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John Milton (1608-1674)

Paradise Lost: Book IV


              1O for that warning voice, which he who saw
              2Th' Apocalypse heard cry in Heaven aloud,
              3Then when the Dragon, put to second rout,
              4Came furious down to be reveng'd on men,
              5"Woe to the inhabitants on Earth!" that now,
              6While time was, our first parents had been warn'd
              7The coming of their secret foe, and scap'd,
              8Haply so scap'd, his mortal snare! For now
              9Satan, now first inflam'd with rage, came down,
            10The tempter, ere th' accuser, of mankind,
            11To wreak on innocent frail Man his loss
            12Of that first battle and his flight to Hell;
            13Yet not rejoicing in his speed, though bold
            14Far off and fearless, nor with cause to boast,
            15Begins his dire attempt; which, nigh the birth
            16Now rolling, boils in his tumultuous breast,
            17And like a devilish engine back recoils
            18Upon himself. Horror and doubt distract
            19His troubl'd thoughts and from the bottom stir
            20The hell within him; for within him Hell
            21He brings, and round about him, nor from Hell
            22One step, no more than from himself, can fly
            23By change of place. Now conscience wakes despair
            24That slumber'd, wakes the bitter memory
            25Of what he was, what is, and what must be
            26Worse: of worse deeds worse sufferings must ensue!
            27Sometimes towards Eden, which now in his view
            28Lay pleasant, his griev'd look he fixes sad;
            29Sometimes towards heaven and the full-blazing sun,
            30Which now sat high in his meridian tower:
            31Then, much revolving, thus in sighs began:

            32"O thou that with surpassing glory crown'd
            33Look'st from thy sole dominion like the God
            34Of this new World--at whose sight all the stars
            35Hide their diminish'd heads--to thee I call,
            36But with no friendly voice, and add thy name,
            37O Sun, to tell thee how I hate thy beams,
            38That bring to my remembrance from what state
            39I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere,
            40Till pride and worse ambition threw me down,
            41Warring in Heav'n against Heav'n's matchless King:
            42Ah, wherefore? He deserv'd no such return
            43From me, whom he created what I was
            44In that bright eminence, and with his good
            45Upbraided none; nor was his service hard.
            46What could be less than to afford him praise,
            47The easiest recompense, and pay him thanks,
            48How due! Yet all his good prov'd ill in me,
            49And wrought but malice; lifted up so high,
            50I 'sdain'd subjection, and thought one step higher
            51Would set me highest and in a moment quit
            52The debt immense of endless gratitude,
            53So burdensome, still paying, still to owe;
            54Forgetful what from him I still receiv'd;
            55And understood not that a grateful mind
            56By owing owes not, but still pays, at once
            57Indebted and discharg'd: what burden then?
            58O had his powerful destiny ordain'd
            59Me some inferior Angel, I had stood
            60Then happy: no unbounded hope had rais'd
            61Ambition. Yet why not? Some other Power
            62As great might have aspir'd, and me, though mean,
            63Drawn to his part; but other Powers as great
            64Fell not, but stand unshak'n, from within
            65Or from without to all temptations arm'd!
            66Hadst thou the same free will and power to stand?
            67Thou hadst. Whom hast thou then, or what, to accuse,
            68But Heav'n's free love dealt equally to all?
            69Be then his love accurs'd, since, love or hate,
            70To me alike it deals eternal woe.
            71Nay, curs'd be thou, since against his thy will
            72Chose freely what it now so justly rues.
            73Me miserable! which way shall I fly
            74Infinite wrath and infinite despair?
            75Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell;
            76And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep
            77Still threat'ning to devour me opens wide,
            78To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heav'n.
            79O then at last relent! is there no place
            80Left for repentance, none for pardon left?
            81None left but by submission; and that word
            82Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame
            83Among the Spirits beneath, whom I seduc'd
            84With other promises and other vaunts
            85Than to submit, boasting I could subdue
            86Th' Omnipotent. Ay me! they little know
            87How dearly I abide that boast so vain,
            88Under what torments inwardly I groan;
            89While they adore me on the throne of Hell,
            90With diadem and sceptre high advanc'd,
            91The lower still I fall, only supreme
            92In misery: such joy ambition finds!
            93But say I could repent, and could obtain,
            94By act of grace, my former state: how soon
            95Would highth recall high thoughts, how soon unsay
            96What feign'd submission swore! Ease would recant
            97Vows made in pain, as violent and void--
            98For never can true reconcilement grow
            99Where wounds of deadly hate have pierc'd so deep--
          100Which would but lead me to a worse relapse
          101And heavier fall: so should I purchase dear
          102Short intermission bought with double smart.
          103This knows my Punisher; therefore as far
          104From granting he, as I from begging, peace.
          105All hope excluded thus, behold, instead
          106Of us, outcast, exil'd, his new delight,
          107Mankind, created, and for him this World!
          108So farewell Hope, and, with Hope, farewell Fear,
          109Farewell Remorse! All good to me is lost:
          110Evil, be thou my Good; by thee at least
          111Divided empire with Heav'n's King I hold,
          112By thee, and more than half perhaps will reign--
          113As Man ere long and this new World shall know."

          114Thus while he spake, each passion dimm'd his face,
          115Thrice chang'd with pale--ire, envy, and despair,
          116Which marr'd his borrow'd visage and betray'd
          117Him counterfeit, if any eye beheld;
          118For heav'nly minds from such distempers foul
          119Are ever clear. Whereof he soon aware
          120Each perturbation smooth'd with outward calm,
          121Artificer of fraud, and was the first
          122That practis'd falsehood under saintly show,
          123Deep malice to conceal, couch'd with revenge;
          124Yet not enough had practis'd to deceive
          125Uriel, once warn'd, whose eye pursu'd him down
          126The way he went and on th' Assyrian mount
          127Saw him disfigur'd, more than could befall
          128Spirit of happy sort: his gestures fierce
          129He mark'd and mad demeanour, then alone,
          130As he suppos'd, all unobserv'd, unseen.
          131So on he fares and to the border comes
          132Of Eden, where delicious Paradise,
          133Now nearer, crowns with her enclosure green,
          134As with a rural mound, the champaign head
          135Of a steep wilderness, whose hairy sides
          136With thicket overgrown, grotesque and wild,
          137Access denied; and overhead up-grew
          138Insuperable highth of loftiest shade,
          139Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm,
          140A sylvan scene and, as the ranks ascend
          141Shade above shade, a woody theatre
          142Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops
          143The verdurous wall of Paradise up-sprung;
          144Which to our general sire gave prospect large
          145Into his nether empire neighbouring round.
          146And higher than that wall a circling row
          147Of goodliest trees, loaden with fairest fruit,
          148Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue,
          149Appear'd, with gay enamell'd colours mix'd;
          150On which the Sun more glad impress'd his beams
          151Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow,
          152When God hath show'r'd the earth: so lovely seem'd
          153That landskip. And of pure, now purer air
          154Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires
          155Vernal delight and joy, able to drive
          156All sadness but despair. Now gentle gales,
          157Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense
          158Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole
          159Those balmy spoils. As when to them who sail
          160Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past
          161Mozambic, off at sea north-east winds blow
          162Sabean odours from the spicy shore
          163Of Araby the Blest, with such delay
          164Well pleas'd they slack their course, and many a league
          165Cheer'd with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles:
          166So entertain'd those odorous sweets the Fiend
          167Who came their bane, though with them better pleas'd
          168Than Asmodeus with the fishy fume
          169That drove him, though enamour'd, from the spouse
          170Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent
          171From Media post to Egypt, there fast bound.

          172Now to th' ascent of that steep savage hill
          173Satan had journeyed on, pensive and slow;
          174But further way found none: so thick entwin'd,
          175As one continu'd brake, the undergrowth
          176Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplex'd
          177All path of man or beast that pass'd that way.
          178One gate there only was, and that look'd east
          179On th' other side; which when th' Arch-felon saw,
          180Due entrance he disdain'd and, in contempt,
          181At one slight bound high overleap'd all bound
          182Of hill or highest wall, and sheer within
          183Lights on his feet. As when a prowling wolf,
          184Whom hunger drives to seek new haunt for prey,
          185Watching where shepherds pen their flocks at eve
          186In hurdl'd cotes amid the field secure,
          187Leaps o'er the fence with ease into the fold;
          188Or as a thief, bent to unhoard the cash
          189Of some rich burgher, whose substantial doors,
          190Cross-barr'd and bolted fast, fear no assault,
          191In at the window climbs, or o'er the tiles:
          192So clomb this first grand Thief into God's fold:
          193So since into his Church lewd hirelings climb.
          194Thence up he flew, and on the Tree of Life,
          195The middle tree and highest there that grew,
          196Sat like a cormorant; yet not true life
          197Thereby regain'd, but sat devising death
          198To them who liv'd; nor on the virtue thought
          199Of that life-giving plant, but only us'd
          200For prospect what, well us'd, had been the pledge
          201Of immortality. So little knows
          202Any but God alone to value right
          203The good before him, but perverts best things
          204To worst abuse, or to their meanest use.
          205Beneath him, with new wonder, now he views,
          206To all delight of human sense expos'd,
          207In narrow room Nature's whole wealth; yea, more--
          208A Heaven on Earth; for blissful Paradise
          209Of God the garden was, by him in the east
          210Of Eden planted; Eden stretch'd her line
          211From Auran eastward to the royal tow'rs
          212Of great Seleucia, built by Grecian kings,
          213Or where the sons of Eden long before
          214Dwelt in Telassar: in this pleasant soil
          215His far more pleasant garden God ordain'd.
          216Out of the fertile ground he caus'd to grow
          217All trees of noblest kind for sight, smell, taste;
          218And all amid them stood the Tree of Life,
          219High eminent, blooming ambrosial fruit
          220Of vegetable gold; and, next to life,
          221Our death, the Tree of Knowledge, grew fast by--
          222Knowledge of good, bought dear by knowing ill.
          223Southward through Eden went a river large,
          224Nor chang'd his course, but through the shaggy hill
          225Pass'd underneath ingulf'd; for God had thrown
          226That mountain, as his garden-mould, high rais'd
          227Upon the rapid current, which through veins
          228Of porous earth with kindly thirst up-drawn
          229Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill
          230Water'd the garden; thence united fell
          231Down the steep glade and met the nether flood,
          232Which from his darksome passage now appears,
          233And now, divided into four main streams,
          234Runs diverse, wand'ring many a famous realm
          235And country, whereof here needs no account,
          236But rather to tell how, if art could tell,
          237How from that sapphire fount the crisped brooks,
          238Rolling on orient pearl and sands of gold,
          239With mazy error under pendent shades
          240Ran nectar, visiting each plant, and fed
          241Flow'rs worthy of Paradise, which not nice Art
          242In beds and curious knots, but Nature boon
          243Pour'd forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain,
          244Both where the morning sun first warmly smote
          245The open field, and where the unpierc'd shade
          246Imbrown'd the noontide bow'rs. Thus was this place,
          247A happy rural seat of various view:
          248Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and balm;
          249Others whose fruit, burnish'd with golden rind,
          250Hung amiable--Hesperian fables true,
          251If true, here only--and of delicious taste.
          252Betwixt them lawns, or level downs, and flocks
          253Grazing the tender herb, were interpos'd,
          254Or palmy hillock; or the flow'ry lap
          255Of some irriguous valley spread her store,
          256Flow'rs of all hue, and without thorn the rose;
          257Another side, umbrageous grots and caves
          258Of cool recess, o'er which the mantling vine
          259Lays forth her purple grape and gently creeps
          260Luxuriant. Meanwhile murmuring waters fall
          261Down the slope hills, dispers'd, or in a lake,
          262That to the fringed bank with myrtle crown'd
          263Her crystal mirror holds, unite their streams.
          264The birds their quire apply; airs, vernal airs,
          265Breathing the smell of field and grove, attune
          266The trembling leaves, while universal Pan,
          267Knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance,
          268Led on th' eternal Spring. Not that fair field
          269Of Enna, where Proserpin gath'ring flow'rs,
          270Herself a fairer flow'r, by gloomy Dis
          271Was gather'd--which cost Ceres all that pain
          272To seek her through the world; nor that sweet grove
          273Of Daphne, by Orontes and th' inspir'd
          274Castalian spring, might with this Paradise
          275Of Eden strive; nor that Nyseian isle,
          276Girt with the river Triton, where old Cham,
          277Whom Gentiles Ammon call and Libyan Jove,
          278Hid Amalthea and her florid son,
          279Young Bacchus, from his stepdame Rhea's eye;
          280Nor, where Abassin kings their issue guard,
          281Mount Amara (though this by some suppos'd
          282True Paradise) under the Ethiop line
          283By Nilus' head, enclos'd with shining rock,
          284A whole day's journey high, but wide remote
          285From this Assyrian garden where the Fiend
          286Saw undelighted all delight, all kind
          287Of living creatures, new to sight and strange.
          288Two of far nobler shape, erect and tall,
          289God-like erect, with native honour clad
          290In naked majesty, seem'd lords of all,
          291And worthy seem'd; for in their looks divine
          292The image of their glorious Maker shone,
          293Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure--
          294Severe, but in true filial freedom plac'd,
          295Whence true authority in men: though both
          296Not equal, as their sex not equal seem'd;
          297For contemplation he and valour form'd,
          298For softness she and sweet attractive grace;
          299He for God only, she for God in him.
          300His fair, large front and eye sublime declar'd
          301Absolute rule, and hyacinthine locks
          302Round from his parted forelock manly hung
          303Clust'ring, but not beneath his shoulders broad;
          304She, as a veil down to the slender waist,
          305Her unadorned golden tresses wore
          306Dishevell'd, but in wanton ringlets wav'd
          307As the vine curls her tendrils--which implied
          308Subjection, but requir'd with gentle sway,
          309And by her yielded, by him best receiv'd,
          310Yielded with coy submission, modest pride,
          311And sweet, reluctant, amorous delay.
          312Nor those mysterious parts were then conceal'd:
          313Then was not guilty shame. Dishonest Shame
          314Of Nature's works, Honour dishonourable,
          315Sin-bred, how have ye troubl'd all mankind
          316With shows instead, mere shows of seeming pure,
          317And banish'd from man's life his happiest life,
          318Simplicity and spotless innocence!
          319So pass'd they naked on, nor shunn'd the sight
          320Of God or Angel; for they thought no ill.
          321So hand in hand they pass'd, the loveliest pair
          322That ever since in love's embraces met--
          323Adam the goodliest man of men since born
          324His sons; the fairest of her daughters Eve.
          325Under a tuft of shade that on a green
          326Stood whispering soft, by a fresh fountain-side,
          327They sat them down; and, after no more toil
          328Of their sweet gard'ning labour than suffic'd
          329To recommend cool Zephyr, and make ease
          330More easy, wholesome thirst and appetite
          331More grateful, to their supper-fruits they fell--
          332Nectarine fruits, which the compliant boughs
          333Yielded them, sidelong as they sat recline
          334On the soft downy bank damask'd with flow'rs.
          335The savoury pulp they chew, and in the rind,
          336Still as they thirsted, scoop the brimming stream;
          337Nor gentle purpose, nor endearing smiles
          338Wanted, nor youthful dalliance, as beseems
          339Fair couple link'd in happy nuptial league,
          340Alone as they. About them frisking play'd
          341All beasts of th' earth, since wild, and of all chase
          342In wood or wilderness, forest or den:
          343Sporting the lion ramp'd, and in his paw
          344Dandl'd the kid; bears, tigers, ounces, pards,
          345Gamboll'd before them; th' unwieldy elephant,
          346To make them mirth, us'd all his might, and wreath'd
          347His lithe proboscis; close the serpent sly,
          348Insinuating, wove with Gordian twine
          349His braided train, and of his fatal guile
          350Gave proof unheeded. Others on the grass
          351Couch'd and, now fill'd with pasture, gazing sat,
          352Or bedward ruminating; for the sun,
          353Declin'd, was hasting now with prone career
          354To th' Ocean Isles, and in th' ascending scale
          355Of heav'n the stars that usher evening rose;
          356When Satan, still in gaze as first he stood,
          357Scarce thus at length fail'd speech recover'd sad:

          358"O Hell! what do mine eyes with grief behold?
          359Into our room of bliss thus high advanc'd
          360Creatures of other mould--Earth-born perhaps,
          361Not Spirits, yet to Heav'nly Spirits bright
          362Little inferior--whom my thoughts pursue
          363With wonder, and could love so lively shines
          364In them divine resemblance, and such grace
          365The hand that form'd them on their shape hath pour'd.
          366Ah! gentle pair, ye little think how nigh
          367Your change approaches, when all these delights
          368Will vanish and deliver ye to woe--
          369More woe, the more your taste is now of joy:
          370Happy, but for so happy ill secur'd
          371Long to continue, and this high seat, your Heav'n,
          372Ill-fenc'd for Heav'n to keep out such a foe
          373As now is enter'd; yet no purpos'd foe
          374To you, whom I could pity thus forlorn,
          375Though I unpitied. League with you I seek,
          376And mutual amity, so strait, so close,
          377That I with you must dwell, or you with me,
          378Henceforth. My dwelling, haply, may not please
          379Like this fair Paradise your sense; yet such
          380Accept your Maker's work; he gave it me,
          381Which I as freely give. Hell shall unfold,
          382To entertain you two, her widest gates,
          383And send forth all her kings; there will be room,
          384Not like these narrow limits, to receive
          385Your numerous offspring; if no better place,
          386Thank him who puts me, loath, to this revenge
          387On you, who wrong me not, for him who wrong'd.
          388And, should I at your harmless innocence
          389Melt, as I do, yet public reason just--
          390Honour and empire with revenge enlarg'd
          391By conquering this new world--compels me now
          392To do what else, though damn'd, I should abhor."

          393So spake the Fiend, and with necessity,
          394The tyrant's plea, excus'd his devilish deeds.
          395Then from his lofty stand on that high tree
          396Down he alights among the sportful herd
          397Of those four-footed kinds, himself now one,
          398Now other, as their shape serv'd best his end,
          399Nearer to view his prey, and, unespied,
          400To mark what of their state he more might learn
          401By word or action mark'd. About them round
          402A lion now he stalks with fiery glare;
          403Then as a tiger, who by chance hath spied
          404In some purlieu two gentle fawns at play,
          405Straight crouches close, then, rising, changes oft
          406His couchant watch, as one who chose his ground,
          407Whence rushing he might surest seize them both
          408Gripp'd in each paw; when Adam, first of men,
          409To first of women, Eve, thus moving speech,
          410Turn'd him all ear to hear new utterance flow:

          411"Sole partner and sole part of all these joys,
          412Dearer thyself than all, needs must the Power
          413That made us, and for us this ample world,
          414Be infinitely good, and of his good
          415As liberal and free as infinite;
          416That rais'd us from the dust, and plac'd us here
          417In all this happiness, who at his hand
          418Have nothing merited, nor can perform
          419Aught whereof he hath need; he who requires
          420From us no other service than to keep
          421This one, this easy charge: of all the trees
          422In Paradise that bear delicious fruit
          423So various, not to taste that only Tree
          424Of Knowledge, planted by the Tree of Life:
          425So near grows Death to Life, whate'er death is--
          426Some dreadful thing no doubt; for well thou know'st
          427God hath pronounc'd it death to taste that Tree:
          428The only sign of our obedience left
          429Among so many signs of power and rule
          430Conferr'd upon us, and dominion giv'n
          431Over all other creatures that possess
          432Earth, air, and sea. Then let us not think hard
          433One easy prohibition, who enjoy
          434Free leave so large to all things else, and choice
          435Unlimited of manifold delights;
          436But let us ever praise him and extol
          437His bounty, following our delightful task,
          438To prune these growing plants and tend these flowers;
          439Which, were it toilsome, yet with thee were sweet."

          440To whom thus Eve replied: "O thou for whom
          441And from whom I was form'd flesh of thy flesh,
          442And without whom am to no end, my guide
          443And head! what thou hast said is just and right.
          444For we to him, indeed, all praises owe,
          445And daily thanks--I chiefly, who enjoy
          446So far the happier lot, enjoying thee,
          447Pre-eminent by so much odds, while thou
          448Like consort to thyself canst nowhere find.
          449That day I oft remember, when from sleep
          450I first awak'd and found myself repos'd,
          451Under a shade, on flow'rs, much wond'ring where
          452And what I was, whence thither brought, and how.
          453Not distant far from thence a murmuring sound
          454Of waters issu'd from a cave, and spread
          455Into a liquid plain, then stood unmov'd,
          456Pure as th' expanse of heav'n. I thither went
          457With unexperienc'd thought, and laid me down
          458On the green bank, to look into the clear
          459Smooth lake, that to me seem'd another sky.
          460As I bent down to look, just opposite
          461A shape within the wat'ry gleam appear'd,
          462Bending to look on me. I started back,
          463It started back; but pleas'd I soon return'd
          464Pleas'd it return'd as soon with answering looks
          465Of sympathy and love. There I had fix'd
          466Mine eyes till now, and pin'd with vain desire,
          467Had not a voice thus warn'd me: 'What thou seest
          468What there thou seest, fair creature, is thyself:
          469With thee it came and goes; but follow me,
          470And I will bring thee where no shadow stays
          471Thy coming and thy soft embraces--he
          472Whose image thou art; him thou shalt enjoy
          473Inseparably thine; to him shalt bear
          474Multitudes like thyself, and thence be call'd
          475Mother of human race.' What could I do
          476But follow straight, invisibly thus led?
          477Till I espied thee, fair indeed and tall,
          478Under a platan; yet methought less fair,
          479Less winning soft, less amiably mild,
          480Than that smooth wat'ry image. Back I turn'd;
          481Thou, following, cried'st aloud, 'Return, fair Eve;
          482Whom fliest thou? Whom thou fliest, of him thou art,
          483His flesh, his bone; to give thee being I lent
          484Out of my side to thee, nearest my heart,
          485Substantial life, to have thee by my side
          486Henceforth an individual solace dear:
          487Part of my soul I seek thee, and thee claim
          488My other half.' With that thy gentle hand
          489Seiz'd mine: I yielded, and from that time see
          490How beauty is excell'd by manly grace
          491And wisdom, which alone is truly fair."

          492So spake our general mother, and, with eyes
          493Of conjugal attraction unreprov'd,
          494And meek surrender, half-embracing lean'd
          495On our first father; half her swelling breast
          496Naked met his, under the flowing gold
          497Of her loose tresses hid. He, in delight
          498Both of her beauty and submissive charms,
          499Smil'd with superior love, as Jupiter
          500On Juno smiles when he impregns the clouds
          501That shed May flowers, and press'd her matron lip
          502With kisses pure. Aside the Devil turn'd
          503For envy; yet with jealous leer malign
          504Ey'd them askance, and to himself thus plain'd:

          505"Sight hateful, sight tormenting! Thus these two,
          506Imparadis'd in one another's arms,
          507The happier Eden, shall enjoy their fill
          508Of bliss on bliss; while I to Hell am thrust,
          509Where neither joy nor love, but fierce desire,
          510Among our other torments not the least,
          511Still unfulfill'd, with pain of longing pines!
          512Yet let me not forget what I have gain'd
          513From their own mouths. All is not theirs, it seems;
          514One fatal tree there stands, of Knowledge call'd,
          515Forbidden them to taste. Knowledge forbidd'n?
          516Suspicious, reasonless! Why should their Lord
          517Envy them that? Can it be sin to know?
          518Can it be death? And do they only stand
          519By ignorance? Is that their happy state,
          520The proof of their obedience and their faith?
          521O fair foundation laid whereon to build
          522Their ruin! Hence I will excite their minds
          523With more desire to know, and to reject
          524Envious commands, invented with design
          525To keep them low, whom knowledge might exalt
          526Equal with Gods. Aspiring to be such,
          527They taste and die: what likelier can ensue?
          528But first with narrow search I must walk round
          529This garden, and no corner leave unspied:--
          530A chance, but chance may lead where I may meet
          531Some wand'ring Spirit of Heav'n, by fountain-side,
          532Or in thick shade retir'd, from him to draw
          533What further would be learn'd. Live while ye may,
          534Yet happy pair; enjoy, till I return,
          535Short pleasures; for long woes are to succeed!"

          536So saying, his proud step he scornful turn'd,
          537But with sly circumspection, and began
          538Through wood, through waste, o'er hill, o'er dale, his roam.
          539Meanwhile in utmost longitude, where heav'n
          540With earth and ocean meets, the setting sun
          541Slowly descended, and with right aspect
          542Against the eastern gate of Paradise
          543Levell'd his evening rays. It was a rock
          544Of alabaster, pil'd up to the clouds,
          545Conspicuous far, winding with one ascent
          546Accessible from earth, one entrance high;
          547The rest was craggy cliff, that overhung
          548Still as it rose, impossible to dimb.
          549Betwixt these rocky pillars Gabriel sat,
          550Chief of th' angelic guards, awaiting night;
          551About him exercis'd heroic games
          552Th' unarmed youth of Heav'n; but nigh at hand
          553Celestial armoury, shields, helms, and spears,
          554Hung high, with diamond flaming and with gold.
          555Thither came Uriel, gliding through the even
          556On a sunbeam, swift as a shooting star
          557In autumn thwarts the night, when vapours fir'd
          558Impress the air, and shows the mariner
          559From what point of his compass to beware
          560Impetuous winds. He thus began in haste:

          561"Gabriel, to thee thy course by lot hath giv'n
          562Charge and strict watch that to this happy place
          563No evil thing approach or enter in.
          564This day at highth of noon came to my sphere
          565A Spirit, zealous as he seem'd to know
          566More of th' Almighty's works, and chiefly Man,
          567God's latest image. I describ'd his way
          568Bent all on speed, and mark'd his airy gait,
          569But in the mount that lies from Eden north,
          570Where he first lighted, soon discern'd his looks
          571Alien from Heav'n, with passions foul obscur'd.
          572Mine eye pursu'd him still, but under shade
          573Lost sight of him. One of the banish'd crew,
          574I fear, hath ventur'd from the Deep, to raise
          575New troubles; him thy care must be to find."

          576To whom the winged warrior thus return'd:
          577"Uriel, no wonder if thy perfect sight,
          578Amid the sun's bright circle where thou sitt'st,
          579See far and wide. In at this gate none pass
          580The vigilance here plac'd, but such as come
          581Well known from Heav'n; and since meridian hour
          582No creature thence. If Spirit of other sort,
          583So minded, have o'erleap'd these earthy bounds
          584On purpose, hard thou know'st it to exclude
          585Spiritual substance with corporeal bar.
          586But if within the circuit of these walks,
          587In whatsoever shape, he lurk of whom
          588Thou tell'st, by morrow dawning I shall know."

          589So promis'd he; and Uriel to his charge
          590Return'd on that bright beam, whose point now rais'd
          591Bore him slope downward to the sun, now fall'n
          592Beneath th' Azores; whether the prime orb,
          593Incredible how swift, had thither roll'd
          594Diurnal, or this less volúbil earth,
          595By shorter flight to th' east, had left him there
          596Arraying with reflected purple and gold
          597The clouds that on his western throne attend.

          598Now came still Evening on, and Twilight gray
          599Had in her sober livery all things clad;
          600Silence accompanied; for beast and bird,
          601They to their grassy couch, these to their nests,
          602Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale;
          603She all night long her amorous descant sung:
          604Silence was pleas'd. Now glow'd the firmament
          605With living sapphires; Hesperus, that led
          606The starry host, rode brightest, till the Moon,
          607Rising in clouded majesty, at length
          608Apparent queen, unveil'd her peerless light
          609And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw.

          610When Adam thus to Eve: "Fair consort, th' hour
          611Of night, and all things now retir'd to rest,
          612Mind us of like repose, since God hath set
          613Labour and rest, as day and night, to men
          614Successive, and the timely dew of sleep
          615Now falling with soft slumb'rous weight inclines
          616Our eyelids. Other creatures all day long
          617Rove idle, unemploy'd, and less need rest;
          618Man hath his daily work of body or mind
          619Appointed, which declares his dignity
          620And the regard of Heav'n on all his ways;
          621While other animals unactive range,
          622And of their doings God takes no account.
          623To-morrow, ere fresh morning streak the east
          624With first approach of light, we must be ris'n
          625And at our pleasant labour, to reform
          626Yon flow'ry arbours, yonder alleys green,
          627Our walks at noon, with branches overgrown,
          628That mock our scant manuring, and require
          629More hands than ours to lop their wanton growth.
          630Those blossoms also, and those dropping gums,
          631That lie bestrewn, unsightly and unsmooth,
          632Ask riddance if we mean to tread with ease.
          633Meanwhile, as Nature wills, Night bids us rest."

          634To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adorned:
          635"My author and disposer, what thou bidd'st
          636Unargu'd I obey; so God ordains.
          637God is thy law, thou mine: to know no more
          638Is woman's happiest knowledge and her praise.
          639With thee conversing I forget all time,
          640All seasons and their change: all please alike.
          641Sweet is the breath of morn, her rising sweet,
          642With charm of earliest birds; pleasant the sun,
          643When first on this delightful land he spreads
          644His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flow'r,
          645Glist'ring with dew; fragrant the fertile earth
          646After soft showers; and sweet the coming-on
          647Of grateful evening mild; then silent night,
          648With this her solemn bird, and this her moon,
          649And these the gems of heav'n, her starry train:
          650But neither breath of morn when she ascends
          651With charm of earliest birds, nor rising sun
          652On this delightful land, nor herb, fruit, flower,
          653Glist'ring with dew, nor fragrance after showers,
          654Nor grateful evening mild, nor silent night,
          655With this her solemn bird, nor walk by moon
          656Or glittering starlight, without thee is sweet.
          657But wherefore all night long shine these? for whom
          658This glorious sight, when sleep hath shut all eyes?"

          659To whom our general ancestor replied:
          660"Daughter of God and Man, accomplish'd Eve,
          661Those have their course to finish round the earth
          662By morrow evening, and from land to land
          663In order, though to nations yet unborn,
          664Minist'ring light prepar'd, they set and rise;
          665Lest total darkness should by night regain
          666Her old possession, and extinguish life
          667In nature and all things, which these soft fires
          668Not only enlighten, but with kindly heat
          669Of various influence foment and warm,
          670Temper or nourish, or in part shed down
          671Their stellar virtue on all kinds that grow
          672On earth, made hereby apter to receive
          673Perfection from the sun's more potent ray.
          674These, then, though unbeheld in deep of night,
          675Shine not in vain. Nor think, though men were none,
          676That heav'n would want spectators, God want praise.
          677Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth
          678Unseen, both when we wake and when we sleep:
          679All these with ceaseless praise his works behold
          680Both day and night. How often, from the steep
          681Of echoing hill or thicket, have we heard
          682Celestial voices to the midnight air,
          683Sole or responsive each to other's note,
          684Singing their great Creator! Oft in bands
          685While they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk,
          686With heav'nly touch of instrumental sounds
          687In full harmonic number join'd, their songs
          688Divide the night and lift our thoughts to Heaven."

          689Thus talking, hand in hand alone they pass'd
          690On to their blissful bower. It was a place
          691Chos'n by the sovran Planter, when he fram'd
          692All things to Man's delightful use: the roof
          693Of thickest covert was inwoven shade,
          694Laurel and myrtle, and what higher grew
          695Of firm and fragrant leaf; on either side
          696Acanthus and each odorous bushy shrub
          697Fenc'd up the verdant wall; each beauteous flower,
          698Iris all hues, roses, and jessamine,
          699Rear'd high their flourish'd heads between, and wrought
          700Mosaic; under foot the violet,
          701Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlay
          702Broider'd the ground, more colour'd than with stone
          703Of costliest emblem. Other creature here,
          704Beast, bird, insect, or worm, durst enter none;
          705Such was their awe of Man. In shadier bower
          706More sacred and sequester'd, though but feign'd,
          707Pan or Silvanus never slept, nor nymph
          708Nor Faunus haunted. Here in close recess,
          709With flowers, garlands, and sweet-smelling herbs,
          710Espoused Eve deck'd first her nuptial bed,
          711And heav'nly quires the hymenæan sung,
          712What day the genial Angel to our sire
          713Brought her, in naked beauty more adorn'd,
          714More lovely, than Pandora, whom the Gods
          715Endow'd with all their gifts; and O too like
          716In sad event, when, to the unwiser son
          717Of Japhet brought by Hermes, she ensnar'd
          718Mankind with her fair looks, to be aveng'd
          719On him who had stole Jove's authentic fire.

          720Thus at their shady lodge arriv'd, both stood,
          721Both turn'd, and under open sky ador'd
          722The God that made both sky, air, earth, and Heav'n,
          723Which they beheld, the moon's resplendent globe,
          724And starry pole:--"Thou also mad'st the night,
          725Maker Omnipotent, and thou the day,
          726Which we, in our appointed work employ'd,
          727Have finish'd, happy in our mutual help
          728And mutual love, the crown of all our bliss
          729Ordain'd by thee, and this delicious place,
          730For us too large, where thy abundance wants
          731Partakers, and uncropt falls to the ground.
          732But thou hast promis'd from us two a race
          733To fill the earth, who shall with us extol
          734Thy goodness infinite, both when we wake
          735And when we seek, as now, thy gift of sleep."

          736This said unanimous, and other rites
          737Observing none, but adoration pure
          738Which God likes best, into their inmost bower
          739Handed they went; and, eas'd the putting-off
          740These troublesome disguises which we wear,
          741Straight side by side were laid; nor turn'd, I ween,
          742Adam from his fair spouse, nor Eve the rites
          743Mysterious of connubial love refus'd--
          744Whatever hypocrites austerely talk
          745Of purity, and place, and innocence,
          746Deeming as impure what God declares
          747Pure, and commands to some, leaves free to all.
          748Our Maker bids increase; who bids abstain
          749But our destroyer, foe to God and Man?
          750Hail wedded Love, mysterious law, true source
          751Of human offspring, sole propriety
          752In Paradise of all things common else!
          753By thee adulterous lust was driv'n from men
          754Among the bestial herds to range; by thee,
          755Founded in reason, loyal, just, and pure,
          756Relations dear, and all the charities
          757Of father, son, and brother, first were known.
          758Far be it that I should write thee sin or blame,
          759Or think thee unbefitting holiest place,
          760Perpetual fountain of domestic sweets,
          761Whose bed is undefil'd and chaste pronounc'd,
          762Present or past, as saints and patriarchs us'd.
          763Here Love his golden shafts employs, here lights
          764His constant lamp and waves his purple wings,
          765Reigns here and revels; not in the bought smile
          766Of harlots, loveless, joyless, unendear'd,
          767Casual fruition, nor in court amours,
          768Mix'd dance, or wanton mask, or midnight ball,
          769Or serenate, which the starv'd lover sings
          770To his proud fair, best quitted with disdain.
          771These, lull'd by nightingales, embracing slept,
          772And on their naked limbs the flow'ry roof
          773Show'r'd roses, which the morn repair'd. Sleep on,
          774Blest pair! and O yet happiest, if ye seek
          775No happier state, and know to know no more!

          776Now had Night measur'd with her shadowy cone
          777Half-way uphill this vast sublunar vault,
          778And from their ivory port the Cherubim,
          779Forth issuing at th' accustom'd hour, stood arm'd
          780To their night-watches in warlike parade;
          781When Gabriel to his next in power thus spake:
          782"Uzziel, half these draw off, and coast the south
          783With strictest watch; these other wheel the north:
          784Our circuit meets full west." As flame they part,
          785Half wheeling to the shield, half to the spear.
          786From these, two strong and subtle Spirits he call'd
          787That near him stood, and gave them thus in charge:
          788"Ithuriel and Zephon, with wing'd speed
          789Search through this garden; leave unsearch'd no nook;
          790But chiefly where those two fair creatures lodge,
          791Now laid perhaps asleep, secure of harm.
          792This evening from the sun's decline arriv'd
          793Who tells of some infernal Spirit seen
          794Hitherward bent (who could have thought?), escap'd
          795The bars of Hell, on errand bad, no doubt:
          796Such, where ye find, seize fasst and hither bring."

          797So saying, on he led his radiant files,
          798Dazzling the moon; these to the bower direct
          799In search of whom they sought. Him there they found
          800Squat like a toad, close at the ear of Eve,
          801Assaying by his devilish art to reach
          802The organs of her fancy and with them forge
          803Illusions as he list, phantasms and dreams;
          804Or if, inspiring venom, he might taint
          805Th' animal spirits that from pure blood arise
          806Like gentle breaths from rivers pure, thence raise
          807At least distemper'd, discontented thoughts,
          808Vain hopes, vain aims, inordinate desires,
          809Blown up with high conceits engend'ring pride.
          810Him thus intent Ithuriel with his spear
          811Touch'd lightly; for no falsehood can endure
          812Touch of celestial temper, but returns
          813Of force to its own likeness. Up he starts,
          814Discover'd and surpris'd. As when a spark
          815Lights on a heap of nitrous powder, laid
          816Fit for the tun, some magazine to store
          817Against a rumour'd war, the smutty grain,
          818With sudden blaze diffus'd, inflames the air:
          819So started up in his own shape the Fiend.
          820Back stept those two fair Angels, half amaz'd
          821So sudden to behold the grisly king;
          822Yet thus, unmov'd with fear, accost him soon:

          823"Which of those rebel Spirits adjudg'd to Hell
          824Com'st thou, escap'd thy prison? and, transform'd,
          825Why satt'st thou like an enemy in wait,
          826Here watching at the head of these that sleep?"

          827"Know ye not, then," said Satan, fill'd with scorn,
          828"Know ye not me? Ye knew me once no mate
          829For you, there sitting where ye durst not soar!
          830Not to know me argues yourselves unknown,
          831The lowest of your throng; or, if ye know,
          832Why ask ye, and superfluous begin
          833Your message, like to end as much in vain?"
          834To whom thus Zephon, answering scorn with scorn:
          835"Think not, revolted Spirit, thy shape the same,
          836Or undiminish'd brightness, to be known
          837As when thou stood'st in Heav'n upright and pure.
          838That glory then, when thou no more wast good,
          839Departed from thee, and thou resembl'st now
          840Thy sin and place of doom obscure and foul.
          841But come; for thou, be sure, shalt give account
          842To him who sent us whose charge is to keep
          843This place inviolable and these from harm."

          844So spake the Cherub; and his grave rebuke,
          845Severe in youthful beauty, added grace
          846Invincible. Abash'd the Devil stood,
          847And felt how awful goodness is, and saw
          848Virtue in her shape how lovely--saw and pin'd
          849His loss, but chiefly to find here observ'd
          850His lustre visibly impair'd; yet seem'd
          851Undaunted. "If I must contend," said he,
          852"Best with the best--the sender, not the sent,
          853Or all at once: more glory will be won,
          854Or less be lost." "Thy fear," said Zephon bold,
          855"Will save us trial what the least can do
          856Single against thee, wicked and thence weak."

          857The Fiend replied not, overcome with rage;
          858But, like a proud steed rein'd, went haughty on,
          859Champing his iron curb. To strive or fly
          860He held it vain; awe from above had quell'd
          861His heart, not else dismay'd. Now drew they nigh
          862The western point, where those half-rounding guards
          863Just met and, closing, stood in squadron join'd,
          864Awaiting next command. To whom their chief,
          865Gabriel, from the front thus call'd aloud:

          866''O friends, I hear the tread of nimble feet
          867Hasting this way, and now by glimpse discern
          868Ithuriel and Zephon through the shade;
          869And with them comes a third, of regal port,
          870But faded splendour wan, who by his gait
          871And fierce demeanour seems the Prince of Hell--
          872Not likely to part hence without contést.
          873Stand firm, for in his look defiance lours."

          874He scarce had ended, when those two approach'd,
          875And brief related whom they brought, where found,
          876How busied, in what form and posture couch'd.
          877To whom, with stern regard, thus Gabriel spake:
          878"Why hast thou, Satan, broke the bounds prescrib'd
          879To thy transgressions, and disturb'd the charge
          880Of others who approve not to transgress
          881By thy example, but have power and right
          882To question thy bold entrance on this place,
          883Employ'd, it seems, to violate sleep and those
          884Whose dwelling God hath planted here in bliss?"

          885To whom thus Satan, with contemptuous brow:
          886"Gabriel, thou hadst in Heav'n th' esteem of wise,
          887And such I held thee; but this question ask'd
          888Puts me in doubt. Lives there who loves his pain?
          889Who would not, finding way, break loose from Hell,
          890Though thither doom'd? Thou wouldst thyself, no doubt,
          891And boldly venture to whatever place
          892Farthest from pain, where thou mightst hope to change
          893Torment with ease, and soonest recompense
          894Dole with delight, which in this place I sought:
          895To thee no reason, who know'st only good,
          896But evil hast not tried. And wilt object
          897His will who bound us? Let him surer bar
          898His iron gates if he intends our stay
          899In that dark durance. Thus much what was ask'd;
          900The rest is true: they found me where they say;
          901But that implies not violence or harm."

          902Thus he in scorn. The warlike Angel mov'd,
          903Disdainfully half smiling, thus replied:
          904"O loss of one in Heav'n to judge of wise
          905Since Satan fell, whom folly overthrew,
          906And now returns him from his prison scap'd,
          907Gravely in doubt whether to hold them wise
          908Or not who ask what boldness brought him hither
          909Unlicens'd from his bounds in Hell prescrib'd!
          910So wise he judges it to fly from pain,
          911However, and to scape his punishment!
          912So judge thou still, presumptuous, till the wrath
          913Which thou incurr'st by flying meet thy flight
          914Sevenfold and scourge that wisdom back to Hell,
          915Which taught thee yet no better that no pain
          916Can equal anger infinite provok'd.
          917But wherefore thou alone? Wherefore with thee
          918Came not all Hell broke loose? Is pain to them
          919Less pain, less to be fled? or thou than they
          920Less hardy to endure? Courageous chief,
          921The first in flight from pain, hadst thou alleg'd
          922To thy deserted host this cause of flight,
          923Thou surely hadst not come sole fugitive."

          924To which the Fiend thus answer'd, frowning stern:
          925"Not that I less endure, or shrink from pain,
          926Insulting Angel! well thou know'st I stood
          927Thy fiercest, when in battle to thy aid
          928The blasting volley'd thunder made all speed
          929And seconded thy else not dreaded spear.
          930But still thy words at random, as before,
          931Argue thy inexperience what behoves,
          932From hard assays and ill successes past,
          933A faithful leader--not to hazard all
          934Through ways of danger by himself untried.
          935I, therefore, I alone, first undertook
          936To wing the desolate Abyss and spy
          937This new-created World, whereof in Hell
          938Fame is not silent, here in hope to find
          939Better abode, and my afflicted powers
          940To settle here on earth, or in mid-air;
          941Though for possession put to try once more
          942What thou and thy gay legions dare against,
          943Whose easier business were to serve their Lord
          944High up in Heav'n, with songs to hymn his throne,
          945And practis'd distances to cringe, not fight."

          946To whom the warrior Angel soon replied:
          947"To say and straight unsay, pretending first
          948Wise to fly pain, professing next the spy,
          949Argues no leader, but a liar trac'd,
          950Satan; and couldst thou 'faithful' add? O name,
          951O sacred name of faithfulness profan'd!
          952Faithful to whom? to thy rebellious crew?
          953Army of fiends, fit body to fit head!
          954Was this your discipline and faith engag'd,
          955Your military obedience, to dissolve
          956Allegiance to th' acknowledg'd Power Supreme?
          957And thou, sly hypocrite, who now wouldst seem
          958Patron of liberty, who more than thou
          959Once fawn'd, and cring'd, and servilely ador'd
          960Heav'n's awful Monarch? wherefore, but in hope
          961To dispossess him, and thyself to reign?
          962But mark what I aread thee now: Avaunt!
          963Fly thither whence thou fledd'st. If from this hour
          964Within these hallow'd limits thou appear,
          965Back to th' infernal Pit I drag thee chain'd,
          966And seal thee so as henceforth not to scorn
          967The facile gates of Hell too slightly barr'd."

          968So threat'n'd he; but Satan to no threats
          969Gave heed, but waxing more in rage, replied:
          970"Then, when I am thy captive, talk of chains,
          971Proud limitary Cherub! but ere then
          972Far heavier load thyself expect to feel
          973From my prevailing arm, though Heaven's King
          974Ride on thy wings and thou with thy compeers,
          975Us'd to the yoke, draw'st his triumphant wheels
          976In progress through the road of Heav'n star-pav'd."

          977While thus he spake, th' angelic squadron bright
          978Turn'd fiery red, sharp'ning in mooned horns
          979Their phalanx, and began to hem him round
          980With ported spears, as thick as when a field
          981Of Ceres, ripe for harvest, waving bends
          982Her bearded grove of ears which way the wind
          983Sways them, the careful ploughman doubting stands,
          984Lest on the thrashing-floor his hopeful sheaves
          985Prove chaff. On th' other side, Satan, alarm'd,
          986Collecting all his might, dilated stood,
          987Like Teneriff or Atlas, unremov'd:
          988His stature reach'd the sky, and on his crest
          989Sat Horror plum'd; nor wanted in his grasp
          990What seem'd both spear and shield. Now dreadful deeds
          991Might have ensu'd; nor only Paradise,
          992In this commotion, but the starry cope
          993Of heav'n perhaps, or all the elements
          994At least, had gone to wrack, disturb'd and torn
          995With violence of this conflict, had not soon
          996Th' Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray,
          997Hung forth in heav'n his golden scales, yet seen
          998Betwixt Astraea and the Scorpion sign,
          999Wherein all things created first he weigh'd--
        1000The pendulous round Earth with balanc'd Air
        1001In counterpoise--now ponders all events,
        1002Battles and realms. In these he put two weights,
        1003The sequel each of parting and of fight:
        1004The latter quick up flew and kick'd the beam;
        1005Which Gabriel spying thus bespake the Fiend:

        1006"Satan, I know thy strength, and thou know'st mine,
        1007Neither our own, but giv'n; what folly then
        1008To boast what arms can do! since thine no more
        1009Than Heav'n permits, nor mine, though doubl'd now
        1010To trample thee as mire. For proof look up,
        1011And read thy lot in yon celestial sign,
        1012Where thou art weigh'd, and shown how light, how weak
        1013If thou resist." The Fiend look'd up and knew
        1014His mounted scale aloft: nor more, but fled
        1015Murmuring; and with him fled the shades of night.

THE END OF THE FOURTH BOOK

Notes

1] he who: St. John. See Revelation 12:12: "Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath."

3] Dragon: Revelation 12:9, "And the great Dragon was cast out, ... called ... Satan." He was first routed by the Son in the war in Heaven (P.L., VI; see Head Note to P.L., IX), then by the Incarnation and Christ's earthly ministry (P.L., XII, and Nativity Ode).

10] Satan (the Serpent) is the tempter in Genesis (see P.L., IX) and the accuser in Job.

13] "The nearer Satan approaches to the scene of his task the more he realizes its enormity and peril, and the less his confidence becomes" (Verity).

17] engine: a machine used in warfare, here a cannon.

32] According to Edward Phillips, Milton's nephew, these lines were written in the period 1640-42 as part of a projected drama on the fall of man.

39] sphere: see Nativity Ode, 125 n.

50] 'sdein'd: disdained.

61] Power: angel.

66] Satan in soliloquy addresses himself.

81] Cf. above I, 660-61.

87] abide: suffer for.

97] violent and void: a vow exacted by force was not binding.

115] pale: paleness.

116] borrow'd visage: the disguise of a "stripling cherub" which he had assumed to deceive Uriel, the guardian of the Sun (see Head Note).

126] Assyrian mount: Niphates, the mountain on which Satan first alights (see P.L., III, 742).

132] Eden: the whole tract or district in Western Asia later known as Mesopotamia, on the eastern side of which was located Paradise; see Genesis 2:8.

134] champaign head: level summit.

141] a woody theatre: i.e., shaped like a Greek theatre with ascending tiers.

144] our general sire: Adam, the father of us all. 144-45.
Unfallen Adam was given the whole earth to rule.

153] landskip: landscape.

154] his: Satan's.

161] Mozambic: Mozambique, a Portuguese province on the east coast of Africa, opposite Madagascar.

162] Saba, in southern Arabia (Arabia Felix, Araby the bless'd), was famous for its incense.

168] According to the apocryphal Book of Tobit, Tobias, son of Tobit, was bidden by the angel Raphael to marry Sara, a Jewish maiden dwelling in Media, whose previous seven husbands had been destroyed on the wedding night by an evil and jealous spirit, Asmodeus. But Tobias was instructed by Raphael to burn the heart and liver of a fish in his chamber. He did so, and the fishy fume forced Asmodeus to flee into Egypt, where the angel bound him.

171] post: with speed.

175] brake: thicket.

186] hurdl'd cotes: fences made of interwoven boughs.

193] Cf. Lycidas, 114-15.

194] Tree of Life: see Genesis 2.9.

211] Auran Seleucia, Telassar: districts and cities in or near Mesopotamia; see above, line 132n.

219] ambrosial: fragrant like ambrosia, the fabled food of the gods.

221] See Genesis 2:9, 17.

237] crisped: rippling.

239] error: wandering.

240] nectar: the fabled drink of the gods.

241] nice: precise, fastidious.

242] boon: generous, bountiful.

246] Imbrown'd: darkened.

250] Hesperian fables: stories concerning the gardens of the Hesperides, where golden apples were guarded by a dragon.

255] irriguous: well-watered.

257] umbrageous: shadowed.

266] Pan: originally the god of shepherds, then a god of universal nature, whose name means "all."

267] Graces: three goddesses--Euphrosyne, Aglaia, and Thalia--who personify the joys of life. the Hours: goddesses representing the seasons of the year.

269] Proserpina, goddess of springtime fertility, was captured at Enna in Sicily by Dis (Pluto), god of the underworld (Ovid, Metamorphoses, V, 385-91). Her mother Ceres sought her through the whole earth (Homeric Hymn to Demeter).

273] The gardens of Daphne on the river Orontes in Syria contained a spring which was named after the Castalian spring on Mt. Parnassus in Greece, and which was reputed to bestow prophetic knowledge.

275] Nysa was a beautiful island in the river Triton in Tunisia. There Bacchus, son of Ammon by the nymph Amalthea, was hidden from the jealous anger of Rhea, Ammon's wife. By the Greeks and Romans the Egyptian god Ammon was identified with their deity and known as Zeus-Arnmon or Jupiter-Ammon (hence Libyan Jove), and Christian tradition identified him with Ham (Cham), the second son of Noah, who was supposed to have settled in Africa after the Flood.

281] Mount Amara: a secluded place where the Abyssinian kings were said to be educated.

282] Ethiop line: the equator.

283] Nilus' head: the head or source of the Nile.

285] this Assyrian garden: Paradise.

300] front: brow, forehead; sublime: exalted (referring to its expression).

301] hyacinthine: dark; an Homeric epithet, as in Odyssey, VI, 231.

302] See I Corinthians 11:14-15, where St. Paul says that in man long hair is "a shame" but in a woman "a glory." Only the more extreme Puritans (and not Milton) cropped their hair and became "round heads."

306] wanton: unrestrained.

329] Zephyr: the west wind.

334] damask'd: variegated, like the rich figured silks woven at Damascus.

337] purpose: conversation.

341] of all chase: of every kind of hunting.

344] ounces, pards:
lynxes, leopards.

348] Gordian twine: an intricate tangle, like that in the Gordian knot.

352] ruminating: chewing the cud (Lat. ruminantes).

354] Isles: the Azores (cf. below, line 592).

357] fail'd speech: speech that had failed him.

359] our room of bliss: the place of bliss left vacant by us.

360] mould: substance.

374] forlorn: undefended.

381] Cf. "Hell ... is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming, ... it hath raised up from their thrones all the kinds of the nations" (Isaiah 14:9).

404] purlieu: outskirt of a forest.

406] couchant: lying.

409] moving speech, i.e., speaking.

443] head: cf. I Corinthians 2:3, "The head of the woman is the man."

460] Cf. the story of Narsissus (Ovid, Metamorphoses, III, 402-510) who, unlike Eve, never discovers his mistake.

470] stays: stays for, awaits.

486] individual: inseparable.

493] unreprov'd: blameless.

499] Jupiter rules the sky, Juno the air; he impregns (impregnates) the clouds, so that rain brings forth May flowers.

504] plain'd: complained.

511] pines: probably transitive, ''makes me pine."

530] A chance, but: there is just a possibility that.

539] in utmost longitude: in the extreme west.

541] with right aspect: facing directly, but (as M. Y. Hughes points out) the inner surface of the gate, since there was but one and it "look'd east'' (above, line 178).

549] Gabriel (meaning "Man of God'') is one of the archangels who appears in the Bible (Daniel 8:16-27; 9:21-27; Luke 1:19, 27).

557] thwarts: cuts across.

561] It has been your destiny to be given.

567] Man, / God's latest image. In Milton's view the Son was the first being created in God's image: he as "true image of the Father."

568] airy gait: course through the air.

592] th' Azores: i.e., in the extreme west. prime orb: sun.

594] volúbil: easily rolling; accent on second syllable, as in Latin volubilis.

603] descant: warbled song.

605] Hesperus: the evening star.

608] Apparent: manifest.

628] manuring: cultivating (literally, working with the hand).

632] Ask: require.

635] author. Since Eve was created out of Adam's body, she refers to him as the source of her being; cf. above, 441 and P.L., VIII, 460-77.

640] seasons: times of day.

642] charm: song, especially the blended singing of birds.

660] accomplish'd: perfect, full of accomplishments.

665] total darkness: the original darkness of Chaos.

668] kindly: natural, but with the secondary suggestion of beneficent. It seems evident that Milton is here referring (as in P.L., III, 608-12) to the chemical influence of the sun's rays on growing things and extending it to include the stars as well as the sun, but with a secondary suggestion of their astrological influence on man's characters and fortunes, influence (literally, "a flowing in upon'') and virtue (efficacy) being terms employed in astrology.

676] want: lack.

685] rounding: walking the rounds as guards.

688] Divide the night: i.e., into watches; Milton draws upon the Latin military term divere noctem, but also perhaps remembers that division was a technical term in music.

694] Laurel, the symbol of triumph, and myrtle, of love.

703] emblem: inlaid work.

706] feign'd: imagined by poets.

707] Pan, the pastoral deity (see above, line 266 n.). Sylvanus ... nymph / ... Faunus: woodland deities.

711] hymenæan: marriage song (from Hymen, god of marriage).

712] genial: nuptial (from genius, considered as the spirit presiding over reproduction, here transformed to an angel).

714] Pandora (all gifted) was conducted by the messenger god Hermes to Epimetheus (after-thought), the brother of Prometheus (fore-thought) and the unwiser son of the Titan Japhet. After marrying Pandora, Epimetheus opened the casket that the gods sent with her. But it proved to contain (and let out into the world) all the evils of life; and in this manner Zeus (Jove) avenged the stealing of the fire of heaven by Prometheus and his giving it to mankind. In the sequel (P.L., IX) Eve is to be a second Pandora, Adam a second Epimetheus.

719] authentic: genuine.

724] pole: sky (from the use of the word in astronomy to signify celestial pole).

743] St. Paul calls marriage "a great mystery" (Ephesians 5:32).

748] "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth" (Genesis 1:28).

751] sole propriety: the one personal possession, where all things else are held in common.

763] Ovid describes how Cupid, the god of love, possesses both golden arrows that inspire love and leaden ones that banish it (Metamorphoses, 1, 469-71).

767] fruition: enjoyment.

769] The reference is to the tradition of courtly love and later of Petrarchanism, where the lady is assumed to be unresponsive and disdainful; serenate is an older form of `serenade.'

775] Know enough to wish to know no more.

776] Since the sun is a larger body than the earth, the shadow of the earth (the umbra), which creates night, takes the shape of a cone. In Paradise night and day each consist of twelve hours, and consequently when the point of the cone has moved half-way from the horizon to the zenith (half-way up hill), one-fourth of the night is past and the time is nine o'clock; the sublunar vault is the expanse of the heavens below the moon.

778] port: gate.

782] Uzziel, which means "strength of God," is a human, but not an angelic name, in Exodus 6:18 and Numbers 3:19.

785] half to the left, and half to the right: the Greek soldier wore his shield on the left arm and held his spear in the right hand.

788] Zephon ("Searcher") occurs as a human name in Numbers 26:15, but Ithuriel ("Discovery of God") does not appear in the Bible.

791] secure of: unsuspicious of.

793] Who: one who, i.e., Uriel.

801] Milton offers two alternative explanations of the action he ascribes to Satan and of Eve's consequent dream: he seeks either to reach and work upon her imagination (fancy) or to inspire (breathe in) venom and corrupt the animal spirits, which were thought to be distilled from the blood and to be the agents of the brain.

813] Of force: of necessity.

815] nitrous powder: gunpowder, since nitre or saltpetre is one of its ingredients.

816] tun: barrel.

817] Against: in anticipation of.

828] mate: equal.

830] argues: proves.

832] superfuous: with superfluous words.

840] obscure: dark (as in Latin).

844] Here, as in Comus, Milton envokes the Platonic notion that inner goodness and the reverse are registered in the beauty or deformity of the outward person.

862] point: i.e., pount of the compass; half-rounding: cf. lines 782-84.

879] charge. Gabriel and his troop are charged with the protection of Adam and Eve.

886] th' esteem of wise: the reputation of being wise.

894] Dole: pain (Lat. dolor).

896] object: urge as an objection to my breaking from Hell.

911] However: by whatever means.

926] stood: withstood, stood against.

931] Show your ignorance of the duty (of a faithful leader).

938] Fame: report.

940] In Ephesians 2:2 Satan is called "the prince of the power of the air."

954] faith engag'd: sworn allegiance.

958] Patron: champion.

962] aread: advise. Avaunt! be gone!

966] seal: prophetic of Satan's final doom, when God will cast him into the bottomless pit, and "set a seal upon him" (Revelation 20:3).

971] limitary: boundary-guarding, but with a sneer at Gabriel's presuming to limit Satan's activity.

973] Lines 973-76 are another sneer: the reference is to the chariot of God, which rides on the wings of cherubim (P.L., VI, 771).

978] mooned: crescent-shaped.

979] phalanx: see above, line 550 n.

980] ported: held slantwise across the breast in order to be quickly levelled for the charge.

981] Ceres: grain, of which Ceres was the goddess.

987] Teneriff, a great peak in the Canary Islands. Atlas, the mountain in Libya which was supposed to support the sky. unremov'd: irremovable.

990] With the scales in which Zeus weighs the destiny of the Greeks against that of the Trojans (Iliad, VIII, 69-72) and of Hector against Achilles (ibid., XII, 209), and Jove the destiny of Aeneas against that of Turnus (Aeneid, XII, 725-27), Milton combines the scales used by God to weigh the elements of the universe (Isaiah 40:12) and the constellation Libra (the scales) situated in the Zodiac between Virga (the maid, i.e., Astraea) and the Scorpion.

992] cope: canopy, covering.

994] wrack: old form of ''wreck'' original text spells "rack.''

1000] pendulous: hanging;
ponders: weighs.

1003] sequel: consequence.

1012] thou art weigh'd: cf. "Thou art weighed in the balance, and thou art found wanting" (Daniel 5 :27).


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: John Milton, Paradise Lost. 2nd edn. 1674.
First publication date: 1667
Publication date note: (in ten books)
RPO poem editor: Hugh MacCallum, A. S. P. Woodhouse
RP edition: 3RP 1.257-79.
Recent editing: 1:2002/6/8

Composition date: 1642 - 1665
Form: iambic pentameter
Rhyme: unrhymed


Other poems by John Milton