Paradise Lost: Book X (1674)

written by

« Reload image


Mans transgression known, the Guardian Angels forsake Paradise, and return up to Heaven to approve thir vigilance, and are approv'd, God declaring that The entrance of Satan could not be by them prevented. He sends his Son to judge the Transgressors, who descends and gives Sentence accordingly; then in pity cloaths them both, and reascends. Sin and Death sitting till then at the Gates of Hell, by wondrous sympathie feeling the success of Satan in this new World, and the sin by Man there committed, resolve to sit no longer confin'd in Hell, but to follow Satan thir Sire up to the place of Man: To make the way easier from Hell to this World to and fro, they pave a broad Highway or Bridge over Chaos, according to the Track that Satan first made; then preparing for Earth, they meet him proud of his success returning to Hell; thir mutual gratulation. Satan arrives at Pandemonium, in full of assembly relates with boasting his success against Man; instead of applause is entertained with a generall hiss by all his audience, transform'd with himself also suddenly into Serpents, according to his doom giv'n in Paradise; then deluded with a shew of the forbidden Tree springing up before them, they greedily reaching to take of the Fruit, chew dust and bitter ashes. The proceedings of Sin and Death; God foretels the final Victory of his Son over them, and the renewing of all things; but for the present commands his Angels to make several alterations in the Heavens and Elements. Adam more and more perceiving his fall'n condition heavily bewailes, rejects the consolement of Eve; she persists and at length appeases him: then to evade the Curse likely to fall on thir Ofspring, proposes to Adam violent wayes which he approves not, but conceiving better hope, puts her in mind of the late Promise made them, that her Seed should be reveng'd on the Serpent, and exhorts her with him to seek Peace of the offended Deity, by repentance and supplication.

MEanwhile the hainous and despightfull actOf Satan done in Paradise, and howHee in the Serpent, had perverted Eve,Her Husband shee, to taste the fatall fruit,Was known in Heav'n; for what can scape the EyeOf God All-seeing, or deceave his HeartOmniscient, who in all things wise and just,Hinder'd not Satan to attempt the mindeOf Man, with strength entire, and free will arm'd,Complete to have discover'd and repulstWhatever wiles of Foe or seeming Friend.For still they knew, and ought to have still remember'dThe high Injunction not to taste that Fruit,Whoever tempted; which they not obeying,Incurr'd, what could they less, the penaltie,And manifold in sin, deserv'd to fall.Up into Heav'n from Paradise in hasteTh' Angelic Guards ascended, mute and sadFor Man, for of his state by this they knew,Much wondring how the suttle Fiend had stolnEntrance unseen. Soon as th' unwelcome newsFrom Earth arriv'd at Heaven Gate, displeas'dAll were who heard, dim sadness did not spareThat time Celestial visages, yet mixtWith pitie, violated not thir bliss.About the new-arriv'd, in multitudesTh' ethereal People ran, to hear and knowHow all befell: they towards the Throne SupreamAccountable made haste to make appearWith righteous plea, thir utmost vigilance,And easily approv'd; when the most HighEternal Father from his secret Cloud,Amidst in Thunder utter'd thus his voice.

Assembl'd Angels, and ye Powers return'dFrom unsuccessful charge, be not dismaid,Nor troubl'd at these tidings from the Earth,Which your sincerest care could not prevent,Foretold so lately what would come to pass,When first this Tempter cross'd the Gulf from Hell.I told ye then he should prevail and speedOn his bad Errand, Man should be seduc'tAnd flatter'd out of all, believing liesAgainst his Maker; no Decree of mineConcurring to necessitate his Fall,Or touch with lightest moment of impulseHis free Will, to her own inclining leftIn eevn scale. But fall'n he is, and nowWhat rests but that the mortal Sentence passOn his transgression, Death denounc't that day,Which he presumes already vain and void,Because not yet inflicted, as he fear'd,By some immediate stroak; but soon shall findForbearance no acquittance ere day end.Justice shall not return as bountie scorn'd.But whom send I to judge them? whom but theeVicegerent Son, to thee I have transferr'dAll Judgement, whether in Heav'n, or Earth, or Hell.Easie it might be seen that I intendMercie collegue with Justice, sending theeMans Friend, his Mediator, his design'dBoth Ransom and Redeemer voluntarie,And destin'd Man himself to judge Man fall'n.

So spake the Father, and unfoulding brightToward the right hand his Glorie, on the SonBlaz'd forth unclouded Deitie; he fullResplendent all his Father manifestExpress'd, and thus divinely answer'd milde.

Father Eternal, thine is to decree,Mine both in Heav'n and Earth to do thy willSupream, that thou in mee thy Son belov'dMayst ever rest well pleas'd. I go to judgeOn Earth these thy transgressors, but thou knowst,Whoever judg'd, the worst on mee must light,When time shall be, for so I undertookBefore thee; and not repenting, this obtaineOf right, that I may mitigate thir doomOn me deriv'd, yet I shall temper soJustice with Mercie, as may illustrate mostThem fully satisfied, and thee appease.Attendance none shall need, nor Train, where noneAre to behold the Judgment, but the judg'd,Those two; the third best absent is condemn'd,Convict by flight, and Rebel to all LawConviction to the Serpent none belongs.

Thus saying, from his radiant Seat he roseOf high collateral glorie: him Thrones and Powers,Princedoms, and Dominations ministrantAccompanied to Heaven Gate, from whenceEden and all the Coast in prospect lay.Down he descended strait; the speed of GodsTime counts not, though with swiftest minutes wing'd.Now was the Sun in Western cadence lowFrom Noon, and gentle Aires due at thir hourTo fan the Earth now wak'd, and usher inThe Eevning coole when he from wrauth more cooleCame the mild Judge and Intercessor bothTo sentence Man: the voice of God they heardNow walking in the Garden, by soft windesBrought to thir Ears, while day declin'd, they heard,And from his presence hid themselves amongThe thickest Trees, both Man and Wife, till GodApproaching, thus to Adam call'd aloud.

Where art thou Adam, wont with joy to meetMy coming seen far off? I miss thee here,Not pleas'd, thus entertaind with solitude,Where obvious dutie erewhile appear'd unsaught:Or come I less conspicuous, or what changeAbsents thee, or what chance detains? Come forth.He came, and with him Eve, more loth, though firstTo offend, discount'nanc't both, and discompos'd;Love was not in thir looks, either to GodOr to each other, but apparent guilt,And shame, and perturbation, and despaire,Anger, and obstinacie, and hate, and guile.Whence Adam faultring long, thus answer'd brief.

I heard thee in the Garden, and of thy voiceAffraid, being naked, hid my self. To whomThe gracious judge without revile repli'd.

My voice thou oft hast heard, and hast not fear'd,But still rejoyc't, how is it now becomeSo dreadful to thee? that thou art naked, whoHath told thee? hast thou eaten of the TreeWhereof I gave thee charge thou shouldst not eat?

To whom thus Adam sore beset repli'd.O Heav'n! in evil strait this day I standBefore my judge, either to undergoeMy self the total Crime, or to accuseMy other self, the partner of my life;Whose failing, while her Faith to me remaines,I should conceal, and not expose to blameBy my complaint; but strict necessitieSubdues me, and calamitous constraintLeast on my head both sin and punishment,However insupportable, be allDevolv'd; though should I hold my peace, yet thouWouldst easily detect what I conceale.This Woman whom thou mad'st to be my help,And gav'st me as thy perfet gift, so good,So fit, so acceptable, so Divine,That from her hand I could suspect no ill,And what she did, whatever in it self,Her doing seem'd to justifie the deed;Shee gave me of the Tree, and I did eate.

To whom the sovran Presence thus repli'd.Was shee thy God, that her thou didst obeyBefore his voice, or was shee made thy guide,Superior, or but equal, that to herThou did'st resigne thy Manhood, and the PlaceWherein God set thee above her made of thee,And for thee, whose perfection farr excell'dHers in all real dignitie: AdorndShee was indeed, and lovely to attractThy Love, not thy Subjection, and her GiftsWere such as under Government well seem'd,Unseemly to beare rule, which was thy partAnd person, had'st thou known thy self aright.

So having said, he thus to Eve in few:Say Woman, what is this which thou hast done?

To whom sad Eve with shame nigh overwhelm'd,Confessing soon, yet not before her judgeBold or loquacious, thus abasht repli'd.

The Serpent me beguil'd and I did eate.

Which when the Lord God heard, without delayTo Judgement he proceeded on th' accus'dSerpent though brute, unable to transferreThe Guilt on him who made him instrumentOf mischief, and polluted from the endOf his Creation; justly then accurst,As vitiated in Nature: more to knowConcern'd not Man (since he no further knew)Nor alter'd his offence; yet God at lastTo Satan first in sin his doom apply'd,Though in mysterious terms, judg'd as then best:And on the Serpent thus his curse let fall.

Because thou hast done this, thou art accurstAbove all Cattle, each Beast of the Field;Upon thy Belly groveling thou shalt goe,And dust shalt eat all the dayes of thy Life.Between Thee and the Woman I will putEnmitie, and between thine and her Seed;Her Seed shall bruse thy head, thou bruise his heel.

So spake this Oracle, then verifi'dWhen Jesus son of Mary second Eve,Saw Satan fall like Lightning down from Heav'n,Prince of the Aire; then rising from his GraveSpoild Principalities and Powers, triumphtIn open shew, and with ascention brightCaptivity led captive through the Aire,The Realm it self of Satan long usurpt,Whom he shall tread at last under our feet;Eeven hee who now foretold his fatal bruise,And to the Woman thus his Sentence turn'd.

Thy sorrow I will greatly multiplieBy thy Conception; Children thou shalt bringIn sorrow forth, and to thy Husbands willThine shall submit, hee over thee shall rule.

On Adam last thus judgement he pronounc'd.Because thou hast heark'nd to the voice of thy Wife,And eaten of the Tree concerning whichI charg'd thee, saying: Thou shalt not eate thereof,Curs'd is the ground for thy sake, thou in sorrowShalt eate thereof all the days of thy Life;Thorns also and Thistles it shall bring thee forthUnbid, and thou shalt eate th' Herb of th' Field,In the sweat of thy Face shalt thou eat Bread,Till thou return unto the ground, for thouOut of the ground wast taken, know thy Birth,For dust thou art, and shalt to dust returne.

So judg'd he Man, both Judge and Saviour sent,And th' instant stroke of Death denounc't that dayRemov'd farr off; then pittying how they stoodBefore him naked to the aire, that nowMust suffer change, disdain'd not to beginThenceforth the form of servant to assume,As when he wash'd his servants feet so nowAs Father of his Familie he cladThir nakedness with Skins of Beasts, or slain,Or as the Snake with youthful Coate repaid;And thought not much to cloath his Enemies:Nor hee thir outward onely with the SkinsOf Beasts, but inward nakedness, much moreOpprobrious, with his Robe of righteousness,Araying cover'd from his Fathers sight.To him with swift ascent he up returnd,Into his blissful bosom reassum'dIn glory as of old, to him appeas'dAll, though all-knowing, what had past with ManRecounted, mixing intercession sweet.Meanwhile ere thus was sin'd and judg'd on Earth,Within the Gates of Hell sate Sin and Death,In counterview within the Gates, that nowStood open wide, belching outrageous flameFarr into Chaos, since the Fiend pass'd through,Sin opening, who thus now to Death began.

O Son, why sit we here each other viewingIdlely, while Satan our great Author thrivesIn other Worlds, and happier Seat providesFor us his ofspring deare; It cannot beBut that success attends him; if mishap,Ere this he had return'd, with fury driv'nBy his Avenger, since no place like thisCan fit his punishment, or their revenge.Methinks I feel new strength within me rise,Wings growing, and Dominion giv'n me largeBeyond this Deep; whatever drawes me on,Or sympathie, or som connatural forcePowerful at greatest distance to uniteWith secret amity things of like kindeBy secretest conveyance. Thou my ShadeInseparable must with mee along:For Death from Sin no power can separate.But least the difficultie of passing backStay his return perhaps over this GulfeImpassable, Impervious, let us tryAdventrous work, yet to thy power and mineNot unagreeable, to found a pathOver this Maine from Hell to that new WorldWhere Satan now prevailes, a MonumentOf merit high to all th' infernal Host,Easing thir passage hence, for intercourse,Or transmigration, as thir lot shall lead.Nor can I miss the way, so strongly drawnBy this new felt attraction and instinct.

Whom thus the meager Shadow answerd soon.Goe whither Fate and inclination strongLeads thee, I shall not lag behinde, nor erreThe way, thou leading, such a sent I drawOf carnage, prey innumerable, and tasteThe savour of Death from all things there that live:Nor shall I to the work thou enterprisestBe wanting, but afford thee equal aid.

So saying, with delight he snuff'd the smellOf mortal change on Earth. As when a flockOf ravenous Fowl, though many a League remote,Against the day of Battel, to a Field,Where Armies lie encampt, come flying, lur'dWith sent of living Carcasses design'dFor death, the following day, in bloodie fight.So sented the grim Feature, and upturn'dHis Nostril wide into the murkie Air,Sagacious of his Quarry from so farr.Then Both from out Hell Gates into the wasteWide Anarchie of Chaos damp and darkFlew divers, and with Power (thir Power was great)Hovering upon the Waters; what they metSolid or slimie, as in raging SeaTost up and down, together crowded droveFrom each side shoaling towards the mouth of Hell.As when two Polar Winds blowing adverseUpon the Cronian Sea, together driveMountains of Ice, that stop th' imagin'd wayBeyond Petsora Eastward, to the richCathaian Coast. The aggregated SoyleDeath with his Mace petrific, cold and dry,As with a Trident smote, and fix't as firmAs Delos floating once; the rest his lookBound with Gorgonian rigor not to move,And with Asphaltic slime; broad as the Gate,Deep to the Roots of Hell the gather'd beachThey fasten'd, and the Mole immense wraught onOver the foaming deep high Archt, a BridgeOf length prodigious joyning to the WallImmovable of this now fenceless worldForfeit to Death; from hence a passage broad,Smooth, easie, inoffensive down to Hell.So, if great things to small may be compar'd,Xerxes, the Libertie of Greece to yoke,From Susa his Memnonian Palace highCame to the Sea, and over HellespontBridging his way, Europe with Asia joyn'd,And scourg'd with many a stroak th' indignant waves.Now had they brought the work by wondrous ArtPontifical, a ridge of pendent RockOver the vext Abyss, following the trackOf Satan, to the self same place where heeFirst lighted from his Wing, and landed safeFrom out of Chaos to the out side bareOf this round World: with Pinns of AdamantAnd Chains they made all fast, too fast they madeAnd durable; and now in little spaceThe confines met of Empyrean Heav'nAnd of this World, and on the left hand HellWith long reach interpos'd; three sev'ral wayesIn sight, to each of these three places led.And now thir way to Earth they had descri'd,To Paradise first tending, when beholdSatan in likeness of an Angel brightBetwixt the Centaure and the Scorpion stearingHis Zenith, while the Sun in Aries rose:Disguis'd he came, but those his Children dearThir Parent soon discern'd, though in disguise.Hee after Eve seduc't, unminded slunkInto the Wood fast by, and changing shapeTo observe the sequel, saw his guileful actBy Eve, though all unweeting, secondedUpon her Husband, saw thir shame that soughtVain covertures; but when he saw descendThe Son of God to judge them terrifi'dHee fled, not hoping to escape, but shunThe present, fearing guiltie what his wrauthMight suddenly inflict; that past, return'dBy Night, and listening where the hapless PaireSate in thir sad discourse, and various plaint,Thence gatherd his own doom, which understoodNot instant, but of future time. With joyAnd tidings fraught, to Hell he now return'd,And at the brink of Chaos, neer the footOf this new wondrous Pontifice, unhop'tMet who to meet him came, his Ofspring dear.Great joy was at thir meeting, and at sightOf that stupendious Bridge his joy encreas'd.Long hee admiring stood, till Sin, his faireInchanting Daughter, thus the silence broke.

O Parent, these are thy magnific deeds,Thy Trophies, which thou view'st as not thine own,Thou art thir Author and prime Architect:For I no sooner in my Heart divin'd,My Heart, which by a secret harmonieStill moves with thine, join'd in connexion sweet,That thou on Earth hadst prosper'd, which thy looksNow also evidence, but straight I feltThough distant from thee Worlds between, yet feltThat I must after thee with this thy Son;Such fatal consequence unites us three:Hell could no longer hold us in her bounds,Nor this unvoyageable Gulf obscureDetain from following thy illustrious track.Thou hast atchiev'd our libertie, confin'dWithin Hell Gates till, now, thou us impow'rdTo fortifie thus farr, and overlayWith this portentous Bridge the dark Abyss.Thine now is all this World, thy vertue hath wonWhat thy hands builded not, thy Wisdom gain'dWith odds what Warr hath lost, and fully aveng'dOur foile in Heav'n; here thou shalt Monarch reign,There didst not; there let him still Victor sway,As Battel hath adjudg'd, from this new WorldRetiring, by his own doom alienated,And henceforth Monarchie with thee divideOf all things parted by th' Empyreal bounds,His Quadrature, from thy Orbicular World,Or trie thee now more dang'rous to his Throne.

Whom thus the Prince of Darkness answerd glad.Fair Daughter, and thou Son and Grandchild both,High proof ye now have giv'n to be the RaceOf Satan (for I glorie in the name,Antagonist of Heav'ns Almightie King)Amply have merited of me, of allTh' infernal Empire, that so neer Heav'ns doreTriumphal with triumphal act have met,Mine with this glorious Work, and made one RealmHell and this World, one Realm, one ContinentOf easie thorough-fare. Therefore while IDescend through Darkness, on your Rode with easeTo my associate Powers, them to acquaintWith these successes, and with them rejoyce,You two this way, among these numerous OrbsAll yours, right down to Paradise descend;There dwell and Reign in bliss, thence on the EarthDominion exercise and in the Aire,Chiefly on Man, sole Lord of all declar'd,Him first make sure your thrall, and lastly kill.My Substitutes I send ye, and CreatePlenipotent on Earth, of matchless mightIssuing from mee: on your joynt vigor nowMy hold of this new Kingdom all depends,Through Sin to Death expos'd by my exploit.If your joynt power prevailes, th' affaires of HellNo detriment need feare, goe and be strong.

So saying he dismiss'd them, they with speedThir course through thickest Constellations heldSpreading thir bane; the blasted Starrs lookt wan,And Planets, Planet-strook, real EclipsThen sufferd. Th' other way Satan went downThe Causey to Hell Gate; on either sideDisparted Chaos over built exclaimd,And with rebounding surge the barrs assaild,That scorn'd his indignation: through the Gate,Wide open and unguarded, Satan pass'd,And all about found desolate; for thoseAppointed to sit there, had left thir charge,Flown to the upper World; the rest were allFarr to the inland retir'd, about the wallsOf Pandaemonium, Citie and proud seateOf Lucifer, so by allusion calld,Of that bright Starr to Satan paragond.There kept thir Watch the Legions, while the GrandIn Council sate, sollicitous what chanceMight intercept thir Emperour sent, so heeDeparting gave command, and they observ'd.As when the Tartar from his Russian FoeBy Astracan over the Snowie PlainesRetires, or Bactrian Sophi from the hornesOf Turkish Crescent, leaves all waste beyondThe Realm of Aladule, in his retreateTo Tauris or Casbeen. So these the lateHeav'n-banisht Host, left desert utmost HellMany a dark League, reduc't in careful WatchRound thir Metropolis, and now expectingEach hour their great adventurer from the searchOf Forrein Worlds: he through the midst unmarkt,In shew Plebeian Angel militantOf lowest order, past; and from the doreOf that Plutonian Hall, invisibleAscended his high Throne, which under stateOf richest texture spred, at th' upper endWas plac't in regal lustre. Down a whileHe sate, and round about him saw unseen:At last as from a Cloud his fulgent headAnd shape Starr bright appeer'd, or brighter, cladWith what permissive glory since his fallWas left him, or false glitter: All amaz'dAt that so sudden blaze the Stygian throngBent thir aspect, and whom they wish'd beheld,Thir mighty Chief returnd: loud was th' acclaime:Forth rush'd in haste the great consulting Peers,Rais'd from thir Dark Divan, and with like joyCongratulant approach'd him, who with handSilence, and with these words attention won.

Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Vertues, Powers,For in possession such, not onely of right,I call ye and declare ye now, returndSuccessful beyond hope, to lead ye forthTriumphant out of this infernal PitAbominable, accurst, the house of woe,And Dungeon of our Tyrant: Now possess,As Lords, a spacious World, to our native HeavenLittle inferiour, by my adventure hardWith peril great atchiev'd. Long were to tellWhat I have don, what sufferd, with what paineVoyag'd th' unreal, vast, unbounded deepOf horrible confusion, over whichBy Sin and Death a broad way now is pav'dTo expedite your glorious march; but IToild out my uncouth passage, forc't to rideTh' untractable Abysse, plung'd in the wombOf unoriginal Night and Chaos wilde,That jealous of thir secrets fiercely oppos'dMy journey strange, with clamorous uproareProtesting Fate supreame; thence how I foundThe new created World, which fame in Heav'nLong had foretold, a Fabrick wonderfulOf absolute perfection, therein ManPlac't in a Paradise, by our exileMade happie; Him by fraud I have seduc'dFrom his Creator, and the more to increaseYour wonder, with an Apple; he thereatOffended, worth your laughter, hath giv'n upBoth his beloved Man and all his World,To Sin and Death a prey, and so to us,Without our hazard, labour, or allarme,To range in, and to dwell, and over ManTo rule, as over all he should have rul'd.True is, mee also he hath judg'd, or ratherMee not, but the brute Serpent in whose shapeMan I deceav'd: that which to mee belongs,Is enmity, which he will put betweenMee and Mankinde; I am to bruise his heel;His Seed, when is not set, shall bruise my head:A World who would not purchase with a bruise,Or much more grievous pain? Ye have th' accountOf my performance: What remains, ye Gods,But up and enter now into full bliss.

So having said, a while he stood, expectingThir universal shout and high applauseTo fill his eare, when contrary he hearsOn all sides, from innumerable tonguesA dismal universal hiss, the soundOf public scorn; he wonderd, but not longHad leasure, wondring at himself now more;His Visage drawn he felt to sharp and spare,His Armes clung to his Ribs, his Leggs entwiningEach other, till supplanted down he fellA monstrous Serpent on his Belly prone,Reluctant, but in vaine, a greater powerNow rul'd him, punisht in the shape he sin'd,According to his doom: he would have spoke,But hiss for hiss returnd with forked tongueTo forked tongue, for now were all transform'dAlike, to Serpents all as accessoriesTo his bold Riot: dreadful was the dinOf hissing through the Hall, thick swarming nowWith complicated monsters head and taile,Scorpion and Asp, and Amphisbaena dire,Cerastes hornd, Hydrus, and Ellops drear,And Dipsas (not so thick swarm'd once the SoilBedropt with blood of Gorgon, or the IsleOphiusa) but still greatest hee the midst,Now Dragon grown, larger then whom the SunIngenderd in the Pythian Vale on slime,Huge Python, and his Power no less he seem'dAbove the rest still to retain; they allHim follow'd issuing forth to th' open Field,Where all yet left of that revolted RoutHeav'n-fall'n, in station stood or just array,Sublime with expectation when to seeln Triumph issuing forth thir glorious Chief;They saw, but other sight instead, a crowdOf ugly Serpents; horror on them fell,And horrid sympathie; for what they saw,They felt themselvs now changing; down thir arms,Down fell both Spear and Shield, down they as fast,And the dire hiss renew'd, and the dire formCatcht by Contagion, like in punishment,As in thir crime. Thus was th' applause they meant,Turnd to exploding hiss, triumph to shameCast on themselves from thir own mouths. There stoodA Grove hard by, sprung up with this thir change,His will who reigns above, to aggravateThir penance, laden with Fruit like thatWhich grew in Paradise, the bait of EveUs'd by the Tempter: on that prospect strangeThir earnest eyes they fix'd, imaginingFor one forbidden Tree a multitudeNow ris'n, to work them furder woe or shame;Yet parcht with scalding thurst and hunger fierce,Though to delude them sent, could not abstain,But on they rould in heaps, and up the TreesClimbing, sat thicker then the snakie locksThat curld Megaera: greedily they pluck'dThe Frutage fair to sight, like that which grewNeer that bituminous Lake where Sodom flam'd;This more delusive, not the touch, but tasteDeceav'd; they fondly thinking to allayThir appetite with gust, instead of FruitChewd bitter Ashes, which th' offended tasteWith spattering noise rejected: oft they assayd,Hunger and thirst constraining, drugd as oft,With hatefullest disrelish writh'd thir jawsWith soot and cinders fill'd; so oft they fellInto the same illusion, not as ManWhom they triumph'd once lapst. Thus were they plagu'dAnd worn with Famin, long and ceasless hiss,Till thir lost shape, permitted, they resum'd,Yearly enjoynd, some say, to undergoThis annual humbling certain number'd days,To dash thir pride, and joy for Man seduc't.However some tradition they dispers'dAmong the Heathen of thir purchase got,And Fabl'd how the Serpent, whom they calldOphion with Eurynome, the wide-Encroaching Eve perhaps, had first the ruleOf high Olympus, thence by Saturn driv'nAnd Ops, ere yet Dictaean Jove was born.Mean while in Paradise the hellish pairToo soon arriv'd, Sin there in power before,Once actual, now in body, and to dwellHabitual habitant; behind her DeathClose following pace for pace, not mounted yetOn his pale Horse: to whom Sin thus began.

Second of Satan sprung, all conquering Death,What thinkst thou of our Empire now, though earndWith travail difficult, not better farrThen stil at Hels dark threshold to have sate watch,Unnam'd, undreaded, and thy self half starv'd?

Whom thus the Sin-born Monster answerd soon.To mee, who with eternal Famin pine,Alike is Hell, or Paradise, or Heaven,There best, where most with ravin I may meet;Which here, though plenteous, all too little seemsTo stuff this Maw, this vast unhide-bound Corps.

To whom th' incestuous Mother thus repli'd.Thou therefore on these Herbs, and Fruits, and FloursFeed first, on each Beast next, and Fish, and Fowle,No homely morsels, and whatever thingThe Sithe of Time mowes down, devour unspar'd,Till I in Man residing through the Race,His thoughts, his looks, words, actions all infect,And season him thy last and sweetest prey.

This said, they both betook them several wayes,Both to destroy, or unimmortal makeAll kinds, and for destruction to matureSooner or later; which th' Almightie seeing,From his transcendent Seat the Saints among,To those bright Orders utterd thus his voice.

See with what heat these Dogs of Hell advanceTo waste and havoc yonder World, which ISo fair and good created, and had stillKept in that State, had not the folly of ManLet in these wastful Furies, who imputeFolly to mee, so doth the Prince of HellAnd his Adherents, that with so much easeI suffer them to enter and possessA place so heav'nly, and conniving-seemTo gratifie my scornful Enemies,That laugh, as if transported with some fitOf Passion, I to them had quitted all,At random yielded up to their misrule;And know not that I call'd and drew them thitherMy Hell-hounds, to lick up the draff and filthWhich mans polluting Sin with taint hath shedOn what was pure, till cramm'd and gorg'd, nigh burstWith suckt and glutted offal, at one slingOf thy victorious Arm, well-pleasing Son,Both Sin, and Death, and yawning Grave at lastThrough Chaos hurld, obstruct the mouth of HellFor ever, and seal up his ravenous Jawes.Then Heav'n and Earth renewd shall be made pureTo sanctitie that shall receive no staine:Till then the Curse pronounc't on both precedes.

He ended, and the heav'nly Audience loudSung Halleluia, as the sound of Seas,Through multitude that sung: Just are thy ways,Righteous are thy Decrees on all thy Works;Who can extenuate thee? Next, to the Son,Destin'd restorer of Mankind, by whomNew Heav'n and Earth shall to the Ages rise,Or down from Heav'n descend. Such was thir song,While the Creator calling forth by nameHis mightie Angels gave them several charge,As sorted best with present things. The SunHad first his precept so to move, so shine,As might affect the Earth with cold and heatScarce tollerable, and from the North to callDecrepit Winter, from the South to bringSolstitial summers heat. To the blanc MooneHer office they prescrib'd, to th' other fiveThir planetarie motions and aspectsIn Sextile, Square, and Trine, and Opposite,Of noxious efficacie, and when to joyneIn Synod unbenigne, and taught the fixtThir influence malignant when to showre,Which of them rising with the Sun, or falling,Should prove tempestuous: To the Winds they setThir corners, when with bluster to confoundSea, Aire, and Shoar, the Thunder when to rowleWith terror through the dark Aereal Hall.Some say he bid his Angels turne ascanseThe Poles of Earth twice ten degrees and moreFrom the Suns Axle; they with labour push'dOblique the Centric Globe: Som say the SunWas bid turn Reines from th' Equinoctial RodeLike distant breadth to Taurus with the Seav'nAtlantick Sisters, and the Spartan TwinsUp to the Tropic Crab; thence down amaineBy Leo and the Virgin and the Scales,As deep as Capricorne, to bring in changeOf Seasons to each Clime; else had the SpringPerpetual smil'd on Earth with vernant Flours,Equal in Days and Nights, except to thoseBeyond the Polar Circles; to them DayHad unbenighted shon, while the low SunTo recompence his distance, in thir sightHad rounded still th' Horizon, and not knownOr East or West, which had forbid the SnowFrom cold Estotiland, and South as farrBeneath Magellan. At that tasted FruitThe Sun, as from Thyestean Banquet, turn'dHis course intended; else how had the WorldInhabited, though sinless, more then now,Avoided pinching cold and scorching heate?These changes in the Heav'ns, though slow, produc'dLike change on Sea and Land, sideral blast,Vapour, and Mist, and Exhalation hot,Corrupt and Pestilent: Now from the NorthOf Norumbega, and the Samoed shoarBursting thir brazen Dungeon, armd with iceAnd snow and haile and stormie gust and flaw,Boreas and Caecias and Argestes loudAnd Thrascias rend the Woods and Seas upturn;With adverse blast upturns them from the SouthNotus and Afer black with thundrous CloudsFrom Serraliona; thwart of these as fierceForth rush the Levant and the Ponent WindesEurus and Zephir with thir lateral noise,Sirocco, and Libecchio, Thus beganOutrage from liveless things; but Discord firstDaughter of Sin, among th' irrational,Death introduc'd through fierce antipathie:Beast now with Beast gan war, and Fowle with Fowle,And Fish with Fish; to graze the Herb all leaving,Devourd each other; nor stood much in aweOf Man, but fled him, or with count'nance grimGlar'd on him passing: these were from withoutThe growing miseries, which Adam sawAlreadie in part, though hid in gloomiest shade,To sorrow abandond, but worse felt within,And in a troubl'd Sea of passion tost,Thus to disburd'n sought with sad complaint.

O miserable of happie! is this the endOf this new glorious World, and mee so lateThe Glory of that Glory, who now becomAccurst of blessed, hide me from the faceOf God, whom to behold was then my highthOf happiness: yet well, if here would endThe miserie, I deserv'd it, and would beareMy own deservings; but this will not serve;All that I eat or drink, or shall beget,Is propagated curse. O voice once heardDelightfully, Encrease and multiply,Now death to heare! for what can I encreaseOr multiplie, but curses on my head?Who of all Ages to succeed, but feelingThe evil on him brought by me, will curseMy Head, Ill fare our Ancestor impure,For this we may thank Adam; but his thanksShall be the execration; so besidesMine own that bide upon me, all from meeShall with a fierce reflux on mee redound,On mee as on thir natural center lightHeavie, though in thir place. O fleeting joyesOf Paradise, deare bought with lasting woes!Did I request thee, Maker, from my ClayTo mould me Man, did I sollicite theeFrom darkness to promote me, or here placeIn this delicious Garden? as my WillConcurd not to my being, it were but rightAnd equal to reduce me to my dust,Desirous to resigne, and render backAll I receav'd, unable to performeThy terms too hard, by which I was to holdThe good I sought not. To the loss of that,Sufficient penaltie, why hast thou addedThe sense of endless woes? inexplicableThy justice seems; yet to say truth, too late,I thus contest; then should have been refusdThose terms whatever, when they were propos'd:Thou didst accept them; wilt thou enjoy the good,Then cavil the conditions? and though GodMade thee without thy leave, what if thy SonProve disobedient, and reprov'd, retort,Wherefore didst thou beget me? I sought it not:Wouldst thou admit for his contempt of theeThat proud excuse? yet him not thy election,But Natural necessity begot.God made thee of choice his own, and of his ownTo serve him, thy reward was of his grace,Thy punishment then justly is at his Will.Be it so, for I submit, his doom is fair,That dust I am, and shall to dust returne:O welcom hour whenever! why delayesHis hand to execute what his DecreeFixd on this day? why do I overlive,Why am I mockt with death, and length'nd outTo deathless pain? how gladly would I meetMortalitie my sentence, and be EarthInsensible, how glad would lay me downAs in my Mothers lap? there I should restAnd sleep secure; his dreadful voice no moreWould Thunder in my ears, no fear of worseTo mee and to my ofspring would torment meWith cruel expectation. Yet one doubtPursues me still, least all I cannot die,Least that pure breath of Life, the Spirit of ManWhich God inspir'd, cannot together perishWith this corporeal Clod; then in the Grave,Or in some other dismal place who knowsBut I shall die a living Death? O thoughtHorrid, if true! yet why? it was but breathOf Life that sinn'd; what dies but what had lifeAnd sin? the Bodie properly hath neither.All of me then shall die: let this appeaseThe doubt, since humane reach no further knows.For though the Lord of all be infinite,Is his wrauth also? be it, man is not so,But mortal doom'd. How can he exerciseWrath without end on Man whom Death must end?Can he make deathless Death? that were to makeStrange contradiction, which to God himselfImpossible is held, as ArgumentOf weakness, not of Power. Will he, draw out,For angers sake, finite to infiniteIn punisht man, to satisfie his rigourSatisfi'd never; that were to extendHis Sentence beyond dust and Natures Law,By which all Causes else according stillTo the reception of thir matter act,Not to th' extent of thir own Spheare. But sayThat Death be not one stroak, as I suppos'd,Bereaving sense, but endless miserieFrom this day onward, which 1 feel begunBoth in me, and without me, and so lastTo perpetuitie; Ay me, that fearComes thundring back with dreadful revolutionOn my defensless head; both Death and IAm found Eternal, and incorporate both,Nor I on my part single, in mee allPosteritie stands curst: Fair PatrimonieThat I must leave ye, Sons; O were I ableTo waste it all my self, and leave ye none!So disinherited how would ye blessMe now your curse! Ah, why should all mankindFor one mans fault thus guiltless be condemn'd,If guiltless? But from me what can proceed,But all corrupt, both Mind and Will deprav'd,Not to do onely, but to will the sameWith me? how can they then acquitted standIn sight of God? Him after all DisputesForc't I absolve: all my evasions vain,And reasonings, though through Mazes, lead me stillBut to my own conviction: first and lastOn mee, mee onely, as the sourse and springOf all corruption, all the blame lights due;So might the wrauth. Fond wish! couldst thou supportThat burden heavier then the Earth to bearThen all the World much heavier, though dividedWith that bad Woman? Thus what thou desir'stAnd what thou fearst, alike destroyes all hopeOf refuge, and concludes thee miserableBeyond all past example and future,To Satan only like both crime and doom.O Conscience, into what Abyss of fearsAnd horrors hast thou driv'n me; out of whichI find no way, from deep to deeper plung'd!

Thus Adam to himself lamented loudThrough the still Night, not now, as ere man fell,Wholsom and cool, and mild, but with black AirAccompanied, with damps and dreadful gloom,Which to his evil Conscience representedAll things with double terror: On the GroundOutstretcht he lay, on the cold ground, and oftCurs'd his Creation, Death as oft accus'dOf tardie execution, since denounc'tThe day of his offence. Why comes not Death,Said hee, with one thrice acceptable strokeTo end me? Shall Truth fail to keep her word,Justice Divine not hast'n to be just?But Death comes not at call, Justice DivineMends not her slowest pace for prayers or cries.O Woods, O Fountains, Hillocks, Dales and Bowrs,With other echo late I taught your ShadesTo answer, and resound farr other Song.Whom thus afflicted when sad Eve bebeld,Desolate where she sate, approaching nigh,Soft words to his fierce passion she assay'd:But her with stern regard he thus repell'd.

Out of my sight, thou Serpent, that name bestBefits thee with him leagu'd, thy self as falseAnd hateful; nothing wants, but that thy shape,Like his, and colour Serpentine may shewThy inward fraud, to warn all Creatures from theeHenceforth; least that too heav'nly form, pretendedTo hellish falshood, snare them. But for theeI had persisted happie, had not thy prideAnd wandring vanitie, when lest was safe,Rejected my forewarning, and disdain'dNot to be trusted, longing to be seenThough by the Devil himself, him overweeningTo over-reach, but with the Serpent meetingFool'd and beguil'd, by him thou, I by thee,To trust thee from my side, imagin'd wise,Constant, mature, proof against all assaults,And understood not all was but a shewRather then solid vertu, all but a RibCrooked by nature, bent, as now appears,More to the part sinister from me drawn,Well if thrown out, as supernumerarieTo my just number found. O why did God,Creator wise, that peopl'd highest Heav'nWith Spirits Masculine, create at lastThis noveltie on Earth, this fair defectOf Nature, and not fill the World at onceWith Men as Angels without Feminine,Or find some other way to generateMankind? this mischief had not then befall'n,And more that shall befall, innumerableDisturbances on Earth through Femal snares,And straight conjunction with this Sex: for eitherHe never shall find out fit Mate, but suchAs some misfortune brings him, or mistake,Or whom he wishes most shall seldom gainThrough her perversness, but shall see her gaindBy a farr worse, or if she love, withheldBy Parents, or his happiest choice too lateShall meet, alreadie linkt and Wedlock-boundTo a fell Adversarie, his hate or shame:Which infinite calamitie shall causeTo Humane life, and houshold peace confound.

He added not, and from her turn'd, but EveNot so repulst, with Tears that ceas'd not flowing,And tresses all disorderd, at his feetFell humble, and imbracing them, besaughtHis peace, and thus proceeded in her plaint.

Forsake me not thus, Adam, witness Heav'nWhat love sincere, and reverence in my heartI beare thee, and unweeting have offended,Unhappilie deceav'd; thy suppliantI beg, and clasp thy knees; bereave me not,Whereon I live, thy gentle looks, thy aid,Thy counsel in this uttermost distress,My onely strength and stay: forlorn of thee,Whither shall I betake me, where subsist?While yet we live, scarse one short hour perhaps,Between us two let there be peace, both joyning,As joyn'd in injuries, one enmitieAgainst a Foe by doom express assign'd us,That cruel Serpent: On me exercise notThy hatred for this miserie befall'n,On me alreadie lost, mee then thy selfMore miserable; both have sin'd, but thouAgainst God onely, I against God and thee,And to the place of judgment will return,There with my cries importune Heaven, that allThe sentence from thy head remov'd may lightOn me, sole cause to thee of all this woe,Mee mee onely just object of his ire.

She ended weeping, and her lowlie plight,Immoveable till peace obtain'd from faultAcknowledg'd and deplor'd, in Adam wraughtCommiseration; soon his heart relentedTowards her, his life so late and sole delight,Now at his feet submissive in distress,Creature so faire his reconcilement seeking,His counsel whom she had displeas'd, his aide;As one disarm'd, his anger all he lost,And thus with peaceful words uprais'd her soon.

Unwarie, and too desirous, as before,So now of what thou knowst not, who desir'stThe punishment all on thy self; alas,Beare thine own first, ill able to sustaineHis full wrauth whose thou feelst as yet lest part,And my displeasure bearst so ill. If PrayersCould alter high Decrees, I to that placeWould speed before thee, and be louder heard,That on my head all might be visited,Thy frailtie and infirmer Sex forgiv'n,To me committed and by me expos'd.But rise, let us no more contend, nor blameEach other, blam'd enough elsewhere, but striveIn offices of Love, how we may light'nEach others burden in our share of woe;Since this days Death denounc't, if ought I see,Will prove no sudden, but a slow-pac't evill,A long days dying to augment our paine,And to our Seed (O hapless Seed!) deriv'd.

To whom thus Eve, recovering heart, repli'd.Adam, by sad experiment I knowHow little weight my words with thee can finde,Found so erroneous, thence by just eventFound so unfortunate; nevertheless,Restor'd by thee, vile as I am, to placeOf new acceptance, hopeful to regaineThy Love, the sole contentment of my heartLiving or dying, from thee I will not hideWhat thoughts in my unquiet brest are ris'n,Tending to some relief of our extremes,Or end, though sharp and sad, yet tolerable,As in our evils, and of easier choice.If care of our descent perplex us most,Which must be born to certain woe, devourdBy Death at last, and miserable it isTo be to others cause of misery,Our own begotten, and of our Loines to bringInto this cursed World a woful Race,That after wretched Life must be at lastFood for so foule a Monster, in thy powerIt lies, yet ere Conception to preventThe Race unblest, to being yet unbegot.Childless thou art, Childless remaine: so DeathShall be deceav'd his glut, and with us twoBe forc'd to satisfie his Rav'nous Maw.But if thou judge it hard and difficult,Conversing, looking, loving, to abstainFrom Loves due Rites, Nuptial imbraces sweet,And with desire to languish without hope,Before the present object languishingWith like desire, which would be meserieAnd torment less then none of what we dread,Then both our selves and Seed at once to freeFrom what we fear for both, let us make short,Let us seek Death, or he not found, supplyWith our own hands his Office on our selves;Why stand we longer shivering under feares,That shew no end but Death, and have the power,Of many ways to die the shortest choosing,Destruction with destruction to destroy.

She ended heer, or vehement despaireBroke off the rest; so much of Death her thoughtsHad entertaind, as di'd her Cheeks with pale.But Adam with such counsel nothing sway'd,To better hopes his more attentive mindeLabouring had rais'd, and thus to Eve repli'd.

Eve, thy contempt of life and pleasure seemsTo argue in thee somthing more sublimeAnd excellent then what thy minde contemnes;But self-destruction therefore saught, refutesThat excellence thought in thee, and implies,Not thy contempt, but anguish and regretFor loss of life and pleasure overlov'd.Or if thou covet death, as utmost endOf miserie, so thinking to evadeThe penaltie pronounc't, doubt not but GodHath wiselier arm'd his vengeful ire then soTo be forestall'd; much more I fear least DeathSo snatcht will not exempt us from the paineWe are by doom to pay; rather such actsOf contumacie will provoke the highestTo make death in us live: Then let us seekSome safer resolution, which methinksI have in view, calling to minde with heedPart of our Sentence, that thy Seed shall bruiseThe Serpents head; piteous amends, unlessBe meant, whom I conjecture, our grand FoeSatan, who in the Serpent hath contriv'dAgainst us this deceit: to crush his headWould be revenge indeed; which will be lostBy death brought on our selves, or childless daysResolv'd, as thou proposest; so our FoeShall scape his punishment ordain'd, and weeInstead shall double ours upon our heads.No more be mention'd then of violenceAgainst our selves, and wilful barrenness,That cuts us off from hope, and savours onelyRancor and pride, impatience and despite,Reluctance against God and his just yokeLaid on our Necks. Remember with what mildAnd gracious temper he both heard and judg'dWithout wrauth or reviling; wee expectedImmediate dissolution, which we thoughtWas meant by Death that day, when lo, to theePains onely in Child-bearing were foretold,And bringing forth, soon recompenc't with joy,Fruit of thy Womb: On mee the Curse aslopeGlanc'd on the ground, with labour I must earneMy bread; what harm? Idleness had bin worse;My labour will sustain me; and least ColdOr Heat should injure us, his timely careHath unbesaught provided, and his handsCloath'd us unworthie, pitying while he judg'd;How much more, if we pray him, will his earBe open, and his heart to pitie incline,And teach us further by what means to shunTh' inclement Seasons, Rain, Ice, Hail and Snow,Which now the Skie with various Face beginsTo shew us in this Mountain, while the WindsBlow moist and keen, shattering the graceful locksOf these fair spreading Trees; which bids us seekSom better shroud, som better warmth to cherishOur Limbs benumm'd, ere this diurnal StarrLeave cold the Night, how we his gather'd beamsReflected, may with matter sere foment,Or by collision of two bodies grindeThe Air attrite to Fire, as late the CloudsJustling or pusht with Winds rude in thir shockTine the slant Lightning, whose thwart flame driv'n downKindles the gummie bark of Firr or Pine,And sends a comfortable heat from farr,Which might supplie the Sun: such Fire to use,And what may else be remedie or cureTo evils which our own misdeeds have wrought,Hee will instruct us praying, and of GraceBeseeching him, so as we need not fearTo pass commodiously this life, sustain'dBy him with many comforts, till we endIn dust, our final rest and native home.What better can we do, then to the placeRepairing where he judg'd us, prostrate fallBefore him reverent, and there confessHumbly our faults, and pardon beg, with tearsWatering the ground, and with our sighs the AirFrequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in signOf sorrow unfeign'd, and humiliation meek.Undoubtedly he will relent and turnFrom his displeasure; in whose look serene,When angry most he seem'd and most severe,What else but favor, grace, and mercie shon?

So spake our Father penitent, nor EveFelt less remorse: they forthwith to the placeRepairing where he judg'd them prostrate fellBefore him reverent, and both confess'dHumbly thir faults, and pardon beg'd, with tearsWatering the ground, and with thir sighs the AirFrequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in signOf sorrow unfeign'd, and humiliation meek.

© John Milton