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OF

taste

F 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,

5
Sing, heav'nly Muse, that on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didit inspire
That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed,
In the beginning how the Heav'ns and Earth
Rose out of Chaos : Or if Sion hill

10 Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flow'd Fast by the oracle of God; I thence Invoke thy aid to my adventrous fong, That with no middle flight intends to soar Above th' Aonian mount, while it pursues 15 Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme. And chiefly Thou, O Spi'rit, that doft prefer Before all temples th' upright heart and pure, Instruct me, for Thou know'ft; Thou from the first Waft present, and with mighty wings outspread Dove-like fatst brooding on the vast abyss, And mad's it pregnant: what in me is dark

Illumin,

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with envy

Illumin, what is low raise and support;
That to the height of this great argument
I may
assert eternal Providence,

25 And justify the ways of God to Men.

Say first, for Heav'n hides nothing from thy view, Nor the deep tract of Hell, say first what cause Mov'd our grand parents, in that happy ftate, Favor'd of Heav'n so highly, to fall off

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From their Creator, and transgress his will
For one restraint, lords of the world besides ?
Who first feduc'd them to that foul revolt ?
Th’ infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile,
Stirr'd up

and
revenge, deceiv'd

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The mother of mankind, what time his pride
Had cast him out from Heav'n, 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, 40
If he oppos’d; and with ambitious aim
Against the throne and monarchy of God
Rais'd impious war in Heav'n and battel proud
With vain attempt. Him the almighty Power
Hurl'd headlong flaming from th’ ethereal sky, 45
With hideous ruin and combustion, down
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
In adamantin chains and penal fire,
Who durst defy th’Omnipotent to arms.
Nine times the space that measures day and night 50
To mortal men, he with his horrid crew
Lay vanquilh's, rolling in the fiery gulf,

Confounded

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Confounded though immortal: But his doom
Reserv'd him to more wrath; for now the thought
Both of loft happiness and lasting pain

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Torments him; round he throws his baleful eyes,
That witness'd huge affliction and dismay
Mix'd with obdurate pride and stedfast hate:
At once, as far as Angels ken, he views
The dismal situation waste and wild;

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A dungeon horrible on all sides round
As one great furnace fiam’d, yet from those flames
No light, but rather darkness visible
Serv'd only to discover fights of woe,
Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace 65
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 unconsum'd:
Such place eternal Justice had prepar'd
For those rebellious, here their pris’on ordain'd
In utter darkness, and their portion set
As far remov'd from God and light of Heav'n,
As from the center thrice to th' utmost pole.
O how unlike the place from whence they fell ! 75
There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelm':
With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire,
He foon discerns, and welt'ring by his fide
One next himself in pow'r, and next in crime,
Long after known in Palestine, and nam'd 80
Beelzebub, To whom th' Arch-Enemy,
And thence in Heav'n call'd Satan, with bold words

Breaking

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Breaking the horrid filence thus began.

If thou beeft he; but O thou fall’n ! how chang'd From him, who in the happy realıns of light 85 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 ru’in : into what pit thou seest From what highth fall'n, fo much the stronger prov'd 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

95 Can else in fict, 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 rais’d me to contend, And to the fierce contention brought along Innumerable force of Spirits arm’d, That durit dislike his reign, and me preferring, His utmost pow'r with adverse pow'r oppos’d In dubious battel on the plains of Heaven, And shook his throne. What though the field be loft ? All is not lost; th' 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

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Who from the terror of this arm so late
Doubted his empire ; that were low indeed,
That were an ignominy' and shame beneath 115
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 advanc’d,
We may with more successful hope resolve
To wage by force or guile eternal war,
Irreconcileable to our grand foe,
Who now triumphs, and in th' excess of joy
Sole reigning holds the tyranny of Heaven.

So spake th' apostate Angel, though in pain, 125
Vaunting aloud, but rack'd with deep despair :
And him thus answer'd soon his bold compeer.
O Prince, O Chief of

many

throned Powers,
That led th' imbatteld Seraphim to war
Under thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds 130
Fearless, indanger'd Heav'n'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

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Hath loft us Heav'n, and all this mighty hoft
In horrible destruction laid thus low,
As far as Gods and heav'nly essences
Can perish: for the mind and spi'rit remains
Invincible, and vigor foon returns,

140
Though all our glory' extinct, and happy ftate
Here swallow'd up in endless misery.

But

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