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BOOK IX.

THE ARGUMENT.

Savas having eneompassed the earth, with meditated guile returns, as a mist, by night into Paradise; enters into the serpent sleeping. Adam and Eve in the morning go forth to their labours, whieh Eve proposes to divide in several plaees, eaeh labouring apart: Ada,n eonsents not, alleging the danger, lest that enemy, of whom they were forewarned, shonld attempt her found alone: Eve, loth to be thought not eireumspeet or firm enough, urges her going apart, the rather desirons to make trial of her strength: Adam at last yields; the serpent finds her alone: his subtle approaeh, first gating, then speaking; with mueh flattery extolling Eve above all other ereatures. Eve, wondering to hear the serpent speak, asks how he attained to human speeeh, and sueh understanding, not tiil now: the serpent answers, that by tasting of a eertain tree in the garden he attained both to speeeh and reason, till then void of both: Eve reqnires him to bring her to that tree, and finds it to be the tree of knowledge forbidden; the serpent, now grown bolder, with many wiles and arguments induees her at length to eat; she, pleased with the taste, deliberates awhile whether to impart thereof to Adam or not; at last brings him of the frnit; relates what persnaded her to eat thereof: Adam, at first amased, bnt pereeiring her lost, resolves, through rehemenee of love, to perish with her; and, extennating the trespass, eats also of the frnit: the effeets thereof in them both; they seek to eover their nakedness; then fall to varianee and aeeusation of one anothev.

No more of talk where God or angel guest
With man, as with his friend, fam'liar used
To sit indulgent, and with him parvjke
Rural repast; permitting him the while
Venial diseourse unblamed. I now must ehango I
Those notes to tragie; foul distrust, and breaeh
Disloyal on the part of man, revolt
And disobedienee: on the part of Heaven
Now alienated, distanee and distaste,
Anger and just rebuke, and judgment given, io
That brought into this world a world of woe,
Sin and her shadow Death, and Misery,
Death's harbinger: sad task! yet argument
Not less, but more heroie, than the wrath
Of stern Aehilles on his foe pursued it
Thriee fugitive about Troy wall; or rage
Of Turnus for Lavinia disespoused;

1. Whmt Gad, ke . The sense is, whero 12. Mitrry here means siekl,ess, 'ii* Ged. or rather the angel sent by him, ease, and all sorts of mortal pains, and aeting as his proxy, used to nit fandliarly with man as with his friend.

l*n 185

Or Neptune's ire, or Juno's, that so long ^

Perplex'd the Greek, and Cytherea's son;

If answerable style I ean obtain 20

Of my eelestial patroness, who deigns

Her nightly visitation uniinplored,

And dietates to me slumbering, or inspires

Easy my unpremeditated verse:

Sinee first this subjeet for heroie song 20

Pleased me, long ehoosing and beginning late;

Not sedulous by nature to indite

Wars, hitherto the only argument

Heroie deem'd; ehief mastery to disseet

With long and tedious havoe fabled knights, 30

In battles feign'd; the better fortitude

Of patienee and heroie martyrdom

Unsung; or to deseribe raees and games,

Or tilting furniture, imblazon'd shields,

Impresses quaint, eaparisons and steeds, 35

Bases and tinsel trappings, gorgeous knights

At joust and tournament; then marshall'd feast

Served up in hall with sewers and seneshals;

The skill of artifiee or offiee mean,

Not that whieh justly gives heroie name 40

To person or to poem. Me, of these

Nor skill'd nor studious, higher argument

Remains; suffieient of itself to raise

That name, unless an age too late, or eold

Climate, or years, damp my intended wing 45

Depress'd; and mueh they may, if all be mine,

Not hers, who brings it nightly to my ear,

The sun was sunk, and after him the star
Of Hesperus, whose offiee is to bring

Twilight upon the earth, short arbiter 50

'Twixt day and night; and now from end to end

Night's hemisphere had veil'd the horizon round;

When Satan, who late fled before the threats

Of Gabriel out of Eden, now improved

In meditated fraud and maliee, bent 05

On man's destruetion, maugre what might hap

Of heavier on himself, fearless return'd.

By night he fled, and at midnight return'd

20. Lang ehoosing, Miiton early de8igned to write an epie poem on the subjeet of Ring Arthur; hnt it was laid aside, thongh it wad not tiil after the Restoration that be aet aboat the present work in earnest; so that l,e was long ehoosing and begiuning late.

35. lmprrzuet qnaint: emblems and deviees on the shield, allnding to the name or the fortune of the wearev.

30. Bates: the mantle whieh hung down from the ndddle to aboat the knees or lower, worn by knights on

horsehaek: from the Freneh hat; d hat, "upon the ground.''

37. Tht marshal plaeed the gnests aeeording to their rank, and saw that they were properly served; the ttwr )from the Freneh asstair, to sit down.) marehed in before the meats, and arranged them on the table; Ihe sentshal was the household steward.—Tonn.

41. Of *Aew, for in 0use, Latine.

45. Or years. Miiton was nearly sixty years old when this poem was pubiished

From eompassing the earth; eautious of day,
Sinee Uriel, regent of the sun, deseried »
His entranee, and forewarn'd the eherubim
That kept their wateh; thenee full of anguish driven,
The spaee of seven eontinued nights he rode
With darkness; thriee the equinoetial line
He eireled; four times eross'd the ear of night 65
From pole to pole, traversing eaeh eolure;
On the eighth return'd; and, on the eoast averse
From entranee or eherubie wateh, by stealth
Found unsuspeeted way. There was a plaee,
Now not, though sin, not time, first wrought the ehange 70
Where Tigris, at the foot of Paradise,
Into a gulf shot underground; till part
Rose up a fountain by the tree of life:
In with the river sunk, and with it rose,
Satan, involved in rising mist; then sought 78
Where to lie hid: sea he had seareh'd, and land
From Eden over Pontus, and the pool
Mseotis, up beyond the river Ob;
Downward as far antaretie; and in length,
West from Orontes to the oeean barr'd 80
At Darien; thenee to the land where flows
Ganges and Indus: thus the orb he roam'd
With narrow seareh; and with inspeetion deep
Consider'd every ereature, whieh of all
Most opportune might serve his wiles; and found 80
The serpent subtlest beast of all the field.
Him, after long debate irresolute
Of thoughts revolved, his final sentenee ehose;
Fit vessel, fittest imp of fraud, in whom
To enter, and his dark suggestions hide 00
From sharpest sight; for, in the wily snake
Whatever sleights, none would suspieious mark,
As from his wit and native subtlety
Proeeeding; whieh, in other beasts observed,
Doubt might beget of diabolie power 05
Aetive within, beyond the sense of brute.
Thus he resolved; but first from inward grief
His bursting passion into plaints thus pour'd:
0 earth, how like to heaven, if not preferr'd
More justly, seat worthier of gods, as built loo

50. Ompatsing the earth. Job i. 7.

03. 8atan was tbree days eompassing the earth from east to west, and four days from north to south, bat stiil kept always in the shade of night; and on the eighth day returned by stealth into Parod w,.—N Bwvox.

00. Eaeh esAure. The eol urea" are two great eireles, interseeting eaeh other at right angles in the poies of the world, and eneompassing the earth from north to south.

77. As we before had an astronondeal, so here we have a geographieal aeeount of 8atan's peregrinations.—Newton.

78. Ol1, the Oby; Orontrt, a river of 8yria that empties into tiie gulf of lssus; Durien, the isthmus thnt seems to set a oar to the Atlantie, preventing its ndngiing with the waters of the Paeifie.

80. Oen. 1ii. 1.

80. F.tisrt imp: Fittest staek to jral't his deviiish frand upon.—Llumr.

With seeond thoughts, reforming what was old!

For what God, after better, worse would build?

Terrestrial heaven, daneed round by other heavens

That shine, yet bear their bright offieious lamps,

Light above light, for thee alone, as seems; 10s

In thee eoneentring all their preeious beams

Of saered influenee! As God in heaven

Is eentre, yet extends to all; so thou,

Centring, reeeiv'st from all those orbs: in thee,

Not in themselves, all their known virtue appears 110

Produetive in herb, plant, and nobler birth

Of ereatures animate with gradual life,

Of growth, sense, reason, all summ'd up in man.

With what delight eould I have walk'd thee round,

If I eould joy in aught! sweet interehange lis

Of hill, and valley, rivers, woods, and plains,

Now land, now sea, and shores with forest erown'd,

Roeks, dens, and eaves 1 But I in none of these

Find plaee or refuge; and the more I see

Pleasures about me, so mueh more I feel 120

Torment within me, as from the hateful siege

Of eontraries: all good to me beeomes

Bane, and in heaven mueh worse would be my state.

But neither here seek I, no, nor in heaven

To dwell, unless by mastering heaven's Supreme: 12s

Nor hope to be myself less miserable

By what I seek, but others to make sueh

As I, though thereby worse to me redound:

For only in destroying I find ease

To my relentless thoughts; and, him destroy'd, 130

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 destruetion wide may range.

To me shall be the glory sole among 135

The infernal powers, in one day to have marr'd

What he, Almighty styled, six nights and days

Continued making; and who knows how long

Before had been eontriving? though perhaps

Not longer than sinee I, in one night, freed 140

From servitude inglorious well nigh half

The angelie name, and thiuner left the throng

Of his adorers: he, to be avenged,

And to repair his numbers thus impair'd.

Whether sueh virtue spent of old now fail'd l«

More angels to ereate, if thoy at least

Are his ereated; or, to spite us more,

113. Of growth, Ae. The tbree Kinds or iife, vegetable, animal, and rational, of all uf whieh man partakes.

11n. Plrtee: Abkiing-plaee.

1311. 7/tm. Miiton hat in two or tbree

plaees used the objeetive absolute instead of the nondnative.

148. lf \hey at isasi. Ae.; thus doubt ing whether the angels were ereated by Determined to advanee into our room

A ereature form'd of earth; and him endow,

Exalted from so base original, 100

With heavenly spoils, our spoils: what he deereed,

He effeeted; man he made, and for him built

Magnifieent this world, and earth his seat,

Him lord pronouneed; and, O indignity 1

Subjeeted to his serviee angel-wings, 155

And flaming ministers to wateh and tend

Their earthy eharge: of these the vigilanee

I dread; and, to elude, thus wrapp'd in mist

Of midnight vapour glide obseure; and pry

In every bush and brake, where hap may find wo

The serpent sleeping; in whose mazy folds

To hide me, and the dark intent I bring.

O foul deseent! that I, who erst eontended

With gods to sit the highest, am now eonstrain'd

Into a beast; and, mix'd with bestial slime, 100

This essenee to inearnate and imbrute,

That to the highth of deity aspired!

But what will not ambition and revenge

Deseend to? Who aspires, must down as low

As high he soar'd; obnoxious, first or last, 170

To basest things. Revenge, at first though sweet,

Bitter ere long, baek on itself reeoils:

Let it; I reek not, so it light well aim'd,

Sinee higher I fall short, on him who next

Provokes my envy, this new favourite 170

Of Heaven, this man of elay, son of despite; •

Whom, us the more to spite, his Maker raised

From dust: spite then with spite is best repaid.

So saying, through eaeh thwket dank or dry,
Like a blaek mist low-ereeping, he held on iso
His midnight seareh, where soonest ho might find
The serpent: him fast sleeping soon he found
In labyrinth of many a round self-roll'd,
His head the midst, well stored with subtle wiles:
Not yet in horrid shade or dismal den, 180
Nor noeent 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 inspired
With aet intelligent ial; but his sleep 100
Disturb'd not, waiting elose the approaeh of morn.

Now, when as saered light began to dawn

150 and 157. 8ee Ps. eiv. 4 and xei. 11, and Heb. L 14.

173. So speeeh in the whole work is, in my opinion, worked up with greater jndgment, or better snited to the eharaeter of the speaker, than this of 8atan'0. There is all the horror and maiignity of a fiend-iike spirit expressed; and yet this is Bo artfuliv tempered with 8atan's

starts of reeolleetion upon the meauness and lolly of what l,e was going to undertake, Nb plainly show the remains of the arehangel and the rnins of a superior nature.—Tntes.

102. Su'red light. This is the morning of the ninth day, as far as we ean reeken the time in this porm;—the last of man's iunoeenee and happiness.—Newton.

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