John Milton (1608-1674)
Paradise Lost: Book X
1Meanwhile the heinous and despiteful act
2Of Satan done in Paradise, and how
3He, in the Serpent, had perverted Eve,
4Her husband she, to taste the fatal fruit,
5Was known in Heav'n; for what can scape the eye
6Of God all-seeing, or deceive his heart
7Omniscient? who, in all things wise and just,
8Hinder'd not Satan to attempt the mind
9Of Man, with strength entire and free will arm'd
10Complete to have discover'd and repuls'd
11Whatever wiles of foe or seeming friend.
12For still they knew, and ought to have still remember'd,
13The high injunction not to taste that fruit,
14Whoever tempted; which they not obeying
15Incurr'd (what could they less?) the penalty,
16And manifold in sin deserv'd to fall.
17Up into Heav'n from Paradise in haste
18Th' angelic guards ascended, mute and sad
19For Man; for of his state by this they knew,
20Much wond'ring how the subtle Fiend had stol'n
21Entrance unseen. Soon as th' unwelcome news
22From Earth arriv'd at Heaven-gate, displeas'd
23All were who heard; dim sadness did not spare
24That time celestial visages, yet, mix'd
25With pity, violated not their bliss.
26About the new-arriv'd in multitudes
27Th' ethereal people ran to hear and know
28How all befell. They towards the Throne Supreme,
29Accountable, made haste to make appear
30With righteous plea their utmost vigilance,
31And easily approv'd; when the Most High,
32Eternal Father, from his secret cloud
33Amidst, in thunder utter'd thus his voice:
34"Assembl'd Angels, and ye Powers return'd
35From unsuccessful charge, be not dismay'd
36Nor troubl'd at these tidings from the Earth,
37Which your sincerest care could not prevent,
38Foretold so lately what would come to pass,
39When first this Tempter cross'd the gulf from Hell.
40I told ye then he should prevail, and speed
41On his bad errand: Man should be seduc'd,
42And flatter'd out of all, believing lies
43Against his Maker; no decree of mine,
44Concurring to necessitate his fall,
45Or touch with lightest moment of impulse
46His free will, to her own inclining left
47In even scale. But fall'n he is; and now
48What rests, but that the mortal sentence pass
49On his transgression, death denounc'd that day?
50Which he presumes already vain and void
51Because not yet inflicted, as he fear'd,
52By some immediate stroke, but soon shall find
53Forbearance no acquittance ere day end.
54Justice shall not return, as bounty, scorn'd.
55But whom send I to judge them? whom but thee,
56Vicegerent Son? I'o thee I have transferr'd
57All judgment, whether in Heav'n, or Earth, or Hell.
58Easy it may be seen that I intend
59Mercy colleague with justice, sending thee,
60Man's friend, his Mediator, his design'd
61Both ransom and Redeemer voluntary,
62And destin'd Man himself to judge Man fall'n."
63So spake the Father; and, unfolding bright
64Toward the right hand his glory, on the Son
65Blaz'd forth unclouded Deity. He full
66Resplendent all his Father manifest
67Express'd, and thus divinely answered mild:
68"Father Eternal, thine is to decree;
69Mine both in Heav'n and Earth to do thy will
70Supreme, that thou in me, thy Son belov'd,
71May'st ever rest well pleas'd. I go to judge
72On Earth these thy transgressors; but thou know'st,
73Whoever judg'd, the worst on me must light,
74When time shall be--for so I undertook
75Before thee, and, not repenting, this obtain
76Of right, that I may mitigate their doom
77On me deriv'd; yet I shall temper so
78Justice with mercy as may illustrate most
79Them fully satisfied, and thee appease.
80Attendance none shall need, nor train, where none
81Are to behold the judgment but the judg'd,
82Those two; the third best absent is condemn'd:
83Convict by flight, and rebel to all law,
84Conviction to the Serpent none belongs."
85Thus saying, from his radiant seat he rose
86Of high collateral glory. Him, Thrones and Powers,
87Princedoms and Dominations, ministrant
88Accompanied to Heaven-gate, from whence
89Eden and all the coast in prospect lay.
90Down he descended straight--the speed of Gods
91Time counts not, though with swiftest minutes wing'd.
92Now was the sun in western cadence low
93From noon, and gentle airs due at their hour
94To fan the earth now wak'd, and usher in
95The ev'ning cool, when he, from wrath more cool,
96Came, the mild Judge and Intercessor both,
97To sentence Man. The voice of God they heard
98Now walking in the garden, by soft winds
99Brought to their ears, while day declin'd: they heard,
100And from his presence hid themselves among
101The thickest trees, both man and wife, till God,
102Approaching, thus to Adam call'd aloud:
103"Where art thou, Adam, wont with joy to meet
104My coming, seen far off? I miss thee here,
105Not pleas'd, thus entertain'd with solitude,
106Where obvious duty erewhile appear'd unsought.
107Or come I less conspicuous, or what change
108Absents thee, or what chance detains? Come forth!"
109He came, and with him Eve, more loath though first
110To offend, discount'nanc'd both and discompos'd.
111Love was not in their looks, either to God
112Or to each other, but apparent guilt,
113And shame, and perturbation, and despair,
114Anger, and obstinacy, and hate, and guile.
115Whence Adam, falt'ring long, thus answer'd brief:
116"I heard thee in the garden, and of thy voice
117Afraid, being naked, hid myself." To whom
118The gracious Judge, without revile, replied:
119"My voice thou oft hast heard, and hast not fear'd,
120But still rejoic'd. How is it now become
121So dreadful to thee? That thou art naked, who
122Hath told thee? Hast thou eaten of the tree
123Whereof I gave thee charge thou shouldst not eat?"
124To whom thus Adam, sore beset, replied:
125"O Heav'n! in evil strait this day I stand
126Before my Judge--either to undergo
127Myself the total crime or to accuse
128My other self, the partner of my life,
129Whose failing, while her faith to me remains,
130I should conceal and not expose to blame
131By my complaint. But strict necessity
132Subdues me, and calamitous constraint,
133Lest on my head both sin and punishment,
134However insupportable, be all
135Devolv'd--though, should I hold my peace, yet thou
136Wouldst easily detect what I conceal.
137This Woman, whom thou mad'st to be my help
138And gav'st me as thy perfect gift, so good,
139So fit, so acceptable, so divine,
140That from her hand I could suspect no ill,
141And what she did, whatever in itself,
142Her doing seem'd to justify the deed--
143She gave me of the tree, and I did eat."
144To whom the sovran Presence thus replied:
145"Was she thy God, that her thou didst obey
146Before his voice? or was she made thy guide,
147Superior, or but equal, that to her
148Thou didst resign thy manhood and the place
149Wherein God set thee above her, made of thee
150And for thee, whose perfection far excell'd
151Hers in all real dignity? Adorn'd
152She was indeed, and lovely, to attract
153Thy love, not thy subjection; and her gifts
154Were such as under government well seem'd,
155Unseemly to bear rule--which was thy part
156And person hadst thou known thyself aright."
157So having said, he thus to Eve in few:
158"Say, Woman, what is this which thou hast done?"
159To whom sad Eve, with shame nigh overwhelm'd,
160Confessing soon, yet not before her Judge
161Bold or loquacious, thus abash'd replied,
162"The Serpent me beguil'd, and I did eat."
163Which when the Lord God heard, without delay
164To judgment he proceeded on th' accus'd
165Serpent--though brute, unable to transfer
166The guilt on him who made him instrument
167Of mischief and polluted from the end
168Of his creation, justly then accurs'd,
169As vitiated in nature. More to know
170Concern'd not Man (since he no further knew),
171Nor alter'd his offence; yet God at last
172To Satan, first in sin, his doom applied
173(Though in mysterious terms, judg'd as then best),
174And on the Serpent thus his curse let fall:
175"Because thou hast done this, thou art accurs'd
176Above all cattle, each beast of the field:
177Upon thy belly grovelling thou shalt go,
178And dust shalt eat all the days of thy life.
179Between thee and the Woman I will put
180Enmity, and between thine and her seed:
181Her seed shall bruise thy head, thou bruise his heel."
182So spake this oracle--then verified
183When Jesus, son of Mary, second Eve,
184Saw Satan fall like lightning down from Heav'n,
185Prince of the Air; then, rising from his grave,
186Spoil'd Principalities and Powers, triumph'd
187In open show, and, with ascension bright,
188Captivity led captive through the Air,
189The realm itself of Satan, long usurp'd,
190Whom he shall tread at last under our feet,
191Ev'n he who now foretold his fatal bruise
192And to the Woman thus his sentence turn'd:
193"Thy sorrow I will greatly multiply
194By thy conception: children thou shalt bring
195In sorrow forth, and to thy husband's will
196Thine shall submit: he over thee shall rule."
197On Adam last thus judgment he pronounc'd:
198"Because thou hast heark'n'd to the voice of thy wife,
199And eaten of the tree concerning which
200I charg'd thee, saying, 'Thou shalt not eat thereof,'
201Curs'd is the ground for thy sake: thou in sorrow
202Shalt eat thereof all the days of thy life:
203Thorns also and thistles it shall bring thee forth
204Unbid, and thou shalt eat th' herb of th' field:
205In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,
206Till thou return unto the ground; for thou
207Out of the ground wast taken: know thy birth,
208For dust thou art, and shalt to dust return."
209So judg'd he Man, both Judge and Saviour sent,
210And th' instant stroke of death, denounc'd that day,
211Remov'd far off; then, pitying how they stood
212Before him naked to the air, that now
213Must suffer change, disdain'd not to begin
214Thenceforth the form of servant to assume.
215As when he wash'd his servants' feet, so now,
216As father of his family, he clad
217Their nakedness with skins of beasts (or slain
218Or, as the snake, with youthful coat repaid),
219And thought not much to clothe his enemies.
220Nor he their outward only with the skins
221Of beasts, but inward nakedness, much more
222Opprobrious, with his robe of righteousness
223Arraying, cover'd from his Father's sight.
224To him with swift ascent he up return'd,
225Into his blissful bosom reassum'd
226In glory as of old; to him, appeas'd,
227All, though all-knowing, what had pass'd with Man
228Recounted, mixing intercession sweet.
229Meanwhile, ere thus was sinn'd and judg'd on Earth,
230Within the gates of Hell sat Sin and Death,
231In counterview within the gates, that now
232Stood open wide, belching outrageous flame
233Far into Chaos, since the Fiend pass'd through,
234Sin opening; who thus now to Death began:
235"O son, why sit we here, each other viewing
236Idly, while Satan, our great author, thrives
237In other worlds, and happier seat provides
238For us, his offspring dear? It cannot be
239But that success attends him; if mishap,
240Ere this he had return'd, with fury driv'n
241By his avengers, since no place like this
242Can fit his punishment or their revenge.
243Methinks I feel new strength within me rise,
244Wings growing, and dominion giv'n me large
245Beyond this Deep--whatever draws me on,
246Or sympathy or some connatural force,
247Powerful at greatest distance to unite
248With secret amity things of like kind
249By secretest conveyance. Thou, my shade
250Inseparable, must with me along;
251For Death from Sin no power can separate.
252But, lest the difficulty of passing back
253Stay his return perhaps over this gulf
254Impassable, impervious, let us try
255(Advent'rous work, yet to thy power and mine
256Not unagreeable!) to found a path
257Over this main from Hell to that new World
258Where Satan now prevails--a monument
259Of merit high to all th' infernal host,
260Easing their passage hence, for intercourse
261Or transmigration, as their lot shall lead.
262Nor can I miss the way, so strongly drawn
263By this new-felt attraction and instinct."
264Whom thus the meagre Shadow answer'd soon:
265"Go whither Fate and inclination strong
266Leads thee; I shall not lag behind, nor err
267The way, thou leading: such a scent I draw
268Of carnage, prey innumerable, and taste
269The savour of death from all things there that live.
270Nor shall I to the work thou enterprisest
271Be wanting, but afford thee equal aid."
272So saying, with delight he snuff'd the smell
273Of mortal change on Earth. As when a flock
274Of ravenous fowl, though many a league remote,
275Against the day of battle to a field
276Where armies lie encamp'd come flying, lur'd
277With scent of living carcases design'd
278For death the following day in bloody fight:
279So scented the grim Feature, and upturn'd
280His nostril wide into the murky air,
281Sagacious of his quarry from so far.
282Then both, from out Hell-gates, into the waste
283Wide anarchy of Chaos, damp and dark,
284Flew diverse, and with power (their power was great)
285Hovering upon the waters, what they met
286Solid or slimy, as in raging sea
287Toss'd up and down, together crowded drove,
288From each side shoaling towards the mouth of Hell:
289As when two polar winds, blowing adverse
290Upon the Cronian sea, together drive
291Mountains of ice, that stop th' imagin'd way
292Beyond Petsora eastward to the rich
293Cathaian coast. The aggregated soil
294Death with his mace petrific, cold and dry,
295As with a trident smote, and fix'd as firm
296As Delos, floating once; the rest his look
297Bound with Gorgonian rigour not to move,
298And with asphaltic slime. Broad as the gate,
299Deep to the roots of Hell the gather'd beach
300They fasten'd, and the mole immense wrought on
301Over the foaming Deep high-arch'd, a bridge
302Of length prodigious, joining to the wall
303Immovable of this now fenceless World,
304Forfeit to Death--from hence a passage broad,
305Smooth, easy, inoffensive, down to Hell.
306So, if great things to small may be compar'd,
307Xerxes, the liberty of Greece to yoke,
308From Susa, his Memnonian palace high,
309Came to the sea, and over Hellespont
310Bridging his way, Europe with Asia join'd,
311And scourg'd with many a stroke th' indignant waves.
312Now had they brought the work by wondrous art
313Pontifical--a ridge of pendent rock
314Over the vex'd Abyss, following the track
315Of Satan, to the self-same place where he
316First lighted from his wing and landed safe
317From out of Chaos--to the outside bare
318Of this round World. With pins of adamant
319And chains they made all fast, too fast they made
320And durable. And now in little space
321The confines met of empyrean Heav'n
322And of this World, and on the left hand Hell
323With long reach interpos'd: three sev'ral ways
324In sight to each of these three places led.
325And now their way to Earth they had descried,
326To Paradise first tending, when, behold
327Satan, in likeness of an Angel bright,
328Betwixt the Centaur and the Scorpion steering
329His zenith, while the Sun in Aries rose:
330Disguis'd he came, but those his children dear
331Their parent soon discern'd though in disguise.
332He, after Eve seduc'd, unminded slunk
333Into the wood fast by, and changing shape
334To observe the sequel, saw his guileful act
335By Eve, though all unweeting, seconded
336Upon her husband, saw their shame that sought
337Vain covertures; but, when he saw descend
338The Son of God to judge them, terrified
339He fled, not hoping to escape, but shun
340The present, fearing, guilty, what his wrath
341Might suddenly inflict; that past, return'd
342By night, and list'ning where the hapless pair
343Sat in their sad discourse and various plaint,
344Thence gather'd his own doom, which understood
345Not instant, but of future time.With joy
346And tidings fraught, to Hell he now return'd,
347And at the brink of Chaos, near the foot
348Of this new wondrous pontifice, unhop'd
349Met who to meet him came, his offspring dear.
350Great joy was at their meeting, and at sight
351Of that stupendous bridge his joy increas'd.
352Long he admiring stood, till Sin, his fair
353Enchanting daughter, thus the silence broke:
354"O parent, these are thy magnific deeds,
355Thy trophies! which thou view'st as not thine own:
356Thou art their author and prime architect.
357For I no sooner in my heart divin'd
358(My heart, which by a secret harmony
359Still moves with thine, join'd in connexion sweet)
360That thou on Earth hadst prosper'd, which thy looks
361Now also evidence, but straight I felt--
362Though distant from thee worlds between, yet felt--
363That I must after thee with this thy son.
364Such fatal consequence unites us three,
365Hell could no longer hold us in her bounds,
366Nor this unvoyageable gulf obscure
367Detain from following thy illustrious track.
368Thou hast achiev'd our liberty, confin'd
369Within Hell-gates till now: thou us empow'r'd
370To fortify thus far, and overlay
371With this portentous bridge the dark Abyss.
372Thine now is all this World; thy virtue hath won
373What thy hands builded not; thy wisdom gain'd
374With odds what war hath lost, and fully aveng'd
375Our foil in Heav'n. Here thou shalt monarch reign,
376There didst not. There let him still victor sway,
377As battle hath adjudg'd, from this new World
378Retiring, by his own doom alienated,
379And henceforth monarchy with thee divide
380Of all things, parted by th' empyreal bounds,
381His quadrature, from thy orbicular World:
382Or try thee now more dangerous to his throne."
383Whom thus the Prince of Darkness answer'd glad:
384"Fair daughter, and thou son and grandchild both,
385High proof ye now have giv'n to be the race
386Of Satan (for I glory in the name,
387Antagonist of Heav'n's Almighty King),
388Amply have merited of me, of all
389Th' Infernal Empire, that so near Heav'n's door
390Triumphal with triumphal act have met,
391Mine with this glorious work, and made one realm
392Hell and this World--one realm, one continent
393Of easy thoroughfare. Therefore, while I
394Descend through darkness, on your road with ease,
395To my associate Powers, them to acquaint
396With these successes, and with them rejoice,
397You two this way, among these numerous orbs,
398All yours, right down to Paradise descend;
399There dwell, and reign in bliss; thence on the Earth
400Dominion exercise and in the Air,
401Chiefly on Man, sole lord of all declar'd;
402Him first make sure your thrall, and lastly kill.
403My substitutes I send ye, and create
404Plenipotent on Earth, of matchless might
405Issuing from me. On your joint vigour now
406My hold of this new kingdom all depends,
407Through Sin to Death expos'd by my exploit.
408If your joint power prevail, th' affairs of Hell
409No detriment need fear. Go, and be strong."
410So saying, he dismiss'd them. They with speed
411Their course through thickest constellations held,
412Spreading their bane: the blasted stars look'd wan,
413And planets, planet-struck, real eclipse
414Then suffer'd. Th' other way Satan went down
415The causey to Hell-gate: on either side
416Disparted Chaos overbuilt exclaim'd,
417And with rebounding surge the bars assail'd,
418That scorn'd his indignation. Through the gate,
419Wide open and unguarded, Satan pass'd,
420And all about found desolate; for those
421Appointed to sit there had left their charge,
422Flown to the upper World; the rest were all
423Far to the inland retir'd, about the walls
424Of Pandaemonium, city and proud seat
425Of Lucifer, so by allusion call'd
426Of that bright star to Satan paragon'd.
427There kept their watch the legions, while the grand
428In council sat, solicitous what chance
429Might intercept their Emperor sent; so he
430Departing gave command, and they observ'd.
431As when the Tartar, from his Russian foe,
432By Astracan over the snowy plains
433Retires, or Bactrian Sophi, from the horns
434Of Turkish crescent, leaves all waste beyond
435The realm of Aladule in his retreat
436To Tauris or Casbeen: so these, the late
437Heav'n-banish'd host, left desert utmost Hell
438Many a dark league, reduc'd in careful watch
439Round their metropolis, and now expecting
440Each hour their great adventurer from the search
441Of foreign worlds. He through the midst unmark'd,
442In show plebeian Angel militant
443Of lowest order, pass'd, and from the door
444Of that Plutonian hall invisible
445Ascended his high throne, which, under state
446Of richest texture spread, at th' upper end
447Was plac'd in regal lustre. Down awhile
448He sat, and round about him saw, unseen.
449At last, as from a cloud, his fulgent head
450And shape star-bright appear'd, or brighter, clad
451With what permissive glory since his fall
452Was left him, or false glitter. All amaz'd
453At that so sudden blaze, the Stygian throng
454Bent their aspect, and whom they wish'd beheld,
455Their mighty Chief return'd: loud was th' acclaim.
456Forth rush'd in haste the great consulting Peers,
457Rais'd from their dark divan, and with like joy
458Congratulant approach'd him, who with hand
459Silence, and with these words attention, won:
460"Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers!
461For in possession such, not only of right,
462I call ye and declare ye now, return'd
463Successful beyond hope, to lead ye forth
464Triumphant out of this infernal pit
465Abominable, accurs'd, the house of woe,
466And dungeon of our tyrant! Now possess
467As lords a spacious World, to our native Heaven
468Little inferior, by my adventure hard
469With peril great achiev'd. Long were to tell
470What I have done, what suffer'd, with what pain
471Voyag'd th' unreal, vast, unbounded Deep
472Of horrible confusion--over which
473By Sin and Death a broad way now is pav'd,
474To expedite your glorious march; but I
475Toil'd out my uncouth passage, forc'd to ride
476Th' untractable Abyss, plung'd in the womb
477Of unoriginal Night and Chaos wild,
478That, jealous of their secrets, fiercely oppos'd
479My journey strange, with clamorous uproar
480Protesting Fate supreme; thence how I found
481The new-created World, which fame in Heav'n
482Long had foretold, a fabric wonderful,
483Of absolute perfection; therein Man
484Plac'd in a Paradise, by our exile
485Made happy. Him by fraud I have seduc'd
486From his Creator, and, the more to increase
487Your wonder, with an apple! He, thereat
488Offended--worth your laughter!--hath giv'n up
489Both his beloved Man and all his World
490To Sin and Death a prey, and so to us,
491Without our hazard, labour, or alarm,
492To range in, and to dwell, and over Man
493To rule, as over all he should have rul'd.
494True is, me also he hath judg'd; or rather
495Me not, but the brute serpent, in whose shape
496Man I deceiv'd. That which to me belongs
497Is enmity, which he will put between
498Me and mankind: I am to bruise his heel:
499His seed--when, is not set--shall bruise my head!
500A world who would not purchase with a bruise,
501Or much more grievous pain? Ye have th' account
502Of my performance. What remains, ye Gods,
503But up and enter now into full bliss?"
504So having said, awhile he stood expecting
505Their universal shout and high applause
506To fill his ear; when, contrary, he hears
507On all sides from innumerable tongues
508A dismal universal hiss, the sound
509Of public scorn. He wonder'd, but not long
510Had leisure, wond'ring at himself now more:
511His visage drawn he felt to sharp and spare,
512His arms clung to his ribs, his legs entwining
513Each other till, supplanted, down he fell
514A monstrous serpent on his belly prone,
515Reluctant but in vain: a greater power
516Now rul'd him, punish'd in the shape he sinn'd,
517According to his doom. He would have spoke,
518But hiss for hiss return'd with forked tongue
519To forked tongue; for now were all transform'd
520Alike, to serpents all, as accessories
521To his bold riot. Dreadful was the din
522Of hissing through the hall, thick-swarming now
523With complicated monsters, head and tail:
524Scorpion and asp and amphisbaena dire,
525Cerastes horn'd, hydrus, and ellops drear,
526And dipsas (not so thick swarm'd once the soil
527Bedropp'd with blood of Gorgon, or the isle
528Ophiusa); but still greatest he, the midst,
529Now dragon grown, larger than whom the sun
530Engender'd in the Pythian vale on slime,
531Huge Python; and his power no less he seem'd
532Above the rest still to retain. They all
533Him follow'd, issuing forth to th' open field,
534Where all yet left of that revolted rout,
535Heav'n-fall'n, in station stood or just array,
536Sublime with expectation when to see
537In triumph issuing forth their glorious Chief.
538They saw, but other sight instead--a crowd
539Of ugly serpents. Horror on them fell,
540And horrid sympathy; for what they saw
541They felt themselves now changing. Down their arms,
542Down fell both spear and shield, down they as fast;
543And the dire hiss renew'd, and the dire form
544Catch'd by contagion, like in punishment
545As in their crime. Thus was th' applause they meant
546Turn'd to exploding hiss, triumph to shame
547Cast on themselves from their own mouths. There stood
548A grove hard by, sprung up with this their change
549(His will who reigns above) to aggravate
550Their penance, laden with fair fruit, like that
551Which grew in Paradise, the bait of Eve
552Us'd by the Tempter. On that prospect strange
553Their earnest eyes they fix'd, imagining
554For one forbidden tree a multitude
555Now ris'n, to work them further woe or shame;
556Yet, parch'd with scalding thirst and hunger fierce,
557Though to delude them sent, could not abstain,
558But on they roll'd in heaps, and up the trees
559Climbing, sat thicker than the snaky locks
560That curl'd Megaera. Greedily they pluck'd
561The fruitage fair to sight, like that which grew
562Near that bituminous lake where Sodom flam'd;
563This, more delusive, not the touch, but taste
564Deceiv'd; they, fondly thinking to allay
565Their appetite with gust, instead of fruit
566Chew'd bitter ashes, which th' offended taste
567With spattering noise rejected. Oft they assay'd,
568Hunger and thirst constraining; drugg'd as oft,
569With hatefulest disrelish writh'd their jaws
570With soot and cinders fill'd; so oft they fell
571Into the same illusion, not as Man,
572Whom they triumph'd, once laps'd. Thus were they plagu'd,
573And worn with famine long, and ceaseless hiss,
574Till their lost shape, permitted, they resum'd--
575Yearly enjoin'd, some say, to undergo
576This annual humbling certain number'd days,
577To dash their pride and joy for Man seduc'd.
578However, some tradition they dispers'd
579Among the heathen of their purchase got,
580And fabl'd how the Serpent, whom they call'd
581Ophion, with Eurynome (the wide-
582Encroaching Eve perhaps), had first the rule
583Of high Olympus, thence by Saturn driv'n
584And Ops, ere yet Dictaean Jove was born.
585Meanwhile in Paradise the hellish pair
586Too soon arriv'd--Sin, there in power before
587Once actual, now in body and to dwell
588Habitual habitant; behind her Death,
589Close following pace for pace, not mounted yet
590On his pale horse; to whom Sin thus began:
591"Second of Satan sprung, all-conquering Death!
592What think'st thou of our empire now, though earn'd
593With travail difficult? not better far
594Than still at Hell's dark threshold to have sat watch,
595Unnam'd, undreaded, and thyself half-starv'd?"
596Whom thus the Sin-born monster answer'd soon:
597"To me, who with eternal famine pine,
598Alike is Hell, or Paradise, or Heaven--
599There best where most with ravin I may meet:
600Which here, though plenteous, all too little seems
601To stuff his maw, this vast un-hidebound corpse."
602To whom th' incestuous mother thus replied:
603"Thou, therefore, on these herbs, and fruits, and flow'rs,
604Feed first, on each beast next, and fish, and fowl--
605No homely morsels; and whatever thing
606The scythe of Time mows down devour unspar'd,
607Till I, in Man residing through the race,
608His thoughts, his looks, words, actions, all infect,
609And season him thy last and sweetest prey."
610This said, they both betook them several ways,
611Both to destroy, or unimmortal make
612All kinds, and for destruction to mature
613Sooner or later; which th' Almighty seeing,
614From his transcendent seat the Saints among,
615To those bright Orders utter'd thus his voice:
616"See with what heat these dogs of Hell advance
617To waste and havoc yonder World, which I
618So fair and good created, and had still
619Kept in that state, had not the folly of Man
620Let in these wasteful furies, who impute
621Folly to me (so doth the Prince of Hell
622And his adherents), that with so much ease
623I suffer them to enter and possess
624A place so heav'nly and, conniving, seem
625To gratify my scornful enemies,
626That laugh as if, transported with some fit
627Of passion, I to them had quitted all,
628At random yielded up to their misrule,
629And know not that I call'd and drew them thither,
630My Hell-hounds, to lick up the draff and filth
631Which Man's polluting sin with taint hath shed
632On what was pure; till, cramm'd and gorg'd, nigh burst
633With suck'd and glutted offal, at one sling
634Of thy victorious arm, well-pleasing Son,
635Both Sin and Death, and yawning Grave, at last
636Through Chaos hurl'd, obstruct the mouth of Hell
637For ever, and seal up his ravenous jaws.
638Then Heav'n and Earth, renew'd, shall be made pure
639To sanctity that shall receive no stain:
640Till then the curse pronounc'd on both precedes."
641He ended, and the Heav'nly audience loud
642Sung Halleluiah, as the sound of seas
643Through multitude that sung: "Just are thy ways,
644Righteous are thy decrees on all thy works;
645Who can extenuate thee?" Next, to the Son:
646"Destin'd restorer of Mankind, by whom
647New Heav'n and Earth shall to the ages rise,
648Or down from Heav'n descend." Such was their song,
649While the Creator, calling forth by name
650His mighty Angels, gave them several charge,
651As sorted best with present things. The Sun
652Had first his precept so to move, so shine,
653As might affect the Earth with cold and heat
654Scarce tolerable, and from the north to call
655Decrepit winter, from the south to bring
656Solstitial summer's heat. To the blank Moon
657Her office they prescrib'd; to th' other five
658Their planetary motions and aspects,
659In sextile, square, and trine, and opposite,
660Of noxious efficacy, and when to join
661In synod unbenign; and taught the fix'd
662Their influence malignant when to show'r--
663Which of them, rising with the Sun or falling,
664Should prove tempestuous. To the winds they set
665Their corners, when with bluster to confound
666Sea, air, and shore; the thunder when to roll
667With terror through the dark aerial hall.
668Some say he bid his Angels turn askance
669The poles of Earth twice ten degrees and more
670From the Sun's axle: they with labour push'd
671Oblique the centric globe; some say the Sun
672Was bid turn reins from th' equinoctial road,
673Like distant breadth, to Taurus with the seven
674Atlantic Sisters, and the Spartan Twins,
675Up to the Tropic Crab, thence down amain,
676By Leo and the Virgin and the Scales,
677As deep as Capricorn, to bring in change
678Of seasons to each clime. Else had the spring
679Perpetual smil'd on Earth with vernant flow'rs,
680Equal in days and nights, except to those
681Beyond the polar circles--to them day
682Had unbenighted shone, while the low Sun,
683To recompense his distance, in their sight
684Had rounded still th' horizon, and not known
685Or east or west, which had forbid the snow
686From cold Estotiland, and south as far
687Beneath Magellan. At that tasted fruit,
688The Sun, as from Thyestean banquet, turn'd
689His course intended; else how had the world
690Inhabited, though sinless, more than now
691Avoided pinching cold and scorching heat?
692These changes in the heav'ns, though slow, produc'd
693Like change on sea and land--sideral blast,
694Vapour and mist and exhalation hot,
695Corrupt and pestilent. Now from the north
696Of Norumbega, and the Samoed shore,
697Bursting their brazen dungeon, arm'd with ice
698And snow and hail and stormy gust and flaw,
699Boreas and Caecias and Argestes loud
700And Thrascias rend the woods and seas upturn;
701With adverse blasts upturns them from the south
702Notus and Afer, black with thund'rous clouds
703From Serraliona; thwart of these, as fierce
704Forth rush the Levant and the Ponent winds,
705Eurus and Zephyr, with their lateral noise,
706Sirocco and Libecchio. Thus began
707Outrage from lifeless things; but Discord first,
708Daughter of Sin, among th' irrational
709Death introduc'd through fierce antipathy:
710Beast now with beast 'gan war, and fowl with fowl,
711And fish with fish. To graze the herb all leaving
712Devour'd each other; nor stood much in awe
713Of Man, but fled him, or with count'nance grim
714Glar'd on him passing. These were from without
715The growing miseries; which Adam saw
716Already in part, though hid in gloomiest shade,
717To sorrow abandon'd, but worse felt within,
718And, in a troubl'd sea of passion tost,
719Thus to disburden sought with sad complaint:
720"O miserable of happy! Is this the end
721Of this new glorious World, and me so late
722The glory of that glory? who now, become
723Accurs'd of blessed, hide me from the face
724Of God, whom to behold was then my highth
725Of happiness--yet well, if here would end
726The misery! I deserv'd it, and would bear
727My own deservings; but this will not serve:
728All that I eat or drink, or shall beget,
729Is propagated curse. O Voice, once heard
730Delightfully, 'Increase and multiply',
731Now death to hear! for what can I increase
732Or multiply but curses on my head?
733Who of all ages to succeed, but feeling
734The evil on him brought by me, will curse
735My head? 'Ill fare our ancestor impure!
736For this we may thank Adam!' but his thanks
737Shall be the execration. So, besides
738Mine own that bide upon me, all from me
739Shall with a fierce reflux on me redound,
740On me as on their natural centre light,
741Heavy though in their place. O fleeting joys
742Of Paradise, dear bought with lasting woes!
743Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
744To mould me Man? Did I solicit thee
745From darkness to promote me, or here place
746In this delicious garden? As my will
747Concurr'd not to my being, it were but right
748And equal to reduce me to my dust,
749Desirous to resign and render back
750All I receiv'd, unable to perform
751Thy terms too hard by which I was to hold
752The good I sought not. To the loss of that,
753Sufficient penalty, why hast thou added
754The sense of endless woes? Inexplicable
755Thy justice seems. Yet, to say truth, too late
756I thus contest; then should have been refus'd
757Those terms, whatever, when they were propos'd.
758Thou didst accept them: wilt thou enjoy the good,
759Then cavil the conditions? And though God
760Made thee without thy leave, what if thy son
761Prove disobedient and, reprov'd, retort,
762'Wherefore didst thou beget me? I sought it not!'
763Wouldst thou admit for his contempt of thee
764That proud excuse? Yet him not thy election,
765But natural necessity, begot:
766God made thee of choice his own, and of his own
767To serve him; thy reward was of his grace:
768Thy punishment, then, justly is at his will.
769Be it so, for I submit; his doom is fair,
770That dust I am, and shall to dust return.
771O welcome hour, whenever! Why delays
772His hand to execute what his decree
773Fix'd on this day? Why do I overlive?
774Why am I mock'd with death, and length'n'd out
775To deathless pain? How gladly would I meet
776Mortality, my sentence, and be earth
777Insensible! how glad would lay me down
778As in my mother's lap! There I should rest,
779And sleep secure; his dreadful voice no more
780Would thunder in my ears; no fear of worse
781To me and to my offspring would torment me
782With cruel expectation. Yet one doubt
783Pursues me still: lest all I cannot die,
784Lest that pure breath of life, the Spirit of Man
785Which God inspir'd, cannot together perish
786With this corporeal clod. Then, in the grave,
787Or in some other dismal place, who knows
788But I shall die a living death? O thought
789Horrid, if true! Yet why? It was but breath
790Of life that sinn'd: what dies but what had life
791And sin? The body properly hath neither.
792All of me, then, shall die: let this appease
793The doubt, since human reach no further knows.
794For though the Lord of all be infinite,
795Is his wrath also? Be it, Man is not so,
796But mortal doom'd. How can he exercise
797Wrath without end on Man whom death must end?
798Can he make deathless death? That were to make
799Strange contradiction; which to God himself
800Impossible is held, as argument
801Of weakness, not of power. Will he draw out,
802For anger's sake, finite to infinite
803In punish'd Man, to satisfy his rigour
804Satisfied never? That were to extend
805His sentence beyond dust and Nature's law,
806By which all causes else, according still
807To the reception of their matter, act--
808Not to th' extent of their own sphere. But say
809That death be not one stroke, as I suppos'd,
810Bereaving sense, but endless misery
811From this day onward, which I feel begun
812Both in me and without me, and so last
813To perpetuity--Ay me! that fear
814Comes thundering back with dreadful revolution
815On my defenceless head! Both Death and I
816Am found eternal, and incorporate both;
817Nor I on my part single: in me all
818Posterity stands curs'd. Fair patrimony
819That I must leave ye, sons! O were I able
820To waste it all myself, and leave ye none!
821So disinherited, how would ye bless
822Me, now your curse! Ah, why should all Mankind,
823For one man's fault, thus guiltless be condemn'd?
824If guiltless? But from me what can proceed
825But all corrupt: both mind and will deprav'd
826Not to do only, but to will, the same
827With me? How can they, then, acquitted stand
828In sight of God? Him, after all disputes,
829Forc'd I absolve. All my evasions vain
830And reasonings, though through mazes, lead me still
831But to my own conviction: first and last
832On me, me only, as the source and spring
833Of all corruption, all the blame lights due.
834So might the wrath! Fond wish! couldst thou support
835That burden, heavier than the Earth to bear--
836Than all the World much heavier, though divided
837With that bad Woman? Thus what thou desir'st
838And what thou fear'st alike destroys all hope
839Of refuge and concludes thee miserable
840Beyond all past example and future--
841To Satan only like, both crime and doom.
842O Conscience! into what abyss of fears
843And horrors hast thou driv'n me; out of which
844I find no way, from deep to deeper plung'd!"
845Thus Adam to himself lamented loud
846Through the still night--not now, as ere Man fell,
847Wholesome and cool and mild, but with black air
848Accompanied, with damps and dreadful gloom;
849Which to his evil conscience represented
850All things with double terror. On the ground
851Outstretch'd he lay, on the cold ground, and oft
852Curs'd his creation; Death as oft accus'd
853Of tardy execution, since denounc'd
854The day of his offence. "Why comes not Death,"
855Said he, "with one thrice-acceptable stroke
856To end me? Shall Truth fail to keep her word,
857Justice divine not hast'n to be just?
858But Death comes not at call; Justice divine
859Mends not her slowest pace for prayers or cries.
860O woods, O fountains, hillocks, dales, and bow'rs!
861With other echo late I taught your shades
862To answer, and resound far other song."
863Whom thus afflicted when sad Eve beheld,
864Desolate where she sat, approaching nigh,
865Soft words to his fierce passion she assay'd;
866But her, with stern regard, he thus repell'd:
867"Out of my sight, thou serpent! That name best
868Befits thee, with him leagu'd, thyself as false
869And hateful: nothing wants, but that thy shape
870Like his, and colour serpentine, may show
871Thy inward fraud, to warn all creatures from thee
872Henceforth, lest that too heav'nly form, pretended
873To hellish falsehood, snare them. But for thee
874I had persisted happy, had not thy pride
875And wand'ring vanity, when least was safe,
876Rejected my forewarning and disdain'd
877Not to be trusted, longing to be seen,
878Though by the Devil himself; him overweening
879To overreach, but with the Serpent meeting,
880Fool'd and beguil'd--by him thou; I by thee,
881To trust thee from my side, imagin'd wise,
882Constant, mature, proof against all assaults,
883And understood not all was but a show
884Rather than solid virtue: all but a rib
885Crooked by nature--bent, as now appears,
886More to the part sinister--from me drawn;
887Well if thrown out, as supernumerary
888To my just number found! O why did God,
889Creator wise, that peopl'd highest Heav'n
890With Spirits masculine, create at last
891This novelty on Earth, this fair defect
892Of Nature, and not fill the world at once
893With men as Angels, without feminine--
894Or find some other way to generate
895Mankind? This mischief had not then befall'n,
896And more that shall befall: innumerable
897Disturbances on earth through female snares,
898And strait conjunction with this sex. For either
899He never shall find out fit mate, but such
900As some misfortune brings him, or mistake;
901Or whom he wishes most shall seldom gain,
902Through her perverseness, but shall see her gain'd
903By a far worse, or, if she love, withheld
904By parents; or his happiest choice too late
905Shall meet, already link'd and wedlock-bound
906To a fell adversary, his hate or shame:
907Which infinite calamity shall cause
908To human life, and household peace confound."
909He added not, and from her turn'd; but Eve,
910Not so repuls'd, with tears that ceas'd not flowing,
911And tresses all disorder'd, at his feet
912Fell humble, and embracing them, besought
913His peace, and thus proceeded in her plaint:
914"Forsake me not thus, Adam!Witness Heav'n
915What love sincere and reverence in my heart
916I bear thee, and unweeting have offended,
917Unhappily deceiv'd! Thy suppliant
918I beg, and clasp thy knees. Bereave me not
919Whereon I live, thy gentle looks, thy aid,
920Thy counsel in this uttermost distress,
921My only strength and stay. Forlorn of thee,
922Whither shall I betake me, where subsist?
923While yet we live, scarce one short hour perhaps,
924Between us two let there be peace--both joining,
925As join'd in injuries, one enmity
926Against a foe by doom express assign'd us,
927That cruel Serpent. On me exercise not
928Thy hatred for this misery befall'n--
929On me already lost, me than thyself
930More miserable. Both have sinn'd; but thou
931Against God only: I against God and thee,
932And to the place of judgment will return,
933There with my cries importune Heaven that all
934The sentence, from thy head remov'd, may light
935On me, sole cause to thee of all this woe,
936Me, me onely, just object of his ire."
937She ended, weeping; and her lowly plight,
938Immovable till peace obtain'd from fault
939Acknowledg'd and deplor'd, in Adam wrought
940Commiseration: soon his heart relented
941Towards her, his life so late and sole delight,
942Now at his feet submissive in distress--
943Creature so fair his reconcilement seeking,
944His counsel, whom she had displeas'd, his aid.
945As one disarm'd, his anger all he lost,
946And thus with peaceful words uprais'd her soon:
947Unwary, and too desirous, as before
948So now, of what thou knowst not, who desir'st
949The punishment all on thy self! Alas!
950Bear thine own first, ill able to sustain
951His full wrath whose thou feel'st as yet least part,
952And my displeasure bear'st so ill. If prayers
953Could alter high decrees, I to that place
954Would speed before thee, and be louder heard,
955That on my head all might be visited,
956Thy frailty and infirmer sex forgiv'n,
957To me committed and by me expos'd.
958But rise. Let us no more contend, nor blame
959Each other, blam'd enough elsewhere, but strive
960In offices of love how we may light'n
961Each other's burden in our share of woe,
962Since this day's death denounc'd, if aught I see,
963Will prove no sudden, but a slow-pac'd evil,
964A long day's dying, to augment our pain,
965And to our seed (O hapless seed!) deriv'd."
966To whom thus Eve, recovering heart, replied:
967"Adam, by sad experiment I know
968How little weight my words with thee can find,
969Found so erroneous, thence by just event
970Found so unfortunate. Nevertheless,
971Restor'd by thee, vile as I am, to place
972Of new acceptance, hopeful to regain
973Thy love, the sole contentment of my heart,
974Living or dying, from thee I will not hide
975What thoughts in my unquiet breast are ris'n,
976Tending to some relief of our extremes,
977Or end, though sharp and sad, yet tolerable
978As in our evils, and of easier choice.
979If care of our descent perplex us most,
980Which must be born to certain woe, devour'd
981By Death at last (and miserable it is
982To be to others cause of misery,
983Our own begotten, and of our loins to bring
984Into this cursed world a woeful race
985That, after wretched life, must be at last
986Food for so foul a monster), in thy power
987It lies, yet ere conception, to prevent
988The race unblest, to being yet unbegot.
989Childless thou art: childless remain; so Death
990Shall be deceiv'd his glut, and with us two
991Be forc'd to satisfy his rav'nous maw.
992But, if thou judge it hard and difficult,
993Conversing, looking, loving, to abstain
994From love's due rites, nuptial embraces sweet,
995And with desire to languish without hope
996Before the present object languishing
997With like desire--which would be misery
998And torment less than none of what we dread--
999Then, both ourselves and seed at once to free
1000From what we fear for both, let us make short:
1001Let us seek Death, or, he not found, supply
1002With our own hands his office on ourselves.
1003Why stand we longer shivering under fears
1004That show no end but death, and have the power,
1005Of many ways to die the shortest choosing,
1006Destruction with destruction to destroy?"
1007She ended here; or vehement despair
1008Broke off the rest; so much of death her thoughts
1009Had entertain'd as dy'd her cheeks with pale.
1010But Adam, with such counsel nothing sway'd,
1011To better hopes his more attentive mind
1012Labouring had rais'd, and thus to Eve replied:
1013"Eve, thy contempt of life and pleasure seems
1014To argue in thee something more sublime
1015And excellent than what thy minde contemns.
1016But self-destruction therefore sought refutes
1017That excellence thought in thee, and implies
1018Not thy contempt, but anguish and regret
1019For loss of life and pleasure overlov'd;
1020Or, if thou covet death as utmost end
1021Of misery, so thinking to evade
1022The penalty pronounc'd, doubt not but God
1023Hath wiselier arm'd his vengeful ire than so
1024To be forestall'd. Much more I fear lest death
1025So snatch'd will not exempt us from the pain
1026We are by doom to pay, rather: such acts
1027Of contumacy will provoke the Highest
1028To make death in us live. Then let us seek
1029Some safer resolution; which methinks
1030I have in view, calling to mind with heed
1031Part of our sentence, that thy seed shall bruise
1032The Serpent's head--piteous amends! unless
1033Be meant whom I conjecture, our grand foe,
1034Satan, who in the Serpent hath contriv'd
1035Against us this deceit. To crush his head
1036Would be revenge indeed! which will be lost
1037By death brought on ourselves, or childless days
1038Resolv'd as thou proposest; so our foe
1039Shall scape his punishment ordain'd, and we
1040Instead shall double ours upon our heads.
1041No more be mention'd, then, of violence
1042Against ourselves, and wilful barrenness,
1043That cuts us off from hope, and savours only
1044Rancour and pride, impatience and despite,
1045Reluctance against God and his just yoke
1046Laid on our necks. Remember with what mild
1047And gracious temper he both heard and judg'd,
1048Without wrath or reviling. We expected
1049Immediate dissolution, which we thought
1050Was meant by death that day; when, lo! to thee
1051Pains only in child-bearing were foretold,
1052And bringing forth, soon recompens'd with joy,
1053Fruit of thy womb. On me the curse aslope
1054Glanc'd on the ground: with labour I must earn
1055My bread. What harm? idleness had been worse;
1056My labour will sustain me; and, lest cold
1057Or heat should injure us, his timely care
1058Hath, unbesought, provided, and his hands
1059Cloth'd us unworthy, pitying while he judg'd.
1060How much more, if we pray him, will his ear
1061Be open, and his heart to pity incline,
1062And teach us further by what means to shun
1063Th' inclement seasons, rain, ice, hail, and snow!
1064Which now the sky with various face begins
1065To show us in this mountain, while the winds
1066Blow moist and keen, shattering the graceful locks
1067Of these fair spreading trees; which bids us seek
1068Some better shroud, some better warmth to cherish
1069Our limbs benumb'd: ere this diurnal star
1070Leave cold the night, how we his gather'd beams
1071Reflected may with matter sere foment,
1072Or by collision of two bodies grind
1073The air attrite to fire--as late the clouds,
1074Justling or push'd with winds, rude in their shock,
1075Tine the slant lightning, whose thwart flame driv'n down
1076Kindles the gummy bark of fir or pine,
1077And sends a comfortable heat from far--
1078Which might supply the sun. Such fire to use,
1079And what may else be remedy or cure
1080To evils which our own misdeeds have wrought,
1081He will instruct us praying and of grace
1082Beseeching him: so as we need not fear
1083To pass commodiously this life, sustain'd
1084By him with many comforts, till we end
1085In dust, our final rest and native home.
1086What better can we do than, to the place
1087Repairing where he judg'd us, prostrate fall
1088Before him reverent, and there confess
1089Humbly our faults, and pardon beg, with tears
1090Wat'ring the ground, and with our sighs the air
1091Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite in sign
1092Of sorrow unfeign'd and humiliation meek?
1093Undoubtedly he will relent, and turn
1094From his displeasure, in whose look serene,
1095When angry most he seem'd and most severe,
1096What else but favour, grace, and mercy shone?"
1097So spake our Father penitent; nor Eve
1098Felt less remorse. They, forthwith to the place
1099Repairing where he judg'd them, prostrate fell
1100Before him reverent, and both confess'd
1101Humbly their faults, and pardon begg'd, with tears
1102Wat'ring the ground, and with their sighs the air
1103Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign
1104Of sorrow unfeign'd and humiliation meek.
THE END OF THE TENTH BOOK
1] despiteful: see above, IX, 175-78.
10] Complete: modifies mind (line 8) and means fully endowed with power to.
16] manifold: Milton adopted the idea that the disobedience of Adam and Eve comprehended a multitude of specific sins.
18] angelic guards: Gabriel and his fellows (cf. above IX, 61; IV, 561-1015).
28] They: the angelic guards.
29] Accountable: as accountable to God (the Throne Supreme).
31] approv'd: proved. 31-33.
"And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices" (Revelation 4:5).
35] charge: commission or guardianship.
38] The reference is to P.L., III, 90 ff., where God foresees that man will fall, but through his own fault, his will being free, and not predestinated so to do, for God's foreknowledge (so Milton argues) does not predestinate.
40] speed: succeed.
45] moment: force (Lat. momentum suggests the stress influencing the decision of a pair of scales).
48] rests: remains.
49] denounc'd: proclaimed.
53] Forbearance: i.e., from executing immediate judgment. acquittance: acquittal.
54] Justice shall not return scorned, as bounty has done.
55] "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son" (John 5:22). But Milton holds that all manifestations of God, whether in word or deed, are by and through the Son (cf. P.L., VI, 680-83).
59] colleague: joined in alliance.
62] destin'd Man himself: destined to become man (at the Incarnation).
64] The Son "being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person ... sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1 :3 ).
74] When time shall be: i.e., at the Incarnation; for so I undertook refers to the Son's offer to make atonement for man's sin (P.L., III, 236 ff.).
77] deriv'd: as in Latin, turned aside, diverted.
78] as may best glorify (illustrate) justice and mercy by satisfying the claims of both.
83] Convict: convicted.
84] Formal proof and condemnation of Satan's guilt are unnecessary: he stands convicted already.
85] seat ... / Of high collateral glory: the Son shares the throne of God, being by the Father's gift raised to equality with Him (cf. P.L., III, 305-7 and V, 600-8).
86] The various ranks of angels accompany the Son to the gate of Heaven--but not beyond it as they did when he went forth to the Creation (P.L., VII); cf. above 80-81.
89] coast: surrounding regions.
92] cadence: as in Latin, keeps the sense of decline or descent.
93] noon: the meridian.
95] cool. God visited Adam and Eve "in the cool of the day" (Genesis 3:8).
106] obvious: as in Latin, keeps the sense of coming to meet.
112] apparent: evident.
118] revile: reproach.
119] My voice. It has always been by the Son that God has spoken (see above, lines 55-57 n.).
120] still: always.
129] while her faith to me remains: while she remains faithful to me.
141] Adam had said as much to Raphael (P.L., VIII, 546-53). whatever in itself: whatever its essential nature.
143] Adam's speech concludes with the simple words of Genesis 3:12.
149] made of thee: see above, IX, 1154 n.
153] While she was under the government of Adam, Eve's gifts showed to advantage.
156] person: as in Latin, retains the meaning of character or role in a drama.
162] Here, without the elaboration bestowed on Adam's reply (lines 124-43), Milton uses the simple words of Genesis 3:13.
164] The actual condemnation of the serpent (lines 175-81) follows almost word for word Genesis 3:14-15; but Milton offers some comment (lines 164-74): the serpent, being once more a dumb brute, is unable to transfer his guilt to Satan (as Adam has tried to transfer his to Eve, and she hers to the serpent), but the curse falls upon him since (though through Satan's action, not his own) his nature has been vitiated and polluted by being turned from the end for which it was created (165-68); the condemnation is uttered in the presence of Adam and Eve, who know no more than that the serpent tempted Eve, and she Adam (lines 169-70), which is indeed all that Genesis states, but the condemnation is in mysterious terms (line 173), i.e., it embodies a deeper and as yet hidden meaning, as referring not to the serpent but to Satan himself, a meaning which will be gradually revealed to them (chiefly in Book XII; see especially line 355 ff.).
182] Though not yet to Adam and Eve, the mysterious terms are briefly explained to the reader. The oracular words of the Son will be verified when Christ (the second Adam) is born of Mary (the second Eve), when he sees Satan, Prince of the Air (cf. Ephesians 2:2; that is, ruler of the mutable sublunar world), fall like lightning (Luke 10:18), and when, after his resurrection Christ, "having spoiled principalities and powers,' shall have "made a show of them openly, triumphing over them" (Colossians 2:15), and as prophesied (Psalm 68:18), shall have "ascended on high" and "led captivity captive" (Ephesians 4:8).
193] Milton here follows closely Genesis 3:16-19.
210] denounc'd: see above, line 49 n.
213] Milton elaborates on God's clothing Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21) by comparing this act to Christ's taking ''the form of a servant'' (Philippians 2:7) as he did when he washed the feet of his disciples (John 13:5); he further made the clothing symbolic of Christ's covering us "with the robe of his righteousness" (Isaiah 61:10), i.e., imputing to the believer his own righteousness.
219] thought not much: did not grudge.
230] Here a reference back to P.L., II, 648 ff.: Sin had opened the gate of Hell to allow Satan to pass but could not close it again. Now Sin and Death (see Head Note to Book IV), sit in counterview, face to face, awaiting his return.
245] Beyond the Deep: beyond the uncreated Chaos, i.e., in the created earth.
246] Or: whether. `sympathy' meant in Milton's day the mysterious common response of remote things to the influence of the stars or other powers.
249] shade: shadow (see below, line 279 n.).
256] found: lay a foundation.
257] main: the Chaos has been described as a "dark Illimitable ocean" (P.L., II, 891-92) and "Outrageous as a sea" (VII, 212).
260] intercourse: frequent coming and going. transmigration: permanent removal.
264] meagre: lean (and, as we soon find, hungry).
266] err: mistake--literally, wander (from).
273] This idea occurs in Lucan, Pharsalia, VII, 831-37, and elsewhere.
279] feature: a studiously vague word for something made or formed. Milton had described Death as "The other shape, If shape it might be call'd that shape had none ... Or substance might be call'd that shadow seem'd" (P.L., II, 666-69).
284] diverse: in different directions.
288] shoaling: forming a shoal.
289] When winds from the north pole blowing in opposite directions (adverse) pile ice in the Arctic Ocean (Gonian Sea) and block the Northeast Passage which explorers have imagined to lead beyond the Gulf of Petsora in the Arctic to Cathay (China).
293] Death, operating with his mace to petrify the cold and dry atoms of the Chaos (rejecting the moist and hot), is likened to Neptune collecting and forming with his trident the matter to compose the once floating island of Delos, and (by implication) to Zeus, who anchored the island at the centre of the Cyclades.
296] Death bound the whole structure with his gaze, as the Gorgon turned to stone whatever looked upon her, and, further, used asphaltus (present here, as in Hell, cf. I, 728 and note) as cement.
305] The mole is continued as an arched bridge extending to the outer wall (i.e., sphere) of this now defenceless (fenceless) universe, by which an unobstructed (inoffensive) passage is afforded down to Hell.
306] a formula used by Milton to avoid the danger of diminishing the object in supplying an earthly counterpart for comparison. The bridge completed is likened to the pontoon thrown across the Hellespont by the Persian monarch Xerxes to join Asia and Europe when he sought to bring under bondage the free Greeks, and offended the gods by scourging the waters for resisting his efforts (Herodotus, VII, 33-36).
308] Susa, the winter capital of the Persian kings, was fabled to have been founded by Tithonus, the lover of Aurora, or by their son Memnon.
313] Pontifical: literally, bridge-making.
320] At the point where the bridge was fixed to the outer sphere of the earthly universe, three ways now led to Heaven, Earth and Hell (this last by the bridge) respectively. Here were the foot of the stair leading down from the Empyrean, the floor of Heaven (described at P.L., III, 510 ff.), the way through the spheres leading to the Earth, and the new bridge to Hell.
326] Sin and Death now met Satan returning to Hell from Paradise, where he had lurked to observe the results of his successful temptation of Eve, had fled in terror at the approach of the Son of God, and, returning after, had learned his own doom, but, since it was not immediate, had brushed it aside. He was now returning jubilant and in triumph, but with due caution, having disguised himself once more as an angel, but, fearing detection by Uriel (cf. above, IX, 58-69), giving the sun, now in Aries (the Ram) a wide berth by passing between the two most remote signs of the Zodiac, the Centaur and the Scorpion, as he flies straight up (in the zenith) to the meeting of the ways at the top of the outer sphere.
335] all unweeting: not knowing that she was aiding in carrying out Satan's plan.
347] foot: actually the top, but the foot (or beginning) to one preparing to traverse it to Hell.
348] pontifice: bridge structure.
352] admiring: wondering (see above, IX, 872 n.).
354] Sin's thus attributing the work to her father Satan completes what every reader of the poem as a whole must recognize in the constructive effort of Sin and Death, namely, a parody of the creation of the world by God operating through the Son and Spirit, as described in Book VII.
358] secret harmony: see above, line 246 and note.
364] consequence: dependence.
370] fortify: build--in effect, a road for Satan's conquest of the earth.
372] virtue: power (as commonly in earlier usage, but also with the suggestion of courage, "manly" character, as in Latin).
374] odds: advantage.
375] foil: defeat, the foiling of our plan.
378] doom: judgment.
380] empyreal bounds: confines of Heaven (for `empyreal' see above, lines 320-24 n.).
381] Here Milton thinks of Heaven as the city lying "four-square" (Revelation 21:16) and the earthly universe as a series of hollow orbs (but at II, 1047-48, he describes the "Empyreal Heaven" as "extended wide / In circuit undetermin'd square or round").
382] try: prove by battle.
386] The name Satan means `adversary' (or `antagonist').
404] Plenipotent: vested with full power.
413] planet-struck: (cf. moon-struck) an astrological term applied to persons supposed to have suffered the harmful influence of some planet. Milton imagines the planets suffering a like influence from Sin and Death.
415] causey: causeway.
416] Chaos, divided in two by the bridge, protested and with waves assailed the barrier, but in vain.
424] Pandaemonium: see above, I, 722 ff.
425] Satan was called (as one of his names) Lucifer (or light-bringer) and was associated with the Morning Star, also so called, but, like Hesperus or Vesper, the Evening Star, really the planet Venus. Cf. "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning" (Isaiah 14:12).
427] the grand: the leaders of the Satanic host who formed the inner council (see above, I, 792-97); "grandees" was a term commonly applied to the military leaders in the Puritan Revolution.
428] solicitous: anxious as to what might have befallen Satan (their Emperor), they remained in council till his return, as he had commanded.
431] By thus congregating in and around Pandaemonium, they left the rest of their realm empty and desolate, as did the Tartars retiring before the Russians by Astracan (a city on the Volga, a frontier post on the borders of Russia and Tartary), or as did the Persian (Bactrian, from Bactria, once a province of Persia) monarch (Sophi), retreating before the encircling form of the Turkish army and the Turkish emblem, the crescent (both ideas suggested by the horns of the Turkish crescent), leaving all waste beyond Aladule, part of Armenia, and to Tauris (now Tebriz) and Casbeen (Karzvin), famous and once capital cities: thus were the rebel angels reduc'd (a Latin military term for `retreat') to watch around their capital (metropolis).
444] Plutonian: infernal (from Pluto, god of the nether world).
445] state: canopy over a throne or chair of state.
449] fulgent: brightly shining.
450] shape: form.
451] permissive: permitted (by God).
453] Stygian: hellish (from Styx, one of the rivers of Hell).
454] aspect: gaze.
457] dark divan: secret council, `divan' being the Arabic and Turkish name for supreme council.
460] Satan declares that his success makes these titles theirs not only de jure (as borne in Heaven), but once more de facto as well.
471] the Chaos, unreal as lacking form.
475] uncouth: unknown.
477] unoriginal: having no known origin, Night being itself "the eldest of things" (P.L., II, 962).
513] supplanted: tripped (its original meaning, as in Latin).
521] riot: revolt.
523] complicated: twisted together, intertwined (as in Latin).
524] Milton mingles fabulous with real reptiles: amphisbaena, serpent with a head at each end; Cerastes, one with horns, as the name implies and Milton makes specific; hydrus, a water snake; ellops, a name, signifying "gliding," given originally to fish (and specifically the swordfish) but later to serpents; dipsas, a serpent whose bite was supposed to produce intense thirst.
526] Perseus cut off the head of the Gorgon Medusa, covered with snakes instead of hair, and as drops of blood fell from the severed head borne across Lybia, serpents sprang up from them (cf. Lucan, Pharsalia, IX, 700-33, which specifies the varieties). Ophiusa (snake filled), a name given by the Greeks to islands in the Balearic archipalago.
529] From the serpent (of Genesis) Satan now becomes the dragon (of Revelation)--"the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil and Satan" (20:2; cf. 12:9), dragons being thought of as a species of serpent. The monstrous serpent Python (later slain by the arrows of Apollo) was engendered from the mud left after Deucalion's flood (Ovid, Metamorphoses, 1, 433-40).
534] all yet left: all the rest (all the inferior ranks not yet transformed to serpents).
535] in station: on guard. just array: regular military formation.
536] Sublime: uplifted (original sense, from Latin).
540] horrid sympathy: i.e., they responded to the same influence (see above, line 246 n.).
546] exploding suggests (according to Latin usage) the kind of hiss employed to drive actors from the stage.
549] to aggravate / Their penance: to increase, render more acute, their punishment.
560] Megaera, one of the Eumenides or Furies, the avengers of crime, depicted with snakes in their hair.
561] Josephus (Wars 4. 8) describes the apples of Sodom, the city beside the Dead Sea (that bituminous lake) destroyed for its wickedness (cf. Genesis 10:24: "the Lord rained upon Sodom andupon Gomorrah brimstone and fire ... out of heaven").
565] with gust: with tasting, or perhaps with gusto, with relish.
568] drugg'd: nauseated (as with some drug).
570] Falling repeatedly under the same illusion, they are thus in worse case than man, over whom they triumphed; for he fell but once and did not repeat his fatal error.
578] Despite their humiliation, annually renewed, the devils, Milton tells us, spread a tradition among the heathen that they got some good from their lawless act (purchase in earlier usage often connoted dishonest, even violent, acquisition): they claimed that the Titans Ophion and Eurynome, who for a while ruled in Olympus (till driven out by Saturn and his wife Ops, which occurred before the birth of their son Jove, worshipped on Mount Dicte in Crete) were none other than the Serpent and Eve, described as wide-Encroaching to correspond to, but also contrast with, the meaning of Eurynome, "wide ruling."
586] Sin was present in Eden in her power when Eve and Adam fell; now she comes in person.
590] his pale horse: "behold a pale horse; and his name that sat on him was Death" (Revelation 6:8).
591] To understand the phrases used of Sin and Death, see Head Note to Book IV.
601] un-hidebound corpse: loose-skinned body (thus capable of containing much).
605] No homely morsels: no plain and meagre fare such as might be served at home (in contrast to a public banquet).
606] scythe of Time. In iconography, as in literature, Time and Death are closely associated and each is often depicted with a scythe. unspar'd: unsparingly.
611] unimmortal make. All creatures were immune from death before the Fall, as all are now subjected to it.
614] God's throne (seat) is transcendent as Heaven is above Earth and the throne the highest point in Heaven; Saints here means `angels,' and the bright Orders are the different grades of the unfallen angels, "the hierarchy of the angels. "
617] havoc: destroy without quarter.
620] wasteful: devastating. Furies: see above, line 560 n.
624] conniving: tolerating, ignoring (with suggestion of original Latin sense, shutting the eyes to).
626] as if, carried away (transported) by a fit of anger (passion), I have surrendered (quitted) all to them arbitrarily and without discrimination (at random).
633] sling: stroke.
635] Cf. "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death" (Hosea 13:14), and "Death is swallowed up in victory" (I Corinthians 15:54).
641] Cf. "And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters ... saying Alleluia.''
645] extenuate: detract from.
646] Cf. above, 638, and "I saw a new heaven and a new earth .... And I ... saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven" (Revelation 21:1-2).
651] As corresponded best with the present (changed) conditions.
655] Winter is often depicted as an old man.
656] Solstitial summer's heat: heat as at the summer solstice. blanc: pale.
657] The other five, i.e., planets (sun and moon in the Ptolemaic system being regarded also as planets); aspects refers to the positions in which (according to astrology) they exercised their influence, here thought of as malign: at a sextile (60 degrees), square (90), opposite (180), relation to each other, any two planets were believed to have an unfavourable influence upon things on earth; by the ecclesiastical term synod Milton here means "conjunction" in the same sign of the Zodiac. The fix'd (i.e., the fixed stars in contradistinction from the planets) are also thought of as malignant bringing at their rising and setting storm and rain.
665] corners: the "quarters" of the sky from which they blow.
667] dark aerial hall: the region of air (made dark by the storm clouds).
668] Before the Fall the course of the sun followed the equator (the equinoctial road because dividing the day equally between light and darkness as at the equinox) with the result that there were no seasonal variations. Milton offers two alternative explanations of the change effected after the Fall (the first consonant with either the Ptolemaic or Copernican systems, the second only with the Ptolemaic): either the earth was turned twenty degrees and more from the sun's axis (axle, suggesting the fable of the sun's chariot) or the sun's course around the earth was altered to the same extent. He then describes the sun's course north of the equator (fancying again the chariot with its horses guided by the reins) through the constellations giving their names to the signs of the Zodiac, Taurus (the Bull, in which are situated the seven Atlantic Sisters, the Pleiades), Gemini (the Twins, Spartan in reference to Castor and Pollux) up to the Tropic of Cancer (the Crab) at the northern summer solstice; thence down amain (forcefully, i.e., without hindrance) through Leo (the Lion) and the Virgin (Virgo), till it again touches the equator in Libra (the Scales) and, performing a corresponding journey south of the equator, reaches Capricorn (the Goat) and the southern summer solstice. If the sun had remained at the equator there would have been perpetual spring and equinox except to those in the two Arctics, for whom the sun would not have risen and set (distinguishing east and west, and night from day), but would always have been visible on the distant horizon, and, this being so, there would have been no snow stretching from the North Pole to Estotiland (vaguely, the coast of Labrador) or from the South Pole to the Straits of Magellan. Whichever explanation is adopted, such change must have occurred at the Fall, and the sun as it were have turned away from the tasting of that fruit in Eden by Adam and Eve, as he did from the Thyestean banquet (at which Atreus, the brother of Thyestes, set before their father Thyestes' own children--a sight from which the sun turned in horror away), otherwise, how could the unfallen world, when fully inhabitated, have escaped the alternation of cold and heat we know?
692] From the changes in the heavenly bodies came others on earth: sidereal blast (a blighting influence from the stars); vapours, etc., bearing pestilence; winter winds: Boreas (the north), Caecias (the northeast), Argestes (the northwest), Thrascias (north-northwest; so called by the Greeks because blowing from Thrace), blowing from the regions north of Norumbega (vaguely, northern New England) and the land of the Samoed (northern Russia); or again, winds from the south: Notus (the south), and Afer (the southwest) from Africa, bearing thunder-clouds from Sierra Leone; and, blowing literally athwart these, eastern (Levant) and western (Ponent) winds: Eurus (the southeast--here standing for east), Zephyr (the west), Sirocco, and Libecchio (Italian names for the southeast and southwest winds respectively).
707] But before these signs of disorder in the inanimate world could manifest themselves, Discord, the first daughter of Sin, introduced death in the irrational animal world by stirring up fierce antipathy.
718] See above, IX, lines 1121-26 and note, and cf. "The wicked are like the troubled sea when it cannot rest" (Isaiah 57:20).
720] of: from (so also at line 723).
728] Food and drink prolonging life, and the begetting of offspring, both serve only to prolong the curse.
730] God's injunction (Genesis 1:28, P.L., VII, 530-31).
734] curse / My head: heap curses on my head.
740] Since weight consists in attraction to a centre, things which have reached the centre should no longer weigh anything, but (as Adam implies) the rule is not applicable here. light means `alight' (but with a punning paradox intended).
743] Cf. "Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou?" (Isaiah 45:9).
748] equal: just (as in Latin).
758] Thou: Adam in soliloquy addresses himself (cf. above, IV, 66 ff.).
762] Cf. "Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou?" (Isaiah 45:10).
764] election: free choice.
784] Cf. Raphael's words: "he [God] form'd thee, Adam, ... Dust of the ground, and in thy nostrils breath'd The breath of life; ... and thou becam'st a living soul" (P.L., VII, 524-28).
785] inspir'd: literally `breathed in' (as in Latin).
798] The attitude of Omnipotence does not assert that God can produce a contradiction or anything contrary to his own nature; for such would be weakness, not strength.
805] Striving to allay his fears, Adam argues that it is an axiom of the law of nature that "every efficient [cause] acts according to the powers of whatever receives its action, not according to its own powers."
810] Bereaving sense: depriving of all feeling.
814] revolution: return, revolving motion.
816] incorporate both: both contained in one body.
825] Theology taught that the will and in some degree the mental powers of the natural man were impaired by the Fall, until restored by grace.
841] These words are designed to carry the reader's mind back to Satan's soliloquy, IV, 40-113.
849] evil: guilty.
853] denounc'd: see above, line 49 n.
872] pretended: literally, `held out' (as a screen to hide falsehood).
880] you fooled by the Serpent, as I fooled by you into trusting you from my presence.
884] Adam plays on the idea of Eve's creation from a rib, and that taken from his left side (P.L., VIII, 465-66), on the word sinister, whose literal meaning is `left,' and its figurative, ill-omened or evil in implication, and on the traditional belief that Adam originally had thirteen ribs on the left side, and the normal number, twelve, on the right.
888] Some parallel for Adam's invective against woman is found in the Hippolytus of Euripides.
898] strait: close.
930] Cf. "He for God only, she for God in him" (IV, line 299), one of the facts against which Eve has rebelled, but which she now tacitly acknowledges.
932] Cf. above, IX, lines 977-81, where Eve says that she would bear the penalty of death alone--but not with sincerity as here.
937] her deep abasement, which only reconciliation, obtained by confession and contrition, could remove, produced in Adam compassion.
959] blam'd enough elsewhere: i.e., at the place of judgment; more likely Adam, with a momentary impulse of rebellion (for he is not yet repentant) means that they are blamed enough (perhaps more than enough) in Heaven.
962] denounc'd: see above, line 49 n.
965] deriv'd: transmitted.
967] experiment: experience (the words were in effect interchangeable--see above, IX, line 807 and note).
976] of our extremes: in our extreinity.
978] As in our evils: in such evils as ours (a Latin construction).
979] our descent: our descendants (collectively).
987] prevent: cut off in advance (i.e., Eve counsels abstention from the risk of offspring).
998] torment less than none of what: torment not less than any.
1002] in plain terms, commit suicide.
1013] Adam in effect praises Eve's possession of the Stoic virtues (contempt of pleasure, and the willingness, in certain circumstances, to take one's leave of life), but only to point out their unsufficiency as virtues.
1026] doom: judgment.
1028] make death in us live: make death perpetual in us (echoing Adam's fear--cf. above lines 782 ff.).
1030] with heed: and heeding. Adam begins to penetrate the "mysterious terms'' of the judgment on the Serpent (above, lines 163-92) but only so far as to guess the identity of the Serpent with Satan and to see that suicide or abstention from offspring would thwart the promised vengeance upon their foe.
1045] Reluctance: resistance.
1046] See above, lines 193-223.
1053] Adam the curse merely grazed, like an arrow missing its mark and falling to the ground: it was the ground rather than Adam that was cursed.
1066] shattering: scattering (different forms of the same word, and used in Milton's day more or less interchangably; cf. Lycidas, line 5).
1068] shroud: retreat, covering.
1069] diurnal star: the sun.
1070] [seek] how to produce fire: by reflecting the beams of the sun (as in a glass) or by the grinding collision of two bodies, produce fire from the air by friction (attrite), as we have lately observed the clouds, made to collide by rude winds, kindle (Tine) in their shock the slanting lightning, whose flame sets fire to the bark of pine or fir, made inflammable by its gum, which in turn sends forth a comforting (comfortable) heat, to make good the lack of the sun.
1081] praying: if we pray.
1091] Frequenting: crowding, filling full (as in Latin).
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:
RPO poem editor: Hugh MacCallum, A. S. P. Woodhouse
RP edition: 3RP 1.305-29.
Recent editing: 1:2002/6/8
Form: iambic pentameter
Other poems by John Milton