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النشر الإلكتروني

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With other promises, and other vaunts,
Than to submit; boasting, I could subdue
The Omnipotent. Ah me, they little know,
How dearly I abide that boast so vain,
Under what torments inwardly I groan,
While they adore me on the throne of Hell.
With diadem and sceptre high advanced,
The lower still I fall, only supreme
In misery ; such joy ambition finds !
But say, I could repent, and could obtain,
By act of grace, my former state ; how soon
Would highth recall high thoughts, how soon unsay
What feign'd submission swore? Ease would recant
Vows made in pain, as violent and void
For, 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.
This knows my punisher, therefore, as far
From granting he, as I from begging peace :
All hope excluded thus, beheld, in stead
Of us out-cast, exiled, 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 Heaven'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 changed with pale ire, envy, and despair ;
Which marr'd his borrow'd visage, and betray'd
Him counterfeit, if any eye beheld :
For heavenly 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 practised falsehood, under saintly show,
Deep malice to conceal, couch'd with revenge :
Yet, not enough had practised to deceive
Uriel, once warn'd; whose eye pursued him down
The way he went, and on the Assyrian mount
Saw him disfigured, more than could befall
Spirit of happy sort : his gestures fierce
He mark'd and mad demeanour, then alone
As he supposed, all unobserved, unseen.

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So on he fares, and to the border comes

130 Of Eden, where delicious Paradise, Now nearer, crowns with her inclosure green, As with a rural mound, the champaign head Of a steep wilderness, wliose hairy sides, With thicket overgrown, grotesque and wild,

135 Access denied; and over-head, up grew Insuperable highth 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

140 Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops, The verdurous wall of Paradise up sprung ; Which, to our general sire, gave prospect large. Into his nether empire, neighbouring round : And, higher than that wall, a circling row

145 Of goodliest trees, loaden with fairest fruit, Blossoms and fruits at once, of golden hue, Appear'd, with gay enamellid colours mix'd : On which the sun more glad impress'd his beams, Than on fair evening cloud, or humid bow,

150 When God hath shower'd the earth; so lovely seem'd 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,

155 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 blow

160 Sabean odours, from the spicy shore Of Araby the bless'd; 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 those odorous sweets the fiend,

165 Who came their bane; though with them better pleased Than Asmodeus with the fishy fume, That drove him, tho'enamour'd, from the spouse Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent From Media, post to Egypt, there fast bound.

170 Now, to the ascent of that steep savage hill, Satan had journey'd on, pensive and slow; But further way found none; so thick entwined, As one continued brake, the undergrowth Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplex'd

175 All path of man or beast, that pass'd that way

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One gate there only was, and that look'd east,
On the other side: which when the arch-felon saw,
Due entrance he disdain'd; and in contempt,
At one slight bound, high over-leap'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 cots, 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 lived ; nor, on the virtue thought
Of that life-giving plant, but only used
For prospect, what well used, 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 exposed,
In narrow room,

nature's whole wealth; yea more,
A Heaven on Earth: for blissful Paradise,
of God the garden, was by him, in the 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 ordain'd
Out of the fertile ground, he caused 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,
Norchanged his course, but through the shaggy hill

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Pass'd underneath inguifd; for God had thrown
That mountain, as his garden-mound, high raised 225
Upon the rapid current; which, through veins
Oi 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; 230
Which, from his darksome passage now appears,
And now, divided into four main streams,
Runs diverse, wandering many a famous realm,
And country, whereof here needs no account;
But rather to tell how, if art could tell,

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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
Flowers, worthy of Paradise; which not nice art, 240
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 unpierced shade
Imbrown'd the noontide bowers. Thus was this place 245
A happy rural seat of various view ;
Groves, whose rich trees wept odorous gums and balm ;
Others, whose fruit, burnish'd with golden rind,
Hung amiable, Hesperian fables true,
If true, here only, and of delicious taste:

250 Betwixt them, lawns, or level downs, and flocks Grazing the tender herb, were interposed, Or palmy hillock, or the flowery lap Of some irriguous valley spread her store ; Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose.

255 Another side, umbrageous grots and caves, Of cool recess, o'er which the mantling vine Lays forth her purple grape, and gently creeps Luxuriant: meanwhile, murmuring waters fall Down the slope hills, dispersed, or in a lake,

260 That to the fringed hank with myrtle crown'd, Her crystal mirror holds, unite their streams. The birds their quire apply; airs, vernal airs, Breathing the sn ell of field and grove, attune The trembling leaves, while universal Pan,

265 Knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance, Led on the eternal Spring. Not that fair field Of Enna, where Proserpine gathering flowers, Herself a fairer flower, by gloomy Dis Was gather'd, which cost Ceres all that pain

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To seek her through the world ; nor that sweet grove
Of Daphne, by Orontes, and the inspired
Castalian spring, might with this Paradise
Of Eden strive; nor that Nyseian isle,
Girt with the river Triton, where old Chəm,
Whom Gentiles Ammon call and Libyan Jove,
Hid Amalthea, and her florid son
Young Bacchus, from his stepdame Rhea's eye:
Nor, where Abassin kings their issue guard,
Mount Ainara, though this by some supposed
True Paradise, under the Ethiop line,
By Nilus' head, inclosed with shining rock,
A whole day's journey high, but wide remote
From this Assyrian garden, where the fiend
Saw, undelighted, all delight, all kind
Oi' living creatures, new to sight and strange.
Two of far nobler shape, erect and tall,
Godlike erect, with native honour clad
In naked majesty, seem'd lords of all;
And worthy seem'd : for in their looks divine,
The image of their giorious Maker shone,
Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure,
Severe, but in true filial freedom placed ;
Whence true authority in men : though both
Not equal, as their sex not equal seem'd :
For contemplation he, and valour form'd,
For softness she, and sweet attractive grace;
He for God only, she for God in him.
His fair large front, and eye sublime, declared
Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks,
Round from his parted forelock, manly hung,
Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad :
She, as a veil, down to the slender waist,
Her unadorned golden tresses wore,
Dishevell’d, but in wanton ringlets waved
As the vine curls her tendrils; which imply'd
Subjection, but required with gentle sway,
And by her yielded, by him best received,
Yielded with coy submission, modest pride,
And sweet, reluctant, amorous delay.
Nor those mysterious parts were then conceald :
Then was not guilty shame. Dishonest shame
Of nature's works, honour dishonourable,
Sin-bred, how have ye troubled all mankind
With shews instead, mere shows of seeming pure,
And banish'd from man's life, his happiest life,
Simplicity, and spotless innocence.

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