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Β Ο Ο Κ Ι.
The ARGUMENT. This first book proposes, first in brief, the
whole subject, man's disobedience, and the less thereupon of Paradise wherein he was placed. Then touches the prime cause of his fall, the serpent, or rather Satan in the serpent; who revolting from God, and drawing to his fide many legions of Angels, was by the command of God driven out of heaven with all his crew into the great deep. Which action pass'd over, the Poem haftes into the midst of things, presenting Satan with bis Angels now fallen into hell
, describ'd here, not in the centre (for heav'n and earth may be suppos’d as yet not made, certainly not yet &ccurs’d) but in a
place of utter darkness, fitliest calld Chaos: Here Satan with his Angels lying on the burning lake, thunder-struck and astonish'd, after a certain space recovers, as from confufion, calls“ up him who next in order and dignity lay by him; they confer of their miserable fall. Satan awakens all his legions, who lay 'till then in the same manner confounded: they rise; their numbers, array of battel, their chief leaders nam’d, according to the idols known afterwards in Canaan, and the countries adjoining. To these Satan directs his speech, comforts them with hope yet of regaining heaven : but tells them lastly of a new world, and new kind of creature to be created ; according to an antient prophecy or report in heaven: for that Angels were long before this visible creation, was the opinion of many ancient Fathers. To find out the truth of this prophecy, and 'What to determine thereon, he refers to a full council. What his associates thence attempt. Pandæmonium, the palace of Satan, rises, suddenly built out of the deep: the infernal peers there sit in council.
F Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
15 Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.
And chiefly thou, O Spirit! that dost prefer Before all temples th’ upright heart and pure, Instruct me, for thou know'st: thou from the first Waft present, and with mighty wings out-spread, 20% Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast Abyfs, And mad'ft it pregnant: what in me is dark, Illumine! what is low, raise and support! That to the height of this great argument I may affert eternal Providence,
25 And justifie the ways of God to men.
Say first, (for heav'n hides nothing from thy view, Nor the deep tract of hell) say first what cause Mov'd our grand Parents, in that happy state
Favour'd of heav'n so highly, to fall off 30
35 The mother of mankind, what time his pride Had cast him out from heav'n, with all his hoft Of rebel Angels: by whose aid aspiring To set himself in glory above his Peers, He trusted to have equall'd the Most High, 40 If He oppos'd : and with ambitious aim, Against the throne, and monarchy of God, Rais'd impious war in heav'n, and battel proud, With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Pow'r Hurld headlong flaming from th'ethereal sky, 45 With hideous ruin and combustion, down To bottomless perdition: there to dwell In adamantine chains and penal fire, Who durft defy th’Omnipotent to arms. Ninę times the space that measures day and night 50 To mortal men, he with his horrid crew Lay vanquish'd, rolling in the fiery gulf, Confounded though immortal! But his doom Reserv'd him to more wrath: for now the thought Both of loft happiness, and lasting pain, 55 Torments him. Round he throws his baleful eyes, That witness’d huge affliction and dismay, Mix'd with obdurate pride, and stedfast hate. At once, as far as angels ken, be views
The dismal situation waste and wild :
60 A dungeon horrible, on all sides round, As one great furnace, Aam’d: yet from thofe Aames No light, but rather darkness visible, Sery'd only to discover fights of woe, Regions of sorrow! doleful shades ! where peace 65 And rest can never dwell! hope never comes, That comes to all: but torture without end Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed With ever-burning fulphur unconsum'd ! Such place eternal justice had prepar’d For those rebellious; here their prison ordain'd, In utter darkness; and their portion fet As far remov'd from God, and light of heav'n, As from the centre thrice to th'utmost Pole. O how unlike the place from whence they fell! 75 There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelm'd With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire, He soon discerns: and welt'ring by his side One next himself in power, and next in crime, Long after known in Palastine, and nam'd
80 Beelzebub: To whom th' arch-enemy, (And thence in heav'n call'd Satan) with bold words Breaking the horrid filence thus began.
If thou beest He-- But O how fall’n! how chang'd From him, who in the happy realms of light 85 Cloath'd with transcendent brightness, didst out-fhine Myriads tho' bright! If He, whom mutual league, United thoughts and counsels, equal hope, And hazard in the glorious enterprize,