Book X

Mean while the heinous and despiteful act 
Of Satan, done in Paradise; and how 
He, in the serpent, 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 angelick 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 befel:  They towards the throne supreme, 
Accountable, made haste, to make appear, 
With righteous plea, their utmost vigilance 
And easily approved; when the Most High 
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 judgement, 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, 
Mayest ever rest well pleased.  I go to judge 
On earth these thy transgressours; but thou knowest, 
Whoever judged, the worst on me must light, 
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 judgement, but the judged, 
Those two; the third best absent is condemned, 
Convict by flight, and rebel to all law: 
Conviction to the serpent 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 prospect 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 wrath more cool, 
Came the mild Judge, and Intercessour 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 ere while 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, 
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, 
I 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 madest to be my help, 
And gavest me as thy perfect 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, 
Superiour, 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 seemed; 
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 judgement 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 groveling 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 show; 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; 
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 judgement 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: 
Cursed 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 field; 
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou 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 suffer 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. 
Mean while, 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 
Adventurous 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 meager 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 to the work thou enterprisest 
Be wanting, but afford thee equal aid. 
So saying, with delight he snuffed 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 carcasses 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 upon the waters, what they met 
Solid or slimy, as in raging sea 
Tost up and down, together crouded 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 petrifick, 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 Asphaltick slime, broad as the gate, 
Deep to the roots of Hell the gathered beach 
They fastened, and the mole immense wrought on 
Over the foaming deep high-arched, a bridge 
Of length prodigious, joining to the wall 
Immoveable 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 wonderous art 
Pontifical, a ridge of pendant 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, to 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 shape, 
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 wrath 
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 wonderous pontifice, unhoped 
Met, who to meet him came, his offspring dear. 
Great joy was at their meeting, and at sight 
Of that stupendious bridge his joy encreased. 
Long he admiring stood, till Sin, his fair 
Enchanting daughter, thus the silence broke. 
O Parent, these are thy magnifick deeds, 
Thy trophies! which thou viewest 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 our 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 thorough-fare.  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 
Plenipotent 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 speed 
Their course through thickest constellations held, 
Spreading their bane; the blasted stars looked wan, 
And planets, planet-struck, 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 emperour sent; so he 
Departing gave command, and they observed. 
As when the Tartar from his Russian foe, 
By Astracan, over the snowy plains, 
Retires; or Bactrin 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 desart 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 show 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 shape 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 aspect, 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 
Little inferiour, by my adventure hard 
With peril great achieved.  Long were to tell 
What I have done; what suffered;with what pain 
Voyaged th' 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 created world, which fame in Heaven 
Long had foretold, a fabrick 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 encrease 
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 shape 
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 publick scorn; he wondered, but not long 
Had leisure, wondering at himself now more, 
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 Amphisbaena dire, 
Cerastes horned, Hydrus, and Elops drear, 
And Dipsas; (not so thick swarmed once the soil 
Bedropt with blood of Gorgon, or the isle 
Ophiusa,) but still greatest he the midst, 
Now Dragon grown, larger than whom the sun 
Ingendered in the Pythian vale or 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 croud 
Of ugly serpents; horrour 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 stood 
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 further woe or shame; 
Yet, parched with scalding thirst and hunger fierce, 
Though to delude them sent, could not abstain; 
But on they rolled in heaps, and, up the trees 
Climbing, sat thicker than the snaky locks 
That curled Megaera: greedily they plucked 
The fruitage fair to sight, like that which grew 
Near that bituminous lake where Sodom flamed; 
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 hatefullest disrelish writhed their jaws, 
With soot and cinders filled; so oft they fell 
Into the same illusion, not as Man 
Whom they triumphed once lapsed.  Thus were they plagued 
And worn with famine, long and ceaseless hiss, 
Till their lost shape, permitted, 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 Dictaean Jove was born. 
Mean while 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, 
Close following pace for pace, not mounted yet 
On his pale horse: to whom Sin thus began. 
Second of Satan sprung, all-conquering Death! 
What thinkest thou of our empire now, though earned 
With travel 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 ravine I may meet; 
Which here, though plenteous, all too little seems 
To stuff this maw, this vast unhide-bound corps. 
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 sithe 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 havock 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 them thither, 
My Hell-hounds, to lick up the draff and filth 
Which Man's polluting sin with taint hath shed 
On what was pure; til, 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 earth 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 sextile, square, and trine, and opposite, 
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 terrour through the dark aereal hall. 
Some say, he bid his Angels turn ascanse 
The poles of earth, twice ten degrees and more, 
From the sun's axle; they with labour pushed 
Oblique the centrick globe:  Some say, the sun 
Was bid turn reins from the equinoctial road 
Like distant breadth to Taurus with the seven 
Atlantick Sisters, and the Spartan Twins, 
Up to the Tropick 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 smiled on earth with vernant flowers, 
Equal in days and nights, except to those 
Beyond the polar circles; to them day 
Had unbenighted shone, 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; sideral 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 Caecias, and Argestes loud, 
And Thrascias, rend the woods, and seas upturn; 
With adverse blast upturns them from the south 
Notus, and Afer black with thunderous 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 rebound; 
On me, as on their natural center, 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 
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 offspring, would torment me 
With cruel expectation.  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 life 
And sin?  The body properly had neither, 
All of me then shall die: let this appease 
The doubt, since human reach no further knows. 
For though the Lord of all be infinite, 
Is his wrath also?  Be it, Man is not so, 
But mortal doomed.  How can he exercise 
Wrath 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 incorporate both; 
Nor I on my part single; in me all 
Posterity stands cursed:  Fair patrimony 
That I must leave ye, Sons!  O, were I able 
To waste it all myself, and leave ye none! 
So disinherited, how would you bless 
Me, now your curse!  Ah, why should all mankind, 
For one man's fault, thus guiltless be condemned, 
It 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, 
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 wrath!  Fond wish!couldst thou support 
That burden, heavier than the earth to bear; 
Than all the world much heavier, though divided 
With that bad Woman?  Thus, what thou desirest, 
And what thou fearest, alike destroys all hope 
Of refuge, and concludes thee miserable 
Beyond all past example and future; 
To Satan only like both crime and doom. 
O Conscience! into what abyss of fears 
And horrours hast thou driven me; out of which 
I find no way, from deep 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 terrour:  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 bowers! 
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 show 
Thy inward fraud; to warn all creatures from thee 
Henceforth; lest that too heavenly form, pretended 
To hellish falshood, snare them!  But for thee 
I had persisted 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 over-reach; but, with the serpent 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 show, 
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 been 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 
To human life, and houshold 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, embracing 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 gentle 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 judgement will return, 
There with my cries importune 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, 
Immoveable, till peace obtained from fault 
Acknowledged and deplored, in Adam wrought 
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 knowest not, who desirest 
The punishment all on thyself; alas! 
Bear thine own first, ill able to sustain 
His full wrath, whose thou feelest as yet least part, 
And my displeasure bearest so ill.  If prayers 
Could alter high decrees, I to that place 
Would speed 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 exposed. 
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 perplex 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 
The race unblest, to being yet unbegot. 
Childless thou art, childless remain: so Death 
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 rights, nuptial embraces 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 ourselves 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 show 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 off 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 wiselier 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 Serpent'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 
Shal '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 wrath 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 show us in this mountain; while the winds 
Blow moist and keen, shattering the graceful locks 
Of these fair spreading trees; which bids us seek 
Some better shroud, some better warmth to cherish 
Our limbs benummed, 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 
Justling, or pushed with winds, rude in their shock, 
Tine the slant lightning; whose thwart flame, driven down 
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