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.
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.
OF Mans First Disobedience, and the FruitOf that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal tastBrought Death into the World, and all our woe,With loss of Eden, till one greater ManRestore us, and regain the blissful Seat,Sing Heav'nly Muse, that on the secret topOf Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspireThat Shepherd, who first taught the chosen Seed,In the Beginning how the Heav'ns and EarthRose out of Chaos: or if Sion HillDelight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flow'dFast by the Oracle of God; I thenceInvoke thy aid to my adventrous Song,That with no middle flight intends to soarAbove th' Aonian Mount, while it pursuesThings unattempted yet in Prose or Rhime.And chiefly Thou, O Spirit, that dost preferBefore all Temples th' upright heart and pure,Instruct me, for Thou know'st; Thou from the firstWast present, and with mighty wings outspreadDove-like satst brooding on the vast AbyssAnd mad'st it pregnant: What in me is darkIllumin, what is low raise and support;That to the highth of this great ArgumentI may assert Eternal Providence,And justifie the wayes of God to men.
Say first, for Heav'n hides nothing from thy viewNor the deep Tract of Hell, say first what causeMov'd our Grand Parents in that happy State,Favour'd of Heav'n so highly, to fall offFrom thir Creator, and transgress his WillFor one restraint, Lords of the World besides?Who first seduc'd them to that foul revolt?Th' infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guileStird up with Envy and Revenge, deceiv'dThe Mother of Mankind, what time his PrideHad cast him out from Heav'n, with all his HostOf Rebel Angels, by whose aid aspiringTo set himself in Glory above his Peers,He trusted to have equal'd the most High,If he oppos'd; and with ambitious aimAgainst the Throne and Monarchy of GodRais'd impious War in Heav'n and Battel proudWith vain attempt. Him the Almighty PowerHurld headlong flaming from th' Ethereal SkieWith hideous ruine and combustion downTo bottomless perdition, there to dwellIn Adamantine Chains and penal Fire,Who durst defie th' Omnipotent to Arms.Nine times the Space that measures Day and NightTo mortal men, he with his horrid crewLay vanquisht, rowling in the fiery GulfeConfounded though immortal: But his doomReserv'd him to more wrath; for now the thoughtBoth of lost happiness and lasting painTorments him; round he throws his baleful eyesThat witness'd huge affliction and dismayMixt with obdurate pride and stedfast hate:At once as far as Angels kenn he viewsThe dismal Situation waste and wilde,A Dungeon horrible, on all sides roundAs one great Furnace flam'd, yet from those flamesNo light, but rather darkness visibleServ'd onely to discover sights of woe,Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peaceAnd rest can never dwell, hope never comesThat comes to all; but torture without endStill urges, and a fiery Deluge, fedWith ever-burning Sulphur unconsum'd:Such place Eternal Justice had prepar'dFor those rebellious, here thir prison ordainedIn utter darkness, and thir portion setAs far remov'd from God and light of Heav'nAs from the Center thrice to th' utmost Pole.O how unlike the place from whence they fell!There the companions of his fall, o'rewhelm'dWith Floods and Whirlwinds of tempestuous fire,He soon discerns, and weltring by his sideOne next himself in power, and next in crime,Long after known in Palestine, and nam'dBeelzebub. To whom th' Arch-Enemy,And thence in Heav'n call'd Satan, with bold wordsBreaking the horrid silence thus began.
If thou beest he; But O how fall'n! how chang'dFrom him, who in the happy Realms of LightCloth'd with transcendent brightness didst out-shineMyriads though bright: If he whom mutual league,United thoughts and counsels, equal hopeAnd hazard in the Glorious Enterprize,Joynd with me once, now misery hath joyndIn equal ruin: into what Pit thou seestFrom what highth fall'n, so much the stronger prov'dHe with his Thunder: and till then who knewThe force of those dire Arms? yet not for those,Nor what the Potent Victor in his rageCan else inflict, do I repent or change,Though chang'd in outward lustre; that fixt mindAnd high disdain, from sence of injur'd merit,That with the mightiest rais'd me to contend,And to the fierce contention brought alongInnumerable force of Spirits arm'dThat durst dislike his reign, and me preferring,His utmost power with adverse power oppos'dIn dubious Battel on the Plains of Heav'n,And shook his throne. What though the field be lost?All is not lost; the unconquerable Will,And study of revenge, immortal hate,And courage never to submit or yield:And what is else not to be overcome?That Glory never shall his wrath or mightExtort from me. To bow and sue for graceWith suppliant knee, and deifie his power,Who from the terrour of this Arm so lateDoubted his Empire, that were low indeed,That were an ignominy and shame beneathThis downfall; since by Fate the strength of GodsAnd this Empyreal substance cannot fail,Since through experience of this great eventIn Arms not worse, in foresight much advanc't,We may with more successful hope resolveTo wage by force or guile eternal WarrIrreconcileable, to our grand Foe,Who now triumphs, and in th' excess of joySole reigning holds the Tyranny of Heav'n.
So spake th' Apostate Angel, though in pain,Vaunting aloud, but rackt with deep despare:And him thus answer'd soon his bold Compeer.
O Prince, O Chief of many Throned Powers,That led th' imbattelld Seraphim to WarrUnder thy conduct, and in dreadful deedsFearless, endanger'd Heav'ns perpetual King;And put to proof his sigh Supremacy,Whether upheld by strength, or Chance, or Fate,Too well I see and rue the dire event,That with sad overthrow and foul defeatHath lost us Heav'n, and all this mighty HostIn horrible destruction laid thus low,As far as Gods and Heav'nly EssencesCan perish: for the mind and spirit remainsInvincible, and vigour soon returns,Though all our Glory extinct and happy stateHere swallow'd up in endless misery.But what if he our Conquerour, (whom I nowOf force believe Almighty, since no lessThen such could hav orepow'rd such force as ours)Have left us this our spirit and strength intireStrongly to suffer and support our pains,That we may so suffice his vengeful ire,Or do him mightier service as his thrallsBy right of Warr, what e're his business beHere in the heart of Hell to work in Fire,Or do his Errands in the gloomy Deep;What can it then avail though yet we feelStrength undiminisht, or eternal beingTo undergo eternal punishment?Whereto with speedy words th' Arch-fiend reply'd.
Fall'n Cherube, to be weak is miserableDoing or Suffering: but of this be sure,To do ought good never will be our task,But ever to do ill our sole delight,As being the contrary to his high willWhom we resist. If then his ProvidenceOut of our evil seek to bring forth good,Our labour must be to pervert that end,And out of good still to find means of evil;Which oft times may succeed, so as perhapsShall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturbHis inmost counsels from thir destind aim.But see the angry Victor hath recall'dHis Ministers of vengeance and pursuitBack to the Gates of Heav'n: the Sulphurous HailShot after us in storm, oreblown hath laidThe fiery Surge, that from the PrecipiceOf Heav'n receiv'd us falling, and the Thunder,Wing'd with red Lightning and impetuous rage,Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases nowTo bellow through the vast and boundless Deep.Let us not slip th' occasion, whether scorn,Or satiate fury yield it from our Foe.Seest thou yon dreary Plain, forlorn and wilde,The seat of desolation, voyd of light,Save what the glimmering of these livid flamesCasts pale and dreadful? Thither let us tendFrom off the tossing of these fiery waves,There rest, if any rest can harbour there,And reassembling our afflicted Powers,Consult how we may henceforth most offendOur Enemy, our own loss how repair,How overcome this dire Calamity,What reinforcement we may gain from Hope,If not what resolution from despare.
Thus Satan to his neerest MateWith Head up-lift above the wave, and EyesThat sparkling blaz'd, his other Parts besidesProne on the Flood, extended long and largeLay floating many a rood, in bulk as hugeAs whom the Fables name of monstrous size,Titanian, or Earth-born, that warr'd on Jove,Briareos or Typhon, whom the DenBy ancient Tarsus held, or that Sea-beastLeviathan, which God of all his worksCreated hugest that swim th' Ocean stream:Him haply slumbring on the Norway foamThe Pilot of some small night-founder'd Skiff,Deeming some Island, oft, as Sea-men tell,With fixed Anchor in his skaly rindMoors by his side under the Lee, while NightInvests the Sea, and wished Morn delayes:So stretcht out huge in length the Arch-fiend layChain'd on the burning Lake, nor ever thenceHad ris'n or heav'd his head, but that the willAnd high permission of all-ruling HeavenLeft him at large to his own dark designs,That with reiterated crimes he mightHeap on himself damnation, while he soughtEvil to others, and enrag'd might seeHow all his malice serv'd but to bring forthInfinite goodness, grace and mercy shewnOn Man by him seduc't, but on himselfTreble confusion, wrath and vengeance pour'd.Forthwith upright he rears from off the PoolHis mighty Stature; on each hand the flamesDrivn backward slope thir pointing spires, and rowldIn billows, leave i'th'midst a horrid Vale.Then with expanded wings he stears his flightAloft, incumbent on the dusky AirThat felt unusual weight, till on dry LandHe lights, as if it were Land that ever burn'dWith solid, as the Lake with liquid fire;And such appear'd in hue, as when the forceOf subterranean wind transports a HillTorn from Pelorus, or the shatter'd sideOf thundring Aetna, whose combustibleAnd fewel'd entrals thence conceiving Fire,Sublim'd with Mineral fury, aid the Winds,And leave a singed bottom all involv'dWith stench and smoak: Such resting found the soleOf unblest feet. Him followed his next Mate,Both glorying to have scap't the Stygian floodAs Gods, and by thir own recover'd strength,Not by the sufferance of supernal Power.
Is this the Region, this the Soil, the Clime,Said then the lost Arch-Angel, this the seatThat we must change for Heav'n, this mournful gloomFor that celestial light? Be it so, since heWho now is Sovran can dispose and bidWhat shall be right: fardest from him his bestWhom reason hath equald, force hath made supreamAbove his equals. Farewel happy FieldsWhere Joy for ever dwells: Hail horrours, hailInfernal world, and thou profoundest HellReceive thy new Possessor: One who bringsA mind not to be chang'd by Place or Time.The mind is its own place, and in it selfCan make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n.What matter where, if I be still the same,And what I should be, all but less then heWhom Thunder hath made greater? Here at leastWe shall be free; th' Almighty hath not builtHere for his envy, will not drive us hence:Here we may reign secure, and in my choyceTo reign is worth ambition though in Hell:Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav'n.But wherefore let we then our faithful friends,Th' associates and copartners of our lossLye thus astonisht on th' oblivious Pool,And call them not to share with us their partIn this unhappy Mansion, or once moreWith rallied Arms to try what may be yetRegaind in Heav'n, or what more lost in Hell?
So Satan spake, and him BeelzebubThus answer'd. Leader of those Armies bright,Which but th' Omnipotent none could have foyld,If once they hear that voyce, thir liveliest pledgeOf hope in fears and dangers, heard so oftIn worst extreams, and on the perilous edgeOf battel when it rag'd, in all assaultsThir surest signal, they will soon resumeNew courage and revive, though now they lyeGroveling and prostrate on yon Lake of Fire,As we erewhile, astounded and amaz'd,No wonder, fall'n such a pernicious highth.
He scarce had ceas't when the superiour FiendWas moving toward the shoar; his ponderous shieldEthereal temper, massy, large and round,Behind him cast; the broad circumferenceHung on his shoulders like the Moon, whose OrbThrough Optic Glass the Tuscan Artist viewsAt Ev'ning from the top of Fesole,Or in Valdarno, to descry new Lands,Rivers or Mountains in her spotty Globe.His Spear, to equal which the tallest PineHewn on Norwegian hills, to be the MastOf some great Ammiral, were but a wand,He walkt with to support uneasie stepsOver the burning Marle, not like those stepsOn Heavens Azure, and the torrid ClimeSmote on him sore besides, vaulted with Fire;Nathless he so endur'd, till on the BeachOf that inflamed Sea, he stood and call'dHis Legions, Angel Forms, who lay intrans'tThick as Autumnal Leaves that strow the BrooksIn Vallombrosa, where th' Etrurian shadesHigh overarch't imbowr; or scatterd sedgeAfloat, when with fierce Winds Orion arm'dHath vext the Red-Sea Coast, whose waves orethrewBusirus and his Memphian Chivalry,While with perfidious hatred they pursu'dThe Sojourners of Goshen, who beheldFrom the safe shore thir floating CarkasesAnd broken Chariot Wheels, so thick bestrownAbject and lost lay these, covering the Flood,Under amazement of thir hideous change.He call'd so loud, that all the hollow DeepOf Hell resounded. Princes, PotentatesWarriers, the Flowr of Heav'n, once yours, now lost,If such astonishment as this can siezeEternal spirits; or have ye chos'n this placeAfter the toyl of Battel to reposeYour wearied vertue, for the ease you findTo slumber here, as in the Vales of Heav'n?Or in this abject posture have ye swornTo adore the Conquerour? who now beholdsCherube and Seraph rowling in the FloodWith scatter'd Arms and Ensigns, till anonHis swift pursuers from Heav'n Gates discernTh' advantage, and descending tread us downThus drooping, or with linked ThunderboltsTransfix us to the bottom of this Gulfe.Awake, arise, or be for ever fall'n.
They heard, and were abasht, and up they sprungUpon the wing, as when men wont to watchOn duty, sleeping found by whom they dread,Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake.Nor did they not perceave the evil plightIn which they were, or the fierce pains not feel;Yet to thir Generals Voyce they soon obeydInnumerable. As when the potent RodOf Amrams Son in Egypts evill dayWav'd round the Coast, up call'd a pitchy cloudOf Locusts, warping on the Eastern Wind,That ore the Realm of impious Pharaoh hungLike Night, and darken'd all the Land of Nile:So numberless were those bad Angels seenHovering on wind under the Cope of Hell'Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding Fires;Till, as a signal giv'n, th' uplifted SpearOf thir great Sultan waving to directThir course, in even ballance down they lightOn the firm brimstone, and fill all the Plain;A multitude, like which the populous NorthPour'd never from her frozen loyns, to passRhene or the Danaw, when her barbarous SonsCame like a Deluge on the South, and spreadBeneath Gibralter to the Lybian sands.Forthwith from every Squadron and each BandThe Heads and Leaders thither hast where stoodThir great Commander; Godlike shapes and formsExcelling human, Princely Dignities,And Powers that earst in Heaven sat on Thrones;Though of thir Names in heav'nly Records nowBe no memorial blotted out and ras'dBy thir Rebellion, from the Books of Life.Nor had they yet among the Sons of EveGot them new Names, till wandring ore the Earth,Through Gods high sufferance for the tryal of man,By falsities and lyes the greatest partOf Mankind they corrupted to forsakeGod thir Creator, and th' invisibleGlory of him that made them, to transformOft to the Image of a Brute, adorn'dWith gay Religions full of Pomp and Gold,And Devils to adore for Deities:Then were they known to men by various Names,And various Idols through the Heathen World.Say, Muse, the Names then known, who first, who last,Rous'd from the slumber, on that fiery Couch,At thir great Emperors call, as next in worthCame singly where he stood on the bare strand,While the promiscuous croud stood yet aloof?The chief were those who from the Pit of HellRoaming to seek thir prey on earth, durst fixThir Seats long after next the Seat of God,Thir Altars by his Altar, Gods ador'dAmong the Nations round, and durst abideJehovah thundring out of Sion, thron'dBetween the Cherubim; yea, often plac'dWithin his Sanctuary it self thir Shrines,Abominations; and with cursed thingsHis holy Rites, and solemn Feasts profan'd,And with thir darkness durst affront his light.First Moloch, horrid King besmear'd with bloodOf human sacrifice, and parents tears,Though for the noyse of Drums and Timbrels loudThir childrens cries unheard, that past through fireTo his grim Idol. Him the AmmoniteWorshipt in Rabba and her watry Plain,In Argob and in Basan, to the streamOf utmost Arnon. Not content with suchAudacious neighbourhood, the wisest heartOf Solomon he led by fraud to buildHis Temple right against the Temple of GodOn that opprobrious Hill, and made his GroveThe pleasant Vally of Hinnom, Tophet thenceAnd black Gehenna call'd, the Type of Hell.Next Chemos, th' obscene dread of Moabs Sons,From Aroar to Nebo, and the wildOf Southmost Abarim; in HesebonAnd Heronaim, Seons Realm, beyondThe flowry Dale of Sibma clad with Vines,And Eleale to th' Asphaltick Pool.Peor his other Name, when he entic'dIsrael in Sittim on thir march from NileTo do him wanton rites, which cost them woe.Yet thence his lustful Orgies he enlarg'dEven to that Hill of scandal, but the GroveOf Moloch homicide, lust hard by hate;Till good Josiah drove them hence to Hell.With these cam they, who from the bordring floodOf old Euphrates to the Brook that partsEgypt from Syrian ground, had general namesOf Baalim and Ashtaroth, those male,These Feminine. For Spirits when they pleaseCan either Sex assume, or both; so softAnd uncompounded is thir Essence pure,Nor ti'd or manacl'd with joynt or limb,Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones,Like cumbrous flesh; but in what shape they chooseDilated or condens't, bright or obscure,Can execute thir aerie purposes,And works of love or enmity fulfill.For those the Race of Israel oft forsookThir living strength, and unfrequented leftHis righteous Altar, bowing lowly downTo bestial Gods; for which thir heads as lowBow'd down in Battel, sunk before the SpearOf despicable foes. With these in troopCame Astoreth, whom the Phoenicians call'dAstarte, Queen of Heav'n, with crescent Horns;To whose bright Image nightly by the MoonSidonian Virgins paid thir Vows and Songs,In Sion also not unsung, where stoodHer Temple on th' offensive Mountain, builtBy that uxorious King, whose heart though large,Beguil'd by fair Idolatresses, fellTo idols foul. Thammuz came next behind,Whose annual wound in Lebanon allur'dThe Syrian Damsels to lament his fateIn amorous dittyes all a Summers day,While smooth Adonis from his native RockRan purple to the Sea, suppos'd with bloodOf Thammuz yearly wounded; the Love-taleInfected Sions daughters with like heat,Whose wanton passions in the sacred PorchEzekial saw, when by the Vision ledHis eye survay'd the dark IdolatriesOf alienated Judah. Next came oneWho mourn'd in earnest, when the Captive ArkMaim'd his brute Image, head and hands lopt offIn his own Temple, on the grunsel edge,Where he fell flat, and sham'd his Worshipers:Dagon his Name, Sea Monster, upward ManAnd downward Fish: yet had his Temple highRear'd in Azotus, dreaded through the CoastOf Palestine, in Gath and AscalonAnd Accaron and Gaza's frontier bounds.Him follow'd Rimmon, whose delightful SeatWas fair Damascus, on the fertil BanksOf Abbana and Pharphar, lucid streams.He also against the house of God was bold:A Leper once he lost and gain'd a King,Ahaz his sottish Conquerour, whom he drewGods Altar to disparage and displaceFor one of Syrian mode, whereon to burnHis odious offrings, and adore the GodsWhom he had vanquisht. After these appear'dA crew who under Names of old Renown,Osiris, Isis, Orus and thir TrainWith monstrous shapes and sorceries abus'dFanatic Egypt and her Priests, to seekThir wandring Gods Disguis'd in brutish formsRather then human. Nor did Israel scapeTh' infection when thir borrow'd Gold compos'dThe Calf in Oreb: and the Rebel KingDoubl'd that sin in Bethel and in Dan,Lik'ning his Maker to the Grazed Ox,Jehovah, who in one Night when he pass'dFrom Egypt marching, equal'd with one strokeBoth her first born and all her bleating GodsBelial came last, then whom a Spirit more lewdFell not from Heaven, or more gross to loveVice for it self: To him no Temple stoodOr Altar smoak'd; yet who more oft then heeIn Temples and at Altars, when the PriestTurns Atheist, as did Ely's Sons, who fill'dWith lust and violence the house of God.In Courts and Palaces he also ReignsAnd in luxurious Cities, where the noyseOf riot ascends above thir loftiest Towrs,And injury and outrage: And when NightDarkens the Streets, then wander forth the SonsOf Belial, flown with insolence and wine.Witness the Streets of Sodom, and that nightIn Gibeah, when the hospitable doorExpos'd a Matron to avoid worse rape.These were the prime in order and in might;The rest were long to tell, though far renown'd,Th' Ionian Gods, of Javans issue heldGods, yet confest later then Heav'n and EarthThir boasted Parents; Titan Heav'ns first bornWith his enormous brood, and birthright seis'dBy younger Saturn, he from mightier JoveHis own and Rhea's Son like measure found;So Jove usurping reign'd: these first in CreetAnd Ida known, thence on the Snowy topOf cold Olympus rul'd the middle AirThir highest Heav'n; or on the Delphian Cliff,Or in Dodona, and through all the boundsOf Doric Land; or who with Saturn oldFled over Adria to th' Hesperian Fields,And ore the Celtic roam'd the utmost Isles.All these and more came flocking; but with looksDown cast and damp, yet such wherein appear'dObscure some glimps of joy, to have found thir chiefNot in despair, to have found themselves not lostIn loss itself; which on his count'nance castLike doubtful hue: but he his wonted prideSoon recollecting, with high words, that boreSemblance of worth, not substance, gently rais'dThir fanting courage, and dispel'd thir fears.Then strait commands that at the warlike soundOf Trumpets loud and Clarions be upreardHis mighty Standard; that proud honour claim'dAzazel as his right, a Cherube tall:Who forthwith from the glittering Staff unfurldTh' Imperial Ensign, which full high advanc'tShon like a Meteor streaming to the WindWith Gemms and Golden lustre rich imblaz'd,Seraphic arms and Trophies: all the whileSonorous mettal blowing Martial sounds:At which the universal Host upsentA shout that tore Hells Concave, and beyondFrighted the Reign of Chaos and old Night.All in a moment through the gloom were seenTen thousand Banners rise into the AirWith Orient Colours waving: with them roseA Forrest huge of Spears: and thronging HelmsAppear'd, and serried Shields in thick arrayOf depth immeasurable: Anon they moveIn perfect Phalanx to the Dorian moodOf Flutes and soft Recorders; such as rais'dTo hight of noblest temper Hero's oldArming to Battel, and in stead of rageDeliberate valour breath'd, firm and unmov'dWith dread of death to flight or foul retreat,Nor wanting power to mitigate and swageWith solemn touches, troubl'd thoughts, and chaseAnguish and doubt and fear and sorrow and painFrom mortal or immortal minds. Thus theyBreathing united force with fixed thoughtMov'd on in silence to soft Pipes that charm'dThir painful steps o're the burnt soyle; and nowAdvanc't in view, they stand, a horrid FrontOf dreadful length and dazling Arms, in guiseOf Warriers old with order'd Spear and Shield,Awaiting what command thir mighty ChiefHad to impose: He through the armed FilesDarts his experienc't eye, and soon traverseThe whole Battalion views, thir order due,Thir visages and stature as of Gods,Thir number last he summs. And now his heartDistends with pride, and hardning in his strengthGlories: For never since created man,Met such imbodied force, as nam'd with theseCould merit more then that small infantryWarr'd on by Cranes: though all the Giant broodOf Phlegra with th' Heroic Race were joyn'dThat fought at Theb's and Ilium, on each sideMixt with auxiliar Gods; and what resoundsIn Fable or Romance of Uthers SonsBegirt with British and Armoric Knights;And all who since Baptiz'd or InfidelJousted in Aspramont or Montalban,Damasco, or Marocco, or TrebisondOr whom Biserta sent from Afric shoreWhen Charlemain with all his Peerage fellBy Fontarabbia. Thus far these beyondCompare of mortal prowess, yet observ'dThir dread commander: he above the restIn shape and gesture proudly eminentStood like a Towr; his form had yet not lostAll her Original brightness, nor appear'dLess then Arch Angel ruind, and th' excessOf Glory obscur'd; As when the Sun new ris'nLooks through the Horizontal misty AirShorn of his Beams, or from behind the MoonIn dim Eclips disastrous twilight shedsOn half the Nations, and with fear of changePerplexes Monarch. Dark'n'd so, yet shonAbove them all th' Arch Angel; but his faceDeep scars of Thunder had intrencht, and careSat on his faded cheek, but under BrowesOf dauntless courage, and considerate PrideWaiting revenge: cruel his eye, but castSigns of remorse and passion to beholdThe fellows of his crime, the followers rather(Far other once beheld in bliss) condemn'dFor ever now to have thir lot in pain,Millions of Spirits for his fault amerc'tOf Heav'n, and from Eternal Splendors flungFor his revolt, yet faithfull how they stood,Thir Glory witherd. As when Heavens FireHath scath'd the Forrest Oaks, or Mountain Pines,With singed top thir stately growth though bareStands on the blasted Heath. He now prepar'dTo speak; whereat thir doubl'd Ranks they bendFrom wing to wing, and half enclose him roundWith all his Peers: attention held them mute.Thrice he assayd, and thrice in spight of scorn,Tears such as Angels weep, burst forth: at lastWords interwove with sighs found out thir way.
O Myriads of immortal Spirits, O PowersMatchless, but with th' Almighty, and that strifeWas not inglorious, though th' event was dire,As this place testifies, and this dire changeHateful to utter: but what power of mindForeseeing or presaging, from the DepthOf knowledge past or present, could have fear'd,How such united force of Gods, how suchAs stood like these, could ever know repulse?For who can yet beleeve, though after loss,That all these puissant Legions, whose exileHath emptied Heav'n, shall fail to re-ascendSelf-rais'd, and repossess thir native seat?For mee be witness all the Host of Heav'n,If counsels different, or danger shun'dBy mee, have lost our hopes. But he who reignsMonarch in Heav'n, till then as one secureSat on his Throne, upheld by old repute,Consent or custome, and his Regal StatePut forth at full, but still his strength conceal'd,Which tempted our attempt, and wrought our fall.Henceforth his might we know, and know our ownSo as not either to provoke, or dreadNew warr, provok't; our better part remainsTo work in close design, by fraud or guileWhat force effected not: that he no lessAt length from us may find, who overcomesBy force, hath overcome but half his foe.Space may produce new Worlds; whereof so rifeThere went a fame in Heav'n that he ere longIntended to create, and therein plantA generation, whom his choice regardShould favour equal to the Sons of Heaven:Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhapsOur first eruption, thither or elsewhere:For this Infernal Pit shall never holdCaelestial Spirits in Bondage, nor th' AbyssLong under darkness cover. But these thoughtsFull Counsel must mature: Peace is despaird,For who can think Submission? Warr then, WarrOpen or understood must be resolv'd.
He spake: and to confirm his words, out-flewMillions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighsOf mighty Cherubim; the sudden blazeFar round illumin'd hell: highly they rag'dAgainst the Highest, and fierce with grasped ArmsClash'd on thir sounding Shields the din of war,Hurling defiance toward the Vault of Heav'n.
There stood a hill not far whose griesly topBelch'd fire and rowling smoak; the rest entireShon with a glossie scurff, undoubted signThat in his womb was hid metallic Ore,The work of Sulphur. Thither wing'd with speedA numerous Brigad hasten'd. As when BandsOf Pioners with Spade and Pickax arm'dForerun the Royal Camp, to trench a Field,Or cast a Rampart. Mammon led them on,Mammon, the least erected Spirit that fellFrom heav'n, for ev'n in heav'n his looks and thoughtsWere always downward bent, admiring moreThe riches of Heav'ns pavement, trod'n Gold,Then aught divine or holy else enjoy'dIn vision beatific: by him firstMen also, and by his suggestion taughtRansack'd the Center, and with impious handsRifl'd the bowels of thir mother EarthFor Treasures better hid. Soon had his crewOp'nd into the Hill a spacious woundAnd dig'd out ribs of Gold. Let none admireThat riches grow in Hell; that soyle may bestDeserve the precious bane. And here let thoseWho boast in mortal things, and wond'ring tellOf Babel, and the works of Memphian KingsLearn how thir greatest Monuments of Fame,And Strength and Art are easily out-doneBy Spirits reprobate, and in an hourWhat in an age they with incessant toyleAnd hands innumerable scarce perform.Nigh on the Plain in many cells prepar'dThat underneath had veins of liquid fireSluc'd from the Lake, a second multitudeWith wond'rous Art found out the massie Ore,Severing each kind, and scum'd the Bullion dross:A third as soon had form'd within the groundA various mould, and from the boyling cellsBy strange conveyance fill'd each hollow nook,As in an Organ from one blast of windTo many a row of Pipes the sound-board breaths.Anon out of the earth a Fabrick hugeRose like an Exhalation, with the soundOf Dulcet Symphonies and voices sweet,Built like a Temple, where Pilasters roundWere set, and Doric pillars overlaidWith Golden Architrave; nor did there wantCornice or Freeze, with bossy Sculptures grav'n,The Roof was fretted Gold. Not Babilon,Nor great Alcairo such magnificenceEqual'd in all thir glories, to inshrineBelus or Serapis thir Gods, or seatThir Kings, when Aegypt with Assyria stroveIn wealth and luxurie. Th' ascending pileStood fixt her stately highth, and strait the doresOp'ning thir brazen foulds discover wideWithin, her ample spaces, o're the smoothAnd level pavement: from the arched roofPendant by suttle Magic many a rowOf Starry Lamps and blazing Cressets fedWith Naphtha and Asphaltus yeilded lightAs from a sky. The hasty multitudeAdmiring enter'd, and the work some praiseAnd some the Architect: his hand was knownIn Heav'n by many a Towred structure high,Where Scepter'd Angels held thir residence,And sat as Princes, whom the supreme KingExalted to such power, and gave to rule,Each in his Hierarchie, the Orders bright.Nor was his name unheard or unador'dIn ancient Greece; and in Ausonian landMen call'd him Mulciber; and how he fellFrom Heav'n, they fabl'd, thrown by angry JoveSheer o're the Chrystal Battlements; from MornTo Noon he fell, from Noon to dewy Eve,A Summers day; and with the setting SunDropt from the Zenith like a falling Star,On Lemnos th' Aegaean Ile: thus they relate,Erring; for he with this rebellious routFell long before; nor aught avail'd him nowTo have built in Heav'n high Towrs; nor did he scapeBy all his Engins, but was headlong sentWith his industrious crew to build in hell.Mean while the winged Haralds by commandOf Sovran power, with awful CeremonyAnd Trumpets sound throughout the Host proclaimA solemn Councel forthwith to be heldAt Pandaemonium, the high CapitalOf Satan and his Peers: thir summons call'dFrom every Band and squared RegimentBy place or choice the worthiest; they anonWith hunderds and with thousands trooping cameAttended: all access was throng'd, the GatesAnd Porches wide, but chief the spacious Hall(Though like a cover'd field, where Champions boldWont ride in arm'd, and at the Soldans chairDefi'd the best of Panim chivalryTo mortal combat or carreer with Lance)Thick swarm'd, both on the ground and in the air,Brusht with the hiss of russling wings. As BeesIn spring time, when the Sun with Taurus rides,Pour forth thir populous youth about the HiveIn clusters; they among fresh dews and flowersFlie to and fro, or on the smoothed Plank,The suburb of thir Straw-built Cittadel,New rub'd with Baum, expatiate and conferThir State affairs. So thick the aerie crowdSwarm'd and were straitn'd; till the Signal giv'nBehold a wonder! they but now who seemdIn bigness to surpass Earths Giant SonsNow less then smallest Dwarfs, in narrow roomThrong numberless, like that Pigmean RaceBeyond the Indian Mount, or Faerie Elves,Whose midnight Revels, by a Forrest sideOr Fountain some belated Peasant sees,Or dreams he sees, while over-head the MoonSits Arbitress, and neerer to the EarthWheels her pale course, they on thir mirth and danceIntent, with jocond Music charm his ear;At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.Thus incorporeal Spirits to smallest formsReduc'd thir shapes immense, and were at large,Though without number still amidst the HallOf that infernal Court. But far withinAnd in thir own dimensions like themselvesThe great Seraphic Lords and CherubimIn close recess and secret conclave satA thousand Demy-Gods on golden seat's,Frequent and full. After short silence thenAnd summons read, the great consult began.