صور الصفحة
PDF

Created hugest that swim the oeean stream:

Him, haply, slumbering on the Norway fount,

The pilot of some small night-founder'd skiff,

Deeming some island, oft, as seamen tell, 205

With fixed anehor in his sealy rind

Moors by his side under the lee, while night

Invests the sea, and wished morn delays.

So streteh'd out huge in length the Areh-fiend lay

Chain'd on the burning lake; nor ever thenee 210

Had risen or heaved his head, but that the will

And high permission of all-ruling Heaven

Left him at large to his own dark designs;

That with reiterated erimes he might

Heap on himself damnation, while he sought 215

Evil to others; and enraged might see

How all his maliee served but to bring forth

Infinite goodness, graee, and merey shown

On man by him sedueed; but on himself

Treble eonfusion, wrath, and vengeanee pour'd. 220

Forthwith upright he rears frora off the pool

His mighty stature; on eaeh hand the flames,

Driven baekward, slope their pointing spires, and, roll'd

In billows, leave in the midst a horrid vale.

Then with expanded wings he steers his flight 225

Aloft, ineumbent on the dusky air

That felt unusual weight, till on dry land

He lights; if it were land, that ever burn'd

With solid, as the lake with liquid fire;

And sueh appear'd in hue, as when the foree 230

Of subterranean wind transports a hill

Torn from Pelorus, or the shatter'd side

Of thundering iEtna, whose eombustible

And fuel'd entrails thenee eoneeiving fire,

Sublimed with mineral fury, aid the winds, 235

And leave a singed bottom all involv'd

With steneh and smoke: sueh resting found the sole

Of unblest feet. Him follow'd his next mate;

Both glorying to have 'seaped the Stygian flood,

As gods, and by their own reeover'd strength, 240

Not by the sufferanee of supernal Power,

Is this the region, this the soil, the elime,
Said then the lost Arehangel, this the seat
That we must ehange for heaven? this mournful gloom

[merged small][ocr errors]

For that eelestial light? Be it Bo, sinee he, 215

Who now is Sovran, ean dispose and bid

What shall be right: farthest from him is best,

Whom reason hath equal'd, foree hath made supreme

Above his equals. Farewell, happy fields,

Where joy for ever dwells! Hail, horrours; hail, 280

Infernal world! and thou, profoundest hell,

Reeeive thy new possessour; one who brings

A mind not to be ehanged by plaee or time.

The mind is its own plaee, and in itself

Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven. 255

What matter where, if I be still the same,

And what I should be; all but less than he

Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at least

We shall be free; the Almighty hath not built

Here for his envy; will not drive us henee: 200

Here wo may reign seeure; and in my ehoiee

To reign is worth ambition, though in hell:

Better to reign in hell, than serve in heaven.

But wherefore let we then our faithful friends,

The assoeiates and eopartuers of our loss, 200

Lie thus astonish'd on the oblivious pool;

And eall them not to share with us their part

In this unhappy mansion; or once more

With rallied arms to try what may be yet

Regain'd in heaven, or what more lost in hell? 270

So Satan spake, and him Beelzebub
Thus answer'd: Leader of those armies bright,
Whieh but the Omnipotent none eould have foil'd,
If onee they hear that voiee, their liveliest pledge
Of hope in fears and dangers, heard so oft 27s
In worst extremes, and on the perilous edge
Of battel when it raged, in all assaults
Their surest signal, they will soon resume
New eourage, and revive, though now they lie
Groveling and prostrate on yon lake of fire, 280
As we erewhile, astounded and amazed:
No wonder, fallen sueh a pernieious highth.

He searee had eeased, when the superiour fiend
Was moving toward tho shore; his ponderous shield,
Ethereal temper, massy, large, and round, 2ss
Behind him east; the broad eireumferenee
Hung on his shoulders, like the moon, whose orb
Through optie glass the Tusean artist views
At evening, from the top of Fesole,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Or in Yaldarno, to desery new lands, 200

Rivers or mountains in her spotty globe.

His spear, to equal whieh the tallest pine,

Hewn on Norwegian hills to be the mast

Of some great ammiral, were but a wand,

He walk'd with to support uneasy steps 200

Over the burning marie; not like those steps

On heaven's azure: and the torrid elime

Smote on him sore besides, vaulted with fire.

Nathless he so endured, till on the beaeh

Of that inflamed sea he stood, and eall'd soo

His legions, angel forms, who lay intraneed,

Thiek as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks

In Vallombrosa, where the Etrurian shades

High overareh'd imbower; or seatter'd sedge

Afloat, when with fieree winds Orion arm'd 300

Hath vex'd the Red-sea eoast, whose waves o'erthrew

Busiris and his Memphian ehivalry,

While with perfidious hatred they pursued

The sojourners of Goshen, who beheld

From the safe shore their floating eareases 310

And broken ehariot-wheels: so thiek bestrown,

Abjeet and lost, lay these, eovering the flood,

Under amazement of their hideous ehange.

He eall'd so loud, that all the hollow deep

Of hell resounded: Prinees, potentates, 310

Warriors, the flower of heaven, onee yours, now lost,

If sueh astonishment as this ean seize

Eternal spirits: or have ye ehosen this plaee

After the toil of battel to repose

Your wearied virtue, for the ease you find 320

To slumber here, as in the vales of heaven?

Or in this abjeet posture have ye sworn

To adore the Conquerour? who now beholds

Cherub and seraph rolling in the flood,

203. h'tmargian Mllt. The hills of Norway abonnd in vest wornIs, from whenee are bronght masts of the largest size. "The aunotators leave unnotieed the marvellous grundenr of this deseription, whiie they habble on petty teehnieaiities. The wtllcing over the burning rru,ri s is astonishing and tremendous."—Brsdoes.

3V2. Thiek as autumnal leaves. "Here we see the impression of seenery made upon Miiton's ndnd in his youth when be Wbs at Florenee. This is a favourite passage wRh all readers of deseriptive poetry."—8,r E. Bbvdoks. "The sitnation of Florenee is peeuiiarly happy in the rale of Arne. whieh forms one eontinned interehange of garden and grove, enelosed by hiils and distant mountains. Yallombrosa, )a vale abont eighteen mi,es distant,; a grand and solemu seene, where 'Jtsrnrian shades high over-arehed lm

bower,' has been rendered elassieal by the immortal verse of Miiton, who is supposed to have drawn from It his pieture of l'aradise, when be deserii,es it—

sBade above Bbade A woody theatre of stateiiest v,ew."

Murrav.

305. Orion. This eonstellation was supposed to be attended with stormy weathev.

307. Busiris. Pharaoh is ealled by some writers Busiris; and he is hero said to have pursned the lsraeiites with perlidious hatred, beeause, after having given them leave to depart, he followed thum as fngitives.

314. The hMtw deep. This magnifieent eall of 8atan to his prostrate host eonld have been written by nobedy but Miiton.—Brtdogs.

With seatter'd arms and ensigns, till anon 325

His swift pursuers from heaven gates diseern

The advantage, and deseending tread us down

Thus drooping, or with linked thunderbolts

Transfix us to the bottom of this gulf.

Awake, arise; or be for ever fallen! 330

They heard, and were abash'd, and up they sprung
Upon the wing; as when men wont to wateh
On duty, sleeping found by whom they dread,
Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake.
Nor did they not pereeive the evil plight 330
In whieh they were, or the fieree pains not feel;
Yet to their general's voiee they soon obey'd,
Iunumerable. As when the potent rod
Of Amram's son, in ..'Egypt's evil day,
Waved round the eoast, up eall'd a pitehy eloud 340
Of loeusts, warping on the eastern wind,
That o'er the realm of impious Pharaoh hung
Like night, and darken'd all the land of Nile:
So numberless were those bad angels seen,
Hovering on wing under the eope of hell, 3«
'Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding fires:
Till, as a signal given, the uplifted spear
Of their great Sultan waving to direet
Their eourse, in even balanee down they light
On the lirm brimstone, and fill all the plain. 350
A multitude, like whieh the populous north
Pour'd never from her frozen loins) to pass
Khene or the Danaw, when her barbarous sons
Came like a deluge on the south, and spread
Beneath Gibraltar to the Libyan sands. 353
Forthwith from every squadron and eaeh band
The heads and leaders thither haste, where stood
Their groat Commander; godlike shapes and forms
Exeelling human, prineely dignities,

And powers, that erst in lieaven sat on thrones; 300

Though of their names in heavenly reeords now

Be no memorial, blotted out and razed

By their rebellion from the Book of Life.

Nor had they yet among the sons of Eve

Got them new names; till, wandering o'er the earth, 305

Through God's high suffraneo for the trial of man,

By falsities and lies the greatest part

Of mankind they eorrupted to forsake

God their Creator, and the invisible

Glory of him that made them to transform 370

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Oft to the image of a brute, adorn'd

With gay religions full of pomp and gold,

And devils to adore for deities:

Then were they known to men by various names,

And various idols through the heathen world. 370

Say, Muse, their names then known, who lirst, who last,
Roused from the slumber on that liery eoueh
At their great Emperour's eall, as next in worth,
Came singly where he stood on the bare strand;
While the promisenous erowd stood yet aloof. K)
The ehief were those, who, from the pit of hell
Roaming to seek their prey on earth, durst lix
Their seats long after next the seat of God,
Their altars by his altar, gods adored

Among the nations round; and durst abide 385

Jehovah thundering out of Sion, throned

Between the eherubim: yea, often plaeed

Within his sanetuary itself, their shrines,

Abominations; and with eursed things

His holy rites and solemn feasts profaned, 300

And with their darkness durst affront his light.

First Moloeh, horrid king, besmear'd with blood

Of human saeriliee, and parents' tears;

Though for the noise of drums and timbrels loud

Their ehildren's eries unheard, that pass'd through fire 3J3

To his grim idol, Him the Ammonite

Woishipp'd in Rabba aud her watery plain,

In Argob, and in Uasan, to the stream

Of utmost Arnon. Nor eontent with sueh

Audaeious neighbourhood, the wisest heart 400

Of Solomon he led by fraud to build

His temple right against the temple of God,

On that opprobrious hill; and made his grove

The pleasant valley of Hiunom, Tophet thenee

And blaek Geheuna eall'd, the type of hell, 405

Next Chemos, the obseene dread of Moab's sons,

3&L Hnlneh was the ged of the Ammon- | of Jerusalem, whore the Canaanites snd ites, )1 Rings xi. 71 and was worshipped afterwards the lsraeiites oIfered their , hiiin Rabb.t, their eapital eity, ealled the , dren to Moloeh. The goed king Josiah .,ettv of waters," - Sam. xii- The idol I defiled lhis plaee, by rasGng into it the nf this deity was of bra"s, sitting on a bones of the dead and other disgusting tbrone, and wearing a erown, having the refuse substanees of a large eity. A perhead of a ealf, and his arms extended to . petnal fire was kept there to eonsume reeeive the ndserable vietim' whieh were . these things, and henee under the name to be saerifieed; and therefore it is here - of Gfl.enmt it is freqoently allnded to ln prohably styled "bis grim idol,'' 2 Rings j the New Testament as a type of Hell, xxiii. 10; see abo Jev. vii. lll. II was also ealled Tuphet, fre,n the lie

8y8. Argob was a eity to the oast of the brew ,l'opA, a drum; sinee drums and Jordan, and in the distriet iiashan. The sueh iike noisy instruments were used river Arnon was the northern boundary to drown the eries of the miserable ehiiof Moab aud emptied into the Dead 8es. dren who were offered to the idol here.

400. 8olomon buiit a temple to Molot h 400. Chtmos is the ged of the Moabites, on the Mount of Oiives, l1 Rings xi. 71 and is mentioned with Moloeh in 1 Ring! whieh is therefore ealled " that opprobri- xi. 7. 8ome suppose him to l,e the same eeu) hiil.'1 sa that most shameful divinity, Priapus,

404. The ealley of lf,unom was sonth and therefore here ealled the ubeetmdrtad.

« السابقةمتابعة »