, raise and support;
That to the highth of this great argument
I may assert Eternal Providence,
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,
Favour'd of Heaven so highly, to fall off 30
From their Creator, and transgress his will
For one restraint, lords of the world besides 7
Who first seduced them to that foul revolt 4
The infernal Serpent ; he it was, whose guile,
Stirr'd up with envy and revenge, deceiv'd
The mother of mankind, what time his pride
Had cast him out from Heaven, with all his host
Of rebel Angels; by whose aid aspiring
To set himself in glory above his peers,

• ‘Siloa:” a small brook flowing near the Temple of Jerusalem

i

He trusted to have equall'd the Most High, 40
If he oppos'd ; 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
Hurl’d headlong flaming from the ethereal sky,
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,
Confounded, though immortal: But his doom
Reserved him to more wrath; for now the thought
Both of lost happiness, and lasting pain,
Torments him : round he throws his baleful eyes,
That witness'd huge affliction and dismay
Mix'd with obdurate pride and steadfast hate:
At once, as far as Angels’ken, he views
The dismal situation waste and wild: 60
A dungeon horrible on all sides round,
As one great furnace flam'd ; yet from those flames
No light; but rather darkness visible
Serv'd only to discover sights of woe,
Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
And rest can never dwell; hope never comes,
That comes to all; but torture without end
Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed
With ever-burning sulphur unconsumed:
Such place Eternal Justice had prepared 70
For those rebellious ; here their prison ordain’d
In utter darkness, and their portion set
As far removed from God and light of Heaven,

As from the center thrice to the utmost pole. 74
O how unlike the place from whence they fell I
There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelm'd
With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire,
He soon discerns; and weltering by his side
One next himself in power, and next in crime,
Long after known in Palestine, and named
Beélzebub. To whom the Arch-Enemy,
And thence in Heaven called Satan, with bold words
Breaking the horrid silence, thus began :
If thou beest he ; but 0, how fallen how chang'd
From him, who, in the happy realms of light,
Cloth'd with transcendent brightness, didst outshine
Myriads though bright ! If he, whom mutual league,
United thoughts and counsels, equal hope
And hazard in the glorious enterprise,
Join'd with me once, now misery hath join'd 90
In equal ruin! Into what pit thou seest,
From what highth fallen; so much the stronger proved
He with his thunder ; and till then who knew
The force of those dire arms ? Yet not for those,
Nor what the potent Victor in his rage
Can else inflict, do I repent or change,
Though chang'd in outward lustre, that fix'd mind,
And high disdain, from sense of injur'd merit,
That with the Mightiest raised me to contend,
And to the fierce contention brought along 100
Innumerable force of Spirits arm’d,
That durst dislike his reign, and, me preferring,
His utmost power with adverse power opposed
In dubious battle on the plains of Heaven,
And shook his throne. What though the field be lost 4
All is not lost; the unconquerable will,
* “Bećlzebub :' see 2 Kings i. 2.

And study of revenge, immortal hate, 107
And courage never to submit or yield,
And, what is else, not to be overcome ;
That glory never shall his wrath or might
Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace
With suppliant knee, and deify his power,
Who, from the terrour of this arm so late
Doubted his empire; that were low indeed,
That were an ignominy, and shame beneath
This downfall; since, by fate, the strength of gods
And this empyreal substance cannot fail;
Since, through experience of this great event
In arms not worse, in foresight much advanced,
We may with more successful hope resolve 120
To wage, by force or guile, eternal war,
Irreconcilable to our grand Foe,
Who now triumphs, and, in the excess of joy
Sole reigning, holds the tyranny of heaven.
So spake the apostate Angel, though in pain,
Waunting aloud, but rack'd with deep despair :
And him thus answer'd soon his bold compeer.
0 Prince 1 0 Chief of many throned Powers,
That led the embattled Seraphim to war
Under thy conduct, and, in dreadful deeds 130
Fearless, endanger'd Heaven's perpetual King,
And put to proof his high supremacy,
Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate;
Too well I see and rue the dire event,
That with sad overthrow, and foul defeat,
Hath lost us Heaven, and all this mighty host
In horrible destruction laid thus low,
As far as gods and heavenly essences
Can perish; for the mind and spirit remains
Invincible, and vigour soon returns,

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