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John Milton (1608-1674)

Paradise Lost: Book III (1674)


THE ARGUMENT.

God sitting on his Throne sees Satan flying towards this world, then newly created; shews him to the Son who sat at his right hand; foretells the success of Satan in perverting mankind; clears his own Justice and Wisdom from all imputation, having created Man free and able enough to have withstood his Tempter; yet declares his purpose of grace towards him, in regard he fell not of his own malice; as did Satan, but by him seduc't.  The Son of God renders praises to his Father for the manifestation of his gracious purpose towards Man; but God again declares, that Grace cannot be extended towards Man without the satisfaction of divine Justice; Man hath offended the majesty of God by aspiring to God-head, and therefore with all his Progeny devoted to death must dye, unless some one can be found sufficient to answer for his offence, and undergo his Punishment.  The Son of God freely offers himself a Ransome for Man: the Father accepts him, ordains his incarnation, pronounces his exaltation above all Names in Heaven and Earth; commands all the Angels to adore him; they obey, and hymning to thir Harps in full Quire, celebrate the Father and the Son.  Mean while Satan alights upon the bare Convex of this Worlds outermost Orb; where wandring he first finds a place since call'd The Lymbo of Vanity; what persons and things fly up thither; thence comes to the Gate of Heaven, describ'd ascending by staires, and the waters above the Firmament that flow about it: His passage thence to the Orb of the Sun; he finds there Uriel the Regient of that Orb, but first changes himself into the shape of a meaner Angel; and pretending a zealous desire to behold the new Creation and Man whom God had plac't here, inquires of him the place of his habitation, and is directed; alights first on Mount Niphates.

              1HAil holy Light, ofspring of Heav'n first-born,
              2Or of th' Eternal Coeternal beam
              3May I express thee unblam'd? since God is light,
              4And never but in unapproached light
              5Dwelt from Eternitie, dwelt then in thee,
              6Bright effluence of bright essence increate.
              7Or hear'st thou rather pure Ethereal stream,
              8Whose Fountain who shall tell? before the Sun,
              9Before the Heavens thou wert, and at the voice
            10Of God, as with a Mantle didst invest
            11The rising world of waters dark and deep,
            12Won from the void and formless infinite.
            13Thee I re-visit now with bolder wing,
            14Escap't the Stygian Pool, though long detain'd
            15In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight
            16Through utter and through middle darkness borne
            17With other notes then to th' Orphean Lyre
            18I sung of Chaos and Eternal Night,
            19Taught by the heav'nly Muse to venture down
            20The dark descent, and up to reascend,
            21Though hard and rare: thee I revisit safe,
            22And feel thy sovran vital Lamp; but thou
            23Revisit'st not these eyes, that rowle in vain
            24To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;
            25So thick a drop serene hath quencht thir Orbs,
            26Or dim suffusion veild.  Yet not the more
            27Cease I to wander where the Muses haunt
            28Cleer Spring, or shadie Grove, or Sunnie Hill,
            29Smit with the love of sacred Song; but chief
            30Thee Sion and the flowrie Brooks beneath
            31That wash thy hallowd feet, and warbling flow,
            32Nightly I visit: nor somtimes forget
            33Those other two equal'd with me in Fate,
            34So were I equal'd with them in renown,
            35Blind Thamyris and blind Maeonides,
            36And Tiresias and Phineus Prophets old.
            37Then feed on thoughts, that voluntarie move
            38Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful Bird
            39Sings darkling, and in shadiest Covert hid
            40Tunes her nocturnal Note.  Thus with the Year
            41Seasons return, but not to me returns
            42Day, or the sweet approach of Ev'n or Morn,
            43Or sight of vernal bloom, or Summers Rose,
            44Or flocks, or heards, or human face divine;
            45But cloud in stead, and ever-during dark
            46Surrounds me, from the chearful wayes of men
            47Cut off, and for the Book of knowledg fair
            48Presented with a Universal blanc
            49Of Natures works to mee expung'd and ras'd,
            50And wisdome at one entrance quite shut out.
            51So much the rather thou Celestial light
            52Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers
            53Irradiate, there plant eyes, all mist from thence
            54Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
            55Of things invisible to mortal sight.

            56Now had the Almighty Father from above,
            57From the pure Empyrean where he sits
            58High Thron'd above all highth, bent down his eye,
            59His own works and their works at once to view:
            60About him all the Sanctities of Heaven
            61Stood thick as Starrs, and from his sight receiv'd
            62Beatitude past utterance; on his right
            63The radiant image of his Glory sat,
            64His onely Son; On Earth he first beheld
            65Our two first Parents, yet the onely two
            66Of mankind, in the happie Garden plac't,
            67Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love,
            68Uninterrupted joy, unrivald love
            69In blissful solitude; he then survey'd
            70Hell and the Gulf between, and Satan there
            71Coasting the wall of Heav'n on this side Night
            72In the dun Air sublime, and ready now
            73To stoop with wearied wings, and willing feet
            74On the bare outside of this World, that seem'd
            75Firm land imbosom'd without Firmament,
            76Uncertain which, in Ocean or in Air.
            77Him God beholding from his prospect high,
            78Wherein past, present, future he beholds,
            79Thus to his onely Son foreseeing spake.

            80Onely begotten Son, seest thou what rage
            81Transports our adversarie, whom no bounds
            82Prescrib'd, no barrs of Hell, nor all the chains
            83Heapt on him there, nor yet the main Abyss
            84Wide interrupt can hold; so bent he seems
            85On desparate reveng, that shall redound
            86Upon his own rebellious head.  And now
            87Through all restraint broke loose he wings his way
            88Not farr off Heav'n, in the Precincts of light,
            89Directly towards the new created World,
            90And Man there plac't, with purpose to assay
            91If him by force he can destroy, or worse,
            92By some false guile pervert; and shall pervert
            93For man will hark'n to his glozing lyes,
            94And easily transgress the sole Command,
            95Sole pledge of his obedience: So will fall,
            96Hee and his faithless Progenie: whose fault?
            97Whose but his own? ingrate, he had of mee
            98All he could have; I made him just and right,
            99Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.
          100Such I created all th' Ethereal Powers
          101And Spirits, both them who stood and them who faild;
          102Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell.
          103Not free, what proof could they have givn sincere
          104Of true allegiance, constant Faith or Love,
          105Where onely what they needs must do, appeard,
          106Not what they would? what praise could they receive?
          107What pleasure I from such obedience paid,
          108When Will and Reason (Reason also is choice)
          109Useless and vain, of freedom both despoild,
          110Made passive both, had servd necessitie,
          111Not mee.  They therefore as to right belongd,
          112So were created, nor can justly accuse
          113Thir maker, or thir making, or thir Fate,
          114As if predestination over-rul'd
          115Thir will, dispos'd by absolute Decree
          116Or high foreknowledge; they themselves decreed
          117Thir own revolt, not I: if I foreknew,
          118Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault,
          119Which had no less prov'd certain unforeknown.
          120So without least impulse or shadow of Fate,
          121Or aught by me immutablie foreseen,
          122They trespass, Authors to themselves in all
          123Both what they judge and what they choose; for so
          124I formd them free, and free they must remain,
          125Till they enthrall themselves: I else must change
          126Thir nature, and revoke the high Decree
          127Unchangeable, Eternal, which ordain'd
          128Thir freedom, they themselves ordain'd thir fall.
          129The first sort by thir own suggestion fell,
          130Self-tempted, self-deprav'd: Man falls deceiv'd
          131By the other first: Man therefore shall find grace,
          132The other none: in Mercy and Justice both,
          133Through Heav'n and Earth, so shall my glorie excel,
          134But Mercy first and last shall brightest shine.

          135Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance fill'd
          136All Heav'n, and in the blessed Spirits elect
          137Sense of new joy ineffable diffus'd:
          138Beyond compare the Son of God was seen
          139Most glorious, in him all his Father shon
          140Substantially express'd, and in his face
          141Divine compassion visibly appeerd,
          142Love without end, and without measure Grace,
          143Which uttering thus he to his Father spake.

          144O Father, gracious was that word which clos'd
          145Thy sovran sentence, that Man should find grace;
          146For which both Heav'n and Earth shall high extoll
          147Thy praises, with th' innumerable sound
          148Of Hymns and sacred Songs, wherewith thy Throne
          149Encompass'd shall resound thee ever blest.
          150For should Man finally be lost, should Man
          151Thy creature late so lov'd, thy youngest Son
          152Fall circumvented thus by fraud, though joynd
          153With his own folly? that be from thee farr,
          154That farr be from thee, Father, who art Judg
          155Of all things made, and judgest onely right.
          156Or shall the Adversarie thus obtain
          157His end, and frustrate thine, shall he fulfill
          158His malice, and thy goodness bring to naught,
          159Or proud return though to his heavier doom,
          160Yet with revenge accomplish't and to Hell
          161Draw after him the whole Race of mankind,
          162By him corrupted? or wilt thou thy self
          163Abolish thy Creation, and unmake,
          164For him, what for thy glorie thou hast made?
          165So should thy goodness and thy greatness both
          166Be questiond and blaspheam'd without defence.

          167To whom the great Creatour thus reply'd.
          168O Son, in whom my Soul hath chief delight,
          169Son of my bosom, Son who art alone
          170My word, my wisdom, and effectual might,
          171All hast thou spok'n as my thoughts are, all
          172As my Eternal purpose hath decreed:
          173Man shall not quite be lost, but sav'd who will,
          174Yet not of will in him, but grace in me
          175Freely voutsaft; once more I will renew
          176His lapsed powers, though forfeit and enthrall'd
          177By sin to foul exorbitant desires;
          178Upheld by me, yet once more he shall stand
          179On even ground against his mortal foe,
          180By me upheld, that he may know how frail
          181His fall'n condition is, and to me ow
          182All his deliv'rance, and to none but me.
          183Some I have chosen of peculiar grace
          184Elect above the rest; so is my will:
          185The rest shall hear me call, and oft be warnd
          186Thir sinful state, and to appease betimes
          187Th' incensed Deitie, while offerd grace
          188Invites; for I will cleer thir senses dark,
          189What may sufflce, and soft'n stonie hearts
          190To pray, repent, and bring obedience due.
          191To Prayer, repentance, and obedience due,
          192Though but endevord with sincere intent,
          193Mine ear shall not be slow, mine eye not shut.
          194And I will place within them as a guide
          195My Umpire Conscience, whom if they will hear,
          196Light after light well us'd they shall attain,
          197And to the end persisting, safe arrive.
          198This my long sufferance and my day of grace
          199They who neglect and scorn, shall never taste;
          200But hard be hard'nd, blind be blinded more,
          201That they may stumble on, and deeper fall;
          202And none but such from mercy I exclude.
          203But yet all is not don; Man disobeying,
          204Disloyal breaks his fealtie, and sinns
          205Against the high Supremacie of Heav'n,
          206Affecting God-head, and so loosing all,
          207To expiate his Treason hath naught left,
          208But to destruction sacred and devote,
          209He with his whole posteritie must dye,
          210Dye hee or Justice must; unless for him
          211Som other able, and as willing, pay
          212The rigid satisfaction, death for death.
          213Say Heav'nly powers, where shall we find such love,
          214Which of ye will be mortal to redeem
          215Mans mortal crime, and just th' unjust to save,
          216Dwels in all Heaven charitie so deare?

          217He ask'd, but all the Heav'nly Quire stood mute,
          218And silence was in Heav'n: on mans behalf
          219Patron or Intercessor none appeerd,
          220Much less that durst upon his own head draw
          221The deadly forfeiture, and ransom set.
          222And now without redemption all mankind
          223Must have bin lost, adjudg'd to Death and Hell
          224By doom severe, had not the Son of God,
          225In whom the fulness dwels of love divine,
          226His dearest mediation thus renewd.

          227Father, thy word is past, man shall find grace;
          228And shall grace not find means, that finds her way,
          229The speediest of thy winged messengers,
          230To visit all thy creatures, and to all
          231Comes unprevented, unimplor'd, unsought,
          232Happie for man, so coming; he her aide
          233Can never seek, once dead in sins and lost;
          234Attonement for himself or offering meet,
          235Indebted and undon, hath none to bring:
          236Behold mee then, mee for him, life for life
          237I offer, on mee let thine anger fall;
          238Account mee man; I for his sake will leave
          239Thy bosom, and this glorie next to thee
          240Freely put off, and for him lastly dye
          241Well pleas'd, on me let Death wreck all his rage;
          242Under his gloomie power I shall not long
          243Lie vanquisht; thou hast givn me to possess
          244Life in my self for ever, by thee I live,
          245Though now to Death I yield, and am his due
          246All that of me can die, yet that debt paid,
          247Thou wilt not leave me in the loathsom grave
          248His prey, nor suffer my unspotted Soule
          249For ever with corruption there to dwell;
          250But I shall rise Victorious, and subdue
          251My vanquisher, spoild of his vanted spoile;
          252Death his deaths wound shall then receive, and stoop
          253Inglorious, of his mortall sting disarm'd.
          254I through the ample Air in Triumph high
          255Shall lead Hell Captive maugre Hell, and show
          256The powers of darkness bound.  Thou at the sight
          257Pleas'd, out of Heaven shalt look down and smile,
          258While by thee rais'd I ruin all my Foes,
          259Death last, and with his Carcass glut the Grave:
          260Then with the multitude of my redeemd
          261Shall enter Heaven long absent, and returne,
          262Father, to see thy face, wherein no cloud
          263Of anger shall remain, but peace assur'd,
          264And reconcilement; wrauth shall be no more
          265Thenceforth, but in thy presence joy entire.

          266His words here ended, but his meek aspect
          267Silent yet spake, and breath'd immortal love
          268To mortal men, above which only shon
          269Filial obedience: as a sacrifice
          270Glad to be offer'd, he attends the will
          271Of his great Father.  Admiration seis'd
          272All Heav'n, what this might mean, and whither tend
          273Wondring; but soon th' Almighty thus reply'd:

          274O thou in Heav'n and Earth the only peace
          275Found out for mankind under wrauth, O thou
          276My sole complacence! well thou know'st how dear,
          277To me are all my works, nor Man the least
          278Though last created, that for him I spare
          279Thee from my bosom and right hand, to save,
          280By loosing thee a while, the whole Race lost.
          281Thou therefore whom thou only canst redeem,
          282Thir Nature also to thy Nature joyn;
          283And be thy self Man among men on Earth,
          284Made flesh, when time shall be, of Virgin seed,
          285By wondrous birth: Be thou in Adams room
          286The Head of all mankind, though Adams Son.
          287As in him perish all men, so in thee
          288As from a second root shall be restor'd,
          289As many as are restor'd, without thee none.
          290His crime makes guiltie all his Sons, thy merit
          291Imputed shall absolve them who renounce
          292Thir own both righteous and unrighteous deeds,
          293And live in thee transplanted, and from thee
          294Receive new life.  So Man, as is most just,
          295Shall satisfie for Man, be judg'd and die,
          296And dying rise, and rising with him raise
          297His Brethren, ransomd with his own dear life.
          298So Heav'nly love shall outdoo Hellish hate
          299Giving to death, and dying to redeeme,
          300So dearly to redeem what Hellish hate
          301So easily destroy'd, and still destroyes
          302In those who, when they may, accept not grace.
          303Nor shalt thou by descending to assume
          304Mans Nature, less'n or degrade thine owne.
          305Because thou hast, though Thron'd in highest bliss
          306Equal to God, and equally enjoying
          307God-like fruition, quitted all to save
          308A World from utter loss, and hast been found
          309By Merit more then Birthright Son of God,
          310Found worthiest to be so by being Good,
          311Farr more then Great or High; because in thee
          312Love hath abounded more then Glory abounds,
          313Therefore thy Humiliation shall exalt
          314With thee thy Manhood also to this Throne;
          315Here shalt thou sit incarnate, here shalt Reign
          316Both God and Man, Son both of God and Man,
          317Anointed universal King, all Power
          318I give thee, reign for ever, and assume
          319Thy Merits; under thee as Head Supream
          320Thrones, Princedoms, Powers, Dominions I reduce:
          321All knees to thee shall bow, of them that bide
          322In Heaven, or Earth, or under Earth in Hell;
          323When thou attended gloriously from Heav'n
          324Shalt in the Sky appeer, and from thee send
          325The summoning Arch-Angels to proclaime
          326Thy dread Tribunal: forthwith from all Windes
          327The living, and forthwith the cited dead
          328Of all past Ages to the general Doom
          329Shall hast'n, such a peal shall rouse thir sleep.
          330Then all thy Saints assembl'd, thou shalt judge
          331Bad men and Angels, they arraignd shall sink
          332Beneath thy Sentence; Hell, her numbers full,
          333Thenceforth shall be for ever shut.  Mean while
          334The World shall burn, and from her ashes spring
          335New Heav'n and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell,
          336And after all thir tribulations long
          337See golden days, fruitful of golden deeds,
          338With Joy and Love triumphing, and fair Truth.
          339Then thou thy regal Scepter shalt lay by,
          340For regal Scepter then no more shall need,
          341God shall be All in All.  But all ye Gods,
          342Adore him, who to compass all this dies,
          343Adore the Son, and honour him as mee.

          344No sooner had th' Almighty ceas't, but all
          345The multitude of Angels with a shout
          346Loud as from numbers without number, sweet
          347As from blest voices, uttering joy, Heav'n rung
          348With Jubilee, and loud Hosanna's filld
          349Th' eternal Regions: lowly reverent
          350Towards either Throne they bow, and to the ground
          351With solemn adoration down they cast
          352Thir Crowns inwove with Amarant and Gold,
          353Immortal Amarant, a Flour which once
          354In Paradise, fast by the Tree of Life
          355Began to bloom, but soon for mans offence
          356To Heav'n remov'd where first it grew, there grows,
          357And flours aloft shading the Fount of Life,
          358And where the river of Bliss through midst of Heavn
          359Rowls o're Elisian Flours her Amber stream;
          360With these that never fade the Spirits elect
          361Bind thir resplendent locks inwreath'd with beams,
          362Now in loose Garlands thick thrown off, the bright
          363Pavement that like a Sea of Jasper shon
          364Impurpl'd with Celestial Roses smil'd.
          365Then Crown'd again thir gold'n Harps they took,
          366Harps ever tun'd, that glittering by thir side
          367Like Quivers hung, and with Praeamble sweet
          368Of charming symphonie they introduce
          369Thir sacred Song, and waken raptures high;
          370No voice exempt, no voice but well could joine
          371Melodious part, such concord is in Heav'n.

          372Thee Father first they sung Omnipotent,
          373Immutable, Immortal, Infinite,
          374Eternal King; thee Author of all being,
          375Fountain of Light, thy self invisible
          376Amidst the glorious brightness where thou sit'st
          377Thron'd inaccessible, but when thou shad'st
          378The full blaze of thy beams, and through a cloud
          379Drawn round about thee like a radiant Shrine,
          380Dark with excessive bright thy skirts appeer,
          381Yet dazle Heav'n, that brightest Seraphim
          382Approach not, but with both wings veil thir eyes.
          383Thee next they sang of all Creation first,
          384Begotten Son, Divine Similitude,
          385In whose conspicuous count'nance, without cloud
          386Made visible, th' Almighty Father shines,
          387Whom else no Creature can behold; on thee
          388Impresst the effulgence of his Glorie abides,
          389Transfus'd on thee his ample Spirit rests.
          390Hee Heav'n of Heavens and all the Powers therein
          391By thee created, and by thee threw down
          392Th' aspiring Dominations: thou that day
          393Thy Fathers dreadful Thunder didst not spare,
          394Nor stop thy flaming Chariot wheels, that shook
          395Heav'ns everlasting Frame, while o're the necks
          396Thou drov'st of warring Angels disarraid.
          397Back from pursuit thy Powers with loud acclaime
          398Thee only extoll'd, Son of thy Fathers might,
          399To execute fierce vengeance on his foes,
          400Not so on Man; him through their malice fall'n,
          401Father of Mercie and Grace, thou didst not doome
          402So strictly, but much more to pitie encline:
          403No sooner did thy dear and onely Son
          404Perceive thee purpos'd not to doom frail Man
          405So strictly, but much more to pitie enclin'd,
          406He to appease thy wrauth, and end the strife
          407Of Mercy and justice in thy face discern'd,
          408Regardless of the Bliss wherein hee sat
          409Second to thee, offerd himself to die
          410For mans offence.  O unexampl'd love,
          411Love no where to be found less then Divine!
          412Hail Son of God, Saviour of Men, thy Name
          413Shall be the copious matter of my Song
          414Henceforth, and never shall my Harp thy praise
          415Forget, nor from thy Fathers praise disjoine.

          416Thus they in Heav'n, above the starry Sphear,
          417Thir happie hours in joy and hymning spent.
          418Mean while upon the firm opacous Globe
          419Of this round World, whose first convex divides
          420The luminous inferior Orbs, enclos'd
          421From Chaos and th' inroad of Darkness old,
          422Satan alighted walks: a Globe farr off
          423It seem'd, now seems a boundless Continent
          424Dark, waste, and wild, under the frown of Night
          425Starless expos'd, and ever-threatning storms
          426Of Chaos blustring round, inclement skie;
          427Save on that side which from the wall of Heav'n
          428Though distant farr som small reflection gaines
          429Of glimmering air less vext with tempest loud:
          430Here walk'd the Fiend at large in spacious field.
          431As when a Vultur on Imaus bred,
          432Whose snowie ridge the roving Tartar bounds,
          433Dislodging from a Region scarce of prey
          434To gorge the flesh of Lambs or yeanling Kids
          435On Hills where Flocks are fed, flies toward the Springs
          436Of Ganges or Hydaspes, Indian streams;
          437But in his way lights on the barren Plaines
          438Of Sericana, where Chineses drive
          439With Sails and Wind thir canie Waggons light:
          440So on this windie Sea of Land, the Fiend
          441Walk'd up and down alone bent on his prey,
          442Alone, for other Creature in this place
          443Living or liveless to be found was none,
          444None yet, but store hereafter from the earth
          445Up hither like Aereal vapours flew
          446Of all things transitorie and vain, when Sin
          447With vanity had filld the works of men:
          448Both all things vain, and all who in vain things
          449Built thir fond hopes of Glorie or lasting fame,
          450Or happiness in this or th' other life;
          451All who have thir reward on Earth, the fruits
          452Of painful Superstition and blind Zeal,
          453Naught seeking but the praise of men, here find
          454Fit retribution, emptie as thir deeds;
          455All th, unaccomplisht works of Natures hand,
          456Abortive, monstrous, or unkindly mixt,
          457Dissolvd on Earth, fleet hither, and in vain,
          458Till final dissolution, wander here,
          459Not in the neighbouring Moon, as some have dreamd;
          460Those argent Fields more likely habitants,
          461Translated Saints, or middle Spirits hold
          462Betwixt th' Angelical and Human kinde:
          463Hither of ill-joynd Sons and Daughters born
          464First from the ancient World those Giants came
          465With many a vain exploit, though then renownd:
          466The builders next of Babel on the Plain
          467Of Sennaar, and still with vain designe
          468New Babels, had they wherewithall, would build:
          469Others came single; he who to be deemd
          470A God, leap'd fondly into Aetna flames,
          471Empedocles, and hee who to enjoy
          472Plato's Elysium, leap'd into the Sea,
          473Cleombrotus, and many more too long,
          474Embryo's and Idiots, Eremits and Friers
          475White, Black and Grey, with all thir trumperie.
          476Here Pilgrims roam, that stray'd so farr to seek
          477In Golgotha him dead, who lives in Heav'n;
          478And they who to be sure of Paradise
          479Dying put on the weeds of Dominic,
          480Or in Franciscan think to pass disguis'd;
          481They pass the Planets seven, and pass the fixt,
          482And that Crystalline Sphear whose ballance weighs
          483The Trepidation talkt, and that first mov'd;
          484And now Saint Peter at Heav'ns Wicket seems
          485To wait them with his Keys, and now at foot
          486Of Heav'ns ascent they lift thir Feet, when loe
          487A violent cross wind from either Coast
          488Blows them transverse ten thousand Leagues awry
          489Into the devious Air; then might ye see
          490Cowles, Hoods and Habits with thir wearers tost
          491And flutterd into Raggs, then Reliques, Beads,
          492Indulgences, Dispenses, Pardons, Bulls,
          493The sport of Winds: all these upwhirld aloft
          494Fly o're the backside of the World farr off
          495Into a Limbo large and broad, since calld
          496The Paradise of Fools, to few unknown
          497Long after, now unpeopl'd, and untrod;
          498All this dark Globe the Fiend found as he pass'd,
          499And long he wanderd, till at last a gleame
          500Of dawning light turnd thither-ward in haste
          501His travell'd steps; farr distant he descries
          502Ascending by degrees magnificent
          503Up to the wall of Heaven a Structure high,
          504At top whereof, but farr more rich appeerd
          505The work as of a Kingly Palace Gate
          506With Frontispice of Diamond and Gold
          507Imbellisht, thick with sparkling orient Gemmes
          508The Portal shon, inimitable on Earth
          509By Model, or by shading Pencil drawn.
          510The Stairs were such as whereon Jacob saw
          511Angels ascending and descending, bands
          512Of Guardians bright, when he from Esau fled
          513To Padan-Aram in the field of Luz,
          514Dreaming by night under the open Skie,
          515And waking cri'd, This is the Gate of Heav'n.
          516Each Stair mysteriously was meant, nor stood
          517There alwayes, but drawn up to Heav'n somtimes
          518Viewless, and underneath a bright Sea flow'd
          519Of Jasper, or of liquid Pearle, whereon
          520Who after came from Earth, sayling arriv'd,
          521Wafted by Angels, or flew o're the Lake
          522Rapt in a Chariot drawn by fiery Steeds.
          523The Stairs were then let down, whether to dare
          524The Fiend by easie ascent, or aggravate
          525His sad exclusion from the dores of Bliss.
          526Direct against which op'nd from beneath,
          527Just o're the blissful seat of Paradise,
          528A passage down to th' Earth, a passage wide,
          529Wider by farr then that of after-times
          530Over Mount Sion, and, though that were large,
          531Over the Promis'd Land to God so dear,
          532By which, to visit oft those happy Tribes,
          533On high behests his Angels to and fro
          534Pass'd frequent, and his eye with choice regard
          535From Paneas the fount of Jordans flood
          536To Beersaba, where the Holy Land
          537Borders on Aegypt and the Arabian shoare;
          538So wide the op'ning seemd, where bounds were set
          539To darkness, such as bound the Ocean wave.
          540Satan from hence now on the lower stair
          541That scal'd by steps of Gold to Heav'n Gate
          542Looks down with wonder at the sudden view
          543Of all this World at once.  As when a Scout
          544Through dark and desart wayes with peril gone
          545All night; at last by break of chearful dawne
          546Obtains the brow of some high-climbing Hill,
          547Which to his eye discovers unaware
          548The goodly prospect of some forein land
          549First-seen, or some renown'd Metropolis
          550With glistering Spires and Pinnacles adornd,
          551Which now the Rising Sun guilds with his beams.
          552Such wonder seis'd, though after Heaven seen,
          553The Spirit maligne, but much more envy seis'd
          554At sight of all this World beheld so faire.
          555Round he surveys, and well might, where he stood
          556So high above the circling Canopie
          557Of Nights extended shade; from Eastern Point
          558Of Libra to the fleecie Starr that bears
          559Andromeda farr off Atlantic Seas
          560Beyond th' Horizon; then from Pole to Pole
          561He views in bredth, and without longer pause
          562Down right into the Worlds first Region throws
          563His flight precipitant, and windes with ease
          564Through the pure marble Air his oblique way
          565Amongst innumerable Starrs, that shon
          566Stars distant, but nigh hand seemd other Worlds,
          567Or other Worlds they seemd, or happy Iles,
          568Like those Hesperian Gardens fam'd of old,
          569Fortunate Fields, and Groves and flourie Vales,
          570Thrice happy Iles, but who dwelt happy there
          571He stayd not to enquire: above them all
          572The golden Sun in splendor likest Heaven
          573Allur'd his eye: Thither his course he bends
          574Through the calm Firmament; but up or downe
          575By center, or eccentric, hard to tell,
          576Or Longitude, where the great Luminarie
          577Alooff the vulgar Constellations thick,
          578That from his Lordly eye keep distance due,
          579Dispenses Light from farr; they as they move
          580Thir Starry dance in numbers that compute
          581Days, months, & years, towards his all-chearing Lamp
          582Turn swift thir various motions, or are turnd
          583By his Magnetic beam, that gently warms
          584The Univers, and to each inward part
          585With gentle penetration, though unseen,
          586Shoots invisible vertue even to the deep:
          587So wondrously was set his Station bright.
          588There lands the Fiend, a spot like which perhaps
          589Astronomer in the Sun's lucent Orbe
          590Through his glaz'd Optic Tube yet never saw.
          591The place he found beyond expression bright,
          592Compar'd with aught on Earth, Medal or Stone;
          593Not all parts like, but all alike informd
          594With radiant light, as glowing Iron with fire;
          595If mettal, part seemd Gold, part Silver cleer;
          596If stone, Carbuncle most or Chrysolite,
          597Rubie or Topaz, to the Twelve that shon
          598In Aarons Brest-plate, and a stone besides
          599Imagind rather oft then elsewhere seen,
          600That stone, or like to that which here below
          601Philosophers in vain so long have sought,
          602In vain, though by thir powerful Art they binde
          603Volatil Hermes, and call up unbound
          604In various shapes old Proteus from the Sea,
          605Draind through a Limbec to his Native forme.
          606What wonder then if fields and regions here
          607Breathe forth Elixir pure, and Rivers run
          608Potable Gold, when with one vertuous touch
          609Th' Arch-chimic Sun so farr from us remote
          610Produces with Terrestrial Humor mixt
          611Here in the dark so many precious things
          612Of colour glorious and effect so rare?
          613Here matter new to gaze the Devil met
          614Undazl'd, farr and wide his eye commands,
          615For sight no obstacle found here, nor shade,
          616But all Sun-shine, as when his Beams at Noon
          617Culminate from th' Aequator, as they now
          618Shot upward still direct, whence no way round
          619Shadow from body opaque can fall, and the Aire,
          620No where so cleer, sharp'nd his visual ray
          621To objects distant farr, whereby he soon
          622Saw within kenn a glorious Angel stand,
          623The same whom John saw also in the Sun:
          624His back was turnd, but not his brightness hid;
          625Of beaming sunnie Raies, a golden tiar
          626Circl'd his Head, nor less his Locks behind
          627Illustrious on his Shoulders fledge with wings
          628Lay waving round; on som great charge imploy'd
          629He seemd, or fixt in cogitation deep.
          630Glad was the Spirit impure as now in hope
          631To find who might direct his wandring flight
          632To Paradise the happie seat of Man,
          633His journies end and our beginning woe.
          634But first he casts to change his proper shape,
          635Which else might work him danger or delay:
          636And now a stripling Cherube he appeers,
          637Not of the prime, yet such as in his face
          638Youth smil'd Celestial, and to every Limb
          639Sutable grace diffus'd, so well he feignd;
          640Under a Coronet his flowing haire
          641In curles on either cheek plaid, wings he wore
          642Of many a colourd plume sprinkl'd with Gold,
          643His habit fit for speed succinct, and held
          644Before his decent steps a Silver wand.
          645He drew not nigh unheard, the Angel bright,
          646Ere he drew nigh, his radiant visage turnd,
          647Admonisht by his ear, and strait was known
          648Th' Arch-Angel Uriel, one of the seav'n
          649Who in Gods presence, neerest to his Throne
          650Stand ready at command, and are his Eyes
          651That run through all the Heav'ns, or down to th' Earth
          652Bear his swift errands over moist and dry,
          653O're Sea and Land: him Satan thus accostes;

          654Uriel, for thou of those seav'n Spirits that stand
          655In sight of God's high Throne, gloriously bright,
          656The first art wont his great authentic will
          657Interpreter through highest Heav'n to bring,
          658Where all his Sons thy Embassie attend;
          659And here art likeliest by supream decree
          660Like honour to obtain, and as his Eye
          661To visit oft this new Creation round;
          662Unspeakable desire to see, and know
          663All these his wondrous works, but chiefly Man,
          664His chief delight and favour, him for whom
          665All these his works so wondrous he ordaind,
          666Hath brought me from the Quires of Cherubim
          667Alone thus wandring.  Brightest Seraph tell
          668In which of all these shining Orbes hath Man
          669His fixed seat, or fixed seat hath none,
          670But all these shining Orbes his choice to dwell;
          671That I may find him, and with secret gaze,
          672Or open admiration him behold
          673On whom the great Creator hath bestowd
          674Worlds, and on whom hath all these graces powrd;
          675That both in him and all things, as is meet,
          676The Universal Maker we may praise;
          677Who justly hath drivn out his Rebell Foes
          678To deepest Hell, and to repair that loss
          679Created this new happie Race of Men
          680To serve him better: wise are all his wayes.

          681So spake the false dissembler unperceivd;
          682For neither Man nor Angel can discern
          683Hypocrisie, the onely evil that walks
          684Invisible, except to God alone,
          685By his permissive will, through Heav'n and Earth:
          686And oft though wisdom wake, suspicion sleeps
          687At wisdoms Gate, and to simplicitie
          688Resigns her charge, while goodness thinks no ill
          689Where no ill seems: Which now for once beguil'd
          690Uriel, though Regent of the Sun, and held
          691The sharpest sighted Spirit of all in Heav'n;
          692Who to the fraudulent Impostor foule
          693In his uprightness answer thus returnd.
          694Fair Angel, thy desire which tends to know
          695The works of God, thereby to glorifie
          696The great Work-Maister, leads to no excess
          697That reaches blame, but rather merits praise
          698The more it seems excess, that led thee hither
          699From thy Empyreal Mansion thus alone,
          700To witness with thine eyes what some perhaps
          701Contented with report hear onely in heav'n:
          702For wonderful indeed are all his works,
          703Pleasant to know, and worthiest to be all
          704Had in remembrance alwayes with delight;
          705But what created mind can comprehend
          706Thir number, or the wisdom infinite
          707That brought them forth, but hid thir causes deep.
          708I saw when at his Word the formless Mass,
          709This worlds material mould, came to a heap:
          710Confusion heard his voice, and wilde uproar
          711Stood rul'd, stood vast infinitude confin'd;
          712Till at his second bidding darkness fled,
          713Light shon, and order from disorder sprung:
          714Swift to thir several Quarters hasted then
          715The cumbrous Elements, Earth, Flood, Aire, Fire,
          716And this Ethereal quintessence of Heav'n
          717Flew upward, spirited with various forms,
          718That rowld orbicular, and turnd to Starrs
          719Numberless, as thou seest, and how they move;
          720Each had his place appointed, each his course,
          721The rest in circuit walles this Universe.
          722Look downward on that Globe whose hither side
          723With light from hence, though but reflected, shines;
          724That place is Earth the seat of Man, that light
          725His day, which else as th' other Hemisphere
          726Night would invade, but there the neighbouring Moon
          727(So call that opposite fair Starr) her aide
          728Timely interposes, and her monthly round
          729Still ending, still renewing, through mid Heav'n;
          730With borrowd light her countenance triform
          731Hence fills and empties to enlighten th' Earth,
          732And in her pale dominion checks the night.
          733That spot to which I point is Paradise,
          734Adams abode, those loftie shades his Bowre.
          735Thy way thou canst not miss, me mine requires.

          736Thus said, he turnd, and Satan bowing low,
          737As to superior Spirits is wont in Heaven,
          738Where honour due and reverence none neglects,
          739Took leave, and toward the coast of Earth beneath,
          740Down from th' Ecliptic, sped with hop'd success,
          741Throws his steep flight in many an Aerie wheele,
          742Nor staid, till on Niphates top he lights.

The End of the Third Book.

Notes

515] The terminal period, absent in 1674, appears in 1667.


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: 1:2002/6/9

Composition date: 1650 - 1665
Rhyme: unrhyming


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