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Haply so scaped his mortal snare! for now

Satan, now first inflamed with rage, came down,

The tempter, ere the accuser, of mankind, 10

To wreak on innocent frail man his loss

Of that first battle, and his flight to Hell:

Yet not rejoicing in his speed, though bold

Far off and fearless, nor with cause to boast,

Begins his dire attempt; which, nigh the birth

Now rolling, boils in his tumultuous breast,

And like a devilish engine back recoils

Upon himself: horror and doubt distract

His troubled thoughts, and from the bottom stir

The Hell within him; for within him Hell 20

He brings, and round about him, nor from Hell

One step, no more than from himself, can fly

By change of place: now conscience wakes despair

That slumbered; wakes the bitter memory

Of what he was, what is, and what must be,—

Worse; of worse deeds worse sufferings must ensue.

Sometimes towards Eden, which now in his view

Lay pleasant, his grieved look he fixes sad;

Sometimes towards Heaven and the full-blazing Sun,

Which now sat high in his meridian tower: 30

Then, much revolving, thus in sighs began:

"O thou, that, with surpassing glory crowned, "Look'st from thy sole dominion like the god "Of this new world! at whose sight all the stars "Hide their diminished 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 sphere, "Till pride, and, worse, ambition threw me down, 40

"Warring in Heaven against Heaven's matchless King!
"Ah, wherefore! he deserved no such 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 recompense, and pay him thanks,

"How due! Yet all his good proved ill in me,

"And wrought but malice: lifted up so high,

"I sdained subjection, and thought one step higher 50

"Would set me highest, and in a moment quit

"The debt immense of endless gratitude,—

"So burdensome; still paying, still to owe,—

"Forgetful what from him I still received;

"And understood not that a grateful mind

"By owing owes not, but still pays, at once

"Indebted and discharged: what burden then?

"O had his-powerful destiny ordained

"Me some inferior angel, I had stood

"Then happy! no unbounded hope had raised 60

"Ambition. Yet why not? some other power

"As great might have aspired, and me, though mean,

"Drawn to his part; but other powers as great

"Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within

"Or from without, to all temptations armed.

"Hadst thou the same free will and power to stand?

"Thou hadst: whom hast thou then or what to accuse,

"But Heaven's free love dealt equally to all?

"Be then his love accursed! since, love or hate,

"To me alike it deals eternal woe. 70

"Nay, cursed be thou! since, against this, thy will

"Chose freely what it now so justly rues.

"Me miserable! which way shall I fly

"Infinite wrath, and infinite despair?

"Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell;

"And in the lowest deep a lower deep

"Still threatening to devour me opens wide,

"To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heaven.

"O, then, at last relent: is there no place

"Left for repentance? none for pardon left? So

"None left but by submission; and that word

"Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame

"Among the Spirits beneath; whom I seduced

"With other promises, and other vaunts

"Than to submit; boasting I could subdue

"The Omnipotent. Ah me! they little know

"How dearly I abide that boast so vain;

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"Under what torments inwardly I groan,
"While they adore me on the throne of Hell .
"With diadem and sceptre high advanced, 90

"The lower still I fall, only supreme
"In misery: such joy ambition finds.
"But say I could repent, and could obtain,
"By act of grace, my former state; how soon
"Would height recall high thoughts, how soon unsay
"What feigned submission swore! Ease would recant
"Vows made in pain, as violent and void.
"For never can true reconcilement grow
"Where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep;
"Which would but lead me to a worse relapse 100

"And heavier fall: so should I purchase dear
"Short intermission, bought with double smart.
"This knows my Punisher; therefore as far
"From granting he, as I from begging peace.
"All hope excluded thus; behold, instead
"Of us outcast, exiled, his new delight,
"Mankind, created, and for him this world.
"So farewell, hope! and with hope, farewell, fear!
"Farewell, remorse! all good to me is lost:
"Evil, be thou my good ! by thee at least no

"Divided empire with Heaven's King I hold,—
"By thee, and more than half perhaps will reign;—
"As man ere long, and this new world, shall know."
Thus while he spake, each passion dimmed his face
Thrice changed with pale, ire, envy, and despair:
Which marred his borrowed visage, and betrayed
Him counterfeit, if any eye beheld:
For heavenly minds from such distempers foul
Are ever clear. Whereof he soon aware,
Each perturbation smoothed with outward calm, 120

Artificer of fraud; and was the first
That practised falsehood under saintly show,
Deep malice to conceal, couched with revenge.
Vet not enough had practised to deceive
Uriel once warned; whose eye pursued him down
The way he went, and on the Assyrian mount
Saw him disfigured, more than could befall

Spirit of happy sort : his gestures fierce
He marked, and mad demeanour, then alone,
As he supposed, all unobserved, unseen. 130

So on he fares, and to the border comes
Of Eden, where delicious Paradise,
Now nearer, crowns with her enclosure green,
As with a rural mound, the champain head
Of a steep wilderness, whose hairy sides
With thicket overgrown, grotesque and wild,
Access denied; and overhead up grew
Insuperable height of loftiest shade,—
Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm,—
A sylvan scene; and, as the ranks ascend 140

Shade above shade, a woody theatre
Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops
The verdurous wall of Paradise up sprung;
Which to our general sire gave prospect large
Into his nether empire neighbouring round:
And higher than that wall a circling row
Of goodliest trees loaden with fairest fruit;
Blossoms and fruits at once, of golden hue,
Appeared, with gay enamelled colours mixed;
On which the sun more glad impressed his beams, 150

Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow,
When God hath showered the earth; so lovely seemed
That landskip: and of pure now purer air
Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires
Vernal delight and joy, able to drive
ill sadness but despair: now gentle gales,
Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole
Those balmy spoils. As when to them who sail
Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past 160

Mozambic, off at sea north-east winds blow
Sabean odours from the spicy shores
Of Araby the Blest; with such delay
Well pleased they slack their course, and, many a league,
Cheered with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles:
So entertained those odorous sweets the fiend
Who came their bane; though with them better pleased

Than Asmodeus with the fishy fume

That drove him, though enamoured, from the spouse

Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent 170

From Media post to Egypt, there fast bound.

Now to the ascent of that steep savage hill
Satan had journeyed on, pensive and slow;
But further way found none; so thick entwined,
As one continued brake, the undergrowth
Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplexed
All path of man or beast that passed that way.
One gate there only was, and that looked east
On the other side: which when the arch-felon saw,
Due entrance he disdained; and, in contempt, 180

At one slight bound high overleaped all bound
Of hill or highest wall, and sheer within
Lights on his feet. As when a prowling wolf,
Whom hunger drives to seek new haunt for prey,
Watching where shepherds pen their flocks at eve
In hurdled cotes, amid the field secure,
Leaps o'er the fence with ease into the fold;
Or as a thief, bent to unhoard the cash
Of some rich burgher, whose substantial doors,
Cross barred and bolted fast, fear no assault, 190

In at the window climbs, or o'er the tiles;
So clomb this first grand thief into God's fold;
So since into his church lewd hirelings climb.
Thence up he flew; and on the Tree of Life,
(The middle tree and highest there that grew,)
Sat like a cormorant: yet not true life
Thereby regained, but sat devising death
To them who lived; nor on the virtue thought
Of that life-giving plant, but only used
For prospect, what, well used, had been the pledge 200

Of immortality. So little knows
Any, but God alone, to value right
The good before him ; but perverts best things
To worst abuse, or to their meanest use.

Beneath him, with new wonder, now he views,
To all delight of human sense exposed,
In narrow room, Nature's whole wealth, yea, more,

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