Page images

With diadem, and fceptre, high advanc'd, 90
The lower ftill 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 94
Would height recall high thoughts, how soon un-lay
What feign'd 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 pierc'd so deep)
Which would but lead me to a worse relapse, 100
And heavier fall: fo 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! in stead

Of us out-caft, exil'd, his new delight
Mankind created, and for him this world.
So farewel hope ! and with hope, farewel fear!
Farewel remorse! all good to me is loft:
Evil be thou my good ! By thee at least
Divided empire with heav'n's King I hold;
By thee, and more than half perhaps, will reign:
As man e'er-long, and this new world, Thall know.

Thus while he spake, each passion dimm'd his face, Thrice chang'd with pale, ire, envy, and despair, 115 Which marr'd his borrow'd visage, and betray'd Him counterfeit, if any eye beheld. (For heav'nly minds from such distempers foul Are ever clear.) Whereof he soon aware,


Each perturbation smooth'd with outward calm, 120
Artificer of fraud ! and was the first
That practis'd falfhood, under faintly New
Deep malice to conceal, couch'd with revenge.
Yet not enough had practis'd, to deceive 124
Uriel once warn'd; whose eye pursu'd him down
The way he went, and on th’ Assyrian mount
"Saw him disfigur’d, more than could befall
Spirit of happy fort: his gestures fierce
He mark’d, and mad demeanor, then alone,
As he suppos’d, all un-obferv'd, un-feen.

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 fteep wilderness ; whose hairy fides 135
With thicket overgrowa, grotesque, and wild,
Access deny'd: and over head up-grew
Insuperable ght of loftieft 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 fire gave profpeet large
Into his neather empire, neighb'ring round. 145
And higher than that wall a circling row
Of goodliest trees, loaden with fairest fruit,
Bloffoms, and fruits at once of golden hue,
Appear’d, with gay enamel'd colors mix'd:

On which the sun more glad impress'd his beams,
Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow, 151
When God hath show'r’d the earth ; so lovely seem'd
That landscape ! and of pure now purer air
Meets his approach; and to the heart inspires
Vernal delight, and joy, able to drive

All 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 fail
Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past 160
Mozambic, off at sea north-east winds blow
Sabæan odor, from the spicy shore
Of Araby the Blest, with such delay [league
Well-pleas’d they slack their course, and many a
Chear'd with the grateful smell old Ocean (miles :
So entertain'd those odorous fweets the fiend, 166
Who came their bane ; though with them better
Than Asmodeus with the fishy fume (pleas'd
That drove him, though enamour’d, from the spouse
Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent 170
From Media poft to Agypt, there faft bound.

Now to th'ascent of that steep savage hill Satan had journied on, pensive, and now; But further way found none, so thick entwin'd, As one continu'd brake, the undergrowth 175 Of Thrubs, and tangling bushes, had perplex'd All path of man, or beast, that pass’d that way. One gate there only was, and that look'd east On th' other side: which when th' arch-fellon law,

Due entrance he disdain'd, and in contempt 180
At one night bound high over-leap'd 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 Mepherds pen their focks at eve
In hurdl'd cotes, amid the field secure, 186
Leaps o'er the fence with ease into the fold :
Or as a thief, bent to un-hoard the cash
Of some rich burgher, whose substantial doors,
Cross-barr'd, 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 fince into his Church lewd hirelings climb.)
Thence up he few, and on the Tree of Life,
(The middle tree, and highest there that grew) 195
Sat like a cormorant; yet not true life
Thereby regain’d, but fat devising death
To them who liv'd: nor on the virtue thought
Of that life-giving plant, but only us'd
For prospect, what well-us'd had been the pledge
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 expos'd

In narrow room, nature's whole wealth, yea more,
A heav'n on earth! for blissful Paradise
Of God the garden was, by him in th' east



[ocr errors]

Of Eden planted; Eden stretch'd her line
From Auran eastward to the royal tow'rs
of great Seleucia, built by Grecian Kings,
Or where the sons of Eden long before
Dwelt in Telassar. In this pleasant foil
His far more pleasant garden God ordain’d. 215
Out of the fertile ground he caus'd to grow
All trees of noblest kiod, for fight, smell, taste;
And all amid them stood the Tree of Life,
High eminent, blooming ambrosial fruit
Of vegetable gold: and next to life,
Our death, the Tree of Knowledge, grew faft by;
Knowledge of good bought dear by knowing ill!
Southward through. Eden went a river large,
Nor chang’d his course, but through the Maggy hill
Paso'd underneath ingulf’d; for God had thrown 225
That mountain as His garden mound, high rais'd
Upon the rapid current, which through veins
Of porous earth with kindly thirst up drawn,
Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill
Water'd the garden ; thence united fell 230
Down the steep glade, and met the neather food,
Which from his darksome paffage now appears :
And now divided into four main streams,
Runs diverse, wandring many a famous realm
And country, whereof here needs no account: 235
But rather to tell how, (if art could tell
How) from that saphire fount the crisped brooks
Rowling on crient pearl, and sands of gold,
With mazy error under pendent shades

« PreviousContinue »