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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 heav'n, with songs to hymn his throne,
And practis'd distances to cringe, not fight.
To whom the warrior angel soon reply'd:
To say and straight unsay, pretending first
Wise to fly pain, professing next the spy,
Argues no leader, but a liar trac'd,
Satan, and couldst thuu faithful add? O name,
O sacred name of faithfulness profan'd!
Faithful to whom? to thy rebellious crew?
Army of fiends, fit body to fit head.
Was this your discipline, and faith engag”
Your military obedience, to dissolve,
Allegiance to th’acknowledg'd pow'r supreme?
And thou, sly hypocrite, who now wouldst seem
Patron of liberty, who more than thou
Once fawn'd, and cring'd, and servily ador'd
Heav'n's awful monarch? wherefore, but in hope
To dispossess him, and thyself to reign?
But mark what I arreed thee now, Avaunt;
Fly thither whence thou fledst: if from this hour
Within these hallow'd limits thou appear,
Back to th’infernal pit I drag thee chain'd,
And seal thee so, as henceforth not to scorn
The facile gates of hell too slightly barrd.
So threatened he; but Satan to no threats
Gave heed, but waxing more in rage reply'd:
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, drawst his triumphant wheels
In progress through the road of heav'n star-pard.
While thus he spake, th' angelic squadron bright
Turn'd fiery red, sharp'ning 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 groves of ears, which way the wind
Sways them; the careful Plowman doubting stands,
Lest on the threshing-floor his hopeful sheaves
Prove chaff. On th' other side, Satan alarm'd
Collecting all his might dilated stood,
Like Teneriff or Atlas unremov'd:
His stature reach'd the sky, and on his crest
Sat horror plumd; nor wanted in his grasp
What seein'dboth spear and shield. Now dreadful deeds
Might have ensu'd, nor only Paradise
In this commotion, but the starry cope
Of heav'n perhaps, or all the elements,
At least had gone to wreck, disturb'd and torn
With violence of this conflict, had not soon
Th’ Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray,
Hung forth in heav'n his golden scales, yet seen
Betwixt Astrea and the Scorpion sign,
Wherein all things created first he weigh’d,
The pendulous round earth with balanc'd 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 kick'd the beam;
Which Gabriel spying, thus bespake the Fiend:
Satan, I know thy strength, and thou know'st mine,
Neither our own, but giv'n: what folly then
To boast what arms can do? since thine no more
Than heav'n 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 weigh'd, and shown how light, how
weak If thou resist. The Fiend look'd up, and knew His mounted scale aloft: nor more: but fled Murm'ring, and with him fled the shades of night,
THE ARGUMENT. Morning approached, Eve relates to Adam her trou
blesome dream; he likes it not, yet comforts her ;they come forth to their day-labours: their morning hymn at the door of their bower. God, to ren. der man inexcusable, sends Raphael to admonisk him of his obedience, of his free estate, of his enemy near at hand, who he is, and why his enemy, and. whatever else may avail Adam to know. Raphael comes down to Paradise, his appearance describedy his coming discerned by Adam afar off sitting at the door of his bower ; he goes out to meet him, brings him to his lodge, Entertains him with the choicest fruits of Paradise got together by Eve; their discourse at table: Raphael performs his mese sage, minds Adam of his state and of his enemy,re. lates, at Adam's request, who that enemy is, and how he came to be so, beginning from his first revolt in heaven, and the occasion thereof; how he drew his legions after him to the parts of the north, and there incited them to ribel with him, persuading all but only Abdiel a Seraph, who in argument dissuades and opposes him, then forsakes hini.
OW morn, her rosy steps in th' castern clime
Advancing, sow'd the earth with orient pearl, When Adam wak'd; so custom'd; for his sleep Was airy light from purc digestion bred,
And temp?rate vapours bland, which the only sound
Of leaves and fuming rills, Aurora's fan,
Lightly dispers'd, and the shrill matin song
Of birds on every bough; so much the more
His wonder was to find unwaken'd Eve
With tresses discompos'd, and glowing cheek,
As through unquiet rest: he on his side
Leaning half rais'd, with looks of cordial love
Hung over her enainour'd, and beheld
Beauty, which whether waking or asleep
Shot forth peculiar graces: then with voice
Mild, as when Zephyrus on Flora brcathes,
Her hand soft touching, whisper'd thus. Awake,
My fairest, my espous'd, my latest found,
Heav'n's last best gift, iny ever new delight,
Awake: the morning shines, and the fresh field
Calls us; we lose the priine, to mark how spring
Our tended plants, how blows the citron-grove,
What drops the inyrrlı, and what the balmy reed,
How Nature paints her colours, how the bee
Sits on the bloom extracting liquid sweet.
Such whisp’ring wak'd her, but with startied eye On Adam; whom embracing, thus she spake:
O sole, in whom my thoughts find all repose, My glory, iny perfection, glad I see Thy face, and morn return'd; for I this night (Such night till this I never passd) have dream'd, If dream'd, not as I oft am wont, of thee, Works of day past, or morrow's next design; But of offence and trouble, which my mind Knew never till this irksome night: methought, Close at mine ear one call'd me forth to walk With gentle voice: thought it thine: it said, Why sleep’st thou, Eve? now is the pleasant time, The cool, the silent, save where silence yields To the night-warbling bird, that now awake Tunes sweetest his love-labour'd song; now reigns Full orb’d the moon, and with inore pleasing light Shadowy sets off the face of things; in vain,
If none regard: heav'n wakes with all his eyes;
Whom to behold but thee, Nature's desire?
In whose sight all things joy, with ravishment
Attracted by thy beauty still to gaze.
I rose as at thy call, but found thee not;:
To find thee I directed then my walk;
And on, methought, alone I pass'd thro' ways
That brought me on a sudden to the tree
Of interdicted knowledge: fair it seem'd,
Much fairer to my fancy than by day:
And as I wond'ring look'd, beside it stood
One shap'd and wing'd like one of those from heav'n
By us oft seen; his dewy locks disti]Pd
Ambrosia; on that tree he also gaz'd;
And, O! fair plant, said he, with fruit surcharg'd,
Deigns none to ease thy load, and taste thy sweet,
Nor God, nor man? Is knowledge so despis'd?
Or envy, or what reserve forbids to taste?
Forbid who will, none shall from me withhold
Longer thy offer'd good; why else set here?
This said, he paus'd not, but with vent'rous arm
He pluck”d, he tasted: me damp horror chilld
At such bold words vouch'd with a deed so bold.
But he thus overjoyd, O fruit divine!
Sweet of thyself, but much more sweet thus cropt,
Forbidden here, it seems as only fit
For gods, yet able to make gods of inen:
And why not gods of men, since good, the more
Communicated, inore abundant grows,
The author not impair'd, but honour'd more?
Here, happy creature, fair angelic Eve,
Partake thou also; bappy though thou art,
Happier thou mayst be, worthier canst not be:
Taste this, and be henceforth among the gods
Thyself a goddess, not to earth confin'd,
But sometimes in the air, as we; sometimes
Ascend to heav'n, by merit thine, and see
What life the gods live there, and such live thou.
So saying, he drew nigh, and to me held,