Page images

Confufion heard his voice, and wild Uproar Stood ruld, stood vast infinitude confin'd; Till at his second bidding darkness Aed, Light shon, and order from disorder sprung: Swift to their several quarters hasted then The cumbrous elements, earth, food, air, fire, And this ethereal quintessence of heav'n Flew upward, fpirited with various forms, That rowlod orbicular, and turn'd to starts Numberless, as thou feeft, and how they move; Each had his place appointed, each his course, The rest in circuit walles this universe. Look downward on that globe whose hither side With light from hence, though but reflected, shines ; That place is earth the seat of man, that light His day, which else as th’other hemisphere Night would invade, but there the neighbouring moon (So call that opposite fair starr) her aide Timely interposes, and her monthly round Still ending, still renewing through mid heav'n, With borrow'd light her countenance triform Hence fills and empties to enlighten the earth, And in her pale dominion checks the night. That spot to which I point is Paradise, Adam's abode, those loftie shades his bowre. Thy way thou canst not miss, me mine requires.

Thus said, he turn'd, and Satan bowing low, As to superior fpirits is wont in heav'n,

Where honour due and reverence none neglects, · Took leave, and toward the coast of earth beneath,

Down from th’ecliptic, sped with hop'd success,

Throws his steep Aight in many an aerie wheele, Nor staid, till on Niphates top he lights.

The End of the Third Book.


n For that warning voice, which he who saw

U Th’Apocalyps, heard cry in heaven aloud, Then when the dragon, put to second rout, Came furious down to be reveng'd on men, “ Woe to the inhabitants on earth!” that now, While time was, our first parents had been warn'd

The coming of their secret foe, and scap'd Haply fo scap'd his mortal snare ; for now Satan, now first inflam'd with rage, came down. The tempter ere th’accuser of mankind, To wreck on innocent frail man his loss Of that first battle, and his fight to hell : Yet not rejoicing in his speed, though bold, Far off and fearless, nor with cause to boalt, Begins his dire attempt, which nigh the birth Now rolling, boiles in his tumultuous breft, And like a devilish engine back recoiles Upon himself ; horror and doubt distract His troubled thoughts, and from the bottom stirr The hell within him, for within him hell He brings, and round about him, nor from hell One step no more then from himself can fly By change of place: now conscience wakes despair That number'd, wakes the bitter memorie Of what he was, what is, and what must be Worse ; of worse deeds worse fufferings must ensue,

Sometimes towards Eden which now in his view
Lay pleasant, his griev'd look he fixes fad,
Sometimes towards heav'n and the full-blazing fun,
Which now fat high in his meridian towre :
Thep much revolving, thus in fighs began.

O thou that with surpassing glory crown'd,
Look’st from thy fole dominion like the God
Of this new world ; at whose fight all the stars
Hide their diminisht heads; to thee I call,
But with no friendly voice, and add thy name
O sun, to tell thee how I hate thy beams
That bring to my remembrance from what state
I fell, how glorious once above thy fpheare;
Till pride and worse ambition threw me down
Warring in heav'n against heav'n's matchless king :-
Ah wherefore ! he deserv'd no fuch 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 prov'd ill in me,
And wrought but malice ; lifted up so high
I fdein'd subjection, and thought one step higher
Would set me highest, and in a moment quit
The debt immense of endless gratitude, ,
So burthensome, ftill paying, still to owe;
Forgetful what from him I still receiv'd,
And understood not that a grateful mind
By owing owes not, but still pays, at once
Indebted and discharg'd; what burden then?

O had his powerful destiny ordain'd
Me some inferior angel, I had stood
Then happie ; no unbounded hope had rais'd
Ambition. Yet why not? some other power. 1
As great might have aspir'd, and me though mean
Drawn to his part ; but other powers as great
Fell not, but stand unshak'n, from within
Or from without, to all temptations arm'd.
Hadft thou the fame free will and power to stand ?
Thou hadft: whom haft thou then or what to accusé,
But heav'n's free love dealt equally to all ?
Be then his love accurft, since love or hate,
To me alike, it deals eternal woe.
Nay curs'd be thou ; fince against his thy will
Chose freely what it now fo justly rues.
Me miserable ! which way shall I flie
Infinite wrath, and infinite despaire ?
Which way I fie is hell; myself am hell ;
And in the lowest deep a lower deep
Still threatning to devour me opens wide,
To which the hell I suffer seems a heav'n.
O then at last relent : is there no place
Left for repentance, cone for pardon left ?
None left but by submission; and that word
• Disdain forbids me, and my dread of Mame

Among the spirits beneath, whom I reduc'd
With other promises and other vaunts
Then to submit, boasting I could subdue

Th'Omnipotent. Ay me, they little know ? How dearly I abide that boast fo vain,

Under what torments inwardly I groane :

« PreviousContinue »