Book IV

O, for that warning voice, which he, who saw 
The Apocalypse, 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 rolling boils in his tumultuous breast, 
And like a devilish engine back recoils 
Upon himself; horrour 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, 
Lookest 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, 
Of Sun! to tell thee how I hate thy beams, 
That bring to my remembrance from what state 
I 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 
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 recompence, and pay him thanks, 
How due! yet all his good proved ill in me, 
And wrought but malice; lifted up so high 
I sdeined subjection, and thought one step higher 
Would set me highest, and in a moment quit 
The debt immense of endless gratitude, 
So burdensome 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 
O, had his powerful destiny ordained 
Me some inferiour Angel, I had stood 
Then happy; no unbounded hope 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 wrath, 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 repentance, 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.  Ay 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 scepter 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 recall 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, in stead 
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 saintly show, 
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 champaign head 
 Of a steep wilderness, whose hairy sides 
Access denied; and overhead upgrew 
 Insuperable height 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 upsprung;               
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 landskip:  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 fail 
Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past 
Mozambick, off 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 league 
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 Egypt, 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 perplexed 
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 flight bound high over-leaped 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 pen 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 
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, 
Of 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 up-drawn, 
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, 
Rolling on orient pearl and sands of gold, 
With mazy errour under pendant 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 gently creeps 
Luxuriant; mean while murmuring waters fall 
Down the slope hills, dispersed, or in a lake, 
That to the fringed bank with myrtle crowned 
Her crystal mirrour 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 Proserpine 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 
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 shape, erect and tall, 
Godlike 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 shone, 
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 hyacinthine 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 shows instead, mere shows of seeming pure, 
And banished from man's life his happiest life, 
Simplicity and spotless 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 made ease 
More easy, wholesome thirst and appetite 
More grateful, to their supper-fruits they fell, 
Nectarine fruits which the compliant boughs 
Yielded them, side-long 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?kithetmroboscis; close the serpent sly, 
Insinuating, wove with Gordian twine 
His braided 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 hasting 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 
Little inferiour; whom my thoughts pursue 
With wonder, and could love, so lively shines 
In them divine resemblance, and such grace 
The hand that formed them on their shape hath poured. 
Ah! gentle 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 
Ill 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 loth 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 publick 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 fiery glare; 
Then as a tiger, who by chance hath spied 
In some purlieu two gentle fawns at play, 
Straight couches 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 his 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 knowledge, planted by the tree of life; 
So near grows death to life, whate'er death is, 
Some dreadful thing no doubt; for well thou knowest 
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 upon 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, 
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 no where 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 sympathy 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 embraces, 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 platane; yet methought less fair, 
Less winning soft, less amiably mild, 
Than that smooth watery image:  Back I turned; 
Thou following cryedst aloud, 'Return, fair Eve; 
'Whom flyest thou?  whom thou flyest, 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 
Seised 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 superiour love, as Jupiter 
On Juno smiles, when he impregns the clouds 
That shed Mayflowers; 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, 
Imparadised 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 pain of longing pines. 
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 
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 roam 
Mean while 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 alabaster, 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 angelick guards, awaiting night; 
About him exercised heroick 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 sun-beam, swift as a shooting star 
In autumn thwarts the night, when vapours fired 
Impress the air, and shows 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 speed, and marked his aery 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 warriour thus returned. 
Uriel, no wonder if thy perfect sight, 
Amid the sun's bright circle where thou sitst, 
See far and wide:  In at this gate none pass 
The vigilance here placed, but such as come 
Well known from Heaven; and since meridian hour 
No creature thence:  If Spirit of other sort, 
So minded, have o'er-leaped these earthly bounds 
On purpose, hard thou knowest it to exclude 
Spiritual substance with corporeal bar. 
But if within the circuit of these walks, 
In whatsoever shape he lurk, of whom 
Thou tellest, by morrow dawning I shall know. 
So promised he; and Uriel to his charge 
Returned on that bright beam, whose point now raised 
Bore him slope downward to the sun now fallen 
Beneath the Azores; whether the prime orb, 
Incredible how swift, had thither rolled 
Diurnal, or this less volubil 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; 
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 sapphires:  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 mantle 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 slumbrous weight, inclines 
Our eye-lids:  Other creatures all day long 
Rove idle, unemployed, 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, unsightly and unsmooth, 
Ask riddance, if we mean to tread with ease; 
Mean while, as Nature wills, night bids us rest. 
To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adorned 
My Author and Disposer, what thou bidst 
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 fertile 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, 
These have their course to finish round the earth, 
By morrow evening, and from land to land 
In order, though to nations yet unborn, 
Ministring 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 earth, 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 
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 others note, 
Singing their great Creator? oft in bands 
While they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk, 
With heavenly touch of instrumental sounds 
In full harmonick 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 jessamin, 
Reared high their flourished heads between, and wrought 
Mosaick; underfoot the violet, 
Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlay 
Broidered the ground, more coloured than with stone 
Of costliest emblem:  Other creature here, 
Bird, beast, 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 
Nor Faunus haunted.  Here, in close recess, 
With flowers, garlands, and sweet-smelling herbs, 
Espoused Eve decked first her nuptial bed; 
And heavenly quires the hymenaean 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 authentick 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 employed, 
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 off 
These troublesome disguises which we wear, 
Straight side by side were laid; nor turned, I ween, 
Adam from his fair spouse, 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 encrease; 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 range; 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, 
Or think thee unbefitting holiest place, 
Perpetual fountain of domestick sweets, 
Whose bed is undefiled and chaste pronounced, 
Present, or past, as saints and patriarchs used. 
Here Love his golden shafts employs, here lights 
His constant lamp, and waves his purple wings, 
Reigns here and revels; not in the bought smile 
Of harlots, loveless, joyless, unendeared, 
Casual fruition; nor in court-amours, 
Mixed dance, or wanton mask, or midnight ball, 
Or serenate, which the starved lover sings 
To his proud fair, best quitted with disdain. 
These, lulled by nightingales, embracing 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 up hill this vast sublunar vault, 
And from their ivory port 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 nook; 
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, seise 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 like 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 falshood can endure 
Touch of celestial temper, 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 magazine 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 grisly king; 
Yet thus, unmoved with fear, accost him soon. 
Which of those rebel Spirits adjudged to Hell 
Comest thou, escaped thy prison? and, transformed, 
Why sat'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, 
As when thou stoodest in Heaven upright and pure; 
That glory then, when thou no more wast good, 
Departed from thee; and thou resemblest 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, 
Champing 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, 
A waiting 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 port, 
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; 
Employed, 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 doubt 
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 knowest only good, 
But evil hast not tried: and wilt object 
His will who bounds 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 'scaped, 
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 wrath, 
Which thou incurrest 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? 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 knowest I stood 
Thy fiercest, when in battle to thy aid 
The blasting vollied thunder made all speed, 
And seconded thy else not dreaded spear. 
But still thy words at random, as before, 
Argue thy inexperience 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 created world, whereof in Hell 
Fame is not silent, here in hope to find 
Better abode, and my afflicted Powers 
To settle 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 warriour Angel soon replied. 
To say and straight unsay, pretending first 
Wise to fly pain, professing next the spy, 
Argues no leader but a liear 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 engaged, 
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 servily adored 
Heaven's awful Monarch? wherefore, but in hope 
To dispossess him, and thyself to reign? 
But mark what I arreed thee now, Avant; 
Fly neither whence thou fledst!  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, 
Us'd to the yoke, drawest his triumphant wheels 
In progress through the road of Heaven star-paved. 
While thus he spake, the angelick squadron bright 
Turned fiery red, sharpening 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 plowman doubting stands, 
Left on the threshing floor his hopeless sheaves 
Prove chaff.  On the other side, Satan, alarmed, 
Collecting all his might, dilated stood, 
Like Teneriff or Atlas, unremoved: 
His stature reached the sky, and on his crest 
Sat Horrour plumed; nor wanted in his grasp 
What seemed both spear and shield:  Now dreadful deeds 
Might have ensued, nor only Paradise 
In this commotion, but the starry cope 
Of Heaven perhaps, or all the elements 
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 Astrea and the Scorpion sign, 
Wherein all things created first he weighed, 
The pendulous round earth with balanced air 
In counterpoise, now ponders 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 knowest 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 weak, 
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.