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The Five-Foot Shelf of Books 


The Complete Poems 
o/John Milton 

WiM Introduction and "Notes 
Volume 4 

P. F. Collier & Son Corporation 


Copyright, 1909 
By p. F. Collikr & Sow 




Poems Written at School and at College, 1624-1632 

On the Morning of Christ's Nativity 7 

A Paraphrase on Psalm CXIV 15 

Psalm CXXXVI 15 

On the Death of a Fair Infant Dying of a Couch ... 18 
At a Vacation Exercise in the College, Part Latin, Part 

English 20 

The Passion 23 

On Shakespeare 25 

On the University Carrier 26 

Another on the Same 26 

An Epitaph on the Marchioness of Winchester .... 27 

On His Being Arrived to the Ace of Twenty-Three ... 29 

Poems Written at Horton, i 632-1 638 

L'Allegro 30 

II Penseroso 34 

Sonnet to the Nightingale 38 

Song on May Morning 39 

On Time 39 

At a Solemn Music 40 

Upon the Circumcision 40 

Arcades 41 

CoMus, A Mask 44 

Lycidas 72 

Poems Written During the Civil War and the Protectorate, 

When the Assault Was Intended to the City 78 

To a Virtuous Young Lady 78 

To the Lady Margaret Ley 79 

On the Detraction which Followed upon my Writing 

Certain Treatises 79 

On the Same 80 

On the New Forcers of Conscience under the Long Par- 
liament 80 




To Mr. H. Lawes on His Airs 8i 

On the Religious Memory of Mrs. Catherine Thomson, my 

Christian Friend, deceased Dec. i6, 1646 81 

On the Lord General Fairfax at the Siege of Colchester . 83 
To the Lord General Cromwell, on the Proposals of Cer- 
tain Ministers at the Committee for the Propagation of 

THE Gospel 82 

To Sir Henry Vane the Younger 83 

On the Late Massacre in Piemont 83 

On His Blindness 84 

To Mr. Lawrence 84 

To Cyriack Skinner 85 

To the Same 85 

On His Deceased Wife 86 

Paradise Lost, 1658-1663 

The First Book 87 

The Second Book 108 

The Third Book 135 

The Fourth Book 154 

The Fifth Book 180 

The Sixth Book 204 

The Seventh Book 227 

The Eighth Book 243 

The Ninth Book 260 

The Tenth Book 290 

The Eleventh Book 319 

The Twelfth Book 341 

Paradise Regained, 1665-1667 

The First Book 359 

The Second Book 371 

The Third Book 384 

The Fourth Book 395 

Milton's Introduction to Samson Agonistes 412 

Samson Agonistes, 1667-1671 414 


Among English men of letters there is none whose life and work stand 
in more intimate relation with the history of his times than those of 
Milton. Not only was he for a long jxiriod immersed in political contro- 
versy and public business, but there are few of his important works which 
do not become more significant in the light of contemporary events, and 
in turn help the understanding of these events themselves. It is evidence 
of this intimate relation, that the periods into which his life naturally 
falls coincide with the periods into which English history in the seven- 
teenth century divides itself. The first of these extends from Milton's 
birth to his return from Italy, and corresponds with that period in the 
reigns of James I and Charles I during which the religious and political 
differences which culminated in the Civil War were working up to a 
climax. The second ends with his retirement into private life, in 1660, 
and coincides with the period of the Civil War and the Commonwealth. 
The third closes with his death in 1674, and falls within the period of 
the Restoration. 

John Milton was born in Bread Street, London, on the ninth of De- 
cember, 1608. He was the son of John Milton, a prosperous scrivener 
(i. e., attorney and law-stationer), a man of good family and considerable 
culture, especially devoted to music. In the education of the future f)oet 
the elder Milton was exceptionally generous. From childhood he destined 
him for the Church, and the preparation begun at home was continued 
at St. Paul's School and at Cambridge. We have abundant evidence 
that the boy was from the first a quick and diligent student, and the 
late study to which he was addicted from childhood was the beginning 
of that injury to his eyes which ended in blindness. He entered Christ's 
College, Cambridge, in 1625, took the degree of B. A. in 1629, and that 
of M. A. in 1632, when he left the University after seven years' residence. 
But the development of aflairs in the English Church had overturned his 
plans, and the interference of Laud with freedom of thought and preach- 
ing among the clergy led Milton "to prefer a blameless silence before 
the sacred office of speaking bought with servitude and forswearing." 
So he retired to his father's house at Horton in Buckinghamshire, and 
devoted the next six years to quiet study and the composition of a few 

In 1638 Milton set out on a journey to Italy. After some days in Paris, 
he passed on by way of Nice to Genoa, Leghorn, Pisa, and Florence, in 


which last city he spent about two months in the society of wits and men 
of letters. After two months more spent in Rome, he visited Naples, and 
had intended to cross to Sicily and go thence to Greece, when rumors 
of civil war in England led him to turn his face homeward, "inasmuch," 
he says, "as I thought it base to be traveling at my ease for intellectual 
culture while my countrymen at home were fighting for liberty." His 
writings produced abroad were all in Italian or Latin, and seem to have 
brought him considerable distinction among the Italian men of letters 
whom he met. 

Yet Milton did not plunge rashly into the political conflict. After he 
returned from the Continent, the household at Horton was broken up, 
and he went to London to resume his studies, and decide on the form and 
subject of his great poem. Part of his time was occupied in teaching his 
two nephews, and afterward he took under his care a small number of 
youths, sons of his friends. In 1643 he married Mary Powell, the daugh- 
ter of an Oxfordshire Royalist. In about a month she left him and 
remained away for two years, at the end of which time she sought and 
obtained a reconciliation. She died in 1653 or 1654, leaving him three 
little daughters. 

The main occupation of his first years in London was controversy. 
Liberty was Milton's deepest passion, and in liberty we sum up the theme 
of his prose writings. There are "three species of liberty," he says, "which 
are essential to the happiness of social life — religious, domestic, and civil," 
and for all three he fought. His most important prose works may, indeed, 
be roughly classed under these heads: under religious, his pamphlets 
against Episcopacy; under domestic, his works on Education, Divorce, 
and the Freedom of the Press; under civil, his controversial writings on 
the overthrow of the monarchy. In all of these he strove for freedom and 
toleration; and when England became a Republic, he became officially 
associated with the new government as Secretary of Foreign Tongues, in 
which capacity he not only conducted its foreign correspondence, but also 
acted as its literary adviser and champion in the controversies by pam- 
phlet that arose in connection with the execution of the King and the 
theory of the Commonwealth. It was in the midst of these activities that 
a great calamity overtook him. The defence of the late King had been 
undertaken by the famous Dutch Latinist Salmasius in a "Defensio 
Regis," and to Milton fell the task of replying to it. His eyesight, weak- 
ened even in childhood by overstudy, was now failing fast, and he was 
warned by physicians that it would go altogether if he persisted in this 
work. But to Milton the fight he had entered on was no mere matter of 


professional employment as it was to his opponent, and he deliberately 
sacrificed what remained to him of light in the service of the cause to 
which he was devoted. The reply was a most effective one, but it left 
Milton hopelessly blind. With the aid of an assistant, however, he 
retained his office through the Protectorate of Cromwell, until the eve of 
the Restoration. 

Oliver Cromwell died in 1658, his son Richard succeeded him for a 
short time, and in 1660 Charles II was restored to the throne. To the 
last Milton fought with tremendous earnestness against this catastrophe. 
For, to him, it was indeed a catastrophe. The return of the Stuarts meant 
to him not only great personal danger, but, what was far more impor- 
tant, it meant the overthrow of all that he had for twenty years sf)ent 
himself to uphold. It meant the setting up in government, in religion, 
and in society, of ideals and institutions that he could not but regard 
as the extreme of reaction and national degradation. Almost by a 
miracle he escaped personal violence, but he was of necessity forced into 
obscure retirement; and there, reduced in fortune, blind, and broken- 
hearted, he devoted himself to the production of "Paradise Lost" and 
"Paradise Regained." The great schemes which in his early manhood 
he had planned and dreamed over had for years been laid aside; but now 
at last he had a mournful leisure, and with magnificent fortitude he 
availed himself of the opportunity. 

"Paradise Lost" had been begun even before the King's return; in 
1665 it was finished, and in 1667 the first edition appeared. "Paradise 
Regained" and "Samson Agonistes" were published in 1671. 

In 1657 Milton's second wife, Catherine Woodcock, had died. For 
about seven years after, he lived alone with his three daughters, whom he 
trained to read to him not merely in English, but in Latin, Greek, Italian, 
French, Spanish, and Hebrew, though they did not understand a word 
of what they read. What little we know of their relations to their father 
is not pleasant. They seem to have been rebellious and undutiful, though 
doubtless there was much provocation. In 1663 Milton took a third wife, 
Elizabeth Minshull, who did much to give ease and comfort to his last 
years, and who long survived him. 

The retirement in which he lived during this third period, when public 
affairs seemed to him to have gone all wrong, was not absolutely solitary. 
The harshness that appears in his controversial writings, and the some- 
what unsympathetic austerity that seems to be indicated by his relations 
with his first wife and his children, are to be counterbalanced in our 
minds by the impression of companionableness that we derive from the 


picture of the old blind poet, sought out by many who not merely 
admired his greatness, but found pleasure in his society, and counted it a 
privilege to talk with him and read to him. Stern and sad he could 
hardly fail to be, but his old age was peaceful and not bitter. He died 
on November 8, 1674, and was buried in the Church of St. Giles, Cripple- 
gate, London. 

In spite of Milton's association with the Puritan party in the political 
struggles of his time, the common habit of referring to him as "the 
Puritan Poet" is seriously misleading. The Puritans of the generation 
of Milton's father were indeed often men of culture and love of the arts, 
but the Puritans of the Civil War, the Puritans whom we think of to-day 
in our ordinary use of the term, were, in general, men who had not 
only no interest in art, but who regarded beauty itself as a temptation of 
the evil one. Even a slight study of Milton's works will convince the 
reader that to this class Milton could never have belonged. Side by side 
with his love of liberty and his enthusiasm for moral purity — qualities 
in which even then the Puritans had no monopoly — Milton was passion- 
ately devoted to beauty; and the reason why his work survives to-day 
is not because part of it expresses the Puritan theology, but because of its 
artistic qualities — above all because it is at once more faultless and more 
nobly sustained in music than that of any other English poet. 


1 624- 1 632 


THIS is the month, and this the happy morn. 
Wherein the Son of Heaven's eternal King, 
Of wedded maid and Virgin Mother born, 
Our great redemption from above did bring; 
For so the holy sages once did sing. 

That he our deadly forfeit should release, 
And with his Father work us a perpetual peace. 


That glorious Form, that Light unsuflerable, 
And that far-beaming blaze of majesty. 
Wherewith he wont at Heaven's high council-table 
To sit the midst of Trinal Unity, 
He laid aside, and, here with us to be. 

Forsook the Courts of everlasting Day, 
And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay. 

Say, Heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein 
Afford a present to the Infant God? 
Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain. 
To welcome him to this his new abode. 
Now while the heaven, by the Sun's team untrod. 
Hath took no print of the approaching light. 
And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons 



See how from far upon the Eastern road 
The star-led Wisards haste with odours sweet! 
Oh! run; prevent them with thy humble ode, 
And lay it lowly at his blessed feet; 
Have thou the honour first thy Lord to greet, 

And join thy voice unto the Angel Quire, 
From out his secret altar touched with hallowed fire. 

The Hymn 

It was the winter wild. 
While the heaven-born child 
All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies; 
Nature, in awe to him, 
Had doffed her gaudy trim. 
With her great Mastei so to sympathize: 
It was no season then for her 
To wanton with the Sun, her lusty Paramour. 

Only with speeches fair 
She woos the gentle air 
To hide her guilty front with innocent snow. 
And on her naked shame. 
Pollute with sinful blame, 
The saindy veil of maiden white to throw; 
Confounded, that her Maker's eyes 
Should look so near upon her foul deformities. 

But he, her fears to cease. 
Sent down the meek-eyed Peace: 
She, crowned with olive green, came softly sliding 
Down through the turning sphere, 
His ready Harbinger, 
With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing; 
And, waving wide her myrde wand. 
She strikes a universal peace through sea and land. 



No war, or battail's sound, 
Was heard the world around; 
The idle spear and shield were high uphung; 
The hooked chariot stood. 
Unstained with hostile blood; 
The trumpet spake not to the armed throng; 
And Kings sat still with awful eye. 
As if they surely knew their sovran Lord was by. 

But peaceful was the night 
Wherein the Prince of Light 
His reign of fxjace upon the earth began. 
The winds, with wonder whist, 
Smoothly the waters kissed. 
Whispering new joys to the mild Ocean, 
Who now hath quite forgot to rave. 
While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave. 

The stars, with deep amaze, 
Stand fixed in steadfast gaze. 
Bending one way their precious influence. 
And will not take their flight, 
For all the morning light. 
Or Lucifer that often warned them thence; 
But in their glimmering orbs did glow. 
Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them go. 


And, though the shady gloom 
Had given day her room. 
The Sun himself withheld his wonted speed, 
And hid his head for shame. 
As his inferior flame 
The new<'nlightened world no more should need: 
He saw a greater Sun appear 
Than his bright Throne or burning axletree could bear. 



The Shepherds on the lawn. 
Or ere the point of dawn, 
Sat simply chatting in a rustic row; 
Full litde thought they than 
That the mighty Pan 
Was kindly come to live with them below: 
Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep, 
Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep. 

When such music sweet 
Their hearts and ears did greet 
As never was by mortal finger strook, 
Divinely-warbled voice 
Answering the stringed noise, 
As all their souls in blissful rapture took: 
The air, such pleasure loth to lose. 
With thousand echoes still prolongs each heavenly close. 

Nature, that heard such sound 
Beneath the hollow round 
Of Cynthia's seat the airy Region thrilling, 
Now was almost won 
To think her part was done. 
And that her reign had here its last fulfilling: 
She knew such harmony alone 
Could hold all Heaven and Earth in happier union. 


At last surrounds their sight 

A globe of circular light, 
That with long beams the shamefaced Night 

The helmed Cherubim 

And sworded Seraphim 
Are seen in glittering ranks with wings displayed, 


Harping in loud and solemn quire. 

With unexpressive notes, to Heaven's newborn Heir. 


Such music (as 'tis said) 
Before was never made. 
But when of old the Sons of Morning sung. 
While the Creator great 
His constellations set. 
And the well-balanced World on hinges hung. 
And cast the dark foundations deep, 
And bid the weltering waves their oozy channel keep. 

Ring out, ye crystal spheres! 
Once bless our human ears, 
If ye have power to touch our senses so; 
And let your silver chime 
Move in melodious time; 
And let the bass of heaven's deep organ blow; 
And with your ninefold harmony 
Make up full consort to the angelic symphony. 


For, if such holy song 
Enwrap our fancy long. 
Time will run back and fetch the Age of Gold; 
And speckled Vanity 
Will sicken soon and die, 
And leprous Sin will melt from earthly mould; 
And Hell itself will pass away, 
And leave her dolorous mansions to the p>eering day. 


Yes, Truth and Justice then 
Will down return to men, 
The enamelled arras of the rainbow wearing; 
And Mercy set between. 
Throned in celestial sheen, 


With radiant feet the tissued clouds down steering; 
And Heaven, as at some festival, 
Will open wide the gates of her high palace-hall. 


But wisest Fate says No, 
This must not yet be so; 
The Babe lies yet in smiling infancy 
That on the bitter cross 
Must redeem our loss. 
So both himself and us to glorify: 
Yet first, to those ychained in sleep, 
The wakeful trump of doom must thunder through the 


With such a horrid clang 
As on Mount Sinai rang, 
While the red fire and smouldering clouds outbrake: 
The aged Earth, aghast 
With terror of that blast. 
Shall from the surface to the centre shake, 
When, at the world's last session, 
The dreadful Judge in middle air shall spread his throne. 


And then at last our bliss 
Full and perfect is. 
But now begins; for from this happy day 
The Old Dragon under ground. 
In straiter limits bound, 
Not half so far casts his usurped sway. 
And, wroth to see his Kingdom fail, 
Swindges the scaly horror of his folded tail. 


The Oracles are dumb; 
No voice or hideous hum 
Runs through the archW roof in words deceiving. 


Apollo from his shrine 
Can no more divine, 
With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving. 
No nightly trance, or breathed spell, 
Inspires the pale-eyed Priest from the prophetic cell. 


The lonely mountains o'er, 
And the resounding shore, 
A voice of weeping heard and loud lament; 
From haunted spring, and dale 
Edg^d with f>oplar pale, 
The parting Genius is with sighing sent; 
With flower-inwoven tresses torn 
The Nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets 


In consecrated earth. 
And on the holy hearth. 
The Lars and Lemures moan with midnight plaint; 
In urns, and altars round, 
A drear and dying sound 
Affrights the Flamens at their service quaint; 
And the chill marble seems to sweat. 
While each peculiar power forgoes his wonted seat. 


Peor and Baalim 
Forsake their temples dim. 
With that twice-battered god of Palestine; 
And mooned Ashtaroth, 
Heaven's Queen and Mother both, 
Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine: 
The Libyc Hammon shrinks his horn; 
In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammuz 


And sullen Moloch, fled. 
Hath left in shadows dread 
His burning idol all of blackest hue; 


In vain with cymbals' ring 

They call the grisly king. 
In dismal dance about the furnace blue; 
The brutish gods of Nile as fast, 
Isis, and Orus, and the dog Anubis, haste. 

Nor is Osiris seen 
In Memphian grove or green, 
Trampling the unshowered grass with lowings 
Nor can he be at rest 
Within his sacred chest; 
Nought but profoundest Hell can be his shroud; 
In vain, with timbreled anthems dark. 
The sable-stoled Sorcerers bear his worshiped ark. 


He feels from Juda's land 
The dreaded Infant's hand; 
The rays of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyn; 
Nor all the gods beside 
Longer dare abide, 
Not Typhon huge ending in snaky twine: 
Our Babe, to show his Godhead true. 
Can in his swaddling bands control the damned crew. 


So, when the Sun in bed, 
Curtained with cloudy red, 
Pillows his chin u[>on an orient wave. 
The flocking shadows pale 
Troop to the infernal jail, 
Each fettered ghost slifjs to his several grave, 
And the yellow-skirted Fays 

Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon-loved 


But see! the Virgin blest 
Hath laid her Babe to rest. 
Time is our tedious song should here have ending: 
Heaven's youngest-teemed star 
Hath fixed her polished car, 
Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp attending; 
And all about the courtly stable 
Bright-harnessed Angels sit in order serviceable. 



When the blest seed of Terah's faithful Son 

After long toil their liberty had won. 

And passed from Pharian fields to Canaan Land, 

Led by the strength of the Almighty's hand, 

Jehovah's wonders were in Israel shown, 

His praise and glory was in Israel known. 

That saw the troubled sea, and shivering fled. 

And sought to hide his froth-becurled head 

Low in the earth; Jordan's clear streams recoil, 

As a faint host that hath received the foil. 

The high huge-bellied mountains skip like rams 

Amongst their ewes, the litde hills like lambs. 

Why fled the ocean? and why skipped the mountains? 

Why turned Jordan toward his crystal fountains? 

Shake, Earth, and at the presence be aghast 

Of Him that ever was and aye shall last, 

That glassy floods from rugged rocks can crush, 

And make soft rills from fiery flint-stones gush. 


LzT us with a gladsome mind 
Praise the Lord for he is kind; 

For his mercies aye endure, 

Ever faithful, ever sure. 


Let us blaze his Name abroad, 
For of gods he is the God; 
For his, &c. 

O let us his praises tell, 
That doth the wrathful tyrants quell; 
For his, &c. 

That with his miracles doth make 
Amazed Heaven and Earth to shake; 
For his, &c. 

That by his wisdom did create 
The painted heavens so full of state; 
For his, &c. 

That did the solid Earth ordain 
To rise above the watery plain; 
For his, &c. 

That by his all<ommanding might. 
Did fill the new-made world with light; 
For his, &c. 

And caused the golden-tress^ Sun 
All the day long his course to run; 
For his, 4cc. 

The horned Moon to shine by night 
Amongst her spangled sisters bright; 
For his, &c. 

He, with his thunder<lasptng hand. 
Smote the first-born of Egypt land; 
For his, Sec. 

And, in despite of Pharao fell. 
He brought from thence his Israel; 
For his, &c. 

The ruddy waves he cleft in twain 
Of the Erythraean main; 
For his, Sec. 


The floods stood still, like walls of glass. 
While the Hebrew bands did pass; 
For his, &c. 

But full soon they did devour 
The tawny King with all his power; 
For his, &c. 

His chosen people he did bless 
In the wasteful Wilderness; 
For his, Sec. 

In bloody battail he brought down 
Kings of prowess and renown; 
For his, Jcc. 

He foiled bold Seon and his host. 
That ruled the Atnorrean coast; 
For his, 4tc. 

And large-limbed Og he did subdue, 
With all his over-hardy crew; 
For his, &c. 

And to his servant Israel 
He gave their land, therein to dwell; 
For his, &c. 

He hath, with a piteous eye. 
Beheld us in our misery; 
For his, &c. 

And freed us from the slavery 
Of the invading enemy; 
For his, 8cc. 

All living creatures he doth feed, 
And with full hand supplies their need; 
For his, &c. 

Let us, therefore, warble forth 
His mighty majesty and worth; 
For his, &c. 


That his mansion hath on high, 
Above the reach of mortal eye; 

For his mercies aye endure, 
Ever faithful, ever sure. 



O FAIREST Flower, no sooner blown but blasted, 
Soft silken Primrose fading limelessly, 
Summer's chief honour, if thou hadst outlasted 
Bleak Winter's force that made thy blossom dry; 
For he, being amorous on that lovely dye 

That did thy check envermeil, thought to kiss 
But killed, alas! and then bewailed his fatal bliss. 

For since grim Aquilo, his charioter. 
By boisterous rape the Athenian damsel got, 
He thought it touched his Deity full near. 
If likewise he some fair one wedded not. 
Thereby to wipe away the infamous blot 

Of long uncoupled bed and childless eld, 
Which, 'mongst the wanton gods, a foul reproach 
was held. 

So, mounting up in icy-piearled car. 
Through middle empire of the freezing air 
He wandered long, till thee he spied from far; 
There ended was his quest, there ceased his care: 
Down he descended from his snow-soft chair. 

But, all un'wares, with his cold-kind embrace, 
Unhoused thy virgin soul from her fair biding-place. 


Yet thou art not inglorious in thy fate; 
For so Apollo, with unweeting hand, 


Whilom did slay his dearly-loved mate, 
Young Hyacinth, born on Eurotas' strand, 
Young Hyacinth, the pride of Spartan land; 

But then transformed him to a purple flower: 
Alack, that so to change thee Winter had no power! 

Yet can I not persuade me thou art dead. 

Or that thy corse corrupts in earth's dark womb, 

Or that thy beauties lie in wormy bed 

Hid from the world in a low-delved tomb; 

Could Heaven, for pity, thee so stricdy doom? 

Oh no! for something in thy face did shine 
Above mortality, that showed thou wast divine. 


Resolve me, then, O Soul most surely blest 
(If so be it that thou these plaints dost hear) 
Tell me, bright Spirit, where'er thou hoverest. 
Whether above that high first-moving sphere, 
Or in the Elysian fields (if such there were). 
Oh, say me true if thou wert mortal wight. 
And why from us so quickly thou didst take thy flight. 


Wert thou some Star, which from the ruined roof 
Of shaked Olympus by mischance didst fall; 
Which careful jove in nature's true behoof 
Took up, and in fit place did reinstall? 
Or did of late Earth's sons besiege the wall 

Of sheeny Heaven, and thou some Goddess fled 
Amongst us here below to hide thy nectared head? 


Or wert thou that just Maid who once before 
Forsook the hated earth, oh! tell me sooth. 
And earnest again to visit us once more? 
Or wert thou [Mercy], that sweet smiling Youth? 
Or that crowned Matron, sage white-robed Truth? 


Or any other of that heavenly brood 
Let down in cloudy throne to do the world some good? 

Or wert thou of the golden-winged host. 
Who, having clad thyself in human weed, 
To earth from thy prefixed seat didst post. 
And after short abode fly back with speed. 
As if to shew what creatures Heaven doth breed; 

Thereby to set the hearts of men on fire 
To scorn the sordid world, and unto Heaven aspire? 


But oh! why didst thou not stay here below 
To bless us with thy heaven-loved innocence. 
To slake his wrath whom sin hath made our foe. 
To turn swift-rushing black perdition hence. 
Or drive away the slaughtering pestilence, 

To stand 'twixt us and our deserved smart? 
But thou canst best perform that office where thou art. 

Then thou, the mother of so sweet a child. 
Her false-imagined loss cease to lament. 
And wisely learn to curb thy sorrows wild; 
Think what a present thou to God hast sent. 
And render him with patience what he lent: 

This if thou do, he will an offspring give 
That till the world's last end shall make thy name to 




The Latin speeches ended, the English thus began: — 
Hail, Native Language, that by sinews weak. 
Didst move my first-endeavouring tongue to sfwak. 
And madest imperfect words, with childish trips, 


Half unpronounced, slide through my infant lips, 

Driving dumb Silence from the pxirial door, 

Where he had mutely sat two years before: 

Here I salute thee, and thy pardon ask, 

That now I use thee in my latter task: 

Small loss it is that thence can come unto thee, 

I know my tongue but litde grace can do thee. 

Thou need'st not be ambitious to be first, 

Believe me, I have thither packed the worst: 

And, if it happen as I did forecast. 

The daintiest dishes shall be served up last. 

I pray thee then deny me not thy aid. 

For this same small neglect that I have made; 

But haste thee straight to do me once a pleasure. 

And from thy wardrobe bring thy chieftest treasure; 

Not those new-fangled toys, and trimming slight 

Which takes our late fantastics with delight; 

But cull those richest robes and gayest attire. 

Which deepest spirits and choicest wits desire. 

I have some naked thoughts that rove about. 

And loudly knock to have their passage out. 

And, weary of their place, do only stay 

Till thou hast decked them in thy best array; 

That so they may, without suspect or fears. 

Fly swifdy to this fair Assembly's ears. 

Yet I had rather, if I were to choose, 

Thy service in some graver subject use. 

Such as may make thee search thy coffers round. 

Before thou clothe my fancy in fit sound: 

Such where the deep transported mind may soar 

Above the wheeling poles, and at Heaven's door 

Look in, and see each blissful Deity 

How he before the thunderous throne doth lie. 

Listening to what unshorn Apollo sings 

To the touch of golden wires, while Hebe brings 

Immortal nectar to her kingly Sire; 

Then, passing through the spheres of watchful fire. 

And misty regions of wide air next under, 

And hills of snow and lofts of piUd thunder, 

May tell at length how green-eyed Neptune raves, 


In heaven's defiance mustering all his waves; 

Then sing of secret things that came to pass 

When beldam Nature in her cradle was; 

And last of Kings and Queens and Heroes old. 

Such as the wise Demodocus once told 

In solemn songs at King Alcinoiis' feast. 

While sad Ulysses' soul and all the rest 

Are held, with his melodious harmony, 

In willing chains and sweet captivity. 

But fie, my wandering Muse, how thou dost stray I 

Expectance calls thee now another way. 

Thou know'st it must be now thy only bent 

To keep in compass of thy Predicament. 

Then quick about thy purposed business come, 

That to the next I may resign my room. 

Then Ens is represented at Father of the Predicaments, his ten Sons; 
whereof the eldest stood for Substance ivith his Canons; which Ens, 
thus speaking, explains: — 

Good luck befriend thee, son; for at thy birth 

The faery Ladies danced uf>on the hearth. 

The drowsy Nurse hath sworn she did them spy 

Come tripping to the room where thou didst lie. 

And, sweedy singing round about thy bed, 

Strew all their blessings on thy sleeping head. 

She heard them give thee this, that thou shouldst still 

From eyes of mortals walk invisible. 

Yet there is something that doth force my fear; 

For once it was my dismal hap to hear 

A Sibyl old, bow-bent with crooked age. 

That far events full wisely could presage. 

And, in Time's long and dark prospective-glass. 

Foresaw what future days should bring to pass. 

"Your Son," said she, "(nor can you it prevent,) 

Shall subject be to many an Accident. 

O'er all his Brethren he shall reign as King; 

Yet every one shall make him underling. 

And those that cannot live from him asunder 

Ungratefully shall strive to keep him under. 

In worth and excellence he shall outgo them; 

Yet, being above them, he shall be below them. 


From others he shall stand in need of nothing, 

Yet on his Brothers shall depend for clothing. 

To find a foe it shall not be his hap, 

And peace shall lull him in her flowery lap; 

Yet shall he live in strife, and at his door 

Devouring war shall never cease to roar; 

Yea, it shall be his natural property 

To harbour those that are at enmity." 

What power, what force, what mighty spell, if not 

Your learned hands, can loose this Gordian knot? 

The next, QuANrrnf and Quality, spa\e in prose: then Relation was 
called by his name. 

Rivers, arise: whether thou be the son 

Of utmost Tweed, or Ouse, or gulfy Dun, 

Or Trent, who, like some earth-born Giant, spreads 

His thirty arms along the indented meads, 

Or sullen Mole, that runneth underneath. 

Or Sevren swift, guilty of maiden's death, 

Or rocky Avon, or of sedgy Lea, 

Or coaly Tyne, or ancient hallowed Dee, 

Or Humber loud, that keeps the Scythian's name, 

Or Medway smooth, or royal-towered Thame. 

The rest was prose. 


Erewhile of music, and ethereal mirth. 
Wherewith the stage of Air and Earth did ring. 
And joyous news of heavenly Infant's birth, 
My muse with Angels did divide to sing; 
But headlong joy is ever on the wing. 

In wintry solstice like the shortened light 
Soon swallowed up in dark and long outliving night. 


For now to sorrow must I tune my song. 
And set my Harp to notes of saddest woe, 


Which on our dearest Lord did seize ere long, 
Dangers, and snares, and wrongs, and worse than so, 
Which he for us did freely undergo: 

Most perfect Hero, tried in heaviest plight 
Of labours huge and hard, too hard for human wightt 


He, sovran Priest, stooping his regal head, 
That dropt with odorous oil down his fair eyes, 
Poor fleshly Tabernacle entered, 
His starry front low-roofed beneath the skies: 
Oh, what a mask was there, what a disguise! 

Yet more: the stroke of death he must abide; 
Then lies him meekly down fast by his Brethren's 


These latest scenes confine my roving verse; 
To this horizon is my Phoebus bound. 
His godlike acts, and his temptations fierce. 
And former sufferings, otherwhere are found; 
Loud o'er the rest Cremona's trump doth sound: 

Me softer airs befit, and softer strings 
Of lute, or viol still, more apt for mournful things. 

Befriend me. Night, best Patroness of grief! 

Over the pole thy thickest mantle throw. 

And work my flattered fancy to belief 

That Heaven and Earth are coloured with my woe; 

My sorrows are too dark for day to know: 

The leaves should all be black whereon I write, 
And letters, where my tears have washed, a wannish 


See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels. 
That whirled the prophet up at Chebar flood; 
My spirit some transporting Cherub feels 


To bear me where the Towers of Salem stood, 
Once glorious towers, now sunk in guiltless blood. 

There doth my soul in holy vision sit. 
In pensive trance, and anguish, and ecstatic fit. 

Mine eye hath found that sad sepulchral rock 
That was the casket of Heaven's richest store, 
And here, though grief my feeble hands up-lock, 
Yet on the softened quarry would I score 
My plaining verse as lively as before; 

For sure so well instructed are my tears 
That they would fidy fall in ordered characters. 

Or, should I thence, hurried on viewless wing, 
Take up a weeping on the mountains wild, 
The gende neighbourhood of grove and spring 
Would soon unbosom all their Echoes mild; 
And I (for grief is easily beguiled) 

Might think the infection of my sorrows loud 
Had got a race of mourners on some pregnant cloud. 

This Subject the Author finding to be above the years he had when he 
wrote it, and nothing satisfied with what was begun, left it unfinished. 



What needs my Shakespeare, for his honoured bones, 

The labour of an age in piled stones? 

Or that his hollowed relics should be hid 

Under a star-ypointing pyramid? 

Dear son of Memory, grest heir of Fame, 

What need'st thou such weak witness of thy name? 

Thou, in our wonder and astonishment, 

Hast built thyself a livelong monument. 

For whilst, to the shame of slow-endeavouring art. 

Thy easy numbers flow, and that each heart 

Hath, from the leaves of thy unvalued book. 


Those Delphic lines with deep impression took; 
Then thou, our fancy of itself bereaving, 
Dost make us marble, with too much conceiving; 
And, so sepulchred, in such pwrnp dost lie, 
That kings for such a tomb would wish to die. 


Who sickened in the time of hit Vacancy, being forbid to go to London 
by reason of the Plague. 


Here lies old Hobson. Death hath broke his girt. 

And here, alas! hath laid him in the dirt; 

Or else, the ways being foul, twenty to one 

He's here stuck in a slough, and overthrown. 

"T was such a shifter that, if truth were known, 

Death was half glad when he had got him down; 

For he had any time this ten years full 

Dodged with him betwixt Cambridge and The Bull. 

And surely Death could never have prevailed. 

Had not his weekly course of carriage failed; 

But lately, finding him so long at home. 

And thinking now his journey's end was come, 

And that he had ta'en up his latest Inn, 

In the kind ofifice of a Chamberlin 

Showed him his room where he must lodge that night, 

Pulled off his boots, and took away the light. 

If any ask for him, it shall be said, 

"Hobson has supped, and 's newly gone to bed." 


Here lieth one who did most truly prove 

That he could never die while he could move; 

So hung his destiny, never to rot 

While he might still jog on and keep his trot; 

Made of sphere-metal, never to decay 

Until his revolution was at stay. 

Time numbers Motion, yet (without a crime 

'Gainst old truth) Motion numbered out his time; 

And, like an engine moved with wheel and weight, 


His principles being ceased, he ended straight. 

Rest, that gives all men life, gave him his death, 

And too much breathing put him out of breath; 

Nor were it contradiction to affirm 

Too long vacation hastened on his term. 

Merely to drive the time away he sickened, 

Fainted, and died, nor would with ale be quickened. 

"Nay," quoth he, on his swooning bed outstretched, 

"If I may n't carry, sure I'll ne'er be fetched, 

But vow, though the cross Doctors all stood hearers. 

For one carrier put down to make six bearers." 

Ease was his chief disease; and, to judge right. 

He died for heaviness that his cart went light. 

His leisure told him that his time was come. 

And lack of load made his life burdensome, 

That even to his last breath (there be that say 't), 

As he were pressed to death, he cried, "More weight!" 

But, had his doings lasted as they were, 

He had been an immortal Carrier. 

Obedient to the moon he spent his date 

In course reciprocal, and had his fate 

Linked to the mutual flowing of the seas; 

Yet (strange to think) his wain was his increase. 

His letters are delivered all and gone; 

Only remains this superscription. 


This rich marble doth inter 

The honoured wife of Winchester, 

A viscount's daughter, an earl's heir. 

Besides what her virtues fair 

Added to her noble birth, 

More than she could own from earth. 

Summers three times eight save one 

She had told; alas! too soon. 

After so short time of breath. 

To house with darkness and with death! 

Yet, had the number of her days 

Been as complete as was her praise. 


Nature and Fate had had no strife 
In giving limit to her life. 
Her high birth and her graces sweet 
Quickly found a lover meet; 
The virgin quire for her request 
The god that sits at marriage-feast; 
He at their invoking came, 
But with a scarce well-lighted flame; 
And in his garland, as he stood. 
Ye might discern a cypress-bud. 
Once had the early Matrons run 
To greet her of a lovely son. 
And now with second hope she goes. 
And calls Lucina to her throes; 
But, whether by mischance or blame, 
Atropos for Lucina came. 
And with remorseless cruelty 
Spoiled at once both fruit and tree. 
The hapless babe before his birth 
Had burial, yet not laid in earth; 
And the languished mother's womb 
Was not long a living tomb. 
So have I seen some tender slip. 
Saved with care from Winter's nip. 
The pride of her carnation train. 
Plucked up by some unheedy swain. 
Who only thought to crop the flower 
New shot up from vernal shower; 
But the fair blossom hangs the head 
Sideways, as on a dying bed. 
And those pearls of dew she wears 
Prove to be presaging tears 
Which the sad morn had let fall 
On her hastening funeral. 
Gentle Lady, may thy grave 
Peace and quiet ever havel 
After this thy travail sore. 
Sweet rest seize thee evermore. 
That, to give the world encrease. 
Shortened hast thy own life's lease! 


Here, besides the sorrowing 

That thy noble House doth bring, 

Here be tears of perfect moan 

Weept for thee in Helicon; 

And some flowers and some bays 

For thy hearse, to strew the ways, 

Sent thee from the banks of Came, 

Devoted to thy virtuous name; 

Whilst thou, bright Saint, high sitt'st in glory. 

Next her, much like to thee in story, 

That fair Syrian Shepherdess, 

Who, after years of barrenness. 

The highly-favoured Joseph bore 

To him that served for her before. 

And at her next birth, much like thee, 

Through pangs fled to felicity. 

Far within the bosom bright 

Of blazing Majesty and Light: 

There with thee, new-welcome Saint, 

Like fortunes may her soul acquaint. 

With thee there clad in radiant sheen, 

No Marchioness, but now a Queen. 




How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth. 

Stolen on his wing my three and twentieth year! 

My hasting days fly on with full career, 

But my late spring no bud or blossom shew'th. 
Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth. 

That I to manhood am arrived so near, 

And inward ripeness doth much less appear, 

That some more timely-happy spirits indu'th. 
Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow. 

It shall be still in strictest measure even 

To that same lot, however mean or high, 
Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heaven^, 

All is, if I have grace to use it so. 

As ever in my great Task-master's eye. 





HENCE, loathed Melancholy, 
Of Certx;rus and blackest Midnight born. 
In Stygian cave forlorn 

'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sights 
Find out some uncouth cell, 

Where brooding Darkness spreads his jealous 
And the night-raven sings; 

There under ebon shades, and low-browed rocks. 
As ragged as thy locks. 

In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell. 
But come, thou Goddess fair and free. 
In heaven ydep'd Euphrosyne, 
And by men, heart-easing Mirth, 
Whom lovely Venus at a birth 
With two sister Graces more 
To ivy-crowned Bacchus bore; 
Or whether (as some sager sing) 
The frolic Wind that breathes the spring. 
Zephyr with Aurora playing. 
As he met her once a-Maying, 
There on beds of violets blue, 
And fresh-blown roses washed in dew, 
Filled her with thee, a daughter fair. 
So buxom, blithe and debonair. 

Haste thee, Nymph, and bring with thee 
Jest and youthful Jollity, 
Quips, and Cranks, and wanton Wiles, 


Nods, and Becks, and wreathed Smiles, 
Such as hang on Hebe's cheek, 
And love to live in dimple sleek; 
Sp>ort that wrinkled Care derides. 
And Laughter holding both his sides. 
Come, and trip it as ye go. 
On the light fantastic toe; 
And in thy right hand lead with thee 
The mountain Nymph, sweet Liberty; 
And, if I give thee honour due, 
Mirth, admit me of thy crew. 
To live with her, and live with thee, 
In unreproved pleasures free; 
To hear the lark begin his flight. 
And singing starde the dull night. 
From his watch-tower in the skies. 
Till the dappled Dawn doth rise; 
Then to come, in spite of sorrow. 
And at my window bid good-morrow, 
Through the sweet-briar or the vine. 
Or the twisted eglantine; 
While the cock with lively din 
Scatters the rear of Darkness thin; 
And to the stack, or the barn-door, 
Stoudy struts his dames before: 
Oft listening how the hounds and horn 
Cheerly rouse the slumbering Morn, 
From the side of some hoar hill. 
Through the high wood echoing shrill: 
Sometime walking, not unseen. 
By hedgerow elms, on hillocks green. 
Right against the eastern gate. 
Where the great Sun begins his state. 
Robed in flames and amber light, 
The clouds in thousand liveries dight; 
While the ploughman, near at hand, 
Whistles o'er the furrowed land. 
And the milkmaid singeth blithe, 
And the mower whets his scythe. 
And every shepherd tells his tale 


Under the hawthorn in the dale. 

Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures. 
Whilst the lantskip round it measures: 
Russet lawns, and fallows gray, 
Where the nibbling flocks do stray; 
Mountains on whose barren breast 
The labouring clouds do often rest; 
Meadows trim with daisies pied; 
Shallow brooks, and rivers wide. 
Towers and batdements it sees 
Bosomed high in tufted trees. 
Where perhaps some Beauty lies, 
The Cynosure of neighbouring eyes. 
Hard by, a cottage chimney smokes 
From betwixt two aged oaks, 
Where Corydon and Thyrsis met 
Are at their savoury dinner set 
Of hearbs and other country messes. 
Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses; 
And then in haste her bower she leaves, 
With Thestylis to bind the sheaves; 
Or, if the earlier season lead, 
To the tanned haycock in the mead. 

Sometimes with secure delight 
The upland hamlets will invite, 
When the merry bells ring round. 
And the jocond rebecks sound 
To many a youth and many a maid 
Dancing in the chequered shade; 
And young and old come forth to play 
On a sunshine holyday. 
Till the livelong daylight fail: 
Then to the spicy nut-brown ale, 
With stories told of many a feat. 
How fairy Mab the junkets eat: 
She was pinched and pulled, she said; 
And he, by Friar's lanthorn led, 
Tells how the drudging Goblin sweat 
To earn his cream-bowl duly set, 
When in one night, ere glimpse of morn. 


His shadowy flail hath threshed the corn 

That ten day-labourers could not end; 

Then lies him down, the lubber fiend, 

And, stretched out all the chimney's length. 

Basks at the fire his hairy strength. 

And crop-full out of doors he flings. 

Ere the first cock his matin rings. 

Thus done the tales, to bed they creep. 

By whispering winds soon lulled asleep. 

Towered cities please us then, 

And the busy hum of men. 

Where throngs of Knights and Barons bold. 

In weeds of peace, high triumphs hold, 

With store of Ladies, whose bright eyes 

Rain influence, and judge the prize 

Of wit or arms, while both contend 

To win her grace whom all commend. 

There let Hymen oft appear 

In saffron robe, with taper clear. 

And pomp, and feast, and revelry, 

With mask and antique pageantry; 

Such sights as youthful Poets dream 

On summer eves by haunted stream. 

Then to the well-trod stage anon. 

If Jonson's learned sock be on, 

Or sweetest Shakespeare, Fancy's child. 

Warble his native wood-notes wild. 

And ever, against eating cares. 

Lap me in soft Lydian airs. 

Married to immortal verse. 

Such as the meeting soul may pierce. 

In notes with many a winding; bout 

Of linked sweetness long drawn out 

With wanton heed and giddy cunning. 

The melting voice through mazes running, 

Untwisting all the chains that tie 

The hidden soul of harmony; 

That Orpheus' self may heave his head 

From golden slumber on a bed 

Of heaped Elysian flowers, and hear 


Such strains as would have won the ear 
Of Pluto to have quite set free 
His half-regained Eurydice. 
These delights if thou canst give, 
Mirth, with thee I mean to live. 


Hence, vain deluding Joys, 

The brood of Folly without father bred! 
How litde you bested, 

Or fill the fixed mind with all your toys! 
Dwell in some idle brain. 

And fancies fond with gaudy shapes possess, 
As thick and numberless 

As the gay motes that fjeople the sunbeams. 
Or likest hovering dreams, 

The fickle pensioners of Morpheus' train. 
But hail! thou Goddess sage and holy! 
Hail, divinest Melancholy! 
Whose saintly visage is too bright 
To hit the sense of human sight. 
And therefore to our weaker view 
O'erlaid with black, staid Wisdom's hue; 
Black, but such as in esteem 
Prince Memnon's sister might beseem, 
Or that starred Ethiop Queen that strove 
To set her beauty's praise above 
The Sea-Nymphs, and their powers offended. 
Yet thou art higher far descended: 
Thee bright-haired Vesta long of yore 
To solitary Saturn bore; 
His daughter she; in Saturn's reign 
Such mixture was not held a stain. 
Oft in glimmering bowers and glades 
He met her, and in secret shades 
Of woody Ida's inmost grove. 
Whilst yet there was no fear of Jove. 
Come, fjensive Nun, devout and pure. 


Sober, steadfast, and demure. 

All in a robe of darkest grain, 

Flowing with majestic train, 

And sable stole of cypress lawn 

Over thy decent shoulders drawn. 

Come; but keep thy wonted state, 

With even step, and musing gait. 

And looks commercing with the skies, 

Thy rapt soul sitting in thine eyes: 

There, held in holy passion still. 

Forget thyself to marble, till 

With a sad leaden downward cast 

Thou fix them on the earth as fast. 

And join with thee calm Peace and Quiet, 

Spare Fast, that oft with gods doth diet. 

And hears the Muses in a ring 

Aye round about Jove's altar sing; 

And add to these retired Leisure, 

That in trim gardens takes his pleasure; 

But, first and chieftest, with thee bring 

Him that yon soars on golden wing, 

Guiding the fiery-wheeled throne. 

The Cherub Contemplation; 

And the mute Silence hist along, 

'Less Philomel will deign a song, 

In her sweetest saddest plight. 

Smoothing the rugged brow of Night, 

While Cynthia checks her dragon yoke 

Gently o'er the accustomed oak. 

Sweet bird, that shunn'st the noise of folly. 

Most musical, most melancholy! 

Thee, Chauntress, oft the woods among 

I woo, to hear thy even-song; 

And, missing thee, I walk unseen 

On the dry smooth-shaven green, 

To behold the wandering Moon, 

Riding near her highest noon. 

Like one that had been led astray 

Through the heaven's wide pathless way. 

And oft, as if her head she bowed. 


Stooping through a fleecy cloud. 

Oft, on a plat of rising ground, 

I hear the far-ofi curfew sound, 

Over some wide-watered shore. 

Swinging slow with sullen roar; 

Or, if the air will not permit. 

Some still removed place will fit. 

Where glowing embers through the room 

Teach light to counterfeit a gloom, 

Far from all resort of mirth. 

Save the cricket on the hearth. 

Or the Bellman's drowsy charm 

To bless the doors from nightly harm. 

Or let my lamp, at midnight hour, 

Be seen in some high lonely tower. 

Where I may oft outwatch the Bear, 

With thrice-great Hermes, or unsphere 

The spirit of Plato, to unfold 

What worlds or what vast regions hold 

The immortal mind that hath forsook 

Her mansion in this fleshly nook; 

And of those Daemons that are found 

In fire, air, flood, or underground. 

Whose power hath a true consent 

With planet or with element. 

Sometime let gorgeous Tragedy 

In sceptred pall come sweeping by. 

Presenting Thebs, or Pelops' line. 

Or the tale of Troy divine. 

Or what (though rare) of later age 

Ennobled hath the buskined stage. 

But, O sad Virgin! that thy pwwer 

Might raise Musacus from his bower; 

Or bid the soul of Orpheus sing 

Such notes as, warbled to the string, 

Drew iron tears down Pluto's cheek. 

And made Hell grant what Love did seek; 

Or call up him that left half-told 

The story of Cambuscan bold. 

Of Camball, and of Algarsife, 


And who had Canace to wife, 

That owned the virtuous ring and glass, 

And of the wondrous horse of brass 

On which the Tartar King did ride; 

And if aught else great Bards beside 

In sage and solemn tunes have sung, 

Of turneys, and of trophies hung, 

Of forests, and inchantments drear. 

Where more is meant than meets the ear. 

Thus, Night, oft see me in thy pale career. 

Till civil-suited Morn appear. 

Not tricked and frounced, as she wont 

With the Attic boy to hunt, 

But kerchieft in a comely cloud, 

While rocking winds are piping loud, 

Or ushered with a shower still. 

When the gust hath blown his fill. 

Ending on the rustling leaves. 

With minute drops from off the eaves. 

And, when the sun begins to fling 

His flaring beams, me. Goddess, bring 

To arched walks of twilight groves. 

And shadows brown, that Sylvan loves. 

Of pine, or monumental oak. 

Where the rude axe with heaved stroke 

Was never heard the Nymphs to daunt. 

Or fright them from their hallowed haunt. 

There, in close covert, by some brook. 

Where no profaner eye may look. 

Hide me from Day's garish eye. 

While the bee with honeyed thigh. 

That at her flowery work doth sing. 

And the waters murmuring. 

With such consort as they keep. 

Entice the dewy-feathered Sleep. 

And let some strange mysterious dream. 

Wave at his wings in airy stream. 

Of lively portraiture displayed. 

Softly on my eyelids laid. 

And as I wake, sweet music breathe 


Above, about, or underneath. 

Sent by some Spirit to mortals good. 

Or the unseen Genius of the wood. 

But let my due feet never fail 

To walk the studious cloister's pale, 

And love the high embowed roof. 

With antick pillars massy proof. 

And storied windows richly dight, 

Casting a dim religious light. 

There let the pealing organ blow, 

To the full voiced Quire below. 

In service high and anthems clear. 

As may with sweetness, through mine ear, 

Dissolve me into ecstasies, 

And bring all Heaven before mine eyes. 

And may at last my weary age 

Find out the peaceful hermitage. 

The hairy gown and mossy cell. 

Where I may sit and rightly spell. 

Of every star that Heaven doth shew. 

And every hearb that sips the dew; 

Till old experience do attain 

To something like prophetic strain. 

These pleasures, Melancholy, give, 

And I with thee will choose to live. 


O Nightingale that on yon blooming spray 
Warblest at eve, when all the woods are still, 
Thou with fresh hof)es the Lover's heart dost fill, 
While the jolly Hours lead on propitious May. 
Thy liquid notes that close the eye of Day, 
First heard before the shallow cuckoo's bill. 
Portend success in love. O if Jove's will 
Have linked that amorous power to thy soft lay, 
Now timely sing, ere the rude bird of hate 
Foretell my hopeless doom, in some grove nigh; 
As thou from year to year hast sung too late 
For my relief, yet had'st no reason why. 


Whether the Muse or Love call thee his mate, 
Both them I serve, and of their train am I. 



Now the bright morning-star. Day's harbinger. 
Comes dancing from the East, and leads with her 
The flowery May, who from her green lap throws 
The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose. 
Hail, bounteous May, that dost inspire 
Mirth, and youth, and warm desire! 
Woods and groves are of thy dressing; 
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing. 
Thus we salute thee with our early song, 
And welcome thee, and wish thee long. 

Fly, envious Time, till thou run out thy race: 
Call on the lazy leaden-stepping Hours, 
Whose speed is but the heavy plummet's pace; 
And glut thyself with what thy womb devours. 
Which is no more than what is false and vain. 
And merely mortal dross; 
So little is our loss. 
So little is thy gain! 

For, whenas each thing bad thou hast entombed, 
And, last of all, thy greedy Self consumed. 
Then long eternity shall greet our bliss 
With an individual kiss, 
And joy shall overtake us as a flood; 
When everything that is sincerely good 
And perfecdy divine. 

With Truth, and Peace, and Love, shall ever shine 
About the supreme Throne 
Of Him, to whose happy-making sight alone 
When once our heavenly-guided soul shall climb, 
Then, all this earthly grossness quit. 
Attired with stars we shall forever sit. 
Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee, 
O Time! 



Blest pair of Sirens, pledges of Heaven's joy. 

Sphere-born harmonious Sisters, Voice and Verse, 

Wed your divine sounds, and mixed fwwer employ. 

Dead things with inbreathed sense able to pierce; 

And to our high-raised phantasy present 

That undisturbed Song of pure consent, 

Aye sung before the sapphire<oloured Throne 

To Him that sits thereon. 

With saintly shout and solemn jubily; 

Where the bright Seraphim in burning row 

Their loud uplifted angel trumpets blow. 

And the Cherubic host in thousand quires 

Touch their immortal harps of golden wires. 

With those just Spirits that wear victorious palms, 

Hymns devout and holy psalms 

Singing everlastingly: 

That we on Earth, with undiscording voice. 

May rightly answer that melodious noise; 

As once we did, till disproportioned Sin 

Jarred against Nature's chime, and with harsh din 

Broke the fair music that all creatures made 

To their great Lord, whose love their motions swayed 

In perfect diapason, whilst they stood 

In first obedience, and their state of good. 

O, may we soon again renew that song, 

And keep in tune with Heaven, till God ere long 

To his celestial consort us unite. 

To live with Him, and sing in endless morn of light! 

Ye flaming Powers, and winged Warriors bright. 
That erst with music, and triumphant song. 
First heard by happy watchful Shepherds' ear. 
So sweetly sung your joy the clouds along, 
Through the soft silence of the listening night, — 


Now mourn; and if sad share with us to bear 

Your fiery essence can distil no tear. 

Burn in your sighs, and borrow 

Seas wept from our deep sorrow. 

He who with all Heaven's heraldry whilere 

Entered the world, now bleeds to give us ease. 

Alas! how soon our sin 

Sore doth begin 

His infancy to seize! 

O more exceeding Lx)ve, or Law more just? 

Just Law indeed, but more exceeding Love! 

For we, by rightful doom remediless. 

Were lost in death, till He, that dwelt above 

High-throned in secret bliss, for us frail dust 

Emptied his glory, even to nakedness; 

And that great Covenant which we still transgress 

Intirely satisfied. 

And the full wrath beside 

Of vengeful Justice bore for our excess. 

And seals obedience first with wounding smart 

This day; but oh! ere long. 

Huge pangs and strong 

Will pierce more near his heart. 


fart of an Entertainment presented to the Countess Dowager of Derby at 
Harefield by some Noble Persons of her Family; who appear on the 
Scene in pastoral habit, moving toward the seat of state, with this 


Look, Nymphs and Shepherds, look! 
What sudden blaze of majesty 
Is that which we from hence descry, 
Too divine to be mistook? 

This, this is she 
To whom our vows and wishes bend: 
Here our solemn search hath end. 
Fame, that her high worth to raise 
Seemed erst so lavish and profuse, 


We may justly now accuse 
Of detraction from her praise: 

Less than half we find expressed; 

Envy bid conceal the rest. 

Mark what radiant state she spreads, 
In circle round her shining throne 
Shooting her beams like silver threads: 

This, this is she alone, 

Sitting like a Goddess bright 

In the centre of her light. 

Might she the wise Latona be, 
Or the towered Cybele, 
Mother of a hundred gods? 
Juno dares not give her odds: 

Who had thought this clime had held 

A Deity so unparalleled? 

As they come jorward, the Genius of the Wood appears, and, 
turning toward them, speaJ(s. 

Gen. Stay, gende Swains, for, though in this disguise, 

I see bright honour sparkle through your eyes; 

Of famous Arcady ye are, and sprung 

Of that renowned flood so often sung, 

Divine Alpheus, who, by secret sluice. 

Stole under seas to meet his Arethuse; 

And ye, the breathing roses of the wood. 

Fair silver-buskind Nymphs, as great and good, 

I know this quest of yours and free intent 

Was all in honour and devotion meant 

To the great Mistress of yon princely shrine. 

Whom with low reverence I adore as mine, 

And with all helpful service will comply 

To further this night's glad solemnity. 

And lead ye where ye may more near behold 

What shallow-searching Fame hath left untold; 

Which I full oft, midst these shades alone, 

Have sat to wonder at, and gaze upon. 

For know, by lot from Jove, I am the Power 

Of this fair wood, and live in oaken bower. 

To nurse the saplings tall, and curl the grove 


With ringlets quaint and wanton windings wove; 

And all my plants I save from nightly ill 

Of noisome winds and blasting vapours chill; 

And from the boughs brush off the evil dew, 

And heal the harms of thwarting thunder blue. 

Or what the cross dire-looking planet smites, 

Or hurtful worm with cankered venom bites. 

When Evening grey doth rise, I fetch my round 

Over the mount, and all this hallowed ground; 

And early, ere the odorous breath of morn 

Awakes the slumbering leaves, or tasselled horn 

Shakes the high thicket, haste I all about. 

Number my ranks, and visit every sprout 

With puissant words and murmurs made to bless. 

But else, in deep of night, when drowsiness 

Hath locked up mortal sense, then listen I 

To the celestial Sirens' harmony. 

That sit upon the nine enfolded spheres. 

And sing to those that hold the vital shears, 

And turn the adamantine spindle round 

On which the fate of gods and men is wound. 

Such sweet compulsion doth in music lie. 

To lull the daughters of Necessity, 

And keep unsteady Nature to her law. 

And the low world in measured motion draw 

After the heavenly tune, which none can hear 

Of human mould with gross unpurged ear. 

And yet such music worthiest were to blaze 

The peerless height of her immortal praise 

Whose lustre leads us, and for her most fit. 

If my inferior hand or voice could hit 

Inimitable sounds. Yet, as we go, 

Whate'er the skill of lesser gods can show 

I will assay, her worth to celebrate. 

And so attend ye toward her glittering state; 

Where ye may all, that are of noble stem. 

Approach, and kiss her sacred vesture's hem. 


O'er the smooth enamelled green. 
Where no print of step hath been, 


Follow me, as I sing 
And touch the warbled string. 
Under the shady roof 
Of branching elm star-proof 

Follow me. 
I will bring you where she sits. 
Clad in splendour as befits 

Her deity. 
Such a rural Queen 
All Arcadia hath not seen. 


Nymphs and Shepherds, dance no more 
By sandy Ladon's lilied banks; 

On old Lyca:us, or Cyllene hoar. 
Trip no more in twilight ranks; 

Though Erymanth your loss deplore, 
A better soil shall give ye thanks. 
From the stony Mznalus 

Bring your flocks, and live with us; 

Here ye shall have greater grace, 

To serve the Lady of this place. 

Through Syrinx your Pan's mistress were, 

Yet Syrinx well might wait on her. 
Such a rural Queen 
All Arcadia hath not seen. 


The Attendant Spirit, afterwards in the habit of Thyrsu. 

CoMUS, with his dew. 

The Lady. First Brother. Second Brothel 

Sabrina, the Nymph. 

Presented at Litolow Castle, 1634, before the Earl of BRiDCEWATEa, 

then President of Wales 

The Chief Persons which presented were: — 

The Lord Brady; Mr. Thomas Egerton, his Brother; The Lady Alice 


The first Scene discovers a wUd wood. 
The Attendant Spirit descends or enters. 

Before the starry threshold of Jove's court 
My mansion is, where those immortal shapes 


Of bright aerial Spirits live insphered 
In regions mild of calm and serene air, 
Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot 
Which men call Earth, and, with low-thoughted care. 
Confined and pestered in this pinfold here. 
Strive to keep up a frail and feverish being. 
Unmindful of the crown that Virtue gives, 
After this mortal change, to her true servants 
Amongst the enthroned gods on sainted seats. 
Yet some there be that by due steps aspire 
To lay their just hands on that golden key 
That opes the Palace of Eternity. 
To such my errand is; and, but for such, 
I would not soil these pure ambrosial weeds 
With the rank vapours of this sin-worn mould. 
But to my task. Neptune, besides the sway 
Of every salt flood and each ebbing stream, 
Took in, by lot 'twixt high and nether Jove, 
Imperial rule of all the sea-girt Isles 
That, like to rich and various gems, inlay 
The unadorned bosom of the Deep; 
Which he, to grace his tributary gods. 
By course commits to several government. 
And gives them leave to wear their sapphire crowns 
And wield their little tridents. But this Isle, 
The greatest and the best of all the main, 
He quarters to his blue-haired deities; 
And all this tract that fronts the falling sun 
A noble Peer of mickle trust and power 
Has in his charge, with tempered awe to guide 
An old and haughty Nation, proud in arms: 
Where his fair oflspring, nursed in princely lore, 
Are coming to attend their father's state. 
And new-intrusted sceptre. But their way 
Lies through the perplexed paths of this drear wood, 
The nodding horror of whose shady brows 
Threats the forlorn and wandering passenger; 
And here their tender age might sufler peril. 
But that, by quick command from sovran Jove, 
I was despatched for their defence and guard! 
And listen why; for I will tell you now 
What never yet was heard in tale or song. 


From old or modern bard, in hall or bower. 

Bacchus, that first from out the purple grape 
Crushed the sweet poison of misused wine, 
After the Tuscan mariners transformed. 
Coasting the Tyrrhene shore, as the winds listed, 
On Circe's island fell. (Who knows not Circe, 
The daughter of the Sun, whose charmed cup 
Whoever tasted lost his upright shape, 
And downward fell into a grovelling swine?) 
This Nymph, that gazed upon his clustering locks, 
With ivy berries wreathed, and his blithe youth. 
Had by him, ere he parted thence, a Son 
Much like his Father, but his Mother more. 
Whom therefore she brought up, and Comus named: 
Who, rijje and frolic of his full-grown age. 
Roving the Celtic and Iberian fields, 
At last betakes him to this ominous wood. 
And, in thick shelter of black shades imbowered, 
Excels his Mother at her mighty art; 
Offering to every weary traveller 
His orient liquor in a crystal glass. 
To quench the drouth of Phoebus; which as they taste 
(For most do taste through fond intemperate thirst). 
Soon as the potion works, their human count'nance. 
The express resemblance of the gods, is changed 
Into some brutish form of wolf or bear. 
Or ounce or tiger, hog, or bearded goat 
All other parts remaining as they were. 
And they, so perfect is their misery. 
Not once perceive their foul disfigurement. 
But boast themselves more comely than before, 
And all their friends and native home forget. 
To roll with pleasure in a sensual sty. 
Therefore, when any favoured of high Jove 
Chances to pass through this adventrous glade. 
Swift as the sparkle of a glancing star 
I shoot from heaven, to give him safe convoy, 
As now I do. But first I must put off 
These my sky-robes, spun out of Iris' woof. 
And take the weeds and likeness of a swain 
That to the service of this house belongs. 


Who, with his soft pipe and smooth-dittied song, 
Well knows to still the wild winds when they roar, 
And hush the waving woods; nor of less faith, 
And in this office of his mountain watch 
Likeliest, and nearest to the present aid 
Of this occasion. But I hear the tread 
Of hateful steps; I must be viewless now. 

CoMUs enters, with a charming-rod in one hand, his glass in the other; with 
him a rout oj Monsters, headed lil(e sundry sorts of wild beasts, but 
otherwise /x<;f men and women, their apparel glistering. They come in 
making a riotous and unruly noise, with torches in their hands. 

Comus. The star that bids the shepherd fold 

Now the top of heaven doth hold; 

And the gilded car of Day 

His glowing axle doth allay 

In the steep Atlantic stream: 

And the slope Sun his upward beam 

Shoots against the dusky pole. 

Pacing toward the other goal 

Of his chamber in the east. 

Meanwhile, welcome joy and feast. 

Midnight shout and revelry, 

Tipsy dance and Jollity. 

Braid your locks with rosy twine. 

Dropping odours, dropping wine. 

Rigour now is gone to bed; 

And Advice with scrupulous head, 

Strict Age, and sour Severity, 

With their grave saws, in slumber lie. 

We, that are of purer fire. 

Imitate the starry Quire, 

Who, in their nighdy watchful spheres. 

Lead in swift round the months and years. 

The sounds and seas, with all their finny drove, 

Now to the Moon in wavering morrice move; 

And on the tawny sands and shelves 

Trip the pert Fairies and the dapper Elves. 

By dimpled brook and fountain-brim. 

The Wood-Nymphs, decked with daisies trim, 

Their merry wakes and pastimes keep: 

What hath night to do with sleep? 


Night hath better sweets to prove; 

Venus now wakes, and wakens Love 

Come, let us our rites begin; 

'T is only daylight that makes sin, 

Which these dun shades will ne'er report. 

Hail, goddess of nocturnal spwrt, 

Dark-veiled Cotytto, to whom the secret flame 

Of midnight torches burns! mysterious Dame, 

That ne'er art called but when the dragon womb 

Of Stygian darkness spets her thickest gloom, 

And makes one blot of all the air! 

Stay thy cloudy ebon chair. 

Wherein thou ridest with Hecat', and befriend 

Us thy vowed priests, till utmost end 

Of all thy dues be done, and none left out 

Ere the blabbing eastern scout. 

The nice Morn on the Indian steep, 

From her cabined loop-hole jjeep. 

And to the tell-tale Sun descry 

Our concealed solemnity. 

Come, knit hands, and beat the ground 

In a light fantastic round. 

The Measure. 

Break ofl, break off! I feel the different pace 

Of some chaste footing near about this ground. 

Run to your shrouds within these brakes and trees; 

Our number may affright. Some virgin sure 

(For so I can distinguish by mine art) 

Benighted in these woods! Now to my charms, 

And to my wily trains: I shall ere long 

Be well stocked with as fair a herd as grazed 

About my Mother Circe. Thus I hurl 

My dazzling spells into the spongy air, 

Of power to cheat the eye with blear illusion. 

And give it false presentments, lest the place 

And my quaint habits breed astonishment, 

And put the Damsel to suspicious flight; 

Which must not be, for that's against my course. 

I, under fair pretence of friendly ends. 

coMus 49 

And well-placed words of glozing courtesy, 
Baited with reasons not unplausible, 
Wind me into the easy-hearted man, 
And hug him into snares. When once her eye 
Hath met the virtue of this magic dust 
I shall apf)ear some harmless villager, 
Whom thrift keeps up about his country gear. 
But here she comes; I fairly step aside. 
And hearken, if I may her business hear. 

The Lady enters 

Lady. This way the noise was, if mine ear be true, 
My best guide now. Methought it was the sound 
Of riot and ill-managed merriment. 
Such as the jocond flute or gamesome pipe 
Stirs up among the loose unlettered hinds. 
When, for their teeming flocks and granges full, 
In wanton dance they praise the bounteous Pan, 
And thank the gods amiss. I should be loth 
To meet the rudeness and swilled insolence 
Of such late wassailers; yet, oh! where else 
Shall I inform my unacquainted feet 
In the blind mazes of this tangled wood? 
My brothers, when they saw me wearied out 
With this long way, resolving here to lodge 
Under the spreading favour of these pines, 
Stepped, as they said, to the next thicket side 
To bring me berries, or such cooling fruit 
As the kind hospitable woods provide. 
They left me then when the grey-hooded Even, 
Like a sad Votarist in palmer's weed. 
Rose from the hindmost wheels of Phcebus' wain. 
But where they are, and why they came not back, 
Is now the labour of my thoughts. 'T is likeliest 
They had ingaged their wandering steps too far; 
And envious darkness, ere they could return, 
Had stole them from me. Else, O thievish Night, 
Why shouldst thou, but for some felonious end, 
In thy dark lantern thus close up the stars 
That Nature hung in heaven, and filled their lamps 


With everlasting oil, to give due light 
To the misled and lonely travailler? 
This is the place, as well as I may guess, 
Whence even now the tumult- of loud mirth 
Was rife, and perfet in my listening ear; 
Yet nought but single darkness do I find. 
What might this be? A thousand fantasies 
Begin to throng into my memory. 
Of calling shapes, and beckoning shadows dire, 
And airy tongues that syllable men's names 
On sands and shores and desert wildernesses. 
These thoughts may starde well, but not astound 
The virtuous mind, that ever walks attended 
By a strong siding champion. Conscience. 

welcome, pure-eyed Faith, white-handed Hop*, 
Thou hovering angel girt with golden wings, 
And thou unblemished form of Chastity! 

1 see ye visibly, and now believe 

That He, the Supreme Good, to whom all things ill 

Are but as slavish officers of vengeance. 

Would send a glistering guardian, if need were. 

To keep my life and honour unassailcd. . . . 

Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud 

Turn forth her silver lining on the night? 

I did not err: there does a sable cloud 

Turn forth her silver lining on the night. 

And casts a gleam over this tufted grove. 

I cannot hallo to my brothers, but 

Such noise as I can make to be heard farthest 

I'll venter; for my new-enlivened spirits 

Prompt me, and they f>erhaps are not far ofl. 


Sweet Echo, sweetest Nymph, that liv'st unseen 
Within thy airy shell 

By slow Meander's margent green. 
And in the violet-imbroidered vale 

Where the love-lorn Nightingale 
Nightly to thee her sad song mourneth well: 
Canst thou not tell me of a gende pair 


That likest thy Narcissus are? 
O if thou have 

Hid them in some flowery cave, 
Tell me but where, 

Sweet Queen of Parley, Daughter of the Sphere! 

So may'st thou be translated to the skies. 
And give resounding grace to all Heaven's harmonies! 

Comus. Can any mortal mixture of earth's mould 
Breathe such divine inchanting ravishment? 
Sure something holy lodges in that breast, 
And with these raptures moves the vocal air 
To testify his hidden residence. 
How sweetly did they float upon the wings 
Of silence, through the empty-vaulted night. 
At every fall smoothing the raven down 
Of darkness till it smiled! I have oft heard 
My mother Circe with the Sirens three, 
Amidst the flowery-kirtled Naiades, 
Culling their potent hearbs and baleful drugs. 
Who, as they sung, would take the prisoned soul, 
And lap it in Elysium: Scylla wept. 
And chid her barking waves into attention. 
And fell Charybdis murmured soft applause. 
Yet they in pleasing slumber lulled the sense. 
And in sweet madness robbed it of itself; 
But such a sacred and home-felt delight. 
Such sober certainty of waking bliss, 
I never heard till now. I'll speak to her. 
And she shall be my Queen. — Hail, foreign wonder! 
Whom certain these rough shades did never breed. 
Unless the Goddess that in rural shrine 
Dwell'st here with Pan or Sylvan, by blest song 
Forbidding every bleak unkindly fog 
To touch the prosperous growth of this tall wood. 

Lady. Nay, gende shepherd, ill is lost that praise 
That is addressed to unattending ears. 
Not any boast of skill, but extreme shift 
How to regain my severed comjjany. 
Compelled me to awake the courteous Echo 
To give me answer from her mossy couch. 

Comus. What chance, good Lady, hath bereft you thus.' 


Lady. Dim darkness and this leavy labyrinth. 

Comus. Could that divide you from near-ushering 

Lady. They left me weary on a grassy turf. 

Comus. By falsehood, or discourtesy, or why? 

Lady. To seek i' the valley some cool friendly spring. 

Comus. And left your fair side all unguarded, Lady? 

Lady. They were but twain, and purposed quick 

Comus. Perhaps forestalling night prevented them. 

Lady. How easy my misfortune is to hit! 

Comus. Imports their loss, beside the present need? 

Lady. No less than if I should my brothers lose. 

Comus. Where they of manly prime, or youthful 

Lady. As smooth as Hebe's their unrazored lips. 

Comus. Two such I saw, what time the laboured ox 
In his loose traces from the furrow came. 
And the swinked hedger at his supper sat. 
I saw them under a green manding vine. 
That crawls along the side of yon small hill. 
Plucking ripe clusters from the tender shoots; 
Their port was more than human, as they stood. 
I took it for a faery vision 
Of some gay creatures of the element, 
That in the colours of the rainbow live. 
And play i' the plighted clouds. I was awe-strookf 
And, as I passed, I worshiped. If those you seek, 
It were a journey like the path to Heaven 
To help you find them. 

Lady. Gentle villager, 

What readiest way would bring me to that place? 

Comus. Due west it rises from this shrubby point. 

Lady. To find out that, good Shepherd, I suppose. 
In such a scant allowance of star-light. 
Would overtask the best land-pilot's art. 
Without the sure guess of well-practised feet. 

Comus. I know each lane, and every alley green. 
Dingle, or bushy dell, of this wild wood. 
And every bosky bourn from side to side, 

coMus 53 

My daily walks and ancient neighbourhood; 
And, if your stray attendance be yet lodged, 
Or shroud within these limits, I shall know 
Ere morrow wake, or the low-roosted lark 
From her thatched pallet rouse. If otherwise, 
I can conduct you. Lady, to a low 
But loyal cottage, where you may be safe 
Till further quest. 

Lady. Shepherd, I take thy word, 

And trust thy honest-offered courtesy, 
Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds. 
With smoky rafters, than in tapestry halls 
And courts of princes, where it first was named, 
And yet is most pretended. In a place 
Less warranted than this, or less secure, 
I cannot be, that I should fear to change it. 
Eye me, blest Providence, and square my trial 
To my proportioned strength! Shepherd, lead on. . . . 

The Two Brothers 

Eld. Bro. UnmufiBe, ye faint stars; and thou, fair 
That wont'st to love the travailler's benison. 
Stoop thy pale visage through an amber cloud. 
And disinherit Chaos, that reigns here 
In double night of darkness and of shades; 
Or, if your influence be quite dammed up 
With black usurping mists, some gentle tap>er, 
Though a rush<andle from the wicker hole 
Of some clay habitation, visit us 
With thy long levelled rule of streaming light. 
And thou shalt be our star of Arcady, 
Or Tyrian Cynosure. 

Sec. Bro. Or, if our eyes 

Be barred that happiness, might we but hear 
The folded flocks, penned in their wattled cotes. 
Or sound of pastoral reed with oaten stops. 
Or whistle from the lodge, or village cock 
Count the night-watches to his feathery dames, 
"T would be some solace yet, some litde cheering, 


In this close dungeon of innumerous boughs. 
But, Oh, that hapless virgin, our lost sister! 
Where may she wander now, whither betake her 
From the chill dew, amongst rude burrs and thistles? 
Perhaps some cold bank is her bolster now. 
Or 'gainst the rugged bark of some broad elm 
Leans her unpillowed head, fraught with sad fears. 
What if in wild amazement and affright. 
Or, while we speak, within the direful grasp 
Of savage hunger, or of savage heat! 

Eld. Bro. Peace, brother: be not over-exquisite 
To cast the fashion of uncertain evils; 
For, grant they be so, while they rest unknown. 
What need a man forestall his date of grief. 
And run to meet what he would most avoid.' 
Or, if they be but false alarms of fear, 
How bitter is such self-delusion! 
I do not think my sister so to seek. 
Or so unprincipled in virtue's book. 
And the sweet peace that goodness bosoms ever. 
As that the single want of light and noise 
(Not being in danger, as I trust she is not) 
Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts, 
And put them into misbecoming plight. 
Virtue could see to do what Virtue would 
By her own radiant light, though sun and moon 
Were in the flat sea sunk. And Wisdom's self 
Oft seeks to sweet retired solitude. 
Where, with her best nurse. Contemplation, 
She plumes her feathers, and lets grow her wings. 
That, in the various bustle of resort. 
Were all to-ruffled, and sometimes impaired. 
He that has light within his own clear breast 
May sit i' the centre, and enjoy bright day: 
But he that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts 
Benighted walks under the mid-day sun; 
Himself is his own dungeon. 

Sec. Bro. Tis most true 

That musing Meditation most affects 
The pensive secrecy of desert cell. 

coMus 55 

Far from the cheerful haunt of men and herds. 
And sits as safe as in a senate-house; 
For who would rob a Hermit of his weeds. 
His few books, or his beads, or maple dish. 
Or do his grey hairs any violence? 
But Beauty, like the fair Hesperian Tree 
Laden with blooming gold, had need the guard 
Of dragon-watch with uninchanted eye 
To save her blossoms, and defend her fruit. 
From the rash hand of bold Incontinence. 
You may as well spread out the unsunned heaps 
Of miser's treasure by an oudaw's den. 
And tell me it is safe, as bid me hope 
Danger will wink on Opportunity, 
And let a single helpless maiden pass 
Uninjured in this wild surrounding waste. 
Of night or loneliness it recks me not; 
I fear the dread events that dog them both. 
Lest some ill-greeting touch attempt the person 
Of our unowned sister. 

Eld. Bro. I do not, brother, 

Infer as if I thought my sister's state 
Secure without all doubt or controversy; 
Yet, where an equal poise of hojx; and fear 
Does arbitrate the event, my nature is 
That I encline to hope rather than fear, 
And gladly banish squint suspicion. 
My sister is not so defenceless left 
As you imagine; she has a hidden strength. 
Which you remember not. 

Sec. Bro. What hidden strength, 

Unless the strength of Heaven, if you mean that? 

Eld. Bro. I mean that too, but yet a hidden strength, 
Which, if Heaven gave it, may be termed her own: 
'Tis Chastity, my brother. Chastity: 
She that has that is clad in com'plete steel. 
And, like a quivered nymph with arrows keen. 
May trace huge forests, and unharboured heaths. 
Infamous hills, and sandy perilous wilds; 
Where, through the sacred rays of chastity, 


No savage fierce, bandite, or mountaineer, 

Will dare to soil her virgin purity. 

Yea, there, where very desolation dwells, 

By grots and caverns shagged with horrid shades. 

She may pass on with unblenched majesty. 

Be it not done in pride, or in presumption. 

Some say no evil thing that walks by night. 

In fog or fire, by lake or moorish fen, 

Blue meagre hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost, 

That breaks his magic chains at curfew time, 

No goblin or swart faery of the mine, 

Hath hurtful power o'er true virginity. 

Do ye believe me yet, or shall I call 

Antiquity from the old schools of Greece 

To testify the arms of Chastity.' 

Hence had the huntress Dian her dread bow. 

Fair silver-shafted Queen for ever chaste. 

Wherewith she tamed the brinded lioness 

And spotted mountain-pard, but set at nought 

The frivolous bolt of Cupid; gods and men 

Feared her stern frown, and she was queen o' the 

What was that snaky-headed Gorgon shield 
That wise Minerva wore, unconquered virgin. 
Wherewith she freezed her foes to con'gealed stone. 
But rigid looks of chaste austerity. 
And noble grace that dashed brute violence 
With sudden adoration and blank awe.' 
So dear to Heaven is saintly chastity 
That, when a soul is found sincerely so, 
A thousand liveried angels lackey her, 
Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt, 
And in clear dream and solemn vision 
Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear; 
Till oft converse with heavenly habitants 
Begin to cast a beam on the outward shape. 
The unpolluted temple of the mind. 
And turns it by degrees to the soul's essence. 
Till all be made immortal. But, when lust. 
By unchaste looks, loose gestures, and foul talk, 

coMus 57 

But most by lewd and lavish act of sin, 

Lets in defilement to the inward parts, 

The soul grows clotted by contagion, 

Imbodies, and imbrutes, till she quite lose 

The divine property of her first being. 

Such are those thick and gloomy shadows damp 

Oft seen in charnel-vaults and sepulchres, 

Lingering and sitting by a new-made grave, 

As loth to leave the body that it loved, 

And linked itself by carnal sensualty 

To a degenerate and degraded state. 

Sec. Bro. How charming is divine Philosophy! 
Not harsh and crabbed, as dull fools suppose, 
But musical as is Apollo's lute. 
And a perpetual feast of nectared sweets. 
Where no crude surfeit reigns. 

Eld. Bro. List! list! I hear 

Some far-off hallo break the silent air. 

Sec. Bro. Methought so too; what should it be? 

Eld. Bro. For certain. 

Either some one, like us, night-foundered here. 
Or else some neighbour woodman, or, at worst. 
Some roving robber calling to his fellows. 

Sec. Bro. Heaven keep my sister! 
Again, again, and near! 
Best draw, and stand upon our guard. 

Eld. Bro. I'll hallo. 

If he be friendly, he comes well: if not. 
Defence is a good cause, and Heaven be for us! 

The Attendant Spirit, habited li\e a shepherd. 

That hallo I should know. What are you? sf)eak. 
Come not too near; you fall on iron stakes else. 
Spir. What voice is that? my young Lord? sp>eak 

Sec. Bro. O brother, 'tis my father's Shepherd, sure. 
Eld. Bro. Thyrsis! whose artful strains have oft 

The huddling brook to hear his madrigal. 
And sweetened every musk-rose of the dale. 


How earnest thou here, good swain? Hath any ram 
Slipped from the fold, or young kid lost his dam, 
Or straggling wether the pent flock forsook? 
How couldst thou find this dark sequestered nook? 

Spir. O my loved master's heir, and his next joy, 
I came not here on such a trivial toy 
As a strayed ewe, or to pursue the stealth 
Of pilfering wolf; not all the fleecy wealth 
That doth enrich these downs is worth a thought 
To this my errand, and the care it brought. 
But, oh! my virgin Lady, where is she? 
How chance she is not in your company? 

Eld. Bro. To tell thee sadly. Shepherd, without 
Or our neglect, we lost her as we came. 

Spir. Ay me unhappy I then my fears are true. 

Eld. Bro. What fears, good Thyrsis? 
Prithee briefly shew. 

Spir. I'll tell ye, 'tis not vain or fabulous 
(Though so esteemed by shallow ignorance) 
What the sage poets, taught by the heavenly Muse, 
Storied of old in high immortal verse 
Of dire Chimeras and inchanted Isles, 
And rifted rocks whose entrance leads to Hell; 
For such there be, but unbelief is blind. 

Within the navel of this hideous wood, 
Immured in cypress shades, a Sorcerer dwells. 
Of Bacchus and of Circe born, great Comus, 
Deep skilled in all his mother's witcheries, 
And here to every thirsty wanderer 
By sly enticement gives his baneful cup, 
With many murmurs mixed, whose pleasing [>oison 
The visage quite transforms of him that drinks, 
And the inglorious likeness of a beast 
Fixes instead, unmoulding reason's mintage 
Charactered in the face. This have I learnt 
Tending my flocks hard by i' the hilly crofts 
That brow this bottom glade; whence night by night 
He and his monstrous rout are heard to howl 
Like stabled wolves, or tigers at their prey, 

coMus 59 

Doing abhorred rites to Hecate 

In their obscured haunts of inmost bowers. 

Yet have they many baits and guileful spells 

To inveigle and invite the unwary sense 

Of them that pass unweeting by the way. 

This evening late, by then the chewing flocks 

Had ta'en their supper on the savoury herb 

Of knot-grass dew-besprent, and were in fold, 

I sat me down to watch upon a bank 

With ivy canopied, and interwove 

With flaunting honeysuckle, and began, 

Wrapt in a pleasing fit of melancholy. 

To meditate my rural minstrelsy, 

Till fancy had her fill. But ere a close 

The wonted roar was up amidst the woods. 

And filled the air with barbarous dissonance; 

At which I ceased, and listened them a while. 

Till an unusual stop of sudden silence 

Gave respite to the drowsy-flighted steeds 

That draw the litter of close-curtained Sleep. 

At last a soft and solemn-breathing sound 

Rose like a steam of rich distilled perfumes, 

And stole upon the air, that even Silence 

Was took ere she was ware, and wished she might 

Deny her nature, and be never more. 

Still to be so displaced. I was all ear. 

And took in strains that might create a soul 

Under the ribs of Death. But, oh! ere long 

Too well I did perceive it was the voice 

Of my most honoured Lady, your dear sister. 

Amazed I stood, harrowed with grief and fear; 

And "O poor hapless Nightingale," thought I, 

"How sweet thou sing'st, how near the deadly snare!" 

Then down the lawns I ran with headlong haste. 

Through paths and turnings often trod by day. 

Till, guided by mine ear, I found the place 

Where that damned wisard, hid in sly disguise 

(For so by certain signs I knew), had met 

Already, ere my best speed could prevent. 

The aidless innocent lady, his wished prey; 


Who gently asked if he had seen such two, 
Supposing him some neighbour villager. 
Longer 1 durst not stay, but soon I guessed 
Ye were the two she meant; with that I sprung 
Into swift flight, till I had found you here; 
But furder know I not. 

Sec. Bio. O night and shades, 

How are ye joined with hell in triple knot 
Against the unarmed weakness of one virgin. 
Alone and helpless! Is this the confidence 
You gave me, brother? 

Eid. Bro. Yes, and keep it still; 

Lean on it safely; not a jjeriod 
Shall be unsaid for me. Against the threats 
Of malice or of sorcery, or that pwwer 
Which erring men call Chance, this I hold firm: 
Virtue may be assailed, but never hurt. 
Surprised by unjust force, but not enthralled; 
Yea, even that which Mischief meant most harm 
Shall in the happy trial prove most glory. 
But evil on itself shall back recoil. 
And mix no more with goodness, when at last. 
Gathered like scum, and settled to itself, 
It shall be in eternal restless change 
Self-fed and self<onsumed. If this fail. 
The pillared firmament is rottenness, 
And earth's base built on stubble. But come, let's on! 
Against the opposing will and arm of Heaven 
May never this just sword be lifted up; 
But, for that damned magician, let him be girt 
With all the griesly legions that troop 
Under the sooty flag of Acheron, 
Harpies and Hydras, or all the monstrous forms 
'Twixt Africa and Ind, I'll find him out. 
And force him to restore his purchase back. 
Or drag him by the curls to a foul death. 
Cursed as his life. 

Spir. Alas! good ventrous youth, 

I love thy courage yet, and bold emprise; 
But here thy sword can do thee litde stead. 


Far other arms and other weapons must 
Be those that quell the might of hellish charms. 
He with his bare wand can unthread thy joints, 
And crumble all thy sinews. 

Eld. Bro. Why, prithee Shepherd, 

How durst thou then thyself approach so near 
As to make this relation? 

Spir. Care and utmost shifts 

How to secure the Lady from surprisal 
Brought to my mind a certain shepherd lad, 
Of small regard to see to, yet well skilled 
In every virtuous plant and healing hearb 
That spreads her verdant leaf to the morning ray. 
He loved me well, and oft would beg me sing; 
Which when I did, he on the tender grass 
Would sit, and hearken even to ecstasy. 
And in requital ope his leathern scrip. 
And shew me simples of a thousand names, 
Telling their strange and vigorous faculties. 
Amongst the rest a small unsighdy root. 
But of divine effect, he culled me out. 
The leaf was darkish, and had prickles on it. 
But in another country, as he said, 
Bore a bright golden flower, but not in this soil: 
Unknown, and like esteemed, and the dull swain 
Treads on it daily with his clouted shoon; 
And yet more med'cinal is it than that Moly 
That Hermes once to wise Ulysses gave. 
He called it Hxmony, and gave it me. 
And bade me keep it as of sovran use 
'Gainst all inchantments, mildew blast, or damp, 
Or ghastly Furies' apparition. 
I pursed it up, but little reckoning made. 
Till now that this extremity compelled. 
But now I find it true; for by this means 
I knew the foul inchanter, though disguised. 
Entered the very lime-twigs of his spells, 
And yet came off. If you have this about you 
(As I will give you when we go) you may 
Boldly assault the necromancer's hall; 


Where if he be, with dauntless hardihood 

And brandished blade rush on him: break his glass, 

And shed the luscious liquor on the ground; 

But seize his wand. Though he and his curst crew 

Fierce sign of battail make, and menace high. 

Or, like the sons of Vulcan, vomit smoke, 

Yet will they soon retire, if he but shrink. 

Eld. Bro. Thyrsis, lead on apace; I'll follow thee; 
And some good angel bear a shield before us! 

The Scene changes to a stately palace, set out with all manner of delicious 
ness: soft music, tables spread with all dainties. Comus appears witi 
his rabble, and the Lady set in an inchanted chair; to whom he offer 
his glass; which she puts by, and goes about to rise. 

Comus. Nay, Lady, sit. If I but wave this wand. 
Your nerves are all chained up in alablaster. 
And you a statue, or as Daphne was. 
Root-bound, that fled Apollo. 

Lady. Fool, do not boast. 

Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind 
With all thy charms, although this corporal rind 
Thou hast immanaclcd while Heaven sees good. 

Comus. Why are you vexed. Lady.' why do you 
frown ? 
Here dwell no frowns, nor anger; from these gates 
Sorrow flies far. See, here be all the pleasures 
That fancy can beget on youthful thoughts, 
When the fresh blood grows lively, and returns 
Brisk as the April buds in primrose season. 
And first behold this cordial julep here. 
That flames and dances in his crystal bounds. 
With spirits of balm and fragrant syrups mixed. 
Not that Nepenthes which the wife of Thone 
In Egypt gave to Jove-born Helena 
Is of such power to stir up joy as this. 
To life so friendly, or so cool to thirst. 
Why should you be so cruel to yourself. 
And to those dainty limbs, which Nature lent 
For gentle usage and soft delicacy? 
But you invert the covenants of her trust. 
And harshly deal, like an ill borrower. 


With that which you received on other terms, 
Scorning the unexempt condition 
By which all mortal frailty must subsist, 
Refreshment after toil, ease after pain. 
That have been tired all day without repast, 
And timely rest have wanted. But, fair virgin, 
This will restore all soon. 

LMdy. T will not, false traitor! 

'T will not restore the truth and honesty 
That thou has banished from thy tongue with lies. 
Was this the cottage and the safe abode 
Thou told'st me of? What grim aspects' arc these. 
These oughly-headed monsters? Mercy guard me! 
Hence with thy brewed inchantments, foul deceiver! 
Hast thou betrayed my credulous innocence 
With vizored falsehood and base forgery? 
And wouldst thou seek again to trap me here 
With lickerish baits, fit to ensnare a brute? 
Were it a draught for Juno when she banquets, 
I would not taste thy treasonous offer. None 
But such as are good men can give good things; 
And that which is not good is not delicious 
To a well-governed and wise appetite. 

Comus. O foolishness of men! that lend their ears 
To those budge doctors of the Stoic fur. 
And fetch their precepts from the Cynic tub. 
Praising the lean and sallow Abstinence 
Wherefore did Nature pour her bounties forth 
With such a full and unwithdrawing hand. 
Covering the earth with odours, fruits, and flocks. 
Thronging the seas with spawn innumerable. 
But all to please and sate the curious taste? 
And set to work millions of spinning worms. 
That in their green shops weave the smooth-haired silk. 
To deck her sons; and, that no corner might 
Be vacant of her plenty, in her own loins 
She hutched the all-worshiped ore and precious gems. 
To store her children with. If all the world 
Should in a pet of temperance, feed on pulse. 
Drink the clear sueam, and nothing wear but frieze. 


The All-giver would be unthanked, would be 

Not half his riches known, and yet despised; 
And we should serve him as a grudging master, 
As a penurious niggard of his wealth, 
And live like Nature's bastards, not her sons, 
Who would be quite surcharged with her own weight, 
And strangled with her waste fertility: 
The earth cumbered, and the winged air darked with 

The herds would over-multitude their lords; 
The sea o'erfraught would swell, and the unsought 

Would so emblaze the forehead of the Deep, 
And so bestud with stars, that they below 
Would grow inured to light, and come at last 
To gaze upon the Sun with shameless brows. 
List, Lady; be not coy, and be not cozened 
With that same vaunted name. Virginity. 
Beauty is Nature's coin; must not be hoarded. 
But must be current; and the good thereof 
Consists in mutual and partaken bliss. 
Unsavoury in the injoyment of itself. 
If you let slip time, like a neglected rose 
It withers on the stalk with languished head. 
Beauty is Nature's brag, and must be shown 
In courts, at feasts, and high solemnities. 
Where most may wonder at the workmanship. 
It is for homely features to keep home; 
They had their name thence: coarse complexions 
And cheeks of sorry grain will serve to ply 
The sampler, and to tease the huswife's wool. 
What need a vermeil-tinctured lip for that. 
Love-darting eyes, or tresses like the Morn? 
There was another meaning in these gifts; 
Think what, and be advised; you are but young yet. 

Lady. I had not thought to have unlocked my lips 
In this unhallowed air, but that this Juggler 
Would think to charm my judgment, as mine eyes, 
Obtruding false rules pranked in reason's garb. 

COM us 65 

I hate when Vice can bolt her arguments 

And Virtue has no tongue to check her pride. 

Impostor! do not charge most innocent Nature, 

As if she would her children should be riotous 

With her abundance. She, good Cateress, 

Means her provision only to the good. 

That live according to her sober laws. 

And holy dictate of spare Temperance. 

If every just man that now pines with want 

Had but a moderate and beseeming share 

Of that which lewdly-pampered Luxury 

Now heaps upon some few with vast excess. 

Nature's full blessings would be well-dispensed 

In unsuperfluous even propwrtion. 

And she no whit encumbered with her store; 

And then the Giver would be better thanked. 

His praise due paid: for swinish Gluttony 

Ne'er looks to Heaven amidst his gorgeous feast. 

But with besotted base ingratitude 

Crams and blasphemes his Feeder. Shall I go on? 

Or have I said enow? To him that dares 

Arm his profane tongue with contemptuous words 

Against the sun<lad jx)wer of Chastity 

Fain would I something say; — yet to what end? 

Thou hast nor ear, nor soul, to apprehend 

The sublime notion and high mystery 

That must be uttered to unfold the sage 

And serious doctrine of Virginity; 

And thou art worthy that thou shouldst not know 

More happiness than this thy present lot. 

Enjoy your dear Wit, and gay Rhetoric, 

That hath so well been taught her dazzling fence; 

Thou art not fit to hear thyself convinced. 

Yet, should I try, the uncontrolled worth 

Of this pure cause would kindle my rapt spirits 

To such a flame of sacred vehemence 

That dumb things would be moved to sympathize. 

And the brute Earth would lend her nerves, and shake. 

Till all thy magic structures, reared so high. 

Were shattered into heaps o'er thy false head. 


Comus. She fables not. I feel that I do fear 
Her words set off by some superior power; 
And, though not mortal, yet a cold shuddering dew 
Dips me all o'er, as when the wrath of Jove 
Speaks thunder and the chains of Erebus 
To some of Saturn's crew. I must dissemble. 
And try her yet more strongly. — Come, no more! 
This is mere moral babble, and direct 
Against the canon laws of our foundation. 
I must not suffer this; yet 't is but the lees 
And setdings of a melancholy blood. 
But this will cure all straight; one sip of this 
Will bathe the drooping spirits in delight 
Beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wise, and taste . . . 

The Brotheu rush in ivith sworis drawn, wrest hii glass out of his hand, 
and hrcal^ it against the ground: his rout mal(e sign oj resistance, but 
are all driven in. The Attendant Spirit comes in. 

Spir. What! have you let the false Enchanter scape? 
O ye mistook; ye should have snatched his wand. 
And bound him fast. Without his rod reversed. 
And backward mutters of dissevering power. 
We cannot free the Lady that sits here 
In stony fetters fixed and motionless. 
Yet stay: be not disturbed; now I bethink me. 
Some other means I have which may be used. 
Which once of Meliboeus old I learnt, 
'i he soothest Shepherd that ere piped on plains. 

There is a gende Nymph not far from hence. 
That with moist curb sways the smooth Severn stream: 
Sabrina is her name: a virgin pure; 
Whilom she was the daughter of Locrine, 
That had the sceptre from his father Brute. 
She, guiltless damsel, flying the mad pursuit 
Of her enraged stepdame, Guendolen, 
Commended her fair innocence to the flood 
That stayed her flight with his cross-flowing course. 
The water-Nymphs, that in the bottom played. 
Held up their p>earled wrists, and took her in, 
Bearing her straight to aged Nereus' hall; 
Who, piteous of her woes, reared her lank head, 


And gave her to his daughters to imbathe 

In nectared lavers strewed with asphodil, 

And through the porch and inlet of each sense 

Dropt in ambrosial oils, till she revived. 

And underwent a quick immortal change. 

Made Cioddess of the river. Still she retains 

Her maiden gentleness, and oft at eve 

Visits the herds along the twilight meadows. 

Helping all urchin blasts, and ill-luck signs 

That the shrewd meddling Elf delights to make. 

Which she with prctious vialed liquors heals: 

For which the Shepherds, at their festivals, 

Carol her goodness loud in rustic lays. 

And throw sweet garland wreaths into her stream. 

Of pansies, pinks, and gaudy daffadils. 

And, as the old Swain said, she can unlock 

The clasping charm, and thaw the numbing S()ell, 

If she be right invoked in warbled song; 

For maidenhood she loves, and will be swift 

To aid a virgin, such as was herself. 

In hard-besetting need. This will I try, 

And add the power of some adjuring verse. 


Sabrina fair. 

Listen where thou art sitting 
Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave, 

In twisted braids of lilies knitting 
The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair; 

Listen for dear honour's sake. 

Goddess of the silver lake, 
Listen and save! 

Listen, and appear to us. 

In name of great Oceanus, 

By the earth-shaking Neptune's mace 

And Tethys' grave majestic pace; 

By hoary Nereus' wrinkled look, 

And the Carpathian wizard's hook; 

By scaly Triton's winding shell. 


And old soothsaying Glaucus' spell; 

By Leucothea's lovely hands, 

And her son that rules the strands; 

By Thetis' tinsel-slippered feet, 

And the songs of Sirens sweet; 

By dead Parthenope's dear tomb, 

And fair Ligea's golden comb, 

Wherewith she sits on diamond rocks 

Sleeking her soft alluring locks; 

By all the nymphs that nightly dance 

Upon thy streams with wily glance; 

Rise, rise, and heave thy rosy head 

From thy coral-paven bed. 

And bridle in thy headlong wave. 

Till thou our summons answered have. 

Listen and savel 

Sabrina riset, attended hy Water-nymphs, and singt. 

By the rushy-fringed bank. 

Where grows the willow and the oiser dank, 

My sliding chariot stays. 
Thick set with agate, and the azurn sheen 
Of turkis blue, and emerald green, 

That in the channel strays: 
Whilst from off the waters fleet 
Thus I set my printless feet 
O'er the cowslip's velvet head. 

That bends not as I tread. 
Gentle swain, at thy request 

I am here! 

Spir. Goddess dear. 
We implore thy powerful hand 
To undo the charmed band 
Of true virgin here distressed 
Through the force and through the wile 
Of unblessed enchanter vile. 

Sabr. Shepherd, 't is my office best 
To help insnar^d Chastity, 
Brightest Lady, look on me. 


Thus I sprinkle on thy breast 
Drops that from my fountain pure 
I have kept of pretious cure; 
Thrice upon thy finger's tip. 
Thrice upon thy rubied lip: 
Next this marble venomed seat, 
Smeared with gums of glutinous heat, 
I touch with chaste palms moist and cold. 
Now the sf)ell hath lost his hold; 
And I must haste ere morning hour 
To wait in Amphitrite's bower. 

Sabkina deicends, and the Lady rises out of her teat. 

Spir. Virgin, daughter of Lxxrrine, 
Sprung of old Anchises' line, 
May thy brimmed waves for this 
Their full tribute never miss 
From a thousand petty rills. 
That tumble down the snowy hills: 
Summer drouth or singed air 
Never scorch thy tresses fair, 
Nor wet October's torrent flood 
Thy molten crystal fill with mud; 
May thy billows roll ashore 
The beryl and the golden ore; 
May thy lofty head be crowned 
With many a tower and terrace round, 
And here and there thy banks upon 
With groves of myrrh and cinnamon. 

Come, Lady; while Heaven lends us grace, 
Let us fly this cursed place. 
Lest the Sorcerer us entice 
With some other new device. 
Not a waste or needless sound 
Till we come to holier ground. 
I shall be your faithful guide 
Through this gloomy covert wide; 
And not many furlongs thence 
Is your Father's residence. 
Where this night are met in state 


Many a friend to gratulate 

His wished presence, and beside 

All the Swains that there abide 

With jigs and rural dance resort. 

We shall catch them at their sport. 

And our sudden coming there 

Will double all their mirth and cheer. 

Come, let us haste; the stars grow high. 

But Night sits monarch yet in the mid sky. 

The Scene changer, presenting Ludlow Town, and the Presidenl't Cattle: 
then come in Country Dancers; after them the Attendant Spuut, 
with the tivo Brothers and the Lady. 


Spir. Back, Shepherds, back! Enough your play 
Till next sun-shine holiday. 
Here be, without duck or nod, 
Other trippings to be trod 
Of lighter toes, and such court guise 
As Mercury did first devise 
With the mincing Dryades 
On the lawns and on the leas. 

This second Song presents them to their Father and Mother, 

Noble Lord and Lady bright, 
I have brought ye new delight. 
Here behold so goodly grown 
Three fair branches of your own. 
Heaven hath timely tried their youth. 
Their faith, their patience, and their truth, 
And sent them here through hard assays 
With a crown of deathless praise. 
To triumph in victorious dance 
O'er sensual Folly and Intemperance. 

The dances ended, the Spirit epiloguizes. 

Spir. To the ocean now I fly. 
And those happy climes that lie 
Where day never shuts his eye. 
Up in the broad fields of the sky. 
There I stKk the liquid air, 


All amidst the Gardens fair 

Of Hesperus, and his daughters three 

That sing about the Golden Tree. 

Along the crisped shades and bowers 

Revels the spruce and jocond Spring; 

The Graces and the rosy-bosomed Hours 

Thither all their bounties bring. 

There eternal Summer dwells, 

And west winds with musky wing 

About the cedarn alleys fling 

Nard and cassia's balmy smells. 

Iris there with humid bow 

Waters the odorous banks, that blow 

Flowers of more mingled hue 

Than her purfled scarf can shew, 

And drenches with Elysian dew 

(List mortals, if your ears be true) 

Beds of hyacinth and roses, 

Where young Adonis oft reposes. 

Waxing well of his deep wound 

In slumber soft, and on the ground 

Sadly sits the Assyrian queen; 

But far above in spangled sheen 

Celestial Cupid, her famed son, advanced, 

Holds his dear Psyche sweet intranced. 

After her wandring labours long. 

Till free consent the gods among 

Make her his eternal Bride, 

And from her fair unspotted side 

Two blissful twins are to be born, 

Youth and Joy; so Jove hath sworn. 

But now my task is smoothly done, 
I can fly, or I can run 
Quickly to the green earth's end, 
Where the bowed welkin slow doth bend, 
And from thence can soar as soon 
To the corners of the Moon. 

Mortals, that would follow me, 
Love Virtue, she alone is free; 
She can teach ye how to climb 


Higher than the spheary chime: 
Or, if Virtue feeble were, 
Heaven itself would stoop to her. 



In this Monody the Author bewails a learned Friend, unfortunately 
drowned in his passage from Chester on the Irish Seas, 1637; and, by 
occasion, foretells the ruin of our corrupted Clergy, then in their height. 

Yet once more, O ye Laurels, and once more. 
Ye Myrdes brown, with ivy never sere, 
I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude. 
And with forced fingers rude 
Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year. 
Bitter constraint and sad occasion dear 
Compels me to disturb your season due; 
For Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime, 
Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer. 
Who would not sing for Lycidas? he knew 
Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme. 
He must not float upon his watery bier 
Unwept, and welter to the parching wind, 
Without the meed of some melodious tear. 

Begin, then. Sisters of the sacred well 
That from beneath the seat of Jove doth spring; 
Begin, and somewhat loudly sweep the string. 
Hence with denial vain and coy excuse: 
So may some gentle Muse 
With lucky words favour my destined urn. 
And as he passes turn. 
And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud! 

For we were nursed uf>on the self-same hill. 
Fed the same flock, by fountain, shade, and rill; 
Together both, ere the high lawns appeared 
Under the opening eyelids of the Morn, 
We drove a-field, and both together heard 
What time the grey-fly winds her sultry horn. 
Battening our flocks with the fresh dews of night, 
Oft till the star that rose at evening bright 


Toward heaven's descent had sloped his westering 

Meanwhile the rural ditties were not mute; 
Tempered to the oaten flute 
Rough Satyrs danced, and Fauns with cloven heel 
From the glad sound would not be absent long; 
And old Damoetas loved to hear our song. 

But, oh! the heavy change, now thou art gone, 
Now thou art gone and never must return! 
Thee, Shepherd, thee the woods and desert caves. 
With wild thyme and the gadding vine o'ergrown, 
And all their echoes, mourn. 
The willows, and the hazel copses green, 
Shall now no more be seen 
Fanning their joyous leaves to thy soft lays. 
As killing as the canker to the rose. 
Or taint-worm to the weanling herds that graze, 
Or frost to flowers, that their gay wardrobe wear, 
When first the white-thorn blows; 
Such, Lycidas, thy loss to shepherd's ear. 

Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseless deep 
Closed o'er the head of your loved Lycidas? 
For neither were ye playing on the steep 
Where your old Bards, the famous Druids, lie. 
Nor on the shaggy top of Mona high. 
Nor yet where Deva spreads her wisard stream. 
Ay me! I fondly dream 
"Had ye been there," ... for what could that have 

What could the Muse herself that Orpheus bore, 
The Muse herself, for her inchanting son, 
Whom universal nature did lament. 
When, by the rout that made the hideous roar. 
His gory visage down the stream was sent, 
Down the swift Hebrus to the Lesbian shore? 

Alas! what boots it with uncessant care 
To tend the homely, slighted, Shepherd's trade, 
And strictly meditate the thankless Muse? 
Were it not better done, as others use. 
To sport with Amaryllis in the shade. 


Or with the tangles of Neaera's hair? 

Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise 

(That last infirmity of noble mind) 

To scorn delights and live laborious days; 

But the fair guerdon when we hope to find, 

And think to burst out into sudden blaze, 

Comes the blind Fury with the abhorred shears, 

And slits the thin-spun life. "But not the praise," 

Phoebus replied, and touched my trembling ears: 

"Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil. 

Nor in the glistering foil 

Set off to the world, nor in broad rumour lies. 

But lives and spreads aloft by those pure eyes 

And perfet witness of all-judging Jove; 

As he pronounces lastly on each deed, 

Of so much fame in heaven expect thy meed." 

O fountain Arethuse, and thou honoured flood. 
Smooth-sliding Mincius, crowned with vocal reeds. 
That strain I heard was of a higher mood. 
But now my oat proceeds. 
And listens to the Herald of the Sea, 
That came in Neptune's plea. 
He asked the waves, and asked the felon winds, 
What hard mishap hath doomed this gentle swain.' 
And questioned every gust of rugged wings 
That blows from off each beaked promontory. 
They knew not of his story; 
And sage Hippotades their answer brings, 
That not a blast was from his dungeon strayed: 
The air was calm, and on the level brine 
Sleek Panope with all her sisters played. 
It was that fatal and perfidious bark. 
Built in the eclipse, and rigged with curses dark. 
That sunk so low that sacred head of thine. 

Next Camus, reverend Sire, went footing slow. 
His mande hairy, and his bonnet sedge. 
Inwrought with figures dim, and on the edge 
Like to that sanguine flower inscribed with woe. 
"Ah! who hath reft," quoth he, "my dearest pledge.'" 
Last came, and bst did go. 


The pilot of the Galilean Lake; 

Two massy keys he bore of metals twain 

(The golden opes, the iron shuts amain). 

He shook his mitred locks, and stern bespake: — 

"How well could I have spared for thee, young swain, 

Anow of such as, for their bellies' sake. 

Creep, and intrude, and climb into the fold! 

Of other care they litde reckoning make 

Than how to scramble at the shearers' feast, 

And shove away the worthy bidden guest. 

Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to hold 

A sheep-hook, or have learnt aught else the least 

That to the faithful Herdman's art belongs! 

What recks it them? What need they? They are sped; 

And, when they list, their lean and fleshy songs 

Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw; 

The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed, 

But, swoln with wind and the rank mist they draw, 

Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread; 

Besides what the grim Wolf with privy paw 

Daily devours apace, and nothing said. 

But that two-handed engine at the door 

Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more." 

Return, Alpheus; the dread voice is past 
That shrunk thy streams; return, Sicilian Muse, 
And call the vales, and bid them hither cast 
Their bells and flowerets of a thousand hues. 
Ye valleys low, where the mild whispers use 
Of shades, and wanton winds, and gushing brooks, 
On whose fresh lap the swart star sparely looks, 
Throw hither all your quaint enamelled eyes. 
That on the green turf suck the honeyed showers. 
And purple all the ground with vernal flowers. 
Bring the rathe primrose that forsaken dies. 
The tufted crow-toe, and pale gcssamine. 
The white pink, and the pansy freaked with jet, 
The glowing violet, 

The musk-rose, and the well-attired woodbine, 
With cowslips wan that hang the pensive head. 
And every flower that sad embroidery wears; 


Bid atnaranthus all his beauty shed, 

And dafTadillies fill their cups with tears, 

To strew the laureate hearse where Lycid lies. 

For so, to interp>ose a little ease, 

Let our frail thoughts dally with false surmise. 

Ay me! whilst thee the shores and sounding seas 

Wash far away, where'er thy bones are hurled; 

Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides, 

Where thou perhaps under the whelming tide 

Visit's! the bottom of the monstrous world; 

Or whether thou, to our moist vows denied, 

Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old, 

Where the great Vision of the guarded mount 

Lxxiks toward Namancos and Bayona's hold. 

Look homeward. Angel now, and melt with ruth: 

And, O ye dolphins, waft the hapless youth. 

Weep no more, woeful shepherds, weep no more, 
For Lycidas, your sorrow, is not dead. 
Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor. 
So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed. 
And yet anon repairs his drooping head, 
And tricks his beams, and with new-spangled ore 
Flames in the forehead of the morning sky: 
So Lycidas sunk low, but mounted high, 
Through the dear might of Him that walked the waves, 
Where, other groves and other streams along, 
With nectar pure his oozy locks he laves, 
And hears the unexpressive nuptial song, 
In the blest kingdoms meek of joy and love. 
There entertain him all the Saints above. 
In solemn troops, and sweet societies, 
That sing, and singing in their glory move. 
And wipe the tears for ever from his eyes. 
Now, Lycidas, the Shepherds weep no more; 
Henceforth thou art the Genius of the shore. 
In thy large recompense, and shalt be good 
To all that wander in that perilous flood. 

Thus sang the uncouth Swain to the oaks and rills. 
While the still Morn went out with sandals grey: 


He touched the tender stops of various quills, 
With eager thought warbling his Doric lay: 
And now the sun had stretched out all the hills, 
And now was dropt into the western bay. 
At last he rose, and twitched his mantle blue: 
To-morrow to fresh woods, and pastures new. 




I 642- I 658 


(November, 1642) 

CAFnTAIN, or colonel, or knight in arms. 
Whose chance on these defenceless doors may seize. 
If deed of honour did thee ever please, 
Guard them, and him within protect from harms. 
He can requite thee, for he knows the charms 
That call fame on such gentle acts as these, 
And he can spread thy name o'er lands and seas, 
Whatever clime the sun's bright circle warms. 
Lift not thy sjiear against the Muse's bower; 
The great Emathian conqueror bid spare 
The house of Pindarus, when temple and tower 
Went to the ground; and the repeated air 
Of sad Electra's Poet had the power 
To save the Athenian walls from ruin bare. 


Lady! that in the prime of earliest youth 
Wisely hast shunned the broad way and the green, 
And with those few art eminently seen. 
That labour up the Hill of Heavenly Truth, 
The better part with Mary and with Ruth 
Chosen thou hast, and they that overween. 
And at thy growing virtues fret their spleen, 


No anger find in thee, but pity and ruth. 

Thy care is fixed, and zealously attends 

To fill thy odorous Lamp with deeds of light. 

And Hope that reaps not shame; therefore be sure. 

Thou, when the Bridegroom with his feastful friends 

Passes to bliss at the mid hour of night. 

Hast gained thy entrance, Virgin wise and pure. 


Daughter to that good Earl, once President 
Of England's Council and her Treasury, 
Who lived in both unstained with gold or fee, 
And left them both, more in himself content. 

Till the sad breaking of that Parliament 
Broke him, as that dishonest victory 
At Cha:ronea, fatal to liberty. 
Killed with report that old man eloquent, 

Though later born than to have known the days 
Wherein your father flourished, yet by you. 
Madam, methinks I see him living yet: 

So well your words his noble virtues praise 
That all both judge you to relate them true 
And to possess them, honoured Margaret. 



A BOOK was writ of late called Tetrachordon, 
And woven close, both matter, form, and style; 
The subject new: it walked the town a while, 
Numbering good intellects; now seldom pored on. 

Cries the stall-reader, "Bless us! what a word on 
A title-page is this!"; and some in file 
Stand spelling false, while one might walk to Mile- 
End Green. Why, is it harder, sirs, than Gordon, 

Col/^itto, or Macdonnd, or Galasp? 
Those rugged names to our like mouths grow sleek 


That would have made Quintilian stare and gasp. 
Thy age, like ours, O soul of Sir John Cheek, 
Hated not learning worse than toad or asp, 
When thou taught'st Cambridge and King Edward 


I DID but prompt the age to quit their clogs 
By the known rules of ancient liberty, 
When straight a barbarous noise environs me 
Of owls and cuckoos, asses, apes, and dogs; 

As when those hinds that were transformed to frogs 
Railed at Latona's twin-born progeny, 
Which after held the Sun and Moon in fee. 
But this is got by casting pearl to hogs, 

That bawl for freedom in their senseless mood. 
And still revolt when Truth would set them free. 
Licence they mean when they cry Liberty; 

For who loves that must first be wise and good: 
But from that mark how far they rove we see, 
For all this waste of wealth and loss of blood. 




Because you have thrown ofl your Prelate Lord, 
And with stiff vows renounced his Liturgy, 
To seize the widowed whore Plurality, 
From them whose sin ye envied, not abhorred, 

Dare ye for this adjure the civil sword 
To force our consciences that Christ set free, 
And ride us with a Classic Hierarchy, 
Taught ye by mere A. S. and Rutherford? 

Men whose life, learning, faith, and pure intent, 
Would have been held in high esteem with Paul 
Must now be named and printed heretics 

By shallow Edwards and Scotch Whai-d'ye<all! 


But we do hope to find out all your tricks, 
Your plots and packing, worse than those of Trent, 
That so the Parliament 
May with their wholesome and preventive shears 
Clip your phylacteries, though baulk your ears. 

And succour our just fears. 
When they shall read this clearly in your charge: 
New Presbyter is but old Priest writ large. 


Harry, whose tuneful and well-measured song 
First taught our English music how to span 
Words with just note and accent, not to scan 
With Midas' ears, committing short and long. 

Thy worth and skill exempts thee from the throng. 
With praise enough for Envy to look wan; 
To after age thou shalt be writ the man 
That with smooth air couldst humour best our 

Thou honour'st Verse, and Verse must lend her wing 
To honour thee, the priest of Phoebus' quire. 
That tunest their happiest lines in hymn or story. 

Dante shall give Fame leave to set thee higher 
Than his Casella, whom he wooed to sing. 
Met in the milder shades of Purgatory. 



DECEASED DEC. 16, 1646 


When Faith and Lx)ve, which parted from thee never, 
Had ripened thy just soul to dwell with God, 
Meekly thou didst resign this earthly load 
Of death, called life, which us from life doth sever. 

Thy works, and aims, and all thy good endeavour, 
Stayed not behind, nor in the grave were trod; 
But, as Faith pointed with her golden rod. 


Followed thee up to joy and bliss for ever. 

Love led them on; and Faith, who knew them best 
Thy handmaids, clad them o'er with purple beams 
And azure wings, that up they flew so drest, 

And speak the truth of thee on glorious themes 
Before the Judge; who henceforth bid thee rest. 
And drink thy fill of pure immortal streams. 




Fairfax, whose name in arms through Europe rings. 
Filling each mouth with envy or with praise. 
And all her jealous monarchs with amaze, 
And rumours loud that daunt remotest kings. 

Thy firm unshaken virtue ever brings 

Victory home, though new rebellions raise 
Their Hydra heads, and the false North displays 
Her broken league to imp their serpent wings. 

O yet a nobler task awaits thy hand 

(For what can war but endless war still breed?) 
Till truth and right from violence be freed, 

And public faith cleared from the shameful brand 
Of public fraud. In vain doth Valour bleed, 
While Avarice and Rapine share the land. 



Cromwell, our chief of men, who through a cloud 
Not of war only, but detractions rude, 
Guided by faith and matchless fortitude, 
To peace and truth thy glorious way hast ploughed. 

And on the neck of crowned Fortune proud 

Hast reared God's trophies, and his work pursued. 
While Darwen stream, with blood of Scots imbrued. 


And Dunbar Held, resounds thy praises loud, 
And Worcester's laureate wreath: yet much remains 
To conquer still; Peace hath her victories 
No less renowned than War: new foes arise, 
Threatening to bind our souls with secular chains. 
Help us to save free conscience from the paw 
Of hireling wolves, whose Gosjjel is their maw. 


Vane, young in years, but in sage counsel old, 

Than whom a better senator ne'er held 

The helm of Rome, when gowns, not arms, refuelled 

The fierce Epirot and the African bold. 
Whether to settle peace, or to unfold 

The drift of hollow states hard to be sf>elled; 

Then to advise how war may best, upheld, 

Move by her two main nerves, iron and gold, 
In all her equipage; besides, to know 

Both spiritual power and civil, what each means, 

What severs each, thou hast learned, which few have 
The bounds of either sword to thee we owe: 

Therefore on thy firm hand Religion leans 

In peace, and reckons thee her eldest son. 



Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered Saints, whose bones 

Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold; 

Even them who kept thy truth so pure of old, 
When all our fathers worshiped stocks and stones, 
Forget not: in thy book record their groans 

Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold 

Slain by the bloody Piemontese, that rolled 
Mother with infant down the rocks. Their moans 
The vales redoubled to the hills, and they 

To heaven. Their martyred blood and ashes sow 


O'er all the Italian fields, where still doth sway 
The triple Tyrant; that from these may grow 

A hundredfold, who, having learnt thy way, 
Early may fly the Babylonian woe. 



When I consider how my light is spent 

Ere half my days in this dark world and wide. 
And that one Talent which is death to hide 
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent 

To serve therewith my Maker, and present 
My true account, lest He returning chide, 
"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?" 
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent 

That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need 
Either man's work or his own gifts. Who best 
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state 

Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed. 
And post o'er land and ocean without rest; 
They also serve who only stand and wait." 


Lawrence, of virtuous father virtuous son. 

Now that the fields are dank, and ways are mire. 
Where shall we sometimes meet, and by the fire 
Help waste a sullen day, what may be won 

From the hard season gaining? Time will run 
On smoother, till Favonius reinspire 
The frozen earth, and clothe in fresh attire 
The lily and rose, that neither sowed nor spun. 

What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice. 
Of Attic taste, with wine, whence we may rise 
To hear the lute well touched, or artful voice 

Warble immortal notes and Tuscan air? 
He who of those delights can judge, and spare 
To interpose them oft, is not unwise. 



Cyriack, whose grandsire on the royal bench 

Of British Themis, with no mean applause, 

Pronounced, and in his volumes taught, our laws, 

Which others at their bar so often wrench. 
To-day deep thoughts resolve with me to drench 

In mirth that after no repenting draws; 

Let Euclid rest, and Archimedes pause, 

And what the Swede intend, and what the French. 
To measure life learn thou betimes, and know 

Toward solid good what leads the nearest way; 

For other things mild Heaven a time ordains, 
And disapproves that care, though wise in show. 

That with superfluous burden loads the day. 

And, when God sends a cheerful hour, refrains. 



Cyriack, this three years' day these eyes, though clear. 

To outward view, of blemish or of spot. 

Bereft of light, their seeing have forgot; 

Nor to their idle orbs doth sight appear 
Of sun, or moon, or star, throughout the year, 

Or man, or woman. Yet I argue not 

Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot 

Of heart or hope, but still bear up and steer 
Right onward. What supports me, dost thou ask? 

The conscience, friend, to have lost them overplied 

In Liberty's defence, my noble task. 
Of which all Europe rings from side to side. 

This thought might lead me through the world's vain 
Content, though blind, had I no better guide. 



Methought I saw my late espousW saint 
Brought to me like Alcestis from the grave, 
Whom Jove's great son to her glad husband gave, 
Rescued from Death by force, though pale and faint. 

Mine, as whom washed from sf>ot of childbed taint 
Purification in the Old Law did save. 
And such as yet once more I trust to have 
Full sight of her in Heaven without restraint. 

Came vested all in white, pure as her mind. 
Her face was veiled; yet to my fancied sight 
Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shined 

So clear as in no face with more delight. 
But, oh! as to embrace me she inclined, 
I waked, she fled, and day brought back my night. 



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 metre; 
graced indeed since by the use of some famous modern poets, carried 
away by custom, but much to their own vexation, hindrance, and con- 
straint to express many things otherwise, and for the most part worse, 
than else they would have expressed 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 itself, to all judicious ears, trivial and of no true 
musical delight; which consists only 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 avoided 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 esteemed an example set, the first 
in English, of ancient liberty recovered to heroic poem from the trouble- 
some and modern bondage of riming. 


The Akcument. — This First Book proposes, first in brief, the whole subject — 
Man's disobedience, and the lots thereupon of Paradise, wherein he was placed: 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 passed over, the Poem hastes into the midst of things; presenting Satan, 
with his Angels, now fallen into Hell — described here not in the Centre (for heaven 
and earth may be supposed as yet not made, certainly not yet accursed), but in a 
place of utter darkness, fitliest called Chaos. Here Satan, with his Angels lying on 
the burning lake, thunderstruck and astonished after a certain space recovers, as from 
confusion; calls up him who, next in order and dignity, lay by him: they confer of 
their miserable fall. Satan awakens ail his legions, who lay till then in the same 
manner confounded. They rise: their numbers; array of battle; their chief leaders 



named, according to the idols known afterwards in Canaan and the countries ad- 
joining. To these Satan directs his speech; comforts them with hope yet of re- 
gaining Heaven; but tells them, lastly, of a new world and new kind of creature to 
be created, according to an ancient prophecy, 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 prophecy, and what to determine thereon, he refers to a 
full council. What his associates thence attempt. Pandemonium, the palace of Satan, 
rises, suddenly built out of the Deep: the infernal Peers there sit in council. 

OF MAN'S first disobedience, and the fruit 
( Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste 
Brought death into the World, and all our woe, 
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man 
Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat, 
Sing, Heavenly Muse, that, on the secret top 
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire 
That Shepherd who first taught the chosen seed 
In the beginning how the heavens and earth 
Rose out of Chaos: or, if Sion hill 
Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flowed 
Fast by the oracle of God, I thence 
Invoke thy aid to my adventrous song, 
That with no middle flight intends to soar 
Above the Aonian mount, while it pursues 
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme. 
And chiefly Thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer 
Before all temples the upright heart and pure. 
Instruct me, for Thou know'st; Thou from the first 
Wast present, and, with mighty wings outspread. 
Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast Abyss, 
And mad'st it pregnant: what in me is dark 
Illumine, what is low raise and support; 
That, to the highth of this great argument, 
I may assert Eternal Providence, 
And justify the ways of God to men. 

Say first — for Heaven hides nothing from thy view, 
Nor the deep tract of Hell — say first what cause 
Moved our grand Parents, in that happy state. 
Favoured of Heaven so highly, to fall off 
From their Creator, and transgress his will 
For one restraint, lords of the World besides. 
Who first seduced them to that foul revolt ? 



The infernal Serpent; he it was whose guile, 
Stirred up with envy and revenge, deceived 
The mother of mankind, what time his pride 
Had cast him out from Heaven, with all his host 
Of rebel Angels, by whose aid, aspiring 
To set himself in glory above his peers, 
He trusted to have equalled the Most High, 
If he opf>osed, and, with ambitious aim 
Against the throne and monarchy of God, 
Raised impious war in Heaven and batde proud, 
With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power 
Hurled headlong flaming from the ethereal sky. 
With hideous ruin and combustion, down 
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell 
In adamantine chains and penal fire. 
Who durst defy the Omnipotent to arms. 

Nine times the space that measures day and night 
To mortal men, he, with his horrid crew, 
Lay vanquished, rowling in the fiery gulf. 
Confounded, though immortal. But his doom 
Reserved him to more wrath; for now the thought 
Both of lost happiness and lasting pain 
Torments him: round he throws his baleful eyes. 
That witnessed huge affliction and dismay. 

Mixed with obdurate pride and steadfast hate. 

At once, as far as Angel's ken, he views 

The dismal situation waste and wild. 

A dungeon horrible, on all sides round. 

As one great furnace flamed; yet from those flames 

No light; but rather darkness visible 

Served only to discover sights of woe. 

Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace 

And rest can never dwell, hope never comes 

That comes to all, but torture without end 

Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed 

With ever-burning sulphur unconsumed. 

Such place Eternal Justice had prepared 

For those rebellious; here their prison ordained 

In utter darkness, and their portion set, 

As far removed from God and light of Heaven 

90 JOHN MILTON book I 

As from the centre thrice to the utmost pole. 
Oh how unlike the place from whence they fell! 
There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelmed 
With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire, 
He soon discerns; and, weltering by his side. 
One next himself in fX)wer, and next in crime, 
Long after known in Palestine, and named 
Beelzebub. To whom the Arch-Enemy, 
And thence in Heaven called Satan, with bold words 
Breaking the horrid silence, thus began: — 

"If thou beest he — but Oh how fallen! how changed 
From him! — who, in the happy realms of light, 
Clothed with transcendent brightness, didst outshine 
Myriads, though bright — if he whom mutual league. 
United thoughts and counsels, equal hope 
And hazard in the glorious enterprise. 
Joined with me once, now misery hath joined 
In equal ruin; into what pit thou seest 
From what highth fallen: so much the stronger proved 
He with his thunder: and till then who knew 
The force of those dire arms? Yet not for those. 
Nor what the potent Victor in his rage 
Can else inflict, do I repent, or change. 
Though changed in outward lustre, that fixed mind. 
And high disdain from sense of injured merit. 
That with the Mightiest raised me to contend. 
And to the fierce contention brought along 
Innumerable force of Spirits armed. 
That durst dislike his reign, and, me preferring. 
His utmost power with adverse power opposed 
In dubious batde on the plains of Heaven, 
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 might 
Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace 
With suppliant knee, and deify his power 
Who. from the terror of this arm. so late 


Doubted his empire — that were low indeed; 

That were an ignominy and shame beneath 

This downfall; since, by fate, the strength of Gods, 

And this empyreal substance, cannot fail; 

Since, through experience of this great event. 

In arms not worse, in foresight much advanced, 

We may with more successful hope resolve 

To wage by force or guile eternal war. 

Irreconcilable to our grand Foe, 

Who now triumphs', and in the excess of joy 

Sole reigning holds the tyranny of Heaven." 

So spake the apostate Angel, though in pain, 
Vaunting aloud, but racked with deep despair; 
And him thus answered soon his bold Compeer: — 

"O Prince, O Chief of many throned Powers 
That led the embattled Seraphim to war 
Under thy conduct, and, in dreadful deeds 
Fearless, endangered Heaven's perpetual King, 
And put to proof his high supremacy. 
Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate! 
Too well I see and rue the dire event 
That, with sad overthrow and foul defeat, 
Hath lost us Heaven, and all this mighty host 
In horrible destruction laid thus low. 
As far as Gods and Heavenly Essences 
Can perish: for the mind and spirit remains 
Invincible, and vigour soon returns. 
Though all our glory extinct, and happy state 
Here swallowed up in endless misery. 
But what if He our Conqueror (whom I now 
Of force believe Almighty, since no less 
Than such could have o'erpowered such force as ours) 
Have left us this our spirit and strength entire. 
Strongly to suffer and support our pains. 
That we may so suffice his vengeful ire. 
Or do him mightier service as his thralls 
By right of war, whate'er his business be, 
Here in the heart of Hell to work in fire. 
Or do errands in the gloomy Deep? 
What can it then avail though yet we feel 

92 JOHN MILTON book I 

Strength undiminished, or eternal being 
To undergo eternal punishment?" 

Whereto with speedy words the Arch-Fiend 
replied: — 
"Fallen Cherub, to be weak is miserable. 
Doing or suffering: but of this be sure — 
To do aught good never will be our task. 
But ever to do ill our sole delight, 
As being the contrary to His high will 
Whom we resist. If then His providence 
Out 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 ofttimes may succeed so as perhaps 
Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb 
His inmost counsels from their destined aim. 
But see! the angry Victor hath recalled 
His ministers of vengeance and pursuit 
Back to the gates of Heaven: the sulphurous hail. 
Shot after us in storm, o'erblown hath laid 
The fiery surge that from the precipice 
Of Heaven received us falling; and the thunder, 
Winged with red lightning and impetuous rage. 
Perhaps hath sf)ent his shafts, and ceases now 
To bellow through the vast and boundless Deep. 
Let us not slip the occasion, whether scorn 
Or satiate fury yield it from our Foe. 
Seest thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild. 
The seat of desolation, void of light. 
Save what the glimmering of these livid flames 
Casts pale and dreadful ? Thither let us tend 
From off the tossing of these fiery waves; 
There rest, if any rest can harbour there; 
And, re-assembling our afflicted powers. 
Consult how we may henceforth most offend 
Our Enemy, our own loss how repair. 
How overcome this dire calamity. 
What reinforcement we may gain from hope, 
If not what resolution from despair." 

Thus Satan, talking to his nearest Mate, 


With head apUft above the wave, and eyes 

That sparkling blazed; his other parts besides 

Prone on the flood, extended long and large, 

Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge 

As whom the fables name of monstrous size, 

Titanian or E^rth-born, that warred on Jove, 

Briareos or Typhon, whom the den 

By ancient Tarsus held, or that sea-beast 

Leviathan, which God of all his works 

Created hugest that swim the ocean-stream. 

Him, haply slumbering on the Norway foam. 

The pilot of some small night-foundered skift, 

Deeming some island, oft, as seamen tell. 

With fix^d anchor in his scaly rind. 

Moors by his side under the lee, while night 

Invests the sea, and wished morn delays. 

So stretched out huge in length the Arch-Fiend lay, 

Chained on the burning lake; nor ever thence 

Had risen, or heaved his head, but that the will 

And high {jermission of all-ruling Heaven 

Left him at large to his own dark designs. 

That with reiterated crimes he might 

Heap on himself damnation, while he sought 

Evil to others, and enraged might see 

How all his malice served but to bring forth 

Infinite goodness, grace, and mercy, shewn 

On Man by him seduced, but on himself 

Treble confusion, wrath, and vengeance poured. 

Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool 
His mighty stature; on each hand the flames 
Driven backward slope their pointing spires, and, 

In billows, leave i' the midst a horrid vale. 
Then with expanded wings he steers his flight 
Aloft, incumbent on the dusky air, 
That felt unusual weight; till on dry land 
He lights — if it were land that ever burned 
With solid, as the lake with liquid fire, 
And such appeared in hue as when the force 
Of subterranean wind transports a hill 

94 JOHN MILTON book I 

Torn from Pelorus, or the shattered side 

Of thundering /Etna, whose combustible 

And fuelled entrails, thence conceiving fire, 

Sublimed with mineral fury, aid the winds. 

And leave a singed bottom all involved 

With stench and smoke. Such resting found the sole 

Of unblest feet. Him followed his next Mate; 

Both glorying to have scaped the Stygian flood 

As gods, and by their own recovered strength. 

Not by the sufferance of supernal pwwer. 

"Is this the region, this the soil, the clime," 
Said then the lost Archangel, "this the seat 
That we must change for Heaven? — this mournful 

For that celestial light? Be it so, since He 
Who now is sovran can dispose and bid 
What shall be right: fardest from Him is best. 
Whom reason hath equalled, force hath made supreme 
Above his equals. Farewell, happy fields. 
Where joy forever dwells! Hail, horrors! hail. 
Infernal World! and thou, profoundest Hell, 
Receive thy new possessor — one who brings 
A mind not to be changed by place or time. 
The mind is its own place, and in itself 
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven. 
What matter where, if I be still the same, 
And what I should be, all but less than he 
Whom thunder hath made greater? Hero at least 
We shall be free; the Almighty hath not built 
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence: 
Here we may reign secure; and, in my choice. 
To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell: 
Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven. 
But wherefore let we then our faithful friends. 
The associates and co-partners of our loss, 
Lie thus astonished on the oblivious p)ool. 
And call them not to share with us their part 
In this unhappy mansion, or once more 
With rallied arms to try what may be yet 
Regained in Heaven, or what more lost in Hell?" 


So Satan spake; and him Beelzebub 
Thus answered: — "Leader of those armies bright 
Which, but the Omnipotent, none could have foiled! 
If once they hear that voice, their liveliest pledge 
Of hope in fears and dangers — heard so oft 
In worst extremes, and on the perilous edge 
Of battle, when it raged, in all assaults 
Their surest signal — they will soon resume 
New courage and revive, though now they He 
Grovelling and prostrate on yon lake of fire. 
As we erewhile, astounded and amazed; 
No wonder, fallen such a pernicious highth!" 

He scarce had ceased when the superior Fiend 
Was moving toward the shore; his ponderous shield, 
Ethereal temper, massy, large, and round. 
Behind him cast. The broad circumference 
Hung on his shoulders like the moon, whose orb 
Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views 
At evening, from the top of Fesole, 
Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands. 
Rivers, or mountains, in her spotty globe. 
His sf>ear — to equal which the tallest pine 
Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mast 
Of some great Ammiral, were but a wand — 
He walked with, to support uneasy steps 
Over the burning marie, not like those steps 
On Heaven's azure; and the torrid clime 
Smote on him sore besides, vaulted with fire. 
Nathless he so endured, till on the beach 
Of that inflamed sea he stood, and called 
His legions — Angel Forms, who lay entranced 
Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks 
In Vallombrosa, where the Etrurian shades 
High over-arched imbower; or scattered sedge 
Afk>at, when with fierce winds Orion armed 
Hath vexed the Red-Sea coast, whose waves o'erthrew 
Busiris and his Memphian chivalry. 
While with perfidious hatred they pursued 
The sojourners of Goshen, who beheld 
From the safe shore their floating carcases 

96 JOHN MILTON book 1 

And broken chariot-wheels. So thick bestrown, 
Abject and lost, lay these, covering the flood, 
Under amazement of their hideous change. 
He called so loud that all the hollow deep 
Of Hell resounded: — "Princes, Potentates, 
Warriors, the Flower of Heaven — once yours; now 

If such astonishment as this can seize 
Eternal Spirits! Or have ye chosen this place 
After the toil of battle to repose 
Your wearied virtue, for the ease you find 
To slumber here, as in the vales of Heaven.' 
Or in this abject posture have ye sworn 
To adore the Conqueror, who now beholds 
Cherub and Seraph rowling in the flood 
With scattered arms and ensigns, till anon 
His swift pursuers from Heaven-gates discern 
The advantage, and, descending tread us down 
Thus drooping, or with linked thunderbolts 
Transfix us to the bottom of this gulf? — 
Awake, arise, or be for ever fallen!" 

They heard, and were abashed, and up they sprung 
Upon the wing, as when men wont to watch. 
On duty sleeping found by whom they dread, 
Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake. 
Nor did they not perceive the evil plight 
In which they were, or the fierce pains not feel; 
Yet to their General's voice they soon obeyed 
Innumerable. As when the potent rod 
Of Amram's son, in Egypt's evil day, 
Waved round the coast, up<alled a pitchy cloud 
Of locusts, warping on the eastern wind. 
That o'er the realm of impious Pharaoh hung 
Like Night, and darkened all the land of Nile; 
So numberless were those bad Angels seen 
Hovering on wing under the cope of Hell, 
'Twixt upf)er, nether, and surrounding fires; 
Till, as a signal given, the uplifted sf)ear 
Of their great Sultan waving to direct 
Their course, in even balance down they light 


On the firm brimstone, and fill all the plain: 

A multitude like which the populous North 

Poured never from her frozen loins to pass 

Rhene or the Danaw, when her barbarous sons 

Came like a deluge on the South, and spread 

Beneath Gibraltar to the Libyan sands. 

Forthwith, from every squadron and each band. 

The heads and leaders thither haste where stood 

Their great Commander — godlike Shapes, and Forms 

Excelling human; princely Dignities; 

And powers that erst in Heaven sat on thrones. 

Though of their names in Heavenly records now 

Be no memorial, blotted out and rased 

By their rebellion from the Books of Life. 

Nor had they yet among the sons of Eve 

Got them new names, till, wandering o'er the earth, 

Through God's high sufferance for the trial of man, 

By falsities and lies the greatest part 

Of mankind they corrupted to forsake 

God their Creator, and the invisible 

Glory of Him that made them to transform 

Oft to the image of a brute, adorned 

With 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, their names then known, who first, who 
Roused from the slumber on that fiery couch. 
At their great Emjjeror's call, as next in worth 
Came singly where he stood on the bare strand, 
While the promiscuous crowd stood yet aloof. 

The chief were those who, from the pit of Hell 
Roaming to seek their prey on Earth, durst fix 
Their seats, long after, next the seat of God, 
Their altars by His altar, gods adored 
Among the nations round, and durst abide 
Jehovah thundering out of Sion, throned 
Between the Cherubim; yea, often placed 
Within His sanctuary itself their shrines 


Abominations; and with cursed things 

His holy rites and solemn feasts profaned, 

And with their darkness durst affront His light. 

First, Moloch, horrid King, besmeared with blood 

Of human sacrifice, and parents' tears; 

Though, for the noise of drums and timbrels loud, 

Their children's cries unheard that passed through fire 

To his grim idol. Him the Ammonite 

Worshiped in Rabba and her watery plain. 

In Argob and in Basan, to the stream 

Of utmost Arnon. Nor content with such 

Audacious neighbourhood, the wisest heart 

Of Solomon he led by fraud to build 

His temple right against the temple of God 

On that opprobrious hill, and made his grove 

The pleasant valley of Hinnom, Tophet thence 

And black Gehenna called, the type of Hell. 

Next Chemos, the obscene dread of Moab's sons. 

From Aroar to Nebo and the wild 

Of southmost Abarim; in Hesebon 

And Horonaim, Seon's realm, beyond 

The flowery dale of Sibma clad with vines, 

And Eleale to the Asphaltick Pool: 

Peor his other name, when he enticed 

Israel in Sittim, on their march from Nile, 

To do him wanton rites, which cost them woe. 

Yet thence his lustful orgies he enlarged 

Even to that hill of scandal, by the grove 

Of Moloch homicide, lust hard by hate, 

Till good Josiah drove them thence to Hell. 

With these came they who, from the bordering flood 

Of old Euphrates to the brook that parts 

Egypt from Syrian ground, had general names 

Of Baalim and Ashtaroth — those male. 

These feminine. For Spirits, when they please, 

Can either sex assume, or both; so soft 

And uncomjxjunded is their essence pure, 

Not tied or manacled with joint or limb. 

Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones. 

Like cumbrous flesh; but, in what shape they choose, 


Dilated or condensed, bright or obscure, 

Can execute their aery purposes. 

And works of love or enmity fulfil. 

For those the race of Israel oft forsook 

Their Living Strength, and unfrequented left 

His righteous altar, bowing lowly down 

To bestial gods; for which their heads, as low 

Bowed down in batde, sunk before the spear 

Of despicable foes. With these in troop 

Came Astoreth, whom the Phoenicians called 

Astarte, queen of heaven, with cresent horns; 

To whose bright image nighdy by the moon 

Sidonian virgins paid their vows and songs; 

In Sion also not unsung, where stood 

Her temple on the offensive mountain, built 

By that uxorious king whose heart, though large. 

Beguiled by fair idolatresses, fell 

To idols foul. Thammuz came next behind. 

Whose annual wound in Lebanon allured 

The Syrian damsels to lament his fate 

In amorous ditties ail a summer's day, 

While smooth Adonis from his native rock 

Ran purple to the sea, supposed with blood 

Of Thammuz yearly wounded: the love-tale 

Infected Sion's daughters with like heat. 

Whose wanton passions in the sacred porch 

Ezekiel saw, when, by the vision led, 

His eye surveyed the dark idolatries 

Of alienated Judah. Next came one 

Who mourned in earnest, when the captive Ark 

Maimed his brute image, head and hands lopt off. 

In his own temple, on the grunsel-edge. 

Where he fell flat and shamed his worshipers: 

Dagon his name, sea-monster, upward man 

And downward fish; yet had his temple high 

Reared in Azotus, dreaded through the coast 

Of Palestine, in Gath and Ascalon, 

And Accaron and Gaza's frontier bounds. 

Him followed Rimtnon, whose delightful seat 

Was fair Damascus, on the fertile banks 

100 JOHN MILTON book I 

Of Abbana and Pharphar, lucid streams. 

He also against the house of God was bold: 

A leper once he lost, and gained a king — 

Ahaz, his sottish conqueror, whom he drew 

God's altar to disparage and displace 

For one of Syrian mode, whereon to burn 

His odious offerings, and adore the gods 

Whom he had vanquished. After these apf>eared 

A crew who, under names of old renown — 

Osiris, his, Orus, and their train — 

With monstrous shapes and sorceries abused 

Fanatic Egypt and her priests to seek 

Their wandering gods disguised in brutish forms 

Rather than human. Nor did Israel scape 

The infection, when their borrowed gold composed 

The calf in Oreb; and the rebel king 

Doubled that sin in Bethel and in Dan, 

Likening his Maker to the grazed ox — 

Jehovah, who, in one night, when he passed 

From Egypt marching, equalled with one stroke 

Both her first-born and all her bleating gods. 

Belial came last; than whom a Spirit more lewd 

Fell not from Heaven, or more gross to love, 

Vice for itself. To him no temple stood 

Or altar smoked; yet who more oft than he 

In temples and at altars, when the priest 

Turns atheist, as did Eli's sons, who filled 

With lust and violence the house of God? 

In courts and palaces he also reigns. 

And in luxurious cities, where the noise 

Of riot ascends above their loftiest towers, 

And injury and outrage; and, when night 

Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons 

Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine. 

Witness the streets of Sodom, and that night 

In Gibeah, when the hospitable door 

Exposed a matron, to avoid worse rape. 

These were the prime in order and in might: 
The rest were long to tell; though far renowned 
The Ionian gods — of Javan's issue held 


Gods, yet confessed later than Heaven and Elarth, 
Their boasted parents; — Titan, Heaven's first-born, 
With his enormous brood, and birthright seized 
By younger Saturn: he from mightier Jove, 
His own and Rhea's son, Hke measure found; 
So love usurping reigned. These, first in Crete 
And Ida known, thence on the snowy top 
Of cold Olympus ruled the middle air. 
Their highest heaven; or on the Delphian difl, 
Or in Dodona, and through all the bounds 
Of Doric land; or who with Saturn old 
Fled over Adria to the Hesperian fields. 
And o'er the Celtic roamed the utmost Isles. 

All these and more came flocking; but with looks 
Downcast and damp; yet such wherein appeared 
Obscure some glimpse of joy to have found their Chief 
Not in despair, to have found themselves not lost 
In loss itself; which on his countenance cast 
Like doubtful hue. But he, his wonted pride 
Soon recollecting, with high words, that bore 
Semblance of worth, not substance, gently raised 
Their fainting courage, and dispelled their fears: 
Then straight commands that, at the war-like sound 
Of trumpets loud and clarions, be upreared 
His mighty standard. 7*hat proud honour claimed 
Azazel as his right, a Cherub tall: 
Who forthwith from the glittering stafi unfurled 
The imperial ensign; which, full high advanced, 
Shon like a meteor streaming to the wind. 
With gems and golden lustre rich imblazed, 
Seraphic arms and trophies; all the while 
Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds: 
At which the universal host up>-sent 
A shout that tore Hell's concave, and beyond 
Frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night. 
All in a moment through the gloom were seen 
Ten thousand banners rise into the air. 
With orient colours waving: with them rose 
A forest huge of spears; and thronging helms 
Appeared, and serried shields in thick array 


Of depth immeasurable. Anon they move 
In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood 
Of flutes and soft recorders — such as raised 
To highth of noblest temper heroes old 
Arming to battle, and instead of rage 
Deliberate valour breathed, firm, and unmoved 
With dread of death to flight or foul retreat; 
Nor wanting power to mitigate and swage 
With solemn touches troubled thoughts, and chase 
Anguish and doubt and fear and sorrow and pain 
From mortal or immortal minds. Thus they. 
Breathing united force with fixed thought, 
Moved on in silence to soft pipes that charmed 
Their painful steps o'er the burnt soil. And now 
Advanced in view they stand — i horrid front 
Of dreadful length and dazzling arms, in guise 
Of warriors old, with ordered spear and shield. 
Awaiting what command their mighty Chief 
Had to impose. He through the armed files 
Darts his experienced eye, and soon traverse 
The whole battalion views — their order due. 
Their visages and stature as of Gods; 
Their number last he sums. And now his heart 
Distends with pride, and, hardening in his strength. 
Glories: for never, since created Man, 
Met such imbodied force as, named with these. 
Could merit more than that small infantry 
Warred on by cranes — though all the giant brood 
Of Phlegra with the heroic race were joined 
That fought at Thebes and Ilium, on each side 
Mixed with auxiliar gods; and what resounds 
In fable or romance of Uther's son. 
Begirt with British and Armoric knights; 
And all who since, baptized or infldel. 
Jousted in Aspramont, or Montalban, 
Damasco, or Marocco, or Trebisond, 
Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore 
When Charlemain with all his peerage fell 
By Fontarabbia. Thus far these beyond 
Compare of mortal prowess, yet observed 


Their dread Commander. He, above the rest 

In shape and gesture proudly eminent, 

Stood like a tower. His form had yet not lost 

All her original brightness, nor appeared 

Less than Archangel ruined, and the excess 

Of glory obscured: as when the sun new-risen 

Looks through the horizontal misty air 

Shorn of his beams, or, from behind the moon, 

In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds 

On half the nations, and with fear of change 

Perplexes monarchs. Darkened so, yet shon 

Above them all the Archangel: but his face 

Deep scars of thunder had intrenched, and care 

Sat on his faded cheek, but under brows 

Of dauntless courage, and considerate pride 

Waiting revenge. Cruel his eye, but cast 

Signs of remorse and passion, to behold 

The fellows of his crime, the followers rather 

(Far other once beheld in bliss), condemned 

For ever now to have their lot in pain — 

Millions of Spirits for his fault amerced 

Of Heaven, and from eternal splendours flung 

For his revolt — yet faithful how they stood, 

Their glory withered; as, when heaven's fire 

Hath scathed the forest oaks or mountain pines. 

With singed top their stately growth, though bare. 

Stands on the blasted heath. He now prepared 

To speak; whereat their doubled ranks they bend 

From wing to wing, and half enclose him round 

With all his peers: Attention held them mute. 

Thrice he assayed, and thrice, in spite of scorn, 

Tears, such as Angels weep, burst forth: at last 

Words interwove with sighs found out their way: — 

"O myriads of immortal Spirits! O Powers 
Matchless, but with the Almighty! — and that strife 
Was not inglorious, though the event was dire, 
As this place testifies, and this dire change. 
Hateful to utter. But what power of mind, 
Foreseeing or presaging, from the depth 
Of knowledge past or present, could have feared 

104 JOHN MILTON book i 

How such united force of gods, how such 

As stood like these, could ever know repulse? 

For who can yet believe, though after loss, 

That all these puissant legions, whose exile 

Hath emptied Heaven, shall fail to reascend, 

Self-raised, and re-possess their native seat? 

For me, be witness all the host of Heaven, 

If counsels different, or danger shunned 

By me, have lost our hopes. But he who reigns 

Monarch in Heaven till then as one secure 

Sat on his throne, upheld by old repute. 

Consent or custom, and his regal state 

Put forth at full, but still his strength concealed — 

Which tempted our attempt, and wrought our fall. 

Henceforth his might we know, and know our own, 

So as not either to provoke, or dread 

New war provoked: our better part remains 

To work in close design, by fraud or guile, 

What force effected not; that he no less 

At length from us may find. Who overcomes 

By force hath overcome but half his foe. 

Space may produce new Worlds; whereof so rife 

There went a fame in Heaven that He ere long 

Intended to create, and therein plant 

A generation whom his choice regard 

Should favour equal to the Sons of Heaven. 

Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhaps 

Our first eruption — thither, or elsewhere; 

For this infernal pit shall never hold 

Ca:lestial Spirits in bondage, nor the Abyss 

Long under darkness cover. But these thoughts 

Full counsel must mature. Peace is despaired; 

For who can think submission? War, then, war 

Open or understood, must be resolved." 

He spake; and, to confirm his words, out-flew 

Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs 

Of mighty Cherubim; the sudden blaze 

Far around illumined Hell. Highly they raged 

Again the Highest and fierce with grasped arms 

Clashed on their sounding shields the din of war, 


Hurling defiance toward the vault of Heaven. 
There stood a hill not far, whose griesly top 
Belched fire and rowling smoke; the rest entire 
Shon with a glossy scurf — undoubted sign 
That in his womb was hid metallic ore, 
The work of sulphur. Thither, winged with speed, 
A numerous brigad hastened: as when bands 
Of pioners, with spade and pickaxe armed. 
Forerun the royal camp, to trench a field. 
Or cast a rampart. Mammon led them on — 
Mammon, the least erected Spirit that fell 
From Heaven; for even in Heaven his looks and 

Were always downward bent, admiring more 
The riches of Heaven's pavement, trodden gold, 
Than aught divine or holy else enjoyed 
In vision beatific. By him first 
Men also, and by suggestion taught, 
Ransacked the Centre, and with impious handt 
Rifled the bowels of their mother Earth 
For treasures better hid. Soon had his crew 
Opened into the hill a spacious wound. 
And digged out ribs of gold. Let none admire 
That riches grow in Hell; that soil may best 
Deserve the pretious bane. And here let those 
Who boast in mortal things, and wondering tell 
Of Babel and the works of Memphian kings. 
Learn how their greatest monuments of fame, 
And strength, and art, are easily outdone 
By Spirits reprobate, and in an hour 
What in an age they, with incessant toil 
And hands innumerable, scarce perform. 
Nigh on the plain, in many cells prepared, 
That underneath had veins of liquid fire 
Sluiced from the lake, a second multitude 
With wondrous art founded the massy ore. 
Severing each kind, and scummed the bullion-dross. 
A third as soon had formed within the ground 
A various mould, and from the boiling cells 
By strange conveyance filled each hollow nook; 

I06 JOHN MILTON book. I 

As in an organ, from one blast of wind, 

To many a row of pipes the sound-board breathes. 

Anon out of the earth a fabric huge 

Rose like an exhalation, with the sound 

Of dulcet symphonies and voices sweet — 

Built like a temple, where pilasters round 

Were set, and Doric pillars overlaid 

With golden architrave; nor did there want 

Cornice or frieze, with bossy sculptures graven: 

The roof was fretted gold. Not Babilon 

Nor great Alcairo such magnificence 

Equalled in ail their glories, to inshrine 

Belus or Serapis their gods, or seat 

Their kings, when jtgypt with Assyria strove 

In wealth and luxury. The ascending pile 

Stood fixed her stately highth; and straight the doors 

Ofiening their brazen folds, discover, wide 

Within, her ample spiaces o'er the smooth 

And level pavement: from the arched roof. 

Pendent by subtle magic, many a row 

Of starry lamps and blazing cressets, fed 

With naphtha and asphaltus, yielded light 

As from a sky. The hasty multitude 

Admiring entered; and the work some praise. 

And some the Architect. His hand was known 

In Heaven by many a towered structure high. 

Where sceptred Angels held their residence. 

And sat as Princes, whom the supreme King 

Exalted to such power, and gave to rule. 

Each in his hierarchy, the Orders bright. 

Nor was his name unheard or unadored 

In ancient Greece; and in Ausonian land 

Men called him Mulciber; and how he fell 

From Heaven they fabled, thrown by angry Jove 

Sheer o'er the crystal batdements: from morn 

To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve, 

A summer's day, and with the setting sun 

Dropt from the zenith, like a falling star. 

On Lemnos, the JEgxzn isle. Thus they relate, 

Erring; for he with this rebellious rout 


Fell long before; nor aught availed him now 

To have built in Heaven high towers; nor did he scape 

By all his engines, but was headlong sent. 

With his industrious crew, to build in Hell. 

Meanwhile the winged Haralds, by command 
Of sovran power, with awful ceremony 
And trumpet's sound, throughout the host proclaim 
A solemn council forthwith to be held 
At Pandimonium, the high capital 
Of Satan and his peers. Their summons called 
From every band and squared regiment 
By place or choice the worthiest: they anon 
With hundreds and with thousands trooping came 
Attended. All access was thronged; the gates 
And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall 
(Though like a covered field, where champions bold 
Wont ride in armed, and at the Soldan's chair 
Defied the best of Panim chivalry 
To mortal combat, or career with lance). 
Thick swarmed, both on the ground and in the air. 
Brushed with the hiss of rusding wings. As bees 
In spring-time, when the Sun with Taurus rides. 
Pour forth their populous youth about the hive 
In clusters; they among fresh dews and flowers 
Fly to and fro, or on the smoothed plank, 
The suburb of their straw-built citadel, 
New rubbed with balm, expatiate, and confer 
Their state-affairs: so thick the aerie crowd 
Swarmed and were straitened; till, the signal given. 
Behold a wonder! They but now who seemed 
In bigness to surpass Earth's giant sons, 
Now less than smallest dwarfs, in narrow room 
Throng numberless — like that pygmean race 
Beyond the Indian mount; or faery elves. 
Whose midnight revels, by a forest-side 
Or fountain, some belated peasant sees. 
Or dreams he sees, while overhead the Moon 
Sits arbitress, and nearer to the Earth 
Wheels her piale course: they, on their mirth and dance 
Intent, with jocond music charm his ear; 


At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds. 
Thus incorp>oreal Spirits to smallest forms 
Reduced their shapes immense, and were at large. 
Though without number still, amidst the hall 
Of that infernal court. But far within, 
And in their own dimensions like themselves, 
The great Seraphic Lords and Cherubim 
In close recess and secret conclave sat, 
A thousand demi-gods on golden seats, 
Frequent and full. After short silence then. 
And summons read, the great consult began. 


Tm Argument. — ^The consultation begun, Satan debates whether another battle 
is to be hazarded for the recovery of Heaven: some advise it, others dissuade. A 
third proposal is preferred, mentioned before by Satan — to search the truth of that 
prophecy or tradition in Heaven concerning another world, and another kind of 
creature, equal, or not much inferior, to themselves, about this time to be created. 
Their doubt who shall be sent on this difficult search: Satan, their chief, undertakes 
alone the voyage; is honoured and applauded. The council thus ended, the rest 
betake them several ways and to several imployments, as their inclinations lead them, 
to entertain the time till Satan return. He passes on his journey to Hell-ga^es; finds 
tliem shut, and who sat there to guard them; by whom at length they are opened, and 
discover to him the great gulf between Hell and Heaven. With what difhculty he 
passes through, directed by Chaos, the Power of that place, to the sight of this new 
World which he sought. 

High on a throne of royal state, which far 

Outshon the wealth of Ormus and of Ind, 

Or where the gorgeous Elast with richest hand 

Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold, 

Satan exalted sat, by merit raised 

To that bad eminence; and, from despair 

Thus high uplifted beyond hofw, aspires 

Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue 

Vain war with Heaven; and, by success untaught. 

His proud imaginations thus displayed: — 

"Powers and Dominions, Deities of Heaven! — 
For, since no deep within her gulf can hold 
Immortal vigour, though oppressed and fallen, 
I give not Heaven for lost: from this descent 
Celestial Virtues rising will appear 
More glorious and more dread than from no fall, 


And trust themselves to fear no second fate! — 

Me though just right, and the fixed laws of Heaven, 

Did first create your leader — next, free choice. 

With what besides in council or in fight 

Hath been achieved of merit — yet this loss. 

Thus far at least recovered, hath much more 

Established in a safe, unenvied throne. 

Yielded with full consent. The happier state 

In Heaven, which follows dignity, might draw 

Envy from each inferior; but who here 

Will envy whom the highest place exposes 

Foremost to stand against the Thunderer's aim 

Your bulwark, and condemns to greatest share 

Of endless pain? Where there is, then, no good 

For which to strive, no strife can grow up there 

From faction: for none sure will claim in Hell 

Precedence; none whose portion is so small 

Of present pain that with ambitious mind 

Will covet more! With this advantage, then, 

To union, and firm faith, and firm accord. 

More than can be in Heaven, we now return 

To claim our just inheritance of old. 

Surer to prosper than prosperity 

Could have assured us; and by what best way, 

Whether of open war or covert guile, 

We now debate. Who can advise may sjjeak." 

He ceased; and next him Moloch, sceptred king. 
Stood up — the strongest and the fiercest Spirit 
That fought in Heaven, now fiercer by despair. 
His trust was with the Eternal to be deemed 
Equal in strength, and rather than be less 
Cared not to be at all; with that care lost 
Went all his fear: of God, or Hell, or worse. 
He recked not, and these words thereafter spake: — 

"My sentence is for open war. Of wiles, 
More unexpert, I boast not: them let those 
Contrive who need, or when they need; not now. 
For, while they sit contriving, shall the rest — 
Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait 
The signal to ascend — sit lingering here. 


Heaven's fugitives, and for their dwelling-{)lace 

Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame, 

The prison of His tyranny who reigns 

By our delay? No! let us rather choose, 

Armed with Hell-flames and fury, all at once 

O'er Heaven's high towers to force rcsisdess way, 

Turning our tortures into horrid arms 

Against the Torturer; when, to meet the noise 

Of his almighty engine, he shall hear 

Infernal thunder, and, for lightning, see 

Black fire and horror shot with equal rage 

Among his Angels and his throne itself 

Mixed with Tartarean sulphur and strange fire, 

His own invented torments. But perhaps 

The way seems difficult, and steep to scale 

With upright wing against a higher foe! 

Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench 

Of that forgetful lake benumb not still, 

That in our proper motion we ascend 

Up to our native seat; descent and fall 

To us is adverse. Who but felt of late. 

When the fierce foe hung on our broken rear 

Insulting, and pursued us through the Deep, 

With what compulsion and laborious flight 

We sunk thus low? The ascent is easy, then; 

The event is feared! Should we again provoke 

Our stronger, some worse way his wrath may find 

To our destruction, if there be in Hell 

Fear to be worse destroyed ! What can be worse 

Than to dwell here, driven out from bliss, condemned 

In this abhorred deep to utter woe; 

Where pain of unextinguishable fire 

Must exercise us without hope of end 

The vassals of his anger, when the scourge 

Inexorably, and the torturing hour, 

Calls us to penance? More destroyed than thus. 

We should be quite abolished, and expire. 

What fear we then? what doubt we to incense 

His utmost ire? which, to the highth enraged. 

Will either quite consume us, and reduce 


To nothing this essential — happier far 
Than miserable to have eternal being! — 
Or, if our substance be indeed Divine, 
And cannot cease to be, we are at worst 
On this side nothing; and by proof we feel 
Our power sufficient to disturb his Heaven, 
And with perpetual inroads to alarm. 
Though inaccessible, his fatal Throne: 
Which, if not victory, is yet revenge." 

He ended frowning, and his look denounced 
Desperate revenge, and batde dangerous 
To less than gods. On the other side up rose 
Belial, in act more graceful and humane. 
A fairer person lost not Heaven; he seemed 
For dignity composed, and high exploit. 
But all was false and hollow; though his tongue 
Dropt manna, and could make the worse appear 
The better reason, to perplex and dash 
Maturcst counsels: for his thoughts were low — 
To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds 
Timorous and slothful. Yet he pleased the ear, 
And with persuasive accent thus began: — 

"I should be much for open war, O Peers, 
As not behind in hate, if what was urged 
Main reason to persuade immediate war 
Did not dissuade me most, and seem to cast 
Ominous conjecture on the whole success; 
When he who most excels in fact of arms. 
In what he counsels and in what excels 
Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair 
And utter dissolution, as the scope 
Of all his aim, after some dire revenge. 
First, what revenge.' The towers of Heaven are filled 
With armed watch, that render all access 
Impregnable: oft on the bordering Deep 
Encamp their legions, or with obscure wing 
Scout far and wide into the realm of Night, 
Scorning surprise. Or, could we break our way 
By force, and at our heels all Hell should rise 
With blackest insurrection to confound 


Heaven's purest light, yet our great Enemy, 

All incorruptible, would on his throne 

Sit unpolluted, and the ethereal mould, 

Incapable of stain, would soon expel 

Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire, 

Victorious. Thus repulsed, our final hope 

Is flat despair: we must exasperate 

The Almighty Victor to spend all his rage: 

And that must end us; that must be our cure — 

To be no more. Sad cure! for who would lose. 

Though full of pain, this intellectual being. 

Those thoughts that wander through eternity. 

To perish rather, swallowed up and lost 

In the wide womb of uncreated Night, 

Devoid of sense and motion? And who knows. 

Let this be good, whether our angry Foe 

Can give it, or will ever? How he can 

Is doubtful; that he never will is sure. 

Will He, so wise, let loose at once his ire. 

Belike through impotence or unaware. 

To give his enemies their wish, and end 

Them in his anger whom his anger saves 

To punish endless? 'Wherefore cease we, then?* 

Say they who counsel war; 'we are decreed. 

Reserved, and destined to eternal woe; 

Whatever doing, what can we suffer more. 

What can we suffer worse?' Is this, then, worsts 

Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms? 

What when we fled amain, pursued and strook 

With Heaven's afflicting thunder, and besought 

The Deep to shelter us? This Hell then seemed 

A refuge from those wounds. Or when we lay 

Chained on the burning lake? That sure was worse. 

What if the breath that kindled those grim fires. 

Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold rage. 

And plunge us in the flames; or from above 

Should intermitted vengeance arm again 

His red right hand to plague us? What if all 

Her stores were opened, and this firmament 

Of Hell should spout her cataracts of fire, 


Impendent horrors, threatening hideous fall 

One day upon our heads; while we perhaps, 

Designing or exhorting glorious war. 

Caught in a fiery tempest, shall be hurled. 

Each on his rock transfixed, the spon and prey 

Of racking whirlwinds, or for ever sunk 

Under yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains. 

There to converse with everlasting groans, 

Unrespited, unpitied, unreprieved. 

Ages of hopeless end? This would be worse. 

War, therefore, open or concealed, alike 

My voice dissuades; for what can force or guile 

With Him, or who deceive His mind, whose eye 

Views all things at one view? He from Heaven's 

All these our motions vain sees and derides, 
Not more almighty to resist our might 
Than wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles. 
Shall we, then, live thus vile — the race of Heaven 
Thus trampled, thus expelled, to suffer here 
Chains and these torments? Better these than worse 
By my advice; since fate inevitable 
Subdues us, and omnipotent decree. 
The Victor's will. To suffer, as to do. 
Our strength is equal; nor the law unjust 
That so ordains. This was at first resolved. 
If we were wise, against so great a foe 
Contending, and so doubtful what might fall. 
I laugh when those who at the sf)ear are bold 
And ventrous, if that fail them, shrink, and fear 
What yet they know must follow — to endure 
Exile, or ignominy, or bonds, or pain. 
The sentence of their conqueror. This is now 
Our doom; which if we can sustain and bear, 
Our Supreme Foe in time may such remit 
His anger, and jjerhaps, thus far removed, 
Not mind us not offending, satisfied 
With what is punished; whence these raging fires 
Will slacken, if his breath stir not their flames. 
Our purer essence then will overcome 


Their noxious vapour; or, inured, not feel; 

Or, changed at length, and to the place conformed 

In temper and in nature, will receive 

Familiar the fierce heat; and void of pain. 

This horror will grow mild, this darkness light; 

Besides what hope the never-ending flight 

Of future days may bring, what chance, what change 

Worth waiting — since our present lot appears 

For happy though but ill, for ill not worst. 

If we procure not to ourselves more woe." 

Thus Belial, with words clothed in reason's garb. 
Counselled ignoble ease and peaceful sloth, 
Not peace; and after him thus Mammon spake: — 

"Either to disinthrone the King of Heaven 
We war, if war be best, or to regain 
Our own right lost. Him to unthrone we then 
May hope, when everlasting Fate shall yield 
To fickle Chance, and Chaos judge the strife. 
The former, vain to hope, argues as vain 
The latter; for what place can be for us 
Within Heaven's bound, unless Heaven's Lord 

We overpower? Suppose he should relent. 
And publish grace to all, on promise made 
Of new subjection; with what eyes could we 
Stand in his presence humble, and receive 
Strict laws imjxjsed, to celebrate his throne 
With warbled hymns, and to his Godhead sing 
Forced Halleluiahs, while he lordly sits 
Our envied sovran, and his altar breathes 
Ambrosial odours and ambrosial flowers. 
Our servile offerings? This must be our task 
In Heaven, this our delight. How wearisome 
Eternity so spent in worship paid 
To whom we hate! Let us not then pursue. 
By force impossible, by leave obtained 
Unacceptable, though in Heaven, our state 
Of splendid vassalage; but rather seek 
Our own good from ourselves, and from our own 
Live to ourselves, though in this vast recess, 


Free and to none accountable, preferring 

Hard liberty before the easy yoke 

Of servile pomp. Our greatness will appear 

Then most conspicuous when great things of small, 

Useful of hurtful, prosperous of adverse, 

We can create, and in what place soe'er 

Thrive under evil, and work ease out of pain 

Through labour and indurance. This deep world 

Of darkness do we dread? How oft amidst 

Thick clouds and dark doth Heaven's all-ruling Sire 

Choose to reside, his glory unobscured, 

And with the majesty of darkness round 

Covers his throne, from whence deep thunders roar. 

Mustering their rage, and Heaven resembles Hell! 

As He our darkness, cannot we His light 

Imitate when we please? This desart soil 

Wants not her hidden lustre, gems and gold; 

Nor want we skill or art from whence to raise 

Magnificence; and what can Heaven shew more? 

Our torments also may, in length of time. 

Become our elements, these piercing fires 

As soft as now severe, our temper changed 

Into their temjier; which must needs remove 

The sensible of pain. All things invite 

To peaceful counsels, and the setded state 

Of order, how in safety best we may 

Compose our present evils, with regard 

Of what we are and where, dismissing quite 

All thoughts of war. Ye have what I advise." 

He scarce had finished, when such murmur filled 
The assembly as when hollow rocks retain 
The sound of blustering winds, which all night long 
Had roused the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull 
Seafaring men o'erwatched, whose bark by chance. 
Or pinnace, anchors in a craggy bay 
After the tempest. Such applause was heard 
As Mammon ended, and his sentence pleased, 
Advising peace: for such another field 
They dreaded worse than Hell; so much the fear 
Of thunder and the sword of Michael 

Il6 JOHN MILTON book ll 

Wrought still within them; and no less desire 
To found this nether empire, which might rise. 
By policy and long process' of time, 
In emulation opposite to Heaven. 
Which when Beelzebub perceived — than whom, 
Satan except, none higher sat — with grave 
Asf)ect he rose, and in his rising seemed 
A pillar of state. Deep on his front engraven 
Deliberation sat, and public care; 
And princely counsel in his face yet shon. 
Majestic, though in ruin. Sage he stood. 
With Adantean shoulders, fit to bear 
The weight of mightiest monarchies; his look 
Drew audience and attention still as night 
Or summer's noontide air, while thus he spake: — 
"Thrones and Imperial Powers, Offspring of 
Ethereal Virtues! or these titles now 
Must we renounce, and, changing style, be called 
Princes of Hell? for so the popular vote 
Inclines — here to continue, and build up here 
A growing empire; doubtless! while we dream, 
And know not that the King of Heaven hath doomed 
This place our dungeon — not our safe retreat 
Beyond his potent arm, to live exempt 
From Heaven's high jurisdiction, in new league 
Banded against his throne, but to remain 
In strictest bondage, though thus far removed, 
Under the inevitable curb, reserved 
His captive multitude. For He, be sure, 
In highth or depth, still first and last will reign 
Sole king, and of his kingdom lose no part 
By our revolt, but over Hell extend 
His empire, and with iron sceptre rule 
Us here, as with his golden those in Heaven. 
What sit we then projecting peace and war? 
War hath determined us and foiled with loss 
Irreparable; terms of fjeace yet none 
Voutsafed or sought; for what peace will be given 
To us enslaved, but custody severe, 


And stripes and arbitrary punishment 

Inflicted? and what peace can we return, 

But, to our power, hostility and hate, 

Untamed reluctance, and revenge, though slow, 

Yet ever plotting how the Conqueror least 

May reap his conquest, and may least rejoice 

In doing what we most in suffering feel? 

Nor will occasion want, nor shall we need 

With dangerous exjjedition to invade 

Heaven, whose high walls fear no assault or siege, 

Or ambush from the Deep. What if we find 

Some easier enterprise? There is a place 

(If ancient and prophetic fame in Heaven 

Err not) — another World, the happy seat 

Of some new race, called Man, about this time 

To be created like to us, though less 

In power and excellence, but favoured more 

Of Him who rules above; so was His will 

Pronounced among the gods, and by an oath 

That shook Heaven's whole circumference confirmed. 

Thither let us bend all our thoughts, to learn 

What creatures there inhabit, of what mould 

Or substance, how endued, and what their power 

And where their weakness; how attempted best, 

By force or subtlety. Though Heaven be shut. 

And Heaven's high Arbitrator sit secure 

In his own strength, this place may lie exposed. 

The utmost border of his kingdom, left 

To their defence who hold it: here, perhaps. 

Some advantageous act may be achieved 

By sudden onset — either with Hell-fire 

To waste his whole creation, or possess 

All as our own, and drive, as we are driven, 

The puny habitants; or, if not drive. 

Seduce them to our party, that their God 

May prove their foe, and with repenting hand 

Abolish his own works. This would surpass 

Common revenge, and interrupt His joy 

In our confusion, and our joy upraise 

In His disturbance; when his darling sons, 


Hurled headlong to partake with us, shall curse 

Their frail original, and faded bliss — 

Faded so soon! Advise if this be worth 

Attempting, or to sit in darkness here 

Hatching vain empires." Thus Beelzebub, 

Pleaded his devilish counsel — first devised 

By Satan, and in part proposed: for whence, 

But from the author of all ill, could spring 

So deep a malice, to confound the race 

Of mankind in one root, and Earth with Hell 

To mingle and involve, done all to spite 

The great Creator? But their spite still serves 

His glory to augment. The bold design 

Pleased highly those Infernal States, and joy 

Sparkled in all their eyes: with full assent 

They vote: whereat his speech he thus renews: — 

"Well have ye judged, well ended long debate. 

Synod of Gods, and, like to what ye arc, 

Great things resolved, which from the lowest deep 

Will once more lift us up, in spite of Fate, 

Nearer our ancient Seat — perhaps in view 

Of those bright confines, whence, with neighbouring 

And opportune excursion, we may chance 
Re-enter Heaven; or else in some mild zone 
Dwell, not unvisited of Heaven's fair light, 
Secure, and at the brightening orient beam 
Purge off this gloom: the soft delicious air, 
To heal the scar of these corrosive fires. 
Shall breathe her balm. But, first, whom shall we 

In search of this new World? whom shall we find 
Saflficient? who shall tempt with wandering feet 
The dark, unbottomed, infinite Abyss, 
And through the palpable obscure find out 
His uncouth way, or spread his aerie flight, 
Upborne with indefatigable wings 
Over the vast Abrupt, ere he arrive 
The happy Isle? What strength, what art, can then 
Suffice, or what evasion bear him safe 


Through the strict senteries and stations thick 
Of Angels watching round? Here he had need 
All circumspection: and we now no less 
Choice in our sjflrage; for on whom we send 
The weight of s.\\, and our last hope, relies." 

This said, he sat; and expectation held 
His look suspense, awaiting who appeared 
To second, or oppose, or undertake 
The perilous attempt. But all sat mute, 
Pondering the danger with deep thoughts; and each 
In other's countenance read his own dismay. 
Astonished. None among the choice and prime 
Of those Heaven-warring champions could be found 
So hardy as to proffer or accept, 
Alone, the dreadful voyage; till, at last, 
Satan, whom now transcendent glory raised 
Above his fellows, with monarchal pride 
Conscious of highest worth, unmoved thus spake: — 

"O Progeny of Heaven! Empyreal Thrones! 
With reason hath deep silence and demur 
Seized us, though undismayed. Long is the way 
And hard, that out of Hell leads up to Light. 
Our prison strong, this huge convex of fire, 
Outrageous to devour, immures us round 
Ninefold; and gates of burning adamant, 
Barred over us, prohibit all egress. 
These passed, if any pass, the void profound 
Of unessential Night receives him next. 
Wide-gaping, and with utter loss of being 
Threatens him, plunged in that abortive gulf. 
If thence he scape, into whatever world. 
Or unknown region, what remains him less 
Than unknown dangers, and as hard escape? 
But I should ill become this throne, O Peers, 
And this imp>erial sovranty, adorned 
With splendour, armed with power, if aught proposed 
And judged of public moment in the shape 
Of difficulty or danger, could deter 
Me from attempting. Wherefore do I assume 
These royalties, and not refuse to reign. 

120 JOHN MILTON book II 

Refusing to accept as great a share 
Of hazard as of honour, due aUke 
To him who reigns, and so much to him due 
Of hazard more as he above the rest 
High honoured sits? Go, therefore, mighty Powers, 
Terror of Heaven, though fallen; intend at home, 
While here shall be our home, what best may ease 
The present misery, and render Hell 
More tolerable; if there be cure or charm 
To respite, or deceive, or slack the pain 
Of this ill mansion: intermit no watch 
Against a wakeful Foe, while I abroad 
Through all the coasts of dark destruction seek 
Deliverance for us all. This enterprise 
None shall partake with me." Thus saying, rose 
The Monarch, and prevented all reply; 
Prudent lest, from his resolution raised, 
' Others among the chief might offer now. 

Certain to be refused, what erst they feared. 
And, so refused, might in opinion stand 
His rivals, winning cheap the high repute 
Which he through hazard huge must earn. But they 
Dreaded not more the adventure than his voice 
Forbidding; and at once with him they rose. 
Their rising all at once was as the sound 
Of thunder heard remote. Towards him they bend 
With awful reverence prone, and as a God 
Extol him equal to the Highest in Heaven. 
Nor failed they to express how much they praised 
That for the general safety he despised 
His own: for neither do the Spirits damned 
Lose all their virtue; lest bad men should boast 
Their specious deeds on earth, which glory excites. 
Or close ambition varnished o'er with zeal. 

Thus they their doubtful consultations dark 
Ended, rejoicing in their matchless Chief: 
As, when from mountain-tops the dusky clouds 
Ascending, while the North-wind sleeps, o'erspread 
Heaven's cheerful face, the louring element 
Scowls o'er the darkened lantskip snow or shower, 


If chance the radiant sun, with farewell sweet. 
Extend his evening beam, the fields revive. 
The birds their notes renew, and bleating herds 
Attest their joy, that hill and valley rings. 
O shame to men! Devil with devil damned 
Firm concord holds; men only disagree 
Of creatures rational, though under hope 
Of heavenly grace, and, God proclaiming peace, 
Yet live in hatred, enmity, and strife 
Among themselves, and levy cruel wars 
Wasting the earth, each other to destroy: 
As if (which might induce us to accord) 
Man had not hellish foes enow besides. 
That day and night for his destruction wait! 

The Stygian council thus dissolved; and forth 
In order came the grand Infernal Peers: 
Midst came their mighty Paramount, and seemed 
Alone the Antagonist of Heaven, nor less 
Than Hell's dread Emperor, with pomp supreme, 
And god-like imitated state: him round 
A globe of fiery Seraphim inclosed 
With bright imblazonry, and horrent arms. 
Then of their session ended they bid cry 
With trumpet's regal sound the great result: 
Toward the four winds four sf)eedy Cherubim 
Put to their mouths the sounding alchymy. 
By harald's voice explained; the hollow Abyss 
Heard far and wide, and all the host of Hell 
With deafening shout returned them loud acclaim. 
Thence more at ease their minds, and somewhat raised 
By false presumptuous hof)e, the ranged Powers 
Disband; and, wandering, each his several way 
Pursues, as inclination or sad choice. 
Leads him perplexed, where he may likeliest find 
Truce to his restless thoughts, and entertain 
The irksome hours, till his great Chief return. 
Part on the plain, or in the air sublime. 
Upon the wing or in swift race contend, 
As at the Olympian games or Pythian fields; 
Part curb their fiery steeds, or shun the goal 

122 JOHN MILTON book n 

With rapid wheels, or fronted brigades form: 

As when, to warn proud cities, war apfiears 

Waged in the troubled sky, and armies rush 

To batde in the clouds; before each van 

Prick forth the aerie knights, and couch their Sf)ears, 

Till thickest legions close; with feats of arms 

From either end of heaven the welkin burns. 

Others, with vast Typhoean rage, more fell. 

Rend up both rocks and hills, and ride the air 

In whirlwind; Hell scarce holds the wild uproar: — 

As when Alcides, from CEchalia crowned 

With conquest, felt the envenomed robe, and tore 

Through pain up by the roots Thessalian pines. 

And Lichas from the top of CEta threw 

Into the Euboic sea. Others, more mild, 

Retreated in a silent valley, sing 

With notes angelical to many a harp 

Their own heroic deeds, and hapless fall 

By doom of battle, and complain that Fate 

Free Virtue should enthrall to Force or Chance. 

Their song was partial; but the harmony 

(What could it less when Spirits immortal sing?) 

Suspended Hell, and took with ravishment 

The thronging audience. In discourse more sweet 

(For Eloquence the Soul, Song charms the Sense) 

Others apart sat on a hill retired, 

In thoughts more elevate, and reasoned high 

Of Providence, Foreknowledge, Will, and Fate — 

Fixed fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute — 

And found no end, in wandering mazes lost. 

Of good and evil much they argued then, 

Of happiness and final misery. 

Passion and apathy, and glory and shame: 

Vain wisdom all, and false philosophy! — 

Yet, with a pleasing sorcery, could charm 

Pain for a while or anguish, and excite 

Fallacious hop)e, or arm the obdured breast 

With stubborn f>atience as with triple steel. 

Another part, in squadrons and gross bands, 

On bold adventure to discover wide 


That dismal world, if any clime perhaps 

Might yield them easier habitation, bend 

Four ways their flying march, along the banks 

Of four infernal rivers, that disgorge 

Into the burning lake their baleful streams — 

Abhorred Styx, the flood of deadly hate; 

Sad Acheron of sorrow, black and deep; 

Cocytus, named of lamentation loud 

Heard on the rueful stream; fierce Phlegeton, 

Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage. 

Far od from these, a slow and silent stream, 

Lethe, the river of oblivion, rowls 

Her watery labyrinth, whereof who drinks 

Forthwith his former state and being forgets — 

Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain. 

Beyond this flood a frozen continent 

Lies dark and wild, beat with perpetual storms 

Of whirlwind and dire hail, which on firm land 

Thaws not, but gathers heap, and ruin seems 

Of ancient pile; all else deep snow and ice, 

A gulf profound as that Scrbonian bog 

Betwixt Damiata and Mount Casius old, 

Where armies whole have sunk: the parching air 

Burns frore, and cold p)erforms the effect of fire. 

Thither, by harpy-footed Furies haled. 

At certain revolutions all the damned 

Are brought; and feel by turns the bitter change 

Of fierce extremes, extremes by change more fierce. 

From beds of raging fire to starve in ice 

Their soft ethereal warmth, and there to pine 

Immovable, infixed, and frozen round 

Periods of time, — thence hurried back to fire. 

They ferry over this Lethean sound 

Both to and fro, their sorrow to augment. 

And wish and struggle, as they pass, to reach 

The tempting stream, with one small drop to lose 

In sweet forgetfulness all pain and woe. 

Ail in one moment, and so near the brink; 

But Fate withstands, and, to oppose the attempt, 

Medusa with Gorgonian terror guards 

124 JOHN MILTON book ii 

The ford, and of itself the water flies 

All taste of living wight, as once it fled 

The lip of Tantalus. Thus roving on 

In confused march forlorn, the adventrous bands, 

With shuddering horror pale, and eyes aghast. 

Viewed first their lamentable lot, and found 

No rest. Through many a dark and dreary vale 

They passed, and many a region dolorous. 

O'er many a frozen, many a fiery Alp, 

Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens, and shades of 

death — 
A universe of death, which God by curse 
Created evil, for evil only good; 
Where all life dies, death lives, and Nature breeds. 
Perverse, all monstrous, all prodigious things. 
Abominable, inutterable, and worse 
Than fables yet have feigned or fear conceived, 
Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimacras dire. 

Meanwhile the Adversary of God and Man, 
Satan, with thoughts inflamed of highest design, 
Puts on swift wings, and toward the gates of Hell 
Explores his solitary flight: sometimes 
He scours the right hand coast, sometimes the left; 
Now shaves with level wing the Deep, then soars 
Up to the fiery concave towering high. 
As when far off at sea a fleet descried 
Hangs in the clouds, by zquinoctial winds 
Close sailing from Bengala, or the isles 
Of Ternate and Tidore, whence merchants bring 
Their spicy drugs; they on the trading flood. 
Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape, 
Ply stemming nightly toward the pole: so seemed 
Far off the flying Fiend. At last appear 
Hell-hounds, high reaching to the horrid roof. 
And thrice threefold the gates; three folds were brass, 
Three iron, three of adamantine rock. 
Impenetrable, imfialed with circling fire. 
Yet unconsumed. Before the gates there sat 
On either side a formidable Shajse. 
The one seemed a woman to the waist, and fair, 


But ended foul in many a scaly fold, 
Voluminous and vast — a serpent armed 
With mortal sting. About her middle round 
A cry of Hell-hounds never<easing barked 
With wide Cerberean mouths full loud, and rung 
A hideous peal; yet, when they list, would creep. 
If aught disturbed their noise, into her womb. 
And kennel there; yet there still barked and howled 
Within unseen. Far less abhorred than these 
Vexed Scylla, bathing in the sea that parts 
Calabria from the hoarse Trinacrian shore; 
Nor uglier follow the night-hag, when, called 
In secret, riding through the air she comes. 
Lured with the smell of infant blood, to dance 
With Lapland witches, while the labouring moon 
Eclipses at their charms. The other Shape — 
If shape it might be called that shap>e had none 
Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb; 
Or substance might be called that shadow seemed. 
For each seemed either — black it stood as Night, 
Fierce as ten Furies, terrible as Hell, 
And shook a dreadful dart: what seemed his head 
The likeness of a kingly crown had on. 
Satan was now at hand, and from his seat 
The monster moving onward came as fast 
With horrid strides; Hell trembled as he strode. 
The undaunted Fiend what this might be admired — 
Admired, not feared (God and his Son except. 
Created thing naught valued he nor shunned). 
And with disdainful look thus first began: — 

"Whence and what art thou, execrable Shape, 
That dar'st though grim and terrible, advance 
Thy miscreated front athwart my way 
To yonder gates? Through them I mean to pass. 
That be assured, without leave asked of thee. 
Retire; or taste thy folly, and learn by proof, 
Hell-born, not to contend with Spirits of Heaven." 

To whom the Goblin, full of wrauth, replied: — 
"Art thou that Traitor-Angel, art thou he. 
Who first broke peace in Heaven and faith, till then 


Unbroken, and in proud rebellious arms 

Drew after him the third part of Heaven's sons, 

Conjured against the Highest — for which both thou 

And they, outcast from God, are here condemned 

To waste eternal days in woe and pain? 

And reckon'st thou thyself with Spirits of Heaven, 

Hell-doomed, and breath'st defiance here and scorn. 

Where I reign king, and, to enrage thee more. 

Thy king and lord? Back to thy punishment. 

False fugitive; and to thy speed add wings. 

Lest with a whip of scorpions I pursue 

Thy lingering, or with one stroke of this dart 

Strange horror seize thee, and pangs unfelt before." 

So spake the griesly Terror, and in shape, 
So sf)eaking and so threatening, grew tenfold 
More dreadful and deform. On the other side, 
Incensed with indignation, Satan stood 
Unterrified, and like a comet burned. 
That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge 
In the artick sky, and from his horrid hair 
Shakes pestilence and war. Elach at the head 
Levelled his deadly aim; their fatal hands 
No second stroke intend; and such a frown 
Each cast at the other as when two black clouds. 
With Heaven's artillery fraught, come rattling on 
Over the Caspian, — then stand front to front 
Hovering a space, till winds the signal blow 
To join their dark encounter in mid-air. 
So frowned the mighty combatants that Hell 
Grew darker at their frown; so matched they stood; 
For never but once more was either like 
To meet so great a foe. And now great deeds 
Had been achieved, whereof all Hell had rung. 
Had not the snaky Sorceress, that sat 
Fast by Hell-gate and kept the fatal key. 
Risen, and with hideous outcry rushed between. 

"O father, what intends thy hand," she cried, 
"Against thy only son? What fury, O son. 
Possesses thee to bend that mortal dart 
Against thy father's head? And know'st for whom.' 


For Him who sits above, and laughs the while 
At thee, ordained his drudge to execute 
Whate'er his wrauth, which He calls justice, bids — 
His wrauth, which one day will destroy ye both!" 

She spake, and at her words the hellish Pest 
Forbore: then these to her Satan returned: — 

"So strange thy outcry, and thy words so strange 
Thou interposest, that my sudden hand. 
Prevented, spares to tell thee yet by deeds 
What it intends, till first I know o£ thee 
What thing thou art, thus double-formed, and why 
In this infernal vale first met, thou call'st 
Me father, and that fantasm call'st my son. 
I know thee not, nor ever saw till now 
Sight more detestable than him and thee." 

To whom thus the Portress of Hell-gate replied: — 
"Hast thou forgot me, then; and do I seem 
Now in thine eye so foul? — once deemed so fair 
In Heaven, when at the assembly, and in sight 
Of all the Seraphim with thee combined 
In bold conspiracy against Heaven's King, 
All on a sudden miserable pain 
Surprised thee, dim thine eyes, and dizzy swum 
In darkness, while thy head flames thick and fast 
Threw forth, till on the left side opening wide, 
Likest to thee in shape and countenance bright. 
Then shining heavenly fair, a goddess armed. 
Out of thy head I sprung. Amazement seized 
All the host of Heaven; back they recoiled afraid 
At first, and called me Sin, and for a sign 
Portentous held me; but, familiar grown, 
I pleased, and with attractive graces won 
The most averse — thee chiefly, who, full oft 
Thyself in me thy perfect image viewing, 
Becam'st enamoured; and such joy thou took'st 
With me in secret that my womb conceived 
A growing burden. Meanwhile war arose. 
And fields were fought in Heaven: wherein remained 
(For what could else?) to our Almighty Foe 
Clear victory; to our part loss and rout 


Through all the Empyrean. Down they fell, 
Driven headlong from the pitch of Heaven, down 
Into this Deep; and in the general fall 
I also: at which time this powerful Key 
Into my hands was given, with charge to keep 
These gates for ever shut, which none can pass 
Without my opening. Pensive here I sat 
Alone; but long I sat not, till my womb. 
Pregnant by thee, and now excessive grown, 
Prodigious motion felt and rueful throes. 
At last this odious offspring whom thou seest. 
Thine own begotten, breaking violent way. 
Tore through my entrails, that, with fear and pain 
Distorted, all my nether shape thus grew 
Transformed: but he my inbred enemy 
Forth issued, brandishing his fatal dart. 
Made to destroy. I fled, and cried out Death! 
Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sighed 
From all her caves, and back resounded Death! 
I fled; but he pursued (though more, it seems. 
Inflamed with lust than rage), and, swifter far. 
Me overtook, his mother, all dismayed^ 
And, in embraces forcible and foul 
Engendering with me, of that rape begot 
These yelling monsters, that with ceaseless cry 
Surround me, as thou saw'st — hourly conceived 
And hourly born, with sorrow infinite 
To me: for, when they list, into the womb 
That bred them they return, and howl, and gnaw 
My bowels, their repast; then, bursting forth 
Afresh, with conscious terrors vex me round. 
That rest or intermission none I find. 
Before mine eyes in opposition sits 
Grim Death, my son and foe, who sets them on, 
And me, his parent, would full soon devour 
For want of other prey, but that he knows 
His end with mine involved, and knows that I 
Should prove a bitter morsel, and his bane. 
Whenever that shall be: so Fate pronounced. 
But thou, O Father, I forewarn thee, shun 


His deadly arrow; neither vainly hope 
To be invulnerable in those bright arms, 
Though tempered heavenly; for that mortal dint, 
Save He who reigns above, none can resist." 

She finished; and the subtle Fiend his lore 
Soon learned, now milder, and thus answered 
smooth: — 

"Dear daughter — since thou daim'st me for thy sire. 
And my fair son here show'st me, the dear pledge 
Of dalliance had with thee in Heaven, and joys 
Then sweet, now sad to mention, through dire change 
Befallen us unforeseen, unthought-of — know, 
I come no enemy, but to set free 
From out this dark and dismal house of pain 
Both him and thee, and all the Heavenly host 
Of Spirits that, in our just pretences armed. 
Fell with us from on high. From them I go 
This uncouth errand sole, and one for all 
Myself expxjse, with lonely steps to tread 
The unfounded Deep, and through the void immense 
To search, with wandering quest, a place foretold 
Should be — and, by concurring signs, ere now 
Created vast and round — a place of bliss 
In the pourlieues of Heaven; and therein placed 
A race of upstart creatures, to supply 
Perhaps our vacant room, though more removed, 
Lest Heaven, surcharged with potent multitude. 
Might hap to move new broils. Be this, or aught 
Than this more secret, now designed, I haste 
To know; and this once known, shall soon return 
And bring ye to the place where thou and Death 
Shall dwell at ease, and up and down unseen 
Wing silently the buxom air, imbalmed 
With odours. There ye shall be fed and filled 
Immeasurably; all things shall be your prey." 

He ceased; for both seemed highly pleased, and 
Grinned horrible a ghasdy smile, to hear 
His famine should be filled, and blessed his maw 
Destined to that good hour. No less rejoiced 

130 JOHN MILTON book r 

His mother bad, and thus bespake her Sire: — 

"The key of this infernal Pit, by due 
And by command of Heaven's all-powerful King, 
I keep, by Him forbidden to unlock 
These adamantine gates; against all force 
Death ready stands to interpose his dart, 
Fearless to be o'ermatched by living might. 
But what owe I to His commands above. 
Who hates me, and hath hither thrust me down 
Into this gloom of Tartarus profound, 
To sit in hateful office here confined. 
Inhabitant of Heaven and heavenly-born — 
Here in jserpetual agony and pain, 
With terrors and with clamours compassed round 
Of mine own brood, that on my bowels feed? 
Thou art my father, thou my author, thou 
My being gav'st me; whom should I obey 
But thee? whom follow? Thou wilt bring me soon 
To that new world of light and bliss, among 
The gods who live at ease, where I shall reign 
At thy right hand voluptuous, as beseems 
Thy daughter and thy darling, without end." 

Thus saying, from her side the fatal key, 
Sad instrument of all our woe, she took; 
And, toward the gate rowling her bestial train. 
Forthwith the huge portcullis high up-drew. 
Which, but herself, not all the Stygian Powers 
Could once have moved; then in the keyhole turns 
The intricate wards, and every bolt and bar 
Of massy iron or solid rock with ease 
Unfastens. On a sudden open fly. 
With impetuous recoil and jarring sound, 
The infernal doors, and on their hinges grate 
Harsh thunder, that the lowest bottom shook 
Of Erebus. She opened; but to shut 
Excelled her f)ower: the gates wide open stood, 
That with extended wings a bannered host, 
Under spread ensigns marching, might pass through 
With horse and chariots ranked in loose array; 
So wide they stood, and like a furnace-mouth 


Cast forth redounding smoke and ruddy flame. 
Before their eyes in sudden view appear 
The secrets of the hoary Deep — a dark 
Illimitable ocean, without bound. 
Without dimensioa: where length, breadth, and 

And time, and place, are lost; where eldest Night 
And Chaos, ancestors of Nature, hold 
Eternal anarchy, amidst the noise 
Of endless wars, and by confusion stand. 
For Hot, Cold, Moist, and Dry, four champions 

Strive here for maistrie, and to battle bring 
Their embryon atoms: they around the flag 
Of each his faction, in their several clans. 
Light-armed or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift, or slow, 
Swarm populous, unnumbered as the sands 
Of Barca or Cyrene's torrid soil. 
Levied to side with warring winds, and poise 
Their lighter wings. To whom these most adhere 
He rules a moment: Chaos umpire sits. 
And by decision more imbroils the fray 
By which he reigns: next him, high arbiter, 
Chance governs all. Into this wild Abyss, 
The womb of Nature, and perhaps her grave. 
Of neither Sea, nor Shore, nor Air, nor Fire, 
But all these in their pregnant causes mixed 
Confusedly, and which thus must ever fight. 
Unless the Almighty Maker them ordain 
His dark materials to create more worlds — 
Into this wild Abyss the wary Fiend 
Stood on the brink of Hell and looked a while. 
Pondering his voyage; for no narrow frith 
He had to cross. Nor was his ear less pealed 
With noises loud and ruinous (to compare 
Great things with small) than when Bellona storms 
With all her battering engines, bent to rase 
Some capital city; or less than if this frame 
Of heaven were falling, and these elements 
In mutiny had from her axle torn 


The steadfast Elarth. At last his sail-broad vans 

He spreads for flight, and, in the surging smoke 

Uplifted, spurns the ground; thence many a league, 

As in a cloudy chair, ascending rides 

Audacious; but, that seat soon failing, meets 

A vast vacuity. All unawares. 

Fluttering his jiennons vain, plumb-down he drops 

Ten thousand fadom deep, and to this hour 

Down had been falling, had not, by ill chance, 

TVe strong rebuff of some tumultuous cloud. 

Instinct with fire and nitre, hurried him 

As many miles aloft. That fury stayed — 

Quenched in a boggy Syrtis, neither sea. 

Nor good dry land — nigh foundered, on he fares, 

Treading the crude consistence, half on foot. 

Half flying; behoves him now both oar and sail. 

As when a gryfon through the wilderness 

With winged course, o'er hill or moory dale, 

Pursues the Arimpasian, who by stealth 

Had from his wakeful custody purloined 

The guarded gold; so eagerly the Fiend 

O'er bog or steep, through strait, rough, dense, or 

With head, hands, wings, or feet, pursues his way, 
And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies. 
At length, a universal hubbub wild 
Of stunning sounds, and voices all confused. 
Borne through the hollow dark, assaults his ear 
With loudest vehemence. Thither he plies 
Undaunted, to meet there whatever Power 
Or Spirit of the nethermost Abyss 
Might in that noise reside, of whom to ask 
Which way the nearest coast of darkness lies 
Bordering on light; when straight behold the throne 
Of Chaos, and his dark pavilion spread 
Wide on the wasteful Deep! With him enthroned 
Sat sable-vested Night, eldest of things. 
The consort of his reign; and by them stood 
Orcus and Ades, and the dreaded name 
Of Demogorgon; Rumour next, and Chance, 


And Tumult, and Confusion, all embroiled, 
And Discord with a thousand various mouths. 

To whom Satan, turning boldly, thus: — 
"Ye Powers 
And Spirits of this nethermost Abyss, 
Chaos and ancient Night, I come no spy 
With purpose to explore or to disturb 
The secrets of your realm; but, by constraint 
Wandering this darksome desart, as my way 
Lies through your spacious empire up to light. 
Alone and without guide, half lost, I seek. 
What readiest path leads where your gloomy bounds 
Confine with Heaven; or, if some other place. 
From your dominion won, the Ethereal King 
Possesses lately, thither to arrive 
I travel this profound. Direct my course; 
Directed, no mean recompense it brings 
To your behoof, if I that region lost. 
All usurpation thence exf>elled, reduce 
To her original darkness and your sway 
(Which is my present journey), and once more 
Erect the standard there of ancient Night. 
Yours be the advantage all, mine the revenge!" 

Thus Satan; and him thus the Anarch old. 
With faltering speech and visage incomposed, 
Answered: — "I know thee, stranger, who thou art — 
That mighty leading Angel, who of late 
Made head against Heaven's King, though over- 
I saw and heard; for such a numerous host 
Fled not in silence through the frighted Deep, 
With ruin upon ruin, rout on rout, 
Confusion worse confounded; and Heaven-gates 
Poured out by millions her victorious bands, 
Pursuing. I upwn my frontiers here 
Keep residence; if all I can will serve 
That litde which is left so to defend. 
Encroached on still through our intestine broils 
Weakening the sceptre of old Night: first. Hell, 
Yotir dungeon, stretching far and wide beneath; 

134 JOHN MILTON book n 

Now lately Heaven and Earth, another world 
Hung o'er my realm, linked in a golden chain 
To that side Heaven from whence your legions fell! 
If that way be your walk, you have not far; 
So much the nearer danger. Go, and speed; 
Havoc, and spoil, and ruin, are my gain." 

He ceased; and Satan staid not to reply. 
But, glad that now his sea should fmd a shore, 
With fresh alacrity and force renewed 
Springs upward, like a pyramid of fire. 
Into the wild expanse, and through the shock 
Of fighting elements, on all sides round 
Environed, wins his way; harder beset 
And more endangered than when .\rgo passed 
Through Bosporus betwixt the justling rocks. 
Or when Ulysses on the larboard shunned 
Charybdis, and by the other Whirlpool steered. 
So he with difficulty and labour hard 
Moved on. With difficulty and labour he; 
But, he once passed, soon after, when Man fell, 
Strange alteration! Sin and Death amain. 
Following his track (such was the will of Heaven) 
Paved after him a broad and beaten way 
Over the dark Abyss, whose boiling gulf 
Tamely endured a bridge of wondrous length. 
From Hell continued, reaching the utmost Orb 
Of this frail World; by which the Spirits (xrverse 
With easy intercourse pass to and fro 
To tempt or punish mortals, except whom 
God and good Angels guard by special grace. 

But now at last the sacred influence 
Of light appears, and from the walls of Heaven 
Shoots far into the bosom of dim Night 
A glimmering dawn. Here Nature first begins 
Her fardest verge, and Chaos to retire. 
As from her utmost works, a broken foe. 
With tumult less and with less hostile din; 
That Satan with less toil, and now with ease, 
Wafts on the calmer wave by dubious light, 
And, like a weather-beaten vessel, holds 


Gladly the port, though shrouds and tackle torn; 
Or in the emptier waste, resembling air, 
Weighs his spread wings, at leisure to behold 
Far off the empyreal Heaven, extended wide 
In circuit, undetermined square or round, 
With opal towers and batdements adorned 
Of living sapphire, once his native seat. 
And, fast by, haiiging in a golden chain, 
This pendent World, in bigness as a star 
Of smallest magnitude close by the moon. 
Thither, full fraught with mischievous revenge, 
Accurst, and in a cursed hour, he hies. 


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; dears 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 ho fell not of his own malice, 
as did Satan, but by him seduced. 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 Godhead, and therefore, with 
all his progeny, devoted to death, must die, unless some one can be found sufficient 
to answer for his oAcnce, and undergo his punishment. The Son of God freely offers 
himself a ransom 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 their harps in full quire, celebrate the Father 
and the Son. Meanwhile Satan alights upon the bare convex of this World's outer- 
most orb; where wandering he first finds a place since called the Limbo of Vanity; 
what persons and things fly up thither: thence comes to the gate of Heaven, described 
ascending by stairs, and the waters above the firmament that flow about it. His 
passage thence to the orb of the Sun: he finds there Uriel, the regent 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 placed here, inquires 
of him the place of his habitation, and is directed: Alights first on Mount Niphates. 

Hail, holy Light, offspring of Heaven first-born! 

Or of the Eternal coeternal beam 

May I express thee unblamed.? since God is light. 

And never but in unapproached light 

Dwelt from eternity — dwelt then in thee, 

Bright effluence of bright essence increate! 

Or hear'st thou rather pure Ethereal Stream, 

Whose fountain who shall tell.' Before the Sun, 

136 JOHN MILTON book m 

Before the Heavens, thou wert, and at the voice 

Of God, as with a mantle, didst invest 

The rising World of waters dark and deep, 

Won from the void and formless Infinite! 

Thee I revisit now with bolder wing. 

Escaped the Stygian Pool, though long detained 

In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight, 

Through utter and through middle Darkness borne^ 

With other notes than to the Orphean lyre 

I sung of Chaos and eternal Night, 

Taught by the Heavenly Muse to venture down 

The dark descent, and up to re-ascend. 

Though hard and rare. Thee I revisit safe, 

And feel thy sovran vital lamp; but thou 

Revisit'st not these eyes, that rowl in vain 

To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn; 

So thick a drop serene hath quenched their orbs, 

Or dim suffusion veiled. Yet not the more 

Cease I to wander where the Muses haunt 

Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill, 

Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief 

Thee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath, 

That wash thy hallowed feet, and warbling flow, 

Nighdy I visit: nor sometimes forget 

Those other two equalled with me in fate, 

(So were I equalled with them in renown!) 

Blind Thamyris and blind Maconides, 

And Tiresias and Phineus, prophets old: 

Then feed on thoughts that voluntary move 

Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird 

Sings darkling, and, in shadiest covert hid. 

Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year 

Seasons return; but not to me returns 

Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn, 

Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose. 

Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine; 

But cloud instead and ever-during dark 

Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men 

Cut od, and, for the book of knowledge fair, 

Presented with a universal blank 


Of Nature's works, to me expunged and rased, 

And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out. 

So much the rather thou. Celestial Light, 

Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers 

Irradiate; there plant eyes; all mist from thence 

Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell 

Of things invisible to mortal sight. 

Now had the Almighty Father from above, 
From the pure Empyrean where He sits 
High throned above all highth, bent down his eye, 
His own works and their works at once to view: 
About him all the Sanctities of Heaven 
Stood thick as stars, and from his sight received 
Beatitude past utterance; on his right 
The radiant image of his glory sat. 
His only Son. On Earth he first beheld 
Our two first parents, yet the only two 
Of mankind, in the Happy Garden placed, 
Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love, 
Uninterrupted joy, unrivalled love. 
In blissful solitude. He then surveyed 
Hell and the gulf between, and Satan there 
Coasting the wall of Heaven on this side Night, 
In the dun air sublime, and ready now 
To stoop, with wearied wings and willing feet. 
On the bare outside of this World, that seemed 
Firm land imbosomed without firmament, 
Uncertain which, in ocean or in air. 
Him God beholding from his prospect high. 
Wherein past, present, future, he beholds. 
Thus to His only Son foreseeing spake: — 

"Only-begotten Son, seest thou what rage 
Transports our Adversary? whom no bounds 
Prescribed, no bars of Hell, nor all the chains 
Heaped on him there, nor yet the main Abyss 
Wide interrupt, can hold; so bent he seems 
On desperate revenge, that shall redound 
Upon his own rebellious head. And now. 
Through all restraint broke loose, he wings his way 
Not far ofl Heaven, in the precincts of light. 

138 JOHN MILTON book lu 

Directly towards the new<reate(J World, 

And Man there placed, with purpose to assay 

If him by force he can destroy, or, worse, 

By some false guile pervert: and shall pervert; 

For Man will hearken to his glozing lies. 

And easily transgress the sole command, 

Sole pledge of his obedience: so will fall 

He and his faithless progeny. Whose fault? 

Whose but his own? Ingrate, he had of me 

All he could have; I made him just and right, 

Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall. 

Such I created all the Ethereal Powers 

And Spirits, both them who stood and them who 

Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell. 
Not free, what proof could they have given sincere 
Of true allegiance, constant faith, or love. 
Where only what they needs must do appeared, 
Not what they would? What praise could they receive, 
What pleasure I, from such obedience paid. 
When Will and Reason (Reason also is Choice), 
Useless and vain, of freedom both despoiled. 
Made passive both, had served Necessity, 
Not Me? They, therefore, as to right belonged 
So were created, nor can justly accuse 
Their Maker, or their making, or their fate. 
As if Predestination overruled 
Their will, disposed by absolute decree 
Or high foreknowledge. They themselves decreed 
Their own revolt, not I. If I foreknew, 
Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault. 
Which had no less proved certain unforeknown. 
So without least impulse or shadow of fate, 
Or aught by me immutably foreseen. 
They trespass, authors to themselves in all, 
Both what they judge and what they choose; for so 
I formed them free, and free they must remain 
Till they enthrall themselves: I else must change 
Their nature, and revoke the high decree 
Unchangeable, eternal, which ordained 


Their freedom; they themselves ordained their fall. 
The first sort by their own suggestion fell, 
Self-tempted, self-depraved; Man falls, deceived 
By the other first: Man, therefore, shall find grace; 
The other, none. In mercy and justice both. 
Through Heaven and Earth, so shall my glory excel; 
But mercy, first and last, shall brightest shine." 

Thus while God spake ambrosial fragrance filled 
All Heaven, and in the blessed Spirits elect 
Sense of new joy ineffable diffused. 
Beyond compare the Son of God was seen 
Most glorious; in him all his Father shon 
Substantially expressed; and in his face 
Divine compassion visibly app)eared. 
Love without end, and without measure grace; 
Which uttering, thus He to his Father spake: — 

"O Father, gracious was that word which closed 
Thy sovran sentence, that Man should find grace; 
For which both Heaven and Earth shall high extol 
Thy praises, with the innumerable sound 
Of hymns and sacred songs, wherewith thy throne 
Encompassed shall resound thee ever blest. 
For, should Man finally be lost — should Man, 
Thy creature late so loved, thy youngest son, 
Fall circumvented thus by fraud, though joined 
With his own folly — ! That be from thee far. 
That far be from thee. Father, who art judge 
Of all things made, and judgest only right! 
Or shall the Adversary thus obtain 
His end, and frustrate thine? Shall he fulfil 
His malice, and thy goodness bring to naught 
Or proud return, though to his heavier doom 
Yet with revenge accomplished, and to Hell 
Draw after him the whole race of mankind, 
By him corrupted? Or wilt thou thyself 
Abolish thy creation, and unmake. 
For him, what for thy glory thou hast made? — 
So should thy goodness and thy greatness both 
Be questioned and blasphemed without defense." 

To whom the great Creator thus replied: — 


"O Son, in whom my soul hath chief delight, 

Son of my bosom. Son who art alone 

My word, my wisdom, and effectual might. 

All hast thou spoken as my thoughts are, all 

As my eternal purpose hath decreed. 

Man shall not quite be lost, but saved who will; 

Yet not of will in him, but grace in me 

Freely voutsafed. Once more I will renew 

His lapsed powers, though forfeit, and enthralled 

By sin to foul exorbitant desires: 

Upheld by me, yet once more he shall stand 

On even ground against his mortal foe — 

By me upheld, that he may know how frail 

His fallen condition is, and to me owe 

All his deliverance, and to none but me. 

Some I have chosen of peculiar grace, 

Elect above the rest; so is my will: 

The rest shall hear me call, and oft be warned 

Their sinful state, and to appease betimes 

The incensed Deity, while offered grace 

Invites; for I will clear their senses dark 

What may suffice, and soften stony hearts 

To pray, repent, and bring obedience due. 

To prayer, repentance, and obedience due. 

Though but endeavoured with sincere intent. 

Mine ear shall not be slow, mine eye not shut. 

And I will place within them as a guide 

My umpire Conscience; whom if they will hear, 

Light after light well used they shall attain. 

And to the end persisting safe arrive. 

This my long sufferance, and my day of grace, 

They who neglect and scorn shall never taste; 

But hard be hardened, blind be blinded more, 

That they may stumble on, and deeper fall; 

And none but such from mercy I exclude. 

But yet all is not done. Man disobeying. 
Disloyal, breaks his fealty, and sins 
Against the high supremacy of Heaven, 
Affecting Godhead, and, so losing all. 
To expiate his treason hath naught left. 


But, to destruction sacred and devote, 

He with his whole posterity must die; — 

Die he or Justice must; unless for him 

Some other, able, and as willing, pay 

The rigid satisfaction, death for death. 

Say, Heavenly Powers, where shall we find such love? 

Which of ye will be mortal, to redeem 

Man's mortal crime, and just, the unjust to save? 

Dwells in all Heaven charity so dear?" 

He asked, but all the Heavenly Quire stood mute, 
And silence was in Heaven: on Man's behalf 
Patron or intercessor none appeared — 
Much less that durst upon his own head draw 
The deadly forfeiture, and ransom set. 
And now without redemption all mankind 
Must have been lost, adjudged to Death and Hell 
By doom severe, had not the Son of God, 
In whom the fulness dwells of love divine, 
His dearest mediation thus renewed: — 

"Father, thy word is passed, Man shall find grace; 
And shall Grace not find means, that finds her way, 
The speediest of thy winged messengers, 
To visit all thy creatures, and to all 
Comes unprevented, unimplored, unsought? 
Happy for Man, so coming! He her aid 
Can never seek, once dead in sins and lost — 
Atonement for himself, or offering meet, 
Indebted and undone, hath none to bring. 
Behold me. then: me for him, life for life, 
I offer; on me let thine anger fall; 
Account me Man: I for his sake will leave 
Thy bosom, and this glory next to thee 
Freely put off, and for him lastly die 
Well pleased; on me let Death wreak all his rage. 
Under his gloomy power I shall not long 
Lie vanquished. Thou hast given me to possess 
Life in myself for ever; by thee I live; 
Though now to Death I yield, and am his due. 
All that of me can die, yet, that debt paid, 
Thou wilt not leave me in the loathsome grave 

142 JOHN MILTON book lu 

His prey, nor suffer my unspotted soul 

For ever with corruption there to dwell; 

But I shall rise victorious, and subdue 

My vanquisher, sfwiled of his vaunted sf)oil. 

Death his death's wound shall then receive, and stoop 

Inglorious, of his mortal sting disarmed; 

I through the ample air in triumph high 

Shall lead Hell captive maugre Hell, and show 

The powers of Darkness bound. Thou, at the sight 

Pleased, out of Heaven shalt look down and smile. 

While, by thee raised, I ruin all my foes — 

Death last, and with his carcase glut the grave; 

Then, with the multitude of my redeemed. 

Shall enter Heaven, long absent, and return, 

Father, to see thy face, wherein no cloud 

Of anger shall remain, but f)eace assured 

And reconcilement: wrauth shall be no more 

Thenceforth, but in thy presence joy entire." 

His words here ended; but his meek aspect' 
Silent yet spake, and breathed immortal love 
To mortal man, above which only shon 
Filial obedience: as a sacrifice 
Glad to be offered, he attends the will 
Of his great Father. Admiration seized 
All Heaven, what this might mean, and whither tend. 
Wondering; but soon the Almighty thus replied: — 

"O thou in Heaven and Earth the only peace 
Found out for mankind under wrauth, O thou 
My sole complacence! well thou know'st how dear 
To me are all my works; nor Man the least. 
Though last created, that for him I spare 
Thee from my bosom and right hand, to save, 
By losing thee a while, the whole race lost! 
Thou, therefore, whom thou only canst redeem, 
Their nature also to thy nature join; 
And be thyself Man among men on Earth, 
Made flesh, when time shall be, of virgin seed. 
By wondrous birth; be thou in Adam's room 
The head of all mankind, though Adam's son. 
As in him perish all men, so in thee. 


As from a second root, shall be restored 
As many as are restored; without thee, none. 
His crime makes guilty all his sons; thy merit, 
Imputed, shall absolve them who renounce 
Their own both righteous and unrighteous deeds, 
And live in thee transplanted, and from thee 
Receive new life. So Man, as is most just, 
Shall satisfy for Man, be judged and die. 
And dying rise, and, rising, with him raise 
His brethren, ransomed with his own dear life. 
So Heavenly love shall outdo Hellish hate. 
Giving to death, and dying to redeem, 
So dearly to redeem what Hellish hate 
So easily destroyed, and still destroys 
In those who, when they may, accept not grace. 
Nor shalt thou, by descending to assume 
Man's nature, lessen or degrade thine own. 
Because thou hast, though throned in highest bliss 
Equal to God, and equally enjoying 
God-like fruition, quitted all to save 
A world from utter loss, and hast been found 
By merit more than birthright Son of God, — 
Found worthiest to be so by being good. 
Far more than great or high; because in thee 
Love hath abounded more than glory abounds; 
Therefore thy humiliation shall exalt 
With thee thy manhood also to this Throne: 
Here shalt thou sit incarnate, here shalt reign 
Both God and Man, Son both of God and Man, 
Anointed universal King. All pxjwer 
I give thee; reign for ever, and assume 
Thy merits; under thee, as Head Supreme, 
Thrones, Princedoms, Powers, Dominions, I reduce: 
All knees to thee shall bow of them that bide 
In Heaven, or Earth, or, under Earth, in Hell. 
When thou, attended gloriously from Heaven, 
Shalt in the sky app>ear, and from thee send 
The summoning Archangels to proclaim 
Thy dread tribunal, forthwith from all winds 
The living, and forthwith the cited dead 

144 JOHN MILTON book in 

Of all past ages, to the general doom 
Shall hasten; such a peal shall rouse their sleep. 
Then, all thy Saints assembled, thou shalt judge 
Bad men and Angels; they arraigned shall sink 
Beneath thy sentence; Hell, her numbers full. 
Thenceforth shall be for ever shut. Meanwhile 
The World shall burn, and from her ashes spring 
New Heaven and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell, 
And, after all their tribulations long. 
See golden days, fruitful of golden deeds. 
With Joy and Love triumph'ing, and fair Truth. 
Then thou thy regal sceptre shalt lay by; 
For regal sceptre then no more shall need; 
God shall be All in All. But all ye Gods, 
Adore Him who, to compass all this, dies; 
Adore the Son, and honour him as me." 

No sooner had the Almighty ceased but — all 
The multitude of Angels, with a shout 
Loud as from numbers without number, sweet 
As from blest voices, uttering joy — Heaven rung 
With jubilee, and loud Hosannas filled 
The eternal regions. Lowly reverent 
Towards either throne they bow, and to the ground 
With solemn adoration down they cast 
Their crowns, inwove with amarant and gold, — 
Immonal amarant, a flower which once 
In Paradise, fast by the Tree of Life, 
Began to bloom, but, soon for Man's offence 
To Heaven removed where first it grew, there grows 
And flowers aloft, shading the Fount of Life, 
And where the River of Bliss through midst of Heaven 
Rowls o'er Elysian flowers her amber stream! 
With these, that never fade, the Spirits elect 
Bind their resplendent locks, inwreathed with beams. 
Now in loose garlands thick thrown off, the bright 
Pavement, that like a sea of jasper shon, 
Impurpled with celestial roses smiled. 
Then, crowned again, their golden harps they took — 
Harpw ever tuned, that glittering by their side 
Like quivers hung; and with prxamble sweet 


Of charming symphony they introduce 
Their sacred song, and waken raptures high: 
No voice exempt, no voice but well could join 
Melodious part; such concord is in Heaven. 
Thee, Father, first they sung, Omnipotent, 
Immutable, Immortal. Infinite, 
Eternal King; thee, Author of all being. 
Fountain of light, thyself invisible 
Amidst the glorious brightness where thou sitt'st 
Throned inaccessible, but when thou shad'st 
The full blaze of thy beams, and through a cloud 
Drawn round about thee like a radiant shrine 
Dark with excessive bright thy skirts appear, 
Yet dazzle Heaven, that brightest Seraphim 
Approach not, but with both wings veil their eyes. 
Thee next they sang, of all creation first, 
Begotten Son, Divine Similitude, 
In whose conspicuous countenance, without cloud 
Made visible, the Almighty Father shines. 
Whom else no creature can behold: on thee 
Impressed the effulgence of his glory abides; 
Transfused on thee his ample Spirit rests. 
He Heaven of Heavens, and all the Powers therein, 
By thee created; and by thee threw down 
The aspiring Dominations. Thou that day 
Thy Father's dreadful thunder didst not spare, 
Nor stop thy flaming chariot-wheels, that shook 
Heaven's everlasting frame, while o'er the necks 
Thou drov'st of warring Angels disarrayed. 
Back from pursuit, thy Powers with loud acclaim 
Thee only extolled, Son of thy Father's might, 
To execute fierce vengeance on his foes. 
Not so on Man: him, through their malice fallen, 
Father of mercy and grace, thou didst not doom 
So strictly, but much more to pity encline. 
No sooner did thy dear and only Son 
Perceive thee purposed not to doom frail Man 
So strictly, but much more to pity enclined, 
He, to apjsease thy wrauth, and end the strife 
Of mercy and justice in thy face discerned, 


Regardless of the bliss wherein he sat 
Second to thee, offered himself to die 
For Man's offence. O unexampled love! 
Love nowhere to be found less than Divine! 
Hail, Son of God, Saviour of men! Thy name 
Shall be the copious matter of my song 
Henceforth, and never shall my harp thy praise 
Forget, nor from thy Father's praise disjoin! 

Thus they in Heaven, above the Starry Sphere, 
Their happy hours in joy and hymning spent. 
Meanwhile, upon the firm opacous globe 
Of this round World, whose first convex divides 
The luminous inferior Orbs, enclosed 
From Chaos and the inroad of Darkness old, 
Satan alighted walks. A globe far off 
It seemed; now seems a boundless continent, 
Dark, waste, and wild, under the frown of Night 
Starless exposed, and ever-threatening storms 
Of Chaos blustering round, inclement sky. 
Save on that side which from the wall of Heaven, 
Though distant far, some small reflection gains 
Of glimmering air less vexed with tempest loud. 
Here walked the Fiend at large in spacious field. 
As when a vultur, on Imaus bred. 
Whose snowy ridge the roving Tartar bounds, 
Dislodging from a region scarce of prey. 
To gorge the flesh of lambs or yeanling kids 
On hills where flocks are fed, flies toward the springs 
Of Ganges or Hydasjjes, Indian streams. 
But in his way lights on the barren plains 
Of Sericana, where Chineses drive 
With sails and wind their cany waggons light; 
So, on this windy sea of land, the Fiend 
Walked up and down alone, bent on his prey: 
Alone, for other creature in this place. 
Living or lifeless, to be found was none: — 
None yet; but store hereafter from the Earth 
Up hither like aerial vapwurs flew 
Of all things transitory and vain, when sin 
With vanity had filled the works of men — 


Both all things vain, and all who in vain things 

Built their fond hof>es of glory or lasting fame. 

Or happiness in this or the other life. 

All who have their reward on earth, the fruits 

Of painful superstition and blind zeal, 

Naught seeking but the praise of men, here find 

Fit retribution, empty as their deeds; 

All the unaccomplished works of Nature's hand. 

Abortive, monstrous, or unkindly mixed. 

Dissolved on Earth, fleet hither, and in vain. 

Till final dissolution, wander here — 

Not in the neighbouring Moon, as some have dreamed: 

Those argent fields more likely habitants, 

Translated Saints, or middle Spirits hold, 

Betwixt the angelical and human kind. 

Hither, of ill-joined sons and daughters born. 

First from the ancient world those Giants came, 

With many a vain exploit, though then renowned: 

The builders next of Babel on the plain 

Of Sennaar, and still with vain design 

New Babels, had they wherewithal, would build: 

Others came single; he who, to be deemed 

A god, leaped fondly into yEtna flames, 

Empedocles; and he who, to enjoy 

Plato's Elysium, leaped into the sea, 

Cleombrotus; and many more, too long. 

Embryos and idiots, eremites and friars. 

White, black, and grey, with all their trumjjery. 

Here pilgrims roam, that strayed so far to seek 

In Golgotha him dead who lives in Heaven; 

And they who, to be sure of Paradise, 

Dying put on the weeds of Dominic, 

Or in Franciscan think to pass disguised. 

They pass the planets seven, and pass the fixed. 

And that crystal'lin sphere whose balance weighs 

The trepidation talked, and that first moved; 

And now Saint Peter at Heaven's wicket seems 

To wait them with his keys, and now at foot 

Of Heaven's ascent they lift their feet, when, lol 

A violent cross wind from either coast 


Blows them transverse, ten thousand leagues awry. 
Into the devious air. Then might ye see 
Cowls, hoods, and habits, with their wearers, tost 
And fluttered into rags; then reliques, beads. 
Indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls. 
The sport of winds: all these, upwhirled aloft. 
Fly o'er the backside of the World far off 
Into a Limbo large and broad, since called 
The Paradise of Fools; to few unknown 
Lx)ng after, now unpeopled and untrod. 

All this dark globe the Fiend found as he passed; 
And long he wandered, till at last a gleam 
Of dawning light turned thitherward in haste 
His travelled steps. Far distant he descries. 
Ascending by degrees magnificent 
Up to the wall of Heaven, a structure high; 
At top whereof, but far more rich, appeared 
The work as of a kingly palace-gate. 
With frontispiece of diamond and gold 
Imbellished; thick with sparkling orient gems 
The p)ortal shon, inimitable on Earth 
By model, or by shading pencil drawn. 
The stairs were such as whereon Jacob saw 
Angels ascending and descending, bands 
Of guardians bright, when he from Esau fled 
To Padan-Aram, in the field of Luz 
Dreaming by night under the open sky, 
And waking cried, This is the gate of Heaven. 
Each stair mysteriously was meant, nor stood 
There always, but drawn up to Heaven sometimes 
Viewless; and underneath a bright sea flowed 
Of jasper, or of liquid pearl, whereon 
Who after came from Earth sailing arrived 
Wafted by Angels, or flew o'er the lake 
Rapt in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds. 
The stairs were then let down, whether to dare 
TTie Fiend by easy ascent, or aggravate 
His sad exclusion from the doors of bliss: 
Direct against which opened from beneath. 
Just o'er the blissful seat of Paradise, 


A passage down to the Earth — a passage wide; 

Wider by far than that of after-times 

Over Mount Sion, and, though that were large, 

Over the Promised Land to God so dear, 

By which, to visit oft those happy tribes. 

On high behests his Angels to and fro 

Passed frequent, and his eye with choice regard 

From Paneas, the fount of Jordan's flood. 

To Beersaba, where the Holy Land 

Borders on ^^gypt and the Arabian shore. 

So wide the opening seemed, where bounds were set 

To darkness, such as bound the ocean wave. 

Satan from hence, now on the lower stair. 

That scaled by steps of gold to Heaven-gate, 

Looks down with wonder at the sudden view 

Of all this World at once. As when a scout. 

Through dark and desart ways with peril gone 

All night, at last by break of cheerful dawn 

Obtains the brow of some high-climbing hill. 

Which to his eye discovers unaware 

The goodly prospect of some foreign land 

First seen, or some renowned metropolis 

With glistering spires and pinnacles adorned, 

Which now the rising sun gilds with his beams; 

Such wonder seized, though after Heaven seen. 

The Spirit malign, but much more envy seized. 

At sight of all this World beheld so fair. 

Round he surveys (and well might, where he stood 

So high above the circling canopy 

Of Night's extended shade) from eastern point 

Of Libra to the fleecy star that bears 

Andromeda far off Atlantic seas 

Beyond the horizon; then from pole to pole 

He views in breadth, — and, without longer pause, 

Down right into the World's first region throws 

His flight precipitant, and winds with ease 

Through the pure marble air his oblique way 

Amongst innumerable stars, that shon 

Stars distant, but nigh-hand seemed other worlds. 

Or other worlds they seemed, or happy isles. 


Like those Hesperian Gardens famed of old. 

Fortunate fields, and groves, and flowery vales; 

Thrice happy isles! But who dwelt happy there 

He staid not to inquire: above them all 

The golden Sun, in splendour likest Heaven, 

Allured his eye. Thither his course he bends. 

Through the calm firmament (but up or down. 

By centre or eccentric, hard to tell. 

Or longitude) where the great luminary. 

Aloof the vulgar constellations thick. 

That from the lordly eye keep distance due. 

Dispenses light from far. They, as they move 

Their starry dance in numbers that compute 

Days, months, and years, towards his all-cheering 

Turn swift their various motions, or are turned 
By his magnetic beam, that gently warms 
The Universe, and to each inward part 
With gende fjenetration, though unseen 
Shoots invisible virtue even to the Deep; 
So wondrously was set his station bright. 
There lands the Fiend, a spot like which perhaps 
Astronomer in the Sun's lucent orb 
Through his glazed optic tube yet never saw. 
The place he found beyond expression bright. 
Compared with aught on Earth, metal or stone — 
Not all parts like, but all alike informed 
With radiant light, as glowing iron with fire. 
If metal, part seemed gold, part silver clear; 
If stone, carbuncle most or chrysolite. 
Ruby or topaz, to the twelve that shon 
In Aaron's breast-plate, and a stone besides; 
Imagined rather oft than elsewhere seen — 
That stone, or like to that, which here below 
Philosophers in vain so long have sought; 
In vain, though by their powerful art they bind 
Volatile Hermes, and call up unbound 
In various shapes old Proteus from the sea. 
Drained through a limbec to his native form. 
What wonder then if fields and regions here 


Breathe forth elixir pure, and rivers run 
Potable gold, when, with one virtuous touch, 
The arch<himic Sun, so far from us remote. 
Produces, with terrestrial humour mixed, 
Here in the dark so many precious things 
Of colour glorious and effect so rare? 
Here matter new to gaze the Devil met 
Undazzled. Far and wide his eye commands; 
For sight no obstacle found here, nor shade. 
But all sunshine, as when his beams at noon 
Culminate from the equator, as they now 
Shot upward still direct, whence no way round 
Shadow from body opaque can fall; and the air, 
Nowhere so clear, sharpened his visual ray 
To objects distant far, whereby he soon 
Saw within ken a glorious Angel stand. 
The same whom John saw also in the Sun. 
His back was turned, but not his brightness hid; 
Of beaming sunny rays a golden tiar 
Circled his head, nor less his locks behind 
Illustrious on his shoulders fledge with wings 
Lay waving round: on some great charge imployed 
He seemed, or fixed in cogitation deep. 
Glad was the Spirit impure, as now in hope 
To find who might direct his wandering flight 
To Paradise, the happy seat of Man, 
His journey's end, and our beginning woe. 
But first he casts to change his proper shape, 
Which else might work him danger or delay: 
And now a stripling Cherub he appears, 
Not of the prime, yet such as in his face 
Youth smiled celestial, and to every limb 
Suitable grace diffused; so well he feigned. 
Under a coronet his flowing hair 
In curls on either cheek played; wings he wore 
Of many a coloured plume sprinkled with gold; 
His habit fit for speed succinct; and held 
Before his decent steps a silver wand. 
He drew not nigh unheard; the Angel bright, 
Ere he drew nigh, his radiant visage turned, 


Admonished by his ear, and straight was known 

The Archangel Uriel — one of the seven 

Who in God's presence, nearest to his throne, 

Stand ready at command, and are his eyes 

That run through all the Heavens, or down to the 

Bear his swift errands over moist and dry. 
O'er sea and land. Him Satan thus accosts: — 

"Uriel! for thou of those seven Spirits that stand 
In sight of God's high throne, gloriously bright, 
The first art wont his great authentic will 
Interpreter through highest Heaven to bring. 
Where all his Sons thy embassy attend. 
And here art likeliest by supreme decree 
Like honour to obtain, and as his eye 
To visit oft this new Creation round — 
Unspeakable desire to see and know 
All these his wondrous works, but chiefly Man 
His chief delight and favour, him for whom 
All these his works so wondrous he ordained. 
Hath brought me from the quires of Cherubim 
Alone thus wandering. Brightest Seraph, tell 
In which of all these shining orbs hath Man 
His fixed seat — or fixed seat hath none, 
But all these shining orbs his choice to dwell — 
That I may find him, and with secret gaze 
Or open admiration him behold 
On whom the great Creator hath bestowed 
Worlds, and on whom hath all these graces pxjured; 
That both in him and all things, as is meet. 
The Universal Maker we may praise; 
Who justly hath driven out his rebel foes 
To deepest Hell, and, to repair that loss. 
Created this new happy race of Men 
To serve him better. Wise are all his ways!" 

So spake the false dissembler unperceived; 
For neither man nor angel can discern 
Hypocrisy — the only evil that walks 
Invisible, except to God alone. 
By his permissive will, through Heaven and Earth; 

^°°*^ '" PARADISE LOST 1 53 

And oft, though Wisdom wake, Suspicion sleeps 

At Wisdom's gate, and to Simplicity 

Resigns her charge, while Goodness thinks no ill 

Where no ill seems: which now for once beguiled 

Uriel, though Regent of the Sun, and held 

The sharpest-sighted Spirit of all in Heaven; 

Who to the fraudulent impostor foul. 

In his uprightness, answer thus returned: — 

"Fair Angel, thy desire, which tends to know 
The works of God, thereby to glorify 
The great Work-maister, leads to no excess 
That reaches blame, but rather merits praise 
The more it seems excess, that led thee hither 
From thy empyreal mansion thus alone. 
To witness with thine eyes what some perhaps. 
Contented with report, hear only in Heaven: 
For wonderful indeed are all his works, 
Pleasant to know, and worthiest to be all 
Had in remembrance always with delight! 
But what created mind can comprehend 
Their number, or the wisdom infinite 
That brought them forth, but hid their causes deep? 
I saw when, at his word, the formless mass. 
This World's material mould, came to a heap: 
Confusion heard his voice, and wild Uproar 
Stood ruled, stood vast Infinitude confined; 
Till, at his second bidding, Darkness fled. 
Light shon, and order from disorder sprung. 
Swift to their several quarters hasted then 
The cumbrous elements — Earth, Flood, Air, Fire; 
And this ethereal quint'essence of Heaven 
Flew upward, spirited with various forms, 
TTiat rowled orbicular, and turned to stars 
Numberless, as thou seest, and how they move: 
Each had his place appointed, each his course; 
The rest in circuit walls this Universe. 
Look downward on that globe, whose hither side 
With light from hence, though but reflected, shines: 
That place is Earth, the seat of Man; that light 
His day, which else, as the other hemisphere, 

154 JOHN MILTON book nr 

Night would invade; but there the neighbouring Moon 
(So called that opposite fair star) her aid 
Timely interposes, and, her monthly round 
Still ending, still renewing, through mid-heaven, 
With borrowed light her countenance triform 
Hence fills and empties, to enlighten the Earth, 
And in her pale dominion checks the night. 
That spot to which I point is Paradise, 
Adam's abode; those lofty shades his bower. 
Thy way thou canst not miss; me mine requires." 
Thus said, he turned; and Satan, bowing low. 
As to superior Spirits is wont in Heaven, 
Where honour due and reverence none neglects. 
Took leave, and toward the coast of Earth beneath, 
Down from the ecliptic, sped with hojjed success. 
Throws his steep flight in many an aerie wheel. 
Nor staid till on Niphates' top he lights. 


The Argument. — Satan, now in prospect of Eden, and nigh the place where he 
must now attempt the bold enterprise which he undertook alone a);ainst God and 
Man, falls into many doubts with himself, and many passions — fear, envy, and 
despair; but at length confirms himself in evil; journeys on to Paradise, whose out- 
ward prospect and situation is described; overleaps the bounds; sits, in the shape of a 
Cormorant, on the Tree of Life, as highest in the Garden, to look about him. The 
Garden described; Satan's first sight of Adam and Eve; his wonder at their excellent 
form and happy state, but with resolution to work their fall; overhears their discourse; 
thence gathers that the Tree of Knowledge was forbidden them to eat of under penalty 
of death, and thereon intends to found his temptation by seducing them to transgress; 
then leaves them a while, to know further of their state by some other means. Mean- 
while Uriel, descending on a sunbeam, warns Gabriel, who had in charge the gate 
of Paradise, that some evil Spirit had escaped the Deep, and passed at noon by his 
Sphere, in the shape of a good Angel, down to Paradise, discovered after by his 
furious gestures in the Mount. Gabriel promises to find him ere morning. Night 
coming on, Adam and Eve discourse of going to their rest; their bower described; 
their evening worship. Gabriel, drawing forth his bands of night-watch to walk the 
rounds of Paradise, appoints two strong Angels to Adam's bower, lest the evil Spirit 
should be there doing some harm to Adam or Eve sleeping: there they find him at 
the ear of Eve, tempting her in a dream, and bring him, though unwilling, to 
Gabriel; by whom questioned, he scornfully answers; prepares resistance; but, hindered 
by a sign from Heaven, flies out of Paradise. 

O FOR that warning voice, which he who saw 
The Afxxalypse heard cry in Heaven aloud, 
Then when the Dragon, put to second rout. 


Came furious down to be revenged on men, 
Woe to the inhabitants on Earth! that now, 
While time was, our first parents had been warned 
The coming of their secret Foe, and scaped. 
Haply so scaped, his mortal snare! For now 
Satan, now first inflamed with rage, came down, 
The tempter, ere the accuser, of mankind. 
To wreak on innocent frail Man his loss 
Of that first battle, and his flight to Hell. 
Yet not rejoicing in his speed, though bold 
Far off and fearless, nor with cause to boast. 
Begins his dire attempt; which, nigh the birth 
Now rowling, boils in his tumultuous breast, 
And like a devilish engine back recoils 
Upon himself. Horror and doubt distract 
His troubled thoughts, and from the bottom stir 
The hell within him; for within him Hell 
He brings, and round about him, nor from Hell 
One step, no more than from Himself, can fly 
By change of place. Now conscience wakes despair 
That slumbered; wakes the bitter memory 
Of what he was, what is, and what must be 
Worse; of worse deeds worse sufferings must ensue! 
Sometimes towards Eden, which now in his view 
Lay pleasant, his grieved look he fixes sad; 
Sometimes towards Heaven and the full-blazing Sun, 
Which now sat high in his meridian tower: 
Then, much revolving, thus in sighs began: — 

"O thou that, with surpassing glory crowned, 
Look'st from thy sole dominion like the god 
Of this new World — at whose sight all the stars 
Hide their diminished heads — to thee I call. 
But with no friendly voice, and add thy name, 

Sun, to tell thee how I hate thy beams. 
That bring to my remembrance from what state 

1 fell, how glorious once above thy sphere. 
Till pride and worse ambition threw me down, 
Warring in Heaven against Heaven's matchless King! 
Ah, wherefore? He deserved no such return 

From me, whom he created what I was 

156 JOHN MILTON book IV 

In that bright eminence, and with his good 

Upbraided none; nor was his service hard. 

What could be less than to afford him praise, 

The easiest recompense, and pay him thanks. 

How due? Yet all his good proved ill in me, 

And wrought but malice. Lifted up so high, 

I 'sdained subjection, and thought one step higher 

Would set me highest, and in a moment quit 

The debt immense of endless gratitude. 

So burthensome, still paying, still to owe; 

Forgetful what from him I still received; 

And understood not that a grateful mind 

By owing owes not, but still pays, at once 

Indebted and discharged — what burden then? 

Oh, had his powerful destiny ordained 

Me some inferior Angel, I had stood 

Then happy; no unbounded hof)e had raised 

Ambition. Yet why not? Some other Power 

As great might have aspired, and me, though mean, 

Drawn to his part. But other Powers as great 

Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within 

Or from without to all temptations armed! 

Hadst thou the same free will and power to stand? 

Thou hadst. Whom hast thou then, or what, to accuse, 

But Heaven's free love dealt equally to all ? 

Be then his love accursed, since, love or hate, 

To me alike it deals eternal woe. 

Nay, cursed be thou; since against his thy will 

Chose freely what it now so justly rues. 

Me miserable! which way shall I fly 

Infinite wrauth and infinite despair? 

Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell; 

And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep 

Still threatening to devour me opens wide, 

To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heaven. 

O, then, at last relent! Is there no place 

Left for repentence, none for pardon left? 

None left but by submission; and that word 

Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame 

Among the Spirits beneath, whom I seduced 


With other promises and other vaunts 

Than to submit, boasting I could subdue 

The Omnipotent. Aye me! they little know 

How dearly I abide that boast so vain, 

Under what torments inwardly I groan. 

While they adore me on the throne of Hell, 

With diadem and sceptre high advanced, 

The lower still I fall, only supreme 

In misery: such joy ambition finds! 

But say I could repent, and could obtain, 

By act of grace, my former state; how soon 

Would highth recal high thoughts, how soon unsay 

What feigned submission swore! Ease would recant 

Vows made in pain, as violent and void 

(For never can true reconcilement grow 

Where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep) 

Which would but lead me to a worse relapse 

And heavier fall: so should I purchase dear 

Short intermission, bought with double smart. 

This knows my Punisher; therefore as far 

From granting he, as I from begging, peace. 

All hope excluded thus, behold, instead 

Of us, outcast, exiled, his new delight. 

Mankind, created, and for him this World! 

So farewell hope, and, with hope, farewell fear, 

Farewell remorse! All good to me is lost; 

Evil, be thou my Good: by thee at least 

Divided empire with Heaven's King I hold, 

By thee, and more than half perhaps will reign; 

As Man ere long, and this new World, shall know." 

Thus while he spake, each passion dimmed his face. 
Thrice changed with pale — ire, envy, and despair; 
Which marred his borrowed visage, and betrayed 
Him counterfeit, if any eye beheld: 
For Heavenly minds from such distempers foul 
Are ever clear. Whereof he soon aware 
Each perturbation smoothed with outward calm, 
Artificer of fraud; and was the first 
That practised falsehood under saindy shew, 
Deep malice to conceal, couched with revenge: 


Yet not enough had practised to deceive 

Uriel, once warned; whose eye pursued him down 

The way he went, and on the Assyrian mount 

Saw him disfigured, more than could befall 

Spirit of happy sort: his gestures fierce 

He marked and mad demeanour, then alone. 

As he supposed, all unobserved, unseen. 

So on he fares, and to the border comes 
Of Eden, where delicious Paradise, 
Now nearer, crowns with her enclosure green, 
As with a rural mound, the champain head 
Of a steep wilderness whose hairy sides 
With thicket overgrown, grotesque and wild. 
Access denied; and overhead up>-grew 
Insuperable highth of loftiest shade. 
Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm, 
A sylvan scene, and, as the ranks ascend 
Shade above shade, a woody theatre 
Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops 
The verdurous wall of Paradise uf>-sprung; 
Which to our general Sire gave prospect large 
Into his nether empire neighbouring round. 
And higher than that wall a circling row 
Of goodliest trees, loaden with fairest fruit, 
Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue. 
Appeared, with gay enamelled colours mixed; 
On which the sun more glad impressed his beams 
Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow, 
When God hath showered the earth; so lovely seemed 
That lantskip. And of pure now purer air 
Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires 
Vernal delight and joy, able to drive 
All sadness but despair. Now gentle gales, 
Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense 
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole 
Those balmy spoils. As when to them who sail 
Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past 
Mozambic, ofl at sea north-east winds blow 
Sabean odours from the spicy shore 
Of Araby the Blest, with such delay 


Well pleased they slack their course, and many a 

Cheered with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles; 
So entertained those odorous sweets the Fiend 
Who came their bane, though with them better pleased 
Than Asmodeus with the fishy fume 
That drove him, though enamoured, from the spouse 
Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent 
From Media post to ^gypt, there fast bound. 
Now to the ascent of that steep savage hill 
Satan had journeyed on, pensive and slow; 
But further way found none; so thick entwined, 
As one continued brake, the undergrowth 
Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplexea 
All path of man or beast that passed that way. 
One gate there only was, and that looked east 
On the other side. Which when the Arch-Felon saw, 
Due entrance he disdained, and, in contempt, 
At one slight bound high overleaped all bound 
Of hill or highest wall, and sheer within 
Lights on his feet. As when a prowling wolf, 
Whom hunger drives to seek new haunt for prey, 
Watching where shepherds f)en their flocks at eve, 
In hurdled cotes amid the field secure, 
Leaps o'er the fence with ease into the fold; 
Or as a thief, bent to unhoard the cash 
Of some rich burgher, whose substantial doors, 
Cross-barred and bolted fast, fear no assault. 
In at the window climbs, or o'er the tiles; 
So clomb this first grand Thief into God's fold: 
So since into his Church lewd hirelings climb. 
Thence up he flew, and on the Tree of Life, 
The middle tree and highest there that grew, 
Sat like a Cormorant; yet not true life 
Thereby regained, but sat devising death 
To them who lived; nor on the virtue thought 
Of that life-giving plant, but only used 
For prospect what, well used, had been the pledge 
Of immortality. So little knows 
Any, but God alone, to value right 

l60 JOHN MILTON book IV 

The good before him, but perverts best things 

To worst abuse, or to their meanest use. 

Beneath him, with new wonder, now he views. 

To all delight of human sense exposed, 

In narrow room Nature's whole wealth; yea, more — 

A Heaven on Earth: for blissful Paradise 

Of God the garden was, by him in the east 

Of Eden planted. Eden stretched her line 

From Auran eastward to the royal towers 

Of great Seleucia, built by Grecian kings. 

Or where the sons of Eden long before 

Dwelt in Telassar. In this pleasant soil 

His far more pleasant garden God ordained. 

Out of the fertile ground he caused to grow 

All trees of noblest kind for sight, smell, taste; 

And all amid them stood the Tree of Life, 

High eminent, blooming ambrosial fruit 

Of vegetable gold; and next to life. 

Our death, the Tree of Knowledge, grew fast by — 

Knowledge of good, bought dear by knowing ill. 

Southward through Eden went a river large. 

Nor changed his course, but through the shaggy hill 

Passed underneath ingulfed; for God had thrown 

That mountain, as his garden-mould, high raised 

Upon the rapid current, which, through veins 

Of porous earth with kindly thirst updrawn. 

Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill 

Watered the garden; thence united fell 

Down the steep glade, and met the nether flood. 

Which from his darksome passage now appears. 

And now, divided into four main streams. 

Runs diverse, wandering many a famous realm 

And country whereof here needs no account; 

But rather to tell how, if Art could tell 

How, from that sapphire fount the crisped brooks, 

Rowling on orient f)earl and sands of gold, 

With mazy error under f)endant shades 

Ran nectar, visiting each plant, and fed 

Flowers worthy of Paradise, which not nice Art 

In beds and curious knots, but Nature boon 



Poured forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain, 

Both where the morning sun first warmly smote 

The open field, and where the unpierced shade 

Imbrowned the noontide bowers. Thus was this place, 

A happy rural seat of various view: 

Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and balm, 

Others whose fruit, burnished with golden rind, 

Hung amiable — Hesperian fables true. 

If true, here only — and of delicious taste. 

Betwixt them lawns, or level downs, and flocks 

Grazing the tender herb, were interposed, 

Or palmy hillock; or the flowery lap 

Of some irriguous valley spread her store, 

Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose. 

Another side, umbrageous grots and caves 

Of cool recess, o'er which the mantling vine 

Lays forth her purple grape, and gendy creeps 

Luxuriant; meanwhile murmuring waters fall 

Down the slope hills dispersed, or in a lake. 

That to the fringed bank with myrtle crowned 

Her crystal mirror holds, unite their streams. 

The birds their quire apply; airs, vernal airs, 

Breathing the smell of field and grove, attune 

The trembling leaves, while universal Pan, 

Knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance, 

Led on the eternal Spring. Not that fair field 

Of Enna, where Proserpin gathering flowers, 

Herself a fairer flower, by gloomy Dis 

Was gathered — which cost Ceres all that pain 

To seek her through the world — nor that sweet grove 

Of Daphne, by Orontes and the inspired 

Castalian spring, might with this Paradise 

Of Eden strive; nor that Nyseian isle. 

Girt with the river Triton, where old Cham, 

Whom Gentiles Ammon call and Libyan Jove, 

Hid Amalthea, and her florid son, 

Young Bacchus, from his stepdame Rhea's eye; 

Nor, where Abassin kings their issue guard. 

Mount Amara (though this by some supposed 

True Paradise) under the Ethiop line 

l62 JOHN MILTON book iv 

By Nilus' head, enclosed with shining rock, 
A whole day's journey high, but wide remote 
From this Assyrian garden, where the Fiend 
Saw undelighted all delight, all kind 
Of living creatures, new to sight and strange. 
Two of far nobler shajse, erect and tall, 
God-like erect, with native honour clad 
In naked majesty, seemed lords of all. 
And worthy seemed; for in their looks divine 
The image of their glorious Maker shon. 
Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure — 
Severe, but in true filial freedom placed. 
Whence true authority in men: though both 
Not equal, as their sex not equal seemed; 
For contemplation he and valour formed. 
For softness she and sweet attractive grace; 
He for God only, she for God in him. 
His fair large front and eye sublime declared 
Absolute rule; and Hyacinthin locks 
Round from his parted forelock manly hung 
Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad: 
She, as a veil down to the slender waist. 
Her unadorned golden tresses wore 
Dishevelled, but in wanton ringlets waved 
As the vine curls her tendrils — which implied 
Subjection, but required with gentle sway. 
And by her yielded, by him best received — 
Yielded, with coy submission, modest pride. 
And sweet, reluctant, amorous delay. 
Nor those mysterious parts were then concealed: 
Then was not guilty shame. Dishonest shame 
Of Nature's works, honour dishonourable. 
Sin-bred, how have ye troubled all mankind 
With shews instead, mere shews of seeming pure 
And banished from man's life his happiest life, 
Simplicity and spodess innocence! 
So passed they naked on, nor shunned the sight 
Of God or Angel; for they thought no ill: 
So hand in hand they passed, the loveliest pair 
That ever since in love's embraces met — 


Adam the goodliest man of men since born 

His sons; the fairest of her daughters Eve. 

Under a tuft of shade that on a green 

Stood whispering soft, by a fresh fountain-side, 

They sat them down; and, after no more toil 

Of their sweet gardening labour than sufficed 

To recommend cool Zephyr, and make ease 

More easy, wholesome thirst and appetite 

More grateful, to their supper-fruits they fell — 

Nectarine fruits, which the compliant boughs 

Yielded them, sidelong as they sat recline 

On the soft downy bank damasked with flowers. 

The savoury pulp they chew, and in the rind. 

Still as they thirsted, scoop the brimming stream 

Nor gentle purpose, nor endearing smiles 

Wanted, nor youthful dalliance, as beseems 

Fair couple linked in happy nuptial league, 

Alone as they. About them frisking played 

All beasts of the earth, since wild, and of all chase 

In wood or wilderness, forest or den. 

Sporting the lion ramped, and in his paw 

Dandled the kid; bears, tigers, ounces, pards. 

Gambolled before them; the unwieldy elephant. 

To make them mirth, used all his might, and wreathed 

His lithe proboscis; close the serjjent sly. 

Insinuating, wove with Gordian twine 

His breaded train, and of his fatal guile 

Gave proof unheeded. Others on the grass 

Couched, and, now filled with pasture, gazing sat. 

Or bedward ruminating; for the sun, 

Declined, was hastening now with prone career 

To the Ocean Isles, and in the ascending scale 

Of Heaven the stars that usher evening rose: 

When Satan, still in gaze as first he stood. 

Scarce thus at length failed speech recovered sad: — 

"O Hell! what do mine eyes with grief behold? 
Into our room of bliss thus high advanced 
Creatures of other mould — Earth-born perhaps. 
Not Spirits, yet to Heavenly Spirits bright 
Litde inferior — ^whom my thoughts pursue 

164 JOHN MILTON book IV 

With wonder, and could love; so lively shines 
In them divine resemblance, and such grace 
The hand that formed them on their shape hath 

Ah! gende pair, ye little think how nigh 
Your change approaches, when all these delights 
Will vanish, and deliver ye to woe — 
More woe, the more your taste is now of joy: 
Happy, but for so happy ill secured 
Long to continue, and this high seat, your Heaven, 
HI fenced for Heaven to keep out such a foe 
As now is entered; yet no purposed foe 
To you, whom I could pity thus forlorn. 
Though I unpitied. League with you I seek. 
And mutual amity, so strait, so close. 
That I with you must dwell, or you with me. 
Henceforth. My dwelling, haply, may not please. 
Like this fair Paradise, your sense; yet such 
Accept your Maker's work; he gave it me. 
Which I as freely give. Hell shall unfold, 
To entertain you two, her widest gates. 
And send forth all her kings; there will be room. 
Not like these narrow limits, to receive 
Your numerous offspring; if no better place, 
Thank him who puts me, loath, to this revenge 
On you, who wrong me not, for him who wronged. 
And, should I at your harmless innocence 
Melt, as I do, yet public reason just — 
Honour and empire with revenge enlarged 
By conquering this new World — compels me now 
To do what else, though damned, I should abhor." 

So spake the Fiend, and with necessity. 
The tyrant's plea, excused his devilish deeds. 
Then from his lofty stand on that high tree 
Down he alights among the sportful herd 
Of those four-footed kinds, himself now one. 
Now other, as their shape served best his end 
Nearer to view his prey, and, unespied, 
To mark what of their state he more might learn 
By word or action marked. About them round 


A lion now he stalks with Bery glare; 
Then as a tiger, who by chance hath spied 
In some pourlieu two gentle fawns at play, 
Straight crouches close; then rising, changes oft 
His couchant watch, as one who chose his ground, 
Whence rushing he might surest seize them both 
Griped in each paw: when Adam, first of men. 
To first of women. Eve, thus moving speech. 
Turned him all ear to hear new utterance flow: — 

"Sole partner and sole part of all these joys. 
Dearer thyself than all, needs must the Power 
That made us, and for us this ample World, 
Be infinitely good, and of his good 
As liberal and free as infinite; 
That raised us from the dust, and placed us here 
In all this happiness, who at this hand 
Have nothing merited, nor can perform 
Aught whereof he hath need; he who requires 
From us no other service than to keep 
This one, this easy charge — of all the trees 
In Paradise that bear delicious fruit 
So various, not to taste that only Tree 
Of Knov'ledge, planted by the Tree of Life; 
So near grows Death to Life, whate'er Death is — 
Some dreadful thing no doubt; for well thou know'st 
God hath pronounced it Death to taste that Tree: 
The only sign of our obedience left 
Among so many signs of power and rule 
Conferred uf)on us, and dominion given 
Over all other creatures that possess 
Earth, Air, and Sea. Then let us not think hard 
One easy prohibition, who enjoy 
Free leave so large to all things else, and choice 
Unlimited of manifold delights; 
But let us ever praise him, and extol 
His bounty, following our delightful task, 
To prune these growing plants, and tend these flowers; 
Which, were it toilsome, yet with thee were sweet." 

To whom thus Eve replied: — "O thou for whom 
And from whom I was formed flesh of thy flesh, 

1 66 JOHN MILTON book iv 

And without whom am to no end, my guide 

And head! what thou hast said is just and right. 

For we to him, indeed, all praises owe, 

And daily thanks — I chiefly, who enjoy 

So far the happier lot, enjoying thee 

Pre-eminent by so much odds, while thou 

Like consort to thyself canst nowhere find. 

That day I oft remember, when from sleep 

I first awaked, and found myself reposed, 

Under a shade, on flowers, much wondering where 

And what I was, whence thither brought, and how. 

Not distant far from thence a murmuring sound 

Of waters issued from a cave, and spread 

Into a liquid plain; then stood unmoved, 

Pure as the expanse of Heaven. I thither went 

With unexperienced thought, and laid me down 

On the green bank, to look into the clear 

Smooth lake, that to me seemed another sky. 

As I bent down to look, just opposite 

A Shape within the watery gleam appeared, 

Bending to look on me. I started back. 

It started back; but pleased I soon returned. 

Pleased it returned as soon with answering looks 

Of symfjathy and love. There I had fixed 

Mine eyes till now, and pined with vain desire. 

Had not a voice thus warned me: 'What thou seest, 

What there thou seest, fair creature, is thyself; 

With thee it came and goes: but follow me. 

And I will bring thee where no shadow stays 

Thy coming, and thy soft imbraces — he 

Whose image thou art; him thou shalt enjoy 

Inseparably thine; to him shalt bear 

Multitudes like thyself, and thence be called 

Mother of human race.' What could I do, 

But follow straight, invisibly thus led.' 

Till I espied thee, fair, indeed, and tall. 

Under a platan; yet methought less fair. 

Less winning soft, less amiably mild, 

Than that smooth watery image. Back I turned; 

Thou, following, cried'st aloud, 'Return, fair Eve; 


Whom fliest thou? Whom thou fliest, of him thou art, 
His flesh, his bone, to give thee being I lent 
Out of my side to thee, nearest my heart, 
Substantial life, to have thee by my side 
Henceforth an individual solace dear: 
Part of my soul I seek thee, and thee claim 
My other half.' With that thy gentle hand 
Seized mine: I yielded, and from that time see 
How beauty is excelled by manly grace 
And wisdom, which alone is truly fair." 

So spake our general mother, and, with eyes 
Of conjugal attraction unreproved, 
And meek surrender, half-embracing leaned 
On our first father; half her swelling breast 
Naked met his, under the flowing gold 
Of her loose tresses hid. He, in delight 
Both of her beauty and submissive charms. 
Smiled with suf)erior love, as Jupiter 
On Juno smiles when he impregns the clouds 
That shed May flowers, and pressed her matron lip 
With kisses pure. Aside the Devil turned 
For envy; yet with jealous leer malign 
Eyed them askance, and to himself thus plained: — 

"Sight hateful, sight tormenting! Thus these two, 
Imparadiscd in one another's arms. 
The happier Eden, shall enjoy their fill 
Of bliss on bliss; while I to Hell am thrust. 
Where neither joy nor love, but fierce desire. 
Among our other torments not the least. 
Still unfulfilled, with f>ain of longing pinest 
Yet let me not forget what I have gained 
From their own mouths. All is not theirs, it seems; 
One fatal tree there stands, of Knowledge called, 
Forbidden them to taste. Knowledge forbidden? 
Suspicious, reasonless! Why should their Lord 
Envy them that? Can it be sin to know? 
Can it be death? And do they only stand 
By ignorance? Is that their happy state, 
The proof of their obedience and their faith? 
O fair foundation laid whereon to build 

l68 JOHN MILTON book iv 

Their ruin! Hence I will excite their minds 
With more desire to know, and to reject 
Envious commands, invented with design 
To keep them low, whom knowledge might exalt 
Equal with gods. Aspiring to be such. 
They taste and die: what likelier can ensue? 
But first with narrow search I must walk round 
This garden, and no corner leave unspied; 
A chance but chance may lead where I may meet 
Some wandering Spirit of Heaven, by fountain-side. 
Or in thick shade retired, from him to draw 
What further would be learned. Live while ye may, 
Yet happy pair; enjoy, till I return. 
Short pleasures; for long woes are to succeed!" 
So saying, his proud step he scornful turned, 
But with sly circumspection, and began 
Through wood, through waste, o'er hill, o'er dale, his 

Meanwhile in utmost longitude, where Heaven 
With Earth and Ocean meets, the setting Sun 
Slowly descended, and with right aspect' 
Against the eastern gate of Paradise 
Levelled his evening rays. It was a rock 
Of alablaster, piled up to the clouds. 
Conspicuous far, winding with one ascent 
Accessible from Earth, one entrance high; 
The rest was craggy cliff, that overhung 
Still as it rose, impossible to climb. 
Betwixt these rocky pillars Gabriel sat, 
Chief of the angelic guards, awaiting night; 
About him exercised heroic games 
The unarmed youth of Heaven; but nigh at hand 
Celestial armoury, shields, helms, and spears, 
Hung high, with diamond flaming and with gold. 
Thither came Uriel, gliding through the even 
On a sunbeam, swift as a shooting star 
In autumn thwarts the night, when vapours fired 
Impress the air, and shews the mariner 
From what point of his compass to beware 
Impetuous winds. He thus began in haste: — 



"Gabriel, to thee thy course by lot hath given 
Charge and strict watch that to this happy place 
No evil thing approach or enter in. 
This day at highth of noon came to my sphere 
A Spirit, zealous, as he seemed, to know 
More of the Almighty's works, and chiefly Man, 
God's latest image. I described his way 
Bent all on spieed, and marked his aerie gait, 
But in the mount that lies from Eden north, 
Where he first lighted, soon discerned his looks 
Alien from Heaven, with passions foul obscured. 
Mine eye pursued him still, but under shade 
Lost sight of him. One of the banished crew, 
I fear, hath ventured from the Deep, to raise 
New troubles; him thy care must be to find." 

To whom the winged Warrior thus returned: — 
"Uriel, no wonder if thy perfet sight. 
Amid the Sun's bright circle where thou sitt'st. 
See far and wide. In at this gate none pass 
The vigilance here placed, but such as come 
Well known from Heaven; since meridian hour 
No creature thence. If Spirit of other sort, 
So minded, have o'erleajjed these earthly bounds 
On purjx)se, hard thou know'st it to exclude 
Spiritual substance with corporeal bar. 
But, if within the circuit of these walks, 
In whatsoever shape, he lurk of whom 
Thou tell'st, by morrow dawning I shall know." 

So promised he; and Uriel to his charge 
Returned on that bright beam, whose point now 

Bore him slope downward to the Sun, now fallen 
Beneath the Azores; whether the Prime Orb, 
Incredible how swift, had thither rowled 
Diurnal, or this less voliibil Earth, 
By shorter flight to the east, had left him there 
Arraying with reflected purple and gold 
The clouds that on his western throne attend. 

Now came still Evening on, and Twilight gray 
Had in her sober livery all things clad; 

170 JOHN MILTON book IV 

Silence accompanied; for beast and bird. 
They to their grassy couch, these to their nests 
Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale. 
She all night long her amorous descant sung: 
Silence was pleased. Now glowed the firmament 
With living Saphirs; Hesperus, that led 
The starry host, rode brightest, till the Moon, 
Rising in clouded majesty, at length 
Apparent queen, unveiled her peerless light. 
And o'er the dark her silver mande threw; 
When Adam thus to Eve: — "Fair consort, the hour 
Of night, and all things now retired to rest 
Mind us of like repose; since God hath set 
Labour and rest, as day and night, to men 
Successive, and the timely dew of sleep, 
Now falling with soft slumberous weight, inclines 
Our eye-lids. Other creatures all day long 
Rove idle, unimployed, and less need rest; 
Man hath his daily work of body or mind 
Appointed, which declares his dignity. 
And the regard of Heaven on all his ways; 
While other animals unactive range, 
And of their doings God takes no account. 
To-morrow, ere fresh morning streak the east 
With first approach of light, we must be risen. 
And at our pleasant labour, to reform 
Yon flowery arbours, yonder alleys green. 
Our walk at noon, with branches overgrown. 
That mock our scant manuring, and require 
More hands than ours to lop their wanton growth. 
Those blossoms also, and those dropping gums. 
That lie bestrown, unsighdy and unsmooth. 
Ask riddance, if we mean to tread with ease. 
Meanwhile, as Nature wills. Night bids us rest." 

To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adorned: — 
"My author and disposer, what thou bidd'st 
Unargued I obey. So God ordains: 
God is thy law, thou mine: to know no more 
Is woman's happiest knowledge, and her praise. 
With thee conversing, I forget all time. 


All seasons, and their change; all please alike. 
Sweet is the breath of Morn, her rising sweet. 
With charm of earliest birds; pleasant the Sun, 
When first on this delightful land he spreads 
His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower, 
Glistering with dew; fragrant the fertil Earth 
After soft showers; and sweet the coming on 
Of grateful Evening mild; then silent Night, 
With this her solemn bird, and this fair Moon, 
And these the gems of Heaven, her starry train: 
But neither breath of Morn, when she ascends 
With charm of earliest birds; nor rising Sun 
On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower. 
Glistering with dew; nor fragrance after showers; 
Nor grateful Evening mild; nor silent Night, 
With this her solemn bird; nor walk, by moon, 
Or glittering star-light, without thee is sweet. 
But wherefore all night long shine these? for whom 
This glorious sight, when sleep hath shut all eyes?" 

To whom our general ancestor replied: — 
"Daughter of God and Man, accomplished Eve, 
Those have their course to finish round the Earth 
By morrow evening, and from land to land 
In order, though to nations yet unborn. 
Ministering light prepared, they set and rise; 
Lest total Darkness should by night regain 
Her old possession, and extinguish life 
In nature and all things; which these soft fires 
Not only enlighten, but with kindly heat 
Of various influence foment and warm. 
Temper or nourish, or in part shed down 
Their stellar virtue on all kinds that grow 
On Elarth, made hereby apter to receive 
Perfection from the Sun's more potent ray. 
These then, though unbeheld in deep of night. 
Shine not in vain. Nor think, though men were none. 
That Heaven would want spectators, God want praise. 
Millions of spiritual creatures walk the Earth 
Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep: 
All these with ceaseless praise his works behold 

172 JOHN MILTON book iv 

Both day and night. How often, from the steep 
Of echoing hill or thicket, have we heard 
Celestial voices to the midnight air. 
Sole, or responsive each to other's note, 
Singing their great Creator! Oft in bands 
While they keep watch, or nighdy rounding walk. 
With heavenly touch of instrumental sounds 
In full harmonic number joined, their songs 
Divide the night, and lift our thoughts to Heaven." 

Thus talking, hand in hand alone they passed 
On to their blissful bower. It was a place 
Chosen by the sovran Planter, when he framed 
All things to Man's delightful use. The roof 
Of thickest covert was inwoven shade. 
Laurel and myrtle, and what higher grew 
Of firm and fragrant leaf; on either side 
Acanthus, and each odorous bushy shrub. 
Fenced up the verdant wall; each beauteous flower, 
Iris all hues, roses, and gessamin, 
Reared high their flourished heads between, and 

Mosaic; under foot the violet, 
Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlay 
Broidered the ground, more coloured than with stone 
Of costliest emblem. Other creature here. 
Beast, bird, insect, or worm, durst enter none; 
Such was their awe of Man. In shadier bower 
More sacred and sequestered, though but feigned. 
Pan or Sylvanus never slept, nor Nymph 
For Faunus haunted. Here, in close recess. 
With flowers, garlands, and sweet-smelling hearbs 
Espoused Eve decked first her nuptial bed. 
And heavenly choirs the hymenacan sung, 
What day the genial Angel to our Sire 
Brought her, in naked beauty more adorned. 
More lovely, than Pandora, whom the gods 
Endowed with all their gifts; and, O! too like 
In sad event, when, to the unwiser son 
Of Japhet brought by Hermes, she ensnared 
Mankind with her fair looks, to be avenged 


On him who had stole Jove's authentic fire. 

Thus at their shady lodge arrived, both stood, 
Both turned, and under open sky adored 
The God that made both Sky, Air, Earth, and Heaven, 
Which they beheld, the Moon's resplendent globe, 
And starry Pole: — "Thou also madest the Night, 
Maker Omnipotent; and thou the Day, 
Which we, in our appointed work imployed, 
Have finished, happy in our mutual help 
And mutual love, the crown of all our bliss 
Ordained by thee; and this delicious place, 
For us too large, where thy abundance wants 
Partakers, and uncropt falls to the ground. 
But thou hast promised from us two a race 
To fill the Earth, who shall with us extol 
Thy goodness infinite, both when we wake. 
And when we seek, as now, thy gift of sleep." 

This said unanimous, and other rites 
Observing none, but adoration pure. 
Which God likes best, into their inmost bower 
Handed they went, and, eased the putting-ofi 
These troublesome disguises which we wear, 
Straight side by side were laid; nor turned, I ween, 
Adam from his fair spwuse, nor Eve the rites 
Mysterious of connubial love refused: 
Whatever hypocrites austerely talk 
Of purity, and place, and innocence. 
Defaming as impure what God declares 
Pure, and commands to some, leaves free to all. 
Our Maker bids increase; who bids abstain 
But our destroyer, foe to God and Man? 
Hail, wedded Love, mysterious law, true source 
Of human offspring, sole propriety 
In Paradise of all things common else! 
By thee adulterous lust was driven from men 
Among the bestial herds to raunge; by thee, 
Founded in reason, loyal, just, and pure, 
Relations dear, and all the charities 
Of father, son, and brother, first were known. 
Far be it that I should write thee sin or blame, 

174 JOHN MILTON book iv 

Or think thee unbefitting holiest place, 
Perjjetual fountain of domestic sweets. 
Whose bed is undefiled and chaste pronounced, 
Present, or past, as saints and patriarchs used. 
Here Love his golden shafts imploys, here lights 
His constant lamp, and waves his purple wings. 
Reigns here and revels; not in the bought smile 
Of harlots — loveless, joyless, unindeared, 
Casual fruition; nor in court amours. 
Mixed dance, or wanton mask, or midnight bal, 
Or serenate, which the starved lover sings 
To his proud fair, best quitted with disdain. 
These, lulled by nightingales, imbracing slept. 
And on their naked limbs the flowery roof 
Showered roses, which the morn repaired. Sleep on. 
Blest pair! and, O! yet happiest, if ye seek 
No happier state, and know to know no more! 

Now had Night measured with her shadowy cone 
Half-way ujvhill this vast sublunar vault. 
And from their ivory pwrt the Cherubim 
Forth issuing, at the accustomed hour, stood armed 
To their night-watches in warlike parade; 
When Gabriel to his next in power thus spake: — 

"Uzziel, half these draw off, and coast the south 
With strictest watch; these other wheel the north: 
Our circuit meets full west." As flame they part. 
Half wheeling to the shield, half to the spear. 
From these, two strong and subtle Spirits he called 
That near him stood, and gave them thus in charge: — 

"Ithuriel and Zephon, with winged speed 
Search through this Garden; leave unsearched no 

But chiefly where those two fair creatures lodge, 
Now laid perhaps asleep, secure of harm. 
This evening from the Sun's decline arrived 
Who tells of some infernal Spirit seen 
Hitherward bent (who could have thought?), escaped 
The bars of Hell, on errand bad, no doubt: 
Such, where ye find, seize fast, and hither bring." 

So saying, on he led his radiant files. 


Dazzling the moon; these to the bower direct 

In search of whom they sought. Him there they found 

Squat Hke a toad, close at the ear of Eve, 

Assaying by his devilish art to reach 

The organs of her fancy, and with them forge 

Illusions as he list, phantasms and dreams; 

Or if, inspiring venom, he might taint 

The animal spirits, that from pure blood arise 

Like gentle breaths from rivers pure, thence raise, 

At least distempered, discontented thoughts. 

Vain hopes, vain aims, inordinate desires. 

Blown up with high conceits ingendering pride. 

Him thus intent Ithuriel with his spear 

Touched lightly; for no falsehood can endure 

Touch of celestial temp>er, but returns 

Of force to its own likeness. Up he starts, 

Discovered and surprised. As, when a spark 

Lights on a heap of nitrous powder, laid 

Fit for the tun, some magazin to store 

Against a rumoured war, the smutty grain. 

With sudden blaze diffused, inflames the air; 

So started up, in his own shape, the Fiend. 

Back stept those two fair Angels, half amazed 

So sudden to behold the griesly King; 

Yet thus, unmoved with fear, accost him soon: — 

"Which of those rebel Spirits adjudged to Hell 
Com'st thou, escaped thy prison? and, transformed. 
Why satt'st thou like an enemy in wait. 
Here watching at the head of these that sleep?" 

"Know ye not, then," said Satan, filled with scorn, 
"Know ye not me? Ye knew me once no mate 
For you, there sitting where ye durst not soar! 
Not to know me argues yourselves unknown, 
The lowest of your throng; or, if ye know, 
Why ask ye, and superfluous begin 
Your message, like to end as much in vain?" 

To whom thus Zephon, answering scorn with 
scorn: — 
"Think not, revolted Spirit, thy shape the same, 
Or undiminished brightness, to be known 

176 JOHN MILTON book iv 

As when thou stood'st in Heaven upright and pure. 
That glory then, when thou no more wast good, 
Departed from thee; and thou rcsemblest now 
Thy sin and place of doom obscure and foul. 
But come; for thou, be sure, shalt give account 
To him who sent us, whose charge is to keep 
This place inviolable, and these from harm." 

So spake the Cherub; and his grave rebuke. 
Severe in youthful beauty, added grace 
Invincible. Abashed the Devil stood, 
And felt how awful goodness is, and saw 
Virtue in her shape how lovely — saw, and pined 
His loss; but chiefly to find here observed 
His lustre visibly impaired; yet seemed 
Undaunted. "If I must contend," said he, 
"Best with the best — the sender, not the sent; 
Or all at once: more glory will be won. 
Or less be lost." "Thy fear," said Zephon bold, 
"Will save us trial what the least can do 
Single against thee wicked, and thence weak." 

The Fiend replied not, overcome with rage; 
But, like a proud steed reined, went haughty on, 
Chaumping his iron curb. To strive or fly 
He held it vain; awe from above had quelled 
His heart, not else dismayed. Now drew they nigh 
The western point, where those half-rounding guards 
Just met, and, closing, stood in squadron joined. 
Awaiting next command. To whom their chief, 
Gabriel, from the front thus called aloud: — 

"O friends, I hear the tread of nimble feet 
Hasting this way, and now by glimpse discern 
Ithuriel and Zephon through the shade; 
And with them comes a third, of regal {xsrt. 
But faded splendour wan, who by his gait 
And fierce demeanour seems the Prince of Hell — 
Not likely to part hence without contest'. 
Stand firm, for in his look defiance lours." 

He scarce had ended, when those two approached. 
And brief related whom they brought, where found. 
How busied, in what form and posture couched. 


To whom, with stern regard, thus Gabriel spake: — 
"Why hast thou, Satan, broke the bounds prescribed 
To thy transgressions, and disturbed the charge 
Of others, who approve not to transgress 
By thy example, but have power and right 
To question thy bold entrance on this place; 
Imployed, it seems, to violate sleep, and those 
Whose dwelling God hath planted here in bliss?" 

To whom thus Satan, with contemptuous brow: — 
"Gabriel, thou hadst in Heaven the esteem of wise; 
And such I held thee; but this question asked 
Puts me in doubt. Lives there who loves his pain? 
Who would not, finding way, break loose from Hell, 
Though thither doomed? Thou wouldst thyself, no 

And boldly venture to whatever place 
Farthest from pain, where thou mightst hope to change 
Torment with ease, and soonest recompense 
Dole with delight; which in this place I sought: 
To thee no reason, who know'st only good. 
But evil hast not tried. And wilt object 
His will who bound us? Let him surer bar 
His iron gates, if he intends our stay 
In that dark durance. Thus much what was asked: 
The rest is true; they found me where they say; 
But that implies not violence or harm." 

Thus he in scorn. The warlike Angel moved, 
Disdainfully half smiling, thus replied: — 
"O loss of one in Heaven to judge of wise. 
Since Satan fell, whom folly overthrew, 
And now returns him from his prison scajjed. 
Gravely in doubt whether to hold them wise 
Or not who ask what boldness brought him hither 
Unlicensed from his bounds in Hell prescribed! 
So wise he judges it to fly from pain 
However, and to scape his punishment! 
So judge thou still, presumptuous, till the wrauth, 
Which thou incurr'st by flying, meet thy flight 
Sevenfold, and scourge that wisdom back to Hell, 
Which taught thee yet no better that no pain 


Can equal anger infinite provoked. 
But wherefore thou alone? Wherefore with thee 
Came not all Hell broke loose? Is pain to them 
Less pain, less to be fled? or thou than they 
Less hardy to endure? Courageous chief. 
The first in flight from pain, hadst thou alleged 
To thy deserted host this cause of flight. 
Thou surely hadst not come sole fugitive." 

To which the Fiend thus answered, frowning 
stern : — 
"Not that I less endure, or shrink from pain. 
Insulting Angel! well thou know'st I stood 
Thy fiercest, when in battle to thy aid 
The blasting volleyed thunder made all speed 
And seconded thy else not dreaded spear. 
But still thy words at random, as before, 
Argue thy inex|)erience what behoves. 
From hard assays and ill successes past, 
A faithful leader — not to hazard all 
Through ways of danger by himself untried. 
I, therefore, I alone, first undertook 
To wing the desolate Abyss, and spy 
This new<reated World, whereof in Hell 
Fame is not silent, here in hope to find 
Better abode, and my afflicted Powers 
To setde here on Earth, or in mid Air; 
Though for possession put to try once more 
What thou and thy gay legions dare against; 
Whose easier business were to serve their Lord 
High up in Heaven, with songs to hymn his throne. 
And practised distances to cringe, not fight." 

To whom the Warrior-Angel soon replied: — 
"To say and straight unsay, pretending first 
Wise to fly pain, professing next to spy. 
Argues no leader, but a liar traced, 
Satan; and couldst thou 'faithful' add? O name, 
O sacred name of faithfulness profaned! 
Faithful to whom? to thy rebellious crew? 
Army of fiends, fit body to fit head! 
Was this your discipline and faith ingaged. 


Your military obedience, to dissolve 

Allegiance to the acknowledged Power Supreme? 

And thou, sly hypocrite, who now wouldst seem 

Patron of liberty, who more than thou 

Once fawned, and cringed, and servilely adored 

Heaven's awful Monarch? wherefore, but in hope 

To disfwssess him, and thyself to reign ? 

But mark what I areed thee now: A vaunt! 

Fly thither whence thou fledd'st. If from this hour 

Within these hallowed limits thou appear. 

Back to the Infernal Pit I drag thee chained. 

And seal thee so as henceforth not to scorn 

The facile gates of Hell too slightly barred." 

So threatened he; but Satan to no threats 
Gave heed, but waxing more in rage, replied: — 

"Then, when I am thy captive, talk of chains, 
Proud limitary Cherub! but ere then 
Far heavier load thyself expect to feel 
From my prevailing arm, though Heaven's King 
Ride on thy wings, and thou with thy Compeers, 
Used to the yoke, draw'st his triumphant wheels 
In progress through the road of Heaven star-paved." 

While thus he spake, the angelic squadron bright 
Turned fiery red, sharpiening in mooned horns 
Their phalanx and began to hem him round 
With ported spears, as thick as when a field 
Of Ceres ripe for harvest waving bends 
Her bearded grove of ears which way the wind 
Sways them; the careful ploughman doubting stands 
Lest on the threshing-floor his hopeful sheaves 
Prove chafl. On the other side, Satan, alarmed. 
Collecting all his might, dilated stood. 
Like Tenerifl or Atlas, unremoved: 
His stature reached the sky, and on his crest 
Sat Horror plumed; nor wanted in his grasp 
What seemed both spear and shield. Now dreadful 

Might have ensued; nor only Paradise, 
In this commotion, but the starry cojje 
Of Heaven perhaps, or all the Elements 

l8o JOHN MILTON book v 

At least, had gone to wrack, disturbed and torn 
With violence of this conflict, had not soon 
The Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray, 
Hung forth in Heaven his golden scales, yet seen 
Betwixt Astrara and the Scorpion sign. 
Wherein all things created first he weighed. 
The pendulous round Earth with balanced air 
In counterpoise, now pwnders all events. 
Battles and realms. In these he put two weights, 
The sequel each of parting and of fight: 
The latter quick up flew, and kicked the beam; 
Which Gabriel spying thus bespake the Fiend: — 

"Satan, I know thy strength, and thou know'st mine, 
Neither our own, but given; what folly then 
To boast what arms can do! since thine no more 
Than Heaven permits, nor mine, though doubled now 
To trample thee as mire. For proof look up. 
And read thy lot in yon celestial sign. 
Where thou art weighed, and shown how light, how 

If thou resist." The Fiend looked up, and knew 
His mounted scale aloft: nor more; but fled 
Murmuring; and with him fled the shades of Night. 


The Argument. — Morning approached. Eve relates to Adam her troublesome 
dream; he likes it not, yet comforts her: they come forth to their day labours: their 
morning hymn at the door of their bower. God, to render Man inexcusable, sends 
Raphael to admonish him of his obedience, of his free estate, of his enemy near at 
hand, who he is, and why his enemy, and whatever else may avail Adam to know. 
Raphael comes down to Paradise; his appearance described; his coming discerned by 
Adam afar off, sitting at the door of his bower; he goes out to meet him, brings him 
to his lodge, entertains him with the choicest fruits of Paradise, got together by Eve; 
their discourse at table. Raphael performs his message, minds Adam of his state and 
of his enemy; relates, at Adam's request, who that enemy is, and how he came to be 
so, beginning from his first revolt in Heaven, and the occasion thereof; how he drew 
his legions after him to the parts of the North, and there incited them to rebel with 
him, persuading all but only Abdiel, a seraph, who in argument dissuades and opposes 
him, then forsakes him. 

Now Morn, her rosy steps in the eastern clime 
Advancing, sowed the earth with orient pearl. 
When Adam waked, so customed; for his sleep 


Was aerie light, from pure digestion bred, 
And temperate vapours bland, which the only sound 
Of leaves and fuming rills, Aurora's fan. 
Lightly dispersed, and the shrill matin song 
Of birds on every bough. So much the more 
His wonder was to find unwakened Eve, 
With tresses discomposed, and glowing cheek. 
As through unquiet rest. He, on his side 
Leaning half raised, with looks of cordial love 
Hung over her enamoured, and beheld 
Beauty which, whether waking or asleep. 
Shot forth peculiar graces; then, with voice 
Mild as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes. 
Her hand soft touching, whispered thus: — "Awake, 
My fairest, my espoused, my latest found. 
Heaven's last, best gift, my ever-new delight! 
Awake! the morning shines, and the fresh field 
Calls us; we lose the prime to mark how spring 
Our tended plants, how blows the citron grove. 
What drops the myrrh, and what the balmy reed, 
How Nature paints her colours, how the bee 
Sits on the bloom extracting liquid sweet." 

Such whispering waked her, but with startled eye 
On Adam; whom imbracing, thus she spake: — 

"O sole in whom my thoughts find all repose. 
My glory, my perfection! glad I see 
Thy face, and morn returned; for I this night 
(Such night till this I never passed) have dreamed, 
If dreamed, not, as I oft am wont, of thee. 
Works of day past, or morrow's next design; 
But of offence and trouble, which my mind 
Knew never till this irksome night. Methought 
Close at mine ear one called me forth to walk 
With gentle voice; I thought it thine. It said, 
'Why sleep' st thou, Eve? now is the pleasant time, 
The cool, the silent, save where silence yields 
To the night-warbling bird, that now awake 
Tunes sweetest his love-laboured song; now reigns 
Full-orbed the moon, and, with more pleasing light, 
Shadowy sets off the face of things — in vain, 

l82 JOHN MILTON book v 

If none regard. Heaven wakes with all his eyes; 

Whom to behold but thee, Nature's desire, 

In whose sight all things joy, with ravishment 

Attracted by thy beauty still to gaze?' 

I rose as at thy call, but found thee not: 

To find thee I directed then my walk; 

And on, methought, alone I passed through ways 

That brought me on a sudden to the Tree 

Of interdicted Knowledge. Fair it seemed. 

Much fairer to my fancy than by day; 

And, as I wondering looked, beside it stood 

One shaped and winged like one of those from Heaven 

By us oft seen: his dewy locks distilled 

Ambrosia. On that Tree he also gazed; 

And, 'O fair plant,' said he, 'with fruit surcharged. 

Deigns none to ease thy load, and taste thy sweet, 

Nor God nor Man? Is knowledge so despised? 

Or envy, or what reserve forbids to taste? 

Forbid who will, none shall from me withhold 

Longer thy offered good, why else set here?' 

This said, he paused not, but with ventrous arm 

He plucked, he tasted. Me damp horror chilled 

At such bold words vouched with a deed so bold; 

But he thus, overjoyed: 'O fruit divine. 

Sweet of thyself, but much more sweet thus cropt. 

Forbidden here, it seems, as only fit 

For gods, yet able to make gods of men! 

And why not gods of men, since good, the more 

Communicated, more abundant grows. 

The author not impaired, but honoured more? 

Here, happy creature, fair angelic Eve! 

Partake thou also: happy though thou art. 

Happier thou may'st be, worthier canst not be. 

Taste this, and be henceforth among the gods 

Thyself a goddess; not to Earth confined. 

But sometimes in the Air; as we; sometimes 

Ascend to Heaven, by merit thine, and see 

What life the gods live there, and such live thou.* 

So saying, he drew nigh, and to me held. 

Even to my mouth of that same fruit held part 



Which he had plucked: the pleasant savoury smell 
So quickened appetite that I, mcthought, 
Could not but taste. Forthwith up to the clouds 
With him I flew, and underneath beheld 
The Earth outstretched immense, a prospect wide 
And various. Wondering at my flight and change 
To this high exaltation, suddenly 
My guide was gone, and I, methought, sunk down, 
And fell asleep; but, O, how glad I waked 
To find this but a dream!" Thus Eve her night 
Related, and thus Adam answered sad: — 
"Best image of myself, and dearer half, 
The trouble of thy thoughts this night in sleep 
Affects me equally; nor can I like 
This uncouth dream — of evil sprung, I fear; 
Yet evil whence? In thee can harbour none. 
Created pure. But know that in the soul 
Are many lesser faculties, that serve 
Reason as chief. Among these Fancy next 
Her office holds; of all external things, 
Which the five watchful senses represent, 
She forms imaginations, aerie shapes, 
Which Reason, joining or disjoining, frames 
All what we affirm or what deny, and call 
Our knovkfledge or opinion; then retires 
Into her private cell when Nature rests. 
Oft, in her absence, mimic Fancy wakes 
To imitate her; but, misjoining shapes, 
Wild work produces oft, and most in dreams, 
111 matching words and deeds long past or late. 
Some such resemblances, methinks, I find 
Of our last evening's talk in this thy dream, 
But with addition strange. Yet be not sad: 
Evil into the mind of God or Man 
May come and go, so unapproved, and leave 
No spot or blame behind; which gives me hope 
That what in sleep thou didst abhor to dream 
Waking thou never wilt consent to do. 
Be not disheartened, then, nor cloud those looks. 
That wont to be more cheerful and serene 

184 JOHN MILTON book v 

Than when fair Morning first smiles on the world; 
And let us to our fresh imployments rise 
Among the groves, the fountains, and the flowers, 
That open now their choicest bosomed smells. 
Reserved from night, and kept for thee in store." 

So cheered he his fair spouse; and she was cheered. 
But silendy a gentle tear let fall 
From either eye, and wiped them with her hair: 
Two other precious drops that ready stood, 
Each in their crystal sluice, he, ere they fell. 
Kissed as the gracious signs of sweet remorse 
And pious awe, that feared to have offended. 

So all was cleared, and to the field they haste. 
But first, from under shady arborous roof 
Soon as they forth were come to open sight 
Of day-spring, and the Sun — who, scarce uprisen. 
With wheels yet hovering o'er the ocean-brim, 
Shot parallel to the Earth his dewy ray. 
Discovering in wide lantskip all the east 
Of Paradise and Eden's happy plains — 
Lowly they bowed, adoring, and began 
Their orisons, each morning duly paid 
In various style; for neither various style 
Nor holy rapture wanted they to praise 
Their Maker, in fit strains pronounced, or sung 
Unmeditated; such prompt eloquence 
Flowed from their lips, in prose or numerous verse. 
More tuneable than needed lute or harp 
To add more sweetness. And they thus began: — 

"These are thy glorious works, Parent of good. 
Almighty! thine this universal frame. 
Thus wondrous fair: Thyself how wondrous thenl 
Unspeakable! who sitt'st above these heavens 
To us invisible, or dimly seen 
In these thy lowest works; yet these declare 
Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine. 
Speak, ye who best can tell, ye Sons of Light, 
Angels — for ye behold him, and with songs 
And choral symphonies, day without night, 
Circle his throne rejoicing — ye in Heaven; 



On Earth join, all ye creatures, to extol 

Him first, him last, him midst, and without end. 

Fairest of Stars, last in the train of Night, 

If better thou belong not to the Dawn, 

Sure pledge of day, that crown'st the smiling morn 

With thy bright circlet, praise him in thy sphere 

While day arises, that sweet hour of prime. 

Thou Sun, of this great World both eye and soul, 

Acknowledge him thy Greater; sound his praise 

In thy eternal course, both when thou climb'st. 

And when high noon hast gained, and when thou fall'st. 

Moon, that now meet'st the orient Sun, now fliest, 

With the fixed Stars, fixed in their orb that flies; 

And ye five ether wandering Fires, that move 

In mystic dance, not without song, resound 

His praise who out of Darkness called up Light. 

Air, and ye Elements, the eldest birth 

Of Nature's womb, that in quaternion run 

Perpetual circle, multiform, and mix 

And nourish all things, let your ceaseless change 

Vary to our great Maker still new praise. 

Ye Mists and Exhalations, that now rise 

From hill or steaming lake, dusky or gray. 

Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold. 

In honour to the World's great Author rise; 

Whether to deck with clouds the uncoloured sky, 

Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers, 

Rising or falling, still advance his praise. 

His praise, ye Winds, that from four quarters blow, 

Breathe soft or loud; and wave your tops, ye Pines, 

With every Plant, in sign of worship wave. 

Fountains, and ye, that warble, as ye flow. 

Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise. 

Join voices, all ye living Souls. Ye Birds, 

That, singing, up to Heaven-gate ascend. 

Bear on your wings and in your notes his praise. 

Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk 

The earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep. 

Witness if / be silent, morn or even, 

To hill or valley, fountain, or fresh shade, 

l86 JOHN MILTON book v 

Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise. 
Hail, universal Lord! Be bounteous still 
To give us only good; and, if the night 
Have gathered aught of evil, or concealed, 
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark." 

So prayed they innocent, and to their thoughts 
Firm peace recovered soon, and wonted calm. 
On to their morning's rural work they haste, 
Among sweet dews and flowers, where any row 
Of fruit-trees, over-woody, reached too far 
Their pampered boughs, and needed hands to check 
Fruidess imbraces; or they led the vine 
To wed her elm; she, spoused, about him twines 
Her marriageable arms, and with her brings 
Her dower, the adopted clusters, to adorn 
His barren leaves. Them thus imployed beheld 
With pity Heaven's high King, and to him called 
Raphael, the sociable Spirit, that deigned 
To travel with Tobias, and secured 
His marriage with the seven-times-wedded maid. 

"Raphael," said he, "thou hear'st what stir on Earth 
Satan, from Hell scaf)ed through the darksome Gulf, 
Hath raised in Paradise, and how disturbed 
This night the human pair; now he designs 
In them at once to ruin all mankind. 
Go, therefore; half this day, as friend with friend, 
Converse with Adam, in what bower or shade 
Thou find'st him from the heat of noon retired 
To respite his day-labour with repast 
Or with repose; and such discourse bring on 
As may advise him of his happy state — 
Happiness in his power left free to will. 
Left to his own free will, his will though free 
Yet mutable. Whence warn him to beware 
He swerve not, too secure: tell him withal 
His danger, and from whom; what enemy, 
Late fallen himself from Heaven, is plotting now 
The fall of others from like state of bliss. 
By violence.'' no, for that shall be withstood; 
But by deceit and lies. This let him know, 



Lest, wilfully transgressing, he pretend 
Surprisal, unadmonished, unforewarned." 

So spake the Eternal Father, and fulfilled 
All justice. Nor delayed the winged Saint 
After his charge received; but from among 
Thousand celestial Ardours, where he stood 
Veiled with his gorgeous wings, upspringing light, 
Flew through the midst of Heaven. The angelic quires 
On each hand parting, to his speed gave way 
Through all the empyreal road, till, at the gate 
Of Heaven arrived, the gate self-opened wide, 
On golden hinges turning, as by work 
Divine the sovran Architect had framed. 
From hence — no cloud or, to obstruct his sight, 
Star interposed, however small — he sees, 
Not unconform to other shining globes. 
Earth, and the Garden of God, with cedars crowned 
Above all hills; as when by night the glass 
Of Galileo, less assured, observes 
Imagined lands and regions in the Moon; 
Or pilot from amidst the Cyclades 
Delos or Samos first appearing kens, 
A cloudy spot. Down thither prone in flight 
He speeds, and through the vast ethereal sky 
Sails between worlds and worlds, with steady wing 
Now on the f)olar winds; then with quick fan 
Winnows the buxom air, till, within soar 
Of towering eagles, to all the fowls he seems 
A phoenix, gazed by all, as that sole bird, 
When, to enshrine his relics in the Sun's 
Bright temple, to ^Egyptian Thebes he flies. 
At once on the eastern cliff of Paradise 
He lights, and to his proper shape returns, 
A Seraph winged. Six wings he wore, to shade 
His lineaments divine: the pair that clad 
Each shoulder broad came mantling o'er his breast 
With regal ornament; the middle pair 
Girt like a starry zone his waist, and round 
Skirted his loins and thighs with downy gold 
And colours dipt in heaven; the third his feet 


Shadowed from either heel with feathered mail, 

Sky-tinctured grain. Like Maia's son he stood, 

And shook his plumes, that heavenly fragrance filled 

The circuit wide. Straight knew him all the bands 

Of Angels under watch, and to his state 

And to his message high in honour rise; 

For on some message high they guessed him bound. 

Their glittering tents he passed, and now is come 

Into the blissful field, through groves of myrrh, 

And flowering odours, cassia, nard, and balm, 

A wilderness of sweets; for Nature here 

Wantoned as in her prime, and played at will 

Her virgin fancies, jxiuring forth more sweet, 

Wild above rule or art, enormous bliss. 

Him, through the spicy forest onward come, 

Adam discerned, as in the door he sat 

Of his cool bower, while now the mounted Sun 

Shot down direct his fervid rays, to warm 

Earth's inmost womb, more warmth than Adam needs' 

And Eve, within, due at her hour, prepared 

For dinner savoury fruits, of taste to please 

True appetite, and not disrelish thirst 

Of nectarous draughts between, from milky stream, 

Berry or grape: to whom thus Adam called: — 

"Haste hither, Eve, and, worth thy sight, behold 
Eastward among those trees what glorious Shap>e 
Comes this way moving; seems another morn 
Risen on mid-noon. Some great behest from Heaven 
To us perhaps he brings, and will voutsafe 
This day to be our guest. But go with speed. 
And what thy stores contain bring forth, and [x»ur 
Abundance fit to honour and receive 
Our heavenly stranger; well may we afford 
Our givers their own gifts, and large bestow 
From large bestowed, where Nature multiplies 
Her fertile growth, and by disburdening grows 
More fruitful; which instructs us not to spare." 

To whom thus Eve: — "Adam, Earth's hallowed 
Of God inspired, small store will serve where store. 



All seasons, rip)e for use hangs on the stalk; 
Save what, by frugal storing, firmness gains 
To nourish, and superfluous moist consumes. 
But I will haste, and from each bough and brake. 
Each plant and juiciest gourd, will pluck such choice 
To entertain our Angel-guest as he, 
Beholding, shall confess that here on Earth 
God hath dispensed his bounties as in Heaven." 

So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste 
She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent 
What choice to choose for delicacy best. 
What order so contrived as not to mix 
Tastes, not well joined, inelegant, but bring 
Taste after taste upheld with kindliest change: 
Bestirs her then, and from each tender stalk 
Whatever Earth, all-bearing mother, yields 
In India East or West, or middle shore 
In Pontus or the Punic coast, or where 
Alcinous reigned, fruit of all kinds, in coat 
Rough or smooth-rined, or bearded husk, or shell, 
She gathers, tribute large, and on the board 
Heaps with unsparing hand. For drink the grape 
She crushes, inoffensive must, and meaths 
From many a berry, and from sweet kernels pressed 
She tempers dulcet creams — nor those to hold 
Wants her fit vessels pure; then strews the ground 
With rose and odours from the shrub unfumed. 

Meanwhile our primitive great Sire, to meet 
His godlike guest, walks forth, without more train 
Accompanied than with his own complete 
Perfections; in himself was all his state. 
More solemn than the tedious jxjmp that waits 
On princes, when their rich retin'ue long 
Of horses led and grooms besmeared with gold 
Dazzles the crowd and sets them all agaf)e. 
Nearer his presence, Adam, though not awed. 
Yet with submiss approach and reverence meek. 
As to a superior nature, bowing low. 
Thus said: — "Native of Heaven (for other place 
None can than Heaven such glorious Shape contain). 

190 JOHN MILTON book v 

Since, by descending from the Thrones above, 
Those happy places thou hadst deigned a while 
To want, and honour these, voutsafc with us. 
Two only, who yet by sovran gift pwssess 
This spacious ground, in yonder shady bower 
To rest, and what the Garden choicest bears 
To sit and taste, till this meridian heat 
Be over, and the sun more cool decline." 

Whom thus the angelic Virtue answered mild: — 
"Adam, I therefore came; nor art thou such 
Created, or such place hast here to dwell. 
As may not oft invite, though Spirits of Heaven, 
To visit thee. Lead on, then, where thy bower 
O'ershades; for these mid-hours, till evening rise, 
I have at will." So to the sylvan lodge 
They came, that like Pomona's arbour smiled. 
With flowerets decked and fragrant smells. But Eve, 
Undecked, save with herself, more lovely fair 
Than wood-nymph, or the fairest goddess feigned 
Of three that in Mount Ida naked strove. 
Stood to entertain her guest from Heaven; no veil 
She needed, virtue-proof; no thought infirm 
Altered her cheek. On whom the Angel "Hail!'" 
Bestowed — the holy salutation used 
Long after to blest Mary, second Eve: — 

"Hail! Mother of mankind, whose fruitful womb 
Shall fill the world more numerous with thy sons 
Than with these various fruits the trees of God 
Have heaped this table!" Raised of grassy turf 
Their table was, and mossy seats had round. 
And on her ample square, from side to side. 
All Autumn piled, though Spring and Autumn here 
Danced hand-in-hand. A while discourse they hold — 
No fear lest dinner cool — when thus began 
Our Author: — "Heavenly Stranger, please to taste 
These bounties, which our Nourisher, from whom 
All perfet good, unmeasured-out, descends. 
To us for food and for delight hath caused 
The Earth to yield: unsavoury food, f)erhaps. 
To Spiritual Natures; only this I know. 


That one Celestial Father gives to all." 

To whom the Angel : — "Therefore, what he gives 
(Whose praise be ever sung) to Man, in part 
Spiritual, may of purest Spirits be found 
No ingrateful food: and food alike those pure 
Intelligential substances require 
As doth your Rational; and both contain 
Within them every lower faculty 
Of sense, whereby they hear, see, smell, touch, taste. 
Tasting concoct, digest, assimilate. 
And corporeal to incorporeal turn. 
For know, whatever was created needs 
To be sustained and fed. Of Elements 
The grosser feeds the purer: Earth the Sea; 
Earth and the Sea feed Air; the Air those Fires 
Ethereal, and, as lowest, first the Moon; 
Whence in her visage round those spots, un purged. 
Vapours not yet into her substance turned. 
Nor doth the Moon no nourishment exhale 
From her moist continent to higher Orbs. 
The Sun, that light imparts to all, receives 
From all his alimental recompense 
In humid exhalations, and at even 
Sups with the Ocean. Though in Heaven the trees 
Of life ambrosial fruitage bear, and vines 
Yield nectar — though from off the boughs each morn 
We brush mellifluous dews and find the ground 
Covered with pearly grain — yet God hath here 
Varied his bounty so with new delights 
As may compare with Heaven; and to taste 
Think not I shall be nice." So down they sat. 
And to their viands fell; nor seemingly 
The Angel, nor in mist — the common gloss 
Of theologians — but with keen dispatch 
Of real hunger, and concoctive heat 
To transubstantiate: what redounds transpires 
Through Spirits with ease; nor wonder, if by fire 
Of sooty coal the Empiric Alchimist 
Can turn, or holds it possible to turn, 
Metals of drossiest ore to perfet gold. 

192 JOHN MILTON book? 

As from the mine. Meanwhile at table Eve 
Ministered naked, and their flowing cups 
With pleasant liquors crowned. O innocence 
Deserving Paradise! If ever, then, 
Then had the Sons of God excuse to have been 
Enamoured at that sight. But in those hearts 
Love unlibidinous reigned, nor jealousy 
Was understood, the injured lover's hell. 

Thus when with meats and drinks they had sufficed. 
Not burdened nature, sudden mind arose 
In Adam not to let the occasion pass. 
Given him by this great conference, to know 
Of things above his world, and of their being 
Who dwell in Heaven, whose excellence he saw 
Transcend his own so far, whose radiant forms. 
Divine effulgence, whose high power so far 
Exceeded human; and his wary speech 
Thus to the empyreal minister he framed: — 

"Inhabitant with God, now know I well 
Thy favour, in this honour done to Man; 
Under whose lowly roof thou hast voutsafed 
To enter, and these earthly fruits to taste, 
Food not of Angels, yet accepted so 
As that more willingly thou couldst not seem 
At Heaven's high feasts to have fed: yet what 

To whom the winged Hierarch replied: — 
"O Adam, one Almighty is, from whom 
All things proceed, and up to him return. 
If not depraved from good, created all 
Such to perfection; one first matter all. 
Indued with various forms, various degrees 
Of substance, and, in things that live, of life; 
But more refined, more spiritous and pure, 
As nearer to him placed or nearer tending 
Each in their several active spheres assigned. 
Till body up to spirit work, in bounds 
Proportioned to each kind. So from the root 
Springs lighter the green stalk, from thence the leaves 
More aerie, last the bright consummate flower 


Spirits odorous breathes: flowers and their fruit, 

Man's nourishment, by gradual scale sublimed, 

To vital spirits aspire, to animal. 

To intellectual; give both life and sense. 

Fancy and understanding; whence the Soul 

Reason receives, and Reason is her being. 

Discursive, or Intuitive: Discourse 

Is oftest yours, the latter most is ours. 

Differing but in degree, of kind the same. 

Wonder not, then, what God for you saw good 

If I refuse not, but convert, as you. 

To proper substance. Time may come when Men 

With Angels may participate, and find 

No inconvenient diet, nor too light fare; 

And from these corporal nutriments, perhaps, 

Your bodies may at last turn all to spirit, 

Improved by tract of time, and winged ascend 

Ethereal, as we, or may at choice 

Here or in heavenly paradises dwell. 

If ye be found obedient, and retain 

Unalterably firm his love entire 

Whose progeny you are. Meanwhile enjoy, 

Your fill, what happiness this happy state 

Can comprehend, incapable of more." 

To whom the Patriarch of Mankind replied: — 
"O favourable Spirit, propitious guest. 
Well hast thou taught the way that might direct 
Our knowledge, and the scale of Nature set 
From centre to circumference, whereon. 
In contemplation of created things. 
By steps we may ascend to God. But say, 
What meant that caution joined, // ye be found 
Obedient? Can we want obedience, then, 
To him, or possibly his love desert. 
Who formed us from the dust, and placed us here 
Full to the utmost measure of what bliss 
Human desires can seek or apprehend?" 

To whom the Angel: — "Son of Heaven and Earth, 
Attend! That thou art happy, owe to God; 
That thou continues! such, owe to thyself, 

194 JOHN MILTON book v 

That is, to thy obedience; therein stand. 
This was that caution given thee; be advised. 
God made thee perfect, not immutable; 
And good he made thee; but to persevere 
He left it in thy power — ordained thy will 
By nature free, not over-ruled by fate 
Inextricable, or strict necessity. 
Our voluntary service he requires, 
Not our necessitated. Such with him 
Finds no acceptance, nor can find; for how 
Can hearts not free be tried whether they serve 
Willing or no, who will but what they must 
By destiny, and can no other choose? 
Myself, and all the Angelic Host, that stand 
In sight of God enthroned, our happy state 
Hold, as you yours, while our obedience holds. 
On other surety none: freely we serve. 
Because we freely love, as in our will 
To love or not; in this we stand or fall. 
And some are fallen, to disobedience fallen. 
And so from Heaven to deepest Hell. O fall 
From what high state of bliss into what woe!" 

To whom our great Progenitor: — "Thy words 
Attentive, and with more delighted ear. 
Divine instructor, I have heard, than when 
Cherubic songs by night from neighbouring hills 
Aerial music send. Nor knew I not 
To be, both will and deed, created free. 
Yet that we never shall forget to love 
Our Maker, and obey him whose command 
Single is yet so just, my constant thoughts 
Assured me, and still assure; though what thou tell'st 
Hath passed in Heaven some doubt within me move, 
But more desire to hear, if thou consent, 
The full relation, which must needs be strange. 
Worthy of sacred silence to be heard. 
And we have yet large day, for scarce the Sun 
Hath finished half his journey, and scarce begins 
His other half in the great zone of heaven." 

Thus Adam made request; and Raphael, 


After short jxiuse assenting, thus began: — 

"High matter thou injoin'st me, O prime of Men — 
Sad task, and hard; for how shall I relate 
To human sense the invisible exploits 
Of warring Spirits? how, without remorse, 
The ruin of so many, glorious once 
And perfet while they stood? how, last, unfold 
The secrets of another world, perhaps 
Not lawful to reveal? Yet for thy good 
This is dispensed; and what surmounts the reach 
Of human sense I shall delineate so. 
By likening spiritual to corpwral forms. 
As may express them best — though what if Earth 
Be but the shadow of Heaven, and things therein 
Each to other like more than on Earth is thought! 

"As yet this World was not, and Chaos wild 
Reigned where these heavens now rowl, where Earth 

now rests 
Upon her centre poised, when on a day 
(For Time, though in Eternity, applied 
, To motion, measures all things durable 

By present, past, and future), on such day 
As Heaven's great year brings forth, the empyreal host 
Of Angels, by imperial summons called, 
Innumerable before the Almighty's throne 
Forthwith from all the ends of Heaven appeared 
Under their hierarchs in orders bright. 
Ten thousand thousand ensigns high advanced, 
Standards and gonfalons, 'twixt van and rear 
Stream in the air, and for distinction serve 
Of hierarchies, of orders, and degrees; 
Or in their glittering tissues bear imblazed 
Holy memorials, acts of zeal and love 
Recorded eminent. Thus when in orbs 
Of circuit inexpressible they stood. 
Orb within orb, the Father Infinite, 
By whom in bliss imbosomed sat the Son, 
Amidst, as from a flaming Mount, whose top 
Brightness had made invisible, thus spake: 
" 'Hear, all ye Angels, Progeny of Light, 

196 JOHN MILTON book v 

Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers, 

Hear my decree, which unrevoked shall stand! 

This day I have begot whom I declare 

My only Son, and on this holy hill 

Him have anointed, whom ye now behold 

At my right hand. Your head I him appoint, 

And by myself have sworn to him shall bow 

All knees in Heaven, and shall confess him Lord. 

Under his great vicegerent reign abide, 

United as one individual soul. 

For ever happy. Him who disobeys 

Me disobeys, breaks union, and, that day. 

Cast out from God and blessed vision, falls 

Into utter darkness, deep ingulfed, his place 

Ordained without redemption, without end.' 

"So spake the Omnipotent, and with his words 
All seemed well pleased; all seemed, but were not all. 
That day, as other solemn days, they spent 
In song and dance about the sacred Hill — 
Mystical dance, which yonder starry sphere 
Of planets and of fixed in all her wheels 
Resembles nearest; mazes intricate, 
Eccentric, intervolved, yet regular 
Then most when most irregular they seem; 
And in their motions harmony divine 
So smooths her charming tones that God's own ear 
Listens delighted. Evening now approached 
(For we have also our evening and our morn — 
We ours for change delectable, not need); 
Forthwith from dance to sweet repast they turn 
Desirous: all in circles as they stood. 
Tables are set, and on a sudden piled 
With Angels' food; and rubied nectar flows 
In pearl, in diamond, and massy gold. 
Fruit of delicious vines, the growth of Heaven. 
On flowers reposed, and with fresh flowerets crowned. 
They eat, they drink, and in communion sweet 
QuafI immortality and joy, secure 
Of surfeit where full measure only bounds 
Excess, before the all-bounteous King, who showered 


With copious hand, rejoicing in their joy. 

Now when ambrosial Night, with clouds exhaled 

From that high mount of God whence light and shade 

Spring both, the face of brightest Heaven had changed 

To grateful twilight (for Night comes not there 

In darker veil), and roseate dews disposed 

All but the unsleeping eyes of God to rest, 

Wide over all the plain, and wider far 

Than all this globous Earth in plain outspread 

(Such are the Courts of God), the Angelic throng, 

Dispersed in bands and files, their camp extend 

By living streams among the trees of life — 

Pavilions numberless and sudden reared, 

Celestial tabernacles, where they slept. 

Fanned with cool winds; save those who, in their course. 

Melodious hymns about the sovran Throne 

Alternate all night long. But not so waked 

Satan — so call him now; his former name 

Is heard no more in Heaven. He, of the first. 

If not the first Archangel, great in power, 

In favour, and preeminence, yet fraught 

With envy against the Son of God, that day 

Honoured by his great Father, and proclaimed 

Messiah, King Anointed, could not bear, 

Through pride, that sight, and thought himself 

Deep malice thence conceiving and disdain, 
Soon as midnight brought on the dusky hour 
Friendliest to sleep and silence, he resolved 
With all his legions to dislodge, and leave 
Unworshiped, unobeyed, the Throne supreme, 
Contemptuous, and, his next subordinate 
Awakening, thus to him in secret spake: — 
"'Sleep'st thou, companion dear? what sleep can 

Thy eyelids? and rememberest what decree, 
Of yesterday, so late hath passed the lips 
Of Heaven's Almighty? Thou to me thy thoughts 
Wast wont, I mine to thee was wont, to impart; 
Both waking we were one; how, then, can now 


Thy sleep dissent? New laws thou seest Imposed; 
New laws from him who reigns new minds may raise 
In us who serve — new counsels, to debate 
What doubtful may ensue. More in this place 
To utter is not safe. Assemble thou 
Of all those myriads which we lead the chief; 
Tell them that, by command, ere yet dim Night 
Her shadowy cloud withdraws, I am to haste. 
And all who under me their banners wave, 
Homeward with flying march where we possess 
The Quarters of the North, there to prepare 
Fit entertainment to receive our King, 
The great Messiah, and his new commands, 
Who speedily through all the Hierarchies 
Intends to pass triumphant, and give laws.' 

"So spake the false Archangel, and infused 
Bad influence into the unwary breast 
Of his associate. He together calls, 
Or several one by one, the regent Powers, 
Under him regent; tells, as he was taught. 
That, the Most High commanding, now ere Night, 
Now ere dim Night had disincumbered Heaven, 
The great hicrarchal standard was to move; 
Tells the suggested cause, and casts between 
Ambiguous words and jealousies, to sound 
Or taint integrity. But all obeyed 
The wonted signal, and superior voice 
Of their great Potentate; for great indeed 
His name, and high was his degree in Heaven: 
His countenance, as the morning-star that guides 
The starry flock, allured them, and with lies 
Drew after him the third part of Heaven's host. 
Meanwhile, the Eternal Eye, whose sight discerns 
Abstrusest thoughts, from forth his holy Mount, 
And from within the golden Lamps that burn 
Nighdy before him, saw without their light 
Rebellion rising — saw in whom, how spread 
Among the Sons of Morn, what multitudes 
Were banded to opjxjse his high decree; 
And, smiling, to his only Son thus said: — 


" 'Son, thou in whom my glory I behold 
In full resplendence, Heir of all my might. 
Nearly it now concerns us to be sure 
Of our Omnifwtence, and with what arms 
We mean to hold what anciently we claim 
Of deity or empire: such a foe 
Is rising, who intends to erect his throne 
Equal to ours, throughout the spacious North; 
Nor so content, hath in his thought to try 
In batde what our power is or our right. 
Let us advise, and to this hazard draw 
With speed what force is left, and all imploy 
In our defence, lest unawares we lose 
This our high place, our Sanctuary, our Hill.' 

"To whom the Son, with calm aspect' and clear 
Lightening divine, ineffable, serene. 
Made answer: — 'Mighty Father, thou thy foes 
Justly hast in derision, and secure 
Laugh'st at their vain designs and tumults vain — 
Matter to me of glory, whom their hate 
Illustrates, when they see all regal power 
Given me to quell their pride, and in event 
Know whether I be dextrous to subdue 
Thy rebels, or be found the worst in Heaven.' 

"So spake the Son; but Satan with his Powers 
Far was advanced on winged speed, an host 
Innumerable as the stars of night. 
Or stars of morning, dew-drops which the sun 
Impearls on every leaf and every flower. 
Regions they passed, the mighty regencies 
Of Seraphim and Potentates and Thrones 
In their triple degrees — regions to which 
All thy dominion, Adam, is no more 
Than what this garden is to all the earth 
And all the sea, from one entire globose 
Stretched into longitude; which having passed, 
At length into the limits of the North 
They came, and Satan to his royal seat 
High on a hill, far-blazing, as a mount 
Raised on a mount, with pyramids and towers 

2CX) JOHN MILTON book v 

From diamond quarries hewn and rocks of gold — 
The palace of great Lucifer (so call 
That structure, in the dialect of men 
Interpreted) which, not long after, he, 
Affecting all equality with God, 
In imitation of that mount whereon 
Messiah was declared in sight of Heaven, 
The Mountain of the Congregation called; 
For thither he assembled all his train. 
Pretending so commanded to consult 
About the great reception of their King 
Thither to come, and with calumnious art 
Of counterfeited truth thus held their ears: — 
" 'Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, 
Powers — 
If these magnific titles yet remain 
Not merely titular, since by decree 
Another now hath to himself ingrossed 
All power, and us eclipsed under the name 
Of King Anointed; for whom all this haste 
Of midnight march, and hurried meeting here, 
This only to consult, how we may best. 
With what may be devised of honours new. 
Receive him coming to receive from us 
Knee-tribute yet unpaid, prostration vile! 
Too much to one! but double how endured — 
To one and to his image now proclaimed? 
But what if better counsels might erect 
Our minds, and teach us to cast off this yoke! 
Will ye submit your necks, and choose to bend 
The supple knee? Ye will not, if I trust 
To know ye right, or if ye know yourselves 
Natives and Sons of Heaven possessed before 
By none, and, if not equal all, yet free, 
Equally free; for orders and degrees 
Jar not with liberty, but well consist. 
Who can in reason, then, or right, assume 
Monarchy over such as live by right 
His equals — if in jxjwer and splendour less, 
In freedom equal? or can introduce 


Law and edict on us, who without law 

Err not? much less for this to be our Lord, 

And look for adoration, to the abuse 

Of those imperial titles which assert 

Our being ordained to govern, not to serve!* 

"Thus far his bold discourse without control 
Had audience, when, among the Seraphim, 
Abdiel, than whom none with more zeal adored 
The Deity, and divine commands obeyed, 
Stood up, and in a flame of zeal severe 
The current of his fury thus opposed: — 

" 'O argument blasphe'mous, false, and proud — 
Words which no car ever to hear in Heaven 
Expected; least of all from thee, ingrate, 
In place thyself so high above thy peers! 
Canst thou with impious obloquy condemn 
The just decree of God, pronounced and sworn, 
That to his only Son, by right endued 
With regal sceptre, every soul in Heaven 
Shall bend the knee, and in that honour due 
Confess him rightful King? Unjust, thou say'st, 
Flady unjust, to bind with laws the free, 
And equal over equals to let reign. 
One over all with unsucceeded power! 
Shalt thou give law to God? shall thou dispute 
With Him the points of liberty, who made 
Thee what Thou art, and formed the Powers of 

Such as he pleased, and circumscribed their being? 
Yet, by experience taught, we know how good, 
And of our good and of our dignity 
How provident, he is — how far from thought 
To make us less; bent rather to exalt 
Our happy state, under one Head more near 
United. But — to grant it thee unjust 
That equal over equals monarch reign — 
Thyself, though great and glorious, dost thou count. 
Or all angelic nature joined in one, 
Equal to him, begotten Son, by whom, 
As by his Word, the mighty Father made 

202 JOHN MILTON book v 

All things, even thee, and all the Spirits of Heaven 

By him created in their bright degrees, 

Crowned them with glory, and to their glory named 

Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers?— 

Essential Powers; nor by his reign obscured, 

But more illustrious made; since he, the head. 

One of our number thus reduced becomes; 

His laws our laws; all honour to him done 

Returns our own. Cease, then, this impious rage. 

And tempt not these; but hasten to appease 

The incensed Father and the incensed Son 

While pardon may be found, in time besought.' 

"So spake the fervent Angel; but his zeal 
None seconded, as out of season judged. 
Or singular and rash. Whereat rejoiced 
The Apostat, and, more haughty, thus replied: — 

"'That we were formed, then, say'st thou? and the 
Of secondary hands, by task transferred 
From Father to his Son? Strange f>oint and new! 
Doctrine which we would know whence learned! Who 

When this creation was? Remember'st thou 
Thy making, while the Maker gave thee being? 
We know no time when we were not as now; 
Know none before us, self-begot, self-raised 
By our own quickening power when fatal course 
Had circled his full orb, the birth mature 
Of this our native Heaven, Ethereal Sons. 
Our puissance is our own; our own right hand 
Shall teach us highest deeds, by proof to try 
Who is our equal. Then thou shalt behold 
Whether by supplication we intend 
Address, and to begirt the Almighty Throne 
Beseeching or besieging. This report. 
These tidings, carry to the Anointed King; 
And fly, ere evil intercept thy flight.' 

"He said; and, as the sound of waters deep. 
Hoarse murmur echoed to his words applause 
Through the infinite Host. Nor less for that 


The flaming Seraph, fearless, though alone. 
Encompassed round with foes, thus answered bold: — 

" 'O alienate fr^m God, O Spirit accursed, 
Forsaken of all good! I see thy fall 
Determined, and thy hapless crew involved 
In this perfidious fraud, contagion spread 
Both of thy crime and punishment. Henceforth 
No more be troubled how to quit the yoke 
Of God's Messiah. Those indulgent laws 
Will not be now voutsafed; other decrees 
Against thee are gone forth without recall; 
That golden sceptre which thou didst reject 
Is now an iron rod to bruise and break 
Thy disobedience. Well thou didst advise; 
Yet not for thy advice or threats I fly 
These wicked tents devoted, lest the wrauth 
Impendent, raging into sudden flame. 
Distinguish not: for soon expect to feel 
His thunder on thy head, devouring fire. 
Then who created thee lamenting learn 
When who can uncreate thee thou shalt know.' 

"So spake the Seraph Abdiel, faithful found; 
Among the faithless faithful only he; 
Among innumerable false unmoved, 
Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified. 
His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal; 
Nor number nor example with him wrought 
To swerve from truth, or change his constant mind. 
Though single. From amidst them forth he passed. 
Long way through hostile scorn, which he sustained 
Superior, nor of violence feared aught; 
And with retorted scorn his back he turned 
On those proud towers, to swift destruction doomed." 

204 JOHN MILTON book vi 


The Argument. — Raphael continues to relate how Michael and Gabriel were sent 
forth to battle against Satan and his Angels. The first fight described: Satan and his 
Powers retire under night. He calls a council; invents devilish engines, which, in 
the second day's Hght, put Michael and his Angels to some disorder; but they at length, 
pulling up mountains, overwhelmed both the force and machines of Satan. Yet, the 
tumult not so ending, God, on the third day, sends Messiah his Son, for whom he 
had reserved the glory of that victory. He, in the power of his Father, coming to the 
place, and causing all his legions to stand still on either side, with his chariot and 
thunder driving into the midst of his enemies, pursues them, unable to resist, towards 
the wall of Heaven; which opening, they leap down with horror and confusion into 
the place of punishment prepared for them in the Deep. Messiah returns with 
triumph to his Father. 

"All night the dreadless Angel, unpursued, 
Through Heaven's wide champaign held his way, till 

Waked by the circling Hours, with rosy hand 
Unbarred the gates of Light. There is a cave 
Within the Mount of God, fast by his Throne, 
Where Light and Darkness in perpetual round 
Lodge and dislodge by turns — which makes through 

Grateful vicissitude, like day and night; 
Light issues forth, and at the other door 
Obsequious Darkness enters, till her hour 
To veil the heaven, though darkness there might well 
Seem twilight here. And now went forth the Morn 
Such as in highest heaven, arrayed in gold 
Empyreal; from before her vanished Night, 
Shot through with orient beams; when all the plain 
Covered with thick embattled squadrons bright, 
Chariots, and flaming arms, and fiery steeds. 
Reflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view. 
War he perceived, war in procinct, and found 
Already known what he for news had thought 
To have reported. Gladly then he mixed 
Among those friendly Powers, who him received 
With joy and acclamations loud, that one. 
That of so many myriads fallen yet one, 
Returned not lost. On to the sacred Hill 
They led him, high applauded, and present 


Before the Seat supreme; from whence a voice, 
From midst a golden cloud, thus mild was heard: — 

" ' Servant of God, well done! Well hast thou fought 
The better fight, who single hast maintained 
Against revolted multitudes the cause 
Of truth, in word mightier than they in arms, 
And for the testimony of truth hast borne 
Universal reproach, far worse to bear 
Than violence; for this was all thy care — 
To stand approved in sight of God, though worlds 
Judged thee perverse. The easier conquest now 
Remains thee — aided by this host of friends, 
Back on thy foes more glorious to return 
Than scorned thou didst depart; and to subdue, 
By force who reason for their law refuse — 
Right reason for their law, and for their King 
Messiah, who by right of merit reigns. 
Go, Michael, of celestial armies prince. 
And thou, in military prowess next, 
Gabriel; lead forth to batde these my sons 
Invincible; lead forth my armed Saints, 
By thousands and by millions ranged for fight. 
Equal in number to that godless crew 
Rebellious. Them with fire and hostile arms 
Fearless assault; and, to the brow of Heaven 
Pursuing, drive them out from God and bliss 
Into their place of punishment, the gulf 
Of Tartarus, which ready opens wide 
His fiery chaos to receive their fall.' 

"So spake the Sovran Voice; and clouds began 
To darken all the Hill, and smoke to rowl 
In dusky wreaths reluctant flames, the sign 
Of wrauth awaked; nor with less dread the loud 
Ethereal trumpet from on high gan blow. 
At which command the Powers Militant 
That stood for Heaven, in mighty quadrate joined 
Of union irresistible, moved on 
In silence their bright legions to the sound 
Of instrumental harmony, that breathed 
Heroic ardour to adventrous deeds 

206 JOHN MILTON book vi 

Under their godlike leaders, in the cause 

Of God and his Messiah. On they move, 

Indissolubly firm; nor obvious hill, 

Nor straitening vale, nor wood, nor stream, divides 

Their perfet ranks; for high above the ground 

Their march was, and the passive air upbore 

Their nimble tread. As when the total kind 

Of birds, in orderly array on wing, 

Came summoned over Eden to receive 

Their names of thee; so over many a tract 

Of Heaven they marched, and many a province wide. 

Tenfold the length of this terrene. At last 

Far in the horizon, to the north, appeared 

From skirt to skirt a fiery region, stretched 

In battailous aspect; and, nearer view. 

Bristled with upright beams innumerable 

Of rigid spears, and helmets thronged, and shields 

Various, with boastful argument pwrtrayed, 

The banded Powers of Satan hasting on 

With furious expedition: for they weened 

That self-same day, by fight or by surprise, 

To win the Mount of God, and on his Throne 

To set the envier of his state, the proud 

Aspirer. But their thoughts proved fond and vain 

In the mid-way; though strange to us it seemed 

At first that Angel should with Angel war. 

And in fierce hosting meet, who wont to meet 

So oft in festivals of joy and love 

Unanimous, as sons of one great Sire, 

Hymning the Eternal Father. But the shout 

Of battle now began, and rushing sound 

Of onset ended soon each milder thought. 

High in the midst, exalted as a God, 

The AfKJstat in his sun-bright chariot sat, 

Idol of majesty divine, enclosed 

With flaming Cherubim and golden shields; 

Then lighted from his gorgeous Throne — for now 

"Twixt host and host but narrow space was left, 

A dreadful interval, and front to front 

Presented stood, in terrible array 


Of hideous length. Before the cloudy van. 
On the rough edge of battle ere it joined, 
Satan, with vast and haughty strides advanced, 
Came towering, armed in adamant and gold. 
Abdiel that sight endured not, where he stood 
Among the mightiest, bent on highest deeds, 
And thus his own undaunted heart explores: — 

" 'O Heaven! that such resemblance of the Highest 
Should yet remain, where faith and realty 
Remain not! Wherefore should not strength and might 
There fail where virtue fails, or weakest prove 
Where boldest, though to sight unconquerable? 
His puissance, trusting in the Almighty's aid, 
I mean to try, whose reason I have tried 
Unsound and false; nor is it aught but just 
That he who in debate of truth hath won 
Should win in arms, in both disputes alike 
Victor. Though brutish that contest' and foul, 
When reason hath to deal with force, yet so 
Most reason is that reason overcome.' 

"So pondering, and from his armed peers 
Forth-stepping opposite, half-way he met 
His daring foe, at this prevention more 
Incensed, and thus securely him defied: — 

" 'Proud, art thou met? Thy hope was to have 
The highth of thy aspiring unopposed — 
The Throne of God unguarded, and his side 
Abandoned at the terror of thy power 
Or potent tongue. Fool! not to think how vain 
Against the Omnipotent to rise in arms; 
Who, out of smallest things, could without end 
Have raised incessant armies to defeat 
Thy folly; or with solitary hand, 
Reaching beyond all limit, at one blow. 
Unaided could have finished thee, and whelmed 
Thy legions under darkness! But thou seest 
All are not of thy train; there be who faith 
Prefer, and piety to God, though then 
To thee not visible when I alone 

208. JOHN MILTON book vi 

Seemed in thy world erroneous to dissent 
From all: my Sect thou seest; now learn too late 
How few sometimes may know when thousands err.' 

"Whom the grand Foe, with scornful eye askance, 
Thus answered: — '111 for thee, but in wished hour 
Of my revenge, first sought for, thou return'st 
From flight, seditious Angel, to receive 
Thy merited reward, the first assay 
Of this right hand provoked, since first that tongue, 
Inspired with contradiction, durst oppose 
A third part of the Gods, in synod met 
Their deities to assert: who, while they feel 
Vigour divine within them, can allow 
Omnipotence to none. But well thou com'st 
Before thy fellows, ambitious to win 
From me some plume, that thy success may show 
Destruction to the rest. This pause between 
(Unanswered lest thou boast) to let thee know. — 
At first I thought that Liberty and Heaven 
To heavenly souls had been all one; but now 
I see that most through sloth had rather serve. 
Ministering Spirits, trained up in feast and song; 
Such hast thou armed, the minstrelsy of heaven — 
Servility with freedom to contend. 
As both their deeds compared this day shall prove.' 

"To whom, in brief, thus Abdiel stern replied: — 
'Apostat! still thou err'st, nor end wilt find 
Of erring, from the path of truth remote. 
Unjustly thou deprav'st it with the name 
Of servitude, to serve whom God ordains, 
Or Nature: God and Nature bid the same. 
When he who rules is worthiest, and excels 
Them whom he governs. This is servitude — 
To serve the unwise, or him who hath rebelled 
Against his worthier, as thine now serve thee, 
Thyself not free, but to thyself enthralled; 
Yet lewdly dar'st our ministering upbraid. 
Reign thou in Hell, thy kingdom; let me serve 
In Heaven God ever blest, and His Divine 
Behests obey, worthiest to be obeyed. 


Yet chains in Hell, not realms, expect: meanwhile, 
From me returned, as erst thou saidst, from ilight. 
This greeting on thy impious crest receive.' 

"So saying, a noble stroke he lifted high, 
Which hung not, but so swift with tempest fell 
On the proud crest of Satan that no sight, 
Nor motion of swift thought, less could his shield. 
Such ruin intercept. Ten paces huge 
He back recoiled; the tenth on bended knee 
His massy spear upstayed: as if, on earth, 
Winds under ground, or waters forcing way. 
Sidelong had pushed a mountain from his seat, 
Half-sunk with all his pines. Amazement seized 
The rebel Thrones, but greater rage, to see 
Thus foiled their mightiest; ours joy filled, and shout. 
Presage of victory, and fierce desire 
Of battle: whereat Michael bid sound 
The Archangel trumpet. Through the vast of Heaven 
It sounded, and the faithful armies rung 
Hosannah to the Highest; nor stood at gaze 
The adverse legions, nor less hideous joined 
The horrid shock. Now storming fury rose. 
And clamour such as heard in Heaven till now. 
Was never; arms on armour clashing brayed 
Horrible discord, and the madding wheels 
Of brazen chariots raged; dire was the noise 
Of conflict; overhead the dismal hiss 
Of fiery darts in flaming volleys flew. 
And, flying, vaulted either host with fire. 
So under fiery cope together rushed 
Both battles main with ruinous assault 
And inextinguishable rage. All Heaven 
Resounded; and, had Earth been then, all Earth 
Had to her centre shook. What wonder, when 
Millions of fierce encountering Angels fought 
On either side, the least of whom could yield 
These elements, and arm him with the force 
Of all their regions? How much more of power 
Army against army numberless to raise 
Dreadful combustion warring, and disturb. 

210 JOHN MILTON book vi 

Though not destroy, their happy native seat; 

Had not the Eternal King Omnipotent 

From his strong hold of Heaven high overruled 

And limited their might, though numbered such 

As each divided legion might have seemed 

A numerous host, in strength, each armed hand 

A legion! Led in fight, yet leader seemed 

Each warrior single as in chief; expert 

When to advance, or stand, or turn the sway 

Of batde, open when, and when to close 

The ridges of grim war. No thought of flight. 

None of retreat, no unbecoming deed 

That argued fear; each on himself relied 

As only in his arm the moment lay 

Of victory. Deeds of eternal fame 

Were done, but infinite; for wide was spread 

That war, and various: sometimes on firm ground 

A standing fight; then, soaring on main wing, 

Tormented all the air; all air seemed then 

Conflicting fire. Long time in even scale 

The batde hung; till Satan, who that day 

Prodigious power had shown, and met in arms 

No equal, ranging through the dire attack 

Of fighting Seraphim confused, at length 

Saw where the sword of Michael smote, and felled 

Squadrons at once: with huge two-handed sway 

Brandished aloft, the horrid edge came down 

Wide-wasting. Such destruction to withstand 

He hasted, and opposed the rocky orb 

Of tenfold adamant, his ample shield, 

A vast circumference. At his approach 

The great Archangel from his warlike toil 

Surceased, and, glad, as hoping here to end 

Intestine war in Heaven, the Arch-foe subdued. 

Or captive dragged in chains, with hostile frown 

And visage all inflamed, first thus began: — 

" 'Author of Evil, unknown till thy revolt. 
Unnamed in Heaven, now plenteous as thou seest 
These acts of hateful strife — hateful to all, 
Though heaviest, by just measure, on thyself 


And thy adherents — how hast thou disturbed 

Heaven's blessed peace, and into Nature brought 

Misery, uncreated till the crime 

Of thy rebeUion! how hast thou instilled 

Thy malice into thousands, once upright 

And faithful, now proved false! But think not here 

To trouble holy rest; Heaven casts thee out 

From ail her confines; Heaven, the seat of bliss. 

Brooks not the works o£ violence and war. 

Hence, then, and Evil go with thee along. 

Thy offspring, to the place of Evil, Hell — 

Thou and thy wicked crew! there mingle broils! 

Ere this avenging sword begin thy doom. 

Or some more sudden vengeance, winged from God, 

Precipitate thee with augmented pain.' 

"So sp>ake the Prince of Angels; to whom thus 
The Adversary: — 'Nor think thou with wind 
Of airy threats to awe whom yet with deeds 
Thou canst not. Hast thou turned the least of these 
To flight — or, if to fall, but that they rise 
Unvanquished — easier to transact with me 
That thou shouldst hope, imperious, and with threats 
To chase me hence? Err not that so shall end 
The strife which thou call'st evil, but we style 
The strife of glory; which we mean to win. 
Or turn this Heaven itself into the Hell 
Thou fablest; here, however, to dwell free, 
If not to reign. Meanwhile, thy utmost force — 
And join Him named Almighty to thy aid — 
I fly not, but have sought thee far and nigh.' 

"They ended parle, and both addressed for fight 
Unspeakable; for who, though with the tongue 
Of Angels, can relate, or to what things 
Liken on earth conspicuous, that may lift 
Human imagination to such highth 
Of godlike power? for likest gods they seemed. 
Stood they or moved, in stature, motion, arms. 
Fit to decide the empire of great Heaven. 
Now waved their fiery swords, and in the air 
Made horrid circles; two broad suns their shields 

212 JOHN MILTON book vi 

Blazed opposite, while Exfiectation stood 

In horror; from each hand with speed retired, 

Where erst was thickest fight, the Angelic throng, 

And left large field, unsafe with the wind 

Of such commotion: such as (to set forth 

Great things by small) if. Nature's concord broke. 

Among the constellations war were sprung. 

Two planets, rushing from aspect' malign 

Of fiercest opposition, in mid sky 

Should combat, and their jarring spheres confound. 

Together both, with next to Almighty arm 

Uplifted imminent, one stroke they aimed 

That might determine, and not need repeat 

As not of f)ower, at once; nor odds appeared 

In might or swift prevention. But the sword 

Of Michael from the armoury of God 

Was given him tempered so that neither keen 

Nor solid might resist that edge: it met 

The sword of Satan, with steep force to smite 

Descending, and in half cut sheer; nor stayed, 

But, with swift wheel reverse, deep entering, shared 

All his right side. Then Satan first knew pain, 

And writhed him to and fro convolved; so sore 

The griding sword with discontinuous wound 

Passed through him. But the ethereal substance closed, 

Not long divisible; and from the gash 

A stream of nectarous humour issuing flowed 

Sanguin, such as celestial Spirits may bleed. 

And all his armour stained, erewhile so bright. 

Forthwith, on all sides, to his aid was run 

By Angels many and strong, who interposed 

Defence, while others bore him on their shields 

Back to his chariot where it stood retired 

From off the files of war: there they him laid 

Gnashing for anguish, and despite, and shame 

To find himself not matchless, and his pride 

Humbled by such rebuke, so far beneath 

His confidence to equal God in power. 

Yet soon he healed; for Spirits, that live throughout 

Vital in every part — not, as frail Man, 


In entrails, heart or head, liver or reins — 
Cannot but by annihilating die; 
Nor in their liquid texture mortal wound 
Receive, no more than can the fluid air: 
All heart they live, all head, all eye, all ear, 
All intellect, all sense; and as they please 
They limb themselves, and colour, shape, or size 
Assume, as likes them best, condense or rare. 

"Meanwhile, in other parts, like deeds deserved 
Memorial, where the might of Gabriel fought, 
And with fierce ensigns pierced the deep array 
Of Moloch, furious king, who him defied, 
And at his chariot-wheels to drag him bound 
Threatened, nor from the Holy One of Heaven 
Refreined his tongue blasphemous, but anon, 
Down cloven to the waist, with shattered arms 
And uncouth pain fled bellowing. On each wing 
Uriel and Raphael his vaunting foe. 
Though huge and in a rock of diamond armed. 
Vanquished — Adramelech and Asmadai, 
Two potent Thrones, that to be less than Gods 
Disdained, but meaner thoughts learned in their flight, 
Mangled with ghastly wounds through plate and mail. 
Nor stood unmindful Abdiel to annoy 
The atheist crew, but with redoubled blow 
Ariel, and Arioch, and the violence 
Of Ramiel, scorched and blasted, overthrew. 
I might relate of thousands, and their names 
Eternize here on E^rth; but those elect 
Angels, contented with their fame in Heaven, 
Seek not the praise of men: the other sort. 
In might though wondrous and in acts of war. 
Nor of renown less eager, yet by doom 
Cancelled from Heaven and sacred memory, 
Nameless in dark oblivion let them dwell 
For strength from truth divided, and from just, 
lUaudable, nought merits but dispraise 
And ignominy, yet to glory aspires. 
Vain-glorious, and through infamy seeks fame: 
Therefore eternal silence be their doom! 

214 JOHN MILTON book vi 

"And now, their mightiest quelled, the battle swerved. 
With many an inroad gored; deformed rout 
Entered, and foul disorder; all the ground 
With shivered armour strown, and on a heap 
Chariot and charioter lay overturned, 
And fiery foaming steeds; what stood recoiled, 
O'er-wearied, through the faint Satanic host. 
Defensive scarce, or with pale fear surprised — 
Then first with fear surprised and sense of pain — 
Fled ignominious, to such evil brought 
By sin of disobedience, till that hour 
Not liable to fear, or flight, or pain. 
Far otherwise the inviolable Saints 
In cubic phalanx firm advanced entire. 
Invulnerable, impenetrably armed; 
Such high advantages their innocence 
Gave them above their foes — not to have sinned. 
Not to have disobeyed; in fight they stood 
Unwearied, unobnoxious to be pained 
By wound, though from their place by violence moved. 

"Now Night her course began, and, over Heaven 
Inducing darkness, grateful truce imfwsed. 
And silence on the odious din of war. 
Under her cloudy covert both retired, 
Victor and Vanquished. On the foughten field 
Michael and his Angels, prevalent 
Encamping, placed in guard their watches round. 
Cherubic waving fires: on the other part, 
Satan with his rebellious disappeared, 
Far in the dark dislodged, and, void of rest. 
His Potentates to council called by night. 
And in the midst thus undismayed began: — 

" 'O now in danger tried, now known in arms 
Not to be overpowered, companions dear, 
Found worthy not of liberty alone — 
Too mean pretence — but, what we more aflcct. 
Honour, dominion, glory and renown; 
Who have sustained one day in doubtful fight 
(And, if one day, why not eternal days?) 
What Heaven's Lord had powcrfuUest to send 


Against us from about his Throne, and judged 

Sufficient to subdue us to his will. 

But proves not so: then fallible, it seems, 

Of future we may deem him, though till now 

Omniscient thought! True is, less firmly armed. 

Some disadvantage we endured, and pain — 

Till now not known, but, known, as soon contemned; 

Since now we find this our empyreal form 

Incapable of mortal injury, 

Imperishable, and, though pierced with wound. 

Soon closing, and by native vigour healed. 

Of evil, then, so small as easy think 

The remedy: perhaps more valid arms. 

Weapons more violent, when next we meet. 

May serve to better us and worse our foes. 

Or equal what between us made the odds. 

In nature none. If other hidden cause 

Left them superior, while we can preserve 

Unhurt our minds, and understanding sound. 

Due search and consultation will disclose.' 

"He sat; and in the assembly next upstood 
Nisroch, of Principalities the prime. 
As one he stood escaped from cruel fight 
Sore toiled, his riven arms to havoc hewn, 
And, cloudy in aspect', thus answering spake: — 

" 'Deliverer from new Lords, leader to free 
Enjoyment of our right as Gods! yet hard 
For Gods, and too unequal work, we find 
Against unequal arms to fight in pain. 
Against unpained, imp>assive; from which evil 
Ruin must needs ensue. For what avails 
Valour or strength, though matchless, quelled with pain, 
Which all subdues, and makes remiss the hands 
Of mightiest? Sense of pleasure we may well 
Spare out of life perhaps, and not repine. 
But live content — which is the calmest life; 
But pain is perfect misery, the worst 
Of evils, and, excessive, overturns 
All patience. He who, therefore, can invent 
With what more forcible we may offend 

2l6 JOHN MILTON book n 

Our yet unwounded enemies, or arm 
Ourselves with like defence, to me deserves 
No less than for deliverance what we owe.' 

"Whereto, with look composed, Satan replied: — 
'Not uninvented that, which thou aright 
Believ'st so main to our success, I bring. 
Which of us who beholds the bright surface' 
Of this ethereous mould whereon we stand — 
This continent of spacious Heaven, adorned 
With plant, fruit, flower ambrosial, gems and gold — 
Whose eye so superficially surveys 
These things as not to mind from whence they grow 
Deep under ground: materials dark and crude, 
Of spiritous and fiery spume, till, touched 
With Heaven's ray, and tempered, they shoot forth 
So beauteous, opening to the ambient light? 
These in their dark nativity the Deep 
Shall yield us, pregnant with infernal flame; 
Which, into hollow engines long and round 
Thick-rammed, at the other bore with touch of fire 
Dilated and infuriate, shall send forth 
From far, with thundering noise, among our foes 
Such implements of mischief as shall dash 
To pieces and o'erwhelm whatever stands 
Adverse, that they shall fear we have disarmed 
The Thunderer of his only dreaded bolt. 
Nor long shall be our labour; yet ere dawn 
Effect shall end our wish. Meanwhile revive; 
Abandon fear; to strength and counsel joined 
Think nothing hard, much less to be despaired.' 

"He ended; and his words their drooping cheer 
Enlightened, and their languished hope revived. 
The invention all admired, and each how he 
To be the inventor missed; so easy it seemed. 
Once found, which yet unfound most would have thought 
Impossible! Yet, haply, of thy race. 
In future days, if malice should abound, 
Some one, intent on mischief, or inspired 
With devilish machination, might devise 
Like instrument to plague the sons of men 



For sin, on war and mutual slaughter bent. 

Forthwith from council to the work they flew; 

None arguing stood; innumerable hands 

Were ready; in a moment up they turned 

Wide the celestial soil, and saw beneath 

The originals of Nature in their crude 

Conception; sulphurous and nitrous foam 

They found, they mingled, and, with subde art 

Concocted and adusted, they reduced 

To blackest grain, and into store conveyed. 

Part hidden veins digged up (nor hath this Earth 

Entrails unlike) of mineral and stone. 

Whereof to found their engines and their balls 

Of missive ruin; part incentive reed 

Provide, pernicious with one touch to fire. 

So all ere day-spring, under conscious Night, 

Secret they finished, and in order set. 

With silent circumspection, unespied. 

"Now, when fair Morn orient in Heaven appeared, 
Up rose the victor Angels, and to arms 
The matin trumpet sung. In arms they stood 
Of golden panoply, refulgent host. 
Soon banded; others from the dawning hills 
Looked round, and scouts each coast light-armed scour, 
Each quarter, to descry the distant foe, 
Where lodged, or whither fled, or if for fight, 
In motion or in halt. Him soon they met 
Under spread ensigns moving nigh, in slow 
But firm battalion: back with sf)eediest sail 
Zophiel, of Cherubim the swiftest wing. 
Came flying, and in mid air aloud thus cried: — 

" 'Arm, Warriors, arm for fight! The foe at hand, 
Whom fled we thought, will save us long pursuit 
This day; fear not his flight; so thick a cloud 
He comes, and setded in his face I see 
Sad resolution and secure. Let each 
His adamantine coat gird well, and each 
Fit well his helm, grijje fast his orbed shield. 
Borne even or high; for this day will pour down. 
If I conjecture aught, no drizzling shower, 

2l8 JOHN MILTON book vi 

But rattling storm of arrows barbed with fire.' 

"So warned he them, aware themselves, and soon 
In order, quit of all impediment. 
Instant, without disturb, they took alarm, 
And onward move embattled: when, behold, 
Not distant far, with heavy pace the Foe 
Approaching gross and huge, in hollow cube 
Training his devilish enginry, impaled 
On every side with shadowing squadrons deep, 
To hide the fraud. At interview both stood 
A while; but suddenly at head appeared 
Satan, and thus was heard commanding loud: — 
" 'Vanguard, to right and left the front unfold, 
That all may see who hate us how we seek 
Peace and composure, and with open breast 
Stand ready to receive them, if they like 
Our overture, and turn not back jjerverse: 
But that I doubt. However, witness Heaven! 
Heaven, witness thou anon! while we discharge 
Freely our part. Ye, who appointed stand. 
Do as you have in charge, and briefly touch 
What we propound, and loud that all may hear.' 

"So scoffing in ambiguous words, he scarce 
Had ended, when to right and left the front 
Divided, and to either flank retired; 
Which to our eyes discovered, new and strange, 
A triple mounted row of pillars laid 
On wheels (for like to pillars most they seemed, 
Or hollowed bodies made of oak or fir, 
With branches lopt, in wood or mountain felled). 
Brass, iron, stony mould, had not their mouths 
With hideous orifice gaped on us wide. 
Portending hollow truce. At each, behind, 
A Seraph stood, and in his hand a reed 
Stood waving tipt with fire; while we, suspense. 
Collected stood within our thoughts amused. 
Not long! for sudden all at once their reeds 
Put forth, and to a narrow vent applied 
With nicest touch. Immediate in a flame. 
But soon obscured with smoke, all Heaven appeared. 


From those deep-throated engines belched, whose roar 

Embowelled with outrageous noise the air, 

And all her entrails tore, disgorging foul 

Their devilish glut, chained thunderbolts and hail 

Of iron globes; which, on the Victor Host 

Levelled, with such impetuous fury smote. 

That whom they hit none on their feet might stand, 

Though standing else as rocks, but down they fell 

By thousands. Angel on Archangel rowled, 

The sooner for their arms. Unarmed, they might 

Have easily, as Spirits, evaded swift 

By quick contraction or remove; but now 

Foul dissipation followed, and forced rout; 

Nor served it to relax their serried files. 

What should they do? If on they rushed, repulse 

Repeated, and indecent overthrow 

Doubled, would render them yet more despised, 

And to their foes a laughter — for in view 

Stood ranked of Seraphim another row, 

In posture to displode their second tire 

Of thunder; back defeated to return 

They worse abhorred. Satan beheld their plight, 

And to his mates thus in derision called: — 

" 'O friends, why come not on these victors proud? 
Erewhile they fierce were coming; and, when we. 
To entertain them fair with open front 
And breast (what could we more?), propounded terms 
Of composition, straight they changed their minds. 
Flew off, and into strange vagaries fell. 
As they would dance. Yet for a dance they seemed 
Somewhat extravagant and wild; perhaps 
For joy of offered peace. But I suppose. 
If our proposals once again were heard. 
We should compel them to a quick result.' 

"To whom thus Belial, in like gamesome mood: 
'Leader, the terms we sent were terms of weight, 
Of hard contents, and full of force urged home. 
Such as we might perceive amused them all. 
And stumbled many. Who receives them right 
Had need from head to foot well understand; 

220 JOHN MILTON book VI 

Not understood, this gift they have besides — 
They shew us when our foes walk not upright.' 
"So they among themselves in pleasant vein 
Stood scoffing, highthened in their thoughts beyond 
All doubt of victory; Eternal Might 
To match with their inventions they presumed 
So easy, and of his thunder made a scorn. 
And all his host derided, while they stood 
A while in trouble. But they stood not long; 
Rage prompted them at length, and found them arms 
Against such hellish mischief fit to oppose. 
Forthwith (behold the excellence, the power, 
Which God hath in his mighty Angels placed!) 
Their arms away they threw, and to the hills 
(For Earth hath this variety from Heaven 
Of pleasure situate in hill and dale) 
Light as the lightning-glimpse they ran, they flew-, 
From their foundations, loosening to and fro. 
They plucked the seated hills, with all their load. 
Rocks, waters, woods, and, by the shaggy tops 
Uplifting, bore them in their hands. Amaze, 
Be sure, and terror, seized the rebel Host, 
When coming towards them so dread they saw 
The bottom of the mountains upward turned. 
Till on those cursed engines' triple row 
They saw them whelmed, and all their confidence 
Under the weight of mountains buried deep; 
Themselves invaded next, and on their heads 
Main promontories flung, which in the air 
Came shadowing, and oppressed whole legions armed. 
Their armour helped their harm, crushed in and 

Into their substance pent — which wrought them pain 
Implacable, and many a dolorous groan. 
Long struggling underneath, ere they could wind 
Out of such prison, though Spirits of purest light. 
Purest at first, now gross by sinning grown. 
The rest, in imitation, to like arms 
Betook them, and the neighbouring hills uptore; 
So hills amid the air encountered hills. 


Hurled to and fro with jaculation dire, 

That underground they fought in dismal shade: 

Infernal noise! war seemed a civil game 

To this uproar; horrid confusion heaped 

Upon confusion rose. And now all Heaven 

Had gone to wrack, with ruin overspread, 

Had not the Almighty Father, where he sits 

Shrined in his sanctuary of Heaven secure. 

Consulting on the sum of things, foreseen 

This tumult, and permitted all, advised. 

That his great purpose he might so fulfil. 

To honour his Anointed Son, avenged 

UfX)n his enemies, and to declare 

All power on him transferred. Whence to his Son, 

The assessor of his Throne, he thus began: — 

" 'Eflulgence of my glory. Son beloved. 
Son in whose face invisible is beheld 
Visibly, what by Deity I am, 
And in whose hand what by decree I do, 
Second Omnipotence! two days are passed, 
Two days, as we compute the days of Heaven, 
Since Michael and his Powers went forth to tame 
These disobedient. Sore hath been their fight. 
As likeliest was when two such foes met armed: 
For to themselves I left them; and thou know'st 
Equal in their creation they were formed. 
Save what sin hath impaired — which yet hath wrought 
Insensibly, for I suspend their doom: 
Whence in perpetual fight they needs must last 
Endless, and no solution will be found. 
War wearied hath performed what war can do. 
And to disordered rage let loose the reins. 
With mountains, as with weapwns, armed; which 

Wild work in Heaven, and dangerous to the main. 
Two days are, therefore, passed; the third is thine: 
For thee I have ordained it, and thus far 
Have suffered, that the glory may be thine 
Of ending this great war, since none but thou 
Can end it Into thee such virtue aad grace 

222 JOHN MILTON book vi 

Immense I have transfused, that all may know 
In Heaven and Hell thy power above compare, 
And this perverse commotion governed thus. 
To manifest thee worthiest to be Heir 
Of all things — to be Heir, and to be King 
By sacred unction, thy deserved right. 
Go, then, thou Mightiest, in thy Father's might; 
Ascend my chariot; guide the rapid wheels 
That shake Heaven's basis; bring forth all my war; 
My bow and thunder, my Almighty arms, 
Gird on, and sword upon thy puissant thigh; 
Pursue these Sons of Darkness, drive them out 
From all Heaven's bounds into the utter Deep; 
There let them learn, as likes them, to despise 
God, and Messiah his anointed King.' 

"He said, and on his Son with rays direct 
Shon full. He all his Father full expressed 
Ineffably into his face received; 
And thus the Filial Godhead answering spake: — 

" 'O Father, O Supreme of Heavenly Thrones, 
First, Highest, Holiest, Best, thou always seek'st 
To glorify thy Son; I always thee, 
As is most just. This I my glory account. 
My exaltation, and my whole delight. 
That thou in me, well pleased, declar'st thy will 
Fulfilled, which to fulfil is all my bliss. 
Sceptre and power, thy giving, I assume. 
And gladlier shall resign when in the end 
Thou shalt be all in all, and I in thee 
For ever, and in me all whom thou lov'st. 
But whom thou hat'st I hate, and can put on 
Thy terrors, as I put thy mildness on. 
Image of thee in all things: and shall soon. 
Armed with thy might, rid Heaven of these rebelled, 
To their prepared ill mansion driven down. 
To chains of darkness and the undying Worm, 
Tliat from thy just obedience could revolt, 
Whom to obey is happiness entire. 
Then shall thy Saints, unmixed, and from the impure 
Far separate, circling thy holy Mount, 


Unfeigned halleluiahs to thee sing. 

Hymns of high praise, and I among them chief.' 

"So said. He, o'er his sceptre bowing, rose 
From the right hand of Glory where He sat; 
And the third sacred morn began to shine. 
Dawning through Heaven. Forth rushed with whirl- 
wind sound 
The chariot of Paternal Deity, 

Flashing thick flames, wheel within wheel; undrawn. 
Itself instinct with spirit, but convoyed 
By four cherubic Shajjes. Four faces each 
Had wondrous; as with stars, their bodies all 
And wings were set with eyes; with eyes the wheels 
Of beryl, and careering fires between; 
Over their heads a crystal firmament. 
Whereon a sapphire throne, inlaid with pure 
Amber and colours of the showery arch. 
He, in celestial panoply all armed 
Of radiant Urim, work divinely wrought, 
Ascended; at his right hand Victory 
Sat eagle-winged; beside him hung his bow, 
And quiver, with three-bolted thunder stored; 
And from about him fierce effusion rowled 
Of smoke and bickering flame and sparkles dire. 
Attended with ten thousand thousand Saints, 
He onward came; far off his coming shon; 
And twenty thousand (I their number heard) 
Chariots of God, half on each hand, were seen. 
He on the wings of Cherub rode sublime 
On the crystallin sky, in saphir throned — 
Illustrious far and wide, but by his own 
First seen. Them unexpected joy surprised 
When the great ensign of Messiah blazed 
Aloft, by Angels borne, his Sign in Heaven; 
Under whose conduct Michael soon reduced 
His army, circumfused on either wing. 
Under their Head embodied all in one. 
Before him Power Divine his way prepared; 
At his command the uprooted hills retired 
Each to his place; they heard his voice, and went 

224 JOHN MILTON book vi 

Obsequious; Heaven his wonted face renewed, 
And with fresh flowerets hill and valley smiled. 

"This saw his hapless foes, but stood obdured. 
And to rebellious fight rallied their Powers, 
Insensate, hof>e conceiving from despair. 
In Heavenly Spirits could such perverseness dwell? 
But to convince the proud what signs avail. 
Or wonders move the obdurate to relent? 
They, hardened more by what might most reclaim. 
Grieving to see his glory, at the sight 
Took envy, and, aspiring to his highth. 
Stood re-imbattled fierce, by force or fraud 
Weening to prosper, and at length prevail 
Against God and Messiah, or to fall 
In universal ruin last; and now 
To final battle drew, disdaining flight, 
Or faint retreat: when the great Son of God 
To all his host on either hand thus spake: — 

" 'Stand still in bright array, ye Saints; here stand. 
Ye Angels armed; this day from battle rest. 
Faithful hath been your warfare, and of God 
Accepted, fearless in his righteous cause; 
And, as ye have received, so have ye done. 
Invincibly. But of this cursed crew 
The punishment to other hand belongs; 
Vengeance is his, or whose He sole appoints. 
Number to this day's work is not ordained, 
Nor multitude; stand only and behold 
God's indignation on these godless poured 
By me. Not you, but me, they have despised, 
Yet envied; against me is all their rage. 
Because the Father, to whom in Heaven supreme 
Kingdom and pwwer and glory appertains. 
Hath honoured me, according to his will. 
Therefore to me their doom he hath assigned, 
TTiat they may have their wish, to try with me 
In battle which the stronger proves — they all, 
Or I alone against them; since by strength 
They measure all, of other excellence 
Not emulous, nor care who them excels; 


Nor other strife with them do I voutsafe.' 

"So spake the Son, and into terror changed 
His countenance, too severe to be beheld. 
And full of wrauth bent on his enemies. 
At once the Four spread out their starry wings 
With dreadful shade contiguous, and the orbs 
Of his fierce chariot rowled, as with the sound 
Of torrent floods, or of a numerous host. 
He on his impious foes right onward drove, 
Gloomy as Night. Under his burning wheels 
The steadfast Empyrean shook throughout. 
All but the Throne itself of God. Full soon 
Among them he arrived, in his right hand 
Grasping ten thousand thunders, which he sent 
Before him, such as in their souls infixed 
Plagues. They, astonished, all resistance lost. 
All courage; down their idle weapons dropt; 
O'er shields, and helms, and helmed heads he rode 
Of Thrones and mighty Seraphim prostrate'. 
That wished the mountains now might be again 
Thrown on them, as a shelter from his ire. 
Nor less on either side tempestuous fell 
His arrows, from the fourfold-visaged Four, 
Distinct with eyes, and from the living wheels, 
Distinct alike with multitude of eyes; 
One spirit in them ruled, and every eye 
Glared lightning, and shot forth pernicious fire 
Among the accursed, that withered all their strength. 
And of their wonted vigour left them drained, 
Exhausted, spiridess, afflicted, fallen, 
Yet half his strength he put not forth, but checked 
His thunder in mid-volley; for he meant 
Not to destroy, but root them out of Heaven. 
The overthrown he raised, and, as a herd 
Of goats or timorous flock together thronged. 
Drove them before him thunderstruck, pursued 
With terrors and with furies to the bounds 
And crystal wall of Heaven; which, opening wide, 
Rowled inward, and a spacious gap disclosed 
Into the wasteful Deep. The monstrous sight 

226 JOHN MILTON book vi 

Strook them with horror backward; but far worse 
Urged them behind: headlong themselves they threw 
Down from the verge of Heaven: eternal wrauth 
Burnt after them to the bottomless pit. 

"Hell heard the unsufferable noise; Hell saw 
Heaven ruining from Heaven, and would have fled 
Affrighted; but strict Fate had cast too deep 
Her dark foundations, and too fast had bound. 
Nine days they fell; confounded Chaos roared. 
And felt tenfold confusion in their fall 
Through his wild Anarchy; so huge a rout 
Incumbered him with ruin. Hell at last, 
Yawning, received them whole, and on them closed — 
Hell, their fit habitation, fraught with fire 
Unquenchable, the house of woe and pain. 
Disburdened Heaven rejoiced, and soon repaired 
Her mural breach, returning whence it rowled. 
Sole victor, from the expulsion of his foes 
Messiah his triumphal chariot turned. 
To meet him all his Saints, who silent stood 
Eye-witnesses of His Almighty acts. 
With jubilee advanced; and, as they went, 
Shaded with branching palm, each order bright 
Sung triumph, and him sung victorious King, 
Son, Heir, and Lord, to him dominion given. 
Worthiest to reign. He celebrated rode 
Triumphant through mid Heaven, into the courts 
And temple of his mighty Father throned 
On high; who into glory him received, 
Where now he sits at the right hand of bliss. 

"Thus measuring things in Heaven by things on 
At thy request, and that thou may'st beware 
By what is past, to thee I have revealed 
What might have else to human race been hid — 
The discord which befell, and war in Heaven 
Among the Angelic Powers, and the deep fall 
Of those too high aspiring who rebelled 
With Satan: he who envies now thy state. 
Who now is plotting how he may seduce 


Thee also from obedience, that, with him 

Bereaved of happiness, thou may'st partake 

His punishment, eternal misery; 

Which would be all his solace and revenge. 

As a despite done against the Most High, 

Thee once to gain companion of his woe. 

But listen not to his temptations; warn 

Thy weaker; let it profit thee to have heard, 

By terrible example, the reward 

Of disobedience. Firm they might have stood. 

Yet fell. Remember, and fear to transgress." 


The Argument. — Raphael, at the request of Adam, relates how and wherefore 
this World was first created: — that God, after the expelling of Satan and his Angels 
out of Heaven, declared his pleasure to create another World, and other creatures to 
dwell therein; sends his Son with glory, and attendance of Angels, to perform the 
work of creation in six days: the Angels celebrate with bymiu the performance thereof, 
and his reasccnsion into Heaven. 

Descend from Heaven, Urania, by that name 

If righdy thou art called, whose voice divine 

Following, above the Olympian hill I soar. 

Above the flight of Pegasean wing! 

The meaning, not the name, I call; for thou 

Nor of the Muses nine, nor on the top 

Of old Olympus dwell'st; but, heavenly-born. 

Before the hills appeared or fountain flowed, 

Thou with Eternal Wisdom didst converse. 

Wisdom thy sister, and with her didst play 

In presence of the Almighty Father, pleased 

With thy celestial song. Up led by thee, 

Into the Heaven of Heavens I have presumed. 

An earthly guest, and drawn empyreal air, 

Thy tempering. With like safety guided down. 

Return me to my native element; 

Lest, from this flying steed unreined (as once 

Bellerophon, though from a lower clime) 

Dismounted, on the Aleian field I fall, 

Erroneous there to wander and forlorn. 

Half yet remains unsung, but narrower bound 

228 JOHN MILTON book vii 

Within the visible Diurnal Sphere. 
Standing on Earth, not rapt above the pole, 
More safe I sing with mortal voice, unchanged 
To hoarse or mute, though fallen on evil days. 
On evil days though fallen, and evil tongues. 
In darkness, and with dangers compassed round, 
And solitude; yet not alone, while thou 
Visit'st my slumbers nighdy, or when Morn 
Purples the Elast. Still govern thou my song, 
Urania, and fit audience find, though few. 
But drive far off the barbarous dissonance 
Of Bacchus and his revellers, the race 
Of that wild rout that tore the Thracian Bard 
In Rhodope, where woods and rocks had ears 
To rapture, till the savage clamour drowned 
Both harp and voice; nor could the Muse defend 
Her son. So fail not thou who thee implores; 
For thou art heavenly, she an empty dream. 
Say, Goddess, what ensued when Raphael, 
The aflable Archangel, had forewarned 
Adam, by dire example, to beware 
Apostasy, by what befell in Heaven 
To those apxjstates, lest the like befall 
In Paradise to Adam or his race. 
Charged not to touch the interdicted Tree, 
If they transgress, and slight that sole command. 
So easily obeyed amid the choice 
Of all tastes else to please their appetite, 
Though wandering. He, with his consorted Eve, 
The story heard attentive, and was filled 
With admiration and deep muse, to hear 
Of things so high and strange — things to their thought 
So unimaginable as hate in Heaven, 
And war so near the peace of God in bliss. 
With such confusion; but the evil, soon 
Driven back, redounded as a flood on those 
From whom it sprung, impossible to mix 
With blessedness. Whence Adam soon repealed 
The doubts that in his heart arose; and, now 
Led on, yet sinless, with desire to know 


What nearer might concern him — ^how this World 
Of heaven and earth conspicuous first began; 
When, and whereof, created; for what cause; 
What within Eden, or without, was done 
Before his memory — as one whose drouth, 
Yet scarce allayed, still eyes the current stream, 
Whose liquid murmur heard new thirst excites, 
Proceeded thus to ask his Heavenly Guest: — 

"Great things, and full of wonder in our ears. 
Far diflering from this World, thou hast revealed, 
Divine Interpreter! by favour sent 
Down from the Empyrean to forewarn 
Us timely of what might else have been our loss. 
Unknown, which human knowledge could not reach; 
For which to the infinitely Good we owe 
Immortal thanks, and his admonishment 
Receive with solemn purpose to observe 
Immutably his sovran will, the end 
Of what we are. But, since thou hast voutsafed 
Gendy, for our instruction, to impart 
Things above Earthly thought, which yet concerned 
Our knowing, as to highest Wisdom seemed. 
Deign to descend now lower, and relate 
What may no less f)erhaps avail us known — 
How first began this Heaven which we behold 
Distant so high, with moving fires adorned 
Innumerable; and this which yields or fills 
All space, the ambient Air, wide interfused, 
Imbracing round this florid Earth; what cause 
Moved the Creator, in his holy rest 
Through all eternity, so late to build 
In Chaos; and, the work begun, how soon 
Absolved: if unforbid thou may'st unfold 
What we not to explore the secrets ask 
Of his eternal empire, but the more 
To magnify his works the more we know. 
And the great Light of Day yet wants to run 
Much of his race, though steep. Suspense in heaven 
Held by thy voice, thy pwtent voice he hears 
And longer will delay, to hear thee tell 

230 JOHN MILTON book vii 

His generation, and the rising birth 

Of Nature from the unapparent Deep: 

Or, if the Star of Evening and the Moon 

Haste to thy audience, Night with her will bring 

Silence, and Sleep listening to thee will watch; 

Or we can bid his absence till thy song 

End, and dismiss thee ere the morning shine." 

Thus Adam his illustrious guest besought; 
And thus the godlike Angel answered mild: — 

" This also thy request, with caution asked, 
Obtain; though to recount Almighty works 
What words or tongue of Seraph can suffice, 
Or heart of man suffice to comprehend? 
Yet what thou canst attain, which best may serve 
To glorify the Maker, and infer 
Thee also happier, shall not be withheld 
Thy hearing. Such commission from above 
I have received, to answer thy desire 
Of knowledge within bounds; beyond abstain 
To ask, nor let thine own inventions hope 
Things not revealed, which the invisible King, 
Only Omniscient, hath suppressed in night. 
To none communicable in Earth or Heaven, 
Enough is left besides to search and know; 
But Knowledge is as food, and needs no less 
Her temperance over apjjetite, to know 
In measure what the mind may well contain; 
Oppresses else with surfeit, and soon turns 
Wisdom to folly, as nourishment to wind. 

"Know then that, after Lucifer from Heaven 
(So call him, brighter once amidst the host 
Of Angels than that star the stars among) 
Fell with his flaming Legions through the Deep 
Into his place, and the great Son returned 
Victorious with his Saints, the Omnipotent 
Eternal Father from his Throne beheld 
Their multitude, and to his Son thus sptake: — 

" 'At least our envious foe hath failed, who thought 
All like himself rebellious; by whose aid 
This inaccessible high strength, the seat 


Of Deity supreme, us dispossessed, 

He trusted to have seized, and into fraud 

Drew many whom their place knows here no more. 

Yet far the greater part have kept, I see, 

Their station; Heaven, yet populous, retains 

Number sufficient to possess her realms, 

Though wide, and this high temple to frequent 

With ministeries due and solemn rites. 

But, lest his heart exalt bim in the harm 

Already done, to have dispeopled Heaven — 

My damage fondly deemed — I can repair 

That detriment, if such it be to lose 

Self-lost, and in a moment will create 

Another world; out of one man a race 

Of men innumerable, there to dwell, 

Not here, till, by degrees of merit raised, 

They open to themselves at length the way 

Up hither, under long obedience tried, 

And Earth be changed to Heaven, and Heaven to E^rth, 

One kingdom, joy and union without end. 

Meanwhile inhabit lax, ye Powers of Heaven; 

And thou, my Word, begotten Son, by thee 

This I perform; speak thou, and be it done! 

My overshadowing Spirit and might with thee 

I send along; ride forth, and bid the Deep 

Within appointed bounds be heaven and earth. 

Boundless the Deep, because I am who fill 

Infinitude; nor vacuous the space, 

Though I, uncircumscribed, myself retire, 

And put not forth my goodness, which is free 

To act or not. Necessity and Chance 

Approach not me, and what I will is Fate.' 

"So spake the Almighty; and to what he spake 
His Word, the Filial Godhead, gave effect. 
Immediate are the acts of God, more swift 
Than time or motion, but to human ears 
Cannot without process' of speech be told. 
So told as earthly notion can receive. 
Great triumph and rejoicing was in Heaven 
When such was heard declared the Almighty's will. 

232 JOHN MILTON book vii 

Glory they sung to the Most High, goodwill 
To future men, and in their dwellings peace — 
Glory to Him whose just avenging ire 
Had driven out the ungodly from his sight 
And the habitations of the just; to Him 
Glory and praise whose wisdom had ordained 
Good out of evil to create — instead 
Of Spirits malign, a better Race to bring 
Into their vacant room, and thence diffuse 
His good to worlds and ages infinite. 

"So sang the Hierarchies. Meanwhile the Son 
On his great expedition now appeared, 
Girt with omnipotence, with radiance crowned 
Of majesty divine, sapience and love 
Immense; and all his Father in him shon. 
About his chariot numberless were poured 
Cherub and Seraph, Potentates and Thrones, 
And Virtues, winged Spirits, and chariots winged 
From the armoury of God, where stand of old 
Myriads, between two brazen mountains lodged 
Against a solemn day, harnessed at hand, 
Celestial equipage; and now came forth 
Sf>ontaneous, for within them Spirit lived. 
Attendant on their Lord. Heaven opened wide 
Her ever-during gates, harmonious sound 
On golden hinges moving, to let forth 
The King of Glory, in his powerful Word 
And Spirit coming to create new worlds. 
On Heavenly ground they stood, and from the shore 
They viewed the vast immeasurable Abyss, 
Outrageous as a sea, dark, wasteful, wild. 
Up from the bottom turned by furious winds 
And surging waves, as mountains to assault 
Heaven's highth, and with the centre mix the pole. 

" 'Silence, ye troubled waves, and, thou Deep, peace!' 
Said then the omnific Word: 'your discord end!* 
Nor stayed; but, on the wings of Cherubim 
Uplifted, in paternal glory rode 
Far into Chaos and the World unborn; 
For Chaos heard his voice. Him all his train 


Followed in bright procession, to behold 
Creation, and the wonders of his might. 
Then stayed the fervid wheels, and in his hand 
He took the golden compwsses, prepared 
In God's eternal store, to circumscribe 
This Universe, and all created things. 
One foot he centred, and the other turned 
Round through the vast profundity obscure. 
And said, 'Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds; 
This be thy just circumference, O World!' 
Thus God the Heaven created, thus the Earth, 
Matter unformed and void. Darkness profound 
Covered the Abyss; but on the watery calm 
His brooding wings the Spirit of God outspread. 
And vital virtue infused, and vital warmth. 
Throughout the fluid mass, but downward purged 
The black, tartareous, cold, infernal dregs. 
Adverse to life; then founded, then conglobed, 
Like things to like, the rest to several place 
Disparted, and between spun out the Air, 
And Earth, self-balanced, on her centre hung. 

" 'Let there be Light!' said God; and forthwith Light 
Ethereal, first of things, quintessence pure. 
Sprung from the Deep, and from her native East 
To journey through the aery gloom began. 
Sphered in a radiant cloud — for yet the Sun 
Was not; she in a cloudy tabernacle 
Sojourned the while. God saw the Light was good; 
And light from darkness by the hemisphere 
Divided: Light the Day, and Darkness Night, 
He named. Thus was the first Day even and morn; 
Nor passed uncelebrated, nor unsung 
By the celestial quires, when orient light 
Exhaling first from darkness they beheld. 
Birth-day of Heaven and Earth. With joy and shout 
The hollow universal orb they filled, 
And touched their golden harps, and hymning praised 
God and his works; Creator him they sung. 
Both when first evening was, and when first morn. 

"Again God said, 'Let there be firmament 

234 JOHN MILTON book vn 

Amid the waters, and let it divide 

The waters from the waters!' And God made 

The firmament, expanse of liquid, pure. 

Transparent, elemental air, diffused 

In circuit to the uttermost convex 

Of this great round — partition firm and sure, 

The waters underneath from those above 

Dividing; for as Earth, so he the World 

Built on circumfluous waters calm, in wide 

Crystallin ocean, and the loud misrule 

Of Chaos far removed, lest fierce extremes 

Contiguous might distemper the whole frame: 

And Heaven he named the Firmament. So even 

And morning chorus sung the second Day. 

"The Earth was formed, but, in the womb as yet 
Of waters, embryon immature, involved, 
Appeared not; over all the face of Earth 
Main ocean flowed, not idle, but, with warm 
Prolific humour softening all her globe, 
Fermented the great Mother to conceive. 
Satiate with genial moisture; when God said, 
'Be gathered now, ye waters under heaven, 
Into one place, and let dry land appear!' 
Immediately the mountains huge appear 
Emergent, and their broad bare backs upheave 
Into the clouds; their tops ascend the sky. 
So high as heaved the tumid hills, so low 
Down sunk a hollow bottom broad and deep. 
Capacious bed of waters. Thither they 
Hasted with glad precipitance, uprowled. 
As drofK on dust conglobing, from the dry: 
Part rise in crystal wall, or ridge direct. 
For haste; such flight the great command impressed 
On the swift floods. As armies at the call 
Of trumpet (for of armies thou hast heard) 
Troop to their standard, so the watery throng, 
Wave rowling after wave, where way they found — 
If steep, with torrent rapture, if through plain. 
Soft-ebbing; nor withstood them rock or hill; 
But they, or underground, or circuit wide 


With serpent error wandering, found their way, 

And on the washy ooze deep channels wore: 

Easy, ere God had bid the ground be dry, 

All but within those banks where rivers now 

Stream, and perpetual draw their humid train. 

The dry land Elarth, and the great receptacle 

Of congregated waters he called Seas; 

And saw that it was good, and said, 'Let the Earth 

Put forth the verdant grass, herb yielding seed. 

And fruit-tree yielding fruit after her kind. 

Whose seed is in herself upon the Earth!' 

He scarce had said when the bare Earth, till then 

Desert and bare, unsightly, unadorned, 

Brought forth the tender grass, whose verdure clad 

Her universal face with pleasant green; 

Then herbs of every leaf, that sudden flowered. 

Opening their various colours, and made gay 

Her bosom, smelling sweet; and, these scarce blown. 

Forth flourished thick the clustering vine, forth crept 

The smelling gourd, up stood the corny reed 

Imbatded in her field: add the humble shrub, 

And bush with frizzled hair implicit: last 

Rose, as in dance, the stately trees, and spread 

Their branches hung with copious fruit, or gemmed 

Their blossoms. With high woods the hills were crowned. 

With tufts the valleys and each fountain-side. 

With borders long the rivers, that Earth now 

Seemed like to Heaven, a seat where gods might dwell. 

Or wander with delight, and love to haunt 

Her sacred shades; though God had yet not rained 

Upwn the Earth, and man to till the ground 

None was, but from the Earth a dewy mist 

Went up and watered all the ground, and each 

Plant of the field, which ere it was in the Earth 

God made, and every herb before it grew 

On the green stem. God saw that it was good; 

So even and morn recorded the third Day. 

"Again the Almighty spake, 'Let there be Lights 
High in the expanse of Heaven, to divide 
The Day from Night; and let them be for signs. 

236 JOHN MILTON book VH 

For seasons, and for days, and circling years; 

And let them be for lights, as I ordain 

Their office in the firmament of heaven. 

To give light on the Earth!' and it was so. 

And God made two great Lights, great for their use 

To Man, the greater to have rule by day, 

The less by night, alternor; and made the Stars, 

And set them in the firmament of heaven 

To illuminate the Earth, and rule the day 

In their vicissitude, and rule the night. 

And light from darkness to divide. God saw. 

Surveying his great work, that it was good: 

For, of celestial bodies, first the Sun 

A mighty sphere he framed, unlightsome first, 

Though of ethereal mould; then formed the Moon 

Globose, and every magnitude of Stars, 

And sowed with stars the heaven thick as a field. 

Of light by far the greater part he took, 

Transplanted from her cloudy shrine, and placed 

In the Sun's orb, made porous to receive 

And drink the liquid light, firm to retain 

Her gathered beams, great palace now of Light. 

Hither, as to their fountain, other stars 

RefKiiring, in their golden urns draw light, 

And hence the morning planet gilds her horns; 

By tincture or reflection they augment 

Their small peculiar, though, from human sight 

So far remote, with diminution seen. 

First in his east the glorious lamp was seen, 

Regent of day, and all the horizon round 

Invested with bright rays, jocond to run 

His longitude through heaven's high-road; the grey 

Dawn, and the Pleiades, before him danced. 

Shedding sweet influence. Less bright the Moon, 

But opposite in levelled west, was set. 

His mirror, with full face borrowing her light 

From him; for other light she needed none 

In that aspect, and still that distance keeps 

Till night; then in the east her turn she shines. 

Revolved on heaven's great axle, and her reign 


With thousand lesser lights dividual holds, 
With thousand thousand stars, that then appeared 
Spangling the hemisphere. Then first adorned 
With her bright luminaries, that set and rose. 
Glad evening and glad morn crowned the fourth Day. 

"And God said, 'Let the waters generate 
Reptile with spawn abundant, living soul; 
And let Fowl fly above the earth, with wings 
Displayed on the open firmament of Heaven!' 
And God created the great Whales, and each 
Soul living, each that crept, which plenteously 
The waters generated by their kinds. 
And every bird of wing after his kind, 
And saw that it was good, and blessed them, saying, 
'Be fruitful, multiply, and, in the seas. 
And lakes, and running streams, the waters fill; 
And let the fowl be multiplied on the earth!' 
Forthwith the sounds and seas, each creek and bay. 
With fry innumerable swarm, and shoals 
Of fish that, with their fins and shining scales. 
Glide under the green wave in sculls that oft 
Bank the mid-sea. Part, single or with mate, 
Graze the sea-weed, their pasture, and through groves 
Of coral stray, or, spjorting with quick glance. 
Shew to the sun their waved coats dropt with gold. 
Or, in their pearly shells at ease, attend 
Moist nutriment, or under rocks their food 
In jointed armour watch; on smooth the seal 
And bended dolphins play; part, huge of bulk, 
Wallowing unwieldy, enormous in their gait. 
Tempest the ocean. There Leviathan, 
Hugest of living creatures, on the deep 
Stretched like a promontory, sleeps or swims, 
And seems a moving land, and at his gills 
Draws in, and at his trunk spouts out, a sea. 
Meanwhile the tepid caves, and fens, and shores. 
Their brood as numerous hatch from the egg, that soon. 
Bursting with kindly rupture, forth disclosed 
Their callow young; but feathered soon and fledge 
They summed their pens, and, soaring the air sublime. 

238 JOHN MILTON book vii 

With clang despised the ground, under a cloud 

In prospect. There the eagle and the stork 

On cliffs and cedar-tops their eyries build. 

Part loosely wing the Region; part, more wise. 

In common, ranged in figure, wedge their way, 

Intelligent of seasons, and set forth 

Their aerie caravan, high over seas 

Flying, and over lands, with mutual wing 

Easing their flight: so steers the prudent crane 

Her annual voyage, borne on winds: the air 

Floats as they pass, fanned with unnumbered plumes. 

From branch to branch the smaller birds with song 

Solaced the woods, and spread their painted wings. 

Till even; nor then the solemn nightingal 

Ceased warbling, but all night tuned her soft lays. 

Others, on silver lakes and rivers, bathed 

Their downy breast; the swan, with arched neck 

Between her white wings mantling proudly, rows 

Her state with oary feet; yet oft they quit 

The dank, and, rising on stiff pennons, tower 

The mid aerial sky. Others on ground 

Walked firm — the crested cock, whose clarion sounds 

The silent hours, and the other, whose gay train 

Adorns him, coloured with the florid hue 

Of rainbows and starry eyes. The waters thus 

With Fish replenished, and the air with Fowl, 

Evening and morn solemnized the fifth Day. 

"The sixth, and of Creation last, arose 
With evening harps and matin; when God said, 
'Let the Earth bring forth soul living in her kind. 
Cattle, and creeping things, and beast of the earth. 
Each in their kind!' The Earth obeyed, and, straight 
Opening her fertil womb, teemed at a birth 
Innumerous living creatures, perfet forms, 
Limbed and full-grown. Out of the ground up rose, 
As from his lair, the wild beast, where he wons 
In forest wild, in thicket, brake, or den — 
Among the trees in pairs they rose, they walked; 
The cattle in the fields and meadows green: 
Those rare and solitary, these in flocks 


Pasturing at once and in broad herds, upsprung. 

The grassy clods now calved; now half appeared 

The tawny Lion, pawing to get free 

His hinder pans — then springs, as broke from bonds, 

And rampant shakes his brinded mane; the Ounce, 

The Libbard, and the Tiger, as the Mole 

Rising, the crumbled earth above them threw 

In hillocks; the swift Stag from underground 

Bore up his branching head; scarce from his mould 

Behemoth, biggest born of earth, upheaved 

His vastness; fleeced the flocks and bleating rose. 

As plants; ambiguous between sea and land, 

The River-horse and scaly Crocodile. 

At once came forth whatever creeps the ground. 

Insect or worm. Those waved their limber fans 

For wings, and smallest lineaments exact 

In all the liveries decked of summer's pride. 

With spots of gold and purple, azure and green; 

These as a line their long dimension drew. 

Streaking the ground with sinuous trace: not all 

Minims of nature; some of serpent kind. 

Wondrous in length and corpulence, involved 

Their snaky folds, and added wings. First crept 

The parsimonious Emmet, provident 

Of future, in small room large heart enclosed — 

Pattern of just equality perhaps 

Hereafter — joined in her p>opular tribes 

Of commonalty. Swarming next appeared 

The female Bee, that feeds her husband drone 

E>eliciously, and builds her waxen cells 

With honey stored. The rest are numberless. 

And thou their natures know'st, and gav'st them names 

Needless to thee repeated; nor unknown 

The Serpent, subdest beast of all the field, 

Of huge extent sometimes, with brazen eyes 

And hairy mane terrific, though to thee 

Not noxious, but obedient at thy call. 

"Now Heaven in all her glory shon, and rowled 
Her motions, as the great First Mover's hand 
First wheeled their course; Earth, in her rich attire 

240 JOHN MILTON book vn 

Consummate, lovely smiled; Air, Water, Earth, 

By fowl, fish, beast, was flown, was swum, was walked 

Frequent; and of the sixth Day yet remained. 

There wanted yet the master-work, the end 

Of all yet done — a creature who, not prone 

And brute as other creatures, but endued 

With sanctity of reason, might erect 

His stature, and, upright with front serene 

Govern the rest, self-knowing, and from thence 

Magnanimous to correspond with Heaven, 

But grateful to acknowledge whence his good 

Descends; thither with heart, and voice, and eyes 

Directed in devotion, to adore 

And worship God Supreme, who made him chief 

Of all his works. Therefore the Omnipotent 

Eternal Father (for where is not He 

Present?) thus to his Son audibly spake: — 

'Let us make now Man in our image, Man 

In our similitude, and let them rule 

Over the fish and fowl of sea and air, 

Beast of the field, and over all the earth. 

And every creeping thing that creeps the ground!* 

This said, he formed thee, Adam, thee, O Man, 

Dust of the ground, and in thy nostrils breathed 

The breath of life; in his own image he 

Created thee, in the image of God 

Express, and thou bccam'st a living Soul. 

Male he created thee, but thy consort' 

Female, for race; then blessed mankind, and said, 

'Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the Earth; 

Subdue it, and throughout dominion hold 

Over fish of the sea and fowl of the air. 

And every living thing that moves on the Earth!' 

Wherever thus created — for no place 

Is yet distinct by name — thence, as thou know 'ft, 

He brought thee into this delicious grove. 

This Garden, planted with the trees of God, 

Delectable both to behold and taste. 

And freely all their pleasant fruit for food 

Gave thee. All sorts are here that all the earth yields, 


Variety without end; but of the tree 

Which tasted works knowledge of good and evil 

Thou may'st not; in the day thou eat'st, thou diest. 

Death is the penalty imposed; beware, 

And govern well thy apjjetite, lest Sin 

Surprise thee, and her black attendant, Death. 

"Here finished He, and all that he had made 
Viewed, and behold! all was entirely good. 
So even and morn accomplished the sixth Day; 
Yet not till the Creator, from his work 
Insisting, though unwearied, up returned, 
Up to the Heaven of Heavens, his high abode, 
Thence to behold this new<reated World, 
The addition of his empire, how it shewed 
In prospect from his Throne, how good, how fair, 
Answering his great Idea. Up he rode. 
Followed with acclamation, and the sound 
Symphonious of ten thousand harps, that tuned 
Angelic harmonies. The liarth, the Air 
Resounded (thou remembcr'st, for thou heard'st). 
The heavens and all the constellations rung. 
The planets in their stations listening stood. 
While the bright f)omp ascended jubilant. 
'Open, ye everlasting gates!' they sung; 
'Open, ye Heavens, your living doors! let in 
The great Creator, from his work returned 
Magnificent, his six days' work, a World! 
Open, and henceforth oft; for God will deign 
To visit oft the dwellings of just men 
Delighted, and with frequent intercourse 
Thither will send his winged messengers 
On errands of supernal grace.' So sung 
The glorious train ascending. He through Heaven, 
That opened wide her blazing portals, led 
To God's eternal house direct the way — 
A broad and ample road, whose dust is gold, 
And pavement stars, as stars to thee appear 
Seen in the Galaxy, that milky way 
Which nightly as a circling zone thou seest 
Powdered with stars. And now on Elarth the seventh 

242 JOHN MILTON book vn 

Evening arose in Eden — for the sun 

Was set, and twilight from the east came on, 

Forerunning night — when at the holy mount 

Of Heaven's high-seated top, the imperial throne 

Of Godhead, fixed for ever firm and sure, 

The Filial Power arrived, and sat him down 

With his great Father; for He also went 

Invisible, yet stayed (such privilege 

Hath Omnipresence) and the work ordained, 

Author and end of all things, and from work 

Now resting, blessed and hallowed the seventh Day, 

As resting on that day from all his work; 

But not in silence holy kept: the harp 

Had work, and rested not; the solemn pipe 

And dulcimer, all organs of sweet stop. 

All sounds on fret by string or golden wire, 

Tempered soft tunings, intermixed with voice 

Choral or unison; of incense clouds, 

Fuming from golden censers, hid the Mount. 

Creation and the Six Days' acts they sung: — 

'Great are thy works, Jehovah! infinite 

Thy {X)wer! what thought can measure thee, or tongue 

Relate thee — greater now in thy return 

Than from the Giant-angels? Thee that day 

Thy thunders magnified; but to create 

Is greater than created to destroy. 

Who can impair thee, mighty King, or bound 

Thy empire? Easily the proud attempt 

Of Spirits apostat, and their counsels vain, 

Thou hast repelled, while impiously they thought 

Thee to diminish, and from thee withdraw 

The number of thy worshipers. Who seeks 

To lessen thee, against his purpwse, serves 

To manifest the more thy might; his evil 

Thou usest, and from thence creat'st more good. 

Witness this new-made World, another Heaven 

From Heaven-gate not far, founded in view 

On the clear hyalin, the glassy sea; 

Of amplitude almost immense, with stars 

Numerous, and every star perhaps a world 


Of destined habitation — but thou know'st 

Their seasons; among these the seat of men. 

Earth, with her nether ocean circumfused, 

Their pleasant dwelling-place. Thrice happy men, 

And sons of men, whom God hath thus advanced, 

Created in his image, there to dwell 

And worship him, and in reward to rule 

Over his works, on earth, in sea, or air, 

And multiply a race of worshipers 

Holy and just! thrice happy, if they know 

Their happiness, and persevere upright!' 

"So sung they, and the Empyrean rung 
With halleluiahs. Thus was Sabbath kept. 
And thy request think now fulfilled that asked 
How first this World and face of things began, 
And what before thy memory was done 
From the beginning, that posterity. 
Informed by thee, might know. If else thou seek'st 
Aught, not surpassing human measure, say." 


The Argument. — Adam inquires concerning celestial motions; is doubtfully an- 
swered, and exhorted to search rather things more worthy of knowledge. Adam 
assents, and, still desirous to detain Raphael, relates to him what he remembered since 
his own creation — his placini; in Paradise; his talk with God concerning solitude and 
lit society; his first meeting and nuptials with Eve. His discourse with the Angel 
thereupon; who, after admonitions repeated, departs. 

The Angel ended, and in Adam's ear 
So charming left his voice that he a while 
Thought him still speaking, still stood fixed to hear; 
Then, as new-waked, thus gratefully replied: — 
"What thanks sufficient, or what recompense 
Equal, have I to render thee, divine 
Historian, who thus largely hast allayed 
The thirst I had of knowledge, and voutsafed 
This friendly condescension to relate 
Things else by me unsearchable — now heard 
With wonder, but delight, and, as is due. 
With glory attributed to the high 
Creator.' Something yet of doubt remains, 

244 JOHN MILTON book viii 

Which only thy solution can resolve. 

When I behold this goodly frame, this World, 

Of Heaven and Earth consisting, and compute 

Their magnitudes — this Earth, a sjxjt, a grain, 

An atom, with the Firmament compared 

And all her numbered stars, that seem to rowl 

Spaces incomprehensible (for such 

Their distance argues, and their swift return 

Diurnal) merely to officiate light 

Round this opacous Earth, this punctual s{X)t, 

One day and night, in all their vast survey 

Useless besides — reasoning, I oft admire 

How Nature, wise and frugal, could commit 

Such disproportions, with superfluous hand 

So many nobler bodies to create, 

Greater so manifold, to this one use, 

For aught appears, and on their Orbs impose 

Such resdess revolution day by day 

Repeated, while the sedentary Earth, 

That better might with far less compass move, 

Served by more noble than herself, attains 

Her end without least motion, and receives. 

As tribute, such a sumless journey brought 

Of incorporeal speed her warmth and light: 

Sjjeed, to describe whose swiftness number fails." 

So spake our Sire, and by his countenance seemed 
Entering on studious thoughts abstruse; which Eve 
Perceiving, where, she sat retired in sight, 
With lowliness majestic from her seat, 
And grace that won who saw to wish her stay, 
Rose, and went forth among her fruits and flowers, 
To visit how they prospered, bud and bloom. 
Her nursery; they at her coming sprung. 
And, touched by her fair tendance, gladlier grew. 
Yet went she not as not with such discourse 
Delighted, or not capable her ear 
Of what was high. Such pleasure she reserved, 
Adam relating, she sole auditress; 
Her husband the relater she preferred 
Before the Angel, and of him to ask 


Chose rather; he, she knew, would intermix 

Grateful digressions, and solve high dispute 

With conjugal caresses: from his lip 

Not words alone pleased her. Oh, when meet now 

Such pairs, in love and mutual honour joined? 

With goddess-like demeanour forth she went, 

Not unattended; for on her as Queen 

A pomp of winning Graces waited still, 

And from about her shot darts of desire 

Into all eyes, to wish her still in sight. 

And Raphael now to Adam's doubt proposed 

Benevolent and facile thus replied: — 

"To ask or search I blame thee not; for Heaven 
Is as the Book of God before thee set. 
Wherein to read his wondrous works, and learn 
His seasons, hours, or days, or months, or years. 
This to attain, whether Heaven move or E^rth 
Imports not, if thou reckon right; the rest 
From Man or Angel the great Architect 
Did wisely to conceal, and not divulge 
His secrets, to be scanned by them who ought 
Rather admire. Or, if they list to try 
Conjecture, he his fabric of the Heavens 
Hath left to their disputes — perhaps to move 
His laughter at their quaint opinions wide 
Hereafter, when they come to model Heaven, 
And calculate the stars; how they will wield 
The mighty frame; how build, unbuild, contrive 
To save appearances; how gird the Sphere 
With Centric and Eccentric scribbled o'er. 
Cycle and Epicycle, orb in orb. 
Already by thy reasoning this I guess. 
Who art to lead thy offspring, and suppwsest 
That bodies bright and greater should not serve 
The less not bright, nor Heaven such journeys run. 
Earth sitting still, when she alone receives 
The benefit. Consider, first, that great 
Or bright infers not excellence. The Earth, 
Though, in comparison of Heaven, so small, 
Nor glistering, may of solid good contain 

246 JOHN MILTON book viu 

More plenty than the Sun that barren shines, 

Whose virtue on itself works no effect, 

But in the fruitful Elarth; there first received, 

His beams, unactive else, their vigour find. 

Yet not to Earth are those bright luminaries 

Officious, but to thee. Earth's habitant. 

And, for the Heaven's wide circuit, let it speak 

The Maker's high magnificence, who built 

So spacious, and his line stretched out so far. 

That Man may know he dwells not in his own — 

An edifice too large for him to fill. 

Lodged in a small partition, and the rest 

Ordained for uses to his Lord best known. 

The swiftness of those Circles at'tribute. 

Though numberless, to his Omnipotence, 

That to corporeal substances could add 

Speed almost spiritual. Me thou think'st not slow, 

Who since the morning-hour set out from Heaven 

Where God resides, and ere mid-day arrived 

In Eden — distance inexpressible 

By numbers that have name. But this I urge. 

Admitting motion in the Heavens, to shew 

Invalid that which thee to doubt it moved; 

Not that I so affirm, though so it seem 

To thee who hast thy dwelling here on liarth. 

God, to remove his ways from human sense. 

Placed Heaven from Earth so far, that earthly sight, 

If it presume, might err in things too high. 

And no advantage gain. What if the Sun 

Be centre to the World, and other Stars, 

By his attractive virtue and their own 

Incited, dance about him various rounds? 

Their wandering course, now high, now low, then 

Progressive, retrograde, or standing still. 
In six thou seest; and what if, seventh to these 
The planet Earth, so steadfast though she seem. 
Insensibly three different motions move? 
Which else to several spheres thou must ascribe. 
Moved contrary with thwart obliquities, 


Or save the Sun his labour, and that swift 
Nocturnal and diurnal rhomb supposed. 
Invisible else above all stars, the wheel 
Of Day and Night; which needs not thy belief, 
If Earth, industrious of herself, fetch Day, 
Travelling east, and with her part averse 
From the Sun's beam meet Night, her other part 
Still luminous by his ray. What if that light. 
Sent from her through the wide transpicuous air, 
To the terrestrial Moon to be as a star. 
Enlightening her by day, as she by night 
This Earth — reciprocal, if land be there. 
Fields and inhabitants? Her sfx)ts thou seest 
As clouds, and clouds may rain, and rain produce 
Fruits in her softened soil, for some to eat 
Allotted there; and other Suns, perhaps. 
With their attendant Moons, thou wilt descry, 
Communicating male and female light — 
Which two great sexes animate the World, 
Stored in each Orb perhaps with some that live. 
For such vast room in Nature unpossessed 
By living soul, desert and desolate. 
Only to shine, yet scarce to con'tribute 
Each Orb a glimpse of light, conveyed so far 
Down to this habitable, which returns 
Light back to them, is obvious to dispute. 
But whether thus these things, or whether not — 
Whether the Sun, predominant in heaven. 
Rise on the Earth, or Earth rise on the Sun; 
He from the east his flaming road begin. 
Or she from west her silent course advance 
With inoffensive pace that spinning sleeps 
On her soft axle, while she paces even. 
And bears thee soft with the smooth air along — 
Solicit not thy thoughts with matters hid: 
Leave them to God above; him serve and fear. 
Of other creatures as him pleases best. 
Wherever placed, let him dispose; joy thou 
In what he gives to thee, this Paradise 
And thy fair Eve; Heaven is for thee too high 

248 JOHN MILTON book viii 

To know what passes there. Be lowly wise; 
Think only what concerns thee and thy being; 
Dream not of other worlds, what creatures there 
Live, in what state, condition, or degree — 
Contented that thus far hath been revealed 
Not of Earth only, but of highest Heaven." 

To whom thus Adam, cleared of doubt, replied: — 
"How fully hast thou satisfied me, pure 
Intelligence of Heaven, Angel serene. 
And, freed from intricacies, taught to live 
The easiest way, nor with f)erplexing thoughts 
To interrupt the sweet of life, from which 
God hath bid dwell far off all anxious cares, 
And not molest us, unless we ourselves 
Seek them with wandering thoughts, and notions 

But apt the mind or fancy is to rove 
Unchecked; and of her roving is no end. 
Till, warned, or by experience taught, she learn 
That not to know at large of things remote 
From use, obscure and subde, but to know 
That which before us lies in daily life. 
Is the prime wisdom: what is more is fume, 
Or emptiness, or fond impertinence. 
And renders us in things that most concern 
Unpractised, unprepared, and still to seek. 
Therefore from this high pitch let us descend 
A lower flight, and speak of things at hand 
Useful; whence, haply, mention may arise 
Of something not unseasonable to ask. 
By sufferance, and thy wonted favour, deigned. 
Thee I have heard relating what was done 
Ere my remembrance; now hear me relate 
My story, which, perhaps, thou hast not heard. 
And day is yet not spent; till then thou seest 
How subtly to detain thee I devise. 
Inviting thee to hear while I relate — 
Fond, were it not in hope of thy reply. 
For, while I sit with thee, I seem in Heaven; 
And sweeter thy discourse is to my ear 


Than fruits of palm-tree, pleasantest to thirst 
And hunger both, from labour, at the hour 
Of sweet repast. They satiate, and soon fill, 
Though pleasant; but thy words, with grace divine 
Imbued, bring to their sweetness no satiety." 

To whom thus Raphael answered, heavenly 
meek: — 
"Nor are thy lips ungrateful, Sire of Men, 
Nor tongue ineloquent; for God on thee 
Abundandy his gifts hath also pwured. 
Inward and outward both, his image fair: 
Speaking, or mute, all comeliness and grace 
Attends thee, and each word, each motion, forms. 
Nor less think we in Heaven of thee on Earth 
Than of our fellow-servant, and inquire 
Gladly into the ways of God with Man; 
For God, we see, hath honoured thee, and set 
On Man his equal love. Say therefore on; 
For I that day was absent, as befell. 
Bound on a voyage uncouth and obscure, 
Far on excursion toward the gates of Hell, 
Squared in full legion (such command we had), 
To see that none thence issued forth a spy 
Or enemy, while God was in his work. 
Lest he, incensed at such eruption bold. 
Destruction with Creation might have mixed. 
Not that they durst without his leave attempt; 
But us he sends upon his high behests 
For state, as sovran King, and to inure 
Our prompt obedience. Fast we found, fast shut. 
The dismal gates, and barricadoed strong. 
But, long ere our approaching, heard within 
Noise, other than the sound of dance or song — 
Torment, and loud lament, and furious rage. 
Glad we returned up to the coasts of Light 
Ere Sabbath-evening; so we had in charge. 
But thy relation now; for I attend. 
Pleased with thy words no less than thou with 

So spake the godlike Power, and thus our Sire: — 


"For Man to tell how human life began 

Is hard; for who himself beginning knew? 

Desire with thee still longer to converse 

Induced me. As new-waked from soundest sleep, 

Soft on the flowery herb I found me laid, 

In balmy sweat, which with his beams the Sun 

Soon dried, and on the reeking moisture fed. 

Straight toward Heaven my wondering eyes I turned, 

And gazed a while the ample sky, till, raised 

By quick instinctive motion, up I sprung, 

As thitherward endeavoring, and upright 

Stood on my feet. About me round I saw 

Hill, dale, and shady woods, and sunny plains, 

And liquid lapse of murmuring streams; by these. 

Creatures that lived and moved, and walked or flew, 

Birds on the branches warbling: all things smiled; 

With fragrance and with joy my heart o'erflowed. 

Myself I then perused, and limb by limb 

Surveyed, and sometimes went, and sometimes ran 

With supple joints, as lively vigour led; 

But who I was, or where, or from what cause. 

Knew not. To sp>eak I tried, and forthwith sf)ake; 

My tongue obeyed, and readily could name 

Whate'er I saw. 'Thou Sun,' said I, 'fair light, 

And thou enlightened Earth, so fresh and gay, 

Ye hills and dales, ye rivers, woods, and plains, 

And ye that live and move, fair creatures, tell. 

Tell, if ye saw, how came I thus, how here! 

Not of myself; by some great Maker then. 

In goodness and in power prsc-eminent. 

Tell me, how may I know him, how adore. 

From whom I have that thus I move and live. 

And feel that I am happier than I know!' 

While thus I called, and strayed I knew not whither. 

From where I first drew air, and first beheld 

This happy light, when answer none returned. 

On a green shady bank, profuse of flowers. 

Pensive I sat me down. There gentle sleep 

First found me, and with soft oppression seized 

My drowsed sense, untroubled, though I thought 


I then was passing to my former state 

Insensible, and forthwith to dissolve: 

When suddenly stood at my head a Dream, 

Whose inward apparition gendy moved 

My fancy to believe I yet had being, 

And lived. One came, methought, of shape divine, 

And said, 'Thy mansion wants thee, Adam; rise, 

First Man, of men innumerable ordained 

First father! called by thee, I come thy guide 

To the Garden of bliss, thy seat prepared.' 

So saying, by the hand he took me, raised. 

And over fields and waters, as in air 

Smooth sliding without step, last led me up 

A woody mountain, whose high top was plain, 

A circuit wide, enclosed, with goodliest trees 

Planted, with walks and bowers, that what I saw 

Of Earth before scarce pleasant seemed. Each tree 

Loaden with fairest fruit, that hung to the eye 

Tempting, stirred in me sudden appetite 

To pluck and eat; whereat I waked, and found 

Before mine eyes all real, as the dream 

Had lively shadowed. Here had new begun 

My wandering, had not He who was my guide 

Up hither from among the trees appeared, 

Presence Divine. Rejoicing, but with awe. 

In adoration at his feet I fell 

Submiss. He reared me, and, 'Whom thou sought'st 

I am,' 
Said mildly, 'Author of all this thou seest 
Above, or round about thee, or beneath. 
This Paradise I give thee; count it thine 
To till and keep, and of the fruit to eat. 
Of every tree that in the Garden grows 
Eat freely with glad heart; fear here no dearth. 
But of the tree whose operation brings 
Knowledge of Good and 111, which I have set. 
The pledge of thy obedience and thy faith. 
Amid the garden by the Tree of Life — 
Remember what I warn thee — shun to taste. 
And shun the bitter consequence: for know. 


The day thou eat'st thereof, my sole command 

Transgressed, inevitably thou shalt die, 

From that day mortal, and this happy state 

Shalt lose, expelled from hence into a world 

Of woe and sorrow.' Sternly he pronounced 

The rigid interdiction, which resounds 

Yet dreadful in mine ear, though in my choice 

Not to incur; but soon his clear aspect' 

Returned, and gracious purpose thus renewed: — 

"Not only these fair bounds, but all the Earth 

To thee and to thy race I give; as lords 

Possess it, and all things that therein live, 

Or live in sea or air, beast, fish, and fowl. 

In sign whereof, each bird and beast behold 

After their kinds; I bring them to receive 

From thee their names, and pay thee fealty 

With low subjection. Understand the same 

Of fish within their watery residence, 

Not hither summoned, since they cannot change 

Their element to draw the thinner air.' 

As thus he spake, each bird and beast behold 

Approaching two and two — these cowering low 

With blandishment; each bird stooped on his wing. 

I named them as they passed, and understood 

Their nature; with such knowledge God endued 

My sudden apprehension. But in these 

I found not what methought I wanted still, 

And to the Heavenly Vision thus presumed: — 

" 'O, by what name — for Thou above all these, 
Above mankind, or aught than mankind higher, 
Surpassest far my naming — how may I 
Adore thee. Author of this Universe, 
And all this good to Man, for whose well-being 
So amply, and with hands so liberal, 
Thou hast provided all things? But with mc 
I see not who partakes. In solitude 
What happiness? who can enjoy alone, 
Or, all enjoying, what contentment find?' 
Thus I, presumptuous; and the Vision bright. 
As with a smile more brightened, thus replied: — 


" 'What call'st thou solitude? Is not the Earth 
With various Hving creatures, and the Air, 
Replenished, and all these at thy command 
To come and play before thee? Know'st thou not 
Their language and their ways? They also know, 
And reason not contemptibly, with these 
Find pastime, and bear rule; thy realm is large.' 
So spake the Universal Lord and seemed 
So ordering. I, with leave of speech implored, 
And humble deprecation, thus replied: — 

" 'Let not my words offend thee, Heavenly Power; 
My Maker, be propitious while I speak. 
Hast thou not made me here thy substitute. 
And these inferior far beneath me set? 
Among unequal s what society 
Can sort, what harmony or true delight? 
Which must be mutual, in proportion due 
Given and received; but, in disparity, 
The one intense, the other still remiss. 
Cannot well suit with either, but soon prove 
Tedious alike. Of fellowship I sf>cak 
Such as I seek, fit to participate 
All rational delight, wherein the brute 
Cannot be human consort. They rejoice 
Each with their kind, lion with lioness; 
So fitly them in pairs thou hast combined: 
Much less can bird with beast, or fish with fowl. 
So well converse, nor with the ox the ape; 
Worse, then, can man with beast, and least of all.' 

"Whereto the Almighty answered, not displeased: — 
'A nice and subtle happiness, I see. 
Thou to thyself profxjsest, in the choice 
Of thy associates, Adam, and wilt taste 
No pleasure, though in pleasure, solitary. 
What think'st thou, then, of Me, and this my state? 
Seem I to thee sufficiently possessed 
Of happiness, or not, who am alone 
From all eternity? for none I know 
Second to me or like, equal much less. 
How have I, then, with whom to hold converse, 

254 JOHN MILTON book vm 

Save with the creatures which I made, and those 

To me inferior infinite descents 

Beneath what other creatures are to thee?' 

"He ceased. I lowly answered: — 'To attain 
The highth and depth of thy eternal ways 
All human thoughts come short. Supreme of Things! 
Thou in thyself art perfet, and in Thee 
Is no deficience found. Not so is Man, 
But in degree — ^the cause of his desire 
By conversation with his like to help 
Or solace his defects. No need that thou 
Should'st propagate, already infinite. 
And through all numbers absolute, though One; 
But Man by number is to manifest 
His single imperfection, and beget 
Like of his like, his image multiplied. 
In unity defective; which requires 
Collateral love, and dearest amity. 
Thou, in thy secrecy although alone, 
Best with thyself accompanied, seek'st not 
Social communication — yet, so pleased. 
Canst raise thy creature to what highth thou wilt 
Of union or communion, deified; 
I, by conversing, cannot these erect 
From prone, nor in their ways complacence find. 
Thus I emboldened spake, and freedom used 
Permissive, and acceptance found; which gained 
This answer from the gratious Voice Divine: — 

" Thus far to try thee, Adam, I was pleased, 
And find thee knowing not of beasts alone. 
Which thou hast rightly named, but of thyself — 
Expressing well the spirit within thee free, 
My image, not imparted to the brute; 
Whose fellowship, therefore, unmeet for thee. 
Good Reason was thou freely shouldst dislike. 
And be so minded still. I, ere thou spak'st, 
Knew it not good for Man to be alone, 
And no such company as then thou saw'st 
Intended thee — for trial only brought. 
To see how thou couldst judge of fit and meet. 


What next I bring shall please thee, be assured. 
Thy likeness, thy fit help, thy other self. 
Thy wish exactly to thy heart's desire.' 

"He ended, or I heard no more; for now 
My earthly, by his heavenly overpowered. 
Which it had long stood under, strained to the highth 
In that celestial colloquy sublime. 
As with an object that excels the sense, 
Dazzled and spent, sunk down, and sought repair 
Of sleep, which instantly fell on me, called 
By Nature as in aid, and closed mine eyes. 
Mine eyes he closed, but open left the cell 
Of fancy, my internal sight; by which. 
Abstract as in a trance, mcthought I saw, 
Though sleeping, where I lay, and saw the Shape 
Still glorious before whom awake I stood; 
Who, stooping, opened my left side, and took 
From thence a rib, with cordial spirits warm. 
And life-blood streaming fresh; wide was the wound. 
But suddenly with flesh filled up and healed. 
The rib he formed and fashioned with his hands; 
Under his forming hands a creature grew, 
Man-like, but diflerent sex, so lovely fair 
That what seemed fair in all the world seemed now 
Mean, or in her summed up, in her contained 
And in her looks, which from that time infused 
Sweetness into my heart unfelt before. 
And into all things from her air inspired 
The spirit of love and amorous delight. 
She disappeared, and left me dark; I waked 
To find her, or for ever to deplore 
Her loss, and other pleasures all abjure: 
When, out of hope, behold her not far off. 
Such as I saw her in my dream, adorned 
With what all Earth or Heaven could bestow 
To make her amiable. On she came, 
Led by her Heavenly Maker, though unseen 
And guided by his voice, nor uninformed 
Of nuptial sanctity and marriage rites. 
Grace was in all her steps, heaven in her eye. 

256 JOHN MILTON book vin 

In every gesture dignity and love. 

I, overjoyed, could not forbear aloud: — 

" 'This turn hath made amends; thou hast fulfilled 
Thy words, Creator bounteous and benign. 
Giver of all things fair — but fairest this 
Of all thy gifts! — nor enviest. I now see 
Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, my Self 
Before me. Woman is her name, of Man 
Extracted; for this cause he shall forgo 
Father and mother, and to his wife adhere, 
And they shall be one flesh, one heart, one soul.' 

"She heard me thus; and, though divinely brought. 
Yet innocence and virgin modesty. 
Her virtue, and the conscience of her worth. 
That would be wooed, and not unsought be won. 
Not obvious, not obtrusive, but retired. 
The most desirable — or, to say all. 
Nature herself, though pure of sinful thought — 
Wrought in her so, that, seeing me, she turned. 
I followed her; she what was honour knew. 
And with obsequious majesty approved 
My pleaded reason. To the nuptial bower 
I led her blushing like the Morn; all Heaven, 
And happy constellations, on that hour 
Shed their selectcst influence; the Earth 
Gave sign of gratulation, and each hill; 
Joyous the birds; fresh gales and gentle airs 
Whispered it to the woods, and from their wings 
Flung rose, flung odours from the spicy shrub. 
Disporting, till the amorous bird of night 
Sung spousal, and bid haste the Evening-star 
On his hill-top to light the bridal lamp. 

"Thus have I told thee all my state, and brought 
My story to the sum of earthly bliss 
Which I enjoy, and must confess to find 
In all things else delight indeed, but such 
As, used or not, works in the mind no change. 
Nor vehement desire — these delicacies 
I mean of taste, sight, smell, herbs, fruits, and flowers, 
Walks, and the melody of birds: but here. 


Far otherwise, transported I behold, 
Transported touch; here passion first I felt. 
Commotion strange, in all enjoyments else 
Superior and unmoved, here only weak 
Against the charm of beauty's jxjwerful glance. 
Or Nature failed in me, and left some part 
Not proof enough such object to sustain. 
Or, from my side subducting, took perhaps 
More than enough — at least on her bestowed 
Too much of ornament, in outward show 
Elaborate, of inward less exact. 
For well I understand in the prime end 
Of Nature her the inferior, in the mind 
And inward faculties, which most excel; 
In outward also her resembling less 
His image who made both, and less expressing 
The character of that dominion given 
O'er other creatures. Yet when I approach 
Her loveliness, so absolute she seems 
And in herself complete, so well to know 
Her own, that what she wills to do or say 
Seems wisest, virtuousest, discreetesl, best. 
All higher Knowledge in her presence falls 
Degraded; Wisdom in discourse with her 
Loses, discountenanced, and like Folly shews; 
Authority and Reason on her wait, 
As one intended first, not after made 
Occasionally; and, to consum'mate all. 
Greatness of mind and nobleness their seat 
Build in her loveliest, and create an awe 
About her, as a guard angelic placed." 

To whom the Angel, with contracted brow: — 
"Accuse not Nature! she hath done her fiart; 
Do thou but thine! and be not diffident 
Of Wisdom; she deserts thee not, if thou 
Dismiss not her, when most thou need'st her nigh. 
By attribu'ting overmuch to things 
Less excellent, as thou thyself perceiv'st. 
For, what admir'st thou, what transports thee so? 
An outside — fair, no doubt, and worthy well 

258 JOHN MILTON book vin 

Thy cherishing, thy honouring, and thy love; 
Not thy subjection. Weigh with her thyself; 
Then value. Oft-times nothing profits more 
Than self-esteem, grounded on just and right 
Well managed. Of that skill the more thou know'st, 
The more she will acknowledge thee her head, 
And to realities yield all her shows — 
Made so adorn for thy delight the more, 
So awful, that with honour thou may'st love 
Thy mate, who sees when thou art seen least wise. 
But, if the sense of touch, whereby mankind 
Is propagated, seem such dear delight 
Beyond all other, think the same voutsafed 
To cattle and each beast; which would not be 
To them made common and divulged, if aught 
Therein enjoyed were worthy to subdue 
The soul of Man, or passion in him move. 
What higher in her society thou find'st 
Attractive, human, rational, love still; 
In loving thou dost well; in passion not. 
Wherein true Love consists not. Love refines 
The thoughts, and heart enlarges — hath his seat 
In Reason, and is judicious, is the scale 
By which to Heavenly Love thou may'st ascend, 
Not sunk in carnal pleasure; for which cause 
Among the beasts no mate for thee was found." 
To whom thus, half abashed, Adam replied :-- 
"Neither her outside formed so fair, nor aught 
In procreation, common to all kinds 
(Though higher of the genial bed by far, 
And with mysterious reverence, I deem). 
So much delights me as those graceful acts, 
Those thousand decencies, that daily flow 
From all her words and actions, mixed with love 
And sweet compliance, which declare unfeigned 
Union of mind, or in us both one soul — 
Harmony to behold in wedded pair 
More grateful than harmonious sound to the ear. 
Yet these subject not; I to thee disclose 
What inward thence I feel, not therefore foiled, 


Who meet with various objects, from the sense 
Variously representing, yet, still free, 
Approve the best, and follow what I approve. 
To love thou blam'st me not — for Love, thou say'st. 
Leads up to Heaven, is both the way and guide; 
Bear with me, then, if lawful what I ask. 
Love not the Heavenly Spirits, and how their love 
Express they — by looks only, or do they mix 
Irradiance, virtual or immediate touch?" 

To whom the Angel, with a smile that glowed 
Celestial rosy-red. Love's proper hue. 
Answered: — "Let it suffice thee that thou know'st 
Us happy, and without Love no happiness. 
Whatever pure thou in the body enjoy 'st 
(And pure thou wert created) we enjoy 
In eminence, and obstacle find none 
Of membrane, joint, or limb, exclusive bars. 
Easier than air with air, if Spirits embrace, 
Total they mix, union of pure with pure 
Desiring, nor restrained conveyance need 
As flesh to mix with flesh, or soul with soul. 
But I can now no more: the parting Sun 
Beyond the Earth's green Cape and verdant Isles 
Hespcrean sets, my signal to depart. 
Be strong, live happy, and love! but first of all 
Him whom to love is to obey, and keep 
His great command; take heed lest passion sway 
Thy judgment to do aught which else free-will 
Would not admit; thine and of all thy sons 
The weal or woe in thee is placed; beware! 
I in thy persevering shall rejoice. 
And all the Blest. Stand fast; to stand or fail 
Free in thine own arbitrement it lies. 
Perfet within, no outward aid require; 
And all temptation to transgress repel." 

So saying, he arose; whom Adam thus 
Followed with benediction: — "Since to part. 
Go, Heavenly Guest, Ethereal Messenger, 
Sent from whose sovran goodness I adore! 
Gentle to me and affable hath been 


Thy condescension, and shall be honoured ever 
With grateful memory. Thou to Mankind 
Be good and friendly still, and oft return!" 
So parted they, the Angel up to Heaven 
From the thick shade, and Adam to his bower. 


The Arcumekt. — Satan, having compassed the Earth, with meditated guile re- 
turns as a mist by night into Paradise; enters into the Serpent sleeping. Adam and 
Eve in the morning go forth to their labours, which Eve proposes to divide in 
several places, each labouring apart: Adam consents not, alleging the danger lest that 
Enemy of whom they were forewarned should attempt her found alone. Eve, loth to 
be thought not circumspect or firm enough, urges her going apart, the rather desirous 
to make trial of her strength; Adam at last yields. The Serpent finds her alone: fiis 
subde approach, first gazing, then speaking, with much flattery extolling Eve above 
all other creatures. Eve, wondering to hear the Serpent speak, asks how he attained 
to human speech and such understanding not till now; the Serpent answers that by 
tasting of a certain Tree in the Garden he attained t»th to speech and reason, till 
then void of both. Eve requires him to bring her to that tree, and finds it to be the 
Tree of Knowledge forbidden: the Serpent, now grown tnlder, with many wiles and 
arguments induces her at length to eat She, pleased with the taste, deliberates a 
while whether to impan thereof to Adam or not; at last brings him of the fruit; re- 
lates what persuaded her to eat thereof. Adam, at first amazed, but perceiving her 
lost, resolves, through vehemence of love, to perish with her, and, extenuating the 
trespass, eats also of the fruit. The efTects thereof in them both; they seek to cover 
their nakedness; then fall to variance and accusation of one another. 

No MORE of talk where God or Angel Guest 
With Man, as with his friend, familiar used 
To sit indulgent, and with him partake 
Rural repast, permitting him the while 
Venial discourse unblamed. I now must change 
Those notes to tragic — foul distrust, and breach 
Disloyal, on the part of man, revolt 
And disobedience; on the part of Heaven, 
Now alienated, distance and distaste, 
Anger and just rebuke, and judgment given, 
That brought into this World a world of woe. 
Sin and her shadow Death, and Misery, 
Death's harbinger. Sad task! yet argument 
Not less but more heroic than the wrauth 
Of stern Achilles on his foe pursued 
Thrice fugitive about Troy wall; or rage 
Of Turnus for Lavinia disespoused; 


Or Neptune's ire, or Juno's that so long 

Perplexed the Greek, and Cytherea's son: 

If answerable style I can obtain 

Of my celestial Patroness, who deigns 

Her nightly visitation unimplored, 

And dictates to me slumbering, or inspires 

Easy my unpremeditated verse. 

Since first this subject for heroic song 

Pleased me, long choosing and beginning late. 

Not sedulous by nature to indite 

Wars, hitherto the only argument 

Heroic deemed, chief maistrie to dissect 

With long and tedious havoc fabled knights 

In battles feigned (the better fortitude 

Of patience and heroic martyrdom 

Unsung), or to describe races and games, 

Or tilting furniture, emblazoned shields, 

Impreses quaint, caparisons and steeds, 

Bases and tinsel trappings, gorgeous knights 

At joust and tournament; then marshalled feast 

Served up in hall with sewers and seneshals: 

The skill of artifice or office mean; 

Not that which jusdy gives heroic name 

To person or to poem! Me, of these 

Nor skilled nor studious, higher argument 

Remains, sufficient of itself to raise 

That name, unless an age too late, or cold 

Climat, or years, damp my intended wing 

Depressed; and much they may if all be mine, 

Not Hers who brings it nightly to my ear. 

The Sun was sunk, and after him the Star 
Of Hesperus, whose office is to bring 
Twilight uf)on the Earth, short arbiter 
'Twixt day and night, and now from end to end 
Night's hemisphere had veiled the horizon round, 
When Satan, who late fled before the threats 
Of Gabriel out of Eden, now improved 
In meditated fraud and malice, bent 
On Man's destruction, maugre what might hap 
Of heavier on himself, fearless returned. 

262 JOHN MILTON book ix 

By night he fled, and at midnight returned 
From compassing the Earth — cautious of day 
Since Uriel, Regent of the Sun, descried 
His entrance, and forwarned the Cherubim 
That kept their watch. Thence, full of anguish, 

The space of seven continued nights he rode 
With darkness — thrice the equinoctial line 
He circled, four times crossed the car of Night 
From pole to pole, traversing each colurc — 
On the eighth returned, and on the coast averse 
From entrance or cherubic watch by stealth 
Found unsuspected way. There was a place 
(Now not, though Sin, not Time, first wraught the 

Where Tigris, at the foot of Paradise, 
Into a gulf shot under ground, till part 
Rose up a fountain by the Tree of Life. 
In with the river sunk, and with it rose, 
Satan, involved in rising mist; then sought 
Where to lie hid. Sea he had searched and land 
From Eden over Pontus, and the Pool 
Mzotis, up beyond the river Ob; 
Downward as far Antartic; and, in length. 
West from Orontes to the ocean barred 
At Darien, thence to the land where flows 
Ganges and Indus. Thus the orb he roamed 
With narrow search, and with inspection deep 
Considered every creature, which of all 
Most opportune might serve his wiles, and found 
The Serpent subdest beast of all the field. 
Him, after long debate, irresolute 
Of thoughts revolved, his final sentence chose 
Fit vessel, fittest Imp of fraud, in whom 
To enter, and his dark suggestions hide 
From sharpest sight; for in the wily snake 
Whatever sleights none would suspicious mark 
As from his wit and native subdety 
Proceeding, which, in other beasts observed, 
Doubt might beget of diabolic power 



Active within beyond the sense of brute. 
Thus he resolved, but first from inward grief 
His bursting passion into plaints thus poured: — 
"O Earth, how like to Heaven, if not preferred 
More justly, seat worthier of Gods, as built 
With second thoughts, reforming what was old! 
For what God, after better, worse would build ? 
Terrestrial Heaven, danced round by other Heavens, 
That shine, yet bear their bright ofBcious lamps. 
Light above light, for thee alone, as seems. 
In thee concentring all their precious beams 
Of sacred influence! As God in Heaven 
Is centre, yet extends to all, so thou 
Centring receiv'st from all those orbs; in thee. 
Not in themselves, all their known virtue appears. 
Productive in herb, plant, and nobler birth 
Of creatures animate with gradual life 
Of growth, sense, reason, all summed up in Man. 
With what delight could I have walked thee round. 
If I could joy in aught — sweet interchange 
Of hill and valley, rivers, woods, and plains. 
Now land, now sea, and shores with forest crowned. 
Rocks, dens, and caves! But I in none of these 
Find place or refuge; and the more I see 
Pleasures about me, so much more I feel 
Torment within me, as from the hateful siege 
Of contraries; all good to me becomes 
Bane, and in Heaven much worse would be my state. 
But neither here seek I, nor in Heaven, 
To dwell, unless by maistring Heaven's Supreme; 
Nor hope to be myself less miserable 
By what I seek, but others to make such 
As I, though thereby worse to me redound. 
For only in destroying I find ease 
To my relentless thoughts; and him destroyed, 
Or won to what may work his utter loss, 
For whom ail this was made, all this will soon 
Follow, as to him linked in weal or woe: 
In woe then, that destruction wide may range! 
To me shall be the glory sole among 

264 JOHN MILTON book ix 

The Infernal Powers, in one day to have marred 

What he, Almighty styled, six nights and days 

Continued making, and who knows how long 

Before had been contriving? though perhaps 

Not longer than since I in one night freed 

From servitude inglorious well nigh half 

The Angelic Name, and thinner left the throng 

Of his adorers. He, to be avenged, 

And to repair his numbers thus impaired — 

Whether such virtue, sf)ent of old, now failed 

More Angels to create (if they at least 

Are his created), or to spite us more — 

Determined to advance into our room 

A creature formed of earth, and him endow. 

Exalted from so base original. 

With heavenly spoils, our Sf>oils. What he decreed 

He effected; Man he made, and for him built 

Magnificent this World, and Earth his seat. 

Him Lord pronounced, and, O indignity! 

Subjected to his service Angel-wings 

And flaming ministers, to watch and tend 

Their earthly charge. Of these the vigilance 

I dread, and to elude, thus wrapt in mist 

Of midnight vapour, glide obscure, and pry 

In every bush and brake, where hap may find 

The Serpent sleeping, in whose mazy folds 

To hide me, and the dark intent I bring. 

O foul descent! that I, who erst contended 

With Gods to sit the highest, am now constrained 

Into a beast, and, mixed with bestial slime. 

This essence to incarnate and imbrute. 

That to the highth of Deity aspired! 

But what will not ambition and revenge 

Descend to? Who aspires must down as low 

As high he soared, obnoxious, first or last, 

To basest things. Revenge, at first though sweet, 

Bitter ere long back on itself recoils. 

Let it; I reck not, so it light well aimed, 

Since higher I fall short, on him who next 

Provokes my envy, this new favourite 



Of Heaven, this Man of Clay, son of despite. 
Whom, us the more to spite, his Maker raised 
From dust: spite then with spite is best repaid." 

So saying, through each thicket, dank or dry, 
Like a black mist low-creeping, he held on 
His midnight search, where soonest he might find 
The Serfjent. Him fast sleeping soon he found, 
In labyrinth of many a round self-rowled. 
His head the midst, well stored with subtle wiles: 
Not yet in horrid shade or dismal den: 
Nor nocent yet, but on the grassy herb. 
Fearless, unfeared, he slept. In at his mouth 
TTie Devil entered, and his brutal sense. 
In heart or head, possessing soon inspired 
With act intelligential; but his sleep 
Disturbed not, waiting close the approach of morn. 

Now, whenas sacred light began to dawn 
In Eden on the humid flowers, that breathed 
Their morning incense, when all things that breathe 
From the Earth's great altar send up silent praise 
To the Creator, and his nostrils fill 
With grateful smell, forth came the human pair, 
And joined their vocal worship to the quire 
Of creatures wanting voice; that done, partake 
The season, prime for sweetest scents and airs; 
Then com'mune how that day they best may ply 
Their growing work — for much their work outgrew 
The hands' dispatch of two gardening so wide: 
And Eve first to her husband thus began: — 

"Adam, well may we labour still to dress 
This Garden, still to tend plant, herb, and flower. 
Our pleasant task enjoined; but, till more hands 
Aid us, the work under our labour grows. 
Luxurious by restraint: what we by day 
Lop overgrown, or prune, or prop, or bind. 
One night or two with wanton growth derides. 
Tending to wild. Thou, therefore, now advise, 
Or hear what to my mind first thoughts present. 
Let us divide our labours — thou where choice 
Leads thee, or where most needs, whether to wind 

266 JOHN MILTON book ix 

The woodbine round this arbour, or direct 
The clasping ivy where to cUtnb; while I 
In yonder spring of roses intermixed 
With myrtle find what to redress till noon. 
For, while so near each other thus all day 
Our task we choose, what wonder if so near 
Looks intervene and smiles, or objects new 
Casual discourse draw on, which intermits 
Our day's work, brought to little, though begun 
Early, and the hour of supper comes unearned!" 

To whom mild answer Adam thus returned: — 
"Sole Eve, associate sole, to me beyond 
Compiare above all living creatures dear! 
Well hast thou motioned, well thy thoughts 

How We might best fulfil the work which here 
God hath assigned us, nor of me shalt pass 
Unpraised; for nothing lovelier can be found 
In woman than to study household good. 
And good works in her husband to promote. 
Yet not so strictly hath our Lord impwsed 
Labour as to debar us when we need 
Refreshment, whether food, or talk between, 
Food of the mind, or this sweet intercourse 
Of looks and smiles; for smiles from reason flow 
To brute denied, and are of love the food — 
Love, not the lowest end of human life. 
For not to irksome toil, but to delight. 
He made us, and delight to reason joined. 
These paths and bowers doubt not but our joint 

Will keep from wilderness with ease, as wide 
As we need walk, till younger hands ere long 
Assist us. But, if much converse perhaps 
Thee satiate, to short absence I could yield; 
For solitude sometimes is best society, 
And short retirement urges sweet return. 
But other doubt possesses me, lest harm 
Befall thee, severed from me; for thou know'st 
What hath been warned us — what malicious foe, 



Envying our happiness, and of his own 
Despairing, seeks to work us woe and shame 
By sly assault and somewhere nigh at hand 
Watches, no doubt, with greedy hope to find 
His wish and best advantage, us asunder, 
Hopeless to circumvent us joined, where each 
To other speedy aid might lend at need. 
Whether his first design be to withdraw 
Our fealty from God, or to disturb 
Conjugal love — than which perhaps no bliss 
Enjoyed by us excites his envy more — 
Or this, or worse, leave not the faithful side 
That gave thee being, still shades thee and protects. 
The wife, where danger or dishonour lurks, 
Safest and seemliest by her husband stays. 
Who guards her, or with her the worst endures." 

To whom the virgin majesty of Eve, 
As one who loves, and some unkindness meets. 
With sweet austere composure thus replied: — 

"Ofispring of Heaven and Earth, and all Earth's 
That such an Enemy we have, who seeks 
Our ruin, both by thee informed I learn. 
And from the [>arting Angel overheard. 
As in a shady nook I stood behind. 
Just then returned at shut of evening flowers. 
But that thou shouldst my firmness therefore doubt 
To God or thee, because we have a foe 
May tempt it, I exf)ected not to hear. 
His violence thou fear'st not, being such 
As we, not capable of death or pain, 
Can either not receive, or can rejjel. 
His fraud is, then, thy fear; which plain infers 
Thy equal fear that my firm faith and love 
Can by his fraud be shaken or seduced: 
Thoughts, which how found they harbour in thy 

Adam! misthought of her to thee so dear?" 

To whom, with healing words, Adam replied: — 
"Daughter of God and Man, immortal Eve! — 

268 JOHN MILTON book ix 

For such thou art, from sin and blame entire — 

Not diffident of thee do I dissuade 

Thy absence from my sight, but to avoid 

The attempt itself, intended by our Foe. 

For he who tempts, though in vain, at least asperses 

The tempted with dishonour foul, supposed 

Not incorruptible of faith, not proof 

Against temptation. Thou thyself with scorn 

And anger wouldst resent the offered wrong, 

Though ineffectual found; misdeem not, then. 

If such affront I labour to avert 

From thee alone, which on us both at once 

The enemy, though bold, will hardly dare; 

Or, daring, first on me the assault shall light. 

Nor thou his malice and false guile contemn — 

Subtle he needs must be who could seduce 

Angels — nor think superfluous others* aid. 

I from the influence of thy looks receive 

Access in every virtue — in thy sight 

More wise, more watchful, stronger, if need were 

Of outward strength; while shame, thou looking on, 

Shame to be overcome or overreached, 

Would utmost vigour raise, and raised unite. 

Why shouldst not thou like sense within thee feel 

When I am present, and thy trial choose 

With me, best witness of thy virtue tried?" 

So spake domestic Adam in his care 
And matrimonial love; but Eve, who thought 
Less attributed to her faith sincere. 
Thus her reply with accent sweet renewed: — 

"If this be our condition, thus to dwell 
In narrow circuit straitened by a Foe, 
Subtle or violent, we not endued 
Single with like defence wherever met. 
How are we happy, still in fear of harm? 
But harm precedes not sin: only our Foe 
Tempting affronts us with his foul esteem 
Of our integrity: his foul esteem 
Sticks no dishonour on our front, but turns 
Foul on himself; then wherefore shunned or feared 



By us, who rather double honour gain 

From his surmise proved false, find peace within, 

Favour from Heaven, our witness, from the event? 

And what is faith, love, virtue, unassayed 

Alone, without exterior help sustained? 

Let us not then suspect our happy state 

Left so imf)erfet by the Maker wise 

As not secure to single or combined. 

Frail is our happiness, if this be so; 

And Eden were no Eden, thus exposed." 

To whom thus Adam fervently replied: — 
"O Woman, best are all things as the will 
Of God ordained them; his creating hand 
Nothing imperfet or deficient left 
Of all that he created — much less Man, 
Or aught that might his happy state secure. 
Secure from outward force. Within himself 
The danger lies, yet lies within his power; 
Against his will he can receive no harm. 
But God left free the Will; for what obeys 
Reason is free; and Reason he made right. 
But bid her well beware, and still erect, 
Lest, by some fair appearing good surprised. 
She dictate false, and misinform the Will 
To do what God expressly hath forbid. 
Not then mistrust, but tender love, enjoins 
That I should mind thee oft; and mind thou me, 
Firm we subsist, yet possible to swerve. 
Since Reason not impossibly may meet 
Some specious object by the foe suborned. 
And fall into deception unaware, 
Not keeping strictest watch, as she was warned. 
Seek not temptation, then, which to avoid 
Were better, and most likely if from me 
Thou sever not: trial will come unsought. 
Wouldst thou approve thy constancy, approve 
First thy obedience; the other who can know. 
Not seeing thee attempted, who attest? 
But, if thou think trial unsought may find 
Us both securer than thus warned thou seem'st, 

270 JOHN MILTON book ix 

Go; for thy stay, not free, absents thee more. 

Go in thy native innocence; rely 

On what thou hast of virtue; summon all; 

For God towards thee hath done his part: do thine." 

So spake the Patriarch of Mankind; but Eve 
Persisted; yet submiss, though last, replied: — 

"With thy permission, then, and thus forewarned, 
Chiefly by what thy own last reasoning words 
Touched only, that our trial, when least sought, 
May find us both perhaps far less prepared. 
The willinger I go, nor much expect 
A Foe so proud will first the weaker seek; 
So bent, the more shall shame him his repulse." 

Thus saying, from her husband's hand her hand 
Soft she withdrew, and, like a wood-nymph light. 
Oread or Dryad, or of Delia's train. 
Betook her to the groves, but Delia's self 
In gait surpassed and goddess-like depwrt. 
Though not as she with bow and quiver armed. 
But with such gardening tools as Art, yet rude. 
Guiltless of fire had formed, or Angels brought. 
To Pales, or Pomona, thus adorned, 
Likest she seemed — Pomona when she fled 
Vertumnus — or to Ceres in her prime. 
Yet virgin of Proserpina from Jove. 
Her long with ardent look his eye pursued 
Delighted, but desiring more her stay. 
Oft he to her his charge of quick return 
Repeated; she to him as oft engaged 
To be returned by noon amid the bower. 
And all things in best order to invite 
Noontide repast, or afternoon's repose. 
O much deceived, much failing, hapless Eve, 
Of thy presumed return! event perverse! 
Thou never from that hour in Paradise 
Found'st either sweet repast or sound repose; 
Such ambush, hid among sweet flowers and shades. 
Waited, with hellish rancour imminent. 
To intercept thy way, or send thee back 
Des[>oiled of innocence, of faith, of bliss. 


For now, and since first break of dawn, the Fiend, 

Mere Serpent in appearance, forth was come, 

And on his quest where Hkeliest he might find 

The only two of mankind, but in them 

The whole included race, his purposed prey. 

In bower and field he sought, where any tuft 

Of grove or garden-plot more pleasant lay, 

Their tendance or plantation for delight; 

By fountain or by shady rivulet 

He sought them both, but wished his hap might find 

Eve separate; he wished, but not with hope 

Of what so seldom chanced, when to his wish, 

Beyond his hop*. Eve separate he spies. 

Veiled in a cloud of fragrance, where she stood. 

Half-spied, so thick the roses bushing round 

About her glowed, oft stooping to support 

Each flower of tender stalk, whose head, though gay 

Carnation, purple, azure, or specked with gold. 

Hung drooping unsustained. Them she upstays 

Gently with myrde band, mindless the while 

Herself, though fairest unsupported flower. 

From her best prop so far, and storm so nigh. 

Nearer he drew, and many a walk traversed 

Of stateliest covert, cedar, pine, or palm; 

Then voluble and bold, now hid, now seen 

Among thick-woven arborets, and flowers 

Imbordered on each bank, the hand of Eve: 

Spot more delicious than those gardens feigned 

Or of revived Adonis, or renowned 

Alcinoiis, host of old Laertes' son, 

Or that, not mystic, where the sapient king 

Held dalliance with his fair Egyptian spouse. 

Much he the place admired, the jserson more. 

As one who, long in populous city pent. 

Where houses thick and sewers annoy the air. 

Forth issuing on a summer's morn, to breathe 

Among the pleasant villages and farms 

Adjoined, from each thing met conceives delight — 

The smell of grain, or tedded grass, or kine. 

Or dairy, each rural sight, each rural sound — 

272 JOHN MILTON book ix 

If chance with nymph-like step fair virgin pass. 
What pleasing seemed for her now pleases more, 
She most, and in her look sums all delight: 
Such pleasure took the Serpent to behold 
This flowery plat, the sweet recess of Eve 
Thus early, thus alone. Her heavenly form 
Angelic, but more soft and feminine. 
Her graceful innocence, her every air 
Of gesture or least action, overawed 
His malice, and with rapine sweet bereaved 
His fierceness of the fierce intent it brought. 
That space the Evil One abstracted stood 
From his own evil, and for the time remained 
Stupidly good, of enmity disarmed. 
Of guile, of hate, of envy, of revenge. 
But the hot hell that always in him burns, 
Though in mid Heaven, soon ended his delight. 
And tortures him now more, the more he sees 
Of pleasure not for him ordained. Then soon 
Fierce hate he recollects, and all his thoughts 
Of mischief, gratulating, thus excites: — 
"Thoughts, whither have ye led me? with what 
Compulsion thus transported to forget 
What hither brought us? hate, not love, nor hope 
Of Paradise for Hell, here to taste 
Of pleasure, but all pleasure to destroy, 
Save what is in destroying; other joy 
To me is lost. Then let me not let pass 
Occasion which now smiles. Behold alone 
The Woman, opportune to all attempts — 
Her husband, for I view far round, not nigh, 
Whose higher intellectual more I shun. 
And strength, of courage haughty, and of limb 
Heroic built, though of terrestrial mould; 
Foe not informidable, exempt from wound — 
I not; so much hath Hell debased, and pain 
Infeebled me, to what I was in Heaven. 
She fair, divinely fair, fit love for Gods, 
Not terrible, though terror be in love, 


And beauty, not approached by stronger hate. 
Hate stronger under show of love well feigned — 
The way which to her ruin now I tend." 

So spake the Enemy of Mankind, enclosed 
In serpent, inmate bad, and toward Eve 
Addressed his way — not with indented wave, 
Prone on the ground, as since, but on his rear, 
Circular base of rising folds, that towered 
Fold above fold, a surging maze; his head 
Crested aloft, and carbuncle his eyes; 
With burnished neck of verdant gold, erect 
Amidst his circling spires, that on the grass 
Floated redundant. Pleasing was his shape 
And lovely; never since the serpent kind 
Lovelier — not those that in Illyria changed 
Hermione and Cadmus, or the God 
In Epidaurus; nor to which transformed 
Ammonian Jove, or Capitoline, was seen. 
He with Olympias, this with her who bore 
Scipio, the highth of Rome. With tract oblique 
At first, as one who sought access but feared 
To interrupt, sidelong he works his way. 
As when a ship, by skilful steersman wrought 
Nigh river's mouth or foreland, where the wind 
Veers oft, as oft so steers, and shifts her sail, 
So varied he, and of his tortuous train 
Curled many a wanton wreath in sight of Eve, 
To lure her eye. She, busied, heard the sound 
Of rustling leaves, but minded not, as used 
To such disport before her through the field 
From every beast, more duteous at her call 
Than at Circean call the herd disguised. 
He, bolder now, uncalled before her stood, 
But as in gaze admiring. Oft he bowed 
His turret crest and sleek enamelled neck, 
Fawning, and licked the ground whereon she trod. 
His gentle dumb expression turned at length 
The eye of Eve to mark his play; he, glad 
Of her attention gained, with serpent-tongue 
Organic, or impulse of vocal air, 

274 JOHN MILTON book ix 

His fraudulent temptation thus began: — 

"Wonder not, sovran mistress (if perhaps 
Thou canst who art sole wonder), much less arm 
Thy looks, the heaven of mildness, with disdain. 
Displeased that I approach thee thus, and gaze 
Insatiate, I thus single, nor have feared 
Thy awful brow, more awful thus retired. 
Fairest resemblance of thy Maker fair. 
Thee all things living gaze on, all things thine 
By gift, and thy celestial beauty adore. 
With ravishment beheld — there best beheld 
Where universally admired. But here. 
In this enclosure wild, these beasts among, 
Beholders rude, and shallow to discern 
Half what in thee is fair, one man except. 
Who sees thee (and what is one?) who shouldst 

be seen 
A Goddess among Gods, adored and served 
By Angels numberless, thy daily train?" 

So glozed the Tempter, and his proem tuned. 
Into the heart of Eve his words made way. 
Though at the voice much marvelling; at length, 
Not unamazed, she thus in answer spake: — 

"What may this mean? Language of Man pro- 
By tongue of brute, and human sense expressed! 
The first at least of these I thought denied 
To beasts, whom God on their creation-day 
Created mute to all articulate sound; 
The latter I demur, for in their looks 
Much reason, and in their actions, oft appears. 
Thee, Serpent, subtlest beast of all the field 
I knew, but not with human voice endued; 
Redouble, then, this miracle, and say. 
How cam'st thou speakable of mute, and how 
To me so friendly grown above the rest 
Of brutal kind that daily are in sight: 
Say, for such wonder claims attention due." 

To whom the guileful Tempter thus replied: — 
"Empress of this fair World, resplendent Eve! 


Easy to me it is to tell thee all 

What thou command'st, and right thou shouldst 

be obeyed. 
I was at first as other beasts that graze 
The trodden herb, of abject thoughts and low, 
As was my food, nor aught but food discerned 
Or sex, and apprehended nothing high: 
Till on a day, roving the field, I chanced 
A goodly tree far distant to behold, 
Loaden with fruit of fairest colours mixed, 
Ruddy and gold. I nearer drew to gaze; 
When from the boughs a savoury odour blown. 
Grateful to appetite, more pleased my sense 
Than smell of sweetest fennel, or the teats 
Of ewe or goat dropping with milk at even, 
Unsucked of lamb or kid, that tend their play. 
To satisfy the sharp desire I had 
Of tasting those fair Apples, I resolved 
Not to defer; hunger and thirst at once. 
Powerful persuaders, quickened at the scent 
Of that alluring fruit, urged me so keen. 
About the mossy trunk I wound me soon; 
For, high from ground, the branches would 

Thy utmost reach, or Adam's; round the Tree 
All other beasts that saw, with like desire 
Longing and envying stood, but could not reach. 
Amid the tree now got, where plenty hung 
Tempting so nigh, to pluck and eat my fill 
I spared not; for such pleasure till that hour 
At feed or fountain never had I found. 
Sated at length, ere long I might perceive 
Strange alteration in me, to degree 
Of Reason in my inward pxjwers, and Speech 
Wanted not long, though to this shape retained. 
Thenceforth to speculations high or deep 
I turned my thoughts, and with capacious mind 
Considered all things visible in Heaven, 
Or Earth, or Middle, all things fair and good. 
But all that fair and good in thy Divine 

276 JOHN MILTON book IX 

Semblance, and in thy beauty's heavenly ray. 
United I beheld — no fair to thine 
Equivalent or second; which comfjelled 
Me thus, though importune perhaps, to come 
And gaze, and worship thee of right declared 
Sovran of creatures, universal Dame!" 

So talked the spirited sly Snake; and Eve, 
Yet more amazed, unwary thus replied: — 

"Serpent, thy overpraising leaves in doubt 
The virtue of that Fruit, in thee first proved. 
But say, where grows the Tree? from hence how 

For many are the trees of God that grow 
In Paradise, and various, yet unknown 
To us; in such abundance lies our choice 
As leaves a greater store of fruit untouched. 
Still hanging incorruptible, till men 
Grow up to their provision, and more hands 
Help to disburden Nature of her bearth." 

To whom the wily Adder, blithe and glad; — 
"Empress, the way is ready, and not long — 
Beyond a row of myrdes, on a flat. 
Fast by a fountain, one small thicket past 
Of blowing myrrh and balm. If thou accept 
My conduct, I can bring thee thither soon." 

"Lead, then," said Eve. He, leading, swifdy rowled 
In tangles, and made intricate seem straight. 
To mischief swift. Hope elevates, and joy 
Brightens his crest. As when a wandering fire. 
Compact of unctuous vapour, which the night 
Condenses, and the cold invirons round. 
Kindled through agitation to a flame 
(Which oft, they say, some evil Spirit attends), 
Hovering and blazing with delusive light. 
Misleads the amazed night-wanderer from his way 
To bogs and mires, and oft through pond or pool. 
There swallowed up and lost, from succour far: 
So glistered the dire Snake, and into fraud 
Led Eve, our credulous mother, to the Tree 
Of Prohibition, root of all our woe; 


Which when she saw, thus to her guide she spake: — 

"Serpent, we might have spared our coming hither, 
Fruitless to me, though fruit be here to excess. 
The credit of whose virtue rest with thee — 
Wondrous, indeed, if cause of such effects! 
But of this tree we may not taste nor touch; 
God so commanded, and left that command 
Sole daughter of his voice: the rest, we live 
Law to ourselves; our Reason is our Law." 

To whom the Tempter guilefully replied: — 
"Indeed! Hath God then said that of the fruit 
Of all these garden-trees ye shall not eat, 
Yet lords declared of all in Earth or Air?" 

To whom thus Eve, yet sinless: — "Of the fruit 
Of each tree in the garden we may eat; 
But of the fruit of this fair Tree, amidst 
The Garden, God hath said, 'Ye shall not eat 
Thereof, nor shall ye touch it, lest ye die.' " 

She scarce had said, though brief, when now more 
The Tempter, but, with shew of zeal and love 
To Man, and indignation at his wrong. 
New part puts on, and, as to passion moved. 
Fluctuates disturbed, yet comely, and in act 
Raised, as of some great matter to begin. 
As when of old some orator renowned 
In Athens or free Rome, where eloquence 
Flourished, since mute, to some great cause addressed, 
Stood in himself collected, while each part, 
Nfotion, each act, won audience ere the tongue 
Sometimes in highth began, as no delay 
Of preface brooking through his zeal of right: 
So standing, moving, or to highth upgrown. 
The Tempter, all impassioned, thus began: — 
"O sacred, wise, and wisdom-giving Plant, 
Mother of science! now I feel thy pwwer 
Within me clear, not only to discern 
Things in their causes, but to trace the ways 
Of highest agents, deemed however wise. 
Queen of this Universe! do not believe 


Those rigid threats of death. Ye shall not die. 

How should ye? By the Fruit? it gives you life 

To knowledge. By the Threatener? look on me. 

Me who have touched and tasted, yet both live, 

And life more perfet have attained than Fate 

Meant me, by venturing higher than my lot. 

Shall that be shut to Man which to the Beast 

Is open? or will God incense his ire 

For such a petty trespass, and not praise 

Rather your dauntless virtue, whom the pain 

Of death denounced, whatever thing Death be. 

Deterred not from achieving what might lead 

To happier life, knowledge of Good and Evil ? 

Of good, how just! of evil — if what is evil 

Be real, why not known, since easier shunned? 

God, therefore, cannot hurt ye and be just; 

Not just, not God; not feared then, nor obeyed: 

Your fear itself of death removes the fear. 

Why, then, was this forbid ? Why but to awe, 

Why but to keep ye low and ignorant. 

His worshipers? He knows that in the day 

Ye eat thereof your eyes, that seem so clear. 

Yet are but dim, shall perfedy be then 

Opened and cleared, and ye shall be as Gods, 

Knowing both good and evil, as they know. 

That ye should be as Gods, since I as Man, 

Internal Man, is but proportion meet — 

I, of brute, human; ye, of human, Gods. 

So ye shall die perhaps, by putting off 

Human, to put on Gods — death to be wished. 

Though threatened, which no worse than this can 

And what are Gods, that Man may not become 
As they, participating godlike food? 
The Gods are first, and that advantage use 
On our belief, that all from them proceeds. 
I question it; for this fair Earth I see. 
Warmed by the Sun, producing every kind; 
Them nothing. If they all things, who enclosed 
Knowledge of Good and Evil in this Tree, 


That whoso eats thereof forthwith attains 
Wisdom without their leave? and wherein lies 
The offence, that Man should thus attain to know? 
What can your knowledge hurt him, or this Tree 
Impart against his will, if all be his? 
Or is it envy? and can envy dwell 
In Heavenly breasts? These, these and many more 
Causes import your need of this fair Fruit. 
Goddess humane, reach, then, and freely taste!" 

He ended; and his words, replete with guile. 
Into her heart too easy entrance won. 
Fixed on the Fruit she gazed, which to behold 
Might tempt alone; and in her ears the sound 
Yet rung of his persuasive words, impregned 
With reason, to her seeming, and with truth. 
Meanwhile the hour of noon drew on, and waked 
An eager appetite, raised by the smell 
So savoury of that Fruit, which with desire, 
Inclinable now grown to touch or taste. 
Solicited her longing eye; yet first. 
Pausing a while, thus to herself she mused: — 

"Great are thy virtues, doubdess, best of Fruits, 
Though kept from Man, and worthy to be admired, 
Whose taste, too long forborne, at first assay 
Gave elocution to the mute, and taught 
The tongue not made for speech to speak thy praise. 
Thy praise he also who forbids thy use 
Conceals not from us, naming thee the Tree 
Of Knowledge, knowledge both of Good and Evil; 
Forbids us then to taste. But his forbidding 
Commends thee more, while it infers the good 
By thee communicated, and our want; 
For good unknown sure is not bad, or, had 
And yet unknown, is as not had at all. 
In plain, then, what forbids he but to know? 
Forbids us good, forbids us to be wise! 
Such prohibitions bind not. But, if Death 
Bind us with after-bands, what profits then 
Our inward freedom? In the day we eat 
Of this fair Fruit, our doom is we shall die! 

280 JOHN MILTON book IX 

How dies the Serpent? He hath eaten, and lives, 

And knows, and sf>eaks, and reasons, and discerns, 

Irrational till then. For us alone 

Was death invented? or to us denied 

This intellectual food, for beasts reserved? 

For beasts it seems; yet that one beast which first 

Hath tasted envies not, but brings with joy 

The good befallen him, author unsuspect. 

Friendly to Man, far from deceit or guile. 

What fear I, then? rather, what know to fear 

Under this ignorance of Good and Evil, 

Of God or Death, of law or penalty? 

Here grows the cure of all, this Fruit divine, 

Fair to the eye, inviting to the taste. 

Of virtue to make wise. What hinders, then, 

To reach, and feed at once both body and mind?" 

So saying, her rash hand in evil hour 
Forth-reaching to the Fruit, she plucked, she eat. 
Earth felt the wound, and Nature from her seat. 
Sighing through all her works, gave signs of woe 
That all was lost. Back to the thicket slunk 
The guilty Serpent, and well might, for Eve, 
Intent now only on her taste, naught else 
Regarded; such delight till then, as seemed. 
In fruit she never tasted, whether true, 
Or fancied so through expectation high 
Of knowledge; nor was Godhead from her thought. 
Greedily she ingorged without restraint. 
And knew not eating death. Satiate at length. 
And hightened as with wine, jocond and boon, 
Thus to herself she pleasingly began: — 

"O sovran, virtuous, precious of all trees 
In Paradise! of operation blest 
To sapience, hitherto obscured, infamed. 
And thy fair Fruit let hang, as to no end 
Created! but henceforth my early care. 
Not without song, each morning, and due praise. 
Shall tend thee, and the fertil burden ease 
Of thy full branches, offered free to all; 
Till, dieted by thee, I grow mature 


In knowledge, as the Gods who all things know, 
Though others envy what they cannot give — 
For, had the gift been theirs, it had not here 
Thus grown! Experience, next to thee I owe. 
Best guide: not following thee, I had remained 
In ignorance; thou open'st Wisdom's way, 
And giv'st access, though secret she retire. 
And I perhaps am secret: Heaven is high — 
High, and remote to see from thence distinct 
Each thing on Earth; and other care perhaps 
May have diverted from continual watch 
Our great Forbidder, safe with all his Spies 
About him. But to Adam in what sort 
Shall I apf)ear? Shall I to him make known 
As yet my change, and give him to partake 
Full happiness with me, or rather not. 
But keep the odds of knowledge in my power 
Without cojjartner? so to add what wants 
In female sex, the more to draw his love, 
And render me more equal, and perhaps — 
A thing not undesirable — sometime 
Superior; for, inferior, who is free? 
This may be well; but what if God have seen, 
And death ensue? Then I shall be no more; 
And Adam, wedded to another Eve, 
Shall live with her enjoying, I extinct! 
A death to think! Confirmed, then, I resolve 
Adam shall share with me in bliss or woe. 
So dear I love him that with him all deaths 
I could endure, without him live no life." 

So saying, from the Tree her step she turned, 
But first low reverence done, as to the Power 
That dwelt within, whose presence had infused 
Into the plant sciential sap, derived 
From nectar, drink of Gods. Adam the while. 
Waiting desirous her return, had wove 
Of choicest flowers a garland, to adorn 
Her tresses, and her rural labours crown. 
As reajjers oft are wont their harvest-queen. 
Great joy he promised to his thoughts, and new 

282 JOHN MILTON book :x 

Solace in her return, so long delayed; 

Yet oft his heart, divine of something ill, 

Misgave him. He the faltering measure felt, 

And forth to meet her went, the way she took 

That morn when first they parted. By the Tree 

Of Knowledge he must pass; there he her met. 

Scarce from the Tree returning; in her hand 

A bough of fairest fruit, that downy smiled, 

New gathered, and ambrosial smell diffused. 

To him she hasted; in her face excuse 

Came prologue, and apology to prompt, 

Which, with bland words at will, she thus addressed: — 

"Hast thou not wondered, Adam, at my stay.' 
Thee I have missed, and thought it long, deprived 
Thy presence — agony of love till now 
Not felt, nor shall be twice; for never more 
Mean I to try, what rash untried I sought, 
The pain of absence from thy sight. But strange 
Hath been the cause, and wonderful to hear. 
Tliis Tree is not, as we are told, a Tree 
Of danger tasted, nor to evil unknown 
Opening the way, but of divine effect 
To open eyes, and make them Gods who taste; 
And hath been tasted such. The Serpent wise. 
Or not restrained as we, or not obeying. 
Hath eaten of the Fruit, and is become 
Not dead, as we are threatened, but thenceforth 
Endued with human voice and human sense. 
Reasoning to admiration, and with me 
Persuasively hath so prevailed that I 
Have also tasted, and have also found 
The effects to correspond^-opener mine eyes, 
Dim erst, dilated spirits, ampler heart, 
And growing up to Godhead; which for thee 
Chiefly I sought, without thee can despise. 
For bliss, as thou hast part, to me is bliss; 
Tedious, unshared with thee, and odious soon. 
Thou, therefore, also taste, that equal lot 
May join us, equal joy, as equal love; 
Lest, thou not tasting, different degree 


Disjoin us, and I then too late renounce 
Deity for thee, when fate will not permit." 

Thus Eve with countenance blithe her story told; 
But in her cheek distemf)er flushing glowed. 
On the other side, Adam, soon as he heard 
The fatal trespass done by Eve, amazed, 
Astonied stood and blank, while horror chill 
Ran through his veins, and all his joints relaxed. 
From his slack hand the garland wreathed for Eve 
Down dropt, and all the faded roses shed. 
Sjjeechless he stood and pale, till thus at length 
First to himself he inward silence broke: — 

"O fairest of Creation, last and best 
Of all God's works, creature in whom excelled 
Whatever can to sight or thought be formed, 
Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet! 
How art thou lost! how on a sudden lost. 
Defaced, deflowered, and now to death devote! 
Rather, how hast thou yielded to transgress 
The strict forbiddance, how to violate 
The sacred Fruit forbidden? Some cursed fraud 
Of enemy hath beguiled thee, yet unknown. 
And me with thee hath ruined; for with thee 
Certain my resolution is to die. 
How can I live without thee? how forgo 
Thy sweet converse, and love so dearly joined, 
To live again in these wild woods forlorn? 
Should God create another Eve, and I 
Another rib afford, yet loss of thee 
Would never from my heart. No, no! I feel 
The link of nature draw me: flesh of flesh. 
Bone of my bone thou art, and from thy state 
Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe." 

So having said, as one from sad dismay 
Recomforted, and, after thoughts disturbed. 
Submitting to what seemed remediless. 
Thus in calm mood his words to Eve he turned: — 

"Bold deed thou hast presumed, adventrous Eve, 
And peril great provoked, who thus hast dared 
Had it been only coveting to eye 


That sacred Food, sacred to abstinence; 

Much more to taste it, under ban to touch. 

But past who can recall, or done undo? 

Not God Omnipotent, nor Fate! Yet so 

Perhaps thou shalt not die; perhaps the fact 

Is not so hainous now — foretasted Fruit, 

Profaned first by the Serpent, by him first 

Made common and unhallowed ere our taste, 

Nor yet on him found deadly. He yet lives — 

Lives, as thou saidst, and gains to live, as Man, 

Higher degree of life: inducement strong 

To us, as likely, tasting, to attain 

Proportional ascent; which cannot be 

But to be Gods, or Angels, Demi-gods. 

Nor can I think that God, Creator wise, 

Though threatening, will in earnest so destroy 

Us, his prime creatures, dignified so high. 

Set over all his works; which, in our fall, 

For us created, needs with us must fail, 

Dependent made. So God shall uncreate. 

Be frustrate, do, undo, and labour lose — 

Not well conceived of God; who, though his power 

Creation could repeat, yet would be loth 

Us to abolish, lest the Adversary 

Triumph and say: 'Fickle their state whom God 

Most favours; who can please him long? Me first 

He ruined, now Mankind; whom will he next?' — 

Matter of scorn not to be given the Foe. 

However, I with thee have fixed my lot. 

Certain to undergo like doom. If death 

Consort with thee, death is to me as life; 

So forcible within my heart I feel 

The bond of Nature draw me to my own — 

My own is thee; for what thou art is mine. 

Our state cannot be severed; we are one. 

One flesh; to lose thee were to lose myself." 

So Adam; and thus Eve to him replied: — 
"O glorious trial of exceeding love. 
Illustrious evidence, example high! 
Ingaging me to emulate; but, short 


Of thy perfection, how shall I attain, 

Adam? from whose dear side I boast me sprung, 

And gladly of our union hear thee speak, 

One heart, one soul in both; whereof good proof 

This day affords, declaring thee resolved, 

Rather than death, or aught than death more dread, 

Shall separate us, linked in love so dear, 

To undergo with me one guilt, one crime. 

If any be, of tasting this fair Fruit; 

Whose virtue (for of good still good proceeds. 

Direct, or by occasion) hath presented 

This happy trial of thy love, which else 

So eminendy never had been known. 

Were it I thought death menaced would ensue 

This my attempt, I would sustain alone 

The worst, and not persuade thee — rather die 

Deserted than oblige thee with a fact 

Pernicious to thy peace, chiefly assured 

Remarkably so late of thy so true. 

So faithful love unequalled. But I feel 

Far otherwise the event — not death, but life 

Augmented, opened eyes, new hopes, new joys. 

Taste so divine that what of sweet before 

Hath touched my sense flat seems to this and harsh. 

On my experience, Adam, freely taste. 

And fear of death deliver to the winds." 

So saying, she embraced him, and for joy 
Tenderly wept, much won that he his love 
Had so ennobled as of choice to incur 
Divine displeasure for her sake, or death. 
In recompense (for such compliance bad 
Such recompense best merits), from the bough 
She gave him of that fair enticing Fruit 
With liberal hand. He scrupled not to eat, 
Against his better knowledge, not deceived. 
But fondly overcome with female charm. 
Earth trembled from her entrails, as again 
In pangs, and Nature gave a second groan; 
Sky loured, and, muttering thunder, some sad drops 
Wept at completing of the mortal Sin 

286 JOHN MILTON book ix 

Original; while Adam took no thought, 

Elating his fill, nor Eve to iterate 

Her former trespass feared, the more to soothe 

Him with her loved society; that now, 

As with new wine intoxicated both, 

They swim in mirth, and fancy that they feel 

Divinity within them breeding wings 

Wherewith to scorn the E^rth. But that false Fruit 

Far other operation first displayed. 

Carnal desire inflaming. He on Eve 

Began to cast lascivious eyes; she him 

As wantonly repaid; in lust they burn. 

Till Adam thus 'gan Eve to dalliance move: — 

"Eve, now I see thou art exact of taste 
And elegant — of sapience no small part; 
Since to each meaning savour we apply, 
And palate call judicious. I the praise 
Yield thee; so well this day thou hast purveyed. 
Much pleasure we have lost, while we abstained 
From this delightful Fruit, nor known till now 
True relish, tasting. If such pleasure be 
In things to us forbidden, it might be wished 
For this one Tree had been forbidden ten. 
But come; so well refreshed, now let us play, 
As meet is, after such delicious fare; 
For never did thy beauty, since the day 
I saw thee first and wedded thee, adorned 
With all f)erfections, so enflame my sense 
With ardour to enjoy thee, fairer now 
Than ever — bounty of this virtuous Tree!" 

So said he, and forbore not glance or toy 
Of amorous intent, well understood 
Of Eve, whose eye darted contagious fire. 
Her hand he seized, and to a shady bank, 
Thick overhead with verdant roof imbowered, 
He led her, nothing loth; flowers were the couch, 
Pansies, and violets, and asphodel. 
And hyacinth — Earth's freshest, softest lap. 
There they their fill of love and love's disport 
Took largely, of their mutual gilt the seal, 



The solace of their sin, till dewy sleep 

Oppressed them, wearied with their amorous play. 

Soon as the force of that fallacious Fruit, 
That with exhilarating vapour bland 
About their spirits had played, and inmost fx)wers 
Made err, was now exhaled, and grosser sleep, 
Bred of unkindly fumes, with conscious dreams 
Incumbered, now had left them, up they rose 
As from unrest, and, each the other viewing, 
Soon found their eyes how opened, and their minds 
How darkened. Innocence, that as a veil 
Had shadowed them from knowing ill, was gone; 
Just confidence, and native righteousness. 
And honour, from about them, naked left 
To guilty Shame: he covered, but his robe 
Uncovered more. So rose the Danite strong, 
Herculean Samson, from the harlot-lap 
Of Philistean Dalilah, and waked 
Shorn of his strength; they destitute and bare 
Of all their virtue. Silent, and in face 
Confounded, long they sat, as strucken mute; 
Till Adam, though not less than Eve abashed. 
At length gave utterance to these words constrained: — 

"O Eve, in evil hour thou didst give ear 
To that false Worm, of whomsoever taught 
To counterfeit Man's voice — true in our fall, 
False in our promised rising; since our eyes 
Opened we find indeed, and find we know 
Both good and evil, good lost and evil got: 
Bad Fruit of Knowledge, if this be to know, 
Which leaves us naked thus, of honour void. 
Of innocence, of faith, of purity, 
Our wonted ornaments now soiled and stained, 
And in our faces evident the signs 
Of foul concupiscence; whence evil store. 
Even shame, the last of evils; of the first 
Be sure then. How shall I behold the face 
Henceforth of God or Angel, erst with joy 
And rapture so oft beheld? Those Heavenly Shapes 
Will dazzle now this earthly with their blaze 

288 JOHN MILTON book ix 

Insuflerably bright. Oh, might I here 
In solitude live savage, in some glade 
Obscured, where highest woods, impenetrable 
To star or sunlight, spread their umbrage broad, 
And brown as evening. Cover me, ye pines! 
Ye cedars, with innumerable boughs 
Hide me, where I may never see them more! 
But let us now, as in bad plight, devise 
What best may, for the present, serve to hide 
The parts of each other that seem most 
To shame obnoxious, and unseemliest seen — 
Some tree, whose broad smooth leaves, together sewed, 
And girded on our loins, may cover round 
Those middle parts, that this new comer. Shame, 
There sit not, and reproach us as unclean." 
So counselled he, and both together went 
Into the thickest wood. There soon they choose 
The fig tree — not that kind for fruit renowned. 
But such as, at this day, to Indians known. 
In Malabar or Decan spreads her arms 
Braunching so broad and long that in the ground 
The bended twigs take root, and daughters grow 
About the mother tree, a pillared shade 
High overarched, and echoing walks between: 
There oft the Indian herdsman, shunning heat. 
Shelters in cool, and tends his pasturing herds 
At loo[>-holes cut through thickest shade. Those leaves 
They gathered, broad as Amazonian targe. 
And with what skill they had together sewed. 
To gird their waist — vain covering, if to hide 
Their guilt and dreaded shame! O how unlike 
To that first naked glory! Such of late 
Columbus found the American, so girt 
With feathered cincture, naked else and wild. 
Among the trees on isles and woody shores. 
Thus fenced, and, as they thought, their shame in part 
Covered, but not at rest or ease of mind. 
They sat them down to weep. Nor only tears 
Rained at their eyes, but high winds worse within 
Began to rise, high passions — anger, hate. 


Mistrust, suspicion, discord — and shook sore 
Their inward state of mind, calm region once 
And full of peace, now tost and turbulent: 
For Understanding ruled not, and the Will 
Heard not her lore, both in subjection now 
To sensual Appetite, who, from beneath 
Usurping over sovran Reason, claimed 
Superior sway. From thus distemjjered breast 
Adam, estranged in look and altered style, 
Speech intermitted thus to Eve renewed: — 

"Would thou hadst hearkened to my words, and stayed 
With me, as I besought thee, when that strange 
Desire of wandering, this unhappy morn, 
I know not whence possessed thee! We had then 
Remained still happy — not, as now, despoiled 
Of all our good, shamed, naked, miserable! 
Let none henceforth seek needless cause to approve 
The faith they owe; when earnestly they seek 
Such proof, conclude they then begin to fail." 
To whom, soon moved with touch of blame, thus 
Eve: — 
"What words have p>assed thy lips, Adam severe.' 
Imput'st thou that to my default, or will 
Of wandering, as thou call'st it, which who knows 
But might as ill have happened thou being by, 
Or to thyself perhaps? Hadst thou been there. 
Or here the attempt, thou couldst not have discerned 
Fraud in the Serjjent, speaking as he spake; 
No ground of enmity between us known 
Why he should mean me ill or seek to harm. 
Was I to have never parted from thy side? 
As good have grown there still, a lifeless rib. 
Being as I am, why didst not thou, the Head, 
Command me absolutely not to go. 
Going into such danger, as thou saidst? 
Too facile then, thou didst not much gainsay. 
Nay, didst permit, approve, and fair dismiss. 
Hadst thou been firm and fixed in thy dissent. 
Neither had I transgressed, nor thou with me." 

290 JOHN MILTON book x 

"Is this the love, is this the recompense 

Of mine to thee, ingrateful Eve, expressed 

Immutable when thou wert lost, not I — 

Who might have lived, and joyed immortal bliss, 

Yet willingly chose rather death with thee? 

And am I now upbraided as the cause 

Of thy transgressing? not enough severe. 

It seems, in thy restraint! What could I more? 

I warned thee, I admonished thee, foretold 

The danger, and the lurking Enemy 

That lay in wait; beyond this had been force. 

And force ujx)n free will hath here no place. 

But confidence then bore thee on, secure 

Either to meet no danger, or to find 

Matter of glorious trial; and perhaps 

I also erred in overmuch admiring 

What seemed in thee so pcttel that I thought 

No evil durst attempt thee. But I rue 

That error now, which is become my crime, 

And thou the accuser. Thus it shall befall 

Him who, to worth in women overtrusting, 

Lets her will rule: restraint she will not brook; 

And, left to herself, if evil thence ensue, 

She first his weak indulgence will accuse." 

Thus they in mutual accusation spent 
The fruidess hours, but neither self-condemning; 
And of their vain contest' appeared no end. 


The Argument. — Man's transgression known, the guardian Angels forsake Paradise, 
and return up to Heaven to approve their vigilance, and are approved; 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, 
clothes them both, and reascends. Sin and Death, sitting till then at the gates of Hell, 
by wondrous sympathy feeling the success of Satan in this new World, and the sin 
by Man there committed, resolve to sit no longer confined in Hell, but to follow 
Satan, their 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; their mutual gratulation. Satan arrives at Pan- 
demonium; in full assembly relates, with boasting, his success against Man; instead of 
applause is entertained with a general hiss by all his audience, transformed, with 
himself also, suddenly into Serpents, according to his doom given in Paradise; then. 


deluded with a shew of the Forbidden Tree springing up before them, they, Rreedily 
reaching to take of the Fruit, chew dust and bitter ashes. The proceedings of Sin and 
Death: God foretells 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 fallen condition, 
heavily bewails, rejects the condolement of Eve; she persists, and at length appeases 
him: then, to evade the curse likely to fall on their offspring, proposes to Adam 
violent ways; which he approves not, but, conceiving better hope, puts her in mind 
of the late promise made them, that her seed should be revenged on the Serpent, 
and exhorts her, with him, to seek peace of the offended Deity by repentance and 

Meanwhile the hainous and despiteful act 

Of Satan done in Paradise, and how 

He, in the Serjjent, had perverted Eve, 

Her husband she, to taste the fatal Fruit, 

Was known in Heaven; for what can scape the eye 

Of God all-seeing, or deceive his heart 

Omniscient.' who, in all things wise and just, 

Hindered not Satan to attempt the mind 

Of Man, with strength entire and free will armed 

Complete to have discovered and repulsed 

Whatever wiles of foe or seeming friend. 

For still they knew, and ought to have still remembered, 

The high injunction not to taste that Fruit, 

Whoever tempted; which they not obeying 

Incurred (what could they less.'') the penalty, 

And, manifold in sin, deserved to fall. 

Up into Heaven from Paradise in haste 

The Angelic Guards ascended, mute and sad 

For Man; for of his state by this they knew. 

Much wondering how the subtle Fiend had stolen 

Entrance unseen. Soon as the unwelcome news 

From Earth arrived at Heaven-gate, displeased 

All were who heard; dim sadness did not spare 

That time celestial visages, yet, mixed 

With pity, violated not their bliss. 

About the new-arrived in multitudes, 

The Ethereal People ran, to hear and know 

How all befell. They towards the Throne supreme. 

Accountable, made haste, to make appear. 

With righteous plea, their utmost vigilance. 

And easily approved; when the Most High, 

292 JOHN MILTON book x 

Eternal Father, from his secret Cloud 
Amidst, in thunder uttered thus his voice: — 

"Assembled Angels, and ye Powers returned 
From unsuccessful charge, be not dismayed 
Nor troubled 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 crossed the gulf from Hell. 
I told ye then he should prevail, and speed 
On his bad errand — Man should be seduced, 
And flattered out of all, believing lies 
Against his Maker; no decree of mine, 
Concurring to necessitate his fall. 
Or touch with lightest moment of impulse 
His free will, to her own inclining left 
In even scale. But fallen he is; and now 
What rests, but that the mortal sentence pass 
On his transgression. Death denounced that day 
Which he presumes already vain and void. 
Because not yet inflicted, as he feared, 
By some immediate stroke, but soon shall find 
Forbearance no acquittance ere day end. 
Justice shall not return, as bounty, scorned. 
But whom send I to judge them? whom but thee, 
Vicegerent Son? To thee I have transferred 
All judgment, whether in Heaven, or Earth, or Hell. 
Easy it may be seen that I intend 
Mercy colleague with justice, sending thee, 
Man's Friend, his Mediator, his designed 
Both Ransom and Redeemer voluntary. 
And destined Man himself to judge Man fallen." 

So spake the Father; and, unfolding bright 
Toward the right hand his glory, on the Son 
Blazed forth unclouded deity. He full 
Resplendent all his Father manifest 
Expressed, and thus divinely answered mild: — 

"Father Eternal, thine is to decree; 
Mine both in Heaven and Earth to do thy will 
Supreme, that thou in me, thy Son beloved, 
May'st ever rest well pleased. I go to judge 


On Earth these thy transgressors; but thou know'st, 
Whoever judged, the worst on me must Ught, 
When time shall be; for so I undertook 
Before thee, and, not repenting, this obtain 
Of right, that I may mitigate their doom 
On me derived. Yet I shall temper so 
Justice with mercy as may illustrate most 
Them fully satisfied, and thee appease. 
Attendance none shall need, nor train, where none 
Are to behold the judgment but the judged. 
Those two; the third best absent is condemned. 
Convict by flight, and rebel to all law; 
Conviction to the Serp>ent none belongs." 

Thus saying, from his radiant Seat he rose 
Of high collateral glory. Him Thrones and Powers, 
Princedoms, and Dominations ministrant, 
Accompanied to Heaven-gate, from whence 
Eden and all the coast in prosp>ect lay. 
Down he descended straight; the speed of Gods 
Time counts not, though with swiftest minutes winged. 

Now was the Sun in western cadence low 
From noon, and gentle airs due at their hour 
To fan the Earth now waked, and usher in 
The evening cool, when he, from wrauth more cool, 
Came, the mild Judge and Intercessor both, 
To sentence Man. The voice of God they heard 
Now walking in the Garden, by soft winds 
Brought to their ears, while day declined; they heard, 
And from his presence hid themselves among 
The thickest trees, both man and wife, till God, 
Approaching, thus to Adam called aloud: — 

"Where art thou, Adam, wont with joy to meet 
My coming, seen far off? I miss thee here, 
Not pleased thus entertained, with solitude, 
Where obvious duty erewhile appeared unsought. 
Or come I less conspicuous, or what change 
Absents thee, or what chance detains? Come forth!" 

He came, and with him Eve, more loth, though first 
To offend, discountenanced both, and discomposed. 
Love was not in their looks, either to God 

294 JOHN MILTON book x 

Or to each other, but apparent guilt. 

And shame, and perturbation, and despair. 

Anger, and obstinacy, and hate, and guile. 

Whence Adam, faltering long, thus answered brief: — 

"I heard thee in the Garden, and, of thy voice 
Afraid, being naked, hid myself." To whom 
The gracious Judge, without revile, replied: — 

"My voice thou oft hast heard, and hast not feared. 
But still rejoiced; how is it now become 
So dreadful to thee.' That thou art naked who 
Hath told thee.' Hast thou eaten of the Tree 
Whereof I gave thee charge thou shouldst not eat.'" 
To whom thus Adam, sore beset, replied: — 

"O Heaven! in evil strait this day I stand 
Before my Judge— either to undergo 
Myself the total crime, or to accuse 
My other self, the partner of my life. 
Whose failing, while her faith to me remains, 
T should conceal, and not expose to blame 
By my complaint. But strict necessity 
Subdues me, and calamitous constraint, 
Lest on my head both sin and punishment. 
However insupportable, be all 

Devolved; though, should I hold my peace, yet thou 
Wouldst easily detect what I conceal. 
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 itself. 
Her doing seemed to justify the deed — 
She gave me of the Tree, and I did eat." 
To whom the Sovran Presence thus replied: — 

"Was she thy God, that her thou didst obey 
Before his voice.' or was she made thy guide, 
Superior, or but equal, that to her 
Thou didst resign thy manhood, and the place 
Wherein God set thee above her, made of thee 
And for thee, whose perfection far excelled 
Hers in all real dignity.' Adorned 


She was indeed, and lovely, to attract 
Thy love, not thy subjection; and her gifts 
Were such as under government well seem^d — 
Unseemly to bear rule; which was thy part 
And person, hadst thou known thyself 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 overwhelmed. 
Confessing soon, yet not before her Judge 
Bold or loquacious, thus abashed replied: — 
"The Serpent me beguiled, and I did eat." 

Which when the Lord God heard, without delay 
To judgment he proceeded on the accused 
Serpent, though brute, unable to transfer 
The guilt on him who made him instrument 
Of mischief, and polluted from the end 
Of his creation — justly then accursed. 
As vitiated in nature. More to know 
Concerned not Man (since he no further knew), 
Nor altered his offence; yet God at last 
To Satan, first in sin, his doom applied. 
Though in mysterious terms, judged as then best; 
And on the Serpent thus his curse let fall: — 

"Because thou hast done this, thou art accursed 
Above all cattle, each beast of the field; 
Upon thy belly grovelling thou shalt go. 
And dust shalt eat all the days of thy life. 
Between thee and the Woman I will put 
Enmity, and between thine and her seed; 
Her seed shall bruise thy head, thou bruise his heel." 

So spake this oracle — then verified 
When Jesus, son of Mary, second Eve, 
Saw Satan fall like lightning down from Heaven, 
Prince of the Air; then, rising from his grave. 
Spoiled Principalities and Powers, triumphed 
In open shew, and, with ascension bright. 
Captivity led captive through the Air, 
The realm itself of Satan, long usurped. 
Whom He shall tread at last under our feet. 
Even He who now foretold his fatal bruise, 

296 JOHN MILTON book x 

And to the Woman thus his sentence turned: — 

"Thy sorrow I will greatly multiply 
By thy conception; children thou shalt bring 
In sorrow forth, and to thy husband's will 
Thine shall submit; he over thee shall rule." 

On Adam last thus judgment he pronounced: — 
"Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, 
And eaten of the Tree concerning which 
I charged thee, saying. Thou shalt not eat thereof, 
Curs'd is the ground for thy sake; thou in sorrow 
Shalt eat thereof all the days of thy life; 
Thorns also and thistles it shall bring thee forth 
Unbid; and thou shalt eat the herb of the held; 
In the sweat of thy face thou shalt eat bread, 
Till thou return unto the ground; for thou 
Out of the ground wast taken: know thy birth. 
For dust thou art, and shalt to dust return." 

So judged he Man, both Judge and Saviour sent, 
And the instant stroke of death, denounced that day. 
Removed far off; then, pitying how they stood 
Before him naked to the air, that now 
Must sufler change, disdained not to begin 
Thenceforth the form of servant to assume. 
As when he washed his servants' feet, so now. 
As Father of his family, he clad 
Their nakedness with skins of beasts, or slain. 
Or, as the snake, with youthful coat repaid; 
And thought not much to clothe his enemies. 
Nor he their outward only with the skins 
Of beasts, but inward nakedness, much more 
Opprobrious, with his robe of righteousness 
Arraying, covered from his Father's sight. 
To him with swift ascent he up returned. 
Into his blissful bosom reassumed 
In glory as of old; to him, appeased. 
All, though all-knowing, what had passed with Man 
Recounted, mixing intercession sweet. 

Meanwhile, ere thus was sinned and judged on Earth, 
Within the gates of Hell sat Sin and Death, 
In counterview within the gates, that now 


Stood open wide, belching outrageous flame 
Far into Chaos, since the Fiend passed through, 
Sin opening; who thus now to Death began: — 

"O Son, why sit we here, each other viewing 
Idly, while Satan, our great author, thrives 
In other worlds, and happier seat provides 
For us, his offspring dear? It cannot be 
But that success attends him; if mishap 
Ere this he had returned, with fury driven 
By his Avengers, since no place like this 
Can fit his punishment, or their revenge. 
Methinks I feel new strength within me rise. 
Wings growing, and dominion given me large 
Beyond this Deep — whatever draws me on, 
Or sympathy, or some connatural force, 
Powerful at greatest distance to unite 
With secret amity things of like kind 
By secretest conveyance. Thou, my shade 
Inseparable, must with me along; 
For Death from Sin no power can separate. 
But, lest the difficulty of passing back 
Stay his return perhaps over this gulf 
Impassable, impervious, let us try 
(Adventrous work, yet to thy power and mine 
Not unagreeable!) to found a path 
Over this Main from Hell to that new World 
Where Satan now prevails — a monument 
Of merit high to all the infernal Host, 
Easing their passage hence, for intercourse 
Or transmigration, as their lot shall lead. 
Nor can I miss the way, so strongly drawn 
By this new-felt attraction and instinct." 

Whom thus the meagre Shadow answered soon: — 
"Go whither fate and inclination strong 
Leads thee; I shall not lag behind, nor err 
The way, thou leading: such a scent I draw 
Of carnage, prey innumerable, and taste 
The savour of death from all things there that live. 
Nor shall I do the work thou enterprises! 
Be wanting, but afford thee equal aid." 

298 JOHN MILTON book x 

So saying, with delight he snufTed the smell 
Of mortal change on Earth. As when a flock 
Of ravenous fowl, though many a league remote, 
Against the day of battle, to a field 
Where armies lie encamped come flying, lured 
With scent of living carcases designed 
For death the following day in bloody fight; 
So scented the grim Feature, and upturned 
His nostril wide into the murky air, 
Sagacious of his quarry from so far. 
Then both, from out Hell-gates, into the waste 
Wide anarchy of Chaos, damp and dark, 
Flew diverse, and, with power (their power was great) 
Hovering uf>on the waters, what they met 
Solid or slimy, as in raging sea 
Tossed up and down, together crowded drove. 
From each side shoaling, towards the mouth of Hell; 
As when two polar winds, blowing adverse 
Upon the Cronian sea, together drive 
Mountains of ice, that stop the imagined way 
Beyond Petsora eastward to the rich 
Cathaian coast. The aggregated soil 
Death with his mace p>etrific, cold and dry. 
As with a trident smote, and fixed as firm 
As Delos, floating once; the rest his look 
Bound with Gorgonian rigour not to move. 
And with asphaltic slime; broad as the gate, 
Deep to the roots of Hell the gathered beach 
They fastened, and the mole immense wraught on 
Over the foaming Deep high-arched, a bridge 
Of length prodigious, joining to the wall 
Immovable of this now fenceless World, 
Forfeit to Death — from hence a passage broad, 
Smooth, easy, inoffensive, down to Hell. 
So, if great things to small may be compared, 
Xerxes, the liberty of Greece to yoke. 
From Susa, his Memnonian palace high, 
Came to the sea, and, over Hellespont 
Bridging his way, Europe with Asia joined. 
And scourged with many a stroke the indignant waves. 


Now had they brought the work by wondrous art 

Pontifical — a ridge of pendent rock 

Over the vexed Abyss, following the track 

Of Satan, to the self-same place where he 

First lighted from his wing and landed safe 

From out of Chaos — to the outside bare 

Of this round World. With, pins of adamant 

And chains they made all fast, too fast they made 

And durable; and now in little space 

The confines met of empyrean Heaven 

And of this World, and on the left hand Hell, 

With long reach interposed; three several ways 

In sight of each of these three places led. 

And now their way to Earth they had descried, 

To Paradise first tending, when, behold 

Satan, in likeness of an Angel bright. 

Betwixt the Centaur and the Scorpion steering 

His zenith, while the Sun in Aries rose! 

Disguised he came; but those his children dear 

Their parent soon discerned, though in disguise. 

He, after Eve seduced, unminded slunk 

Into the wood fast by, and, changing shap>e 

To observe the sequel, saw his guileful act 

By Eve, though all unweeting, seconded 

Upon her husband — saw their shame that sought 

Vain covertures; but, when he saw descend 

The Son of God to judge them, terrified 

He fled, not hoping to escape, but shun 

The present — fearing, guilty, what his wrauth 

Might suddenly inflict; that past, returned 

By night, and, listening where the hapless pair 

Sat in their sad discourse and various plaint. 

Thence gathered his own doom; which understood 

Not instant, but of future time, with joy 

And tidings fraught, to Hell he now returned, 

And at the brink of Chaos, near the foot 

Of this new wondrous f>ontifice, unhof>ed 

Met who to meet him came, his offspring dear. 

Great joy was at their meeting, and at sight 

Of that stupendious bridge his joy increased. 

300 JOHN MILTON book x 

Long he admiring stood, till Sin, his fair 
Inchanting daughter, thus the silence broke: — 

"O Parent, these are thy magnific deeds, 
Thy trophies! which thou view'st as not thine own; 
Thou art their Author and prime Architect. 
For I no sooner in my heart divined 
(My heart, which by a secret harmony 
Still moves with thine, joined in connexion sweet) 
That thou on Earth hadst prospered, which thy looks 
Now also evidence, but straight I felt — 
Though distant from thee worlds between, yet felt — 
That 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 obscure 
Detain from following thy illustrious track. 
Thou hast achieved our liberty, confined 
Within Hell-gates till now; thou us impowered 
To fortify thus far, and overlay 
With this portentous bridge the dark Abyss. 
Thine now is all this World; thy virtue hath won 
What thy hands builded not; thy wisdom gained, 
With odds, what war hath lost, and fully avenged 
Our foil in Heaven. Here thou shalt Monarch reign, 
There didst not; there let him still victor sway, 
As battle hath adjudged, from this new World 
Retiring, by his own doom alienated, 
And henceforth monarchy with thee divide 
Of all things, parted by the empyreal bounds. 
His quadrature, from thy orbicular World, 
Or try thee now more dangerous to his Throne." 

Whom thus the Prince of Darkness answered glad: — 
"Fair daughter, and thou, son and grandchild both, 
High proof ye now have given to be the race 
Of Satan (for I glory in the name. 
Antagonist of Heaven's Almighty King), 
Amply have merited of me, of all 
The Infernal Empire, that so near Heaven's door 
Triumphal with triumphal act have met. 
Mine with this glorious work, and made one realm 


Hell and this World — one realm, one continent 
Of easy thoroughfare. Therefore, while I 
Descend through Darkness, on your road with ease. 
To my associate Powers, them to acquaint 
With these successes, and with them rejoice 
You two this way, among these numerous orbs. 
All yours, right down to Paradise descend; 
There dwell and reign in bliss; thence on the Earth 
Dominion exercise and in the air. 
Chiefly on Man, sole lord of all declared; 
Him first make sure your thrall, and lastly kill. 
My substitutes I send ye, and create 
Plenifwtent on Earth, of matchless might 
Issuing from me. On your joint vigour now 
My hold of this new kingdom all depends. 
Through Sin to Death exposed by my exploit. 
If your joint power prevail, the affairs of Hell 
No detriment need fear; go, and be strong." 

So saying, he dismissed them; they with sf)eed 
Their course through thickest constellations held. 
Spreading their bane; the blasted stars looked wan, 
And planets, planet-strook, real eclipse 
Then suffered. The other way Satan went down 
The causey to Hell-gate; on either side 
Disparted Chaos overbuilt exclaimed. 
And with rebounding surge the bars assailed. 
That scorned his indignation. Through the gate, 
Wide open and unguarded, Satan passed. 
And all about found desolate; for those 
Appointed to sit there had left their charge. 
Flown to the upper World; the rest were all 
Far to the inland retired, about the walls 
Of Pandemonium, city and proud seat 
Of Lucifer, so by allusion called 
Of that bright star to Satan paragoned. 
There kept their watch the legions, while the Grand 
In council sat, solicitous what chance 
Might intercept their Emperor sent; so he 
Departing gave command, and they observed. 
As when the Tartar from his Russian foe, 

302 JOHN MILTON book x 

By Astracan, over the snowy plains, 
Retires, or Bactrian Sophi, from the horns 
Of Turkish crescent, leaves all waste beyond 
The realm of Aladule, in his retreat 
To Tauris or Casbeen; so these, the late 
Heaven-banished host, left desert utmost Hell 
Many a dark league, reduced in careful watch 
Round their Metropolis, and now expecting 
Each hour their great Adventurer from the search 
Of foreign worlds. He through the midst unmarked, 
In shew plebeian Angel militant 
Of lowest order, passed, and, from the door 
Of that Plutonian hall, invisible 
Ascended his high Throne, which, under state 
Of richest texture spread, at the upper end 
Was placed in regal lustre. Down a while 
He sat, and round about him saw, unseen. 
At last, as from a cloud, his fulgent head 
And shaf>e star-bright appeared, or brighter, clad 
With what permissive glory since his fall 
Was left him, or false glitter. All amazed 
At that so sudden blaze, the Stygian throng 
Bent their asf)ect, and whom they wished beheld, 
Their mighty Chief returned: loud was the acclaim. 
Forth rushed in haste the great consulting Peers, 
Raised from their dark Divan, and with like joy 
Congratulant approached him, who with hand 
Silence, and with these words attention, won: — 
"Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, 
Powers! — 
For in possession such, not only of right, 
I call ye, and declare ye now, returned. 
Successful beyond hope, to lead ye forth 
Triumphant out of this infernal Pit 
Abominable, accursed, the house of woe. 
And dungeon of our tyrant! Now possess, 
As lords, a spacious World, to our native Heaven 
Litde inferior, by my adventure hard 
With peril great achieved. Long were to tell 
What I have done, what suffered, with what pain 


Voyaged the unreal, vast, unbounded Deep 

Of horrible confusion — over which 

By Sin and Death a broad way now is paved. 

To expedite your glorious march; but I 

Toiled out my uncouth passage, forced to ride 

The untractable Abyss, plunged in the womb 

Of unoriginal Night and Chaos wild. 

That, jealous of their secrets, fiercely opposed 

My journey strange, with clamorous uproar 

Protesting Fate supreme; thence how I found 

The new<reated World, which fame in Heaven 

Long had foretold, a fabric wonderful. 

Of absolute perfection; therein Man 

Placed in a Paradise, by our exile 

Made happy. Him by fraud I have seduced 

From his Creator, and, the more to increase 

Your wonder, with an apple! He, thereat 

Offended — worth your laughter! — hath given up 

Both his beloved Man and all his World 

To Sin and Death a prey, and so to us, 

Without our hazard, labour, or alarm. 

To range in, and to dwell, and over Man 

To rule, as over all he should have ruled. 

True is, me also he hath judged; or rather 

Me not, but the brute Serpent, in whose shajje 

Man I deceived. That which to me belongs 

Is enmity, which he will put between 

Me and Mankind: 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 the account 

Of my performance; what remains, ye Gods, 

But up and enter now into full bliss.'" 

So having said, a while he stood, expecting 
Their universal shout and high applause 
To fill his ear; when, contrary, he hears, 
On all sides, from innumerable tongues 
A dismal universal hiss, the sound 
Of public scorn. He wondered, but not long 

u I I-; 1. 

304 JOHN MILTON book x 

His visage drawn he felt to sharp and spare, 

His arms clung to his ribs, his legs entwining 

Each other, till, supplanted, down he fell, 

A monstrous serpent on his belly prone, 

Reluctant, but in vain; a greater power 

Now ruled him, punished in the shape he sinned, 

According to his doom. He would have spoke. 

But hiss for hiss returned with forked tongue 

To forked tongue; for now were all transformed 

Alike, to serpents all, as accessories 

To his bold riot. Dreadful was the din 

Of hissing through the hall, thick-swarming now 

With complicated monsters, head and tail — 

Scorpion, and Asp, and Amphisbzna dire. 

Cerastes horned, Hydrus, and EUops drear, 

And Dipsas (not so thick swarmed once the soil 

Bcdropt with blood of Gordon, or the isle 

Ophiusa); but still greatest the midst. 

Now Dragon grown, larger than whom the Sun 

Ingendered in the Pythian vale on slime, 

Huge Python; and his power no less he seemed 

Above the rest still to retain. They all 

Him followed, issuing forth to the open field. 

Where all yet left of that revolted rout. 

Heaven-fallen, in station stood or just array. 

Sublime with expectation when to see 

In triumph issuing forth their glorious Chief. 

They saw, but other sight instead — a crowd 

Of ugly serpents! Horror on them fell, 

And horrid sympathy; for what they saw 

They felt themselves now changing. Down their arms, 

Down fell both spear and shield; down they as fast, 

And the dire hiss renewed, and the dire form 

Catched by contagion, like in punishment 

As in their crime. Thus was the applause they meant 

Turned to exploding hiss, triumph to shame 

Cast on themselves from their own mouths. There 

A grove hard by, sprung up with this their change, 
His will who reigns above, to aggravate 


Their penance, laden with fair fruit, like that 

Which grew in Paradise, the bait of Eve 

Used by the Tempter. On that prospect strange 

Their earnest eyes they fixed, imagining 

For one forbidden tree a multitude 

Now risen, to work them furder woe or shame; 

Yet, parched with scalding thirst and hunger fierce 

Though to delude them sent, could not abstain, 

But on they rowled in heaps, and, up the trees 

Climbing, sat thicker than the snaky locks 

That curled Megacra. Greedily they plucked 

The fruitage fair to sight, like that which grew 

Near that bituminous lake where Sodom flamedj 

This, more delusive, not the touch, but taste 

Deceived; they fondly thinking to allay 

Their appetite with gust, instead of fruit 

Chewed bitter ashes, which the offended taste 

With spattering noise rejected. Oft they assayed. 

Hunger and thirst constraining; drugged as oft, 

With hatefulest disrelish writhed their jaws 

With soot and cinder filled; so oft they fell 

Into the same illusion, not as Man 

Whom they triumphed' once lapsed. Thus were they 

And, worn with famine, long and ceaseless hiss, 
Till their lost shape, jsermitted, they resumed — 
Yearly enjoined, some say, to undergo 
This annual humbling certain numbered days. 
To dash their pride, and joy for Man seduced. 
However, some tradition they dispersed 
Among the Heathen of their purchase got. 
And fabled how the Serpent, whom they called 
Ophion, with Eurynome (the wide- 
Encroaching Eve perhaps), had first the rule 
Of high Olympus, thence by Saturn driven 
And Ops, ere yet Dictacan Jove was born. 
Meanwhile in Paradise the Hellish pair 
Too soon arrived — Sin, there in power before 
Once actual, now in body, and to dwell 
Habitual habitant; behind her Death, 

306 JOHN MILTON book x 

Close following pace for pace, not mounted yet 
On his pale horse; to whom Sin thus began: — 

"Second of Satan sprung, all<onquering Death! 
What think'st thou of our empire now? though earned 
With travail difficult, not better far 
Than still at Hell's dark threshold to have sat watch, 
Unnamed, undreaded, and thyself half-starved?" 

Whom thus the Sin-born Monster answered soon: — 
"To me, who with eternal famine pine, 
Alike is Hell, or Paradise, or Heaven — 
There best where most with ravin I may meet: 
Which here, though plenteous, all too litdc seems 
To stuff this maw, this vast unhide-bound corpse." 

To whom the incestuous Mother thus replied: — 
"Thou, therefore, on these herbs, and fruits, and flowers. 
Feed first; on each beast next, and fish, and fowl — 
No homely morsels; and whatever thing 
The scythe of Time mows down devour unspared; 
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 ways, 
Both to destroy, or unimmortal make 
All kinds, and for destruction to mature 
Sooner or later; which the Almighty seeing. 
From his transcendent Seat the Saints among. 
To those bright Orders uttered thus his voice: — 

"See with what heat these dogs of Hell advance 
To waste and havoc yonder World, which I 
So fair and good created, and had still 
Kept in that state, had not the folly of Man 
Let in these wasteful furies, who impute 
Folly to me (so doth the Prince of Hell 
And his adherents), that with so much ease 
I suffer them to enter and possess 
A place so heavenly, and, conniving, seem 
To gratify my scornful enemies. 
That laugh, as if, transported with some fit 
Of passion, I to them had quitted all. 
At random yielded up to their misrule; 


And know not that I called and drew thenn thither. 

My Hell-hounds, to lick up the draff and filth 

Which Man's polluting sin with taint hath shed 

On what was pure; till, crammed and gorged, nigh burst 

With sucked and glutted offal, at one sling 

Of thy victorious arm, well-pleasing Son, 

Both Sin and Death, and yawning Grave, at last 

Through Chaos hurled, obstruct the mouth of Hell 

For ever, and seal up his ravenous jaws. 

Then Heaven and Earth, renewed, shall be made pure 

To sanctity that shall receive no stain: 

Till then the curse pronounced on both precedes." 

He ended, and the Heavenly Audience loud 
Sung Halleluiah, 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, 
Destined restorer of Mankind, by whom 
New Heaven and Earth shall to the ages rise. 
Or down from Heaven descend." Such was their song, 
While the Creator, calling forth by name 
His mighty Angels, gave them several charge. 
As sorted best with present things. The Sun 
Had first his precept so to move, so shine, 
As might affect the Elarth with cold and heat 
Scarce tolerable, and from the north to call 
Decrepit winter, from the south to bring 
Solstitial summer's heat. To the blanc Moon 
Her office they prescribed; to the other five 
Their planetary motions and aspects'. 
In sexlile, square, and trine, and opp>osite, 
Of noxious efficacy, and when to join 
In synod unbenign; and taught the fixed 
Their influence malignant when to shower — 
Which of them, rising with the Sun or falling. 
Should prove tempestuous. To the winds they set 
Their corners, when with bluster to confound 
Sea, air, and shore; the thunder when to roll 
With terror through the dark aerial hall. 
Some say he bid his Angels turn askance 

3o8 JOHN MILTON book x 

The poles of Eanh twice ten degrees and more 
From the Sun's axle; they with labour pushed 
Oblique the centric Globe: some say the Sun 
Was bid turn reins from the equinoctial road 
Like distant breadth — to Taurus with the seven 
Adantic Sisters, and the Spartan Twins, 
Up to the Tropic Crab; thence down amain 
By Leo, and the Virgin, and the Scales, 
As deep as Capricorn; to bring in change 
Of seasons to each clime. Else had the spring 
Perpetual smiles on Elarth with vernant flowers. 
Equal in days and nights, except to those 
Beyond the polar circles; to them day 
Had unbenighted shon, while the low Sun, 
To recompense his distance, in their sight 
Had rounded still the horizon, and not known 
Or east or west — which had forbid the snow 
From cold Estotiland, and south as far 
Beneath Magellan. At that tasted Fruit, 
The Sun, as from Thyestean banquet, turned 
His course intended; else how had the world 
Inhabited, though sinless, more than now 
Avoided pinching cold and scorching heat? 
These changes in the heavens, though slow, produced 
Like change on sea and land — sidereal blast. 
Vapour, and mist, and exhalation hot, 
Corrupt and pestilent. Now from the north 
Of Norumbega, and the Samoed shore. 
Bursting their brazen dungeon, armed with ice, 
And snow, and hail, and stormy gust and flaw, 
Boreas and Cxcias and Argestes loud 
And Thrascias rend the woods, and seas upturn; 
With adverse blasts upturns them from the south 
Notus and Afer, black with thundrous clouds 
From Serraliona; thwart of these, as fierce 
Forth rush the Levant and the Ponent winds, 
Eurus and Zephyr, with their lateral noise. 
Sirocco and Libecchio. Thus began 
Outrage from lifeless things; but Discord first, 
Daughter of Sin, among the irrational 


Death introduced through fierce antipathy. 
Beast now with beast 'gan war, and fowl with fowl. 
And fish with fish. To graze the herb all leaving 
Devoured each other; nor stood much in awe 
Of Man, but fled him, or with countenance grim 
Glared on him passing. These were from without 
The growing miseries; which Adam saw 
Already in part, though hid in gloomiest shade, 
To sorrow abandoned, but worse felt within, 
And, in a troubled sea of passion tost. 
Thus to disburden sought with sad complaint: — 

"O miserable of happy! Is this the end 
Of this new glorious World, and me so late 
The glory of that glory? who now, become 
Accursed of blessed, hide me from the face 
Of God, whom to behold was then my highth 
Of happiness! Yet well, if here would end 
The misery! I deserved it, and would bear 
My own deservings. But this will not serve: 
All that I eat or drink, or shall beget. 
Is propagated curse. O voice, once heard 
Delightfully, 'Encrease and multiply' 
Now death to hear! for what can I encrease 
Or multiply but curses on my head? 
Who, of all ages to succeed, but, feeling 
The evil on him brought by me, will curse 
My head? 'Ill fare our Ancestor impure! 
For this we may thank Adam!' but his thanks 
Shall be the execration. So, besides 
Mine own that bide upon me, all from me 
Shall with a fierce reflux on me redound — 
On me, as on their natural centre, light; 
Heavy, though in their place. O fleeting joys 
Of Paradise, dear bought with lasting woes! 
Did I request thee. Maker, from my clay 
To mould me Man? Did I solicit thee 
From darkness to promote me, or here place 
In this delicious Garden? As my will 
Concurred not to my being, it were but right 
And equal to reduce me to my dust. 


Desirous to resign and render back 

All I received, unable to perform 

Thy terms too hard, by which I was to hold 

The good I sought not. To the loss of that. 

Sufficient penalty, why hast thou added 

The sense of endless woes? Inexplicable 

Thy justice seems. Yet, to say truth, too late 

I thus contest; then should have been refused 

Those terms, whatever, when they were proposed. 

Thou didst accept them: wilt thou enjoy the good. 

Then cavil the conditions? And, though God 

Made thee without thy leave, what if thy son 

Prove disobedient, and, reproved, retort, 

'Wherefore didst thou beget me? I sought it not!' 

Wouldst thou admit for his contempt of thee 

That proud excuse? yet him not thy election, 

But natural necessity, begot. 

God made thee of choice his own, and of his own 

To 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 return. 

O welcome hour whenever! Why delays 

His hand to execute what his decree 

Fixed on this day? Why do I overlive? 

Why am I mocked with death, and lengthened out 

To deathless pain? How gladly would I meet 

Mortality, my sentence, and be earth 

Insensible! how glad would lay me down 

As in my mother's lap! There I should rest, 

And sleep secure; his dreadful voice no more 

Would thunder in my ears; no fear of worse 

To me and to my oflspring would torment me 

With cruel exf)ectation. Yet one doubt 

Pursues me still — lest all I cannot die; 

Lest that pure breath of life, the Spirit of Man 

Which God inspired, cannot together perish 

With this corporeal clod. Then, in the grave, 

Or in some other dismal place, who knows 

But I shall die a living death? O thought 


Horrid, if true! Yet why? It was but breath 

Of life that sinned: what dies but what had hfe 

And sin? The body properly hath neither. 

All of me, then, shall die: let this appease 

TTie doubt, since human reach no further knows. 

For, though the Lord of all be infinite. 

Is his wrauth also? Be it, Man is not so. 

But mortal doomed. But can he exercise 

Wrauth without end on Man, whom death must end? 

Can he make deathless death ? That were to make 

Strange contradiction; which to God himself 

Impossible is held, as argument 

Of weakness, not of power. Will he draw out, 

For anger's sake, finite to infinite 

In punished Man, to satisfy his rigour 

Satisfied never? That were to extend 

His sentence beyond dust and Nature's law; 

By which all causes else according still 

To the reception of their matter act, 

Not to the extent of their own sphere. But say 

That death be not one stroke, as I supposed, 

Bereaving sense, but endless misery 

From this day onward, which I feel begun 

Both in me and without me, and so last 

To perpetuity Ay me! that fear 

Comes thundering back with dreadful revolution 

On my defenceless head! Both Death and I 

Am found eternal, and incorpwrate both: 

Nor I on my part single; in me all 

Posterity stands cursed. Fair patrimony 

That I must leave ye, sons! Oh, were I able 

To waste it all myself, and leave ye none! 

So disinherited, how would ye bless 

Me, now your curse! Ah, why should all Mankind, 

For one man's fault, thus guiltless be condemned? 

If guiltless! But from me what can proceed 

But all corrupt — both mind and will depraved 

Not to do only, but to will the same 

With me? How can they, then, acquitted stand 

In sight of God ? Him, after all disputes, 

312 JOHN MILTON book x 

Forced I absolve. All my evasions vain 

And reasonings, though through mazes, lead me still 

But to my own conviction: first and last 

On me, me only, as the source and spring 

Of all corruption, all the blame lights due. 

So might the wrauth! Fond wish! could'st thou 

That burden, heavier than the Earth to bear — 
Than all the world much heavier, though divided 
With tliat bad Woman ? Thus, what thou desir'st. 
And what thou fear'st, alike destroys all hope 
Of refuge, and concludes thee miserable 
Beyond all past example and future' — 
To Satan only like, both crime and doom. 

Conscience! into what abyss of fears 

And horrors hast thou driven me; out of which 

1 find no way, from deeper to deeper plunged!" 

Thus Adam to himself lamented loud 
Through the still night — not now, as ere Man fell. 
Wholesome and cool and mild, but with black air 
Accompanied, with damps and dreadful gloom; 
Which to his evil conscience represented 
All things with double terror. On the ground 
Outstretched he lay, on the cold ground, and oft 
Cursed his creation; Death as oft accused 
Of tardy execution, since denounced 
The day of his offence. "Why comes not Death," 
Said he, "with one thrice-acceptable stroke 
To end me? Shall Truth fail to keep her word. 
Justice divine not hasten to be just? 
But Death comes not at call; Justice divine 
Mends not her slowest pace for prayers or cries. 
O woods, O fountains, hillocks, dales, and bowersi 
With other echo late I taught your shades 
To answer, and resound far other song." 
Whom thus afflicted when sad Eve beheld, 
Desolate where she sat, approaching nigh. 
Soft words to his fierce passion she assayed; 
But her, with stern regard, he thus repelled: — 

"Out of my sight, thou Serpent! That name best 


Befits thee, with him leagued, thyself as false 
And hateful: nothing wants, but that thy shape 
Like his, and colour serpentine, may shew 
Thy inward fraud, to warn all creatures from thee 
Henceforth, lest that too heavenly form, pretended 
To hellish falsehood, snare them. But for thee 
I had {jersisted happy, had not thy pride 
And wandering vanity, when least was safe, 
Rejected my forewarning, and disdained 
Not to be trusted — longing to be seen, 
Though by the Devil himself; him overweening 
To overreach; but, with the Serpient meeting. 
Fooled and beguiled; by him thou, I by thee, 
To trust thee from my side, imagined wise. 
Constant, mature, proof against all assaults. 
And understood not all was but a shew. 
Rather than solid virtue, all but a rib 
Crooked by nature — bent, as now appears. 
More to the part sinister — from me drawn; 
Well if thrown out, as supernumerary 
To my just number found! O, why did God 
Creator wise, that peopled highest Heaven 
With Spirits masculine, create at last 
This novelty on Earth, this fair defect 
Of Nature, and not fill the World at once 
With men as Angels, without feminine; 
Or find some other way to generate 
Mankind? This mischief had not then befallen, 
And more that shall befall — innumerable 
Disturbances on Earth through female snares, 
And strait conjunction with this sex. For either 
He never shall find out fit mate, but such 
As some misfortune brings him, or mistake; 
Or whom he wishes most shall seldom gain. 
Through her perverseness, but shall see her gained 
By a far worse, or, if she love, withheld 
By parents; or his happiest choice too late 
Shall meet, already linked and wedlock-bound 
To a fell adversary, his hate or shame: 
Which infinite calamity shall cause 

314 JOHN MILTON book x 

To human life, and household peace confound." 

He added not, and from her turned; but Eve, 
Not so repulsed, with tears that ceased not flowing. 
And tresses all disordered, at his feet 
Fell humble, and, imbracing them, besought 
His peace, and thus proceeded in her plaint: — 

"Forsake me not thus, Adam! witness Heaven 
What love sincere and reverence in my heart 
I bear thee, and unweeting have offended, 
Unhappily deceived! Thy suppliant 
I beg, and clasp thy knees; bereave me not 
Whereon I live, thy gende looks, thy aid, 
Thy counsel in this uttermost distress. 
My only strength and stay. Forlorn of thee. 
Whither shall I betake me, where subsist? 
While yet we live, scarce one short hour perhaps, 
Between us two let there be peace; both joining, 
As joined in injuries, one enmity 
Against a Foe by doom express assigned us. 
That cruel Serpent. On me exercise not 
Thy hatred for this misery befallen — 
On me already lost, me than thyself 
More miserable. Both have sinned; but thou 
Against God only; I against God and thee, 
And to the place of judgment will return. 
There with my cries impxjr'tune Heaven, that all 
The sentence, from thy head removed, may light 
On me, sole cause to thee of all this woe. 
Me, me only, just object of His ire." 

She ended, weeping; and her lowly plight. 
Immovable till peace obtained from fault 
Acknowledged and deplored, in Adam wraught 
Commiseration. Soon his heart relented 
Towards her, his life so late, and sole delight, 
Now at his feet submissive in distress — 
Creature so fair his reconcilement seeking. 
His counsel whom she had displeased, his aid. 
As one disarmed, his anger all he lost. 
And thus with peaceful words upraised her soon: — 

"Unwary, and too desirous, as before 


So now, of what thou know'st not, who desir'st 

The punishment all on thyself! Alas! 

Bear thine own first, ill able to sustain 

His full wrauth whose thou feel'st as yet least part, 

And my displeasure bear'st so ill. If prayers 

Could alter high decrees, I to that place 

Would sjjeed before thee, and be louder heard. 

That on my head all might be visited, 

Thy frailty and infirmer sex forgiven. 

To me committed, and by me exf)osed. 

But rise; let us no more contend, nor blame 

Each other, blamed enough elsewhere, but strive 

In offices of love how we may lighten 

Each other's burden in our share of woe; 

Since this day's death denounced, if aught I see. 

Will prove no sudden, but a slow-paced evil, 

A long day's dying, to augment our pain. 

And to our seed (O hapless seed!) derived." 

To whom thus Eve, recovering heart, replied: — 
"Adam, by sad experiment I know 
How little weight my words with thee can find, 
Found so erroneous, thence by just event 
Found so unfortunate. Nevertheless, 
Restored by thee, vile as I am, to place 
Of new acceptance, hopeful to regain 
Thy love, the sole contentment of my heart. 
Living or dying from thee I will not hide 
What thoughts in my unquiet breast are risen, 
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 jjerplex us most. 
Which must be born to certain woe, devoured 
By Death at last (and miserable it is 
To be to others cause of misery. 
Our own begotten, and of our loins to bring 
Into this cursed world a woeful race, 
That, after wretched life, must be at last 
Food for so foul a Monster), in thy power 
It lies, yet ere conception, to prevent 

3l6 JOHN MILTON book x 

The race unblest, to being yet unbegot. 
Childless thou art; childless remain. So E>eath 
Shall be deceived his glut, and with us two 
Be forced to satisfy his ravenous maw. 
But, if thou judge it hard and difficult. 
Conversing, looking, loving, to abstain 
From love's due rites, nuptial imbraces sweet, 
And with desire to languish without hope 
Before the present object languishing 
With like desire — which would be misery 
And torment less than none of what we dread — 
Then, both our selves and seed at once to free 
From what we fear for both, let us make short; 
Let us seek Death, or, he not found, supply 
With our own hands his office on ourselves. 
Why stand we longer shivering under fears 
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 here, or vehement despair 
Broke ofl the rest; so much of death her thoughts 
Had entertained as dyed her cheeks with pale. 
But Adam, with such counsel nothing swayed. 
To better hopes his more attentive mind 
Labouring had raised, and thus to Eve replied: — 

"Eve, thy contempt of life and pleasure seems 
To argue in thee something more sublime 
And excellent than what thy mind contemns: 
But self-destruction therefore sought refutes 
That excellence thought in thee, and implies 
Not thy contempt, but anguish and regret 
For loss of life and pleasure overloved. 
Or, if thou covet death, as utmost end 
Of misery, so thinking to evade 
The penalty pronounced, doubt not but God 
Hath wisclier armed his vengeful ire than so 
To be forestalled. Much more I fear lest death 
So snatched will not exempt us from the pain 
We are by doom to pay; rather such acts 
Of contumacy will provoke the Highest 


To make death in us live. Then let us seek 
Some safer resolution — which methinks 
I have in view, calling to mind with heed 
Part of our sentence, that thy seed shall bruise 
The Serjxnt's head. Piteous amends! unless 
Be meant whom I conjecture, our grand foe, 
Satan, who in the Serpent hath contrived 
Against us this deceit. To crush his head 
Would be revenge indeed — which will be lost 
By death brought on ourselves, or childless days 
Resolved as thou proposest; so our foe 
Shall scape his punishment ordained, and we 
Instead shall double ours upon our heads. 
No more be mentioned, then, of violence 
Against ourselves, and wilful barrenness 
That cuts us off from hope, and savours only 
Rancour and pride, impatience and despite. 
Reluctance against God and his just yoke 
Laid on our necks. Remember with what mild 
And gracious temper he both heard and judged, 
Without wrauth or reviling. We expected 
Immediate dissolution, which we thought 
Was meant by death that day; when, lo! to thee 
Pains only in child-bearing were foretold. 
And bringing forth, soon recompensed with joy, 
Fruit of thy womb. On me the curse aslope 
Glanced on the ground. With labour I must earn 
My bread; what harm? Idleness had been worse; 
My labour will sustain me; and, lest cold 
Or heat should injure us, his timely care 
Hath, unbesought, provided, and his hands 
Clothed us unworthy, pitying while he judged. 
How much more, if we pray him, will his ear 
Be open, and his heart to pity incline. 
And teach us further by what means to shun 
The inclement seasons, rain, ice, hail, and snow! 
Which now the sky, with various face, begins 
To shew us in this mountain, while the winds 
Blow moist and keen, shattering the graceful locks 
Of these fair spreading trees; which bids us seek 

3l8 JOHN MILTON book x 

Some better shroud, some better warmth to cherish 

Our limbs benumbed — ere this diurnal star 

Leave cold the night, how we his gathered beams 

Reflected may with matter sere foment, 

Or by collision of two bodies grind 

The air attrite to fire, as late the clouds, 

Jusding, or pushed with winds, rude in their shock. 

Tine the slant lightning, whose thwart flame, driven 

Kindles the gummy bark of fir or pine. 
And sends a comfortable heat from far. 
Which might supply the Sun. Such fire to use. 
And what may else be remedy or cure 
To evils which our own misdeeds have wrought, 
He will instruct us praying, and of grace 
Beseeching him; so as we need not fear 
To pass commodiously this life, sustained 
By him with many comforts, till we end 
In dust, our final rest and native home. 
What better can we do than, to the place 
Repairing where he judged us, prostrate fall 
Before him reverent, and there confess 
Humbly our faults, and pardon beg, with tears 
Watering the ground, and with our sighs the air 
Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign 
Of sorrow unfeigned and humiliation meek.' 
Undoubtedly he will relent, and turn 
From his displeasure, in whose look serene. 
When angry most he seemed and most severe. 
What else but favour, grace, and mercy shon?" 

So spake our Father penitent; nor Eve 
Felt less remorse. They, forthwith to the place 
Repairing where he judged them, prostrate fell 
Before him reverent, and both confessed 
Humbly their faults, and pardon begged, with tears 
Watering the ground, and with their sighs the air 
Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign 
Of sorrow unfeigned and humiliation meek. 



The Argument. — The Son of God presents to his Father the prayers of our first 
parents now repenting, and intercedes for them. God accepts them, but declares 
that they must no longer abide in Paradise; sends Michael with a band of Cherubim 
to dispossess them, but first to reveal to Adam future things: Michael's coming down. 
Adam shews to Eve certain ominous signs: he discerns Michael's approach; goes out 
to meet him: the Angel denounces their departure. Eve's lamentation. Adam pleads, 
but submits: the Angel leads him up to a high hill; sets before him in vision what 
shall happen till the Flood. 

Thus they, in lowliest plight, repentant stood 

Praying; for from the Mercy-scat above 

Prevenient grace descending had removed 

The stony from their hearts, and made new flesh 

Regenerate grow instead, that sighs now breathed 

Unutterable, which the Spirit of prayer 

Inspired, and winged for Heaven with speedier flight 

Than loudest oratory. Yet their port 

Not of mean suitors; nor important less 

Seemed their petition than when the ancient Pair 

In fables old, less ancient yet than these, 

Deucalion and chaste Pyrrha, to restore 

The race of mankind drowned, before the shrine 

Of Themis stood devout. To Heaven their prayers 

Flew up, nor missed the way, by envious winds 

Blown vagabond or frustrate: in they passed 

Dimensionless through heavenly doors; then, clad 

With incense, where the Golden Altar fumed, 

By their great Intercessor, came in sight 

Before the Father's Throne. Them the glad Son 

Presenting thus to intercede began: — 

"See, Father, what first-fruits on Earth arc sprung 
From thy implanted grace in Man — these sighs 
And prayers, which in this golden censer, mixed 
With incense, I, thy priest, before thee bring; 
Fruits of more pleasing savour, from thy seed 
Sown with contrition in his heart, than those 
Which, his own hand manuring, all the trees 
Of Paradise could have produced, ere fallen 
From innocence. Now, therefore, bend thine ear 
To supplication; hear his sighs, though mute; 

320 JOHN MILTON book XI 

Unskilful with what words to pray, let me 

Interpret for him, me his Advocate 

And propitiation; all his works on me, 

Good or not good, ingraft; my merit those 

Shall pcrfet, and for these my death shall pay. 

Accept me, and in me from these receive 

The smell of {xjace toward Mankind; let him live. 

Before thee reconciled, at least his days 

Numbered, though sad, till death, his doom (which I 

To mitigate thus plead, not to reverse). 

To better life shall yield him, where with me 

All my redeemed may dwell in joy and bliss, 

Made one with me, as I with thee am one." 

To whom the Father, without cloud, serene: — 
"All thy request for Man, accepted Son, 
Obtain; all thy request was my decree. 
But longer in that Paradise to dwell 
The law I gave to Nature him forbids; 
Those pure immortal elements, that know 
No gross, no unharmonious mixture foul. 
Eject him, tainted now, and purge him off, 
As a distemper, gross, to air as gross. 
And mortal food, as may dispxjse him best 
For dissolution wrought by sin, that first 
Distempered all things, and of incorrupt 
Corrupted. I, at first, with two fair gifts 
Created him endowed — with Happiness 
And Immortality; that fondly lost. 
This other served but to eternize woe, 
Till I provided Death: so Death becomes 
His final remedy, and, after life 
Tried in sharp tribulation, and refined 
By faith and faithful works, to second life. 
Waked in the renovation of the just. 
Resigns him up with Heaven and Elarth renewed. 
But let us call to synod all the Blest 
Through Heaven's wide bounds; from them I will not 

My judgments — how with Mankind I proceed, 
As how with peccant Angels late they saw. 


And in their state, though firm, stood more confirmed." 

He ended, and the Son gave signal high 
To the bright Minister that watched. He blew 
His trumpet, heard in Oreb since perhaps 
When God descended, and perhaps once more 
To sound at general doom. The angelic blast 
Filled all the regions: from their blissful bowers 
Of amarantin shade, fountam or spring, 
By the waters of life, where'er they sate 
In fellowships of joy, the Sons of Light 
Hasted, resorting to the summons high. 
And took their seats, till from his Throne supreme 
The Almighty thus pronounced his sovran will: — 

"O Sons, like one of us Man is become 
To know both Good and Evil, since his taste 
Of that defended Fruit; but let him boast 
His knowledge of good lost and evil got. 
Happier had it sufficed him to have known 
Good by itself and evil not at all. 
He sorrows now, repents, and prays contrite — 
My motions in him; longer than they move. 
His heart I know how variable and vain, 
Self-left. Lest, therefore, his now bolder hand 
Reach also of the Tree of Life, and eat. 
And live for ever, dream at least to live 
For ever, to remove him I decree. 
And send him from the Garden forth, to till 
The ground whence he was taken, fitter soil. 
Michael, this my behest have thou in charge: 
Take to thee from among the Cherubim 
Thy choice of flaming warriors, lest the Fiend, 
Or in behalf of Man, or to invade 
Vacant possessions, some new trouble raise; 
Haste thee, and from the Paradise of God 
Without remorse drive out the sinful pair, 
From hallowed ground the unholy, and denounce 
To them, and to their progeny, from thence 
Perpetual banishment. Yet, lest they faint 
At the sad sentence rigorously urged 
(For I behold them softened, and with tears 


Bewailing their excess), all terror hide. 

If patiently thy bidding they obey, 

Dismiss them not disconsolate; reveal 

To Adam what shall come in future days, 

As I shall thee enlighten; intermix 

My covenant in the Woman's seed renewed. 

So send them forth, though sorrowing, yet in peace; 

And on the east side of the Garden place, 

Where entrance up from Eden easiest climbs. 

Cherubic watch, and of a Sword the flame 

Wide-waving, all approach far off to fright. 

And guard all passage to the Tree of Life; 

Lest Paradise a receptacle prove 

To Spirits foul, and all my trees their prey, 

With whose stolen fruit Man once more to delude." 

He ceased, and the Archangelic Power prepared 
For swift descent; with him the cohort bright 
Of watchful Cherubim. Four faces each 
Had, like a double Janus; all their shape 
Spangled with eyes more numerous than those 
Of Argus, and more wakeful than to drowse. 
Charmed with Arcadian pip)e, the pastoral reed 
Of Hermes, or his opiate rod. Meanwhile, 
To resalute the World with sacred light, 
Leucothea waked, and with fresh dews imbalmcd 
The Earth, when Adam and first matron Eve 
Had ended now their orisons, and found 
Strength added from above, new hope to spring 
Out of desf>air, joy, but with fear yet linked; 
Which thus to Eve his welcome words renewed: — 

"Eve, easily may faith admit that all 
The good which we enjoy from Heaven descends; 
But that from us aught should ascend to Heaven 
So prevalent as to concern the mind 
Of God high-blest, or to incline his will, 
Hard to belief may seem. Yet this will prayer, 
Or one short sigh of human breath, upborne 
Even to the seat of God. For, since I sought 
By prayer the offended Deity to appease. 
Kneeled and before him humbled all my heart. 


Methought I saw him placable and mild. 
Bending his ear; persuasion in me grew 
That I was heard with favour; peace returned 
Home to my breast, and to my memory 
His promise that thy seed shall bruise our Foe; 
Which, then not minded in dismay, yet now 
Assures me that the bitterness of death 
Is past, and we shall live. Whence hail to thee! 
Eve righdy called, Mother of all Mankind, 
Mother of all things living, since by thee 
Man is to live, and all things live for Man." 

To whom thus Eve with sad demeanour meek:— 
"Ill-worthy I such title should belong 
To me transgressor, who, for thee ordained 
A help, became thy snare; to me reproach 
Rather belongs, distrust and all dispraise. 
But infinite in pardon was my Judge, 
That I, who first brought death on all, am graced 
The source of life; next favourable thou. 
Who highly thus to entitle me voutsaf'st. 
Far other name deserving. But the field 
To labour calls us, now with sweat imposed. 
Though after sleepless night; for see! the Morn, 
All unconcerned with our unrest, begins 
Her rosy progress smiling. Let us forth, 
I never from thy side henceforth to stray. 
Where'er our day's work lies, though now enjoined 
Laborious, till day droop. While here we dwell. 
What can be toilsome in these pleasant walks? 
Here let us live, though in fallen state, content." 

So s[>ake, so wished, much-humbled Eve; but Fate 
Subscribed not. Nature first gave signs, impressed 
On bird, beast, air — air suddenly eclipsed. 
After short blush of morn. Nigh in her sight 
The bird of Jove, stoojjed from his aerie tour, 
Two birds of gayest plume before him drove; 
E>own from a hill the beast that reigns in woods, 
First hunter then, pursued a gentle brace. 
Goodliest of all the forest, hart and hind; 
Direct to the eastern gate was bent their flight. 


Adam observed, and, with his eye the chase 
Pursuing, not unmoved to Eve thus spake: — 

"O Eve, some furder change awaits us nigh. 
Which Heaven by these mute signs in Nature shews, 
Forerunners of his purpose, or to warn 
Us, haply too secure of our discharge 
From penalty because from death released 
Some days: how long, and what till then our life. 
Who knows, or more than this, that we are dust. 
And thither must return, and be no more? 
Why else this double object in our sight. 
Of flight pursued in the air and o'er the ground 
One way the self-same hour? Why in the east 
Darkness ere day's mid<ourse, and morning-light 
More orient in yon western cloud, that draws 
O'er the blue firmament a radiant white. 
And slow descends, with something Heavenly fraught?" 

He erred not; for, by this, the Heavenly bands 
Down from a sky of jasper lighted now 
In Paradise, and on a hill made halt — 
A glorious Apparition, had not doubt 
And carnal fear that day dimmed Adam's eye. 
Not that more glorious, when the Angels met 
Jacob in Mahanaim, where he saw 
The field pavilioned with his guardians bright; 
Nor that which on the flaming Mount appeared 
In Dothan, covered with a camp of fire. 
Against the Syrian king, who, to surprise 
One man, assassin-like, had levied war. 
War unproclaimed. The princely Hierarch 
In their bright stand there left his Powers to seize 
Possession of the Garden; he alone. 
To find where Adam sheltered, took his way. 
Not unperceived of Adam; who to Eve, 
While the great Visitant approached, thus spake: — 

"Eve, now expect great tidings, which, perhaps, 
Of us will soon determine, or impose 
New laws to be observed; for I descry. 
From yonder blazing cloud that veils the hill, 
One of the Heavenly host, and, by his gait, 


None of the meanest — some great Potentate 

Or of the Thrones above, such majesty 

Invests him coming; yet not terrible, 

That I should fear, nor sociably mild, 

As Raphael, that I should much confide, 

But solemn and sublime; whom, not to offend. 

With reverence I must meet, and thou retire." 

He ended; and the Archangel soon drew nigh, 
Not in his shape celestial, but as man 
Clad to meet man. Over his lucid arms 
A military vest of purple flowed. 
Livelier than Meliboean, or the grain 
Of Sarra, worn by kings and heroes old 
In time of truce; Iris had dipt the woof. 
His starry helm unbuckled shewed him prime 
In manhood where youth ended; by his side, 
As in a glistering zodiac, hung the sword, 
Satan's dire dread, and in his hand the sf>ear. 
Adam bowed low; he, kingly, from his state 
Inclined not, but his coming thus declared: — 

"Adam, Heaven's high behest no preface needs. 
Sufficient that thy prayers are heard, and Death, 
Then due by sentence when thou didst transgress. 
Defeated of his seizure many days. 
Given thee of grace, wherein thou may'st repent, 
And one bad act with many deeds well done 
May'st cover. Well may then thy Lord, appeased. 
Redeem thee quite from Death's rapacious claim; 
But longer in this Paradise to dwell 
Permits not. To remove thee I am come, 
And send thee from the Garden forth, to till 
The ground whence thou wast taken, fitter soil." 
He added not; for Adam, at the news 
Heart-strook, with chilling gripe of sorrow stood, 
That all his senses bound; Eve, who unseen 
Yet all had heard, with audible lament 
Discovered soon the place of her retire: — 

"O unexpected stroke, worse than of Death! 
Must I thus leave thee. Paradise? thus leave 
Thee, native soil? these happy walks and shades, 

326 JOHN MILTON book xi 

Fit haunt of Gods, where I had hope to spend. 
Quiet, though sad, the respite of that day 
That must be mortal to us both? O flowers, 
That never will in other climate grow. 
My early visitation, and my last 
At even, which I bred up with tender hand 
From the first opiening bud, and gave ye names. 
Who now shall rear ye to the Sun, or rank 
Your tribes, and water from the ambrosial fount? 
Thee, lasdy, nuptial bower, by me adorned 
With what to sight or smell was sweet, from thee 
How shall I part, and whither wander down 
Into a lower world, to this obscure 
And wild? How shall we breathe in other air 
Less pure, accustomed to immortal fruits?" 

Whom thus the Angel interrupted mild: 
"Lament not. Eve, but patiendy resign 
What justly thou hast lost; nor set thy heart. 
Thus over-fond, on that which is not thine. 
Thy going is not lonely; with thee goes 
Thy husband; him to follow thou art bound; 
Where he abides, think there thy native soil." 

Adam, by this from the cold sudden damp 
Recovering, and his scattered spirits returned. 
To Michael thus his humble words addressed: — 

"Celestial, whether among the Thrones, or named 
Of them the highest — for such of shape may seem 
Prince above princes — gently hast thou told 
Thy message, which might else in telling wound. 
And in performing end us. What besides 
Of sorrow, and dejection, and despair. 
Our frailty can sustain, thy tidings bring — 
Departure from this happy place, our sweet 
Recess, and only consolation left 
Familiar to our eyes; all places else 
Inhospitable appear, and desolate. 
Nor knowing us, nor known. And, if by prayer 
Incessant I could hope to change the will 
Of Him who all things can, I would not cease 
To weary him with my assiduous cries; 


But prayer against his absolute decree 

No more avails than breath against the wind, 

Blown stifling back on him that breathes it forth: 

Therefore to his great bidding I submit. 

This most afilicts me — that, departing hence, 

As from his face I shall be hid, deprived 

His blessed countenance. Here I could frequent. 

With worship, place by place where he voutsafed 

Presence Divine, and to my sons relate, 

'On this mount He appeared; under this tree 

Stood visible; among these pines his voice 

I heard; here with him at this fountain talked.' 

So many grateful altars I would rear 

Of grassy turf, and pile up every stone 

Of lustre from the brook, in memory 

Or monument to ages, and thereon 

Offer sweet-smelling gums, and fruits, and flowers. 

In yonder nether world where shall I seek 

His bright appearances, or footstep trace.' 

For, though I fled him angry, yet, recalled 

To life prolonged and promised race, I now 

Gladly behold though but his utmost skirts 

Of glory, and far off his steps adore." 

To whom thus Michael, with regard benign : — 
"Adam, thou know'st Heaven his, and all the ILarth, 
Not this rock only; his omnipresence fills 
Land, sea, and air, and every kind that lives, 
Fomented by his virtual power and warmed. 
All the Earth he gave thee to possess and rule, 
No despicable gift; surmise not, then, 
His presence to these narrow bounds confined 
Of Paradise or Eden. This had been 
Perhaps thy capital seat, from whence had spread 
All generations, and had hither come, 
From all the ends of the Earth, to celebrate 
And reverence thee their great progenitor. 
But this pre-eminence thou hast lost, brought down 
To dwell on even ground now with thy sons- 
Yet doubt not but in valley and in plain 
God is, as here, and will be found alike 

328 JOHN MILTON book xi 

Present, and of his presence many a sign 
Still following thee, still compassing thee round 
With goodness and paternal love, his face 
Express, and of his steps the track divine. 
Which that thou may'st believe, and be confirmed 
Ere thou from hence dejjart, know I am sent 
To shew thee what shall come in future days 
To thee and to thy offspring. Good with bad 
Exjject to hear, supernal grace contending 
With sinfulness of men — thereby to learn 
True patience, and to temper joy with fear 
And pious sorrow, equally inured 
By moderation either state to bear, 
Prosperous or adverse: so shalt thou lead 
Safest thy life, and best prepared endure 
Thy mortal passage when it comes. Ascend 
This hill; let Eve (for I have drenched her eyes) 
Here sleep below while thou to foresight wak'st. 
As once thou slept'sl while she to life was formed." 

To whom thus Adam gratefully replied: — 
"Ascend; I follow thee, safe Guide, the path 
Thou lead'st me, and to the hand of Heaven submit, 
However chastening — to the evil turn 
My obvious breast, arming to overcome 
By suffering, and earn rest from labour won, 
If so I may attain." So both ascend 
In the Visions of God. It was a hill. 
Of Paradise the highest, from whose top 
The hemisphere of Earth is clearest ken 
Stretched out to the amplest reach of prospect lay. 
Not higher that hill, nor wider looking ground, 
Whereon for different cause the Tempter set 
Our second Adam, in the wilderness. 
To shew him all Earth's kingdoms and their glory. 
His eye might there command wherever stood 
City of old or modern fame, the seat 
Of mightiest empire, from the destined walls 
Of Cambalu, seat of Cathaian Can, 
And Samarchand by Oxus, Temir's throne, 
To Paquin, of Sinzan kings, and thence 


To Agra and Lahor of Great Mogul, 

Down to the golden Chersonese, or where 

The Persian in Ecbatan sat, or since 

In Hisf)ahan, or where the Russian Ksar 

In Mosco, or the Sultan in Bizance, 

Turchestan-born; nor could his eye not ken 

The empire of Negus to his utmost port 

Ercoco, and the less maritime kings, 

Mombaza, and Quiloa, and Melind, 

And Sofala (thought Ophir), to the realm 

Of Congo, and Angola fardest south. 

Or thence from Niger flood to Atlas mount, 

The kingdoms of Almansor, Fez and Sus, 

Marocco, and Algiers, and Tremisen; 

On Europe thence, and where Rome was to sway. 

The world: in spirit perhaps he also saw 

Rich Mexico, the seat of Montezume, 

And Cusco in Peru, the richer seat 

Of Atabalipa, and yet unspoiled 

Guiana, whose great city Geryon's sons 

Call El Dorado. But to nobler sights 

Michael from Adam's eyes the film removed 

Which that false fruit that promised clearer sight 

Had bred; then purged with euphrasy and rue 

The visual nerve, for he had much to see, 

And from the well of life three drops instilled. 

So deep the power of these ingredients pierced, 

Even to the inmost seat of mental sight, 

That Adam, now enforced to close his eyes, 

Sunk down, and all his spirits became intranced. 

But him the gentle Angel by the hand 

Soon raised, and his attention thus recalled: — 

"Adam, now ope thine eyes, and first behold 
The effects which thy original crime hath wrought 
In some to spring from thee, who never touched 
The excepted Tree, nor with the Snake conspired, 
Nor sinned thy sin, yet from that sin derive 
Corruption to bring forth more violent deeds." 

His eyes he opened, and beheld a field. 
Part arable and tilth, whereon were sheaves 

330 JOHN MILTON book XI 

New-reaped, the other part sheejvwalks and folds; 
r the midst an altar as the landmark stood, 
Rustic, of grassy sord. Thither anon 
A sweaty reaper from his tillage brought 
First-fruits, the green ear and the yellow sheaf, 
Unculled, as came to hand. A shepherd next. 
More meek, came with the firstlings of his flock. 
Choicest and best; then, sacrificing, laid 
The inwards and their fat, with incense strewed. 
On the cleft wood, and all due rites performed. 
His offering soon propitious fire from heaven 
Consumed, with nimble glance and grateful steam; 
The other's not, for his was not sincere: 
Whereat he inly raged, and, as they talked. 
Smote him into the midriff with a stone 
That beat out life; he fell, and, deadly pwle. 
Groaned out his soul, with gushing blood effused. 
Much at that sight was Adam in his heart 
Dismayed, and thus in haste to the Angel cried: — 

"O Teacher, some great mischief hath befallen 
To that meek man, who well had sacrificed: 
Is piety thus and pure devotion f)aid?" 

To whom Michael thus, he also moved, replied: — 
"These two are brethren, Adam, and to come 
Out of thy loins. The unjust the just hath slain. 
For envy that his brother's offering found 
From Heaven acceptance; but the bloody fact 
Will be avenged, and the other's faith approved 
Lose no reward, though here thou sec him die, 
Rowling in dust and gore." To which our Sire: — 

"Alas, both for the deed and for the cause! 
But have I now seen Death? Is this the way 
I must return to native dust? O sight 
Of terror, foul and ugly to behold! 
Horrid to think, how horrible to feel!" 

To whom thus Michael: — "Death thou hast seen 
In his first shape on Man; but many shapes 
Of Death, and many are the ways that lead 
To his grim cave — all dismal, yet to sense 
More terrible at the entrance than within. 


Some, as thou saw'st, by violent stroke shall die, 
By fire, flood, famine; by intemperance more 
In meats and drinks, which on the Elarth shall bring 
Diseases dire, of which a monstrous crew 
Before thee shall apf>ear, that thou may'st know 
What misery the inabstinence of Eve 
Shall bring on men." Immediately a place 
Before his eyes appeared, sad, noisome, dark; 
A lazar-house it seemed, wherein were laid 
Numbers of all diseased — all maladies 
Of ghastly sf>asm, of racking torture, qualms 
Of heart-sick agony, all feverous kinds, 
Convulsions, epilepsies, fierce catarrhs. 
Intestine stone and ulcer, colic pangs, 
Dacmoniac phrenzy, moping melancholy. 
And moon-struck madness, pining atrophy. 
Marasmus, and wide-wasting pestilence. 
Dropsies and asthmas, and joint-racking rheums. 
Dire was the tossing, deep the groans; Despair 
Tended the sick, busiest from couch to couch; 
And over them triumphant Death his dart 
Shook, but delayed to strike, though oft invoked 
With vows, as their chief good and final hope. 
Sight so deform what heart of rock could long 
Dry-eyed behold? Adam could not, but wept. 
Though not of woman born: compassion quelled 
His best of man, and gave him up to tears 
A space, till firmer thoughts restrained excess, 
And, scarce recovering words, his plaint renewed: — 

"O miserable Mankind, to what fall 
Degraded, to what wretched state reserved! 
Better end here unborn. Why is life given 
To be thus wrested from us? rather why 
Obtruded on us thus? who, if we knew 
What we receive would either not accept 
Life offered, or soon beg to lay it down. 
Glad to be so dismissed in peace. Can thus 
The image of God in Man, created once 
So goodly and erect, though faulty since. 
To such unsightly sufferings be debased 

332 JOHN MILTON book XI 

Under inhuman jjains? Why should not Man, 

Retaining still divine similitude 

In part, from such deformities be free. 

And for his Maker's image' sake exempt?" 

"Their Maker's image," answered Michael, "then 
Forsook them, when themselves they vilified 
To serve ungoverned Appetite, and took 
His image whom they served — a brutish vice. 
Inductive mainly to the sin of Eve. 
Therefore so abject is their punishment, 
Disfiguring not God's likeness.but their own; 
Or, if his likeness, by themselves defaced 
While they pervert pure Nature's healthful rules 
To loathsome sickness — worthily, since they 
God's image did not reverence in themselves." 

"I yield it just," said Adam, "and submit. 
But is there yet no other way, besides 
These painful passages, how we may come 
To death, and mix with our connatural dust?" 

"There is," said Michael, "if thou well observe 
The rule of Not too much, by tempKrance taught 
In what thou eat'st and drink'st, seeking from thence 
Due nourishment, not gluttonous delight. 
Till many years over thy head return. 
So may'st thou live, till, like rif)e fruit, thou drop 
Into thy mother's lap, or be with ease 
Gathered, not harshly plucked, for death mature. 
This is old age; but then thou must outlive 
Thy youth, thy strength, thy beauty, which will change 
To withered, weak, and grey; thy senses then. 
Obtuse, all taste of pleasure must forgo 
To what thou hast; and, for the air of youth. 
Hopeful and cheerful, in thy blood will reign 
A melancholy damp of cold and dry. 
To weigh thy spirits down, and last consume 
The balm of life." To whom our Ancestor: — 

"Henceforth I fly not death, nor would prolong 
Life much — bent rather how I may be quit. 
Fairest and easiest, of this cumbrous charge. 
Which I must keep till my appointed day 


Of rendering up, and patiently attend 
My dissolution." Michael replied: — 

"Nor love thy life, nor hate; but what thou liv'st 
Live well, how long or short jjermit to Heaven. 
And now prepare thee for another sight." 

He looked, and saw a spacious plain, whereon 
Were tents of various hue: by some were herds 
Of cattle grazing: others whence the sound 
Of instruments that made melodious chime 
Was heard, of harp and organ, and who moved 
Their stops and chords was seen: his volant touch 
Instinct through all proportions low and high 
Fled and pursued transverse the resonant fugue. 
In other part stood one who, at the forge 
Labouring, two massy clods of iron and brass 
Had melted (whether found where casual fire 
Had wasted woods, on mountain or in vale, 
Down to the veins of earth, thence gliding hot 
To some cave's mouth, or whether washed by stream 
From underground); the liquid ore he drained 
Into fit moulds prepared; from which he formed 
First his own tools, then what might else be wrought 
Fusil or graven in metal. After these, 
But on the hither side, a different sort 
From the high neighbouring hills, which was their seat, 
Down to the plain descended: by their guise 
Just men they seemed, and all their study bent 
To worship God aright, and know his works 
Not hid; nor those things last which might preserve 
Freedom and peace to men. They on the plain 
Long had not walked when from the tents behold 
A bevy of fair women, richly gay 
In gems and wanton dress! to the harp they sung 
Soft amorous ditties, and in dance came on. 
The men, though grave, eyed them, and let their eyes 
Rove without rein, till, in the amorous net 
Fast caught, they liked, and each his liking chose. 
And now of love they treat, till the evening-star. 
Love's harbinger, appeared; then, all in heat, 
They light the nuptial torch, and bid invoke 

334 JOHN MILTON book xi 

Hymen, then first to marriage rites invoked: 
With feast and music all the tents resound. 
Such happy interview, and fair event 
Of love and youth not lost, songs, garlands, flowers, 
And charming symphonies, attached the heart 
Of Adam, soon inclined to admit delight. 
The bent of Nature; which he thus expressed: — 

"True opener of mine eyes, prime Angel blest. 
Much better seems this vision, and more hop* 
Of {peaceful days portends, than those two past: 
Those were of hate and death, or pain much worse; 
Here Nature seems fulfilled in all her ends." 

To whom thus Michael: — "Judge not what is best 
By pleasure, though to Nature seeming meet, 
Created, as thou art, to nobler end, 
Holy and pure, conformity divine. 
Those tents thou saw'st so pleasant were the tents 
Of wickedness, wherein shall dwell his race 
Who slew his brother: studious they appear 
Of arts that polish life, inventors rare; 
Unmindful of their Maker, though his Spirit 
Taught them; but they his gifts acknowledged none. 
Yet they a beauteous offspring shall beget; 
For that fair female troop thou saw'st, that seemed 
Of goddesses, so blithe, so smooth, so gay. 
Yet empty of all good wherein consists 
Woman's domestic honour and chief praise; 
Bred only and completed to the taste 
Of lustful appetence, to sing, to dance. 
To dress, and troll the tongue, and roll the eye; — 
To these that sober race of men, whose lives 
Religious tided them the Sons of God, 
Shall yield up all their virtue, all their fame. 
Ignobly, to the trains and to the smiles 
Of these fair atheists, and now swim in joy 
(Erelong to swim at large) and laugh; for which 
The world erelong a world of tears must weep." 

To whom thus Adam, of short joy bereft: — 
"O pity and shame, that they who to live well 
Entered so fair should turn aside to tread 


Paths indirect, or in the midway faint! 
But still I see the tenor of Man's woe 
Holds on the same, from Woman to begin." 

"From Man's effeminate slackness it begins," 
Said the Angel, "who should better hold his place 
By wisdom, and superior gifts received. 
But now prepare thee for another scene." 

He looked, and saw wide territory spread 
Before him — towns, and rural works between, 
Cities of men with lofty gates and towers. 
Concourse in arms, fierce faces threatening war, 
Giants of mighty bone and bold emprise. 
Part wield their arms, pan curb the foaming steed, 
Single or in array of batde ranged 
Both horse and foot, nor idly mustering stood. 
One way a band select from forage drives 
A herd of beeves, fair oxen and fair kine. 
From a fat meadow-ground, or fleecy flock, 
Ewes and their bleating lambs, over the plain^ 
Their booty; scarce with life the shepherds fly. 
But call in aid, which makes a bloody fray: 
With cruel tournament the squadrons join; 
Where cattle pastured late, now scattered lies 
With carcasses and arms the ensanguined field 
Deserted. Others to a city strong 
Lay siege, encamped, by battery, scale, and mine, 
Assaulting; others from the wall defend 
With dart and javelin, stones and sulphurous fire; 
On each hand slaughter and gigantic deeds. 
In other parts the sceptred haralds call 
To council in the city-gates: anon 
Grey-headed men and grave, with warriors mixed, 
Assemble, and harangues are heard; but soon 
In factious opposition, till at last 
Of middle age one rising, eminent 
In wise deport, spake much of right and wrong. 
Of justice, of religion, truth, and peace. 
And judgment from above: him old and young 
Exploded, and had seized with violent hands. 
Had not a cloud descending snatched him thence, 

336 JOHN MILTON book xi 

Unseen amid the throng. So violence 

Proceeded, and oppression, and sword-law, 

Through all the plain, and refuge none was found. 

Adam was all in tears, and to his guide 

Lamenting turned full sad: — "Oh, what are these.' 

Death's ministers, not men! who thus deal death 

Inhumanly to men, and multiply 

Ten thousandfold the sin of him who slew 

His brother; for of whom such massacre 

Make they but of their brethren, men of men? 

But who was that just man, whom had not Heaven 

Rescued, had in his righteousness been lost?" 

To whom thus Michael: — "These are the product' 
Of those ill-mated marriages thou saw'st, 
Where good with bad were matched; who of themselves 
Abhor to join, and, by imprudence mixed. 
Produce prodigious births of body or mind. 
Such were these Giants, men of high renown; 
For in those days might only shall be admired, 
And valour and heroic virtue called. 
To overcome in battle, and subdue 
Nations, and bring home spoils with infinite 
Manslaughter, shall be held the highest pitch 
Of human glory, and, for glory done. 
Of triumph to be styled great conquerors, 
Patrons of mankind, gods, and sons of gods — 
Destroyers rightlier called, and Plagues of men. 
Thus fame shall be achieved, renown on earth. 
And what most merits fame in silence hid. 
But he, the seventh from thee, whom thou beheld'st 
The only righteous in a world perverse. 
And therefore hated, therefore so beset 
With foes, for daring single to be just, 
And utter odious truth, that God would come 
To judge them with his Saints — him the Most High, 
Rapt in a balmy cloud, with winged steeds. 
Did, as thou saw'st, receive, to walk with God 
High in salvation and the climes of bliss. 
Exempt from death, to show thee what reward 
Awaits the good, the rest what punishment; 


Which now direct thine eyes and soon behold." 

He looked, and saw the face ot things quite changed. 
The brazen throat of war had ceased to roar; 
All now was turned to jollity and game. 
To luxury and riot, feast and dance, 
Marrying or prostituting, as befell. 
Rape or adultery, where passing fair 
Allured them; thence from cups to civil broils. 
At length a reverend Sire among them came, 
And of their doings great dislike declared. 
And testified against their ways. He oft 
Frequented their assemblies, whereso met. 
Triumphs or festivals, and to them preached 
Conversion and repentance, as to souls 
In prison, under judgments imminent; 
But all in vain. Which when he saw, he ceased 
Contending, and removed his tents far ofl; 
Then, from the mountain hewing timber tall. 
Began to build a Vessel of huge bulk, 
Measured by cubit, length, and breadth, and highth, 
Smeared round with pitch, and in the side a door 
Contrived, and of provisions laid in large 
For man and beast: when lo! a wonder strangel 
Of every beast, and bird, and insect small 
Came sevens and pairs, and entered in, as taught 
Their order; last, the Sire and his three sons. 
With their four wives; and God made fast the door. 
Meanwhile the South-wind rose, and, with black wings 
Wide-hovering, all the clouds together drove 
From under heaven; the hills to their supply 
Vapour, and exhalation dusk and moist. 
Sent up amain; and now the thickened sky 
Like a dark ceiling stood: down rushed the rain 
Impetuous, and continued till the earth 
No more was seen. The floating Vessel swum 
Uplifted, and secure with beaked prow 
Rode tilting o'er the waves; all dwellings else 
Flood overwhelmed, and them with all their pomp 
Deep under water rowled; sea covered sea. 
Sea without shore: and in their palaces. 

338 JOHN MILTON book n 

Where luxury late reigned, sea-monsters whelped 

And stabled: of mankind, so numerous late. 

All left in one small bottom swum imbarked. 

How didst thou grieve then, Adam, to behold 

The end of all thy offspring, end so sad. 

Depopulation! Thee another flood, 

Of tears and sorrow a flood thee also drowned. 

And sunk thee as thy sons; till, gently reared 

By the Angel, on thy feet thou stood'st at last, 

Though comfortless, as when a father mourns 

His children, all in view destroyed at once. 

And scarce to the Angel utter'dst thus thy plaint: — 

"O Visions ill foreseen! Better had I 
Lived ignorant of future — so had borne 
My part of evil only, each day's lot 
Enough to bear. Those now that were dispensed 
The burden of many ages on me light 
At once, by my foreknowledge gaining birth 
Abortive, to torment me, ere their being. 
With thought that they must be. Let no man seek 
Henceforth to be foretold what shall befall 
Him or his children — evil, he may be sure. 
Which neither his foreknowing can prevent, 
And he the future evil shall no less 
In apprehension than in substance feel 
Grievous to bear. But that care now is past; 
Man is not whom to warn; those few escaped 
Famine and anguish will at last consume. 
Wandering that watery desert. I had hope. 
When violence was ceased and war on Earth, 
All would have then gone well, peace would have 

With length of happy days the race of Man; 
But I was far deceived, for now I see 
Peace to corrupt no less than war to waste. 
How comes it thus? Unfold, Celestial Guide, 
And whether here the race of Man will end." 

To whom thus Michael : — "Those whom last thou 
In triumph and luxurious wealth are they 


First seen in acts of powers eminent 

And great exploits, but of true virtue void; 

Who, having spilt much blood, and done much waste, 

Subduing nations, and achieved thereby 

Fame in the world, high tides, and rich prey, 

Shall change their course to pleasure, ease, and sloth, 

Surfeit, and lust, till wantonness and pride 

Raise out of friendship hostile deeds in peace. 

The conquered, also, and enslaved by war. 

Shall, with their freedom lost, all virtue lose, 

And fear of God — from whom their piety feigned 

In sharp contest of battle found no aid 

Against invaders; therefore, cooled in zeal. 

Thenceforth shall practise how to live secure. 

Worldly, or dissolute, on what their lords 

Shall leave them to enjoy; for the Earth shall bear 

More than enough, that temperance may be tried. 

So all shall turn degenerate, all depraved. 

Justice and temperance, truth and faith, forgot; 

One man except, the only son of light 

In a dark age, against example good, 

Against allurement, custom, and a world 

Offended. Fearless of reproach and scorn, 

Or violence, he of their wicked ways 

Shall them admonish, and before them set 

The paths of righteousness, how much more safe 

And full of peace, denouncing wrauth to come 

On their impenitence, and shall return 

Of them derided, but of God observed 

The one just man alive: by his command 

Shall build a wondrous Ark, as thou beheld'st. 

To save himself and household from amidst 

A world devote to universal wrack. 

No sooner he, with them of man and beast 

Select for life, shall in the ark be lodged 

And sheltered round, but all the cataracts 

Of Heaven set open on the Earth shall pour 

Rain day and night; all fountains of the deep, 

Broke up, shall heave the ocean to usurp 

Beyond all bounds, till inundation rise 

340 JOHN MILTON book xi 

Above the highest hills. Then shall this Mount 

Of Paradise by might of waves be moved 

Out of his place, pushed by the horned flood. 

With all his verdure spoiled, and trees adrift, 

Down the great River to the opening Gulf, 

And there take root, an island salt and bare, 

The haunt of seals, and ores, and sea-mews' clang — 

To teach thee that God at'tributcs to place 

No sanctity, if none be thither brought 

By men who there frequent or therein dwell. 

And now what furder shall ensue behold." 

He looked, and saw the Ark hull on the flood, 
Which now abated; for the clouds were fled, 
Driven by a keen North-wind, that, blowing dry. 
Wrinkled the face of Deluge, as decayed; 
And the clear sun on his wide watery glass 
Gazed hot, and of the fresh wave largely drew. 
As after thirst; which made their flowing shrink 
From standing lake to tripping ebb, that stole 
With soft foot towards the deep, who now had stopt 
His sluices, as the heaven his windows shut . 
The Ark no more now floats, but seems on ground, 
Fast on the top of some high mountain fixed. 
And now the tops of hills as rocks apjx;ar; 
With clamour thence the rapid currents drive 
Towards the retreating sea their furious tide. 
Forthwith from out the ark a Raven flies, 
And, after him, the surer messenger, 
A Dove, sent forth once and again to spy 
Green tree or ground whereon his foot may light; 
The second time returning, in his bill 
An olive-leaf he brings, pacific sign. 
Anon dry ground app)ears, and from his ark 
The ancient sire descends, with all his train; 
Then, with uplifted hands and eyes devout. 
Grateful to Heaven, over his head beholds 
A dewy cloud, and in the cloud a Bow 
Conspicuous with three listed colours gay. 
Betokening peace from God, and covenant new. 
Whereat the heart of Adam, erst so sad. 


Greatly rejoiced; and thus his joy broke forth: — 

"O thou, who future things canst represent 
As present, Heavenly Instructor, I revive 
At this last sight, assured that Man shall live. 
With all the creatures, and their seed preserve. 
Far less I now lament for one whole world 
Of wicked sons destroyed than I rejoice 
For one man found so perfet and so just 
That God voutsafes to raise another world 
From him, and all his anger to forget. 
But say what mean those coloured streaks in Heaven: 
Distended as the brow of God appeased? 
Or serve they as a flowery verge to bind 
The fluid skirts of that same watery cloud. 
Lest it again dissolve and shower the Earth?" 

To whom the Archangel: — "Dextrously thou aim'st. 
So willingly doth God remit his ire: 
Though late repenting him of Man depraved, 
Grieved at his heart, when, looking down, he saw 
The whole Earth filled with violence, and all flesh 
Corrupting each their way; yet, those removed, 
Such grace shall one just man find in his sight 
That he relents, not to blot out mankind, 
And makes a covenant never to destroy 
The Earth again by flood, nor let the sea 
Surpass his bounds, nor rain to drown the world 
With man therein or beast; but, when he brings 
Over the Earth a cloud, will therein set 
His triple-coloured bow, whereon to look 
And call to mind his Covenant. Day and night, 
Seed-time and harvest, heat and hoary frost, 
Shall hold their course, till fire purge all things new 
Both Heaven and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell." 


The Argument. — The Angel Michael continues, from the Flood, to relate what 
shall succeed; then, in the mention of Abraham, comes by degrees to explain who 
that Seed of the Woman shall be which was promised Adam and Eve in the Fall: 
his incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension; the state of the Church till his 
second coming. Adam, greatly satisfied and rccomfortcd by these relations and 
promises, descends the hill with Michael; wakens Eve, who all this while had slept, 


but with gentle dreams composed to quietness of mind and submission. Michael in 
either hand leads them out of Paradise, the fiery Sword waving behind them, and the 
Cherubim taking their stations to guard the place. 

As one who, in his journey, bates at noon, 

Though bent on speed, so here the Archangel paused 

Betwixt the world destroyed and world restored, 

If Adam aught perhaps might interpose; 

Then, with transition sweet, new speech resumes: — 

"Thus thou hast seen one world begin and end. 
And Man as from a second stock proceed. 
Much thou hast yet to see; but I perceive 
Thy mortal sight to fail; objects divine 
Must needs impair and weary human sense. 
Henceforth what is to come I will relate; 
Thou, therefore, give due audience, and attend. 

"This second source of men, while yet but few, 
And while the dread of judgment past remains 
Fresh in their minds, fearing the Deity, 
With some regard to what is just and right 
Shall lead their lives, and multiply apace. 
Labouring the soil, and reaping plenteous crop. 
Corn, wine and oil; and, from the herd or flock 
Oft sacrificing bullock, lamb, or kid. 
With large wine-offerings poured, and sacred feast. 
Shall spend their days in joy unblamed, and dwell 
Long time in peace, by families and tribes. 
Under paternal rule, till one shall rise. 
Of proud, ambitious heart, who, not content 
With fair equality, fraternal state. 
Will arrogate dominion undeserved 
Over his brethren, and quite dispossess 
Concord and law of Nature from the Elarth — 
Hunting (and men, not beasts, shall be his game) 
With war and hostile snare such as refuse 
Subjection to his empire tyrannous. 
A mighty Hunter thence he shall be styled 
Before the Lord, as in despite of Heaven, 
Or from Heaven claiming second sovranty. 
And from rebellion shall derive his name. 
Though of rebellion others he accuse. 


He, with a crew, whom like ambition joins 

With him or under him to tyrannize, 

Marching from Eden towards the west, shall find 

The Plain, wherein a black bituminous gurge 

Boils out from under ground, the mouth of Hell. 

Of brick, and of that stuff, they cast to build 

A city and tower, whose top may reach to Heaven; 

And get themselves a name, lest far dispersed 

In foreign lands, their memory be lost — 

Regardless whether good or evil fame. 

But God, who oft descends to visit men 

Unseen, and through their habitations walks. 

To mark their doings, them beholding soon. 

Comes down to see their city, ere the Tower 

Obstruct Heaven-towers, and in derision sets 

Upon their tongues a various spirit, to rase 

Quite out their native language, and, instead. 

To sow a jangling noise of words unknown. 

Forthwith a hideous gabble rises loud 

Among the builders; each to other calls, 

Not understood — till, hoarse and ail in rage. 

As mocked they storm. Great laughter was in Heaven, 

And looking down to see the hubbub strange 

And hear the din. Thus was the building left 

Ridiculous, and the work Confusion named." 

Whereto thus Adam, fatherly displeased: — 
"O execrable son, so to aspire 
Above his brethren, to himself assuming 
Authority usurped, from God not given! 
He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl. 
Dominion absolute; that right we hold 
By his donation: but man over men 
He made not lord — such title to himseli 
Reserving, human left from human free. 
But this Usurper his encroachment proud 
Stays not on Man; to God his Tower intends 
Siege and defiance. Wretched man! what food 
Will he convey up thither, to sustain 
Himself and his rash army, where thin air 
Above the clouds will pine his entrails gross, 

344 JOHN MILTON book xii 

And famish him of breath, if not of bread?" 

To whom thus Michael: — "Jusdy thou abhorr'st 
That son, who on the quiet state of men 
Such trouble brought, affecting to subdue 
Rational liberty; yet know withal, 
Since thy original lapse, true liberty 
Is lost, which always with right reason dwells 
Twinned, and from her hath no dividual being. 
Reason in Man obscured, or not obeyed. 
Immediately inordinate desires 
And upstart passions catch the government 
From Reason, and to servitude reduce 
Man, till then free. Therefore, since he permits 
Within himself unworthy powers to reign 
Over free reason, God, in judgment just. 
Subjects him from without to violent lords. 
Who oft as undeservedly enthral 
His outward freedom. Tyranny must be, 
Though to the tyrant thereby no excuse. 
Yet sometimes nations will decline so low 
From virtue, which is reason, that no wrong. 
But justice and some fatal curse annexed. 
Deprives them of their outward liberty. 
Their inward lost: witness the irreverent son 
Of him who built the Ark, who, for the shame 
Done to his father, heard this heavy curse. 
Servant of servants, on his vicious race. 
Thus will this latter, as the former world. 
Still tend from bad to worse, till God at last, 
Wearied with their iniquities, withdraw 
His presence from among them, and avert 
His holy eyes, resolving from thenceforth 
To leave them to their own pwUuted ways, 
And one peculiar nation to select 
From all the rest, of whom to be invoked — 
A nation from one faithful man to spring. 
Him on this side Euphrates yet residing. 
Bred up in idol-worship — Oh, that men 
(Canst thou believe?) should be so stupid grown. 
While yet the patriarch lived who scaped the Flood, 


As to forsake the living God, and fall 

To worship their own work in wood and stone 

For gods! — yet him God the Most High voutsafes 

To call by vision from his father's house, 

His kindred, and false gods into a land 

Which he will shew him, and from him will raise 

A mighty nation, and upon him shower 

His benediction so that in his seed 

All Nations shall be blest. He straight obeys; 

Not knowing to what land, yet firm believes. 

I see him, but thou canst not, with what faith 

He leaves his gods, his friends, and native soil, 

Ur of Chaldxa, passing now the ford 

To Haran — after him a cumbrous train 

Of herds and flocks, and numerous servitude — 

Not wandering poor, but trusting all his wealth 

With God, who called him, in a land unknown 

Canaan he now attains; I see his tents 

Pitched about Sechem, and the neighbouring plain 

Of Moreh. There, by promise, he receives 

Gift to his progeny of all that land, 

From Hamath northward to the Desert south 

(Things by their names I call, though yet unnamed). 

From Hermon east to the great western sea; 

Mount Hermon, yonder sea, each place behold 

In prospect, as I point them: on the shore. 

Mount Carmel; here, the double-founted stream, 

Jordan, true limit eastward; but his sons 

Shall dwell to Senir, that long ridge of hills. 

This ponder, that all nations of the Earth 

Shall in his seed be blessed. By that seed 

Is meant thy great Deliverer, who shall bruise 

The Serpent's head; whereof to thee anon 

Plainlier shall be revealed. This patriarch blest, 

Whom faithful Abraham due time shall call, 

A son, and of his son a grandchild, leaves. 

Like him in faith, in wisdom, and renown. 

The grandchild, with twelve sons increased, departs 

From Canaan to a land hereafter called 

Egypt, divided by the river Nile; 

346 JOHN MILTON book xn 

See where it flows, disgorging at seven mouths 

Into the sea. To sojourn in that land 

He comes, invited by a younger son 

In time of dearth — a son whose worthy deeds 

Raise him to be the second in that realm 

Of Pharaoh. There he dies, and leaves his race 

Growing into a nation, and now grown 

Suspected to a sequent king, who seeks 

To stop their overgrowth, as inmate guests 

Too numerous; whence of guests he makes them slaves, 

Inhospitably, and kills their infant males: 

Till, by two brethren (those two brethren call 

Moses and Aaron) sent from God to claim 

His people from enthralment, they return. 

With glory and spoil, back to their promised land. 

But first the lawless tyrant, who denies 

To know their God, or message to regard, 

Must be compelled by signs and judgments dire: 

To blood unshed the rivers must be turned; 

Frogs, lice, and (lies must all his palace fill 

With loathed intrusion, and fill all the land; 

His cattle must of rot and murrain die; 

Botches and blains must all his flesh imboss, 

And all his people; thunder mixed with hail. 

Hail mixed with fire, must rend the Egyptian sky, 

And wheel on the earth, devouring where it rolls; 

What it devours not, herb, or fruit, or grain, 

A darksome cloud of locusts swarming down 

Must eat, and on the ground leave nothing green; 

Darkness must overshadow all his bounds, 

Palpable darkness, and blot out three days; 

Last, with one midnight-stroke, all the first-born 

Of Egypt must lie dead. Thus with ten wounds 

The River-dragon tamed at length submits 

To let his sojourners depart, and oft 

Humbles his stubborn heart, but still as ice 

More hardened after thaw; till, in his rage 

Pursuing whom he late dismissed, the sea 

Swallows him with his host, but them lets pass, 

As on dry land, between two crystal walls, 


Awed by the rod of Moses so to stand 

Divided till his rescued gain their shore: 

Such wondrous power God to his Saint will lend, 

Though present in his Angel, who shall go 

Before them in a cloud, and pillar of fire — 

By day a cloud, by night a pillar of fire — 

To guide them in their journey, and remove 

Behind them, while the obdurate king pursues. 

All night he will pursue, but his approach 

Darkness defends between till morning- watch; 

Then through the fiery pillar and the cloud 

God looking forth will trouble all his host. 

And craze their chariot-wheels: when, by command, 

Moses once more his potent rod extends 

Over the sea; the sea his rod obeys; 

On their imbattled ranks the waves return. 

And overwhelm their war. The race elect 

Safe towards Canaan, from the shore, advance 

Through the wild Desert — not the readiest way. 

Lest, entering on the Canaanite alarmed. 

War terrify them inexpert, and fear 

Return them back to Egypt, choosing rather 

Inglorious life with servitude; for life 

To noble and ignoble is more sweet 

Untrained in arms, where rashness leads not on. 

This also shall they gain by their delay 

In the wide wilderness: there they shall found 

Their government, and their great Senate choose 

Through the twelve Tribes, to rule by laws ordained. 

God, from the Mount of Sinai, whose grey top 

Shall tremble, he descending, will himself. 

In thunder, lightning, and loud trumpet's sound. 

Ordain them laws — part, such as appertain 

To civil justice; part, religious rites 

Of sacrifice, informing them, by typies 

And shadows, of that destined Seed to bruise 

The Serpent, by what means he shall achieve 

Mankind's deliverance. But the voice of God 

To mortal ear is dreadful: they beseech 

That Moses might report to them his will. 

348 JOHN MILTON book xii 

And terror cease; he grants what they besought. 
Instructed that to God is no access 
Without Mediator, whose high office now 
Moses in figure bears, to introduce 
One greater, of whose day he shall foretell. 
And all the Prophets, in their age, the times 
Of great Messiah shall sing. Thus laws and rites 
Established, such delight hath God in men 
Obedient to his will that he voutsafes 
Among them to set up his Tabernacle — 
The Holy One with mortal men to dwell. 
By his prescript a sanctuary is framed 
Of cedar, overlaid with gold; therein 
An ark, and in the Ark his testimony, 
The records of his covenant; over these 
A mercy-seat of gold, between the wings 
Of two bright Cherubim; before him burn 
Seven lamps, as in a zodiac representing 
The heavenly fires. Over the tent a cloud 
Shall rest by day, a fiery gleam by night. 
Save when they journey; and at length they come, 
Conducted by his Angel, to the land 
Promised to Abraham and his seed. The rest 
Were long to tell — how many battles fought; 
How many kings destroyed, and kingdoms won; 
Or how the sun shall in mid-heaven stand still 
A day entire, and night's due course adjourn, 
Man's voice commanding, 'Sun, in Gibeon stand. 
And thou, Moon, in the vale of Aialon, 
Till Israel overcome!' — so call the third 
From Abraham, son of Isaac, and from him 
His whole descent, who thus shall Canaan win." 
Here Adam interposed: — "O sent from Heaven, 
Enlightener of my darkness, gracious things 
Thou hast revealed, those chiefly which concern 
Just Abraham and his seed. Now first I find 
Mine eyes true opening, and mv heart much eased, 
Erewhile perplexed with thoughts what would become 
Of me and all mankind; but now I see 
His day, in whom all nations shall be blest — 


Favour unmerited by me, who sought 

Forbidden knowledge by forbidden means. 

This yet I apprehend not — why to those 

Among whom God will deign to dwell on Earth 

So many and so various laws are given. 

So many laws argue so many sins 

Among them; how can God with such reside?" 

To whom thus Michael: — "Doubt not but that sin 
Will reign among them, as of thee begot; 
And therefore was law given them, to evince 
Their natural pravity, by stirring up 
Sin against Law to fight, that, when they see 
Law can discover sin, but not remove. 
Save by those shadowy expiations weak. 
The blood of bulls and goats, they may conclude 
Some blood more precious must be paid for Man, 
Just for unjust, that in such righteousness. 
To them by faith imputed, they may find 
Justification towards God, and peace 
Of conscience, which the law by ceremonies 
Cannot appease, nor man the moral part 
Perform, and not performing cannot live. 
So Law appears imperfect, and but given 
With purpose to resign them, in full time. 
Up to a better covenant, disciplined 
From shadowy tyjjes to truth, from flesh to spirit. 
From imposition of strict laws to free 
Acceptance of large grace, from servile fear 
To filial, works of law to works of faith. 
And therefore shall not Moses, though of God 
Highly beloved, being but the minister 
Of Law, his people into Canaan lead; 
But Joshua, whom the Gentiles Jesus call. 
His name and office bearing who shall quell 
The adversary Serjjent, and bring back 
Through the world's wilderness long-wandered Man 
Safe to eternal Paradise of rest. 
Meanwhile they, in their earthly Canaan placed. 
Long time shall dwell and prosper, but when sins 
National interrupt their public peace. 


Provoking God to raise them enemies — 

From whom as oft he saves them penitent, 

By Judges first, then under Kings; of whom 

The second, both for piety renowned 

And puissant deeds, a promise shall receive 

Irrevocable, that his regal throne 

For ever shall endure. The like shall sing 

All Prophecy — that of the royal stock 

Of David (so I name this king) shall rise 

A son, the Woman's Seed to thee foretold. 

Foretold to Abraham as in whom shall trust 

All nations, and to kings foretold of kings 

The last, for of his reign shall be no end. 

But first a long succession must ensue; 

And his next son, for wealth and wisdom famed. 

The clouded Ark of God, till then in tents 

Wandering, shall in a glorious Temple enshrine. 

Such follow him as shall be registered 

Part good, part bad; of bad the longer scroll: 

Whose foul idolatries and other faults. 

Heaped to the popular sum, will so incense 

God, as to leave them, and expose their land, 

Their city, his Temple, and his holy Ark, 

With all his sacred things, a scorn and prey 

To that proud city whose high walls thou saw'st 

Left in confusion, Babylon thence called. 

There in captivity he lets them dwell 

The space of seventy years; then brings them back, 

Remembering mercy, and his covenant sworn 

To David, stablished as the days of Heaven. 

Returned from Babylon by leave of kings. 

Their lords, whom God disposed, the house of God 

They first re-edify, and for a while 

In mean estate live moderate, till, grown 

In wealth and multitude, factious they grow. 

But first among the priests dissension springs — 

Men who attend the altar, and should most 

Endeavour f>eace: their strife pollution brings 

Upon the Temple itself; at last they seize 

The sceptre, and regard not David's sons; 


Then lose it to a stranger, that the true 

Anointed King Messiah might be born 

Barred of his right. Yet at his birth a Star, 

Unseen before in heaven, proclaims him come, 

And guides the eastern sages, who inquire 

His place, to offer incense, myrrh, and gold: 

His place of birth a solemn Angel tells 

To simple shepherds, keeping watch by night; 

They gladly thither haste, and by a quire 

Of squadroned Angels hear his carol sung. 

A Virgin is his mother, but his sire 

The Power of the Most High. He shall ascend 

The throne hereditary, and bound his reign 

With Earth's wide bounds, his glory with the Heavens." 

He ceased, discerning Adam with such joy 
Surcharged as had, like grief, been dewed in tears. 
Without the vent of words; which these he breathed: — 

"O prophet of glad tidings, finisher 
Of utmost hope! now clear I understand 
What oft my steadiest thoughts have searched in vain — 
Why our great Expectation should be called 
The Seed of Woman. Virgin Mother, hail! 
High in the love of Heaven, yet from my loins 
Thou shalt proceed, and from thy womb the Son 
Of God Most High; so God with Man unites. 
Needs must the Serpent now his capital bruise 
Except with mortal pain. Say where and when 
Their fight, what stroke shall bruise the Victor's heel." 

To whom thus Michael: — "Dream not of their fight 
As of a duel, or the local wounds 
Of head or heel. Not therefore joins the Son 
Manhood to Godhead, with more strength to foil 
Thy enemy; nor so is overcome 
Satan, whose fall from Heaven, a deadlier bruise. 
Disabled not to give thee thy death's wound; 
Which he who comes thy Saviour shall recure. 
Not by destroying Satan, but his works 
In thee and in thy seed. Nor can this be. 
But by fulfilling that which thou didst want, 
Obedience to the law of God, imposed 

352 JOHN MILTON book xu 

On penalty of death, and suffering death, 

The penalty to thy transgression due, 

And due to theirs which out of thine will grow: 

So only can high justice rest appaid. 

The Law of God exact he shall fulfil 

Both by obedience and by love, though love 

Alone fulfil the Law; thy punishment 

He shall endure, by coming in the flesh 

To a reproachful life and cursed death, 

Proclaiming life to all who shall believe 

In his redemption, and that his obedience 

Imputed becomes theirs by faith — his merits 

To save them, not their own, though legal, works. 

For this he shall live hated, be blasphemed. 

Seized on by force, judged, and to death condemned 

A shameful and accursed, nailed to the Cross 

By his own nation, slain for bringing life; 

But to the cross he nails thy enemies — 

The Law that is against thee, and the sins 

Of all mankind, with him there crucified. 

Never to hurt them more who rightly trust 

In this his satisfaction. So he dies. 

But soon revives; Death over him no power 

Shall long usurp. Ere the third dawning light 

Return, the stars of morn shall see him rise 

Out of his grave, fresh as the dawning light. 

Thy ransom paid, which Man from Death redeems — 

His death for Man, as many as offered life 

Neglect not, and the benefit imbrace 

By faith not void of works. This godlike act 

Annuls thy doom, the death thou shouldst have died, 

In sin for ever lost from life; this act 

Shall bruise the head of Satan, crush his strength, 

Defeating Sin and Death, his two main arms, 

And fix far deeper in his head their stings 

Than tempwral death shall bruise the Victor's heel, 

Or theirs whom he redeems — a death like sleep, 

A gende wafting to immortal life. 

Nor after resurrection shall he stay 

Longer on Earth than certain times to appear 


To his disciples — men who in his life 

Still followed him; to them shall leave in charge 

To teach all nations what of him they learned 

And his salvation, them who shall believe 

Baptizing in the profluent stream — the sign 

Of washing them from guilt of sin to life 

Pure, and in mind prepared, if so befall, 

For death like that which the Redeemer died. 

All nations they shall teach; for from that day 

Not only to the sons of Abraham's loins 

Salvation shall be preached, but to the sons 

Of Abraham's faith wherever through the world; 

So in his seed all nations shall be blest. 

Then to the Heaven of Heavens he shall ascend 

With victory, triumphing through the air 

Over his foes and thine; there shall surprise 

The Serpent, Prince of Air, and drag in chains 

Through all his realm, and there confounded leave; 

Then enter into glory and resume 

His seat at God's right hand, exalted high 

Above all names in Heaven; and thence shall come, 

When this World's dissolution shall be ripe. 

With glory and power, to judge both quick and 

dead — 
To judge the unfaithful dead, but to reward 
His faithful, and receive them into bliss. 
Whether in Heaven or Earth; for then the Earth 
Shall all be Paradise, far happier place 
Than this of Eden, and far happier days." 

So spake the Archangel Michael; then paused, 
As at the World's great period; and our Sire, 
Replete with joy and wonder, thus replied: — 

"O Goodness infinite. Goodness immense, 
That all this good of evil shall produce. 
And evil turn to good — more wonderful 
Than that which by creation first brought forth 
Light out of darkness! Full of doubt I stand, 
Whether I should repent me now of sin 
By me done and occasioned, or rejoice 
Much more that much more good thereof shall spring — 

354 JOHN MILTON book xii 

To God more glory, more good-will to men 
From God — and over wrauth grace shall abound. 
But say, if our Deliverer up to Heaven 
Must reascend, what will betide the few, 
His faithful, left among the unfaithful herd. 
The enemies of truth. Who then shall guide 
His jjeople, who defend ? Will they not deal 
Worse with his followers than with him they dealt?" 
"Be sure they will," said the Angel; "but from 
He to his own a Comforter will send. 
The promise of the Father, who shall dwell. 
His Spirit, within them, and the law of faith 
Working through love upon their hearts shall write, 
To guide them in all truth, and also arm 
With spiritual armour, able to resist 
Satan's assaults, and quench his fiery darts— 
What man can do against them not afraid, 
Though to the death; against such cruelties 
With inward consolations recompensed, 
And often supported so as shall amaze 
Their proudest persecutors. For the Spirit, 
Poured first on his Apostles, whom he sends 
To evangelize the nations, then on all 
Baptized, shall them with wondrous gifts endue 
To speak all tongues, and do all miracles, 
As did their Lord before them. Thus they win 
Great numbers of each nation to receive 
With joy the tidings brought from Heaven: at length. 
Their ministry performed, and race well run. 
Their doctrine and their story written left. 
They die; but in their room, as they forewarn. 
Wolves shall succeed for teachers, grievous wolves. 
Who all the sacred mysteries of Heaven 
To their own vile advantages shall turn 
Of lucre and ambition, and the truth 
With superstitions and traditions taint. 
Left only in those written Records pure. 
Though not but by the Spirit understood. 
Then shall they seek to avail themselves of names, 


Palaces, and titles, and with these to join 
Secular power, though feigning still to act 
By spiritual; to themselves appropriating 
The Spirit of God, promised alike and given 
To all believers; and, from that pretense. 
Spiritual laws by carnal fxjwer shall force 
On every conscience — laws which none shall find 
Left them enrowled, or what the Spirit within 
Shall on the heart engrave. What will they then 
But force the Spirit of Grace itself, and bind 
His consort. Liberty? what but unbuild 
His living temples, built by faith to stand — 
Their own faith, not another's? for, on Earth, 
Who against faith and conscience can be heard 
Infallible? Yet many will presume: 
Whence heavy persecution shall arise 
On all who in the worship persevere 
Of Spirit and Truth; the rest, far greater part. 
Will deem in outward rites and sp)ecious forms 
Religion satisfied; Truth shall retire 
Bestuck with slanderous darts, and works of Faith 
Rarely be found. So shall the World go on. 
To good malignant, to bad men benign, 
Under her own weight groaning, till the day 
Appear of respiration to the just 
And vengeance to the wicked, at return 
Of Him so lately promised to thy aid. 
The Woman's Seed — obscurely then foretold. 
Now amplier known thy Saviour and thy Lord; 
Last in the clouds from Heaven to be revealed 
In glory of the Father, to dissolve 
Satan with his perverted World; then raise 
From the conflagrant mass, purged and refined. 
New Heavens, new Earth, Ages of endless date 
Founded in righteousness and peace and love, 
To bring forth fruits, joy and eternal bliss." 
He ended; and thus Adam last replied: — 
"How soon hath thy prediction. Seer blest. 
Measured this transient World, the race of Time, 
Till Time stand fixed! Beyond is all abyss — 

356 JOHN MILTON book xii 

Eternity, whose end no eye can reach. 

Greatly instructed I shall hence depart, 

Gready in peace of thought, and have my fill 

Of knowledge, what this vessel can contain; 

Beyond which was my folly to aspire. 

Henceforth I learn that to obey is best, 

And love with fear the only God, to walk 

As in his presence, ever to observe 

His providence, and on him sole depend, 

Merciful over all his works, with good 

Still overcoming evil, and by small 

Accomplishing great things — by things deemed weak 

Subverting worldly-strong, and worldly-wise 

By simply meek; that suffering for Truth's sake 

Is fortitude to highest victory. 

And to the faithful death the gate of life — 

Taught this by his example whom I now 

Acknowledge my Redeemer ever blest." 

To whom thus also the Angel last replied: — 
"This having learned, thou hast attained the sum 
Of wisdom; hope no higher, though all the stars 
Thou knew'st by name, and all the ethereal powers. 
All secrets of the Deep, all Nature's works. 
Or works of God in heaven, air, earth, or sea, 
And all the riches of this world enjoy 'dst. 
And all the rule, one empire. Only add 
Deeds to thy knowledge answerable; add faith; 
Add virtue, patience, temperance; add love. 
By name to come called Charity, the soul 
Of all the rest: then wilt thou not be loth 
To leave this Paradise, but shalt possess 
A Paradise within thee, happier far. 
Let us descend now, therefore, from this top 
Of speculation; for the hour precise 
Exacts our parting hence; and, see! the guards, 
By me encamped on yonder hill, expect 
Their motion, at whose front a flaming sword. 
In signal of remove, waves fiercely round. 
We may no longer stay. Go, waken Eve; 
Her also I with gende dreams have calmed. 


Portending good, and all her spirits composed 
To meek submission: thou, at season fit, 
Let her with thee partake what thou hast heard — 
Chiefly what may concern her faith to know, 
The great deliverance by her seed to come 
(For by the Woman's Seed) on all mankind — 
That ye may live, which will be many days. 
Both in one faith unanimous; though sad 
With cause for evils past, yet much more cheered 
With meditation on the happy end." 

He ended, and they both descend the hill. 
Descended, Adam to the bower where Eve 
Lay sleeping ran before, but found her waked; 
And thus with words not sad she him received: — 

"Whence thou return'st and whither went'st I know; 
For God is also in sleep, and dreams advise. 
Which he hath sent propitious, some great good 
Presaging, since, with sorrow and heart's distress 
Wearied, I fell asleep. But now lead on; 
In me is no delay; with thee to go 
Is to stay here; without thee here to stay 
Is to go hence unwilling; thou to me 
Art all things under Heaven, all places thou. 
Who for my wilful crime art banished hence. 
This further consolation yet secure 
I carry hence: though all by me is lost. 
Such favour I unworthy am voutsafed. 
By me the Promised Seed shall all restore." 

So spake our mother Eve; and Adam heard 
Well pleased, but answered not; for now too nigh 
The Archangel stood, and from the other hill 
To their fixed station, all in bright array. 
The Cherubim descended, on the ground 
Gliding meteorous, as evening mist 
Risen from a river o'er the marish glides. 
And gathers ground fast at the labourer's heel 
Homeward returning. High in front advanced. 
The brandished sword of God before them blazed. 
Fierce as a comet; which with torrid heat, 
And vapour at the Libyan air adust, 

358 JOHN MILTON book xii 

Began to parch that temperate clime; whereat 

In either hand the hastening Angel caught 

Our lingering Parents, and to the eastern gate 

Led them direct, and down the cliff as fast 

To the subjected plain — then disappeared. 

They, looking back, all the eastern side beheld 

Of Paradise, so late their happy seat. 

Waved over by that flaming brand; the gate 

With dreadful faces thronged and fiery arms. 

Some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them soon; 

The world was all before them, where to choose 

Their place of rest, and Providence their guide. 

They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow, 

Through Eden took their solitary way. 

1 665-1 667 


I WHO erewhile the happy Garden sung 
By one man's disobedience lost, now sing 
, Recovered Paradise to all mankind, 
By one man's firm obedience fully tried 
Through all temptation, and the Tempter foiled 
In all his wiles, defeated and repulsed, 
And Eden raised in the waste Wilderness. 

Thou Spirit, who led'st this glorious Eremite 
Into the desert, his victorious field 
Against the spiritual foe, and brought'st him thence 
By proof the undoubted Son of God, inspire, 
As thou art wont, my promjMed song, else mute, 
And bear through highth or depth of Nature's bounds, 
With prosperous wing full summed, to tell of deeds 
Above heroic, though in secret done. 
And unrecorded left through many an age: 
Worthy to have not remained so long unsung. 

Now had the great Proclaimer, with a voice 
More awful than the sound of trumpet, cried 
Repentance, and Heaven's kingdom nigh at hand 
To all baptized. To his great baptism flocked 
With awe the regions round, and with them came 
From Nazareth the son of Joseph deemed 
To the flood Jordan — came as then obscure, 
Unmarked, unknown. But him the Baptist soon 
Descried, divinely warned, and witness bore 
As to his worthier, and would have resigned 
To him his heavenly office. Nor was long 
His witness unconfirmed: on him baptized 
Heaven opened, and in likeness of a Dove 
The Spirit descended, while the Father's voice 


360 JOHN MILTON book i 

From Heaven pronounced him his beloved Son. 
That heard the Adversary, who, roving still 
About the world, at that assembly famed 
Would not be last, and, with the voice divine 
Nigh thunder-struck, the exalted man to whom 
Such high attest was given a while surveyed 
With wonder; then, with envy fraught and rage, 
Flies to his place, nor rests, but in mid air 
To council summons all his mighty Peers, 
Within thick clouds and dark tenfold involved, 
A gloomy consistory; and them amidst. 
With looks aghast and sad, he thus bespake: — 

"O ancient Powers of Air and this wide World 
(For much more willingly I mention Air, 
This our old conquest, than remember Hell, 
Our hated habitation), well ye know 
How many ages, as the years of men. 
This Universe we have possessed, and ruled 
In manner at our will the affairs of Earth, 
Since Adam and his facile consort Eve 
Lost Paradise, deceived by me, though since 
With dread attending when that fatal wound 
Shall be inflicted by the seed of Eve 
Upon my head. Long the decrees of Heaven 
Delay, for longest time to Him is short; 
And now, too soon for us, the circling hours 
This dreaded time have compassed, wherein we 
Must bide the stroke of that long-threatened wound 
(At least, if so we can, and by the head 
Broken be not intended all our power 
To be infringed, our freedom and our being 
In this fair empire won of Earth and Air) — 
For this ill news I bring: The Woman's Seed, 
Destined to this, is late of woman born. 
His birth to our just fear gave no small cause; 
But his growth now to youth's full power, displaying 
All virtue, grace and wisdom to achieve 
Things highest, greatest, multiplies my fear. 
Before him a great Prophet, to proclaim 
His coming, is sent harbinger, who all 



Invites, and in the consecrated stream 
Pretends to wash off sin, and fit them so 
Purified to receive him pure, or rather 
To do him honour as their King. All come. 
And he himself among them was baptized — 
Not thence to be more pure, but to receive 
The testimony of Heaven, that who he is 
Thenceforth the nations may not doubt. I saw 
The Prophet do him reverence; on him, rising 
Out of the water. Heaven above the clouds 
Unfold her crystal doors; thence on his head 
A perfet Dove descend (whate'er it meant); 
And out of Heaven the sovraign voice I heard, 
'This is my Son beloved, — in him am pleased.* 
His mother, then, is mortal, but his Sire 
He who obtains the monarchy of Heaven; 
And what will He not do to advance his Son? 

His first-begot we know, and sore have felt. 
When his fierce thunder drove us to the Deep; 

Who this is we must learn, for Man he seems 

In all his lineaments, though in his face 

The glimpses of his Father's glory shine. 

Ye see our danger on the utmost edge 

Of hazard, which admits no long debate. 

But must with something sudden be opposed 

(Not force, but well<ouched fraud, well-woven 

Ere in the head of nations he appear, 

Their king, their leader, and supreme on Earth. 

I, when no other durst, sole undertook 

The dismal expedition to find out 

And ruin Adam, and the exploit performed 

Successfully: a calmer voyage now 

Will waft me; and the way found prosperous once 

Induces best to hope of like success." 
He ended, and his words impression left 

Of much amazement to the infernal crew. 

Distracted and surprised with deep dismay 

At these sad tidings. But no time was then 

For long indulgence to their fears or grief: 

362 JOHN MILTON Book t 

Unanimous they all commit the care 
And management of this main enterprise 
To him, their great Dictator, whose attemjH 
At first against mankind so well had thrived 
In Adam's overthrow, and led their march 
From Hell's deep>-vaulted den to dwell in light, 
Regents, and potentates, and kings, yea gods, 
Of many a pleasant realm and province wide. 
So to the coast of Jordan he directs 
His easy steps, girded with snaky wiles. 
Where he might likeliest find this new-declared, 
This man of men, attested Son of God, 
Temjxation and all guile on him to try — 
So to subvert whom he suspiected raised 
To end his reign on Earth so long enjoyed: 
But, contrary, unweeting he fulfilled 
The purposed counsel, pre-ordained and fixed, 
Of the Most High, who, in full frequence bright 
Of Angels, thus to Gabriel smiling spake: — 

"Gabriel, this day, by proof, thou shalt behold, 
Thou and all Angels conversant on Earth 
With Man or men's affairs, how I begin 
To verify that solemn message late. 
On which I sent thee to the Virgin pure 
In Galilee, that she should bear a son. 
Great in renown, and called the Son of God. 
Then told'st her, doubting how these things could be 
To her a virgin, that on her should come 
The Holy Ghost, and the power of the Highest 
O'ershadow her. This Man, born and now upgrown, 
To shew him worthy of his birth divine 
And high prediction, henceforth I expose 
To Satan; let him tempt, and now assay 
His utmost subtlety, because he boasts 
And vaunts of his great cunning to the throng 
Of his Apostasy. He might have learnt 
Less overweening, since he failed in Job, 
Whose constant jierseverance overcame 
Whate'er his cruel malice could invent. 
He now shall know I can produce a man. 


Of female seed, far abler to resist 

All his solicitations, and at length 

All his vast force, and drive him back to Hell — 

Winning by conquest what the first man lost 

By fallacy surprised. But first I mean 

To exercise him in the Wilderness; 

There he shall first lay down the rudiments 

Of his great warfare, ere I send him forth 

To conquer Sin and Death, the two grand foes. 

By humiliation and strong sufferance 

His weakness shall o'ercome Satanic strength, 

And all the world, and mass of sinful flesh; 

That all the Angels and xthereal Powers — 

They now, and men hereafter — may discern 

From what consummate virtue I have chose 

This perfet man, by merit called my Son, 

To earn salvation for the sons of men." 

So spake the Eternal Father, and all Heaven 
Admiring stood a sp>ace; then into hymns 
Burst forth, and in celestial measures moved, 
Circling the throne and singing, while the hand 
Sung with the voice, and this the argument: — 

"Victory and triumph to the Son of God, 
Now entering his great duel, not of arms 
But to vanquish by wisdom hellish wiles! 
The Father knows the Son; therefore secure 
Ventures his filial virtue, though untried. 
Against whate'cr may tempt, whate'er seduce. 
Allure, or terrify, or undermine. 
Be frustrate, all ye stratagems of Hell, 
And, devilish machinations, come to nought!" 

So they in Heaven their odes and vigils tuned. 
Meanwhile the Son of God, who yet some days 
Lodged in Bethabara, where John baptized. 
Musing and much revolving in his breast 
How best the mighty work he might begin 
Of Saviour to mankind, and which way first 
Publish his godlike office now mature. 
One day forth walked alone, the Spirit leading 
And his deep thoughts, the better to converse 

364 JOHN MILTON book i 

With solitude, till, far from track of men, 
Thought following thought, and step by step led on. 
He entered now the bordering Desert wild, 
And, with dark shades and rocks environed round. 
His holy meditations thus pursued: — 

"O what a multitude of thoughts at once 
Awakened in me swarm, while I consider 
What from within I feel myself, and hear 
What from without comes often to my ears, 
111 sorting with my present state compared! 
When I was yet a child, no childish play 
To me was pleasing; all my mind was set 
Serious to learn and know, and thence to do, 
What might be public good; myself I thought 
Born to that end, born to promote all truth, 
All righteous things. Therefore, above my years. 
The Law of God I read, and found it sweet; 
Made it my whole delight, and in it grew 
To such perfection that, ere yet my age 
Had measured twice six years, at our great Feast 
I went into the Temple, there to hear 
The teachers of our Law, and to propose 
What might improve my knowledge or their own. 
And was admired by all. Yet this not all 
To which my spirit aspired. Victorious deeds 
Flamed in my heart, heroic acts — one while 
To rescue Israel from the Roman yoke; 
Then to subdue and quell, o'er all the earth. 
Brute violence and proud tyrannic power. 
Till truth were freed, and equity restored: 
Yet held it more humane, more heavenly, first 
By winning words to conquer willing hearts. 
And make persuasion do the work of fear; 
At least to try, and teach the erring soul. 
Not wilfully misdoing, but unware 
Misled; the stubborn only to subdue. 
These growing thoughts my mother soon perceiving. 
By words at times cast forth, inly rejoiced, 
And said to me apart, 'High are thy thoughts, 
O Son! but nourish them, and let them soar 


To what highth sacred virtue and true worth 

Can raise them, though above example high; 

By matchless deeds express thy matchless Sire. 

For know, thou art no son of mortal man; 

Though men esteem thee low of parentage, 

Thy Father is the Eternal King who rules 

All Heaven and Earth, Angels and sons of men 

A messenger from God foretold thy birth 

Conceived in me a virgin; he foretold 

Thou shouldst be great, and sit on David's throne, 

And of thy kingdom there should be no end. 

At thy Nativity a glorious quire 

Of Angels, in the fields of Bethlehem, sung 

To shepherds, watching at their folds by night. 

And told them the Messiah now was born, 

Where they might see him; and to thee they came. 

Directed to the manger where thou lay'st; 

For in the inn was left no better room. 

A Star, not seen before, in heaven appearing. 

Guided the Wise Men thither from the East, 

To honour thee with incense, myrrh, and gold; 

By whose bright course led on they found the place. 

Affirming it thy star, new-graven in heaven. 

By which they knew thee King of Israel born. 

Just Simeon and prophetic Anna, warned 

By vision, found thee in the Temple, and spake. 

Before the altar and the vested priest. 

Like things of thee to all that present stood.' 

This having heard, straight I again revolved 

The Law and Prophets, searching what was writ 

Concerning the Messiah, to our scribes 

Known partly, and soon found of whom they spake 

I am — this chiefly, that my way must lie 

Through many a hard assay, even to the death. 

Ere I the promised kingdom can attain. 

Or work redemption for mankind, whose sins' 

Full weight must be transferred upon my head. 

Yet, neither thus disheartened or dismayed, 

The time prefixed I waited; when behold 

The Baptist (of whose birth I oft had heard, 

366 JOHN MILTON book i 

Not knew by sight) now come, who was to come 

Before Messiah, and his way prepare! 

I, as all others, to his baptism came. 

Which I believed was from above; but he 

Straight knew me, and with loudest voice proclaimed 

Me him (for it was shewn him so from Heaven) — 

Me him whose harbinger he was; and first 

Refused on me baptism to confer. 

As much his greater, and was hardly won. 

But, as I rose out of the laving stream, 

Heaven opened her eternal doors, from whence 

The Spirit descended on me like a Dove; 

And last, the sum of all, my Father's voice, 

Audibly heard from Heaven, pronounced me his, 

Me his beloved Son, in whom alone 

He was well pleased: by which I knew the time 

Now full, that I no more should live obscure. 

But ojjenly begin, as best becomes 

The authority which I derived from Heaven. 

And now by some strong motion I am led 

Into this wilderness; to what intent 

I learn not yet. Perhaps I need not know; 

For what concerns my knowledge God reveals." 

So spake our Morning Star, then in his rise, 
And, looking round, on every side beheld 
A pathless desert, dusk with horrid shades. 
The way he came, not having marked return. 
Was difficult, by human steps untrod; 
And he still on was led, but with such thoughts 
Accompanied of things past and to come 
Lodged in his breast as well might recommend 
Such solitude before choicest society. 

Full forty days he passed — whether on hill 
Sometimes, anon in shady vale, each night 
Under the covert of some ancient oak 
Or cedar to defend him from the dew, 
Or harboured in one cave, is not revealed; 
Nor tasted human food, nor hunger felt. 
Till those days ended; hungered then at last 
Among wild beasts. They at his sight grew mild, 


Nor sleeping him nor waking harmed; his walk 
The fiery serpent fled and noxious worm; 
The lion and fierce tiger glared aloof. 
But now an aged man in rural weeds, 
Following, as seemed, the quest of some stray ewe, 
Or withered sticks to gather, which might serve 
Against a winter's day, when winds blow keen. 
To warm him wet returned from field at eve, 
He saw approach; who first with curious eye 
Perused him, then with words thus uttered spake: — 

"Sir, what ill chance hath brought thee to this place, 
So far from path or road of men, who pass 
In troop or caravan, for single none 
Durst ever, who returned, and dropt not here 
His carcass, pined with hunger and with droughth. 
I ask the rather, and the more admire. 
For that to me thou seem'st the man whom late 
Our new baptizing Prophet at the ford 
Of Jordan honoured so, and called thee Son 
Of God. I saw and heard, for we sometimes 
Who dwell this wild, constrained by want, come forth 
To town or village nigh (nighest is far). 
Where aught we hear, and curious are to hear. 
What happens new; fame also finds us out." 

To whom the Son of God: — "Who brought me 
Will bring me hence; no other guide I seek." 

"By miracle he may," replied the swain; 
"What other way I see not; for we here 
Live on tough roots and stubs, to thirst inured 
More than the camel, and to drink go far — 
Men to much misery and hardship born. 
But, if thou be the Son of God, command 
That out of these hard stones be made thee bread; 
So shalt thou save thyself, and us relieve 
With food, whereof we wretched seldom taste." 

He ended, and the Son of God replied: — 
"Think'st thou such force in bread? Is it not written 
(For I discern thee other than thou seem'st), 
Man lives not by bread only, but each word 

368 JOHN MILTON book i 

Proceeding from the mouth of God, who fed 
Our fathers here with manna? In the Mount 
Moses was forty days, nor eat nor drank; 
And forty days EUah without food 
Wandered this barren waste; the same I now. 
Why dost thou, then, suggest to me distrust. 
Knowing who I am, as I know who thou art?" 

Whom thus answered the Arch-Fiend, now undis- 
guised: — 
" 'Tis true, I am that Spirit unfortunate 
Who, leagued with millions more in rash revolt, 
Kept not my happy station, but was driven 
With them from bliss to the bottomless Deep- 
Yet to that hideous place not so conHned 
By rigour unconniving but that oft. 
Leaving my dolorous prison, I enjoy 
Large liberty to round this globe of Earth, 
Or range in the Air; nor from the Heaven of Heavens 
Hath he excluded my resort sometimes. 
I came, among the Sons of God, when he 
Gave up into my hands Uzzean Job, 
To prove him, and illustrate his high worth; 
And, when to all his Angels he proposed 
To draw the proud king Ahab into fraud. 
That he might fall in Ramoth, they demurring, 
I undertook that office, and the tongues 
Of all his flattering prophets glibbed with lies 
To his destruction, as I had in charge: 
For what he bids I do. Though I have lost 
Much lustre of my native brightness, lost 
To be beloved of God, I have not lost 
To love, at least contemplate and admire. 
What I see excellent in good, or fair. 
Or virtuous; I should so have lost all sense. 
What can be then less in me than desire 
To see thee and approach thee, whom I know 
Declared the Son of God, to hear attent 
Thy wisdom, and behold thy godlike deeds? 
Men generally think me much a foe 
To all mankind. Why should I? they to me 


Never did wrong or violence. By them 

I lost not what I lost; rather by them 

I gained what I have gained, and with them dwell 

Copartner in these regions of the World, 

If not disposer — lend them oft my aid, 

Oft my advice by presages and signs, 

And answers, oracles, portents, and dreams, 

Whereby they may direct their future life. 

Envy, they say, excites me, thus to gain 

Companions of my misery and woe! 

At first it may be; but, long since with woe 

Nearer acquainted, now I feel by proof 

That fellowship in pain divides not smart, 

Nor lightens aught each man's peculiar load; 

Small consolation, then, were Man adjoined. 

This wounds me most (what can it less?) that Man, 

Man fallen, shall be restored, I never more." 

To whom our Saviour sternly thus replied: — 
"Deservedly thou griev'st, composed of lies 
From the beginning, and in lies wilt end. 
Who boast'st release from Hell, and leave to come 
Into the Heaven of Heavens. Thou com'st indeed. 
As a poor miserable captive thrall 
Comes to the place where he before had sat 
Among the prime in splendour, now deposed. 
Ejected, emptied, gazed, unpitied, shunned, 
A spectacle of ruin, or of scorn. 
To all the host of Heaven. The happy place 
Imparts to thee no happiness, no joy — 
Rather inflames thy torment, representing 
Lost bliss, to thee no more communicable; 
So never more in Hell than when in Heaven. 
But thou art serviceable to Heaven's King! 
Wilt thou impute to obedience what thy fear 
Extorts, or pleasure to do ill excites? 
What but thy malice moved thee to misdeem 
Of righteous Job, then cruelly to afflict him 
With all inflictions? but his patience won. 
The other service was thy chosen task. 
To be a liar in four hundred mouths; 

370 JOHN MILTON book i 

For lying is thy sustenance, thy food. 

Yet thou pretend'st to truth! all oracles 

By thee are given, and what confessed more true 

Among the nations? That hath been thy craft. 

By mixing somewhat true to vent more lies. 

But what have been thy answers? what but dark. 

Ambiguous, and with double sense deluding, 

Which they who asked have seldom understood, 

And, not well understood, as good not known? 

Who ever, by consulting at thy shrine, 

Returned the wiser, or the more instruct 

To fly or follow what concerned him most. 

And run not sooner to his fatal snare? 

For God hath jusdy given the nations up 

To thy delusions; justly, since they fell 

Idolatrous. But, when his purpose is 

Among them to declare his providence. 

To thee not known, whence hast thou then thy truth. 

But from him, or his Angels president 

In every province, who, themselves disdaining 

To approach thy temples, give thee in command 

What, to the smallest tittle, thou shalt say 

To thy adorers? Thou, with trembling fear, 

Or like a fawning parasite, obey'st; 

Then to thyself ascrib'st the truth foretold. 

But this thy glory shall be soon retrenched; 

No more shalt thou by oracling abuse 

The Gentiles; henceforth oracles are ceased, 

And thou no more with pwmp and sacrifice 

Shalt be enquired at Delphos or elsewhere — 

At least in vain, for they shall find thee mute. 

God hath now sent his living Oracle 

Into the world to teach his final will. 

And sends his Spirit of Truth henceforth to dwell 

In pious hearts, an inward oracle 

To all truth requisite for men to know." 

So spake our Saviour; but the subtle Fiend, 
Though inly stung with anger and disdain. 
Dissembled, and this answer smooth returned: — 

"Sharply thou hast insisted on rebuke. 


And urged me hard with doings which not will, 

But misery, hath wrested from me. Where 

Easily canst thou find one miserable, 

And not inforced oft-times to part from truth. 

If it may stand him more in stead to lie. 

Say and unsay, feign, flatter, or abjure? 

But thou art placed above me; thou art Lord; 

From thee I can, and must, submiss, endure 

Check or reproof, and glad to scape so quit. 

Hard are the ways of truth, and rough to walk. 

Smooth on the tongue discoursed, pleasing to the ear, 

And tunable as sylvan pipe or song; 

What wonder, then, if I delight to hear 

Her dictates from thy mouth? most men admire 

Virtue who follow not her lore. Permit me 

To hear thee when I come (since no man comes), 

And talk at least, though I despair to attain. 

Thy Father, who is holy, wise, and pure. 

Suffers the hypocrite or atheous priest 

To tread his sacred courts, and minister 

About his altar, handling holy things, 

Praying or vowing, and voutsafed his voice 

To Balaam reprobate, a prophet yet 

Inspired: disdain not such access to me." 

To whom our Saviour, with unaltered brow: — 
"Thy coming hither, though I know thy scope, 
I bid not, or forbid. Do as thou find'st 
Permission from above; thou canst not more." 

He added not; and Satan, bowing low 
His gray dissimulation, disappeared. 
Into thin air diffused: for now began 
Night with her sullen wing to double-shade 
The desert; fowls in their clay nests were couched; 
And now wild beasts came forth the woods to roam. 

Meanwhile the new-baptized, who yet remained 
At Jordan with the Baptist, and had seen 
Him whom they heard so late expressly called 
Jesus Messiah, Son of God, declared. 

372 JOHN MILTON book ii 

And on that high authority had believed, 

And with him talked, and with him lodged — I mean 

Andrew and Simon, famous after known. 

With others, though in Holy Writ not named — 

Now missing him, their joy so lately found. 

So lately found and so abruptly gone. 

Began to doubt, and doubted many days. 

And, as the days increased, increased their doubt. 

Sometimes they thought he might be only shewn, 

And for a time caught up to God, as once 

Moses was in the Mount and missing long. 

And the great Thisbite, who on fiery wheels 

Rode up to Heaven, yet once again to come. 

Therefore, as those young prophets then with care 

Sought lost Eliah, so in each place these 

Nigh to Bethabara — in Jericho 

The city of Palms, /Enon, and Salem old, 

Machzrus, and each town or city walled 

On this side the broad lake Genezaret, 

Or in Peraca — but returned in vain. 

Then on the bank of Jordan, by a creek. 

Where winds with reeds and osiers whispering play, 

Plain fishermen (no greater men them call). 

Close in a cottage low together got. 

Their unexpected loss and plaints outbreathed: — 

"Alas, from what high hope to what relapse 
Unlocked for are we fallen! Our eyes beheld 
Messiah certainly now come, so long 
Expected of our fathers; we have heard 
His words, his wisdom full of grace and truth. 
'Now, now, for sure, deliverance is at hand; 
The kingdom shall to Israel be restored:' 
Thus we rejoiced, but soon our joy is turned 
Into perplexity and new amaze. 
For whither is he gone? what accident 
Hath rapt him from us? will he now retire 
After appearance, and again prolong 
Our expectation? God of Israel, 
Send thy Messiah forth; the time is come. 
Behold the kings of the earth, how they oppress 


Thy Chosen, to what highth their jwwer unjust 

They have exalted, and behind them cast 

All fear of Thee; arise, and vindicate 

Thy glory; free thy people from their yoke! 

But let us wait; thus far He hath jjerformed — 

Sent his Anointed, and to us revealed him 

By his great Prophet pointed at and shown 

In public, and with him we have conversed. 

Let us be glad of this, and all our fears 

Lay on his providence; He will not fail, 

Nor will withdraw him now, nor will recall — 

Mock us with his blest sight, then snatch him hence: 

Soon we shall see our hop)e, our joy, return." 

Thus they out of their plaints new hope resume 
To find whom at the first they found unsought. 
But to his mother Mary, when she saw 
Others returned from baptism, not her Son, 
Nor left at Jordan tidings of him none. 
Within her breast though calm, her breast though pure. 
Motherly cares and fears got head, and raised 
Some troubled thoughts, which she in sighs thus clad: — 

"Oh, what avails me now that honour high. 
To have conceived of God, or that salute, 
'Hail, highly favoured, among women blestl' 
While I to sorrows am no less advanced, 
And fears as eminent above the lot 
Of other women, by the birth I bore: 
In such a season born, when scarce a shed 
Could be obtained to shelter him or me 
From the bleak air? A stable was our warmth, 
A manger his; yet soon enforced to fly 
Thence into Egypt, till the murderous king 
Were dead, who sought his life, and, missing, filled 
With infant blood the streets of Bethlehem. 
From Egypt home returned, in Nazareth 
Hath been our dwelling many years; his life 
Private, unactive, calm, contemplative. 
Little suspicious to any king. But now. 
Full grown to man, acknowledged, as I hear, 
By John the Baptist, and in public shewn. 

374 JOHN MILTON book u 

Son owned from Heaven by his Father's voice, 

I looked for some great change. To honour? no; 

But trouble, as old Simeon plain foretold. 

That to the fall and rising he should be 

Of many in Israel, and to a sign 

S|X)ken against — that through my very soul 

A sword shall pierce. This is my favoured lot, 

My exaltation to afflictions high! 

Afflicted I may be, it seems, and blest! 

I will not argue that, nor will repine. 

But where delays he now? Some great intent 

Conceals him. When twelve years he scarce had seen, 

I lost him, but so found as well I saw 

He could not lose himself, but went about 

His Father's business. What he meant I mused — 

Since understand; much more his absence now 

Thus long to some great purpose he obscures. 

But I to wait with patience am inured; 

My heart hath been a storehouse long of things 

And sayings laid up, portending strange events." 

Thus Mary, pondering oft, and oft to mind 
Recalling what remarkably had passed 
Since first her Salutation heard, with thoughts 
Meekly composed awaited the fulfilling: 
The while her Son, tracing the desert wild. 
Sole, but with holiest meditations fed. 
Into himself descended, and at once 
All his great work to come before him set — 
How to begin, how to accomplish best 
His end of being on Earth, and mission high. 
For Satan, with sly preface to return. 
Had left him vacant, and with speed was gone 
Up to the middle region of thick air. 
Where all his Potentates in council sate. 
There, without sign of boast, or sign of joy. 
Solicitous and blank, he thus began: — 

"Princes, Heaven's ancient Sons, Ethereal Thrones — 
Dzmonian Spirits now, from the element 
Each of his reign allotted, rightlier called 
Powers of Fire, Air, Water, and Earth beneath 


(So may we hold our place and these mild seats 

Without new trouble!) — such an enemy 

Is risen to invade us, who no less 

Threatens than our expulsion down to Hell. 

I, as I undertook, and with the vote 

Consenting in full frequence was impowered. 

Have found him, viewed him, tasted him; but find 

Far other labour to be undergone 

Than when I dealt with Adam, first of men. 

Though Adam by his wife's allurement fell. 

However to this Man inferior far — 

If he be Man by mother's side, at least 

With more than human gifts from Heaven adorned, 

Perfections absolute, graces divine, 

And amplitude of mind to greatest deeds- 

Therefore I am returned, lest confidence 

Of my success with Eve in Paradise 

Deceive ye to persuasion over-sure 

Of like succeeding here. I summon all 

Rather to be in readiness with hand 

Or counsel to assist, lest I, who erst 

Thought none my equal, now be overmatched." 

So spoke the old Serpent, doubting, and from all 
With clamour was assured their utmost aid 
At his command; when from amidst them rose 
Belial, the dissolutest Spirit that fell, 
The sensualest, and, after Asmodai, 
The fleshliest Incubus, and thus advised. — 

"Set women in his eye and in his walk. 
Among daughters of men the fairest found. 
Many are in each region passing fair 
As the noon sky, more like to goddesses 
Than mortal creatures, graceful and discreet, 
Expert in amorous arts, enchanting tongues 
Persuasive, virgin majesty with mild 
And sweet allayed, yet terrible to approach. 
Skilled to retire, and in retiring draw 
Hearts after them tangled in amorous nets. 
Such object hath the power to soften and tame 
Severest temper, smooth the rugged'st brow, 

376 JOHN MILTON book u 

Enerve, and with voluptuous hof)e dissolve, 
Draw out with credulous desire, and lead 
At will the manliest, resolutest breast. 
As the magnetic hardest iron draws. 
Women, when nothing else, beguiled the heart 
Of wisest Solomon, and made him build. 
And made him bow, to the gods of his wives." 

To whom quick answer Satan thus returned: — 
"Belial, in much uneven scale thou weigh'st 
All others by thyself. Because of old 
Thou thyself doat'st on womankind, admiring 
Their shape, their colour, and attractive grace, 
None are, thou think'st, but taken with such toys. 
Before the Flood, thou, with thy lusty crew. 
False titled Sons of God, roaming the Earth, 
Cast wanton eyes on the daughters of men, 
And coupled with them, and begot a race. 
Have we not seen, or by relation heard. 
In courts and regal chambers how thou lurk'st, 
In wood or grove, by mossy fountain-side. 
In valley or green meadow, to waylay 
Some beauty rare, Calisto, Clymene, 
Daphne, or Semele, Antiopa, 
Or Amymone, Syrinx, many more 
Too long — then lay'st thy scapes on names adored, 
Apollo, Neptune, Jupiter, or Pan, 
Satyr, or Faun, or Silvan? But these haunts 
Delight not all. Among the sons of men 
How many have with a smile made small account 
Of beauty and her lures, easily scorned 
All her assaults, on worthier things intent! 
Remember that Pellean conqueror, 
A youth, how all the beauties of the East 
He slightly viewed, and slightly overpassed; 
How he surnamed of Africa dismissed. 
In his prime youth, the fair Iberian maid. 
For Solomon, he lived at ease, and, full 
Of honour, wealth, high fare, aimed not beyond 
Higher design than to enjoy his state; 
Thence to the bait of women lay exposed. 


But he whom we attempt is wiser far 

Than Solomon, of more exalted mind, 

Made and set wholly on the accomplishment 

Of greatest things. What woman will you find, 

Though of this age the wonder and the fame, 

On whom his leisure will voutsafed an eye 

Of fond desire? Or should she, confident. 

As sitting queen adored on Beauty's throne. 

Descend with all her winning charms begirt 

To enamour, as the zone of Venus once 

Wrought that effect on Jove (so fables tell). 

How would one look from his majestic brow, 

Seated as on the top of Virtue's hill. 

Discountenance her despised, and put to rout 

AH her array, her female pride deject. 

Or turn to reverent awe! For Beauty stands 

In the admiration only of weak minds 

Led captive; cease to admire, and all her plumes 

Fall flat, and shrink into a trivial toy. 

At every sudden slighting quite abashed. 

Therefore, with manlier objects we must try 

His constancy — with such as have more shew 

Of worth, of honour, glory, and popular praise 

(Rocks whereon greatest men have oftest wrecked); 

Or that which only seems to satisfy 

Lawful desires of nature, not beyond. 

And now I know he hungers, where no food 

Is to be found, in the wide Wilderness: 

The rest commit to me; I shall let pass 

No advantage, and his strength as oft assay." 

He ceased, and heard their grant in loud acclaim; 
Then forthwith to him takes a chosen band 
Of Spirits likest to himself in guile. 
To be at hand and at his beck appear. 
If cause were to unfold some active scene 
Of various persons, each to know his part; 
Then to the desert takes with these his flight, 
Where still, from shade to shade, the Son of God, 
After forty days' fasting, had remained, 


Now hungering first, and to himself thus said: — 
"Where will this end? Four times ten days I have 
Wandering this woody maze, and human food 
Nor tasted, nor had appetite. That fast 
To virtue I impute not, or count part 
Of what I suffer here. If nature need not, 
Or God support nature without repast, 
Though needing, what praise is it to endure? 
But now I feel I hunger; which declares 
Nature hath need of what she asks. Yet God 
Can satisfy that need some other way, 
Though hunger still remain. So it remain 
Without this body's wasting, I content me, 
And from the sting of famine fear no harm; 
Nor mind it, fed with better thoughts, that feed 
Me hungering more to do my Father's will." 

It was the hour of night, when thus the Son 
Communed in silent walk, then laid him down 
Under the hospitable covert nigh 
Of trees thick interwoven. There he slept, 
And dreamed, as appetite is wont to dream. 
Of meats and drinks, nature's refreshment sweet. 
Him thought he by the brook of Cherith stood. 
And saw the ravens with their horny beaks 
Food to Elijah bringing even and morn — 
Though ravenous, taught to abstain from what they 

He saw the Prophet also, how he fled 
Into the desert, and how there he slept 
Under a juniper — then how, awaked, 
He found his supjier on the coals prepared. 
And by the Angel was bid rise and eat, 
And eat the second time after repose. 
The strength whereof sufficed him forty days: 
Sometimes that with Elijah he partook, 
Or as a guest with Daniel at his pulse. 
Thus wore out night; and now the harald Lark 
Left his ground-nest, high towering to descry 
The Morn's approach, and greet her with his song. 


As lightly from his grassy couch up rose 

Our Saviour, and found all was but a dream; 

Fasting he went to sleep, and fasting waked. 

Up to a hill anon his steps he reared, 

From whose high top to ken the prospect round, 

If cottage were in view, sheep<ote, or herd; 

But cottage, herd, or sheepxote, none he saw — 

Only in a bottom saw a pleasant grove. 

With chaunt of tuneful birds resounding loud. 

Thither he bent his way, determined there 

To rest at noon, and entered soon the shade 

High-roofed, and walks beneath, and alleys brown, 

That of)ened in the midst a woody scene; 

Nature's own work it seemed (Nature taught Art), 

And, to a superstitious eye, the haunt 

Of wood-gods and wood-nymphs. He viewed it round; 

When suddenly a man before him stood. 

Not rustic as before, but seemlier clad. 

As one in city or court or palace bred. 

And with fair sjjeech these words to him addressed: — 

"With granted leave ofBcious I return, 
But much more wonder that the Son of God 
In this wild solitude so long should bide. 
Of all things destitute, and, well I know. 
Not without hunger. Others of some note. 
As story tells, have trod this wilderness: 
The fugitive Bond-woman, with her son, 
Outcast Nebaioth, yet found here relief 
By a providing Angel; all the race 
Of Israel here had famished, had not God 
Rained from heaven manna; and that Prophet bold, 
Native of Thebez, wandering here, was fed 
Twice by a voice inviting him to eat. 
Of thee these forty days none hath regard. 
Forty and more deserted here indeed." 

To whom thus Jesus: — "What conclud'st thou hence? 
They all had need; I, as thou seest, have none." 

"How hast thou hunger then?" Satan replied. 
"Tell me, if food were now before thee set, 
Wouldst thou not eat.'" "Thereafter as I like 


The giver," answered Jesus. "Why should that 

Cause thy refusal?" said the subtle Fiend. 

"Hast thou not right to all created things? 

Owe not all creatures, by just right, to thee 

Duty and service, nor to stay till bid. 

But tender all their power? Nor mention I 

Meats by the law unclean, or offered first 

To idols — those young Daniel could refuse; 

Nor proffered by an enemy — though who 

Would scruple that, with want oppressed? Behold, 

Nature ashamed, or, better to express. 

Troubled, that thou shouldst hunger, hath purveyed 

From all the elements her choicest store, 

To treat thee as beseems, and as her Lord 

With honour. Only deign to sit and eat." 

He spake no dream; for, as his words had end, 
Our Saviour, lifting up his eyes, beheld. 
In ample space under the broadest shade, 
A table richly spread in regal mode. 
With dishes piled and meats of noblest sort 
And savour — beasts of chase, or fowl of game, 
In pastry built, or from the spit, or boiled, 
Grisambcr-steamed; all fish, from sea or shore. 
Freshet or purling brook, of shell or fin. 
And exquisitcst name, for which was drained 
Pontus, and Lucrine bay, and Afric coast 
Alas! how simple, to these cates compared, 
Was that crude Apple that diverted Eve! 
And at a stately sideboard, by the wine. 
That fragrant smell diffused, in order stood 
Tall stripling youths rich<lad, of fairer hue 
Than Ganymed or Hylas; distant more. 
Under the trees now tripf)cd, now solemn stood. 
Nymphs of Diana's train, and Naiades 
With fruits and flowers from Amalthea's horn. 
And ladies of the Hesfxrides, that seemed 
Fairer than feigned of old, or fabled since 
Of faery damsels met in forest wide 
By knights of Logres, or of Lyones, 
Lancelot, or Pelleas, or Pellcnore. 


And all the while harmonious airs were heard 
Of chiming strings or charming pipes; and winds 
Of gendest gale Arabian odours fanned 
From their soft wings, and Flora's earliest smells. 
Such was the splendour; and the Tempter now 
His invitation earnestly renewed: — 

"What doubts the Son of God to sit and eat? 
These are not fruits forbidden; no interdict 
Defends the touching of these viands pure; 
Their taste no knowledge works, at least of evil. 
But life preserves, destroys life's enemy. 
Hunger, with sweet restorative delight. 
All these are Spirits of air, and woods, and springs, 
Thy gentle ministers, who come to pay 
Thee homage, and acknowledge thee their Lord. 
What doubt'st thou, Son of God? Sit down and eat." 

To whom thus Jesus temperately replied: — 
"Said'st thou not that to all things I had right? 
And who withholds my power that right to use? 
Shall I receive by gift what of my own. 
When and where likes me best, I can command? 
I can at will, doubt not, as soon as thou. 
Command a table in this wilderness, 
And call swift flights of Angels ministrant, 
Arrayed in glory, on my cup to attend: 
Why shouldst thou, then, obtrude this diligence 
In vain, where no acceptance it can find? 
And with my hunger what hast thou to do? 
Thy pompous delicacies I contemn, 
And count thy specious gifts no gifts, but guiles." 

To whom thus answered Satan, malecontent: — 
"That I have also power to give thou seest; 
If of that power I bring thee voluntary 
What I might have bestowed on whom I pleased. 
And rather opportunely in this place 
Chose to impart to thy apparent need. 
Why shouldst thou not accept it? But I see 
What I can do or ofTer is susjject. 
Of these things others quickly will dispose. 
Whose pains have earned the far-fet spoil." With that 

382 JOHN MILTON book 11 

Both table and provision vanished quite, 
With sound of harpies' wings and talons heard; 
Only the impor'tune Tempter still remained, 
And with these words his temptation pursued: — 

"By hunger, that each other creature tames, 
Thou art not to be harmed, therefore not moved; 
Thy temperance, invincible besides, 
For no allurement yields to appetite; 
And all thy heart is set on high designs. 
High actions. But wherewith to be achieved? 
Great acts require great means of enterprise; 
Thou art unknown, unfriended, low of binh, 
A carpenter thy father known, thyself 
Bred up in poverty and straits at home. 
Lost in a desert here and hunger-bit. 
Which way, or from what hof)e, dost thou aspire 
To greatness? whence authority deriv'st? 
What followers, what retin'ue canst thou gain. 
Or at thy heels the dizzy multitude. 
Longer than thou canst feed them on thy cost? 
Money brings honour, friends, conquest, and realms. 
What raised Antipater the Edomite, 
And his son Herod placed on Juda's throne. 
Thy throne, but gold, that got him puissant friends? 
Therefore, if at great things thou wouldst arrive, 
Get riches first, get wealth, and treasure heap — 
Not difficult, if thou hearken to me. 
Riches are mine, fortune is in my hand; 
They whom I favour thrive in wealth amain. 
While virtue, valour, wisdom, sit in want." 

To whom thus Jesus patiently replied: — 
"Yet wealth without these three is impotent 
To gain dominion, or to keep it gained — 
Witness those ancient empires of the earth. 
In highth of all their flowing wealth dissolved; 
But men endued with these have oft attained. 
In lowest poverty, to highest deeds — 
Gideon, and Jephtha, and the shepherd lad 
Whose offspring on the throne of Juda sate 
So many ages, and shall yet regain 


That seat, and reign in Israel without end. 

Among the Heathen (for throughout the world 

To me is not unknown what hath been done 

Worthy of memorial) canst thou not remember 

Quintius, Fabricius, Curius, Regulus? 

For I esteem those names of men so poor. 

Who could do mighty things, and could contemn 

Riches, though offered from the hand of kings 

And what in me seems wanting but that I 

May also in this poverty as soon 

Accomplish what they did, perhaps and more? 

Extol not riches, then, the toil of fools, 

The wise man's cumbrance, if not snare; more apt 

To slacken virtue and abate her edge 

TTian prompt her to do aught may merit praise. 

What if with like aversion 1 reject 

Riches and realms! Yet not for that a crown. 

Golden in shew, is but a wreath of thorns. 

Brings dangers, troubles, cares, and sleepless nights, 

To him who wears the regal diadem. 

When on his shoulders each man's burden lies; 

For therein stands the ofEcc of a king. 

His honour, virtue, merit, and chief praise. 

That for the public all this weight he bears. 

Yet he who reigns within himself, and rules 

Passions, desires, and fears, is more a king — 

Which every wise and virtuous man attains; 

And who attains not, ill aspires to rule 

Cities of men, or headstrong multitudes. 

Subject himself to anarchy within. 

Or lawless passions in him, which he serves. 

But to guide nations in the way of truth 

By saving doctrine, and from error lead 

To know, and, knowing, worship God aright. 

Is yet more kingly. This attracts the soul. 

Governs the inner man, the nobler part; 

That other o'er the body only reigns. 

And oft by force — which to a generous mind 

So reigning can be no sincere delight. 

Besides, to give a kingdom hath been thought 


Greater and nobler done, and to lay down 
Far more magnanimous, than to assume. 
Riches are needless, then, both for themselves, 
And for thy reason why they should be sought — 
To gain a sceptre, of test better missed." 


So SPAKE the Son of God; and Satan stood 

A while as mute, confounded what to say. 

What to reply, confuted and convinced 

Of his weak arguing and fallacious drift; 

At length, collecting all his serpent wiles, 

With soothing words renewed, him thus accosts:— 

"I see thou know'st what is of use to know. 
What best to say canst say, to do canst do; 
Thy actions to thy words accord; thy words 
To thy large heart give utterance due; thy heart 
Contains of good, wise, just, the perfet shape. 
Should kings and nations from thy mouth con- 
Thy counsel would be as the oracle 
Urim and Thummim, those oraculous gems 
On Aaron's breast, or tongue of Seers old 
Infallible; or, wert thou sought to deeds 
That might require the array of war, thy skill 
Of conduct would be such that all the world 
Could not sustain thy prowess, or subsist 
In battle, though against thy few in arms. 
These godlike virtues wherefore dost thou hide? 
Affecting private life, or more obscure 
In savage wilderness, wherefore deprive 
All Earth her wonder at thy acts, thyself 
The fame and glory — glory, the reward 
That sole excites to high attempts the flame 
Of most erected spirits, most tempered pure 
y£thereal, who all pleasures else despise. 
All treasures and all gain esteem as dross. 
And dignities and powers, all but the highest? 
Thy years are ripe, and over-ripe. The son 


Of Macedonian Philip had ere these 
Won Asia, and the throne of Cyrus held 
At his dispose; young Scipio had brought down 
The Carthaginian pride; young Pompey quelled 
The Pontic king, and in triumph' had rode. 
Yet years, and to ripe years judgment mature. 
Quench not the thirst of glory, but augment. 
Great Julius, whom now all the world admires, 
The more he grew in years, the more inflamed 
With glory, wept that he had lived so long 
Inglorious. But thou yet art not too late." 

To whom our Saviour calmly thus replied: — 
"Thou neither dost persuade me to seek wealth 
For empire's sake, nor empire to affect 
For glory's sake, by all thy argument. 
For what is glory but the blaze of fame, 
The people's praise, if always praise unmixed? 
And what the people but a herd confused, 
A miscellaneous rabble, who extol 
Things vulgar, and, well weighed, scarce worth the 

They praise and they admire they know not what, 
And know not whom, but as one leads the other; 
And what delight to be by such extolled. 
To live upon their tongues, and be their talk? 
Of whom to be dispraised were no small praise — 
His lot who dares be singularly good. 
The intelligent among them and the wise 
Are few, and glory scarce of few is raised. 
This is true glory and renown — when God, 
Looking on the Earth, with approbation marks 
The just man, and divulges him through Heaven 
To all his Angels, who with true applause 
Recount his praises. Thus he did to Job, 
When, to extend his fame through Heaven and Earth, 
As thou to thy reproach may'st well remember. 
He asked thee, 'Hast thou seen my servant Job?' 
Famous he was in Heaven; on Earth less known, 
Where glory is false glory, attributed 
To things not glorious, men not worthy of fame. 

;^86 JOHN MILTON book ui 

They err who count it glorious to subdue 

By conquest far and wide, to overrun 

Large countries, and in field great battles win. 

Great cities by assault. What do these worthies 

But rob and spoil, burn, slaughter, and enslave 

Peaceable nations, neighbouring or remote. 

Made captive, yet deserving freedom more 

Than those their conquerors, who leave behind 

Nothing but ruin wheresoe'er they rove. 

And all the flourishing works of peace destro)': 

Then swell with pride, and must be tided Gods, 

Great Benefactors of mankind. Deliverers, 

Worshipped with temple, priest, and sacrifice? 

One is the son of Jove, of Mars the other; 

Till conqueror Death discover them scarce men, 

Rowling in brutish vices, and deformed. 

Violent or shameful death their due reward. 

But, if there be in glory aught of good; 

It may by means far different be attained. 

Without ambition, war, or violence — 

By deeds of peace, by wisdom eminent. 

By patience, temperance. I mention still 

Him whom thy wrongs, with saindy patience borne, 

Made famous in a land and times obscure; 

Who names not now with honour patient Job? 

Poor Socrates, (who next more memorable?) 

By what he taught and suffered for so doing. 

For truth's sake suffering death unjust, lives now 

Equal in fame to proudest conquerors. 

Yet, if for fame and glory aught be done, 

Aught suffered — if young African for fame 

His wasted country freed from Punic rage — 

The deed becomes unpraised, the man at least, 

And loses, though but verbal, his reward. 

Shall I seek glory, then, as vain men seek. 

Oft not deserved? I seek not mine, but His 

Who sent me, and thereby witness whence I am." 

To whom the Tempter, murmuring, thus replied: 

"Think not so slight of glory, therein least 

Resembling thy great Father. He seeks glory, 

And for his glory all things made, all things 


Orders and governs; nor content in Heaven, 
By all his Angels glorified, requires 
Glory from men, from all men, good or bad. 
Wise or unwise, no difference, no exemption. 
Above all sacrifice, or hallowed gift. 
Glory he requires, and glory he receives. 
Promiscuous from all nations, Jew, or Greek, 
Or Barbarous, nor exception hath declared; 
From us, his foes pronounced, glory he exacts." 

To whom our Saviour fervendy replied: 
"And reason; since his Word all things produced. 
Though chiefly not for glory as prime end. 
But to shew forth his goodness, and impart 
His good communicable to every soul 
Freely; of whom what could He less expect 
Than glory and benediction — that is, thanks — 
The slightest, easiest, readiest recompense 
From them who could return him nothing else. 
And, not returning that, would likeliest render 
Contempt instead, dishonour, obloquy? 
Hard recompense, unsuitable return 
For so much good, so much beneficence! 
But why should man seek glory, who of his own 
Hath nothing, and to whom nothing belongs 
But condemnation, ignominy, and shame — 
Who, for so many benefits received. 
Turned recreant to God, ingrate and false. 
And so of all true good himself despoiled; 
Yet, sacrilegious, to himself would take 
That which to God alone of right belongs? 
Yet so much bounty is in God, such grace. 
That who advance his glory, not their own. 
Them he himself to glory will advance." 

So spake the Son of God; and here again 
Satan had not to answer, but stood struck 
With guilt of his own sin — for he himself, 
Insatiable of glory, had lost all; 
Yet of another plea bethought him soon: — 

"Of glory, as thou wilt," said he, "so deem; 
Worth or not worth the seeking, let it jxiss. 
But to a Kingdom thou art born — ordained 

388 JOHN MILTON book m 

To sit upon thy father David's throne, 
By mother's side thy father, though thy right 
Be now in pwwerful hands, that will not part 
Easily from possession won with arms. 
Judxa now and all the Promised Land, 
Reduced a province under Roman yoke, 
Obeys Tiberius, nor is always ruled 
With temperate sway: oft have they violated 
The Temple, oft the Law, with foul affronts. 
Abominations rather, as did once 
Antiochus. And think'st thou to regain 
Thy right by sitting still, or thus retiring? 
So did not Machabeus. He indeed 
Retired unto the Desert, but with arms; 
And o'er a mighty king so oft prevailed 
That by strong hand his family obtained. 
Though priests, the crown, and David's throne usurped. 
With Modin and her suburbs once content. 
If kingdom move thee not, let move thee zeal 
And duty — zeal and duty are not slow. 
But on Occasion's forelock watchful wait: 
They themselves rather are occasion best — 
Zeal of thy Father's house, duty to free 
Thy country from her heathen servitude. 
So shalt thou best fulfil, best verify. 
The Prophets old, who sung thy endless reign — 
TTie happier reign the sooner it begins. 
Reign then; what canst thou better do the while?" 
To whom our Saviour answer thus returned: — 
"All things are best fulfilled in their due time; 
And time there is for all things, Truth hath said. 
If of my reign Prophetic Writ hath told 
That it shall never end, so, when begin 
The Father in his purpose hath decreed — 
He in whose hand all times and seasons rowl. 
What if he hath decreed that I shall first 
Be tried in humble state, and things adverse. 
By tribulations, injuries, insults. 
Contempts, and scorns, and snares, and violence, 
Suffering, abstaining, quietly expecting 


Without distrust or doubt, that He may know 
What I can suffer, how obey? Who best 
Can suffer best can do, best reign who first 
Well hath obeyed — just trial ere I merit 
My exaltation without change or end. 
But what concerns it thee when I begin 
My everlasting Kingdom? Why art thou 
Solicitous? What moves thy inquisition? 
Know'st thou not that my rising is thy fall. 
And my promotion will be thy destruction?" 

To whom the Tempter, inly racked, replied: — 
"Let that come when it comes. All hope is lost 
Of my reception into grace; what worse? 
For where no hope is left is left no fear. 
If there be worse, the expectation more 
Of worse torments me than the feeling can. 
I would be at the worst; worst is my port, 
My harbour, and my ultimate repose. 
The end I would attain, my final good. 
My error was my error, and my crime 
My crime; whatever, for itself condemned. 
And will alike be punished, whether thou 
Reign or reign not — though to that gentle brow 
Willingly I could fly, and hojje thy reign, 
From that placid aspect and meek regard. 
Rather than aggravate my evil state. 
Would stand between me and thy Father's ire 
(Whose ire I dread more than the fire of Hell) 
A shelter and a kind of shading cool 
Interposition, as a summer's cloud. 
If I, then, to the worst that can be haste, 
Why move thy feet so slow to what is best? 
Happiest, both to thyself and all the world, 
That thou, who worthiest art, shouldst be their KingI 
Perhaps thou linger'st in deep thoughts detained 
Of the enterprise so hazardous and high! 
No wonder; for, though in thee be united 
What of perfection can in Man be found, 
Or human nature can receive, consider 
Thy life hath yet been private, most part spent 

39© JOHN MILTON book in 

At home, scarce viewed the GaHlean towns, 

And once a year Jerusalem, few days' 

Short sojourn; and what thence couldst thou observe? 

The world thou hast not seen, much less her glory, 

Empires, and monarchs, and their radiant courts — 

Best school of best experience, quickest in sight 

In all things that to greatest actions lead. 

The wisest, unexperienced, will be ever 

Timorous, and loth, with novice modesty 

(As he who, seeking asses, found a kingdom) 

Irresolute, unhardy, unadventurous. 

But I will bring thee where thou soon shalt quit 

Those rudiments, and see before thine eyes 

The monarchies of the Hearth, their pomp and state — 

Sufficient introduction to inform 

Thee, of thyself so apt, in regal arts. 

And regal mysteries; that thou may'st know 

How best their opposition to withstand." 

With that (such power was given him then), he 
The Son of God up to a mountain high. 
It was a mountain at whose verdant feet 
A spacious plain outstretched in circuit wide 
Lay pleasant; from his side two rivers flowed. 
The one winding, the other straight, and left between 
Fair champaign, with less rivers interveined. 
Then meeting joined their tribute to the sea. 
Fertil of corn the glebe, of oil, and wine; 
With herds the pasture thronged, with flocks the hills; 
Huge cities and high-towered, that well might seem 
The seats of mightiest monarchs; and so large 
The prospect was that here and there was room 
For barren desert, fountainless and dry. 
To this high mountain-top the Tempter brought 
Our Saviour, and new train of words began: — 

"Well have we speeded, and o'er hill and dale, 
Forest, and field, and flood, temples and towers. 
Cut shorter many a league. Here thou behold'st 
Assyria, and her empire's ancient bounds, 
Araxes and the Caspian lake; thence on 


As far as Indus east, Euphrates west, 

And oft beyond; to south the Persian bay. 

And, inaccessible, the Arabian drouth: 

Here, Nineveh, of length within her wall 

Several days' journey, built by Ninus old. 

Of that first golden monarchy the seat. 

And seat of Salmanassar, whose success 

Israel in long captivity still mourns; 

There Babylon, the wonder of all tongues. 

As ancient, but rebuilt by him who twice 

Judah and all thy father David's house 

Led captive, and Jerusalem laid waste. 

Till Cyrus set them free; Persepwlis, 

His city, there thou seest, and Bactra there; 

Ecbatana her structure vast there shews. 

And Hecatompylos her hundred gates; 

There Susa by Choaspes, amber stream. 

The drink of none but kings; of later fame, 

Built by Emathian or by Parthian hands. 

The great Seleucia, Nisibis, and there 

Artaxata, Teredon, Ctesiphon, 

Turning with easy eye, thou may'st behold. 

All these the Parthian (now some ages past 

By great Arsaces led, who founded first 

That empire) under his dominion holds. 

From the luxurious kings of Antioch won. 

And just in time thou com'st to have a view 

Of his great power; for now the Parthian king 

In Ctesiphon hath gathered all his host 

Against the Scythian, whose incursions wild 

Have wasted Sogdiana; to her aid 

He marches now in haste. See, though from far. 

His thousands, in what martial equipage 

TTiey issue forth, steel bows and shafts their arms. 

Of equal dread in flight or in pursuit — 

All horsemen, in which flight they must excel; 

See how in warlike muster they appear. 

In rhombs, and wedges, and half-moons, and wings." 

He looked, and saw what numbers numbeilcss 
The city gates outf>oured, light-arm^d troops 

392 JOHN MILTON book iii 

In coats of mail and military pride. 
In mail their horses clad, yet fleet and strong, 
Prauncing their riders bore, the flower and choice 
Of many provinces from bound to bound — 
From Arachosia, from Candaor east, 
And Margiana, to the Hyrcanian cliffs 
Of Caucasus, and dark Iberian dales; 
From Atropatia, and the neighbouring plains 
Of Adiabene, Media, and the south 
Of Susiana, to Balsara's haven. 
He saw them in their forms of battle ranged. 
How quick they wheeled, and flying behind them shot 
Sharp sleet of arrowy showers against the face 
Of their pursuers, and overcame by flight; 
The field all iron cast a gleaming brown. 
Nor wanted clouds of foot, nor, on each horn, 
Cuirassiers all in steel for standing flight. 
Chariots, or elephants indorsed with towers 
Of archers; nor of labouring pioners 
A multitude, with spades and axes armed. 
To lay hills plain, fell woods, or valleys fill, 
Or where plain was raise hill, or overlay 
With bridges rivers proud, as with a yoke: 
Mules after these, camels and dromedaries. 
And waggons fraught with utensils of war. 
Such forces met not, nor so wide a camp. 
When Agrican, with all his northern powers, 
Besieged Albracca, as romances tell. 
The city of Gallaphrone, from thence to win 
The fairest of her sex, Angelica, 
His daughter, sought by many prowest knights, 
Both Paynim and the peers of Charlemane. 
Such and so numerous was their chivalry; 
At sight whereof the Fiend yet more presumed, 
And to our Saviour thus his words renewed: — 
"That thou may'st know I seek not to engage 
Thy virtue, and not every way secure 
On no slight grounds thy safety, hear and mark 
To what end I have brought thee hither, and shew 
All this fair sight. Thy kingdom, though foretold 


By Prophet or by Angel, unless thou 

Endeavour, as thy father David did, 

Thou never shalt obtain: prediction still 

In all things, and all men, supposes means; 

Without means used, what it predicts revokes. 

But say thou wert possessed of David's throne 

By free consent of all, none opposite, 

Samaritan or Jew; how couldst thou hope 

Long to enjoy it quiet and secure 

Between two such enclosing enemies, 

Roman and Parthian ? Therefore one of these 

Thou must make sure thy own: the Parthian first. 

By my advice, as nearer, and of late 

Found able by invasion to annoy 

Thy country, and captive lead away her kings, 

Antigonus and old Hyrcanus, bound, 

Maugre the Roman. It shall be my task 

To render thee the Parthian at dispose. 

Choose which thou wilt, by conquest or by league. 

By him thou shalt regain, without him not, 

That which alone can truly reinstall thee 

In David's royal seat, his true successor — 

Deliverance of thy brethren, those Ten Tribes 

Whose oflspring in his territory yet serve 

In Habor, and among the Medes dispersed: 

Ten sons of Jacob, two of Joseph, lost 

Thus long from Israel, serving, as of old 

Their fathers in the land of Egypt served, 

This offer sets before thee to deliver. 

These if from servitude thou shalt restore 

To their inheritance, then, nor till then. 

Thou on the throne of David in full glory, 

From Egypt to Euphrates and beyond, 

Shalt reign, and Rome or Cxsar not need fear." 

To whom our Saviour answered thus, unmoved: — 
"Much ostentation vain of fleshly arm 
And fragile arms, much instrument of war, 
Lx>ng in preparing, soon to nothing brought. 
Before mine eyes thou hast set, and in my ear 
Vented much policy, and projects deep 

394 JOHN MILTON Boox iii 

Of enemies, of aids, battles, and leagues, 

Plausible to the world, to me worth naught. 

Means I must use, thou say'st; prediction else 

Will unpredict, and fail me of the throne! 

My time, I told thee (and that time for thee 

Were better farthest ofl), is not yet come. 

When that comes, think not thou to find me slack 

On my part aught endeavouring, or to need 

Thy politic maxims, or that cumbersome 

Luggage of war there shewn me — argument 

Of human weakness rather than of strength. 

My brethren, as thou call'st them, those Ten Tribes, 

I must deliver, if I mean to reign 

David's true heir, and his full sceptre sway 

To just extent over all Israel's sons! 

But whence to thee this zeal ? Where was it then 

For Israel, or for David, or his throne. 

When thou stood'st up his tempter to the pride 

Of numbering Israel — which cost the lives 

Of threescore and ten thousand Israelites 

By three days' pestilence? Such was thy zeal 

To Israel then, the same that now to me. 

As for those captive tribes, themselves were they 

Who wrought their own cajjtivity, fell off 

From God to worship calves, the deities 

Of Egypt, Baal next and Ashtaroth, 

And all the idolatries of heathen round. 

Besides their other worse than heathenish crimes; 

Nor in the land of their captivity 

Humbled themselves, or penitent besought 

The God of their forefathers, but so died 

Impenitent, and left a race behind 

Like to themselves, distinguishable scarce 

From Gentiles, but by circumcision vain. 

And God with idols in their worship joined. 

Should I of these the liberty regard. 

Who, freed, as to their ancient patrimony, 

Unhumbled, unrepentant, unreformed. 

Headlong would follow, and to their gods perhaps 

Of Bethel and of Dan ? No; let them serve 


Their enemies who serve idols with God. 
Yet He at length, time to himself best known, 
Remembering Abraham, by some wondrous call 
May bring them back, repentant and sincere. 
And at their passing cleave the Assyrian flood, 
While to their native land with joy they haste. 
As the Red Sea and Jordan once he cleft. 
When to the Promised Land their fathers passed. 
To his due time and providence I leave them." 
So spake Israel's true King, and to the Fiend 
Made answer meet, that made void all his wiles. 
So fares it when with truth falsehood contends. 


Perplexed and troubled at his bad success 

The Tempter stood, nor had what to reply. 

Discovered in his fraud, thrown from his hope 

So oft, and the persuasive rhetoric 

That sleeked his tongue, and won so much on Eve, 

So little here, nay lost. But Eve was Eve; 

This far his over-match, who, self-deceived 

And rash, beforehand had no better weighed 

The strength he was to cope with, or his own. 

But — as a man who had been matchless held 

In cunning, over-reached where least he thought. 

To salve his credit, and for very spite. 

Still will be tempting him who foils him still, 

And never cease, though to his shame the more; 

Or as a swarm of flies in vintage-time. 

About the wine-press where sweet must is poured. 

Beat off, returns as oft with humming sound; 

Or surging waves against a solid rock, 

Though all to shivers dashed, the assault renew, 

(Vain battery!) and in froth or bubbles end — 

So Satan, whom repulse upon repulse 

Met ever, and to shameful silence brought. 

Yet gives not o'er, though desperate of success. 

And his vain importunity pursues. 

He brought our Saviour to the western side 


Of that high mountain, whence he might behold 

Another plain, long, but in breadth not wide, 

Washed by the southern sea, and on the north 

To equal length backed with a ridge of hills 

That screened the fruits of the earth and scats of men 

From cold Septentrion blasts; thence in the midst 

Divided by a river, off whose banks 

On each side an ImjJerial City stood. 

With towers and temples proudly elevate 

On seven small hills, with palaces adorned. 

Porches and theatres, baths, aqueducts, 

Statues and trophies, and triumphal arcs. 

Gardens and groves, presented to his eyes 

Above the highth of mountains interposed — 

By what strange parallax, or optic skill 

Of vision, multiplied through air, or glass 

Of telescope, were curious to enquire. 

And now the Tempter thus his silence broke: — 

"The city which thou seest no other deem 
Than great and glorious Rome, Queen of the Earth 
So far renowned, and with the spoils enriched 
Of nations. There the Capitol thou seest, 
Above the rest lifting his stately head 
On the Tarpeian rock, her citadel 
Impregnable; and there Mount Palatine, 
The imperial palace, compass huge, and high 
The structure, skill of noblest architects. 
With gilded battlements, conspicuous far. 
Turrets, and terraces, and glittering spires. 
Many a fair edifice besides, more like 
Houses of gods — so well I have disf)oscd 
My aerie microscope — thou may'st behold, 
Outside and inside both, pillars and roofs 
Carved work, the hand of famed artificers 
In cedar, marble, ivory, or gold. 
Thence to the gates cast round thine eye, and see 
What conflux issuing forth, or entering in: 
Praetors, proconsuls to their provinces 
Hasting, or on return, in robes of state; 
Lictors and rods, the ensigns of their power; 


Legions and cohorts, turms of horse and wings; 

Or embassies from regions far remote, 

In various habits, on the Appian road. 

Or on the yEmilian — some from farthest south, 

Syene, and where the shadow both way falls, 

Meroe, Nilotic isle, and, more to west. 

The realm of Bocchus to the Blackmoor sea; 

From the Asian kings (and Parthian among these), 

From India and the Golden Chersoness, 

And utmost Indian isle Taprobane, 

Dusk faces with white silken turbants wreathed; 

From Gallia, Gades, and the British west; 

Germans, and Scythians, and Sarmatians north 

Beyond Danubius to the Tauric pool. 

All nations now to Rome obedience pay — 

To Rome's great Emperor, whose wide domain, 

In ample territory, wealth and power. 

Civility of manners, arts and arms. 

And long renown, thou jusdy may'st prefer 

Before the Parthian. These two thrones except. 

The rest are barbarous, and scarce worth the sight, 

Shared among petty kings too far removed; 

These having shewn thee, I have shewn thee all 

The kingdoms of the world, and all their glory. 

This Emperor hath no son, and now is old. 

Old and lascivious, and from Rome retired 

To Caprex, an island small but strong 

On the Camjjanian shore, with purpose there 

His horrid lusts in private to enjoy; 

Committing to a wicked favourite 

All public cares, and yet of him suspicious; 

Hated of all, and hating. With what ease. 

Endued with regal virtues as thou art. 

Appearing, and beginning noble deeds, 

Might'st thou expel this monster from his throne. 

Now made a sty, and, in his place ascending, 

A victor-people free from servile yoke! 

And with my help thou may'st; to me the power 

Is given, and by that right I give it thee. 

Aim, therefore, at no less than all the world; 

398 JOHN MILTON book iv 

Aim at the highest; without the highest attained, 

Will be for thee no sitting, or not long, 

On David's throne, be prophesied what will." 

To whom the Son of God, unmoved, replied: — 
"Nor doth this grandeur and majestic shew 
Of luxury, though called magnificence. 
More than of arms before, allure mine eye, 
Much less my mind; though thou should'st add to tell 
Their sumptuous gluttonies, and gorgeous feasts 
On citron tables or Atlantic stone 
(For I have also heard, jjerhaps have read). 
Their wines of Setia, Gales, and Falerne, 
Chios and Crete, and how they quaff in gold. 
Crystal, and myrrhine cups, imbossed with gems 
And studs of pearl — to me should'st tell, who thirst 
And hunger still. Then embassies thou shcw'st 
From nations far and nigh! What honour that, 
But tedious waste of time, to sit and hear 
So many hollow compliments and lies, 
Oudandish flatteries? Then procecd'st to talk 
Of the Emfx;ror, how easily subdued. 
How gloriously. I shall, thou say'st, expel 
A brutish monster: what if I withal 
Expel a Devil who first made him such? 
Let his tormentor. Conscience, find him out; 
For him I was not sent, nor yet to free 
That people, victor once, now vile and base, 
Deservedly made vassal — who, once just. 
Frugal and mild, and temperate, conquered well, 
But govern ill the nations under yoke. 
Peeling their provinces, exhausted all 
By lust and rapine; first ambitious grown 
Of triumph, that insulting vanity; 
Then cruel, by their spwrts to blood inured 
Of fighting beasts, and men to beasts exposed; 
Luxurious by their wealth, and greedier still. 
And from the daily Scene effeminate. 
What wise and valiant man would seek to free 
These, thus degenerate, by themselves enslaved. 
Or could of inward slaves make outward free? 


Know, therefore, when my season comes to sit 
On David's throne, it shall be like a tree 
Spreading and overshadowing all the earth. 
Or as a stone that shall to pieces dash 
All monarchies besides throughout the world; 
And of my Kingdom there shall be no end. 
Means there shall be to this; but what the means 
Is not for thee to know, nor me to tell." 

To whom the Tempter, impudent, replied:^ 
"I see all oflers made by me how slight 
Thou valuest, because offered, and reject'st. 
Nothing will please the difficult and nice, 
Or nothing more than still to contradict. 
On the other side know also thou that I 
On what I offer set as high esteem, 
Nor what I part with mean to give for naught. 
All these, which in a moment thou behold'st. 
The kingdoms of the world, to thee I give 
(For, given to me, I give to whom I please), 
No trifle; yet with this reserve, not else — 
On this condition, if thou wilt fall down, 
And worship me as thy superior Lord 
(Easily done), and hold them all of me; 
For what can less so great a gift deserve?" 

Whom thus our Saviour answered with disdain: — 
"I never liked thy talk, thy offers less; 
Now both abhor, since thou hast dared to utter 
The abominable terms, impious condition. 
But I endure the time, till which expired 
Thou hast permission on me. It is written. 
The first of all commandments, 'Thou shalt worship 
The Lord thy God, and only Him shalt serve;' 
And dar'st thou to the Son of God propound 
To worship thee, accursed? now more accursed 
For this attempt, bolder than that on Eve, 
And more blasphemous; which exp)ect to rue. 
The kingdoms of the world to thee were given! 
Permitted rather, and by thee usurped; 
Other donation none thou canst produce. 
If given, by whom but by the King of kings, 

400 JOHN MILTON book iv 

God over all supreme? If given to thee^ 

By thee how fairly is the Giver now 

Repaid! But gratitude in thee is lost 

Long since. Wert thou so void of fear or shame 

As offer them to me, the Son of God — 

To me my own, on such abhorred pact, 

That I fall down and worship thee as God? 

Get thee behind me! Plain thou now appear'st 

That Evil One, Satan for ever damned." 

To whom the Fiend, with fear abashed, replied: — 
"Be not so sore offended, Son of God — 
Though Sons of God both Angels are and Men — 
If I, to try whether in higher sort 
Than these thou bear'st that tide, have proposed 
What both from Men and Angels I receive, 
Tetrarchs of Fire, Air, Flood, and on the Elarth 
Nations besides from all the quartered winds — 
God of this World invoked, and World beneath. 
Who then thou art, whose coming is foretold 
To me most fatal, me it most concerns. 
The trial hath indamaged thee no way, 
Rather more honour left and more esteem; 
Me naught advantaged, missing what I aimed. 
Therefore let pass, as they are transitory. 
The kingdoms of this world; I shall no more 
Advise thee; gain them as thou canst, or not. 
And thou thyself seem'st otherwise inclined 
Than to a worldly crown, addicted more 
To contemplation and profound dispute; 
As by that early action may be judged. 
When, slipping from thy mother's eye, thou went'st 
Alone into the Temple, there wast found 
Among the gravest Rabbies, disputant 
On points and questions fitting Moses' chair, 
Teaching, not taught. The childhood shews the man, 
As morning shews the day. Be famous, then, 
By wisdom; as thy empire must extend. 
So let extend thy mind o'er all the world 
In knowledge; all things in it comprehend. 
All knowledge is not couched in Moses' law. 


The Pentateuch, or what the Prophets wrote; 

The Gentiles also know, and write, and teach 

To admiration, led by Nature's light; 

And with the Gentiles much thou must converse, 

Ruling them by persuasion, as thou mean'st. 

Without their learning, how wilt thou with them. 

Or they with thee, hold conversation meet? 

How wilt thou reason with them, how refute 

Their idolisms, traditions, paradoxes? 

Error by his own arms is best evinced. 

Look once more, ere we leave this specular mount, 

Westward, much nearer by south-west; behold 

Where on the /Egean shore a city stands, 

Built nobly, pure the air and light the soil — 

Athens, the eye of Greece, mother of arts 

And eloquence, native to famous wits 

Or hospitable, in her sweet recess, 

City or suburban, studious walks and shades. 

Sec there the olive-grove of Academe, 

Plato's retirement, where the Attic bird 

Trills her thick-warbled notes the summer long; 

There, flowery hill, Hymettus, with the sound 

Of bees' industrious murmur, oft invites 

To studious musing; there Ilissus rowls 

His whispering stream. Within the walls then view 

The schools of ancient sages — his who bred 

Great Alexander to subdue the world, 

Lyceum there; and painted Stoa next. 

There thou shalt hear and learn the secret power 

Of harmony, in tones and numbers hit 

By voice or hand, and various-measured verse, 

•itolian charms and Dorian lyric odes. 

And his who gave them breath, but higher sung. 

Blind Melesigenes, thence Homer called. 

Whose poem Phoebus challenged for his own. 

Thence what the lofty grave Tragedians taught 

In chorus or iambic, teachers best 

Of moral prudence, with delight received 

In brief sententious precepts, while they treat 

Of fate, and chance, and change in human life, 

402 JOHN MILTON book rv 

High actions and high passions best describing. 
Thence to the famous Orators repair, 
Those ancient whose resistless eloquence 
Wielded at will that fierce democraty, 
Shook the Arsenal, and fulmined over Greece 
To Macedon and Artaxerxes' throne. 
To sage Philosophy next lend thine ear, 
From heaven descended to the low-roofed house 
Of Socrates — see there his tenement — 
Whom, well inspired, the Oracle pronounced 
Wisest of men; from whose mouth issued forth 
Mellifluous streams, that watered all the schools 
Of Academics old and new, with those 
Surnamed Peripatetics, and the sect 
Epicurean, and the Stoic severe. 
These here revolve, or, as thou likest, at home, 
Till time mature thee to a kingdom's weight; 
These rules will render thee a king complete 
Within thyself, much more with empire joined." 

To whom our Saviour sagely thus replied: — 
"Think not but that I know these things; or, think 
I know them not, not therefore am I short 
Of knowing what I ought. He who receives 
Light from above, from the Fountain of Light, 
No other doctrine needs, though granted true; 
But these are false, or litde else but dreams, 
Conjectures, fancies, built on nothing firm. 
The first and wisest of them all professed 
To know this only, that he nothing knew; 
The next to fabling fell and smooth conceits; 
A third sort doubted all things, though plain sense; 
Others in virtue placed felicity, 
But virtue joined with riches and long life; 
In corporal pleasure he, and careless ease; 
The Stoic last in philosophic pride. 
By him called virtue, and his virtuous man, 
Wise, perfect in himself, and all possessing, 
Equal to God, oft shames not to prefer. 
As fearing God nor man, contemning all 
Wealth, pleasure, pain or torment, death and life — 


Which, when he lists, he leaves, or boasts he can; 

For all his tedious talk is but vain boast, 

Or subtle shifts conviction to evade. 

Alas! what can they teach, and not mislead. 

Ignorant of themselves, of God much more. 

And how the World began, and how Man fell, 

Degraded by himself, on grace depending? 

Much of the Soul they talk, but all awry; 

And in themselves seek virtue; and to themselves 

All glory arrogate, to God give none; 

Rather accuse him under usual names. 

Fortune and Fate, as one regardless quite 

Of mortal things. Who, therefore, seeks in these 

True wisdom finds her not, or by delusion 

Far worse, her false resemblance only meets. 

An empty cloud. However, many books, 

Wise men have said, are wearisome; who reads 

Incessantly, and to his reading brings not 

A spirit and judgment equal or superior, 

(And what he brings what needs he elsewhere seek?) 

Uncertain and unsetded still remains, 

Deep>-versed in books and shallow in himself, 

Crude or intoxicate, collecting toys 

And trifles for choice matters, worth a sponge, 

As children gathering pebbles on the shore. 

Or, if I would delight my private hours 

With music or with poem, where so soon 

As in our native language can I find 

That solace? All our Law and Story strewed 

With hymns, our Psalms with artful terms inscribed. 

Our Hebrew songs and harps, in Babylon 

That pleased so well our victor's ear, declare 

That rather Greece from us these arts derived — 

111 imitated while they loudest sing 

The vices of their deities, and their own. 

In fable, hymn, or song, so personating 

Their gods ridiculous, and themselves past shame. 

Remove their swelling epithetes, thick-laid 

As varnish on a harlot's cheek, the rest 

Thin-sown with aught of profit or delight. 


Will far be found unworthy to compare 

With Sion's songs, to all true tastes excelling, 

Where God is praised aright and godlike men. 

The Holiest of Holies and his Saints 

(Such are from God inspired, not such from thee); 

Unless where moral virtue is expressed 

By light of Nature, not in all quite lost. 

Their orators thou then extoU'st as those 

The top of eloquence — statists indeed. 

And lovers of their country, as may seem; 

But herein to our Prophets far beneath, 

As men divinely taught, and better teaching 

The solid rules of civil government. 

In their majestic, unaffected style. 

Than all the oratory of Greece and Rome. 

In them is plainest taught, and easiest learnt. 

What makes a nation happy, and keeps it so. 

What ruins kingdoms, and lays cities flat; 

These only, with our Law, best form a king." 

So spake the Son of God; but Satan, now 
Quite at a loss (for all his darts were sjjent), 
Thus to our Saviour, with stern brow, replied: — 

"Since neither wealth nor honour, arms nor arts. 
Kingdom nor empire, pleases thee, nor aught 
By me proposed in life contemplative 
Or active, tended on by glory or fame. 
What dost thou in this world? The Wilderness 
For thee is fittest place: I found thee there. 
And thither will return thee. Yet remember 
What I foretell thee; soon thou shalt have cause 
To wish thou never hadst rejected, thus 
Nicely or cautiously, my offered aid. 
Which would have set thee in short time with ease 
On David's throne, or throne of all the world, 
Now at full age, fulness of time, thy season, 
When prophecies of thee are best fulfilled. 
Now, contrary — if I read aught in heaven, 
Or heaven write aught of fate — by what the stars 
Voluminous, or single characters 
In their conjunction met, give me to spell, 


Sorrows and labours, opposition, hate, 

Attend thee; scorns, reproaches, injuries, 

Violence and stripes, and, lastly, cruel death. 

A kingdom they portend thee, but what kingdom, 

Real or allegoric, I discern not; 

Nor when: eternal sure — as without end, 

Without beginning; for no date prefixed 

Directs me in the starry rubric set." 

So saying, he took (for still he knew his power 
Not yet expired), and to the Wilderness 
Brought back, the Son of God, and left him there, 
Feigning to disappear. Darkness now rose, 
As daylight sunk, and brought in louring Night, 
Her shadowy offspring, unsubstantial both, 
Privation mere of light and absent day. 
Our Saviour, meek, and with untroubled mind 
After his aerie jaunt, though hurried sore, 
Hungry and cold, betook him to his rest. 
Wherever, under some concourse of shades. 
Whose branching arms thick intertwined might shield 
From dews and damps of night his sheltered head; 
But, sheltered, slept in vain; for at his head 
The Tempter watched, and soon with ugly dreams 
Disturbed his sleep. And either tropic now 
'Gan thunder, and both ends of heaven; the clouds 
From many a horrid rift abortive poured 
Fierce rain with lightning mixed, water with fire 
In ruin reconciled; nor slept the winds 
Within their stony caves, but rushed abroad 
From the four hinges of the world, and fell 
On the vexed wilderness, whose tallest pines. 
Though rooted deep as high, and sturdiest oaks. 
Bowed their stiff necks, loaden with stormy blasts. 
Or torn up sheer. Ill was thou shrouded then, 
O patient Son of God, yet only stood'st 
Unshaken! Nor yet staid the terror there: 
Infernal ghosts and hellish furies round 
Environed thee; some howled, some yelled, some 

Some bent at thee their fiery darts, while thou 


Sat'st unappalled in calm and sinless peace. 
Thus passed the night so foul, till Morning fair 
Came forth with pilgrim steps, in amice grey. 
Who with her radiant finger stilled the roar 
Of thunder, chased the clouds, and laid the winds, 
And griesly spectres, which the Fiend had raised 
To tempt the Son of God with terrors dire. 
And now the sun with more effectual beams 
Had cheered the face of earth, and dried the wet 
From drooping plant, or dropping tree; the birds, 
Who all things now behold more fresh and green. 
After a night of storm so ruinous. 
Cleared up their choicest notes in bush and spray. 
To gratulate the sweet return of morn. 
Nor yet, amidst this joy and brightest morn, 
Was absent, after all his mischief done. 
The Prince of Darkness; glad would also seem 
Of this fair change, and to our Saviour came; 
Yet with no new device (they all were sf)ent). 
Rather by this his last affront resolved, 
Desperate of better course, to vent his rage 
And mad despite to be so oft repelled. 
Him walking on a sunny hill he found. 
Backed on the north and west by a thick wood; 
Out of the wood he starts in wonted shape. 
And in a careless mood thus to him said: — 

"Fair morning yet betides thee, Son of God, 
After a dismal night. I heard the wrack. 
As earth and sky would mingle; but myself 
Was distant; and these flaws, though mortals fear 

As dangerous to the pillared frame of Heaven, 
Or to the Earth's dark basis underneath, 
Are to the main as inconsiderable 
And harmless, if not wholesome, as a sneeze 
To man's less universe, and soon are gone. 
Yet, as being ofttimes noxious where they light 
On man, beast, plant, wasteful and turbulent. 
Like turbulencies in the affairs of men. 
Over whose heads they roar, and seem to point. 


They oft fore-signify and threaten ill. 

This tempest at this desert most was bent; 

Of men at thee, for only thou here dwell'st. 

Did I not tell thee, if thou didst reject 

The perfect season offered with my aid 

To win thy destined seat, but wilt prolong 

All to the push of fate, pursue thy way 

Of gaining David's throne no man knows when 

(For both the when and how is nowhere told), 

Thou shalt be what thou art ordained, no doubt; 

For Angels have proclaimed it, but concealing 

The time and means? Each act is righdiest done 

Not when it must, but when it may be best. 

If thou observe not this, be sure to find 

What I foretold thee — many a hard assay 

Of dangers, and adversities, and pains. 

Ere thou of Israel's sceptre get fast hold; 

Whereof this ominous night that closed thee round, 

So many terrors, voices, prodigies. 

May warn thee, as a sure foregoing sign." 

So talked he, while the Son of God went on. 
And staid not, but in brief him answered thus: — 

"Me worse than wet thou find'st not; other harm 
Those terrors which thou speak'st of did me none 
I never feared they could, though noising loud 
And threatening nigh: what they can do as signs 
Betokening or ill-boding I contemn 
As false portents, not sent from God, but thee; 
Who, knowing I shall reign past thy preventing, 
Obtrud'st thy offered aid, that I, accepting, 
At least might seem to hold all power of thee. 
Ambitious Spirit! and would'st be thought my God; 
And storm'st, refused, thinking to terrify 
Me to thy will! Desist (thou art discerned. 
And toil'st in vain), nor me in vain molest." 

To whom the Fiend, now swoln with rage, replied: — 
"Then hear, O Son of David, virgin-born! 
For Son of God to me is yet in doubt. 
Of the Messiah I have heard foretold 
By all the Prophets; of thy birth, at length 


Announced by Gabriel, with the first I knew, 

And of the angelic song in Bethlehem field, 

On thy birth-night, that sung thee Saviour born. 

From that time seldom have I ceased to eye 

Thy infancy, thy childhood, and thy youth. 

Thy manhood last, though yet in private bred; 

Till, at the ford of Jordan, whither all 

Flocked to the Baptist, I among the rest 

(Though not to be baptized), by voice from Heaven 

Heard thee pronounced the Son of God beloved. 

Thenceforth I thought thee worth my nearer view 

And narrower scrutiny, that I might learn 

In what degree or meaning thou art called 

The Son of God, which bears no single sense. 

The Son of God I also am, or was; 

And, if I was, I am; relation stands: 

All men are Sons of God; yet thee I thought 

In some respect far higher so declared. 

Therefore, I watched thy footsteps from that hour, 

And followed thee still on to this waste wild, 

Where, by all best conjectures, I collect 

Thou art to be my fatal enemy. 

Good reason, then, if I beforehand seek 

To understand my adversary, who 

And what he is; his wisdom, jx)wer, intent; 

By parle or composition, truce or league. 

To win him, or win from him what I can. 

And opportunity I here have had 

To try thee, sift thee, and confess have found thee 

Proof against all temptation, as a rock 

Of adamant and as a centre, firm 

To the utmost of mere man both wise and good, 

Not more; for honours, riches, kingdoms, glory. 

Have been before contemned, and may again. 

Therefore, to know what more thou art than man. 

Worth naming Son of God by voice from Heaven, 

Another method I must now begin." 

So saying, he caught him up, and, without wing 
Of hippwgrif, bore through the air sublime. 
Over the wilderness and o'er the plain. 


Till underneath them fair Jerusalem, 
The Holy City, lifted high her towers, 
And higher yet the glorious Temple reared 
Her pile, far off appearing like a mount 
Of alablaster, topt with golden spires: 
There, on the highest pinnacle, he set 
The Son of God, and added thus in scorn: — 

"There stand, if thou wilt stand; to stand upright 
Will ask thee skill. I to thy Father's house 
Have brought thee, and highest placed: highest is best. 
Now shew thy progeny; if not to stand. 
Cast thyself down. Safely, if Son of God; 
For it is written, 'He will give command 
Concerning thee to his Angels; in their hands 
They shall uplift thee, lest at any time 
Thou chance to dash thy foot against a stone.' " 

To whom thus Jesus: "Also it is written, 
'Tempt not the Lx)rd thy God.' " He said, and stood; 
But Satan, smitten with amazement, fell. 
As when Earth's son, Antaeus (to compare 
Small things with greatest), in Irassa strove 
With Jove's Alcides, and, oft foiled, still rose. 
Receiving from his mother Earth new strength, 
Fresh from his fall, and fiercer grapple joined, 
Throtded at length in the air expired and fell. 
So, after many a foil, the Tempter proud, 
Renewing fresh assaults, amidst his pride 
Fell whence he stood to see his victor fall; 
And, as that Theban monster that proposed 
Her riddle, and him who solved it not devoured. 
That once found out and solved, for grief and spite 
Cast herself headlong from the Ismenian steep. 
So, strook with dread and anguish, fell the Fiend, 
And to his crew, that sat consulting, brought 
Joyless triumphals of his hoped success. 
Ruin, and desperation, and dismay. 
Who durst so proudly tempt the Son of God. 
So Satan fell; and straight a fiery globe 
Of Angels on full sail of wing flew nigh. 
Who on their plumy vans received Him soft 


From his uneasy station, and upbore, 
As on a floating couch, through the blithe air; 
Then, in a flowery valley, set him down 
On a green bank, and set before him spread 
A table of celestial food, divine 
Ambrosial fruits fetched from the Tree of Life, 
And from the Fount of Life ambrosial drink, 
That soon refreshed him wearied, and repaired 
What hunger, if aught hunger, had impaired. 
Or thirst; and, as he fed. Angelic quires 
Sung heavenly anthems of his victory 
Over temptation and the Tempter proud: — 

"True Image of the Father, whether throned 
In the bosom of bliss, and light of light 
Conceiving, or, remote from Heaven, enshrined 
In fleshly tabernacle and human form. 
Wandering the wilderness — whatever place. 
Habit, or state, or motion, still expressing 
The Son of God, with Godlike force endued 
Against the attempter of thy Father's throne 
And thief of Paradise! Him long of old 
Thou didst debcl, and down from Heaven cast 
With all his army; now thou hast avenged 
Supplanted Adam, and, by vanquishing 
Temptation, hast regained lost Paradise, 
And frustrated the conquest fraudulent. 
He never more henceforth will dare set foot 
In Paradise to tempt; his snares are broke. 
For, though that seat of earthly bliss be failed, 
A fairer Paradise is founded now 
For Adam and his chosen sons, whom thou, 
A Saviour, art come down to reinstall; 
Where they shall dwell secure, when time shall be. 
Of tempter and temptation without fear. 
But thou. Infernal Serpent! shalt not long 
Rule in the clouds. Like an autumnal star. 
Or lightning, thou shalt fall from Heaven, trod down 
Under his feet. For proof, ere this thou feel'st 
Thy wound (yet not thy last and deadliest wound) 
By this repulse received, and hold'st in Hell 


No triumph; in all her gates Abaddon rues 
Thy bold attempt. Hereafter learn with awe 
To dread the Son of God. He, all unarmed, 
Shall chase thee, with the terror of his voice, 
From thy demoniac holds, possession foul — 
Thee and thy legions; yelling they shall fly, 
And beg to hide them in a herd of swine, 
Lest he command them down into the Deep, 
Bound, and to torment sent before their time. 
Hail, Son of the Most High, heir of both Worlds, 
Queller of Satan! On thy glorious work 
Now enter, and begin to save Mankind." 

Thus they the Son of God, our Saviour meek, 
Sung victor, and, from heavenly feast refreshed. 
Brought on his way with joy. He, unobserved. 
Home to his mother's house private returned. 


Afistot. Poet. cap. 6. tfiayifila itliii^ait irp&{<b>t OToutalas, &c. — ^Tragocdia est imitatio 
actionis scrix, dc, per miscricordiam ct mctum pcrficiens talium affectuuin lustra- 


Tragedy, as it was anciently composed, hath been ever held the 
gravest, moralest, and most profitable of all other Poems; therefore said 
by Aristode to be of pwwer, by raising pity and fear, or terror, to purge 
the mind of those and such-like passions — that is, to temper and reduce 
them to just measure with a kind of delight, stirred up by reading or 
seeing those passions well imitated. Nor is Nature wanting in her own 
eflects to make good his assertion; for so, in Physic, things of melancholic 
hue and quality are used against melancholy, sour against sour, salt to 
remove salt humours. Hence philosophers and other gravest writers, as 
Cicero, Plutarch, and others, frequently cite out of tragic p)oets, both to 
adorn and illustrate their discourse. The Apostle Paul himself thought it 
not unworthy to insert a verse of Euripides into the text of Holy Scrip- 
ture, I Cor. XV. 33; and Paracus, commenting on the Revelation, divides 
the whole Book, as a Tragedy, into acts, distinguished each by a Chorus 
of Heavenly Harpings and Song between. Heretofore men in highest 
dignity have laboured not a litde to be thought able to compose a tragedy. 
Of that honour Dionysius the elder was no less ambitious than before of 
his attaining to the tyranny. Augustus Caesar also had begun his Ajax, 
but, unable to please his own judgment with what he had begun, left it 
unfinished. Seneca, the philosopher, is by some thought the author of 
those tragedies (at least the best of them) that go under that name. 
Gregory Nazianzen, a Father of the Church, thought it not unbeseeming 
the sanctity of his person to write a tragedy, which he entitled Christ 
Suffering. This is mentioned to vindicate Tragedy from the small esteem, 
or rather infamy, which in the account of many it undergoes at this day, 
with other common Interludes; happening through the fX)et*s error of 
intermixing comic stuff with tragic sadness and gravity, or introducing 
trivial and vulgar pwrsons: which by all judicious hath been counted 
absurd, and brought in without discretion, corruptly to gratify the people. 
And, though ancient Tragedy use no Prologue, yet using sometimes, in 



case of self-defence or explanation, that which Martial calls an Epistle, in 
behalf of this tragedy, coming forth after the ancient manner, much 
different from what among us passes for best, thus much beforehand 
may be epistled — that Chorus is here introduced after the Greek manner, 
not ancient only, but modern, and still in use among the Italians. In the 
modelling therefore of this poem, with good reason, the Ancients and 
Italians are rather followed, as of much more authority and fame. The 
measure of verse used in the Chorus is of all sorts, called by the Greeks 
Monostrophic, or rather ApoUlymenon, without regard had to Strophe, 
Antistrophe, or Epode, — which were a kind of stanzas framed only for 
the music, then used with the Chorus that sung; not essential to the 
poem, and therefore not material; or, being divided into stanzas or 
pauses, they may be called Allccostropha. Division into act and scene, 
referring chiefly to the stage (to which this work never was intended), is 
here omitted. 

It suffices if the whole drama be found not produced beyond the fifth 
act. Of the style and uniformity, and that commonly called the plot, 
whether intricate or explicit — which is nothing indeed but such teconomy, 
or disposition of the fable, as may stand besi with verisimilitude and 
decorum — they only will best judge who are not unacquainted with 
./flschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, the three tragic poets unequalled yet 
by any, and the best rule to all who endeavour to write Tragedy. The 
circumscription of time, wherein the whole drama begins and ends, is, 
according to ancient rule and best example, within the space of twenty- 
four hours. 


1 667- 1 67 1 

The Argument. — Samson, made captive, blind, and now in the prison at Gaza, 
there to labour as in a common workhouse, on a festival day, in the general cessation 
from labour, comes forth into the open air, to a place nigh, somewhat retired, there 
to sit awhile and bemoan his condition. Where he hapiwns at length to be visited 
by certain friends and equals of his tribe, which make the Chorus, who seek to comfort 
him what they can; then by his old father, Manoa, who endeavours the like, aiKl 
withal tells him his purpose to procure his liberty by ransom; lastly, that this feast 
was proclaimed by the Philistines as a day of thanksgiving for their deliverance from 
the hands of Samson — which yet more troubles him. Manoa then departs to prosecute 
his endeavour with the Philistian lords for Samson's redemption: who, in the mean- 
while, is visited by other persons, and, lastly, by a public officer to require his 
coming to the feast before the lords and people, to play or shew his strength in their 
presence. He at first refuses, dismissing the public officer with absolute denial to come; 
at length, persuaded inwardly that this was from God, he yields to go along with him, 
who came now the second time with great threatenings to fetch him. The Chorus 
yet remaining on the place, Manoa returns full of joyful hope to procure ere long 
his son's deliverance; in the midst of which discourse an Ebrew comes in haste, 
confusedly at first, and afterwards more distinctly, relating the catastrophe — what 
Samson had done to the Philistines, and by accident to himself; wherewith the 
Tragedy ends. 

Samson. Manoa, the father of Samson. DalH-a, iiis wife. 

Hakapha of Gath. Public Officer. Messenger. Chorus of Danitei. 

The Scene, before the Prison in Gazx 

VAMSON. A little onward lend thy guiding hand 
To these dark steps, a little further on; 
For yonder bank hath choice of sun or shade. 
There I am wont to sit, when any chance 
Relieves me from my task of servile toil, 
Daily in the common prison else enjoined me. 
Where I, a prisoner chained, scarce freely draw 
The air, imprisoned also, close and damp, 
Unwholesome draught. But here I feel amends — 
The breath of Heaven fresh blowing, pure and sweet, 
With day-spring born; here leave me to respire. 
This day a solemn feast the people hold 
To Dagon, their sea-idol, and forbid 
Laborious works. Unwillingly this rest 



Their superstition yields me; hence, with leave 

Retiring from the f>opular noise, I seek 

This unfrequented place to find some ease — 

Ease to the body some, none to the mind 

From restless thoughts, that, like a deadly swarm 

Of hornets armed, no sooner found alone 

But rush upon me thronging, and present 

Times past, what once I was, and what am now. 

Oh, wherefore was my birth from Heaven foretold 

Twice by an Angel, who at last, in sight 

Of both my parents, all in flames ascended 

From off the altar where an offering burned, 

As in a fiery column charioting 

His godlike presence, and from some great act 

Or benefit revealed to Abraham's race? 

Why was my breeding ordered and prescribed 

As of a person separate to God, 

Designed for great exploits, if I must die 

Betrayed, captivcd, and both my eyes put out. 

Made of my enemies the scorn and gaze. 

To grind in brazen fetters under task 

With this heaven-gifted strength? O glorious strength, 

Put to the labour of a beast, debased 

Lower than bond-slave! Promise was that I 

Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver! 

Ask for this great Deliverer now, and find him 

Eyeless in Gaza, at the mill with slaves, 

Himself in bonds under Philistian yoke. 

Yet stay; let me not rashly call in doubt 

Divine prediction. What if all foretold 

Had been fulfilled but through mine own default.' 

Whom have I to complain of but myself, 

Who this high gift of strength committed to me, 

In what part lodged, how easily bereft me. 

Under the seal of silence could not keep. 

But weakly to a woman must reveal it, 

O'ercome with importunity and tears? 

O impotence of mind in body strong! 

But what is strength without a double share 

Of wisdom? Vast, unwieldy, burdensome. 


Proudly secure, yet liable to fall 

By weakest subtleties; not made to rule. 

But to subserve where wisdom bears command. 

God, when he gave me strength, to shew withal 

How slight the gift was, hung it in my hair. 

But peace! I must not quarrel with the will 

Of highest dispensation, which herein 

Haply had ends above my reach to know. 

Suffices that to me strength is my bane. 

And proves the source of all my miseries^ 

So many, and so huge, that each apart 

Would ask a life to wail. But, chief of all, 

O loss of sight, of thee I most complain! 

Blind among enemies! O worse than chains. 

Dungeon, or beggary, or decrepit age! 

Light, the prime work of God, to me is extinct. 

And all her various objects of delight 

Annulled, which might in part my grief have eased. 

Inferior to the vilest now become 

Of man or worm, the vilest here excel me: 

They creep, yet see; I, dark in light, exposed 

To daily fraud, contempt, abuse, and wrong. 

Within doors, or without, still as a fool. 

In power of others, never in my own — 

Scarce half I seem to live, dead more than half. 

O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon. 

Irrecoverably dark, total eclipse 

Without all hope of day! 

O firsKreated Beam, and thou great Word, 

"Let there be light, and light was over all," 

Why am I thus bereaved thy prime decree? 

The Sun to me is dark 

And silent as the Moon, 

When she deserts the night. 

Hid in her vacant interlunar cave. 

Since light so necessary is to life. 

And almost life itself, if it be true 

That light is in the soul. 

She all in every part, why was the sight 

To such a tender ball as the eye confined, 


So obvious and so easy to be quenched, 
And not, as feeling, through all parts diffused, 
That she might look at will through every pore? 
Then had I not been thus exiled from light, 
As in the land of darkness, yet in light, 
To live a life half dead, a living death. 
And buried; but, O yet more miserable! 
Myself my sepulchre, a moving grave; 
Buried, yet not exempt. 
By privilege of death and burial. 
From worst of other evils, pains, and wrongs; 
But made hereby obnoxious more 
To all the miseries of life. 
Life in captivity 
Among inhuman foes. 

But who are these? for with joint pace I hear 
The tread of many feet steering this way; 
Perhaps my enemies, who come to stare 
At my afSiction, and perhaps to insult — 
Their daily practice to afflict me more. 
Chor. This, this is he; softly a while; 
Let us not break in upon him. 
O change beyond report, thought, or belief! 
See how he lies at random, carelessly diffused. 
With languished head unpropt, 
As one past hof)e, abandoned. 
And by himself given over. 
In slavish habit, ill-fitted weeds 
O'er-worn and soiled. 

Or do my eyes misrepresent? Can this be he. 
That heroic, that renowned. 
Irresistible Samson? whom, unarmed, 
No strength of man, or fiercest wild beast, could with- 
Who tore the lion as the lion tears the kid; 
Ran on embatded armies clad in iron. 
And, weaponless himself. 
Made arms ridiculous, useless the forgery 
Of brazen shield and spear, the hammered cuirass, 
Chalybean-tempered steel, and frock of mail 


Adamantean proof: 

But safest he who stood aloof, 

When insupportably his foot advanced, 

In scorn of their proud arms and warlike tools. 

Spurned them to death by troops. The bold Ascalonite 

Fled from his lion ramp; old warriors turned 

Their plated backs under his heel, 

Or grovelling soiled their crested helmets in the dust. 

Then with what trivial weapon came to hand. 

The jaw of a dead ass, his sword of bone, 

A thousand foreskins fell, the flower of Palestine, 

In Ramath-lechi, famous to this day: 

Then by main force pulled up, and on his shoulders bore, 

The gates of Azza, post and massy bar, 

Up to the hill by Hebron, scat of giants old — 

No journey of a sabbath-day, and loaded so — 

Like whom the Gentiles feign to bear up Heaven. 

Which shall I first bewail — 

Thy bondage or lost sight, 

Prison within prison 

Inseparably dark? 

Thou art become (O worst imprisonment!) 

The dungeon of thyself; thy soul 

(Which men enjoying sight oft without cause complain) 

Imprisoned now indeed, 

In real darkness of the body dwells, 

Shut up from outward light 

To incorporate with gloomy night; 

For inward light, alas! 

Puts forth no visual beam. 

O mirror of our fickle state. 

Since man on earth, unparalleled. 

The rarer thy example stands, 

By how much from the top of wondrous glory. 

Strongest of mortal men, 

To lowest pitch of abject fortune thou art fallen. 

For him I reckon not in high estate 

Whom long descent of birth. 

Or the sphere of fortune, raises; 

But thee, whose strength, while virtue was her mate, 


Might have subdued the Earth, 
Universally crowned with highest praises. 

Sams. I hear the sound of words; their sense the air 
Dissolves unjointed ere it reach my ear. 

Chor. He speaks: let us draw nigh. Matchless in 
The glory late of Israel, now the grief! 
We come, thy friends and neighbours not unknown. 
From Eshtaol and Zora's fruitful vale, 
To visit or bewail thee; or, if better. 
Counsel or consolation we may bring. 
Salve to thy sores: apt words have power to swage 
The tumours of a troubled mind, 
And are as balm to festered wounds. 

Sams. Your coming, friends, revives me; for I learn 
Now of my own exfjerience, not by talk, 
How counterfeit a coin they are who "friends" 
Bear in their superscription (of the most 
I would be understood). In prosperous days 
They swarm, but in adverse withdraw their head, 
Not to be found, though sought. Ye see, O friends, 
How many evils have enclosed me round; 
Yet that which was the worst now least afflicts me, 
Blindness; for, had I sight, confused with shame, 
How could I once look up, or heave the head, 
Who, like a foolish pilot, have shipwracked 
My Vessel trusted to me from above, 
Gloriously rigged, and for a word, a tear, 
Fool! have divulged the secret gift of God 
To a deceitful woman? Tell me, friends. 
Am I not sung and proverbed for a fool 
In every street? Do they not say, "How well 
Are come upon him his deserts" ? Yet why? 
Immeasurable strength they might behold 
In me; of wisdom nothing more than mean. 
This with the other should at least have paired; 
These two, proportioned ill, drove me transverse. 

Chor. Tax not divine disposal. Wisest men 
Have erred, and by bad women been deceived; 
And shall again, pretend they ne'er so wise. 


Deject not, then, so overmuch thyself, 

Who hast of sorrow thy full load besides. 

Yet, truth to say, I oft have heard men wonder 

Why thou should'st wed Philistian women rather 

Than of thine own tribe fairer, or as fair, 

At least of thy own nation, and as noble. 

Sams. The first I saw at Timna, and she pleased 
Me, not my parents, that I sought to wed 
The daughter of an Infidel. They knew not 
That what I motioned was of God; I knew 
From intimate impulse, and therefore urged 
The marriage on, that, by occasion hence, 
I might begin Israel's deliverance — 
The work to which I was divinely called. 
She proving false, the next I took to wife 
(O that I never had! fond wish too late!) 
Was in the vale of Scree, Dalila, 
That specious monster, my accomplished snare. 
I thought it lawful from my former act. 
And the same end, still watching to oppress 
Israel's oppressors. Of what now I suffer 
She was not the prime cause, but I myself. 
Who, vanquished with a peal of words, (O weakness!) 
Gave up my fort of silence to a woman. 

Chor. In seeking just occasion to provoke 
The Philistine, thy country's enemy. 
Thou never wast remiss, I bear thee witness; 
Yet Israel still serves with all his sons. 

Sams. That fault I take not on me, but transfer 
On Israel's governors and heads of tribes. 
Who, seeing those great acts which God had done 
Singly by me against their conquerors. 
Acknowledged not, or not at all considered. 
Deliverance offered. I, on the other side, 
Used no ambition to commend my deeds; 
The deeds themselves, though mute, spoke loud the 

But they persisted deaf, and would not seem 
To count them things worth notice, till at length 
Their lords, the Philistines, with gathered powers. 


Entered Judea, seeking me, who then 

Safe to the rock of Etham was retired — 

Not flying, but forecasting in what place 

To set upon them, what advantaged best. 

Meanwhile the men of Judah, to prevent 

The harass of their land, beset me round; 

I willingly on some conditions came 

Into their hands, and they as gladly yield tne 

To the Uncircumcised a welcome prey, 

Bound with two cords. But cords to me were threads 

Touched with the flame: on their whole host I flew 

Unarmed, and with a trivial weapon felled 

Their choicest youth; they only lived who fled. 

Had Judah that day joined, or one whole tribe. 

They had by this possessed the Towers of Gath, 

And lorded over them whom now they serve. 

But what more oft, in nations grown corrupt. 

And by their vices brought to servitude, 

Than to love bondage more than liberty — 

Bondage with ease than strenuous liberty — 

And to despise, or envy, or suspect. 

Whom God hath of his special favour raised 

As their deliverer? If he aught begin. 

How frequent to desert him and at last 

To heap ingratitude on worthiest deeds! 

Chor. Thy words to my remembrance bring 
How Succoth and the fort of Penuel 
Their great deliverer contemned. 
The matchless Gideon, in pursuit 
Of Madian, and her vanquished kings; 
And how ingrateful Ephraim 
Had dealt with Jephtha, who by argument. 
Not worse than by his shield and spear, 
Defended Israel from the Ammonite, 
Had not his prowess quelled their pride 
In that sore batde when so many died 
Without reprieve, adjudged to death 
For want of well pronouncing Shibboleth. 

Sams. Of such examples add me to the roll. 
Me easily indeed mine may neglect, 


But God's proposed deliverance not so. 

Chor. Just are the ways of God, 
And justifiable to men, 
Unless there be who think not God at all. 
If any be, they walk obscure; 
For of such doctrine never was there school. 
But the heart of the Fool, 
And no man therein doctor but himself. 

Yet more there be who doubt his ways not just. 
As to his own edicts found contradicting; 
Then give the reins to wandering thought. 
Regardless of his glory's diminution, 
Till, by their own perplexities involved. 
They ravel more, still less resolved. 
But never find self-satisfying solution. 

As if they would confine the Interminable, 
And tie him to his own prescript. 
Who made our laws to bind us, not himself. 
And hath full right to exempt 
Whomso it pleases him by choice 
From national obstriction, without taint 
Of sin, or legal debt; 
For with his own laws he can best dispense. 

He would not else, who never wanted means. 
Nor in respect of the enemy just cause. 
To set his people free. 
Have prompted this heroic Nazarite, 
Against his vow of strictest purity. 
To seek in marriage that fallacious bride. 
Unclean, unchaste. 

Down, Reason, then; at least, vain reasonings down; 
Though Reason here aver 
That moral verdit quits her of unclean: 
Unchaste was subsequent; her stain, not his. 

But see! here comes thy reverend sire. 
With careful step, locks white as down. 
Old Manoa: advise 
Forthwith how thou ought'st to receive him. 

Sams. Ay me! another inward grief, awaked 
With mention of that name, renews the assault. 


Man. Brethren and men of Dan (for such ye seem 
Though in this uncouth place), if old respect, 
As' I suppose, towards your once gloried friend, 
My son, now captive, hither hath informed 
Your younger feet, while mine, cast back with age, 
Came lagging after, say if he be here. 

Chor. As signal now in low dejected state 
As erst in highest, behold him where he lies. 

Man. O miserable change! Is this the man, 
That invincible Samson, far renowned. 
The dread of Israel's foes, who with a strength 
Equivalent to Angels' walked their streets. 
None offering fight; who, single combatant. 
Duelled their armies ranked in proud array, 
Himself an Army — now unequal match 
To save himself against a coward armed 
At one sfiear's length ? O ever-failing trust 
In mortal strength! and, oh, what not in man 
Deceivable and vain.? Nay, what thing good 
Prayed for, but often proves our woe, our bane? 
I prayed for children, and thought barrenness 
In wedlock a reproach; I gained a son. 
And such a son as all men hailed me happy: 
Who would be now a father in my stead.'' 
Oh, wherefore did God grant me my request, 
And as a blessing with such pomp adorned.? 
Why are his gifts desirable, to tempt 
Our earnest prayers, then, given with solemn hand 
As graces, draw a scorpion's tail behind.? 
For this did the Angel twice descend.? for this 
Ordained thy nurture holy, as of a plant 
Select and sacred.? glorious for a while, 
The miracle of men; then in an hour 
Ensnared, assaulted, overcome, led bound. 
Thy foes' derision, captive, poor and blind. 
Into a dungeon thrust, to work with slaves! 
Alas! methinks whom God hath chosen once 
To worthiest deeds, if he through frailty err, 
He should not so o'erwhelm, and as a thrall 
Subject him to so foul indignities. 


Be it but for honour's sake of former deeds. 

Sams. Appwint not heavenly disposition, father 
Nothing of all these evils hath befallen me 
But justly; I myself have brought them on; 
Sole author I, sole cause. If aught seem vile, 
As vile hath been my folly, who have profaned 
The mystery of God, given me under pledge 
Of vow, and have betrayed it to a woman, 
A Canaanite, my faithless enemy. 
This well I knew, nor was at all surprised. 
But warned by oft experience. Did not she 
Of Timna first betray me, and reveal 
The secret wrested from me in her highth 
Of nuptial love professed, carrying it straight 
To them who had corrupted her, my spies 
And rivals? In this other was there found 
More faith, who, also in her prime of love, 
Spousal embraces, vitiated with gold. 
Though offered only, by the scent conceived 
Her spurious first-born. Treason against me? 
Thrice she assayed, with flattering prayers and sighs. 
And amorous reproaches, to win from me 
My capital secret, in what part my strength 
Lay stored, in what part summed, that she might 

Thrice I deluded her, and turned to sport 
Her impwrtunity, each time perceiving 
How openly and with what impudence 
She purposed to betray me, and (which was worse 
Than undisscmbled hate) with what contempt 
She sought to make me traitor to myself. 
Yet, the fourth time, when, mustering all her wiles. 
With blandished parleys, feminine assaults, 
Tongue-batteries, she surceased not day nor night 
To storm me, over-watched and wearied out. 
At times when men seek most repose and rest, 
I yielded, and unlocked her all my heart. 
Who, with a grain of manhood well resolved, 
Might easily have shock off all her snares; 
But foul effeminacy held me yoked 


Her bond-slave. O indignity, O blot 
To Honour and Religion! servile mind 
Rewarded well with servile punishment! 
The base degree to which I now am fallen. 
These rags, this grinding, is not yet so base 
As was my former servitude, ignoble, 
Unmanly, ignominious, infamous. 
True slavery; and that blindness worse than this, 
That saw not how degenerately I served. 

Man. I cannot praise thy marriage<hoices, son — 
Rather approved them not; but thou didst plead 
Divine impulsion prompting how thou might'st 
Find some occasion to infest our foes. 
I state not that; this I am sure — our foes 
Found soon occasion thereby to make thee 
Their captive, and their triumph; thou the sooner 
Temptation found'st, or over-potent charms. 
To violate the sacred trust of silence 
Deposited within thee — which to have kept 
Tacit was in thy power. True; and thou bear'st 
Enough, and more, the burden of that fault, 
Bitterly hast thou paid, and still art paying; 
That rigid score. A worse thing yet remains: 
This day the Philistines a popular feast 
Here celebrate in Gaza, and proclaim 
Great pomp, and sacrifice, and praises loud. 
To Dagon, as their god who hath delivered 
Thee, Samson, bound and blind, into their hands — 
Them out of thine, who slew'st them many a slain. 
So Dagon shall be magnified, and God, 
Besides whom is no god, compared with idols, 
Disglorified, blasphemed, and had in scorn 
By the idolatrous rout amidst their wine; 
Which to have come to pass by means of thee, 
Samson, of all thy sufferings think the heaviest. 
Of all reproach the most with shame that ever 
Could have befallen thee and thy father's house. 

Sams. Father, I do acknowledge and confess 
That I this honour, I this pomp, have brought 
To Dagon, and advanced his praises high 


Among the Heathen round — to God have brought 
Dishonour, obloquy, and oped the mouths 
Of idohsts and atheists; have brought scandal 
To Israel, diffidence of God, and doubt 
In feeble hearts, propense enough before 
To waver, or fall oflf and join with idols: 
Which is my chief afBiction, shame and sorrow, 
The anguish of my soul, that suffers not 
Mine eye to harbour sleep, or thoughts to rest. 
This only hope relieves me, that the strife 
With me hath end. All the contest is now 
'Twixt God and Dagon. Dagon hath presumed. 
Me overthrown, to enter lists with God, 
His deity comparing and preferring 
Before the God of Abraham. He, be sure. 
Will not connive, or linger, thus provoked, 
But will arise, and his great name assert. 
Dagon must stoop, and shall ere long receive 
Such a discomfit as shall quite despoil him 
Of all these boasted trophies won on me. 
And with confusion blank his Worshipers. 

Man. With cause this hope relieves thee; and these 
I as a prophecy receive; for God 
(Nothing more certain) will not long defer 
To vindicate the glory of his name 
Against all competition, nor will long 
Endure it doubtful whether God be Lx)rd 
Or Dagon. But for thee what shall be done? 
Thou must not in the meanwhile, here forgot. 
Lie in this miserable loathsome plight 
Neglected. I already have made way 
To some Philistian lords, with whom to treat 
About thy ransom. Well they may by this 
Have satisfied their utmost of revenge. 
By pains and slaveries, worse than death, inflicted 
On thee, who now no more canst do them harm. 

Sams. Spare that proposal, father; spare the trouble 
Of that solicitation. Let me here. 
As I deserve, pay on my punishment, 


And expiate, if possible, my crime. 

Shameful garrulity. To have revealed 

Secrets of men, the secrets of a friend, 

How heinous had the fact been, how deserving 

Contempt and scorn of all — to be excluded 

All friendship, and avoided as a blab, 

The mark of fool set on his front! 

But I God's counsel have not kept, his holy secret 

Presumptuously have published, impiously. 

Weakly at least and shamefully — a sin 

That Gentiles in their parables condemn 

To their Abyss and horrid pains confined. 

Man. Be penitent, and for thy fault contrite; 
But act not in thy own affliction, son. 
Repent the sin; but, if the punishment 
Thou canst avoid, self-preservation bids; 
Or the execution leave to high disposal. 
And let another hand, not thine, exact 
Thy fjenal forfeit from thyself. Perhaps 
God will relent, and quit thee all his debt; 
Who ever more approves and more accepts 
(Best pleased with humble and filial submission) 
Him who, imploring mercy, sues for life. 
Than who, self-rigorous, chooses death as due; 
Which argues over-just, and self-displeased 
For self-offence more than for God offended. 
Reject not, then, what offered means who knows 
But God hath set before us to return thee 
Home to thy country and his sacred house. 
Where thou may'st bring thy offerings, to avert 
His further ire, with prayers and vows renewed. 

Sams. His pardon I implore; but, as for life. 
To what end should I seek it? When in strength 
All mortals I excelled, and great in hopes, 
With youthful courage, and magnanimous thoughts 
Of birth from Heaven foretold and high exploits, 
Full of divine instinct, after some proof 
Of acts indeed heroic, far beyond 
The sons of Anak, famous now and blazed. 
Fearless of danger, like a petty god 


I walked about, admired of all, and dreaded 
On hostile ground, none daring my affront — 
Then, swollen with pride, into the snare I fell 
Of fair fallacious looks, venereal trains, 
Softened with pleasure and voluptuous life 
At length to lay my head and hallowed pledge 
Of all my strength in the lascivious lap 
Of a deceitful Concubine, who shore me. 
Like a tame wether, all my precious fleece. 
Then turned me out ridiculous, despoiled. 
Shaven, and disarmed among my enemies. 

Chor. Desire of wine and all delicious drinks, 
Which many a famous warrior overturns. 
Thou could'st repress; nor did the dancing ruby, 
Sjjarkling out-poured, the flavour or the smell. 
Or taste, that cheers the heart of gods and men. 
Allure thee from the cool crystallin stream. 

Sams. Wherever fountain or fresh current flowed 
Against the eastern ray, translucent, pure 
With touch aethereal of Heaven's fiery rod, 
I drank, from the clear milky juice allaying 
Thirst, and refreshed; nor envied them the grape 
Whose heads that turbulent liquor fills with fumes. 

Chor. O madness! to think use of strongest wines 
And strongest drinks our chief support of health. 
When God with these forbidden made choice to rear 
His mighty Champion, strong above compare, 
Whose drink was only from the liquid brook! 

Sams. But what availed this temperance, not complete 
Against another object more enticing? 
Wtiat boots it at one gate to make defence. 
And at another to let in the foe. 
Effeminately vanquished? by which means. 
Now blind, disheartened, shamed, dishonoured, quelled, 
To what can I be useful ? wherein serve 
My nation, and the work from Heaven imposed ? 
But to sit idle on the household hearth, 
A burdenous drone; to visitants a gaze. 
Or pitied object; these redundant locks. 
Robustious to no purpose, clustering down. 


Vain monument of strength; till length of years 
And sedentary numbness craze my limbs 
To a contemptible old age obscure. 
Here rather let me drudge, and earn my bread. 
Till vermin, or the draff of servile food, 
Consume me, and oft-invocated death 
Hasten the welcome end of all my pains. 

Man. Wilt thou then serve the Philistines with that 
Which was expressly given thee to annoy them? 
Better at home lie bed-rid, not only idle. 
Inglorious, unimployed, with age outworn. 
But God, who caused a fountain at thy prayer 
From the dry ground to spring, thy thirst to allay 
After the brunt of battel, can as easy 
Cause light again within thy eyes to spring. 
Wherewith to serve him better than thou hast. 
And I persuade me so. Why else this strength 
Miraculous yet remaining in those locks? 
His might continues in thee not for naught. 
Nor shall his wondrous gifts be frustrate thus. 

Sams. All otherwise to me my thoughts portend — 
That these dark orbs no more shall treat with light, 
Nor the other light of life continue long, 
But yield to double darkness nigh at hand; 
So much I feel my genial spirits droop. 
My hopes all flat: Nature within me seems 
In all her functions weary of herself; 
My race of glory run, and race of shame. 
And I shall shortly be with them that rest. 

Man. Believe not these suggestions, which proceed 
From anguish of the mind, and humours black 
That mingle with thy fancy. I, however. 
Must not omit a father's timely care 
To prosecute the means of thy deliverance 
By ransom or how else: meanwhile be calm, 
And healing words from these thy friends admit. 

Sams. Oh, that torment should not be confined 
To the body's wounds and sores, 
With maladies innumerable 


In heart, head, breast, and reins. 

But must secret passage find 

To the inmost mind. 

There exercise all his fierce accidents. 

And on her purest spirits prey. 

As on entrails, joints, and limbs, 

With answerable pains, but more intense, 

Though void of corporal sense! 

My griefs not only pain me 
As a lingering disease, 
But, finding no redress, ferment and rage; 
Nor less than wounds immedicable 
Rankle, and fester, and gangrene. 
To black mortification. 

Thoughts, my tormentors, armed with deadly stings. 
Mangle my apprehensive tenderest parts. 
Exasperate, exulcerate, and raise 
Dire inflammation, which no cooling herb 
Or medicinal liquor can assuage. 
Nor breath of vernal air from snowy Alp. 
Sleep hath forsook and given me o'er 
To death's benumbing opium as my only cure; 
Thence faintings, swoonings of despair. 
And sense of Heaven's desertion. 

I was his nursling once and choice delight. 
His destined from the womb. 
Promised by heavenly message twice descending. 
Under his special eye 
Abstemious I grew up and thrived amain; 
He led me on to mightiest deeds, 
Above the nerve of mortal arm. 
Against the Uncircumcised, our enemies: 
But now hath cast me off as never known. 
And to those cruel enemies. 
Whom I by his appointment had provoked. 
Left me all helpless, with the irreparable loss 
Of sight, reserved alive to be repeated 
The subject of their cruelty or scorn. 
Nor am I in the list of them that hope; 
Hopeless are all my evils, all remediless. 


This one prayer yet remains, might I be heard. 

No long petition — speedy death, 

The close of all my miseries and the balm. 

Chor. Many arc the sayings of the wise. 
In ancient and in modern books enrolled, 
Extolling fwtience as the truest fortitude. 
And to the bearing well of all calamities. 
All chances incident to man's frail life, 
Consolatories writ 

With studied argument, and much persuasion sought. 
Lenient of grief and anxious thought. 
But with the afflicted in his pangs their sound 
Little prevails, or rather seems a tune 
Harsh, and of dissonant mood from his complaint. 
Unless he feel within 
Some source of consolation from above, 
Secret refreshings that repair his strength 
And fainting spirits uphold. 

God of our fathers! what is Man, 
That thou towards him with hand so various — 
Or might I say contrarious? — 
Temper'st thy providence through his short course: 
Not evenly, as thou rul'st 

The angelic orders, and inferior creatures mute. 
Irrational and brute.' 

Nor do I name of men the common rout. 
That, wandering loose about. 
Crow up and perish as the summer fly. 
Heads without name, no more remembered; 
But such as thou hast solemnly elected. 
With gifts and graces eminently adornecL 
To some great work, thy glory. 
And people's safety, which in part they effect. 
Yet toward these, thus dignified, thou oft, 
Amidst their highth of noon, 

Changest thy countenance and thy hand, with no regard 
Of highest favours past 
From thee on them, or them to thee of service. 

Nor only dost degrade them, or remit 
To life obscured, which were a fair dismission. 


But throw'st them lower than thou didst exalt them 

Unseemly falls in human eye, 
Too grievous for the trespass or omission; 
Oft leav'st them to the hostile sword 
Of heathen and profane, their carcasses 
To dogs and fowls a prey, or else captived. 
Or to the unjust tribunals, under change of times, 
And condemnation of the ungrateful multitude. 
If these they scape, jjerhaps in fwverty 
With sickness and disease thou bow'st them down. 
Painful diseases and deformed, 
In crude old age; 

Though not disordinate, yet causeless suffering 
The punishment of dissolute days. In fine. 
Just or unjust alike seem miserable. 
For oft alike both come to evil end. 

So deal not with this once thy glorious Champion, 
The image of thy strength, and mighty minister. 
What do I beg? how hast thou dealt already! 
Behold him in this state calamitous, and turn 
His labours, for thou canst, to peaceful end. 

But who is this? what thing of sea or land — 
Female of sex it seems — 
That, so bedecked, ornate, and gay. 
Comes this way sailing. 
Like a stately ship 
Of Tarsus, bound for the isles 
Of Javan or Gadire, 

With all her bravery on, and tackle trim, 
Sails filled, and streamers waving. 
Courted by all the winds that hold them play; 
An amber scent of odorous perfume 
Her harbinger, a damsel train behind? 
Some rich Philistian matron she may seem; 
And now, at nearer view, no other certain 
Than Dalila thy wife. 

Sams. My wife! my traitress! let her not come near me. 

CAor. Yet on she moves; now stands and eyes thee 


About to have spoke; but now, with head declined. 
Like a fair flower surcharged with dew, she weeps. 
And words addressed seem into tears dissolved. 
Wetting the borders of her silken veil. 
But now again she makes address to speak. 

Dal. With doubtful feet and wavering resolution 
I came, still dreading thy displeasure, Samson; 
Which to have merited, without excuse, 
I cannot but acknowledge. Yet, if tears 
May expiate (though the fact more evil drew 
In the perverse event than I foresaw). 
My penance hath not slackened, though my pardon 
No way assured. But conjugal aflection, 
Prevailing over fear and timorous doubt. 
Hath led me on, desirous to behold 
Once more thy face, and know of thy estate. 
If aught in my ability may serve 
To lighten what thou sufler'st, and appease 
Thy mind with what amends is in my jxjwer — 
Though late, yet in some part to recompense 
My rash but more unfortunate misdeed. 

Sams. Out, out. Hyaena! These are thy wonted arts, 
And arts of every woman false like thee — 
To break all faith, all vows, deceive, betray; 
Then, as repentant, to submit, beseech. 
And reconcilement move with feigned remorse, 
Confess, and promise wonders in her change — 
Not truly penitent, but chief to try 
Her husband, how far urged his patience bears, 
His virtue or weakness which way to assail: 
Then, with more cautious and instructed skill. 
Again transgresses, and again submits; 
That wisest and best men, full oft beguiled. 
With goodness principled not to reject 
The penitent, but ever to forgive, 
Are drawn to wear out miserable days. 
Entangled with a poisonous bosom-snake. 
If not by quick destruction soon cut ofl. 
As I by thee, to ages an example. 

Dal. Yet hear me, Samson; not that I endeavour 


To lessen or extenuate my offence, 

But that, on the other side, if it be weighed 

By itself, with aggravations not surcharged, 

Or else with just allowance counterpwised, 

I may, if possible, thy pardon find 

The easier towards me, or thy hatred less. 

First granting, as I do, it was a weakness 

In me, but incident to all our sex, 

Curiosity, inquisitive, importune' 

Of secrets, then with like infirmity 

To publish them — both common female faults — 

Was it not weakness also to make known 

For importunity, that is for naught. 

Wherein consisted all thy strength and safety? 

To what I did thou shew'dst me first the way. 

But I to enemies revealed, and should not! 

Nor should'st thou have trusted that to woman's frailty: 

Ere I to thee, thou to thyself wast cruel. 

Let weakness, then, with weakness come to parle, 

So near related, or the same of kind; 

Thine forgive mine, that men may censure thine 

The gentler, if severely thou exact not 

More strength from me than in thyself was found. 

And what if love, which thou interpret'st hate. 

The jealousy of love, pwwerful of sway 

In human hearts, nor less in mine towards thee. 

Caused what I did? I saw thee mutable 

Of fancy; feared lest one day thou would'st leave me 

As her at Timna; sought by all means, therefore, 

How to endear, and hold thee to me firmest: 

No better way I saw than by importuning 

To learn thy secrets, get into my power 

Thy key of strength and safety. Thou wilt say, 

"Why, then, revealed?" I was assured by those 

Who tempted me that nothing was designed 

Against thee but safe custody and hold. 

That made for me; I knew that liberty 

Would draw thee forth to perilous enterprises, 

While I at home sat full of cares and fears, 

Wailing thy absence in my widowed bed; 


Here I should still enjoy thee, day and night, 

Mine and love's prisoner, not the Philistines', 

Whole to myself, unhazarded abroad. 

Fearless at home of partners in my love. 

These reasons in Love's law have passed for good, 

Though fond and reasonless to some perhaps; 

And love hath oft, well meaning, wrought much woe, 

Yet always pity or pardon hath obtained. 

Be not unlike all others, not a stere 

As thou art strong, inflexible as steel. 

If thou in strength all mortals dost exceed. 

In uncompassionate anger do not so. 

Sams. How cunningly the Sorceress displays 
Her own transgressions, to upbraid me mine! 
That malice, not repentance, brought thee hither 
By this appears. I gave, thou say'st, the example, 
I led the way — bitter reproach, but true; 
I to myself was false ere thou to me. 
Such pardon, therefore, as I give my folly 
Take to thy wicked deed; which when thou seest 
Impartial, self-severe, inexorable. 
Thou wilt renounce thy seeking, and much rather 
Confess it feigned. Weakness is thy excuse. 
And I believe it — weakness to resist 
Philistian gold. If weakness may excuse. 
What murtherer, what traitor, parricide. 
Incestuous, sacrilegious, but may plead it.' 
All wickedness is weakness; that plea, therefore. 
With God or Man will gain thee no remission. 
But love constrained thee! Call it furious rage 
To satisfy thy lust. Love seeks to have love; 
My love how could'st thou hope, who took'st the way 
To raise in me inexpiable hate. 
Knowing, as needs I must, by thee betrayed? 
In vain thou striv'st to cover shame with shame. 
Or by evasions thy crime uncover'st more. 

Dal, Since thou determin'st weakness for no plea 
In man or woman, though to thy own condemning. 
Hear what assaults I had, what snares besides. 
What sieges girt me round, ere I consented; 


Which might have awed the best-resolved of men. 

The constantest, to have yielded without blame. 

It was not gold, as to my charge thou lay'st, 

That wrought with me. Thou know'st the Magistrates 

And Princes of my country came in person, 

Solicited, commanded, threatened, urged. 

Adjured by all the bonds of civil duty 

And of religion — pressed how just it was, 

How honourable, how glorious, to entrap 

A common enemy, who had destroyed 

Such numbers of our nation: and the Priest 

Was not behind, but ever at my ear. 

Preaching how meritorious with the gods 

It would be to ensnare an irreligious 

Dishonourer of Dagon. What had I 

To oppose against such powerful arguments.' 

Only my love of thee held long debate. 

And combated in silence all these reasons 

With hard contest. At length, that grounded maxim. 

So rife and celebrated in the mouths 

Of wisest men, that to the public good 

Private resf)ects must yield, with grave authority 

Took full possession of me, and prevailed; 

Virtue, as I thought, truth, duty, so enjoining. 

Sams. I thought where all thy circling wiles would 
end — 
In feigned religion, smooth hyjxxrrisy! 
But, had thy love, still odiously pretended. 
Been, as it ought, sincere, it would have taught thee 
Far other reasonings, brought forth other deeds. 
I, before all the daughters of my tribe 
And of my nation, chose thee from among 
My enemies, loved thee, as too well thou knew'st; 
Too well; unbosomed all my secrets to thee. 
Not out of levity, but overpowered 
By thy request, who could deny thee nothing; 
Yet now am judged an enemy. Why, then. 
Didst thou at first receive me for thy husband — 
Then, as since then, thy country's foe professed? 
Being once a wife, for me thou wast to leave 


Parents and country; nor was I their subject. 

Nor under their protection, but my own; 

Thou mine, not theirs. If aught against my life 

Thy country sought of thee, it sought unjusdy, 

Against the law of nature, law of nations; 

No more thy country, but an impious crew 

Of men conspiring to uphold their state 

By worse than hostile deeds, violating the ends 

For which our country is a name so dear; 

Not therefore to be obeyed. But zeal moved thee; 

To please thy gods thou didst it! Gods unable 

To acquit themselves and prosecute their foes 

But by ungodly deeds, the contradiction 

Of their own deity, Gods cannot be — 

Less therefore to be pleased, obeyed, or feared. 

These false pretexts and varnished colours failing, 

Bare in thy guilt, how foul must thou apjjear! 

Dal. In argument with men a woman ever 
Goes by the worse, whatever be her cause. 

Sams. For want of words, no doubt, or lack of breath! 
Witness when I was worried with thy peals. 

Dal. I was a fool, too rash, and quite mistaken 
In what I thought would have succeeded best. 
Let me obtain forgiveness, of thee Samson; 
Aflord me place to shew what recompense 
Towards thee I intend for what I have misdone, 
Misguided. Only what remains past cure 
Bear not too sensibly, nor still insist 
To afflict thyself in vain. Though sight be lost, 
Life yet hath many solaces, enjoyed 
Where other senses want not their delights — 
At home, in leisure and domestic ease. 
Exempt from many a care and chance to which 
Eyesight exposes, daily, men abroad. 
I to the Lords will intercede, not doubting 
Their favourable ear, that I may fetch thee 
From forth this loathsome prison-house, to abide 
With me, where my redoubled love and care. 
With nursing diligence, to me glad office. 
May ever tend about thee to old age, 


With all things grateful cheered, and so supplied 
That what by me thou hast lost thou least shalt miss. 

Sams. No, no; of my condition take no care; 
It fits not; thou and I long since are twain; 
Nor think me so unwary or accursed 
To bring my feet again into the snare 
Where once I have been caught. I know thy trains. 
Though dearly to my cost, thy gins, and toils. 
Thy fair enchanted cup, and warbling charms, 
No more on me have power; their force is nulled; 
So much of adder's wisdom I have learned. 
To fence my ear against thy sorceries. 
If in my flower of youth and strength, when all men 
Loved, honoured, feared me, thou alone could hate me, 
Thy husband, slight me, sell me, and forgo me, 
How would'st thou use me now, blind, and thereby 
Deceivable, in most things as a child 
Helpless, thence easily contemned and scorned. 
And last neglected! How would'st thou insult. 
When I must live uxorious to thy will 
In perfet thraldom! how again betray me, 
Bearing my words and doings to the lords 
To gloss upon, and, censuring, frown or smile! 
This gaol I count the house of Liberty 
To thine, whose doors my feet shall never enter. 

Dal. Let me approach at least, and touch thy hand. 

Sams. Not for thy life, lest fierce remembrance wake 
My sudden rage to tear thee joint by joint. 
At distance I forgive thee; go with that; 
Bewail thy falsehood, and the pious works 
It hath brought forth to make thee memorable 
Among illustrious women, faithful wives; 
Cherish thy hastened widowhood with the gold 
Of matrimonial treason: so farewell. 

Dal. I see thou art implacable, more deaf 
To prayers than winds and seas. Yet winds to .«eas 
Are reconciled at length, and sea to shore: 
Thy anger, unappeasable, still rages. 
Eternal tempest never to be calmed. 
Why do I humble thus myself, and, suing 


For peace, reap nothing but repulse and hate, 

Bid go with evil omen, and the brand 

Of infamy upon my name denounced? 

To mix with thy concernments I desist 

Henceforth, nor too much disapprove my own. 

Fame, if not double-faced, is double-mouthed. 

And with contrary blast proclaims most deeds; 

On both his wings, one black, the other white. 

Bears greatest names in his wild aerie flight. 

My name, perhaps, among the Circumcised 

In Dan, in Judah, and the bordering Tribes, 

To all jxjsterity may stand defamed. 

With malediction mentioned, and the blot 

Of falsehood most unconjugal traduced. 

But in my country, where I most desire, 

In Ecron, Gaza, Asdod, and in Gath, 

I shall be named among the famousest 

Of women, sung at solemn festivals. 

Living and dead recorded, who, to save 

Her country from a fierce destroyer, chose 

Above the faith of wedlock bands; my tomb 

With odours visited and annual flowers; 

Not less renowned than in Mount Ephraim 

Jael, who, with inhospitable guile. 

Smote Sisera sleeping, through the temples nailed. 

Nor shall I count it heinous to enjoy 

The public marks of honour and reward 

Conferred upon me for the piety 

Which to my country I was judged to have shewn. 

At this whoever envies or repines, 

I leave him his lot, and like my own. 

Chor. She's gone — a manifest Serpent by her sting 
Discovered in the end, till now concealed. 

Sams. So let her go. God sent her to debase me. 
And aggravate my folly, who committed 
To such a viper his most sacred trust 
Of secrecy, my safety, and my life. 

Chor. Yet beauty, though injurious, hath strange 
After offence returning, to regain 


Love once possessed, nor can be easily 
Repulsed, without much inward passion felt, 
And secret sting of amorous remorse. 

Sams. Love-quarrels oft in pleasing concord end; 
Not wedlock-treachery endangering life. 

Chor. It is not virtue, wisdom, valour, wit. 
Strength, comeliness of shape, or amplest merit. 
That woman's love can win, or long inherit; 
But what it is, hard is to say, 
Harder to hit. 

Which way soever men refer it, 
(Much like thy riddle, Samson) in one day 
Or seven though one should musing sit. 

If any of these, or all, the Timnian bride 
Had not so soon preferred 
Thy Paranymph, worthless to thee compared. 
Successor in thy bed, 
Nor both so loosely disallied 
Their nuf>tials, nor this last so treacherously 
Had shorn the fatal harvest of thy head. 
Is it for that such outward ornament 
Was lavished on their sex, that inward gifts 
Were left for haste unfinished, judgment scant. 
Capacity not raised to apprehend 
Or value what is best. 
In choice, but oftest to affect the wrong? 
Or was too much of self-love mixed. 
Of constancy no root infixed. 
That either they love nothing, or not long? 

Whate'er it be, to wisest men and best. 
Seeming at first all heavenly under virgin veil. 
Soft, modest, meek, demure. 
Once joined, the contrary she proves — a thorn 
Intestine, far within defensive arms 
A cleaving mischief, in his way to virtue 
Adverse and turbulent; or by her charms 
Draws him awry, enslaved 
With dotage, and his sense depraved 
To folly and shameful deeds, which ruin ends. 
What pilot so expert but needs must wreck. 


Embarked with such a steers-mate at the helm? 

Favoured of Heaven who finds 
One virtuous, rarely found. 
That in domestic good combines! 
Happy that house! his way to peace is smooth: 
But virtue which breaks through all opfxisition. 
And all temptation can remove. 
Most shines and most is acceptable above. 

Therefore God's universal law 
Gave to the man despotic pwwer 
Over his female in due awe, 
Nor from that right to part an hour, 
Smile she or lour: 
So shall he least confusion draw 
On his whole life, not swayed 
By female usurpation, nor dismayed. 

But had we best retire? I see a storm. 

Sams. Fair days have oft contracted wind and rain. 

Chor. But this another kind of tempest brings. 

Sams. Be less abstruse; my riddling days are p>ast. 

Chor. Look now for no inchanting voice, nor fear 
The bait of honeyed words; a rougher tongue 
Draws hitherward; I know him by his stride. 
The giant Harapha of Gath, his look 
Haughty, as is his pile high-built and proud. 
Comes he in peace? What wind hath blown him hither 
I less conjecture than when first I saw 
The sumptuous Dalila floating this way: 
His habit carries peace, his brow defiance. 

Sams. Or peace or not, alike to me he comes. 

Chor. His fraught we soon shall know: he now arrives. 

Har. I come not, Samson, to condole thy chance. 
As these perhaps, yet wish it had not been, 
Though for no friendly intent. I am of Gath; 
Men call me Harapha, of stock renowned 
As Og, or Anak, and the Emims old 
That Kiriathaim held. Thou know'st me now. 
If thou at all art known. Much I have heard 
Of thy prodigious might and feats performed, 
Incredible to me, in this displeased. 


That I was never present on the place 
Of those encounters, where we might have tried 
Each other's force in camp or listed field; 
And now am come to see of whom such noise 
Hath walked about, and each limb to survey, 
If thy appearance answer loud report. 

Sams. The way to know were not to see, but taste. 

Har. Dost thou already single me? I thought 
Gyves and the mill had tamed thee. O that fortune 
Had brought me to the field where thou art famed 
To have wrought such wonders with an ass's jaw! 
I should have forced thee soon with other arms, 
Or left thy carcass where the ass lay thrown; 
So had the glory of prowess been recovered 
To Palestine, won by a Philistine 
From the unforeskinned race, of whom thou bear'st 
The highest name for valiant acts. That honour. 
Certain to have won by mortal duel from thee, 
I lose, prevented by thy eyes put out. 

Sams. Boast not of what thou would'st have done, 
but do 
What then thou would'st; thou seest it in thy hand. 

Har. To combat with a blind man I disdain, 
And thou hast need much washing to be touched. 

Sams, Such usage as your honourable Lords 
Afford me, assassinated and betrayed; 
Who durst not with their whole united pwwers 
In fight withstand me single and unarmed, 
Nor in the house with chamber-ambushes 
Close-banded durst attack me, no, not sleeping. 
Till they had hired a woman with their gold. 
Breaking her marriage-faith, to circumvent me. 
Therefore, without feign'd shifts, let be assigned 
Some narrow place enclosed, where sight may give thee. 
Or rather flight, no great advantage on me; 
Then put on all thy gorgeous arms, thy helmet 
And brigandine of brass, thy broad habergeon, 
Vant-brass and greaves and gaundet; add thy spear, 
A weaver's beam, and seven-times-folded shield: 
I only with an oaken staff will meet thee. 


And raise such outcries on thy clattered iron, 
Which long shall not withhold me from thy head, 
TTiat in a little time, while breath remains thee, 
Thou oft shalt wish thyself at Gath, to boast 
Again in safety what thou would'st have done 
To Samson, but shalt never see Gath more. 

Har. Thou durst not thus disparage glorious arms 
Which greatest heroes have in battel worn. 
Their ornament and safety, had not sjjells 
And black inchantments, some magician's art. 
Armed thee or charmed thee strong, which thou from 

Feign'dst at thy birth was given thee in thy hair. 
Where strength can least abide, though all thy hairs 
Were bristles ranged like those that ridge the back 
Of chafed wild boars or ruffled porcupines. 

Sams. I know no sf>ells, use no forbidden arts; 
My trust is in the Living God, who gave me. 
At my nativity, this strength, diffused 
No less through all my sinews, joints, and bones, 
Than thine, while I preserved these locks unshorn, 
The pledge of my unviolated vow. 
For proof hereof, if Dagon be thy god. 
Go to his temple, invocate his aid 
With solemnest devotion, spread before him 
How highly it concerns his glory now 
To frustrate and dissolve these magic spells, 
Which I to be the power of Israel's God 
Avow, and challenge Dagon to the test, 
Offering to combat thee, his Champion bold. 
With the utmost of his godhead seconded: 
Then thou shalt see, or rather to thy sorrow 
Soon feel, whose God is strongest, thine or mine. 

Har. Presume not on thy God. Whate'er he be. 
Thee he regards not, owns not, hath cut ofl 
Quite from his people, and delivered up 
Into thy enemies' hand; permitted them 
To put out both thine eyes, and fettered send thee 
Into the common prison, there to grind 
Among the slaves and asses, thy comrades, 


As good for nothing else, no better service 

With those thy boisterous locks; no worthy match 

For valour to assail, nor by the sword 

Of noble warrior, so to stain his honour, 

But by the barber's razor best subdued. 

Sams. All these indignities, for such they are 
From thine, these evils I deserve and more, 
Acknowledge them from God inflicted on me 
Justly, yet despair not of his final pardon. 
Whose ear is ever op)en, and his eye 
Gracious to re-admit the suppliant; 
In confidence whereof I once again 
Defy thee to the trial of mortal fight. 
By combat to decide whose god is God, 
Thine, or whom I with Israel's sons adore. 

Har. Fair honour that thou dost thy God, in trusting 
He will accept thee to defend his cause, 
A murtherer, a revolter, and a robber! 

Sams. Tongue-doughty giant, how dost thou prove 
me these.' 

Har. Is not thy nation subject to our Lords.' 
Their magistrates confessed it when they took thee 
As a league-breaker, and delivered bound 
Into our hands; for hadst thou not committed 
Notorious murder on those thirty men 
At Ascalon, who never did thee harm, 
Then, like a robber, stripp'dst them of their robes.' 
The Philistines, when thou hadst broke the league, 
Went up with armed powers thee only seeking, 
To others did no violence nor spoil. 

Sams. Among the daughters of the Philistines 
I chose a wife, which argued me no foe. 
And in your city held my nuptial feast; 
But your ill-meaning politician lords. 
Under pretence of bridal friends and guests. 
Appointed to await me thirty spies, 
Who, threatening cruel death, constrained the bride 
To wring from me, and tell to them, my secret. 
That solved the riddle which I had proposed. 
When I perceived all set on enmity. 


As on my enemies, wherever chanced, 

I used hostihty, and took their spoil. 

To pay my underminers in their coin. 

My nation was subjected to your lords! 

It was the force of conquest; force with force 

Is well ejected when the conquered can. 

But I, a private person, whom my country 

As a league-breaker gave up bound, presumed 

Single rebellion, and did hostile acts! 

I was no private, but a person raised. 

With strength sufficient, and command from Heaven, 

To free my country. If their servile minds 

Mc, their Deliverer sent, would not receive. 

But to their masters gave me up for nought, 

The unworthier they; whence to this day they serve. 

I was to do my part from Heaven assigned. 

And had performed it if my known offence 

Had not disabled me, not all your force. 

These shifts refuted, answer thy appellant. 

Though by his blindness maimed for high attempts. 

Who now defies thee thrice to single fight. 

As a petty enterprise of small enforce. 

Har. With thee, a man condemned, a slave enrolled. 
Due by the law to capital punishment? 
To fight with thee no man of arms will deign. 

Sams. Cam'st thou for this, vain boaster, to survey 
To descant on my strength, and give thy verdict? 
Come nearer; part not hence so slight informed; 
But take good heed my hand survey not thee. 

Har. O Baal-zcbub! can my ears unused 
Hear these dishonours, and not render death? 

Sams. No man withholds thee; nothing from thy 
Fear I incurable; bring up thy van; 
My heels are fettered, but my fist is free. 

Har. This insolence other kind of answer fits. 

Sams. Go, baffled coward, lest I run upon thee, 
TTiough in these chains, bulk without spirit vast, 
And with one buffet lay thy structure low, 


Or swing thee in the air, then dash thee down, 
To the hazard of thy brains and shattered sides. 

Har. By Astaroth, ere long thou shah lament 
These braveries, in irons loaden on thee. 

C/ior. His Giantship is gone somewhat crest-fallen, 
Stalking with less unconscionable strides. 
And lower looks, but in a sultry chafe. 

Sams. I dread him not, nor all his giant brood, 
Though fame divulge him father of five sons. 
All of gigantic size, Goliah chief. 

Chor. He will directly to the lords, I fear, 
And with malicious counsel stir them up 
Some way or other yet further to afflict thee. 

Sams. He must allege some cause, and offered fight 
Will not dare mention, lest a question rise 
Whether he durst accept the offer or not; 
And that he durst not plain enough appeared. 
Much more affliction than already felt 
They cannot well impose, nor I sustain, 
If they intend advantage of my labours, 
The work of many hands, which earns my keeping, 
With no small profit daily to my owners. 
But come what will; my deadliest foe will prove 
My sf)eediest friend, by death to rid me hence; 
The worst that he can give to me the best. 
Yet so it may fall out, because their end 
Is hate, not help to me, it may with mine 
Draw their own ruin who attempt the deed. 

Chor. O, how comely it is, and how reviving 
To the spirits of just men long oppressed. 
When God into the hands of their deliverer 
Puts invincible might. 

To quell the mighty of the earth, the oppressor, 
The brute and boisterous force of violent men. 
Hardy and industrious to support 
Tyrannic power, but raging to pursue 
The righteous, and all such as honour truth! 
He all their ammunition 
And feats of war defeats, 
With plain heroic magnitude of mind 


And celestial vigour armed; 

Their armouries and magazins contemns. 

Renders them useless, while 

With winged expedition 

Swift as the lightning glance he executes 

His errand on the wicked, who, surprised, 

Lose their defence, distracted and amazed. 

But patience is more oft the exercise 
Of saints, the trial of their fortitude. 
Making them each his own deliverer, 
And victor over all 
That tyranny or fortune can inflict. 
Either of these is in thy lot, 
Samson, with might endued 
Above the sons of men; but sight bereaved 
May chance to number thee with those 
Whom Patience finally must crown. 

This Idol's day hath been to thee no day of rest. 
Labouring thy mind 
More than the working day thy hands. 
And yet, perhaps, more trouble is behind; 
For I descry this way 
Some other tending; in his hand 
A sceptre or quaint staff he bears, 
Comes on amain, speed in his look. 
By his habit I discern him now 
A public officer, and now at hand. 
His message will be short and voluble. 

Off. Ebrews, the prisoner Samson here I seek. 

Chor. His manacles remark him; there he sits. 

Off. Samson, to thee our Lords thus bid me say: 
This day to Dagon is a solemn feast. 
With sacrifices, triumph, pwmp, and games; 
Thy strength they know surpassing human rate. 
And now some public proof thereof require 
To honour this great feast, and great assembly. 
Rise, therefore, with all sf)eed, and come along, 
Where I will see thee heartened and fresh clad. 
To appear as fits before the illustrious Lords. them] 

Sams. Thou know'st I am an Ebrew; therefore tell 


Our law forbids at their religious ritts 
My presence; for that cause I cannot come. 

Off. This answer, be assured, will not content them. 

Sams. Have they not sword-players, and every sort 
Of gymnic artists, wrestlers, riders, runners. 
Jugglers and dancers, antics, mummers, mimics, 
But they must pick me out, with shackles tired. 
And over-laboured at their public mill. 
To make them sport with blind activity? 
Do they not seek occasion of new quarrels. 
On my refusal, to distress me more. 
Or make a game of my calamities? 
Return the way thou cam'st; I will not come. 

Off. Regard thyself; this will offend them highly. 

Sams. Myself! my conscience, and internal peace. 
Can they think me so broken, so debased 
With corporal servitude, that my mind ever 
Will condescend to such absurd commands? 
Although their drudge, to be their fool or jester. 
And, in my midst of sorrow and heart-grief. 
To shew them feats, and play before their god — 
The worst of all indignities, yet on me 
Joined with extreme contempt! I will not come. 

Off. My message was imposed on me with speed. 
Brooks no delay: is this thy resolution? 

Sams. So take it with what speed thy message needs. 

Off. I am sorry what this stoutness will produce. 

Sams. Perhaps thou shalt have cause to sorrow indeed. 

Chor. Consider, Samson; matters now are strained 
Up to the highth, whether to hold or break. 
He's gone and who knows how he may report 
Thy words by adding fuel to the flame? 
Exf)ect another message, more imperious. 
More lordly thundering than thou well wilt bear. 

Sams. Shall I abuse this consecrated gift 
Of strength, again returning with my hair 
After my great transgression — so requite 
Favour renewed, and add a greater sin 
By prostituting holy things to idols, 
A Nazarite, in place abominable, 


Vaunting my strength in honour to their Dagon? 
Besides how vile, contemptible, ridiculous. 
What act more execrably unclean, profane? 

Chor. Yet with this strength thou serv'st the 
Idolatrous, uncircumcised, unclean. 

Sams. Not in their idol-worship, but by labour 
Honest and lawful to deserve my food 
Of those who have me in their civil power. 

Chor. Where the heart joins not, outward acts 

defile not. 
Sams. Where outward force constrains, the sentence 
But who constrains me to the temple of Dagon, 
Not dragging? The Philistian Lords command: 
Commands are no constraints. If I obey them, 
I do it freely, venturing to displease 
God for the fear of Man, and Man prefer, 
Set God behind; which, in his jealousy. 
Shall never, unrepented, find forgiveness. 
Yet that he may dispense with me, or thee. 
Present in temples at adolatrous rites 
For some important cause, thou need'st not doubt. 
Chor. How thou wilt here come off surmounts my 

Sams. Be of good courage; I begin to feel 
Some rousing motions in me, which dispose 
To something extraordinary in my thoughts. 
I with this messenger will go along — 
Nothing to do, be sure, that may dishonour 
Our Law, or stain my vow of Nazarite. 
If there be aught of presage in the mind. 
This day will be remarkable in my life 
By some great act, or of my days the last. 

Chor. In time thou hast resolved: the man returns. 
0§. Samson, this second message from our Lords 
To thee I am bid say: Art thou our slave. 
Our captive, at the public mill our drudge. 
And dar'st thou, at our sending and command. 
Dispute thy coming? Come without delay; 


Or we shall find such engines to assail 

And hamper thee, as thou shalt come of force, 

Though thou wert firmlier fastened than a rock. 

Sams. I could be well content to try their art. 
Which to no few of them would prove pernicious; 
Yet, knowing their advantages too many, 
Because they shall not trail me through their streets 
Like a wild beast, I am content to go. 
Masters' commands come with a power resistless 
To such as owe them absolute subjection; 
And for a life who will not change his purpose? 
(So mutable are all the ways of men!) 
Yet this be sure, in nothing to comply 
Scandalous or forbidden in our Law. 

Off. I praise thy resolution. DofI these links: 
By this compliance thou wilt win the Lords 
To favour, and perhaps to set thee free. 

Sams. Brethren, farewell. Your company along 
I will not wish, lest it f>erhaps offend them 
To see me girt with friends; and how the sight 
Of me, as of a common enemy, 
So dreaded once, may now exasperate them 
I know not. Lords are lordliest in their wine; 
And the well-feasted priest then soonest fired 
With zeal, if aught religion seem concerned; 
No less the people, on their holy days, 
Imfwtuous, insolent, unquenchable. 
Hapf)en what may, of me expect to hear 
Nothing dishonourable, impure, unworthy 
Our God, our Law, my nation, or myself; 
The last of me or no I cannot warrant. 

C/ior. Go, and the Holy One 
Of Israel be thy guide 

To what may serve his glory best, and spread his name 
Great among the Heathen round; 
Send thee the Angel of thy birth, to stand 
Fast by thy side, who from thy father's field 
Rode up in flames after his message told 
Of thy conception, and be now a shield 
Of fire; that Spirit that first rushed on thee 


In the camp of Dan, 
Be efficacious in thee now at need! 
For never was from Heaven imparted 
Measure of strength so great to mortal seed. 
As in thy wondrous actions hath been seen. 
But wherefore comes old Manoa in such haste 
With youthful steps? Much livelier than erewhile 
He seems: supposing here to find his son, 
Or of him bringing to us some glad news? 

Man. Peace with you, brethren! My inducement 
Was not at present here to find my son. 
By order of the Lords new parted hence 
To come and play before them at their feast. 
I heard all as I came; the city rings, 
And numbers thither flock: I had no will. 
Lest I should see him forced to things unseemly. 
But that which moved my coming now was chiefly 
To give ye part with me what hope I have 
With good success to work his liberty. 

Cfior. That hope would much rejoice us to partake 
With thee. Say, reverend sire; we thirst to hear. 

Man. I have attempted, one by one, the Lords, 
Either at home, or through the high street passing. 
With supplication prone and father's tears. 
To accept of ransom for my son, their prisoner. 
Some much averse I found, and wondrous harsh, 
Contemptuous, proud, set on revenge and spite; 
That part most reverenced Dagon and his priests: 
Others more moderate seeming, but their aim 
Private reward, for which both God and State 
They easily would set to sale: a third 
More generous far and civil, who confessed 
They had enough revenged, having reduced 
Their foe to misery beneath their fears; 
The rest was magnanimity to remit. 
If some convenient ransom were proposed. 
What noise or shout was that? It tore the sky. 

Chor. Doubtless the people shouting to behold 
Their once great dread, captive and blind before them. 


Or at some proof of strength before them shown. 

Man. His ransom, if my whole inheritance 
May compass it, shall willingly be paid 
And numbered down. Much rather I shall choose 
To live the poorest in my tribe, than richest 
And he in that calamitous prison left. 
No, I am fixed not to part hence without him. 
For his redemption all my patrimony, 
If need be, I am ready to forgo 
And quit. Not wanting him, I shall want nothing. 

Chor. Fathers are wont to lay up for their sons; 
Thou for thy son art bent to lay out all: 
Sons wont to nurse their parents in old age; 
Thou in old age car'st how to nurse thy son. 
Made older than thy age through eye-sight lost. 

Man. It shall be my delight to tend his eyes, 
And view him sitting in his house, ennobled 
With all those high exploits by him achieved. 
And on his shoulders waving down those locks 
That of a nation armed the strength contained. 
And I persuade me God hath not permitted 
His strength again to grow up with his hair 
Garrisoned round about him like a camp 
Of faithful soldiery, were not his purpwse 
To use him further yet in some great service — 
Not to sit idle with so great a gift 
Useless, and thence ridiculous, about him. 
And, since his strength with eye-sight was not lost, 
God will restore him eye-sight to his strength. 

Chor. Thy hopes are not ill founded, nor seem vain, 
Of his delivery, and thy joy thereon 
Conceived, agreeable to a father's love; 
In both which we, as next, participate. 

Man. I know your friendly minds, and . . . O, what 
Mercy of Heaven! what hideous noise was that? 
Horribly loud, unlike the former shout. 

Chor. Noise call you it, or universal groan. 
As if the whole inhabitation perished? 
Blood, death, and deathful deeds, are in that noise, 


Ruin, destruction at the utmost (Mint. 

Man. Of ruin indeed methought I heard the noise. 
Oh! it continues; they have slain my son. 

Chor. Thy son is rather slaying them: that outcry 
From slaughter of one foe could not ascend. 

Man. Some dismal accident it needs must be. 
What shall we do — stay here, or run and see? 

C/tor. Best keep together here, lest, running thither, 
We unawares, run into danger's mouth. 
This evil on the Philistines is fallen: 
From whom could else a general cry be heard? 
The suflercrs, then, will scarce molest us here; 
From other hands we need not much to fear. 
What if, his eye-sight (for to Israel's God 
Nothing is hard) by miracle restored. 
He now be dealing dole among his foes, 
And over heaps of slaughtered walk his way? 

Man. That were a joy presumptuous to be thought. 

CAor. Yet God hath wrought things as incredible 
For his people of old; what hinders now? 

Man. He can, I know, but doubt to think he will; 
Yet hope would fain subscribe, and tempts belief. 
A little stay will bring some notice hither. 

Chor. Of good or bad so great, of bad the sooner; 
For evil news rides post, while good news baits. 
And to our wish I see one hither speeding — 
An Ebrew, as I guess, and of our tribe. 

Messenger. O, whither shall I run, or which way fly 
The sight of this so horrid spectacle. 
Which erst my eyes beheld, and yet behold? 
For dire imagination still pursues me. 
But providence or instinct' of nature seems. 
Or reason, though disturbed and scarce consulted, 
To have guided me aright, I know not how. 
To thee first, reverend Manoa, and to these 
My countrymen, whom here I knew remaining, 
As at some distance from the place of horror. 
So in the sad event too much concerned. 

Man. The accident was loud, and here before thee 
With rueful cry; yet what it was we hear not. 


No preface needs; thou seest we long to know. 

Mess. It would burst forth; but I recover breath. 
And sense distract, to know well what I utter. 

Man. Tell us the sum; the circumstance defer. 

Mess. Gaza yet stands; but all her sons are fallen. 
All in a moment overwhelmed and fallen. 

Man. Sad! but thou know'st to Israelites not saddest 
The desolation of a hostile city. 

Mess. Feed on that first; there may in grief be surfeit. 

Man. Relate by whom. 

Mess. By Samson. 

Man. That still lessens 

The sorrow, and converts it nigh to joy. 

Mess. Ah! Manoa, I refrain too suddenly 
To utter what will come at last too soon. 
Lest evil tidings, with too rude irruption 
Hitting thy aged ear, should pierce too deep. 

Man. Suspense in news is torture; speak them out. 

Mess. Then take the worst in brief: Samson is dead. 

Man. The worst indeed! O, all my hope's defeated 
To free him hence! but Death, who sets all free. 
Hath paid his ransom now and full discharge. 
What windy joy this day had I conceived. 
Hopeful of his delivery, which now proves 
Abortive as the first-born bloom of spring 
Nipt with the lagging rear of winter's frostl 
Yet, ere I give the reins to grief, say first 
How died he; death to life is crown or shame. 
All by him fell, thou say'st; by whom fell he? 
What glorious hand gave Samson his death's wound? 

Mess. Unwounded of his enemies he fell. 

Man. Wearied with slaughter, then, or how? explain. 

Mess. By his own hands. 

Man. Self-violence! What cause 

Brought him so soon at variance with himself 
Among his foes? 

Mess. Inevitable cause — 

At once both to destroy and be destroyed. 
The edifice, where all were met to see him, 
Uf)on their heads and on his own he pulled. 


Man. O lastly over-strong against thyself! 
A dreadful way thou took'st to thy revenge. 
More than enough we know; but, while things yet 
Are in confusion, give us, if thou canst. 
Eye-witness of what first or last was done, 
Relation more particular and distinct. 

Mess, Occasions drew me early to this city; 
And, as the gates I entered with sun-rise, 
The morning trumf)ets festival proclaimed 
Through each high street. Little I had dispatched. 
When all abroad was rumoured that this day 
Samson should be brought forth, to shew the people 
Proof of his mighty strength in feats and games. 
I sorrowed at his captive state, but minded 
Not to be absent at that spectacle. 
The building was a spacious theatre. 
Half round on two main pillars vaulted high. 
With seats where all the Lords, and each degree 
Of sort, might sit in order to behold; 
The other side was open, where the throng 
On banks and scaffolds under sky might stand: 
I among these aloof obscurely stood. 
The feast and noon grew high, and sacrifice 
Had filled their hearts with mirth, high cheer, and wine, 
When to their sports they turned. Immediately 
Was Samson as a public servant brought, 
In their state livery clad: before him pipes 
And timbrels; on each side went armed guards; 
Both horse and foot before him and behind. 
Archers and slingers, cataphracts, and spears. 
At sight of him the people with a shout 
Rifted the air, clamouring their god with praise, 
Who had made their dreadful enemy, their thrall. 
He patient, but undaunted, where they led him. 
Came to the place; and what was set before him. 
Which without help of eye might be assayed, 
To heave, pull, draw, or break, he still performed 
All with incredible, stupendious force, 
None daring to appear antagonist. 
At length, for intermission sake, they led him 


Between the pillars; he his guide requested 

(For so from such as nearer stood we heard), 

As over-tired, to let him lean a while 

With both his arms on those two massy pillars. 

That to the arched roof gave main support. 

He unsuspicious led him; which when Samson 

Felt in his arms, with head a while enclined, 

And eyes fast fixed, he stood, as one who prayed. 

Or some great matter in his mind revolved: 

At last, with head erect, thus cried aloud: — 

"Hitherto, Lx)rds, what your commands imposed 

I have performed, as reason was, obeying, 

Not without wonder or delight beheld; 

Now, of my own accord, such other trial 

I mean to shew you of my strength yet greater 

As with amaze shall strike all who behold." 

This uttered, straining all his nerves, he bowed; 

As with the force of winds and waters pent 

When mountains tremble, those two massy pillars 

With horrible convulsion to and fro 

He tugged, he shook, till down they came, and drew 

The whole roof after them with burst of thunder 

Upon the heads of all who sat beneath, 

Lx)rds, ladies, captains, counsellors, or priests, 

Their choice nobility and flower, not only 

Of this, but each Philistian city round, 

Met from all parts to solemnize this feast. 

Samson, with these immixed, inevitably 

Pulled down the same destruction on himself; 

The vulgar only scaf)ed, who stood without. 

Chor. O dearly bought revenge, yet glorioiul 
Living or dying thou has fulfilled 
The work for which thou wast foretold 
To Israel, and now liest victorious 
Among thy slain self-killed; 
Not willingly, but tangled in the fold 
Of dire Necessity, whose law in death conjoined 
Thee with thy slaughtered foes, in number more 
Than all thy life had slain before. 

Semichor. While their hearts were jocund and 


Drunk with idolatry, drunk with wine 

And fat regorged of bulls and goats, 

Chaunting their idol, and preferring 

Before our Living Dread, who dwells 

In Silo, his bright sanctuary, 

Among them he a spirit of phrenzy sent. 

Who hurt their minds. 

And urged them on with mad desire 

To call in haste for their destroyer. 

They, only set on sport and play, 

Unweetingly importuned 

Their own destruction to come speedy upon them. 

So fond are mortal men. 

Fallen into wrath divine. 

As their own ruin on themselves to invite. 

Insensate left, or to sense reprobate, 

And with blindness internal struck. 

Semichor. But he, though blind of sight, 
Despised, and thought extinguished quite, 
With inward eyes illuminated. 
His fiery virtue roused 
From under ashes into sudden flame. 
And as an evening Dragon came. 
Assailant on the perched roosts 
And nests in order ranged 
Of tame villatic fowl, but as an Eagle 
His cloudless thunder bolted on their heads. 
So Virtue, given for lost. 
Depressed and overthrown, as seemed. 
Like that self-begotten bird 
In the Arabian woods embost. 
That no second knows nor third. 
And lay erewhile a holocaust. 
From out her ashy womb now teemed. 
Revives, reflourishes, then vigorous most 
When most unactive deemed; 
And, though her body die, her fame survives, 
A secular bird, ages of lives. 

Man. Ck)me, come; no time for lamentation now. 
Nor much more cause. Samson hath quit himself 
Like Samson, and heroidy hath finished 


A life heroic, on his enemies 
Fully revenged — hath left them years of mourning, 
And lamentation to the sons of Caphtor 
Through all Philistian bounds; to Israel 
Honour hath left and freedom, let but them 
Find courage to lay hold on this occasion; 
To himself and father's house eternal fame; 
And, which is best and happiest yet, all this 
With God not parted from him, as was feared. 
But favouring and assisting to the end. 
Nothing is here for tears, nothing to wail 
Or knock the breast; no weakness, no contempt. 
Dispraise, or blame; nothing but well and fair, 
And what may quiet us in a death so noble. 
Let us go find the body where it lies 
Soaked in his enemies* blood, and from the stream 
With lavers pure, and cleansing herbs, wash off 
The clotted gore. I, with what speed the while 
(Gaza is not in plight to say us nay). 
Will send for all my kindred, all my friends. 
To fetch him hence, and solemnly attend. 
With silent obsequy and funeral train. 
Home to his father's house. There will I build him 
A monument, and plant it round with shade 
Of laurel ever green and branching palm, 
With all his trophies hung, and acts enrolled 
In copious legend, or sweet lyric song. 
Thither shall all the valiant youth resort. 
And from his memory inflame their breasts 
To matchless valour and adventures high; 
The virgins also shall, on feastful days, 
Visit his tomb with flowers, only bewailing 
His lot unfortunate in nuptial choice. 
From whence captivity and loss of eyes. 
Chor. All is best, though we oft doubt 
What the unsearchable dispxise 
Of Highest Wisdom brings about. 
And ever best found in the close. 
Oft He seems to hide his face, 
But unexpectedly returns, 


And to his faithful Champion hath in place 

Bore witness gloriously; whence Gaza mourns, 

And all that band them to resist 

His uncontrollable intent. 

His servants He, with new acquist 

Of true experience from this great event, 

With peace and consolation hath dismissed, 

And calm of mind, all passion spent.