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Undaunted, to meet there whatever power 955
Or spirit of the nethermost abyss -
Might in that noise reside, of whom to ask
Which way the nearest coast of darkness lies
Bord'ring on light; when straight behold the throne
Of Chaos, and his dark pavilion spread 960
Wide on the wasteful deep; with him enthron’d
Sat sable-vested Night, eldest of things,
The consort of his reign; and by them stood
Orcus and Ades, and the dreaded name
Of Demogorgon! Rumour next and Chance, 965
And Tumult and Confusion all embroil'd,
And Discord with a thousand various mouths.
To whom Satan turning boldly, thus: ‘Ye powers
And spirits of this nethermost abyss,
Chaos and ancient Night, I come no spy, 970
With purpose to explore or to disturb
The secrets of your realm; but, by constraint
Wand'ring this darksome desert, as my way
Lies through your spacious empire up to light,
Alone, and without guide, half lost, I seek 975
What readiest path leads where your gloomy bounds
Confine with heav'n; or if some other place,
From your dominion won, th’ ethereal King
Possesses lately, thither to arrive
I travel this profound; direct my course; 980
Directed, no mean recompense it brings
To your behoof, if I that region lost,
All usurpation thence expell'd, reduce
To her original darkness, and your sway
(Which is my present journey), and once more 985
Erect the standard there of ancient Night:
Yours be th' advantage all, mine the revenge.”
Thus Satan; and him thus the Anarch old,
With faltring speech and visage incompos'd,
Answer'd : ‘I know thee, stranger, who thou art, 990
That mighty leading angel, who of late
Made head against heav'n's King, though overthrown.
I saw and heard; for such a numerous host
Fled not in silence through the frighted deep,
With ruin upon ruin, rout on rout, 995
Confusion worse confounded; and heav'n-gates
Pour’d out by millions her victorious bands
Pursuing. I upon my frontiers here
Keep residence; if all I can will serve
That little which is left so to defend, 1000
Encroach'd on still through your intestine broils
Weak’ning the scepter of old Night: first hell,
Your dungeon, stretching far and wide beneath;
Now lately heav'n and earth, another world,
Hung o'er my realm, link'd in a golden chain 1005
To that side heav'n from whence your legions fell:
If that way be your walk, you have not far;
So much the nearer danger; go, and speed ;
Havoc, and spoil, and ruin, are my gain.”

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He ceas'd; and Satan staid not to reply, 1010
But, glad that now his sea should find a shore,
With fresh alacrity, and force renew’d,

Springs upward, like a pyramid of fire, *
Into the wild expanse, and, through the shock
Of fighting elements, on all sides round 1015

Environ'd, wins his way; harder beset
And more endanger'd, than when Argo pass'd
Through Bosporus, betwixt the justling rocks:
Or when Ulysses on the larboard shunn'd
Charybdis, and by th’ other whirlpool steer'd. 1020
So he with difficulty and labour hard
Mov'd on, with difficulty and labour he:
But, he once past, soon after, when man fell,
Strange alteration 1 Sin and Death amain
Following his track, such was the will of Heaven, 1025
Pav'd after him a broad and beaten way
Over the dark abyss, whose boiling gulf
Tamely endur'd a bridge of wondrous length,
From hell continued reaching th' utmost orb
Of this frail world; by which the spirits perverse 1030
With easy intercourse pass to and fro
To tempt or punish mortals, except whom
God and good angels guard by special grace.
But now at last the sacred influence
Of light appears, and from the walls of heaven 1035
Shoots far into the bosom of dim Night,
A glimmering dawn: here Nature first begins
Her farthest verge, and Chaos to retire,
As from her outmost works a broken foe,
With tumult less, and with less hostile din, 1040
That Satan with less toil, and now with ease
Wafts on the calmer wave by dubious light,
And, like a weather-beaten vessel, holds
Gladly the port, though shrouds and tackle torn;
Or in the emptier waste, resembling air, 1045
Weighs his spread wings, at leisure to behold
Far off th’ empyreal heav'n, extended wide
In circuit, undetermin'd square or round,
With opal tow’rs and battlements adorn'd
Of living sapphire, once his native seat; 1050
And fast by, hanging in a golden chain,
This pendent world, in bigness as a star
Of smallest magnitude, close by the moon.
Thither, full fraught with mischievous revenge,
Accurs'd, and in a cursed hour, he hies. 1055

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God, sitting on his throne, sees Satan flying towards this world, then newly created; shows him to the Son, who sat at his right hand; foretels the success of Satan in*::::::::::: mankind; clears his own justice and wisdom from all imputation, having created man free, and able enough to have withstood his tempter; yet declares his purpose of grace towards him, in regard he fell not of his own malice, as did Satan, but by him seduced. The Son of God renders praises to his Father for the manifestation of his gracious purpose towards man : but God again declares; that grace cannot be eartended towards man without the satisfaction of divine justice : man hath offended the majesty of God by aspirin to Godhead, and therefore, with all his progeny, devoted to death, must die, unless some one can be found sufficient to answer for his offence, and undergo his punishment. The Son of God freely offers himself a ransom for man; the Father accepts him, ordains his incarnation, pronounces his earaltation above all names in heaven and earth; commands all the angels to adore him. They obey, and hymning to their harps in full quire, celebrate the Father and the Son. Mean while Satan alights upon the bare conver of this world's outermost orb; where wandering he first finds a place, since called the Limbo of Janity: what persons and things fly up thither : thence comes to the gate of heaven, described ascending by stairs, and the waters above the firmament that flow about it? his passage thence to the orb of the sun; he finds there Uriel, the regent of that orb, but first changes himself into the shape # a meaner angel; and, pretending a zealous desire to behold the new creation, and man whom God had placed here, inquires of him the place of his habitation, and is directed: alights first on mount Niphates.

* HAIL, holy Light! offspring of heav'n first-born, Or of th’ Eternal coeternal beam, May I express thee unblam'd 2 since God is light, And never but in unapproached light Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee, 5 Bright effluence of bright essence increate. Or hear'st thou rather, pure ethereal stream, Whose fountain who shall tell? Before the sun, Before the heav'ns thou wert, and at the voice . Of God, as with a mantle, didst invest 10 The rising world of waters dark and deep, Won from the void and formless infinite, Thee I revisit now with bolder wing, "Escap'd the Stygian pool, though long detain'd In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight 15 Through utter and through middle darkness borne, With other notes than to th’ Orphéan lyre, I sung of Chaos and eternal Night; Taught by the heav'nly muse to venture down The dark descent, and up to re-ascend, 20 Though hard and rare: thee I revisit safe, And feel thy sovran vital lamp: but thou Revisit'st not these eyes, that roll in vain To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn:

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So thick a drop serene hath quench'd their orbs,
Or dim suffusion veil’d. Yet not the more
Cease I to wander, where the muses haunt
Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill,
Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief
Thee, Sion, and the flow'ry brooks beneath,
That wash thy hallow'd feet; and warbling flow,
Nightly I visit; nor sometimes forget
Those other two equall'd with me in fate,
So were I equall'd with them in renown,
Blind Thamyris and blind Maeonides,
And Tiresias and Phineus, prophets old:
Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move
Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird
Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid,
Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year
Seasons return : but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of ev'n or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But cloud instead, and ever—during dark
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair,
Presented with a universal blank
Of nature's works to me expung'd and ras'd,
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
So much the rather thou, celestial Light, w

Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers

Irradiate, there plant eyes, all mist from thence
Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight. z
Now had th' Almighty Father from above,
From the pure empyréan where he sits
High thron’d above all highth, bent down his eye,
His own works, and their works, at once to view;
About him all the sanctities of heaven
Stood thick as stars, and from his sight receiv'd
Beatitude past utterance; on his right
The radiant image of his glory sat,
His only Son; on earth he first beheld
Our two first parents, yet the only two
Of mankind, in the happy garden plac'd,
Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love,
Uninterrupted joy, unrivall'd love,
In blissful solitude; he then survey'd
Hell and the gulf between, and Satan there
Coasting the wall of heav'n on this side night
In the dun air sublime, and ready now
To stoop with wearied wings, and willing feet,
On the bare outside of this world; that seem'd
Firm land imbosom'd without firmament,
Uncertain which, in ocean or in air.
Him God beholding from his prospect high,
Wherein past, present, future, he beholds,
Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake:

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“Only begotten Son, seest thou what rage 80 Transports our adversary? whom no bounds Prescrib'd, no bars of hell, nor all the chains Heap'd on him there, nor yet the main abyss Wide interrupt, can hold; so bent he seems On desperate revenge, that shall redound 85 Upon his own rebellious head. And now, Through all restraint broke loose, he wings his way Not far off heav'n, in the precincts of light, Directly towards the new-created world And man there plac'd, with purpose to assay 90 If him by force he can destroy, or, worse, By some false guile pervert; and shall pervert, For man will hearken to his glozing lies, And easily transgress the sole command, Sole pledge of his obedience: so will fall 95 He and his faithless progeny. Whose fault? Whose but his own P Ingrate, he had of me All he could have; I made him just and right, Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.; Such I created all th’ ethereal powers 100 And spirits, both them who stood, and them who fail'd; Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell. Not free, what proof could they have giv'n sincere Of true allegiance, constant faith or love, * Where only what they needs must do appear'd, 105 Not what they would? what praise could they receive, What pleasure I from such obedience paid, When will and reason (reason also is choice) Useless and vain, of freedom both despoil'd, Made passive both, had serv'd necessity, 110 Not me? They therefore, as to right belong’d, So were created, nor can justly accuse Their Maker, or their making, or their fate, As if predestination over-rul’d Their will, dispos'd by absolute decree 115 Or high foreknowledge; they themselves decreed Their own revolt, not I; if I foreknew, Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault, Which had no less prov’d certain unforeknown. So without least impulse or shadow of fate, ' 120 a Or aught by me immutably foreseen, They trespass, authors to themselves in all Both what they judge, and what they choose; for so I form'd them free : and free they must remain, Till they enthrall themselves; I else must change 125 Their nature, and revoke the high decree Unchangeable, eternal, which ordain'd Their freedom, they themselves ordain'd their fall. The first sort by their own suggestion fell, Self-tempted, self-deprav'd: man falls, deceiv'd 130 By th’ other first: man therefore shall find grace, The other none: in mercy and justice both, Through heav'n and earth, so shall my glory excel: But mercy, first and last, shall brightest shine.’

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