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BOO K. ix.

M TO more of talk where God or angel guest
I V With man, as with his friend, familiar us'd
To fit indulgent, and with him partake
Rural repaft, permitting him the while
Venial discourse unblam'd : I now 'must change
Those notes to tragic ; foul distrust, and breach
Disloyal on the part of man, revolt,
And disobedience : on the part of heav'n
Now alienated, distance and distalte,
Anger and just rebuke, and judgement giv'n,
That brought into this world a world of woe,
Sin and her shadow death and miserie
Death's harbinger : fad talk, yet argument
Not less but more heroic than the wrauth
Of ftern Achilles on his foe pursu'd
Thrice fugitive about Troy wall; or rage
Of Turnus for Lavinia disespous'd ;
Or Neptune's ire or Juno's, that fo long
Perplex'd the Greek and Cytherea's son ;
If anfwerable style I can obtain
Of my celestial patroness, who deignes
Her nightly visitation unimplor’d,
And dictates to me flumbering, or inspires
Easie my unpremeditated verse:
Since first this subject for heroic fong i
Pleas'd me long choosing, and beginning late ;

Not sedulous by nature to indite
Wars, hitherto the only argument
Heroic deem'd, chief maistrie to diffect
With long and tedious havoc fabled knights
In battels feign'd; the better fortitude
Of patience and heroic martyrdom.
Umsung : or to describe races and games,

Or tilting furniture, emblazon'd shields,. . · Impresses quaint, caparisons and steeds ;

Bases and tinsel trappings, gorgious knights
At joust and torneament ; then marshall'd feast
Serv'd up in hall with fewers, and sençlhals ;
The skill of artifice or office mean,
Not that which justly gives heroic name
To person or to poem, Me of these.
Nor skill'd nor studious, higher argument
Remaines, sufficient of itself to raise
That name, unless an age too late, or cold
Climate, or years damp my intended wing
Deprest, and much they may, if all be mine,
Not hers who brings it nightly to my ear.

The sun was sunk, and after him the star
Of Hesperus, whose office is to bring
Twilight upon the earth, fhort arbiter
Twixt day and night, and now from end to end
Night's hemisphere had veil'd the horizon round:
When Satan who late filed before the threats
Of Gabriel out of Eden, now improv'd
In meditated fraud and malice, bent
On man's destruction, maygrę what might hap
Of heavier on himself, fearless return'd.

By night he fled, and at midnight return'd
From compassing the earth, cautious of day,
Since Uriel regent of the sun descri'd
His entrance, and forewarn’d the cherubim .
That kept their watch; thence full of anguish driv'n,
The fpace of seven continu'd nights he rode
With darkness, thrice the equinoctial line
He circl'd, four times cross’d the car of night
From pole to pole, traversing each colure;
On the eighth return'd, and on the coast averse
From entrance or cherubic watch, by stealth
Found unsuspected way. There was a place
Now not, though fin, not time, first wrought the change,
Where Tigris at the foot of Paradise
Into a gulf shot under ground, till part
Rose up a fountain by the tree of life ;
In 'with the river sunk, and with it rose
Satan involv'd in rifing mist, then fought
Where to lie híd ; sea he had searcht and land
From Eden over Pontus, and the pool.
Maeotis, up beyond the river Ob;
Downward as far antartic; and in length
West from Orontos to the ocean barr'd
At Darien, thence to the land where flows
Ganges and Indus: thus the orb he roam'd
With narrow search; and with inspection deep
Consider'd every creature, which of all
Most opportune might serve his wiles, and found
The serpent füttleft beast of all the field.
Him after long debate, irrefolute
Of thoughts revoly'd, his final sentence chose


Fit vessel, fittet imp of frauds in whom
To enter, and his dark suggestions hide
From sharpelt light : for in the wilie snake,
Whatever Neights ncne would suspicious mark,
As from his wit and native suttletie
Proceeding, which in other beasts observ'd
Doubt might beget of dabolic pow'r
Active within beyond the sense of brute.
Thus he resolv'd, but first from inward grief
His burfting passion into plaints thus pour’d:

O earth, how like to heav'n, if not preferr'd
More juftly, feat worthier of gods, as built
With second thoughts, reforming what was old!
For what God after better worse would build ?
Terrestrial heav'n, danc't round by other heav'ns
That shine, yet bear their bright officious lamps,
Light above light, for thee alone, as feems,
In thee concentring all their precious beams
Of sacred influence : as God in heav'n
Is center, yet extends to all, so thou
Centring receav't from all those orbs; in thee,
Not in themselves, all their known vertue appeers
Productive in herb, plant, and nobler birth
Of creatures animate with gradual life
Of growth, sense, reason, all summ'd up in man.
With what delight could I have walkt thee round,
If I could joy in aught, sweet interchange
Of hill and vallie, rivers, woods and plains, :
Now land, now sea, and shores with forrest crown'd,
Rocks, dens, and caves; but I in none of these
Find place of refuge; and the more I fee

Pleasures about me, so much more I feel
Torment within me, as from the hateful fiege
Of contraries; all good to me becomes
Bane, and in heaven much worse would be my state.
But neither here seek I, no nor in heav'n
To dwell, unless by maistring heav'n's supreme;
Nor hope to be myself less miserable
By what I seek, but others to make such ?
As I, though thereby worse to me redound:
For only in destroying I find ease
To my relentless thoughts; and him destroy'd,
Or won to what may work his utter loss,
For whom all this was made, all this will soon
Follow, as to him linkt in weal or woe,
In woe then; that destruction wide may range ::
To me shall be the glorie sole among
The infernal powers, in one day to have marr'd
What he Almightie styl’d, fix nights and days
Continu'd making, and who knows how long
Before had been contriving, though' perhaps
Not longer, than fince I in one night freed
From fervitude inglorious welnigh half
Th'angelic name, and thinner left the throng
Of his adorers: he to be aveng'd,
And to repaire his numbers thus impair'd,
Whether such virtue spent of old now fail'd.
More angels to create, if they at least
Are his created, or to spite us more,
Determin'd to advance into our room
A creature form'd of earth, and him endow,
Exalted from fo base original,

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