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النشر الإلكتروني

From pole to pole, travérsing each colûre ;
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,

70
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 sought
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 80
At Darien, thence to the land where flows
Ganges and Indus: thus the orb he roam'd
With narrow search, and with inspection deep,
Consider'd ev'ry creature, which of all
Most opportune might serve his wiles, and found
The serpent subtlest beast of all the field;
Him after long debate, irresolute
Of thoughts revolv’d, his final sentence chose
Fit vessel, fittest imp of fraud, in whom
To enter, and his dark suggestions hide 90
From sharpest sight: for in the wily snake,
Whatever sleights none would suspicious mark,
As from his wit and native subtlety
Proceeding, which in other beasts observ'd

Doubt might beget of diabolic power
Active within beyond the sense of brute.
Thus he resolv’d, but first from inward grief
His bursting passion into plaints thus pour'd :

O Earth, how like to Heav'n, if not preferr'd
More justly, seat worthier of gods, as built 100
With second thoughts, reforming what was old !
For what God after better worse would build ?
Terrestrial Heav'n, danc'd round by other heav ns
That shine, yet bear their bright officious lamps,
Light above light, for thee alone, as seems
In thee concentring all their precious beams
Of sacred influence! As God in Heav'n
Is centre, yet extends to all, so thou
Centring receiv'st from all those orbs '; in thee,
Not in themselves, all their known virtue' appears
Productive in herb, plant, and nobler birth 111
Of creatures animate with gradual life
Of growth, sense, reason, all summ'd up in man.
With what delight could I have walk'd thee round,
If I could joy in aught, sweet interchange
Of hill, and valley, rivers, woods, and plains,
Now land, now sea, and shores with forest crown'd,
Rocks, dens, and caves! but I in none of these
Find place or refuge; and the more I see
Pleasures about me, so much more I feel 120
Torment within me', as from the hateful siege
Of contraries ; all good to me becomes
Bane, and in Heav'n much worse would be my

state,

But neither here seek I, no nor in Heav'n
To dwell, unless by mast'ring Heav'n's Supreme;
Nor hope to be myself less miserable
By what I seek, but others to make such
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 Destruction wide may range:
To me shall be the glory sole among
Th’ infernal powers, in one day to have marr'd
What he Almighty styl’d, six nights and days
Continued making, and who knows how long
Before had been contriving, though perhaps
Not longer than since I in one night freed 140
From servitude inglorious well nigh half
Th' angelic name, and thinner left the throng
Of his adorers: he to be aveng'd,
And to repair his numbers thus impair’d,
Whether such virtue spent of old now failid
More angels to create, if they at least
Are his created, or to spite us more,
Determin'd to advance into our room
A creature form’d of earth, and him endow,
Exalted from so base original,

150 With heav'nly spoils, our spoils: what he decreed He' effected; Man he made, and for him built Magnificent this world, and Earth his seat,

Him lord pronounc'd, and, O indignity!
Subjected to his service angel wings,
And flaming ministers to watch and tend
Their earthly charge: of these the vigilance
I dread, and to elude, thus wrapt in mist
Of midnight vapor glide obscure, and pry
In every bush and brake, where hap may find 160
The serpent sleeping, in whose mazy folds
To hide me, and the dark intent I bring.
O foul descent! that I who erst contended
With gods to sit the high'est, am now constrain'd
Into a beast, and mix'd with bestial slime,
This essence to incarnate and imbrute,
That to the heighth of Deity aspir'd;
But what will not Ambition and Revenge
Descend 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 back on itself recoils ;
Let it; I reck not, so it light well aim'd,
Since higher I fall short, on him who next
Provokes my envy, this new favorite
Of Heav'n, this man of clay, Son of Despite,
Whom us the more to spite, his Maker rais'd
From dust: spite then with spite is best repaid,

So saying, through each thicket dank or dry
Like a black mist low creeping, he held on 180
His midnight search, where soonest he might find
The serpent: him fast sleeping soon he found
In labyrinth of many a round self-roll’d,

His head the midst, well stor’d with subtle wiles; Not yet in horrid shade or dismal den, Nor nocent 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 inspir'd With act intelligential; but his sleep 190 Disturb’d not, waiting close th' approach of Morn. Now when as sacred light began to dawn In Eden on the humid flowers, that breath'd Their morning intense, when all things that breathe, From th' Earth's great altar send up silent praise To the Creator, and his nostrils fill With grateful smell, forth came the Human pair, And join'd their vocal worship to the quire Of creatures wanting voice; that done, partake The season, prime for sweetest scents and airs: 200 Then commune how that day they best may ply Their growing work: for much their work outgrew The hands' dispatch of two gard’ning so wide, And Eve first to her husband thus began :

Adam, well may we labor still to dress This garden, still to tend plant, herb, and flower, Our pleasant task injoin'd; but till more hands Aid us, the work under our labor grows, Luxurious by restraint; what we by day Lop overgrown, or prune, or crop, or bind, 210 One night or two with wanton growth derides Tending to wild. Thou therefore now advise, Or bear what to my mind first thoughts present;

VOL. 11.

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