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THE ARGUMENT.

Satan having compass’d 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 labors, which Eve proposes to divide in several places, each laboring apart: Adam confents not, alledging the danger, left that enemy, of whom they were forewarn'd, should attempt her found alone : Eve, loath to be thought not circumspect or firm enough, urges her going apart, the rather desirous to make trial of her strength; Adam at last yields : The Serpent finds her alone; his fübtle approach, first gazing, then speaking, with much flattery extolling Eve above all other creatures. Eve, wondering to hear the Serpent speak, asks how he attain’d to human speech and such understanding not till now; the Serpent answers, that by tasting of a certain tree in the garden he attain’d both to speech and reason, till then void of both: Eve requires him to bring her to that tree, and finds it to be the tree of knowledge forbidden: The Serpent now grown bölder, with many wiles and arguments induces her at length to eat; she pleas'd with the taste deliberates a while whether to impart thereof to Adam or not, at last brings him of the fruit, relates what perfuaded her to eat thereof: Adam at first amaz’d, but perceiving her loft, resolves through vehemence of love to perish with her; and extenuating the trespass eats also of the fruit: The effects thereof in them both; they seek to cover their nakedness; then fall to variance and accusation of one another.

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O more of talk where God or Angel guest

With Man, as with his friend, familiar us'd
To fit indulgent, and with him partake
Rural repast, permitting him the while
Venial discourse unblam'd : I now must change
Those notes to tragic; foul distrust, and breach
Disloyal on the part of Man, revolt,
And disobedience: on the part of Heaven
Now alienated, distance and diftaste,
Anger and just rebuke, and judgment given,
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 heroic than the wrath
Of stern Achilles on his foe pursu'd

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Thrice fugitive about Troy wall; or rage
Of Turnus for Lavinia disespous’d,
Or Neptune's ire or Juno's, that so long
Perplex'd the Greek and Cytherea's son;
If answerable stile I can obtain
Of my celestial patroness, who deigns
Her nightly visitation unimplor'd
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And

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And di&tates to me flumb'ring, or inspires
Easy my unpremeditated verse :
Since first this subject for heroic song

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Pleas’d me long choosing, and beginning late;
Not fedulous by nature to indite
Wars, hitherto the only argument
Heroic deem'd, chief mast'ry to diffect
With long and tedious havoc fabled knights

30 In battels feign'd; the better fortitude Of patience and heroic martyrdom Unsung; or to describe races and games, Or tilting furniture, imblazon'd shields, Impresses quaint, caparisons and steeds;

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Bases and tinsel trappings, gorgeous knights
At joust and torneament; then marshal'd feast
Serv'd up in hall with fewers, and seneshals;
The skill of artifice or office mean,
Not that which justly gives heroic name

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To person or to poem. Me of these
Nor skill'd nor studious, higher argument
Remains, fufficient of itself to raise
That name, unless an age too late, or cold
Climate, or years damp my intended wing 45
Depress'd, and much 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 office is to bring
Twilight upon the earth, short arbiter
*Twixt day and night, and now from end to end
Night's hemisphere had veil'd th' horizon round:

When

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When Satan who late fled before the threats
Of Gabriel out of Eden, now improv'd
In meditated fraud and malice, bent

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On Man's destruction, maugre what might hap
Of heavier on himself, fearless return'd.
By night he fled, and at midnight return'd
From compassing the earth, cautious of day,
Since Uriel regent of the sun descry'd

66 His entrance, and forewarn'd the Cherubim That kept their watch; thence full of anguish driven, The space of sev’n continued nights he rode With darkness, thrice the equinoctial line He circled, four times cross'd the car of night

65 From pole to pole, travérsing each colúre; On th' eighth return’d, and on the coast averse From entrance or Cherubic watch, by stealth Found unsuspected way. There was a place, Now not, though sin, not time, first wrought the change, Where Tigris at the foot of Paradise Into a gulf shot under ground, till part Rose up a fountain by the tree of life; In with the river sunk, and with it rose Satan involv’d in rising mist, then fought

75 Where to lie hid; sea he had search'd and land From Eden over Pontus, and the pool Mæotis, up beyond the river Ob; Downward as far antarctic; and in length West from Orontes to the ocean barr'd At Darien, thence to the land where flows Ganges and Indus: thus the orb he roam'd

With

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