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John Milton (1608-1674)

Paradise Lost: Book I (1674)


THE

VERSE.

THE Measure is English Heroic Verse without Rime, as that of Homer in Greek, and of Virgil in Latin; Rime being no necessary Adjunct or true Ornament of Poem or good Verse, in longer Works especially, but the Invention of a barbarous Age, to set off wretched matter and lame Meeter; grac't indeed since by the use of some famous modern Poets, carried away by Custom, but much to thir own vexation, hindrance, and constraint to express many things otherwise, and for the most part worse then else they would have exprest them.  Not without cause therefore some both Italian and Spanish Poets of prime note have rejected Rime both in longer and shorter Works, as have also long since our best English Tragedies, as a thing of it self, to all judicious ears, trivial and of no true musical delight; which consists onely in apt Numbers, fit quantity of Syllables, and the sense variously drawn out from one Verse into another, not in the jingling sound of like endings, a fault avoyded by the learned Ancients both in Poetry and all good Oratory.  This neglect then of Rime so little is to be taken for a defect, though it may seem so perhaps to vulgar Readers, that it rather is to be esteem'd an example set, the first in English, of ancient liberty recover'd to Heroic Poem from the troublesom and modern bondage of Rimeing.

BOOK I.

THE ARGUMENT.

This first Book proposes, first in brief, the whole Subject, Mans disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise wherein he was plac't: Then touches the prime cause of his fall, the Serpent, or rather Satan in the Serpent; who revolting from God, and drawing to his side many Legions of Angels, was by the command of God driven out of Heaven with all his Crew into the great Deep.  Which action past over, the Poem hasts into the midst of things, presenting Satan with his Angels now fallen into Hell, described here, not in the Center (for Heaven and Earth may be suppos'd as yet not made, certainly not yet accurst) but in a place of utter darkness, fitliest call'd Chaos: Here Satan with his Angels lying on the burning Lake, thunder-struck and astonisht, after a certain space recovers, as from confusion, calls up him who next in Order and Dignity lay by him; they confer of thir miserable fall. Satan awakens all his Legions, who lay till then in the same manner confounded; They rise, thir Numbers, array of Battel, thir chief Leaders nam'd, according to the Idols known afterwards in Canaan and the Countries adjoyning. To these Satan directs his speech, comforts them with hope yet of regaining Heaven, but tells them lastly of a new World and new kind of Creature to be created, according to an ancient Prophesie or report in Heaven; for that Angels were long before this visible Creation, was the opinion of many ancient Fathers.  To find out the truth of this Prophesie, and what to determin thereon he refers to a full Councel.  What his Associates thence attempt. Pandemonium the Palace of Satan rises, suddenly built out of the Deep: The infernal Peers there sit in Councel.

              1OF Mans First Disobedience, and the Fruit
              2Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal tast
              3Brought Death into the World, and all our woe,
              4With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
              5Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat,
              6Sing Heav'nly Muse, that on the secret top
              7Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
              8That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen Seed,
              9In the Beginning how the Heav'ns and Earth
            10Rose out of Chaos: or if Sion Hill
            11Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flow'd
            12Fast by the Oracle of God; I thence
            13Invoke thy aid to my adventrous Song,
            14That with no middle flight intends to soar
            15Above th' Aonian Mount, while it pursues
            16Things unattempted yet in Prose or Rhime.
            17And chiefly Thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer
            18Before all Temples th' upright heart and pure,
            19Instruct me, for Thou know'st; Thou from the first
            20Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread
            21Dove-like satst brooding on the vast Abyss
            22And mad'st it pregnant: What in me is dark
            23Illumin, what is low raise and support;
            24That to the highth of this great Argument
            25I may assert Eternal Providence,
            26And justifie the wayes of God to men.

            27Say first, for Heav'n hides nothing from thy view
            28Nor the deep Tract of Hell, say first what cause
            29Mov'd our Grand Parents in that happy State,
            30Favour'd of Heav'n so highly, to fall off
            31From thir Creator, and transgress his Will
            32For one restraint, Lords of the World besides?
            33Who first seduc'd them to that foul revolt?
            34Th' infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile
            35Stird up with Envy and Revenge, deceiv'd
            36The Mother of Mankind, what time his Pride
            37Had cast him out from Heav'n, with all his Host
            38Of Rebel Angels, by whose aid aspiring
            39To set himself in Glory above his Peers,
            40He trusted to have equal'd the most High,
            41If he oppos'd; and with ambitious aim
            42Against the Throne and Monarchy of God
            43Rais'd impious War in Heav'n and Battel proud
            44With vain attempt.  Him the Almighty Power
            45Hurld headlong flaming from th' Ethereal Skie
            46With hideous ruine and combustion down
            47To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
            48In Adamantine Chains and penal Fire,
            49Who durst defie th' Omnipotent to Arms.
            50Nine times the Space that measures Day and Night
            51To mortal men, he with his horrid crew
            52Lay vanquisht, rowling in the fiery Gulfe
            53Confounded though immortal: But his doom
            54Reserv'd him to more wrath; for now the thought
            55Both of lost happiness and lasting pain
            56Torments him; round he throws his baleful eyes
            57That witness'd huge affliction and dismay
            58Mixt with obdurate pride and stedfast hate:
            59At once as far as Angels kenn he views
            60The dismal Situation waste and wilde,
            61A Dungeon horrible, on all sides round
            62As one great Furnace flam'd, yet from those flames
            63No light, but rather darkness visible
            64Serv'd onely to discover sights of woe,
            65Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
            66And rest can never dwell, hope never comes
            67That comes to all; but torture without end
            68Still urges, and a fiery Deluge, fed
            69With ever-burning Sulphur unconsum'd:
            70Such place Eternal Justice had prepar'd
            71For those rebellious, here thir prison ordained
            72In utter darkness, and thir portion set
            73As far remov'd from God and light of Heav'n
            74As from the Center thrice to th' utmost Pole.
            75O how unlike the place from whence they fell!
            76There the companions of his fall, o'rewhelm'd
            77With Floods and Whirlwinds of tempestuous fire,
            78He soon discerns, and weltring by his side
            79One next himself in power, and next in crime,
            80Long after known in Palestine, and nam'd
            81Beelzebub.  To whom th' Arch-Enemy,
            82And thence in Heav'n call'd Satan, with bold words
            83Breaking the horrid silence thus began.

            84If thou beest he; But O how fall'n! how chang'd
            85From him, who in the happy Realms of Light
            86Cloth'd with transcendent brightness didst out-shine
            87Myriads though bright: If he whom mutual league,
            88United thoughts and counsels, equal hope
            89And hazard in the Glorious Enterprize,
            90Joynd with me once, now misery hath joynd
            91In equal ruin: into what Pit thou seest
            92From what highth fall'n, so much the stronger prov'd
            93He with his Thunder: and till then who knew
            94The force of those dire Arms?  yet not for those,
            95Nor what the Potent Victor in his rage
            96Can else inflict, do I repent or change,
            97Though chang'd in outward lustre; that fixt mind
            98And high disdain, from sence of injur'd merit,
            99That with the mightiest rais'd me to contend,
          100And to the fierce contention brought along
          101Innumerable force of Spirits arm'd
          102That durst dislike his reign, and me preferring,
          103His utmost power with adverse power oppos'd
          104In dubious Battel on the Plains of Heav'n,
          105And shook his throne.  What though the field be lost?
          106All is not lost; the unconquerable Will,
          107And study of revenge, immortal hate,
          108And courage never to submit or yield:
          109And what is else not to be overcome?
          110That Glory never shall his wrath or might
          111Extort from me.  To bow and sue for grace
          112With suppliant knee, and deifie his power,
          113Who from the terrour of this Arm so late
          114Doubted his Empire, that were low indeed,
          115That were an ignominy and shame beneath
          116This downfall; since by Fate the strength of Gods
          117And this Empyreal substance cannot fail,
          118Since through experience of this great event
          119In Arms not worse, in foresight much advanc't,
          120We may with more successful hope resolve
          121To wage by force or guile eternal Warr
          122Irreconcileable, to our grand Foe,
          123Who now triumphs, and in th' excess of joy
          124Sole reigning holds the Tyranny of Heav'n.

          125So spake th' Apostate Angel, though in pain,
          126Vaunting aloud, but rackt with deep despare:
          127And him thus answer'd soon his bold Compeer.

          128O Prince, O Chief of many Throned Powers,
          129That led th' imbattelld Seraphim to Warr
          130Under thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds
          131Fearless, endanger'd Heav'ns perpetual King;
          132And put to proof his sigh Supremacy,
          133Whether upheld by strength, or Chance, or Fate,
          134Too well I see and rue the dire event,
          135That with sad overthrow and foul defeat
          136Hath lost us Heav'n, and all this mighty Host
          137In horrible destruction laid thus low,
          138As far as Gods and Heav'nly Essences
          139Can perish: for the mind and spirit remains
          140Invincible, and vigour soon returns,
          141Though all our Glory extinct and happy state
          142Here swallow'd up in endless misery.
          143But what if he our Conquerour, (whom I now
          144Of force believe Almighty, since no less
          145Then such could hav orepow'rd such force as ours)
          146Have left us this our spirit and strength intire
          147Strongly to suffer and support our pains,
          148That we may so suffice his vengeful ire,
          149Or do him mightier service as his thralls
          150By right of Warr, what e're his business be
          151Here in the heart of Hell to work in Fire,
          152Or do his Errands in the gloomy Deep;
          153What can it then avail though yet we feel
          154Strength undiminisht, or eternal being
          155To undergo eternal punishment?
          156Whereto with speedy words th' Arch-fiend reply'd.

          157Fall'n Cherube, to be weak is miserable
          158Doing or Suffering: but of this be sure,
          159To do ought good never will be our task,
          160But ever to do ill our sole delight,
          161As being the contrary to his high will
          162Whom we resist.  If then his Providence
          163Out of our evil seek to bring forth good,
          164Our labour must be to pervert that end,
          165And out of good still to find means of evil;
          166Which oft times may succeed, so as perhaps
          167Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb
          168His inmost counsels from thir destind aim.
          169But see the angry Victor hath recall'd
          170His Ministers of vengeance and pursuit
          171Back to the Gates of Heav'n: the Sulphurous Hail
          172Shot after us in storm, oreblown hath laid
          173The fiery Surge, that from the Precipice
          174Of Heav'n receiv'd us falling, and the Thunder,
          175Wing'd with red Lightning and impetuous rage,
          176Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now
          177To bellow through the vast and boundless Deep.
          178Let us not slip th' occasion, whether scorn,
          179Or satiate fury yield it from our Foe.
          180Seest thou yon dreary Plain, forlorn and wilde,
          181The seat of desolation, voyd of light,
          182Save what the glimmering of these livid flames
          183Casts pale and dreadful?  Thither let us tend
          184From off the tossing of these fiery waves,
          185There rest, if any rest can harbour there,
          186And reassembling our afflicted Powers,
          187Consult how we may henceforth most offend
          188Our Enemy, our own loss how repair,
          189How overcome this dire Calamity,
          190What reinforcement we may gain from Hope,
          191If not what resolution from despare.

          192Thus Satan to his neerest Mate
          193With Head up-lift above the wave, and Eyes
          194That sparkling blaz'd, his other Parts besides
          195Prone on the Flood, extended long and large
          196Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge
          197As whom the Fables name of monstrous size,
          198Titanian, or Earth-born, that warr'd on Jove,
          199Briareos or Typhon, whom the Den
          200By ancient Tarsus held, or that Sea-beast
          201Leviathan, which God of all his works
          202Created hugest that swim th' Ocean stream:
          203Him haply slumbring on the Norway foam
          204The Pilot of some small night-founder'd Skiff,
          205Deeming some Island, oft, as Sea-men tell,
          206With fixed Anchor in his skaly rind
          207Moors by his side under the Lee, while Night
          208Invests the Sea, and wished Morn delayes:
          209So stretcht out huge in length the Arch-fiend lay
          210Chain'd on the burning Lake, nor ever thence
          211Had ris'n or heav'd his head, but that the will
          212And high permission of all-ruling Heaven
          213Left him at large to his own dark designs,
          214That with reiterated crimes he might
          215Heap on himself damnation, while he sought
          216Evil to others, and enrag'd might see
          217How all his malice serv'd but to bring forth
          218Infinite goodness, grace and mercy shewn
          219On Man by him seduc't, but on himself
          220Treble confusion, wrath and vengeance pour'd.
          221Forthwith upright he rears from off the Pool
          222His mighty Stature; on each hand the flames
          223Drivn backward slope thir pointing spires, and rowld
          224In billows, leave i'th'midst a horrid Vale.
          225Then with expanded wings he stears his flight
          226Aloft, incumbent on the dusky Air
          227That felt unusual weight, till on dry Land
          228He lights, as if it were Land that ever burn'd
          229With solid, as the Lake with liquid fire;
          230And such appear'd in hue, as when the force
          231Of subterranean wind transports a Hill
          232Torn from Pelorus, or the shatter'd side
          233Of thundring Aetna, whose combustible
          234And fewel'd entrals thence conceiving Fire,
          235Sublim'd with Mineral fury, aid the Winds,
          236And leave a singed bottom all involv'd
          237With stench and smoak: Such resting found the sole
          238Of unblest feet.  Him followed his next Mate,
          239Both glorying to have scap't the Stygian flood
          240As Gods, and by thir own recover'd strength,
          241Not by the sufferance of supernal Power.

          242Is this the Region, this the Soil, the Clime,
          243Said then the lost Arch-Angel, this the seat
          244That we must change for Heav'n, this mournful gloom
          245For that celestial light?  Be it so, since he
          246Who now is Sovran can dispose and bid
          247What shall be right: fardest from him his best
          248Whom reason hath equald, force hath made supream
          249Above his equals.  Farewel happy Fields
          250Where Joy for ever dwells: Hail horrours, hail
          251Infernal world, and thou profoundest Hell
          252Receive thy new Possessor:  One who brings
          253A mind not to be chang'd by Place or Time.
          254The mind is its own place, and in it self
          255Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n.
          256What matter where, if I be still the same,
          257And what I should be, all but less then he
          258Whom Thunder hath made greater? Here at least
          259We shall be free; th' Almighty hath not built
          260Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
          261Here we may reign secure, and in my choyce
          262To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
          263Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav'n.
          264But wherefore let we then our faithful friends,
          265Th' associates and copartners of our loss
          266Lye thus astonisht on th' oblivious Pool,
          267And call them not to share with us their part
          268In this unhappy Mansion, or once more
          269With rallied Arms to try what may be yet
          270Regaind in Heav'n, or what more lost in Hell?

          271So Satan spake, and him Beelzebub
          272Thus answer'd.  Leader of those Armies bright,
          273Which but th' Omnipotent none could have foyld,
          274If once they hear that voyce, thir liveliest pledge
          275Of hope in fears and dangers, heard so oft
          276In worst extreams, and on the perilous edge
          277Of battel when it rag'd, in all assaults
          278Thir surest signal, they will soon resume
          279New courage and revive, though now they lye
          280Groveling and prostrate on yon Lake of Fire,
          281As we erewhile, astounded and amaz'd,
          282No wonder, fall'n such a pernicious highth.

          283He scarce had ceas't when the superiour Fiend
          284Was moving toward the shoar; his ponderous shield
          285Ethereal temper, massy, large and round,
          286Behind him cast; the broad circumference
          287Hung on his shoulders like the Moon, whose Orb
          288Through Optic Glass the Tuscan Artist views
          289At Ev'ning from the top of Fesole,
          290Or in Valdarno, to descry new Lands,
          291Rivers or Mountains in her spotty Globe.
          292His Spear, to equal which the tallest Pine
          293Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the Mast
          294Of some great Ammiral, were but a wand,
          295He walkt with to support uneasie steps
          296Over the burning Marle, not like those steps
          297On Heavens Azure, and the torrid Clime
          298Smote on him sore besides, vaulted with Fire;
          299Nathless he so endur'd, till on the Beach
          300Of that inflamed Sea, he stood and call'd
          301His Legions, Angel Forms, who lay intrans't
          302Thick as Autumnal Leaves that strow the Brooks
          303In Vallombrosa, where th' Etrurian shades
          304High overarch't imbowr; or scatterd sedge
          305Afloat, when with fierce Winds Orion arm'd
          306Hath vext the Red-Sea Coast, whose waves orethrew
          307Busirus and his Memphian Chivalry,
          308While with perfidious hatred they pursu'd
          309The Sojourners of Goshen, who beheld
          310From the safe shore thir floating Carkases
          311And broken Chariot Wheels, so thick bestrown
          312Abject and lost lay these, covering the Flood,
          313Under amazement of thir hideous change.
          314He call'd so loud, that all the hollow Deep
          315Of Hell resounded. Princes, Potentates
          316Warriers, the Flowr of Heav'n, once yours, now lost,
          317If such astonishment as this can sieze
          318Eternal spirits; or have ye chos'n this place
          319After the toyl of Battel to repose
          320Your wearied vertue, for the ease you find
          321To slumber here, as in the Vales of Heav'n?
          322Or in this abject posture have ye sworn
          323To adore the Conquerour?  who now beholds
          324Cherube and Seraph rowling in the Flood
          325With scatter'd Arms and Ensigns, till anon
          326His swift pursuers from Heav'n Gates discern
          327Th' advantage, and descending tread us down
          328Thus drooping, or with linked Thunderbolts
          329Transfix us to the bottom of this Gulfe.
          330Awake, arise, or be for ever fall'n.

          331They heard, and were abasht, and up they sprung
          332Upon the wing, as when men wont to watch
          333On duty, sleeping found by whom they dread,
          334Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake.
          335Nor did they not perceave the evil plight
          336In which they were, or the fierce pains not feel;
          337Yet to thir Generals Voyce they soon obeyd
          338Innumerable.  As when the potent Rod
          339Of Amrams Son in Egypts evill day
          340Wav'd round the Coast, up call'd a pitchy cloud
          341Of Locusts, warping on the Eastern Wind,
          342That ore the Realm of impious Pharaoh hung
          343Like Night, and darken'd all the Land of Nile:
          344So numberless were those bad Angels seen
          345Hovering on wind under the Cope of Hell
          346'Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding Fires;
          347Till, as a signal giv'n, th' uplifted Spear
          348Of thir great Sultan waving to direct
          349Thir course, in even ballance down they light
          350On the firm brimstone, and fill all the Plain;
          351A multitude, like which the populous North
          352Pour'd never from her frozen loyns, to pass
          353Rhene or the Danaw, when her barbarous Sons
          354Came like a Deluge on the South, and spread
          355Beneath Gibralter to the Lybian sands.
          356Forthwith from every Squadron and each Band
          357The Heads and Leaders thither hast where stood
          358Thir great Commander; Godlike shapes and forms
          359Excelling human, Princely Dignities,
          360And Powers that earst in Heaven sat on Thrones;
          361Though of thir Names in heav'nly Records now
          362Be no memorial blotted out and ras'd
          363By thir Rebellion, from the Books of Life.
          364Nor had they yet among the Sons of Eve
          365Got them new Names, till wandring ore the Earth,
          366Through Gods high sufferance for the tryal of man,
          367By falsities and lyes the greatest part
          368Of Mankind they corrupted to forsake
          369God thir Creator, and th' invisible
          370Glory of him that made them, to transform
          371Oft to the Image of a Brute, adorn'd
          372With gay Religions full of Pomp and Gold,
          373And Devils to adore for Deities:
          374Then were they known to men by various Names,
          375And various Idols through the Heathen World.
          376Say, Muse, the Names then known, who first, who last,
          377Rous'd from the slumber, on that fiery Couch,
          378At thir great Emperors call, as next in worth
          379Came singly where he stood on the bare strand,
          380While the promiscuous croud stood yet aloof?
          381The chief were those who from the Pit of Hell
          382Roaming to seek thir prey on earth, durst fix
          383Thir Seats long after next the Seat of God,
          384Thir Altars by his Altar, Gods ador'd
          385Among the Nations round, and durst abide
          386Jehovah thundring out of Sion, thron'd
          387Between the Cherubim; yea, often plac'd
          388Within his Sanctuary it self thir Shrines,
          389Abominations; and with cursed things
          390His holy Rites, and solemn Feasts profan'd,
          391And with thir darkness durst affront his light.
          392First Moloch, horrid King besmear'd with blood
          393Of human sacrifice, and parents tears,
          394Though for the noyse of Drums and Timbrels loud
          395Thir childrens cries unheard, that past through fire
          396To his grim Idol.  Him the Ammonite
          397Worshipt in Rabba and her watry Plain,
          398In Argob and in Basan, to the stream
          399Of utmost Arnon.  Not content with such
          400Audacious neighbourhood, the wisest heart
          401Of Solomon he led by fraud to build
          402His Temple right against the Temple of God
          403On that opprobrious Hill, and made his Grove
          404The pleasant Vally of Hinnom, Tophet thence
          405And black Gehenna call'd, the Type of Hell.
          406Next Chemos, th' obscene dread of Moabs Sons,
          407From Aroar to Nebo, and the wild
          408Of Southmost Abarim; in Hesebon
          409And Heronaim, Seons Realm, beyond
          410The flowry Dale of Sibma clad with Vines,
          411And Eleale to th' Asphaltick Pool.
          412Peor his other Name, when he entic'd
          413Israel in Sittim on thir march from Nile
          414To do him wanton rites, which cost them woe.
          415Yet thence his lustful Orgies he enlarg'd
          416Even to that Hill of scandal, but the Grove
          417Of Moloch homicide, lust hard by hate;
          418Till good Josiah drove them hence to Hell.
          419With these cam they, who from the bordring flood
          420Of old Euphrates to the Brook that parts
          421Egypt from Syrian ground, had general names
          422Of Baalim and Ashtaroth, those male,
          423These Feminine.  For Spirits when they please
          424Can either Sex assume, or both; so soft
          425And uncompounded is thir Essence pure,
          426Nor ti'd or manacl'd with joynt or limb,
          427Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones,
          428Like cumbrous flesh; but in what shape they choose
          429Dilated or condens't, bright or obscure,
          430Can execute thir aerie purposes,
          431And works of love or enmity fulfill.
          432For those the Race of Israel oft forsook
          433Thir living strength, and unfrequented left
          434His righteous Altar, bowing lowly down
          435To bestial Gods; for which thir heads as low
          436Bow'd down in Battel, sunk before the Spear
          437Of despicable foes.  With these in troop
          438Came Astoreth, whom the Phoenicians call'd
          439Astarte, Queen of Heav'n, with crescent Horns;
          440To whose bright Image nightly by the Moon
          441Sidonian Virgins paid thir Vows and Songs,
          442In Sion also not unsung, where stood
          443Her Temple on th' offensive Mountain, built
          444By that uxorious King, whose heart though large,
          445Beguil'd by fair Idolatresses, fell
          446To idols foul.  Thammuz came next behind,
          447Whose annual wound in Lebanon allur'd
          448The Syrian Damsels to lament his fate
          449In amorous dittyes all a Summers day,
          450While smooth Adonis from his native Rock
          451Ran purple to the Sea, suppos'd with blood
          452Of Thammuz yearly wounded; the Love-tale
          453Infected Sions daughters with like heat,
          454Whose wanton passions in the sacred Porch
          455Ezekial saw, when by the Vision led
          456His eye survay'd the dark Idolatries
          457Of alienated Judah.  Next came one
          458Who mourn'd in earnest, when the Captive Ark
          459Maim'd his brute Image, head and hands lopt off
          460In his own Temple, on the grunsel edge,
          461Where he fell flat, and sham'd his Worshipers:
          462Dagon his Name, Sea Monster, upward Man
          463And downward Fish: yet had his Temple high
          464Rear'd in Azotus, dreaded through the Coast
          465Of Palestine, in Gath and Ascalon
          466And Accaron and Gaza's frontier bounds.
          467Him follow'd Rimmon, whose delightful Seat
          468Was fair Damascus, on the fertil Banks
          469Of Abbana and Pharphar, lucid streams.
          470He also against the house of God was bold:
          471A Leper once he lost and gain'd a King,
          472Ahaz his sottish Conquerour, whom he drew
          473Gods Altar to disparage and displace
          474For one of Syrian mode, whereon to burn
          475His odious offrings, and adore the Gods
          476Whom he had vanquisht.  After these appear'd
          477A crew who under Names of old Renown,
          478Osiris, Isis, Orus and thir Train
          479With monstrous shapes and sorceries abus'd
          480Fanatic Egypt and her Priests, to seek
          481Thir wandring Gods Disguis'd in brutish forms
          482Rather then human.  Nor did Israel scape
          483Th' infection when thir borrow'd Gold compos'd
          484The Calf in Oreb: and the Rebel King
          485Doubl'd that sin in Bethel and in Dan,
          486Lik'ning his Maker to the Grazed Ox,
          487Jehovah, who in one Night when he pass'd
          488From Egypt marching, equal'd with one stroke
          489Both her first born and all her bleating Gods
          490Belial came last, then whom a Spirit more lewd
          491Fell not from Heaven, or more gross to love
          492Vice for it self: To him no Temple stood
          493Or Altar smoak'd; yet who more oft then hee
          494In Temples and at Altars, when the Priest
          495Turns Atheist, as did Ely's Sons, who fill'd
          496With lust and violence the house of God.
          497In Courts and Palaces he also Reigns
          498And in luxurious Cities, where the noyse
          499Of riot ascends above thir loftiest Towrs,
          500And injury and outrage: And when Night
          501Darkens the Streets, then wander forth the Sons
          502Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine.
          503Witness the Streets of Sodom, and that night
          504In Gibeah, when the hospitable door
          505Expos'd a Matron to avoid worse rape.
          506These were the prime in order and in might;
          507The rest were long to tell, though far renown'd,
          508Th' Ionian Gods, of Javans issue held
          509Gods, yet confest later then Heav'n and Earth
          510Thir boasted Parents; Titan Heav'ns first born
          511With his enormous brood, and birthright seis'd
          512By younger Saturn, he from mightier Jove
          513His own and Rhea's Son like measure found;
          514So Jove usurping reign'd: these first in Creet
          515And Ida known, thence on the Snowy top
          516Of cold Olympus rul'd the middle Air
          517Thir highest Heav'n; or on the Delphian Cliff,
          518Or in Dodona, and through all the bounds
          519Of Doric Land; or who with Saturn old
          520Fled over Adria to th' Hesperian Fields,
          521And ore the Celtic roam'd the utmost Isles.
          522All these and more came flocking; but with looks
          523Down cast and damp, yet such wherein appear'd
          524Obscure some glimps of joy, to have found thir chief
          525Not in despair, to have found themselves not lost
          526In loss itself; which on his count'nance cast
          527Like doubtful hue: but he his wonted pride
          528Soon recollecting, with high words, that bore
          529Semblance of worth, not substance, gently rais'd
          530Thir fanting courage, and dispel'd thir fears.
          531Then strait commands that at the warlike sound
          532Of Trumpets loud and Clarions be upreard
          533His mighty Standard; that proud honour claim'd
          534Azazel as his right, a Cherube tall:
          535Who forthwith from the glittering Staff unfurld
          536Th' Imperial Ensign, which full high advanc't
          537Shon like a Meteor streaming to the Wind
          538With Gemms and Golden lustre rich imblaz'd,
          539Seraphic arms and Trophies: all the while
          540Sonorous mettal blowing Martial sounds:
          541At which the universal Host upsent
          542A shout that tore Hells Concave, and beyond
          543Frighted the Reign of Chaos and old Night.
          544All in a moment through the gloom were seen
          545Ten thousand Banners rise into the Air
          546With Orient Colours waving: with them rose
          547A Forrest huge of Spears: and thronging Helms
          548Appear'd, and serried Shields in thick array
          549Of depth immeasurable: Anon they move
          550In perfect Phalanx to the Dorian mood
          551Of Flutes and soft Recorders; such as rais'd
          552To hight of noblest temper Hero's old
          553Arming to Battel, and in stead of rage
          554Deliberate valour breath'd, firm and unmov'd
          555With dread of death to flight or foul retreat,
          556Nor wanting power to mitigate and swage
          557With solemn touches, troubl'd thoughts, and chase
          558Anguish and doubt and fear and sorrow and pain
          559From mortal or immortal minds.  Thus they
          560Breathing united force with fixed thought
          561Mov'd on in silence to soft Pipes that charm'd
          562Thir painful steps o're the burnt soyle; and now
          563Advanc't in view, they stand, a horrid Front
          564Of dreadful length and dazling Arms, in guise
          565Of Warriers old with order'd Spear and Shield,
          566Awaiting what command thir mighty Chief
          567Had to impose: He through the armed Files
          568Darts his experienc't eye, and soon traverse
          569The whole Battalion views, thir order due,
          570Thir visages and stature as of Gods,
          571Thir number last he summs.  And now his heart
          572Distends with pride, and hardning in his strength
          573Glories: For never since created man,
          574Met such imbodied force, as nam'd with these
          575Could merit more then that small infantry
          576Warr'd on by Cranes: though all the Giant brood
          577Of Phlegra with th' Heroic Race were joyn'd
          578That fought at Theb's and Ilium, on each side
          579Mixt with auxiliar Gods;  and what resounds
          580In Fable or Romance of Uthers Sons
          581Begirt with British and Armoric Knights;
          582And all who since Baptiz'd or Infidel
          583Jousted in Aspramont or Montalban,
          584Damasco, or Marocco, or Trebisond
          585Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore
          586When Charlemain with all his Peerage fell
          587By Fontarabbia.  Thus far these beyond
          588Compare of mortal prowess, yet observ'd
          589Thir dread commander: he above the rest
          590In shape and gesture proudly eminent
          591Stood like a Towr; his form had yet not lost
          592All her Original brightness, nor appear'd
          593Less then Arch Angel ruind, and th' excess
          594Of Glory obscur'd;  As when the Sun new ris'n
          595Looks through the Horizontal misty Air
          596Shorn of his Beams, or from behind the Moon
          597In dim Eclips disastrous twilight sheds
          598On half the Nations, and with fear of change
          599Perplexes Monarch.  Dark'n'd so, yet shon
          600Above them all th' Arch Angel; but his face
          601Deep scars of Thunder had intrencht, and care
          602Sat on his faded cheek, but under Browes
          603Of dauntless courage, and considerate Pride
          604Waiting revenge: cruel his eye, but cast
          605Signs of remorse and passion to behold
          606The fellows of his crime, the followers rather
          607(Far other once beheld in bliss) condemn'd
          608For ever now to have thir lot in pain,
          609Millions of Spirits for his fault amerc't
          610Of Heav'n, and from Eternal Splendors flung
          611For his revolt, yet faithfull how they stood,
          612Thir Glory witherd.  As when Heavens Fire
          613Hath scath'd the Forrest Oaks, or Mountain Pines,
          614With singed top thir stately growth though bare
          615Stands on the blasted Heath.  He now prepar'd
          616To speak; whereat thir doubl'd Ranks they bend
          617From wing to wing, and half enclose him round
          618With all his Peers: attention held them mute.
          619Thrice he assayd, and thrice in spight of scorn,
          620Tears such as Angels weep, burst forth: at last
          621Words interwove with sighs found out thir way.

          622O Myriads of immortal Spirits, O Powers
          623Matchless, but with th' Almighty, and that strife
          624Was not inglorious, though th' event was dire,
          625As this place testifies, and this dire change
          626Hateful to utter: but what power of mind
          627Foreseeing or presaging, from the Depth
          628Of knowledge past or present, could have fear'd,
          629How such united force of Gods, how such
          630As stood like these, could ever know repulse?
          631For who can yet beleeve, though after loss,
          632That all these puissant Legions, whose exile
          633Hath emptied Heav'n, shall fail to re-ascend
          634Self-rais'd, and repossess thir native seat?
          635For mee be witness all the Host of Heav'n,
          636If counsels different, or danger shun'd
          637By mee, have lost our hopes.  But he who reigns
          638Monarch in Heav'n, till then as one secure
          639Sat on his Throne, upheld by old repute,
          640Consent or custome, and his Regal State
          641Put forth at full, but still his strength conceal'd,
          642Which tempted our attempt, and wrought our fall.
          643Henceforth his might we know, and know our own
          644So as not either to provoke, or dread
          645New warr, provok't; our better part remains
          646To work in close design, by fraud or guile
          647What force effected not: that he no less
          648At length from us may find, who overcomes
          649By force, hath overcome but half his foe.
          650Space may produce new Worlds; whereof so rife
          651There went a fame in Heav'n that he ere long
          652Intended to create, and therein plant
          653A generation, whom his choice regard
          654Should favour equal to the Sons of Heaven:
          655Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhaps
          656Our first eruption, thither or elsewhere:
          657For this Infernal Pit shall never hold
          658Caelestial Spirits in Bondage, nor th' Abyss
          659Long under darkness cover.  But these thoughts
          660Full Counsel must mature: Peace is despaird,
          661For who can think Submission? Warr then, Warr
          662Open or understood must be resolv'd.

          663He spake: and to confirm his words, out-flew
          664Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs
          665Of mighty Cherubim; the sudden blaze
          666Far round illumin'd hell: highly they rag'd
          667Against the Highest, and fierce with grasped Arms
          668Clash'd on thir sounding Shields the din of war,
          669Hurling defiance toward the Vault of Heav'n.

          670There stood a hill not far whose griesly top
          671Belch'd fire and rowling smoak; the rest entire
          672Shon with a glossie scurff, undoubted sign
          673That in his womb was hid metallic Ore,
          674The work of Sulphur.  Thither wing'd with speed
          675A numerous Brigad hasten'd.  As when Bands
          676Of Pioners with Spade and Pickax arm'd
          677Forerun the Royal Camp, to trench a Field,
          678Or cast a Rampart.  Mammon led them on,
          679Mammon, the least erected Spirit that fell
          680From heav'n, for ev'n in heav'n his looks and thoughts
          681Were always downward bent, admiring more
          682The riches of Heav'ns pavement, trod'n Gold,
          683Then aught divine or holy else enjoy'd
          684In vision beatific: by him first
          685Men also, and by his suggestion taught
          686Ransack'd the Center, and with impious hands
          687Rifl'd the bowels of thir mother Earth
          688For Treasures better hid.  Soon had his crew
          689Op'nd into the Hill a spacious wound
          690And dig'd out ribs of Gold.  Let none admire
          691That riches grow in Hell; that soyle may best
          692Deserve the precious bane.  And here let those
          693Who boast in mortal things, and wond'ring tell
          694Of Babel, and the works of Memphian Kings
          695Learn how thir greatest Monuments of Fame,
          696And Strength and Art are easily out-done
          697By Spirits reprobate, and in an hour
          698What in an age they with incessant toyle
          699And hands innumerable scarce perform.
          700Nigh on the Plain in many cells prepar'd
          701That underneath had veins of liquid fire
          702Sluc'd from the Lake, a second multitude
          703With wond'rous Art found out the massie Ore,
          704Severing each kind, and scum'd the Bullion dross:
          705A third as soon had form'd within the ground
          706A various mould, and from the boyling cells
          707By strange conveyance fill'd each hollow nook,
          708As in an Organ from one blast of wind
          709To many a row of Pipes the sound-board breaths.
          710Anon out of the earth a Fabrick huge
          711Rose like an Exhalation, with the sound
          712Of Dulcet Symphonies and voices sweet,
          713Built like a Temple, where Pilasters round
          714Were set, and Doric pillars overlaid
          715With Golden Architrave; nor did there want
          716Cornice or Freeze, with bossy Sculptures grav'n,
          717The Roof was fretted Gold.  Not Babilon,
          718Nor great Alcairo such magnificence
          719Equal'd in all thir glories, to inshrine
          720Belus or Serapis thir Gods, or seat
          721Thir Kings, when Aegypt with Assyria strove
          722In wealth and luxurie.  Th' ascending pile
          723Stood fixt her stately highth, and strait the dores
          724Op'ning thir brazen foulds discover wide
          725Within, her ample spaces, o're the smooth
          726And level pavement: from the arched roof
          727Pendant by suttle Magic many a row
          728Of Starry Lamps and blazing Cressets fed
          729With Naphtha and Asphaltus yeilded light
          730As from a sky.  The hasty multitude
          731Admiring enter'd, and the work some praise
          732And some the Architect: his hand was known
          733In Heav'n by many a Towred structure high,
          734Where Scepter'd Angels held thir residence,
          735And sat as Princes, whom the supreme King
          736Exalted to such power, and gave to rule,
          737Each in his Hierarchie, the Orders bright.
          738Nor was his name unheard or unador'd
          739In ancient Greece; and in Ausonian land
          740Men call'd him Mulciber; and how he fell
          741From Heav'n, they fabl'd, thrown by angry Jove
          742Sheer o're the Chrystal Battlements; from Morn
          743To Noon he fell, from Noon to dewy Eve,
          744A Summers day; and with the setting Sun
          745Dropt from the Zenith like a falling Star,
          746On Lemnos th' Aegaean Ile: thus they relate,
          747Erring; for he with this rebellious rout
          748Fell long before; nor aught avail'd him now
          749To have built in Heav'n high Towrs; nor did he scape
          750By all his Engins, but was headlong sent
          751With his industrious crew to build in hell.
          752Mean while the winged Haralds by command
          753Of Sovran power, with awful Ceremony
          754And Trumpets sound throughout the Host proclaim
          755A solemn Councel forthwith to be held
          756At Pandaemonium, the high Capital
          757Of Satan and his Peers: thir summons call'd
          758From every Band and squared Regiment
          759By place or choice the worthiest; they anon
          760With hunderds and with thousands trooping came
          761Attended: all access was throng'd, the Gates
          762And Porches wide, but chief the spacious Hall
          763(Though like a cover'd field, where Champions bold
          764Wont ride in arm'd, and at the Soldans chair
          765Defi'd the best of Panim chivalry
          766To mortal combat or carreer with Lance)
          767Thick swarm'd, both on the ground and in the air,
          768Brusht with the hiss of russling wings.  As Bees
          769In spring time, when the Sun with Taurus rides,
          770Pour forth thir populous youth about the Hive
          771In clusters; they among fresh dews and flowers
          772Flie to and fro, or on the smoothed Plank,
          773The suburb of thir Straw-built Cittadel,
          774New rub'd with Baum, expatiate and confer
          775Thir State affairs.  So thick the aerie crowd
          776Swarm'd and were straitn'd; till the Signal giv'n
          777Behold a wonder! they but now who seemd
          778In bigness to surpass Earths Giant Sons
          779Now less then smallest Dwarfs, in narrow room
          780Throng numberless, like that Pigmean Race
          781Beyond the Indian Mount, or Faerie Elves,
          782Whose midnight Revels, by a Forrest side
          783Or Fountain some belated Peasant sees,
          784Or dreams he sees, while over-head the Moon
          785Sits Arbitress, and neerer to the Earth
          786Wheels her pale course, they on thir mirth and dance
          787Intent, with jocond Music charm his ear;
          788At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.
          789Thus incorporeal Spirits to smallest forms
          790Reduc'd thir shapes immense, and were at large,
          791Though without number still amidst the Hall
          792Of that infernal Court.  But far within
          793And in thir own dimensions like themselves
          794The great Seraphic Lords and Cherubim
          795In close recess and secret conclave sat
          796A thousand Demy-Gods on golden seat's,
          797Frequent and full.  After short silence then
          798And summons read, the great consult began.

Notes

530] fainting: how the 1678 (3rd) edition emends fainted (1667) and fanting (1674).

703] found: founded in 1677.


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

Original text: John Milton, Paradise Lost, 2nd edn. (London: Samuel Simmons, 1674). A transcription by Roy Flannagan of the second (1674) edition in John Milton's Complete Poetical Works Reproduced in Photographic Facsimile. A Critical Text Edition, ed. Harris Francis Fletcher, III (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1948). PR 3551 F52 Robarts Library. As published in Ian Lancashire, in collaboration with John Bradley, Willard McCarty, Michael Stairs, and T. R. Wooldridge, Using TACT and Electronic Texts: Text-Analysis Computing Tools Vers. 2.1 for MS-DOS and PC DOS (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1996). CD-ROM.
First publication date: 1667
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2002
Recent editing: 1:2002/6/8

Composition date: 1650 - 1665
Rhyme: unrhyming


Other poems by John Milton