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walk, you

Pursuing. I upon my frontiers here
Keep residence; if all I can will serve,
That little which is left so to defend,
Encroach'd on still through your intestine broils
Weak’ning the sceptre of old Night: first hell,
Your dungeon, stretching far and wide beneath;
Now lately heaven and earth, another world,
Hung o'er my realm, lipk'd in a golden chain
To that side heav'n from whence your legions fell :
If that

way

be
your

have not far; So much the nearer danger: go and speed; Havock, and spoil, and ruin are my gain.

He ceased; and Satan stay'd not to reply, But glad that now his sea should find a shore, With fresh alacrity and force renew’d Springs upward, like a pyramid of fire, Into the wild expanse, and through the shock Of fighting elements, on all sides round Environ’d, wins his way; harder beset And more endanger'd, than when Argo? pass d ; Through Bosphorus betwixt the justling rocks : Or when Ulysses on the larboard shunned Charybdis, and by th other whirlpool steerd, So he with difficulty and labour hard Moved on, with difficulty and labour he; But he once past; soon after when man fell, Strange alteration ! Sin and Death amain Following his track, such was the will of Heav'n, Paved after him a broad and beaten way Over the dark abyss, whose boiling gulf Tamely endured a bridge of wond'rous length, From hell continued, reaching th' utmost orb Of this frail world; by which the spirits perverse With easy intercourse pass to and fro To tempt or punish mortals, except whom God and good' Angels guard by special grace. But now at last the sacred influence

i The ship in which Jason and his companions sailed to fetch the golden fleece from Colchis, in the Black Sea,

Of light appears, and from the walls of heav'n
Shoots far into the bosom of dim Night
A glimmering dawn: here Nature first begins
Her farthest verge, and Chaos to retire

As from her outmost works, a broken foe,
19 With tumult less and with less hostile din,

That Satan with less toil and now with ease
Wafts on the calmer wave by dubious light,
And like a weather-beaten vessel holds
Gladly the port, though shrouds and tackle torn;
Or in the emptier waste, resembling air,
Weighs his spread wings, at leisure to behold
Far off th' empyreal heav'n, extended wide
In circuit, undetermined square or round,
With opal towers and battlements adorn'd
Of living sapphire, once his native seat;
And fast by hanging in a golden chain
This pendant world,' in bigness as a star
Of smallest magnitude close by the moon.
Thither full fraught with mischievous revenge,
Accursed, and in a cursèd hour, he hies.

1 See Measure for Measure, Act iii. Sc. 1.

BOOK III.

THE ARGUMENT.

God sitting on his throne sees Satan flying towards this world, then newly created; shows him to the Son, who sat at his right hand; foretells the success of Satan in perverting mankind; clears his own justice and wisdom from all imputation, having created Man free, and able enough to have withstood his tempter ; yet declares his purpose of grace towards him, in regard he fell not of his own malice, as did Satan, but by him seduced. The Son of God renders praises to his Father for the manifestation of his gracious purpose towards Man; but God again declares, that grace cannot be extended towards Man without the satisfaction of divine justice; Man hath offended the majesty of God by aspiring to Godhead, and therefore with all his progeny devoted to death must die, unless some one can be found sufficient to answer for his offence, and undergo his punishment. The Son of God freely offers himself a ransom for Man; the Father accepts him, ordains his incarnation, pronounces his exaltation above all names in heaven and earth; commands all the Angels to adore him; they obey, and, hymning to their harps in full choir, celebrate the Father and the Son. Meanwhile Satan alights upon the bare convex of this world's outermost orb; where wandering he first finds a place, since called the Limbo of Vanity; what persons and things fly up thither; thence comes to the gate of heaven, described ascending by stairs, and the waters above the firniament that flow about it: his passage thence to the orb of the sun; he finds there Uriel the reger of that orb; but first changes himself into the shape of a meaner rel; and pretending a zealous desire to behold the new creation, and Man whom God had placed here, inquires of him the place of his habitation, and is directed ; alights first on Mount Niphates.

Hail holy light, offspring of heav'n first-born
Or of th' Eternal co-eternal beam
May I express thee unblamed ? since God is light,'
And never but in unapproachèd light
Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee,
Bright effluence of bright essence increate.
Or hear'st thou rather pure ethereal stream,
Whose fountain who shall tell på before the sun,
Before the heavens thou wert, and at the voice
Of God, as with a mantle, didst invest
The rising world of waters dark and deep,
Won from the void and formless infinite.
Thee I revisit now with bolder wing,
Escaped the Stygian pool, though long detain'd
In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight
Through utter and through middle darkness borne,
With other notes, than to th' Orphean lyre,

3

11 St. John i. 5. 1 Tim. vi. 16.
2 Job xxxviii. 19.
3 Orpheus wrote a hymn to Night,

addressing her as "Mother of gods and
men,

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Igung of Chaos and eternal Night,
Taught by the heav'nly Muse to venture down
The dark descent, and up to reascend,
Though hard and rare: thee I revisit safe,
And feel thy sov’reign vital lamp; but thou
Revisit'st not these eyes, that roll in vain
To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;
So thick a drop serene' hath quench'd their orbs,
Or dim suffusion veil'd. Yet not the more
Cease I to wander where the Muses haunt
Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill,
Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief
Thee Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath,
That wash thy hallow'd feet, and warbling flow,
Nightly I visit; nor sometimes forget
Those other two equall’d with me in fate,
So were I equall’d with them in renown,
Blind Thamyris? and blind Mæonides,3
And Tiresiast and Phineus: prophets old.
Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move
Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird
Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid
Tunes her nocturnal note: thus with the year
Seasons return, but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But cloud instead, and ever-during dark
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair
Presented with a universal blank
Of nature's works to me expunged and rased,
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
So much the rather thou celestial Light
Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers

1 Milton's blindness was caused by gutta serena.

2 A Thracian who invented the Doric measure,--NEWTON.

3 Homer.
4 A blind Theban prophet.– Newtox.
5 King of Arcadia.-NEWTON,

Irradiate, there plant eyes, all mist from thence
Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight.

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

Only begotten Son, seest thou what rage Transports our adversary, whom no bounds Prescribed, no bars of hell, nor all the chains Heap'd on him there, nor yet the main abyss Wide interrupt, can hold, so bent he seems On desperate revenge, that shall redound Upon his own rebellious head. And now Through all restraint broke loose he wings his

way Not far off heav'n, in the precincts of light, Directly towards the new created world, And man there placed, with purpose to assay If him by force he can destroy, or worse, By some false guile pervert; and shall pervert;

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