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No more of talk where God or Angel guest
IV With Man, as with his friend, fainiliar us'd
To sit indulgent, and with him partake
Rural repast, permitting him the while
Venial discourse unblam'd: I now must change
Those notes to tragic; foul distrust, and breach
Disloyal on the part of Man, revolt .
And disobedience; on the part of Heaven,
Now alienated, distance and distaste,
Anger and just rebuke, and judginent given
That brought into this world a world of woe,
Sin, and her shadow Death, and Misery
Death's harbinger: Sad task, vet argument
Not less, but inore heroic than the wrath
Of stern Achilles on his foe pursu'd
Thrice fugitive about Troy wall; or rage
Of Turnus for Lavinia disespous'd;
Or Neptune's ire, or Juno's, that so long
Perplex'd the Greek, and Cytherea's son;
If answerable style I can obtain
Of my celestial patroness, who deigns
Her nightly visitation unimplord,
And dictates to me slumb'ring, or inspires
Easy my unpremeditated verse :
Since first this subject for heroic song
Pleas'd me, long chusing, and beginning late;
Not sedulous by nature to indite
Wars, hitherto the only argument
Heroic deem'd, chief mast'ry to dissect
With long and tedious havoc fabled knights
In battles feign'd; the better fortitude,
of patience and heroic martyrdom
Unsung; or to describe races and games,
Or tilting furniture, imblazon'd shields,
Impresses quaint, caparisons, and steeds;
Bases and tinsel trappings, gorgeous knights
At joust and tournament; then marshall'd feast
Serv'd up in hall, with sewers, and sepeshals,
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
That name, 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 her's 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 earth, short arbiter
'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
His entrance, and forewarn'd the Cherubim
That kept their watch; thence full of anguish drivid,
The space of sev'n continu'd nights he rode
With darkness, thrice the equinoctial line
He circled, four times cross'd the car of night
From pole to pole, traversing 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,
Now not, though 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
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 ev'ry creature, which of all
Most opportune might serve his wiles, and found
The serpent subtlest beast of all the field.
Him, after long debate, irresolute
of thoughts revolv'd, 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 subtilty
Proceeding, which in other béasts observ'd
Doubt might beget of diabolic pow'r,
Active within beyond the sense of brute.
Thus he resolved, but first from inward grief,
His bursting passion into plaints thus pour’d:

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 concent'ring all their precious beams
Of sacred influence! As God in heav'n
Is centre, 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 walk'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 Iin none of these
Find place or refuge; and the 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 heav'n
To dwell, unless by mastring heav’n’s Supreme;
Nor hope to be myself less miserable
By what I seek, but others to make such
As 1, though thereby worse to me redound:
For only in destroying I find ease
To my relentless thoughts; and bim destroy'd,
Or won 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 Pow'rs, in one day to have marr'd
What he, Almighty styl'd, six nights and days
Continu'd making, and who knows how long
Before had been contriving? though perhaps
Not longer than since I in one night freed
From servitude inglorious well nigh half
Thangelic 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,
With heav'nly spoils, our spoils: what he decreed,
He effected; Man he made, and for him built,
Magnificent this world, and earti his seat,
Him lord pronounc'd, and, Oʻindignity!
Subjected to his service Angel-wings,
And flaming ministers to watch and cend

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 or brake, wbere hap may find
The serpent sleeping, in whose mazy folds
To bide me and the dark intent I bring.
Q foul descent! that I who erst contended
With Gods to sit the hign'st, am now constrain'd
Into a beast, and mix'd with bestial slimne,
This essence to incarnate and imbrute,
That to the height of deity aspir'de
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,
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 pext
Provokes my envy, this new favorite
Of Heav'n, this may of clay, son of despite,
Whom, us the more to spite, his Maker raisid,
From dust: spite then with spite is best repaid.

So saying, through each thicket, dank or dry
Like a black mist low creeping, he held on
His midnight search, where soonest he might find
The serpent: him fast sleeping soon he found.
In labyrinth of many a round self-rollid,..
His head the midst, well stor'd with subtle wilds:
Not yet in horrid shade or dismal den,
Nor nocent yet, but on the grassy herb
Fearless, unfear'd he slept. In at his mouth
The devil enter'd, and his brutal sense,
In heart or head possessing, soon inspir'd
With act intelligential; but his sleep
Disturb'd not, waiting close th' approach of morn."

Now when as sacred light began tp dawn In Eden on the humid flow'rs, that breath'd Their morning incense, when all things that breathe, From th’earth's great altar send up silent praise

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