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Above the Aonian mount, while it pursues Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme. Ayd 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 Dovelike satst brooding on the vast abyss, ax And madest 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 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 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, He trusted to have equal'd the Most High, If he opposed ; 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 etherial 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 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, 0.
That witness'a 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 ;
A dungeon horrible on all sides round
As one great furnace flamed; Fet 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 ordain'd
In utter darkness, and their portion set
As far removed from God and light of Heaven
As from the centre thrice to the utmost pole.
O, 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
Beëlzebub. To whom the Archenemy,
And thence in Heaven call'd Satan, with bold words
Breaking the horrid silence, thus began.
If thou beest he ; but o, how fallen ! how changed
From him, who, in the happy realms of light,
Clothed 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
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 changed in outward lustre, that fix'd mind,
And high disdain from sense of injured merit,
That with the Mightiest raised me to contend,
And to the fierce contention brought along
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?
All is not lost; the unconquerable will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
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 terror 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 empyreah 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
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,
Vaunting aloud, but rack'd with deep despair :
And him thus answer'd soon his bold compeer. <<* this,'
O Prince, O Chief of many throned Powers,
That led the embattled Seraphim to war
Under thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds
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 andsraexthe dire event, com
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,
Though all our glory extinct, and happy state
Here swallow'd up in endless misery.
But what if he our Conqueror (whom I now
Of force believe Almighty, since no less
Than such could have o'erpower'd such force as ours)
Have left us this our spirit and strength entire
Strongly to suffer and support our pains,
That we may so suffice his vengeful ire,
Or do him mightier service as his thralls!
By right of war, whate'er his business be,
Here in the heart of Hell to work in fire,
Or do his errands in the gloomy deep;
What can it then avail, though yet we feel
Strength undiminish’d, or eterpal being,
To undergo eternal punishment ?
Whereto with speedy words the Archfiend replied.
Fallen Cherub! to be weak is miserable,
Doing or suffering : but of this be sure,.
To do aught good never will be our task,
But ever to do ill our sole delight,
As being the contrary to his high will
Whom we resist. If then his providence
Out of our evil seek to bring forth good,
Our labour must be to pervert that end,
And out of good still to find means of evil;
Which ofttimes may succeed, so as perhaps