صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني
[merged small][ocr errors]

1

PARADISE LOST.

BOOK I.

THE ARGU JIEXT.

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, revolt. ing from God, and drawing to his side many legions of angel 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 urier darkness, fitliest called Chaos : here Satan, with his angels, lying on the burning lake, thunder-struck and astonishes after a certain space recovers, as from confusion, calls up hiin 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 afterward 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 ancieut 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 peer's there sit in council.

Or 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 ton
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That shepherd who first taught the chosen seed,
In the beginning how the heaveps and eartha
Rose out of chaos; or, if Sion kill

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 rhyme.

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,
Dove-like sal'st brooding on the vast abyss,
And madest, it pregnant: what in me is dark,
Illumine.;. what is low, raise and support;
That, to the height of this great arguinent,
I may assert eternal Providence,
And justify the ways of God to men.

Say first, for Heaven hides nothing from thy view,. Norilie 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 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, Stirr’d up with envy and revenge, deceived The mother of mankind, what time his pride Wad cast him out from l:caven, with all his host: Of rebel angels; hy. wlose aid, aspiring. To sot, bimself in glory, 'bove his peers, He trusted to have equall'd the Most Higlie If be oppos'd; and, with ambitious aim Against tire throne and monarchy of God, Rais'd impious war in heaven, and battle proud;. With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power Horld headlong flaming from the ethereal sky, With bideous ruin avd combustion, down To bottomless perdition; there to dwell. In adamantine chains and penal fire, Who durst defy the Omnipotent to arms. Ninc times the space that measures day and nigha Tu..crlal men, he. n.ith his horrid crew,

Lay vanquisb’d, rolling in the fiery gulf,
Coufounded, though immortal: but his doom
Reserved him to more wrath; for now the thouglit
Both of lost happiness and lasting pain
Torments him : round he throws bis baleful eyes,
That witness'd huge affliction and dismay,
Mix'd with obdurale pride and stedfast bate :
At once, as far as angels' ken, he views.
Tbe dismal situation waste and wild;
A dungeon horrible on all sides round,
As one great furnace flamed; yet from those flames
No light; but rather darkness visible
Served 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 ·
For those rebellious; here their prison ordaind
In utter darkness, and their portion set
As far removed from God avd light of beaven,
As from the centre thrice to the utmost pole.
0, how unlike the place from whence they fell!
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
Beelzebub. 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 O, how fall’n! how changed
From him, who, in the happy realms of light,
Clothed with trancendant brightness didst ontshine .
Myriads though bright! If he whom mutual league
United thoughts, and counsels, equal hope,
And hazard in the glorious enterprize,
Join'd with me once, now misery bath join'd
In equal ruin : into what pit thou seest
From what height fall’n; so much the stronger provode

« السابقةمتابعة »