Class Discussion 6



This first Book proposes, first in brief, the whole Subject, Mans disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise wherein he was plac’t: Then touches the prime cause of his fall of him, the Serpent, or rather Satan in the Serpent;  who revolting from God, and drawing to his side of him many Legions of Angels, was by the command of God driven out of Heaven with all his Crew of him into the great Deep.  Which action past over, the Poem hasts into the midst of things, presenting Satan with his Angels now fallen into Hell, describ’d here, not in the Center (for Heaven and Earth may be suppos’d as yet not made, certainly not  yet accurst) but in a place of utter darkness, fitliest call’d Chaos: Here Satan with his Angels lying on the burning Lake, thunder-struck and astonisht, after a certain space recovers, as from confusion, calls up him who next in  Order and Dignity lay by him;  they confer of thir miserable fall.  Satan awakens all his Legions from him, who lay till then in the same manner confounded;  They rise, thir Numbers, array of Battel, thir chief Leaders nam’d, according to the Idols known afterwards in Canaan and the Countries adjoyning.  To these Satan directs his Speech from him, 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 ancient Prophesie 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 Prophesie, and what to determine thereon he refers to a full Councel.  What his Associates of him thence attempt.  Pandemonium the Palace of Satan rises, suddenly built out of the Deep: The infernal Peers there sit in Councel.

OF Mans First Disobedience, and the Fruit

Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal tast

Brought Death into the World, and all our woe,

With loss of Eden, till one greater Man

Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat, [5]

Sing Heav’nly Muse, that on the secret top

Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire

That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen Seed,

In the Beginning how the Heav’ns and Earth

Rose out of Chaos: Or if Sion Hill [10]

Delight thee more, and Siloa’s Brook that flow’d

Fast by the Oracle of God;  I thence

Invoke thy aid to my adventrous Song,

That with no middle flight intends to soar

Above th ‘Aonian Mount, while it pursues [15]

Things unattempted yet in Prose or Rhime.

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

Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread [20]

Dove-like satst brooding on the vast Abyss

And mad’st it pregnant: What in me is dark

Illumin, what is low raise and support;

That to the highth of this great Argument

I may assert 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,

Favor’d of Heav’n so highly, to fall off [30]

From thir Creator, and transgress his Will

For one restraint, Lords of the World besides?

Who first seduc’d them to that foul revolt?

Th ‘infernal Serpent;  he it was, whose guile

Stird up with Envy and Revenge, deceiv’d [35]

The Mother of Mankind, what time his Pride

Had cast him out from Heav’n, with all his Host

Of Rebel Angels, by whose aid aspiring

To set himself in Glory above his Peers de el,

I have trusted to have equal’d the most High, [40]

If I have 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 Power

Hurld headlong flaming from th ‘Ethereal Skie [45]

With hideous ruine and combustion down

To bottomless perdition, there to dwell

In Adamantine Chains and penal Fire,

Who durst defie th ‘Omnipotent to Arms.

Nine times the Space that measures Day and Night [50]

To mortal men, he with his horrid crew

Lay vanquisht, rowling in the fiery Gulfe

Confounded though immortal: But his doom

Reserv’d him to more wrath;  for now the thought

Both of lost happiness and lasting pain [55]

Torments him;  round he throws his baleful eyes

That witness’d huge affliction and dismay

Mixt with obdurate pride and stedfast hate:

At once as far as Angels kenn he views

The dismal Situation waste and wilde, [60]

A horrible dungeon, on all sides round

As one great Furnace flam’d, yet from those flames

No light, but rather darkness visible

Serv’d onely to discover sights 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 Sulfur unconsum’d:

Such place Eternal Justice had prepar’d [70]

For those rebellious, here thir Prison ordain’d

In utter darkness, and thir portion set

As far remov’d from God and light of Heav’n

As from the Center thrice to th ‘utmost Pole.

O how unlike the place from whence they fell!  [75]

There the companions of his fall of him, o’rewhelm’d

With Floods and Whirlwinds of tempestuous fire,

He soon discerns, and weltring by his side

One next himself in power, and next in crime,

Long after known in Palestine, and nam’d [80]

Beelzebub.  To whom th ‘Arch-Enemy,

And thence in Heav’n call’d Satan, with bold words

Breaking the horrid silence thus began.

If thou beest he;  But O how fall’n!  how chang’d

From him, who in the happy Realms of Light [85]

Cloth’d with transcendent brightness didst out-shine

Myriads though bright: If he Whom mutual league,

United thoughts and counsels, equal hope

And hazard in the Glorious Enterprize,

Joynd with me once, now misery hath joynd [90]

In equal ruin: into what Pit thou seest

From what highth fall’n, so much the stronger prov’d

He with his Thunder from him: and till then who knew

The force of those dire Arms?  yet not for those,

Nor what the Potent Victor in his rage de él [95]

Can else inflict, do I repent or change,

Though chang’d in outward luster;  that fixt mind

And high disdain, from sence of injur’d merit,

That with the mightiest rais’d me to contend,

And to the fierce contention brought along [100]

Countless force of Spirits arm’d

That durst dislike his reign of him, and me preferring,

His utmost power of him with adverse power oppos’d

In dubious Battel on the Plains of Heav’n,

And he shook his throne from him.  What though the field be lost?  [105]

All is not lost;  the unconquerable Will,

And study of revenge, immortal hate,

And courage never to submit or yield:

And what is else not to be overcome?

That Glory never shall his wrath or might of him [110]

Extort from me.  To bow and sue for grace

With suppliant knee, and deifie his power of him,

Who from the terror of this Arm so late

Doubted his Empire of him, that were low indeed,

That were an ignominy and shame beneath [115]

This downfall;  since by Fate the strength of Gods

And this Empyreal substance cannot fail,

Since through experience of this great event

In Arms not worse, in foresight much advanc’t,

We may with more successful hope resolve [120]

To wage by force or guile eternal Warr

Irreconcileable, to our grand Foe,

Who now triumphs, and in th ‘excess of joy

Sole reigning holds the Tyranny of Heav’n.

So spake th ‘Apostate Angel, though in pain, [125]

Vaunting aloud, but rackt with deep despare:

And him thus answer’d soon his bold Compeer de el.

O Prince, O Chief of many Throned Powers,

That led th ‘imbattelld Seraphim to Warr

Under thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds [130]

Fearless, endanger’d Heav’ns perpetual King;

And put to proof his high Supremacy of him,

Whether upheld by strength, or Chance, or Fate,

Too well I see and rue the dire event,

That with sad overthrow and foul defeat [135]

Hath lost us Heav’n, and all this mighty Host

In horrible destruction laid thus low,

As far as Gods and Heav’nly Essences

Can perish: for the mind and spirit remains

Invincible, and vigor soon returns, [140]

Though all our Glory extinct, and happy state

Here swallow’d up in endless misery.

But what if he our Conquerour, (whom I now

Of force believe Almighty, since no less

Then such could hav orepow’rd such force as ours) [145]

Have left us this our spirit and strength intire

Strongly to suffer and support our pains,

That we may so suffice his vengeful ire de el,

Or do him mightier service as his thralls

By right of Warr, what are his business be [150]

Here in the heart of Hell to work in Fire,

Or do his Errands de él in the gloomy Deep;

What can it then avail though yet we feel

Strength undiminisht, or eternal being

To undergo eternal punishment?  [155]

Whereto with speedy words th ‘Arch-fiend reply’d.

Fall’n Cherube, to be weak is miserable

Doing or Suffering: but of this be sure,

To do ought good never will be our task,

But ever to do ill our sole delight, [160]

As being the contrary to his high will

Whom we resist.  If then his Providence

Out of our evil seek to bring forth good,

Our labor must be to pervert that end,

And out of good still to find means of evil;  [165]

Which oft times may succeed, so as perhaps

Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb

His inmost counsels from thir destind aim.

But see the angry Victor hath recall’d

His Ministers of vengeance and pursuit [170]

Back to the Gates of Heav’n: The Sulphurous Hail

Shot after us in storm, oreblown hath laid

The fiery Surge, that from the Precipice

Of Heav’n receiv’d us falling, and the Thunder,

Wing’d with red Lightning and impetuous rage, [175]

Perhaps he has spent his shafts, and ceases now

To bellow through the vast and boundless Deep.

Let us not slip th ‘occasion, whether scorn,

Or satiate fury yield it from our Foe.

Seest thou yon dreary Plain, forlorn and wilde, [180]

The seat of desolation, voyd of light,

Save what the glimmering of these livid flames

Casts pale and dreadful?  Thither let us tend

From off the tossing of these fiery waves,

There rest, if any rest can harbor there, [185]

And reassembling our afflicted Powers,

Consult how we may henceforth most offend

Our Enemy, our own loss how repair,

How overcome this dire Calamity,

What reinforcement we may gain from Hope, [190]

If not what resolution from despare.

Thus Satan talking to his neerest Mate

With Head up-lift above the wave, and Eyes

That sparkling blaz’d, his other Parts of him besides

Prone on the Flood, extended long and large [195]

Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge

As whom the Fables name of monstrous size,

Titanian, or Earth-born, that warr’d on Jove,

Briareos or Typhon, whom the Den

By ancient Tarsus held, or that Sea-beast [200]

Leviathan, which God of all his works

Created hugest that swim th ‘Ocean stream:

Him haply slumbring on the Norway foam

The Pilot of some small night-founder’d Skiff,

Deeming some Island, oft, as Sea-men tell, [205]

With fixed Anchor in his skaly rind

Moors by his side of him under the Lee, while Night

Invests the Sea, and wished Morn delayes:

So stretcht out huge in length the Arch-fiend lay

Chain’d on the burning Lake, nor ever thence [210]

He had ris’n or heav’d his head de el, but that the will

And high permission of all-ruling Heaven

Left him at large to his own dark designs of him,

That with reiterated crimes he might

Heap on himself damnation, while he sought [215]

Evil to others, and enrag’d might see

How all his malice de él serv’d but to bring forth

Infinite goodness, grace and mercy shewn

On Man by him seduc’t, but on himself

Treble confusion, wrath and vengeance pour’d.  [220]

Forthwith upright he rears from off the Pool

His mighty Stature of him;  on each hand the flames

Drivn backward slope thir pointing spires, and rowld

In billows, leave i’th ‘midst a horrid Vale.

Then with expanded wings he stears his flight from him [225]

Aloft, incumbent on the dusky Air

That felt unusual weight, till on dry Land

He lights, if it were Land that ever burn’d

With solid, as the Lake with liquid fire;

And such appear’d in hue, as when the force [230]

Of subterranean wind transports a Hill

Torn from Pelorus, or the shatter’d side

Of thundring Ætna, whose fuel

And fewel’d entrals thence conceiving Fire,

Sublim’d with Mineral fury, aid the Winds, [235]

And leave a singed bottom all involv’d

With stench and smoak: Such resting found the sole

Of unblest feet.  Him followed his next Mate de el,

Both glorying to have scap’t the Stygian flood

As Gods, and by thir own recover’d strength, [240]

Not by the sufferance of supernal Power.

Is this the Region, this the Soil, the Clime,

Said then the lost Arch-Angel, this the seat

That we must change for Heav’n, this mournful gloom

For that celestial light?  Be it so, since he [245]

Who now is Sovran can dispose and bid

What shall be right: fardest from him is best

Whom reason hath equald, force hath made supream

Above his equals of him.  Farewel happy Fields

Where Joy for ever dwells: Hail horrours, hail [250]

Infernal world, and thou profoundest Hell

Receive thy new Possessor: One who brings

A mind not to be chang’d by Place or Time.

The mind is its own place, and in it self

Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.  [255]

What matter where, if I be still the same,

And what I should be, all but less then he

Whom Thunder hath made greater?  Here at least

We shall be free;  th ‘Almighty hath not built

Here for his envy of him, he will not drive us hence: [260]

Here we may reign secure, and in my choyce

To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:

Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav’n.

But wherefore let us then our faithful friends,

Th ‘associates and copartners of our loss [265]

Lye thus astonisht on th ‘oblivious Pool,

And call them not to share with us their part

In this unhappy Mansion, or once more

With rallied Arms to try what may be yet

Regaind in Heav’n, or what more lost in Hell?  [270]

So Satan spake, and him Beelzebub

Thus answer’d.  Leader of those Armies bright,

Which but th ‘Onmipotent none could have foyld,

If once they hear that voyce, thir liveliest pledge

Of hope in fears and dangers, heard so oft [275]

In worst extreams, and on the perilous edge

Of battel when it rag’d, in all assaults

Thir surest signal, they will soon resume

New courage and revive, though now they lye

Groveling and prostrate on yon Lake of Fire, [280]

As we erewhile, astounded and amaz’d,

No wonder, fall’n such a pernicious highth.

He scarce had ceas’t when the superiour Fiend

He was moving toward the shoar;  his ponderous shield

Ethereal temper, massy, ​​large and round, [285]

Behind him cast;  the broad circumference

Hung on his shoulders like the Moon, whose Orb

Through Optic Glass the Tuscan Artist views

At Ev’ning from the top of Fesole,

Or in Valdarno, to descry new Lands, [290]

Rivers or Mountains in her spotty Globe.

His Spear de ella, to equal which the tallest Pine

Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the Mast

Of some great Ammiral, were but a wand,

He walkt with to support uneasie steps [295]

Over the burning Marle, not like those steps

On Heavens Azure, and the torrid Clime

Smote on him sore besides, vaulted with Fire;

Nathless he so endur’d, till on the Beach

Of that inflamed Sea, he stood and call’d [300]

His Legions of him, Angel Forms, who lay intrans’t

Thick as Autumnal Leaves that strow the Brooks

In Vallombrosa, where th ‘Etrurian shades

High overarch’t imbowr;  or scatterd sedge

Afloat, when with fierce Winds Orion arm’d [305]

Hath vext the Red-Sea Coast, whose waves orethrew

Busiris and his Memphian Chivalry,

While with perfidious hatred they pursu’d

The Sojourners of Goshen, who beheld

From the safe shore thir floating Carkases [310]

And broken Chariot Wheels, so thick bestrown

Abject and lost lay these, covering the Flood,

Under amazement of thir hideous change.

He call’d so loud, that all the hollow Deep

Of Hell resounded.  Princes, Potentates, [315]

Warriers, the Flowr of Heav’n, once yours, now lost,

If such astonishment as this can sieze

Eternal spirits;  or have ye chos’n this place

After the toyl of Battel to repose

Your wearied vertue, for the ease you find [320]

To slumber here, as in the Vales of Heav’n?

Or in this abject posture have ye sworn

To adore the Conquerour?  who now beholds

Cherube and Seraph rowling in the Flood

With scatter’d Arms and Ensigns, till anon [325]

His swift pursuers from Heav’n Gates discern

Th ‘advantage, and descending tread us down

Thus drooping, or with linked Thunderbolts

Transfix us to the bottom of this Gulfe.

Awake, arise, or be for ever fall’n.  [330]

They heard, and were abasht, and up they sprung

Upon the wing, as when men wont to watch

On duty, sleeping found by whom they dread,

Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake.

Nor did they not perceive the evil plight [335]

In which they were, or the fierce pains not feel;

Yet to thir Generals Voyce they soon obeyd

Innumerable.  As when the potent Rod

Of Amrams Son in Egypts evill day

Wav’d round the Coast, up call’d a pitchy cloud [340]

Of Locusts, warping on the Eastern Wind,

That ore the Realm of impious Pharaoh hung

Like Night, and darken’d all the Land of Nile:

So numberless were those bad Angels seen

Hovering on wing under the Cope of Hell [345]

‘Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding Fires;

Till, as a signal giv’n, th ‘uplifted Spear

Of thir great Sultan waving to direct

Thir course, in even ballance down they light

On the firm brimstone, and fill all the Plain;  [350]

A multitude, like which the populous North

Pour’d never from her frozen loyns, to pass

Rhene or the Danaw, when her de ella barbarous Sons

Came like a Deluge on the South, and spread

Beneath Gibralter to the Lybian sands.  [355]

Forthwith from every Squadron and each Band

The Heads and Leaders thither hast where stood

Thir great Commander;  Godlike shapes and forms

Excelling human, Princely Dignities,

And Powers that earst in Heaven sat on Thrones;  [360]

Though of thir Names in heav’nly Records now

Be no memorial blotted out and ras’d

By thir Rebellion, from the Books of Life.

Nor had they yet among the Sons of Eve

Got them new Names, till wandring ore the Earth, [365]

Through Gods high sufferance for the tryal of man,

By falsities and lyes the greatest part

Of Mankind they corrupted to forsake

God thir Creator, and th ‘invisible

Glory of him that made them, to transform [370]

Off to the Image of a Brute, adorn’d

With gay Religions full of Pomp and Gold,

And Devils to adore for Deities:

Then were they known to men by various Names,

And various Idols through the Heathen World.  [375]

Say, Muse, thir Names then known, who first, who last,

Rous’d from the slumber, on that fiery Couch,

At thir great Emperors call, as next in worth

He came singly where he stood on the bare strand,

While the promiscuous croud stood yet aloof?  [380]

The chief were those who from the Pit of Hell

Roaming to seek thir prey on earth, durst fix

Thir Seats long after next the Seat of God,

Thir Altars by his Altar de el, Gods ador’d

Among the Nations round, and durst abide [385]

Jehovah thundring out of Zion, thron’d

Between the Cherubim;  yea, often plac’d

Within his Sanctuary of he it self thir Shrines,

Abominations;  and with cursed things

His holy Rites de el, and solemn Feasts profan’d, [390]

And with thir darkness durst affront his light from him.

First Moloch, horrid King besmear’d with blood

Of human sacrifice, and parents tears,

Though for the noyse of Drums and Timbrels loud

Thir childrens cries unheard, that past through fire [395]

To his grim Idol of him.  Him the Ammonite

Worship in Rabba and her de ella watry Plain de ella,

In Argob and in Basan, to the stream

Of utmost Arnon.  Nor content with such

Audacious neighborhood, the wisest heart [400]

Of Solomon he led by fraud to build

His Temple de el right against the Temple of God

On that opprobrious Hill, and made his Grove

The pleasant Vally of Hinnom, Tophet thence

And black Gehenna call’d, the Type of Hell.  [405]

Next Chemos, th ‘obscene dread of Moabs Sons,

From Aroar to Nebo, and the wild

Of Southmost Abarim;  in Hesebon

And Horonaim, Seons Realm, beyond

The flowry Dale of Sibma clad with Vines, [410]

And Eleale to th ‘Asphaltick Pool.

Worse his other Name of him, when he entic’d

Israel in Sittim on thir march from Nile

To do him wanton rites, which cost them woe.

Yet thence his lustful Orgies of him I have enlarg’d [415]

Even to that Hill of scandal, by the Grove

Of Moloch homicide, lust hard by hate;

Till good Josiah drove them thence to Hell.

With these came they, who from the bordring flood

Of old Euphrates to the Brook that parts [420]

Egypt from Syrian ground, had general Names

Of Baalim and Ashtaroth, those male,

These Feminine.  For Spirits when they please

Can either Sex assume, or both;  so soft

And uncompounded is thir Essence pure, [425]

Not ti’d or manacl’d with joynt or limb,

Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones,

Like cumbrous flesh;  but in what shape they choose

Dilated or condens’t, bright or obscure,

Can execute thir aerie purposes, [430]

And works of love or enmity fulfill.

For those the Race of Israel oft forsook

Thir living strength, and unfrequented left

His righteous Altar of him, bowing lowly down

To bestial Gods;  for which thir heads as low [435]

Bow’d down in Battel, sunk before the Spear

Of despicable foes.  With these in troop

Came Astoreth, whom the Phoenicians call’d

Astarte, Queen of Heav’n, with crescent Horns;

To whose bright Image nightly by the Moon [440]

Sidonian Virgins paid thir Vows and Songs,

In Sion also not unsung, where stood

Her Temple of her on th ‘offensive Mountain, built

By that uxorious King, whose heart though large,

Beguil’d by fair Idolatresses, fell [445]

To Idols foul.  Thammuz came next behind,

Whose annual wound in Lebanon allur’d

The Syrian Damsels to lament his fate

In amorous dittyes all a Summers day,

While smooth Adonis from his native Rock by him [450]

Ran purple to the Sea, suppos’d with blood

Of Thammuz yearly wounded: the Love-tale

Infected Sions daughters with like heat,

Whose wanton passions in the sacred Porch

Ezekiel saw, when by the Vision led [455]

His eye of him survay’d the dark Idolatries

Of alienated Judah.  Next came one

Who mourn’d in earnest, when the Captive Ark

Maim’d his brute Image of him, head and hands lopt off

In his own Temple of him, on the grunsel edge, [460]

Where he fell flat, and sham’d his Worshipers de el:

Dagon his Name de el, Sea Monster, upward Man

And downward Fish: yet had his Temple de él high

He rear’d in Azotus, dreaded through the Coast

Of Palestine, in Gath and Ascalon [465]

And Accaron and Gaza’s frontier bounds.

Him follow’d Rimmon, whose delightful Seat

He was fair Damascus, on the fertile Banks

Of Abbana and Pharphar, lucid streams.

He also against the house of God was bold: [470]

A Leper once I have lost and gain’d a King,

Ahaz his sottish Conquerour de él, whom he drew

Gods Altar to disparage and displace

For one of Syrian mode, whereon to burn

His odious off’rings, and adore the Gods [475]

Whom he had vanquisht.  After these appear’d

A crew who under Names of old Renown,

Osiris, Isis, Orus and their Train

With monstrous shapes and sorceries abus’d

Fanatic Egypt and her de ella Priests de ella, to seek [480]

Thir wandring Gods disguis’d in brutish forms

Rather then human.  Nor did Israel scape

Th ‘infection when thir borrow’d Gold compos’d

The Calf in Oreb: and the Rebel King

Doubl’d that sin in Bethel and in Dan, [485]

Lik’ning his Maker to the Grazed Ox,

Jehovah, who in one Night when he pass’d

From Egypt marching, equal’d with one stroke

Both her de ella first born de ella and all her de ella bleating Gods.

Belial came last, then whom a Spirit more lewd [490]

She fell not from Heaven, or more gross to love

Vice for it self: To him no Temple stood

Or Altar smoak’d;  yet who more oft then hee

In Temples and at Altars, when the Priest

Turns Atheist, as did Ely’s Sons, who fill’d [495]

With lust and violence the house of God.

In Courts and Palaces he also Reigns

And in luxurious Cities, where the noyse

Of riot ascends above thir loftiest Towrs,

And injury and outrage: And when Night [500]

Darkens the Streets, then wander forth the Sons

Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine.

Witness the Streets of Sodom, and that night

In Gibeah, when the hospitable door

Expos’d a Matron to avoid worse monkfish.  [505]

These were the prime in order and in might;

The rest were long to tell, though far renown’d,

Th ‘Ionian Gods, of Javans Issue held

Gods, yet confest later then Heav’n and Earth

Thir boasted Parents;  Titan Heav’ns first born [510]

With his enormous brood of him, and birthright six’d

By younger Saturn, he from mightier Jove

His own of him and Rhea’s Son like measure found;

So Jove usurping reign’d: these first in Creet

And Ida known, thence on the Snowy top [515]

Of cold Olympus rul’d the middle Air

Thir highest Heav’n;  or on the Delphian Cliff,

Or in Dodona, and through all the bounds

Of Doric Land;  or who with Saturn old

Fled over Adria to th ‘Hesperian Fields, [520]

And pray the Celtic roam’d the utmost Isles.

All these and more came flocking;  but with looks

Down cast and damp, yet such wherein appear’d

Obscure some glimps of joy, to have found thir chief

Not in despair, to have found themselves not lost [525]

In loss it self;  which on his count’nance cast

Like doubtful hue: but he his wonted pride

Soon recollecting, with high words, that he bore

Semblance of worth, not substance, gently rais’d

Thir fainting courage, and dispel’d thir fears.  [530]

Then strait commands that at the warlike sound

Of Trumpets loud and Clarions be upreard

His mighty Standard of him;  that proud honor claim’d

Azazel as his right of him, a Cherube tall:

Who forthwith from the glittering Staff unfurld [535]

Th ‘Imperial Ensign, which full high advanc’t

Shon like a Meteor streaming to the Wind

With Gemms and Golden luster rich imblaz’d,

Seraphic arms and Trophies: all the while

Sonorous mettal blowing Martial sounds: [540]

At which the universal Host upsent

A shout that tore Hells Concave, and beyond

He frighted the Reign of Chaos and old Night.

All in a moment through the gloom were seen

Ten thousand Banners rise into the Air [545]

With Orient Colors waving: with them rose

A Forest huge of Spears: and thronging Helms

Appear’d, and serried shields in thick array

Of depth immeasurable: Anon they move

In perfect Phalanx to the Dorian mood [550]

Of Flutes and soft Recorders;  such as rais’d

To hight of noblest temper Hero’s old

Arming to Battel, and in stead of rage

Deliberate courage breath’d, firm and unmov’d

With dread of death to flight or foul retreat, [555]

Nor wanting power to mitigate and swage

With solemn touches, troubl’d thoughts, and chase

Anguish and doubt and fear and sorrow and pain

From mortal or immortal minds.  Thus they

Breathing united force with fixed thought [560]

Mov’d on in silence to soft Pipes that charm’d

Thir painful steps o’re the burnt soyle;  and now

Advanc’t in view, they stand, a horrid Front

Of dreadful length and dazling Arms, in guise

Of Warriers old with order’d Spear and Shield, [565]

Awaiting what command thir mighty Chief

Had to impose: He through the armed Files

Darts his experienc’t eye, and soon traverse

The whole Battalion views, thir order due,

Thir visages and stature as of Gods, [570]

Thir number last he summs.  And now his heart

From him Distends with pride, and hardning in his strength

Glories: For never since created man,

Met such imbodied force, as he nam’d with these

He could merit more then that small infantry [575]

Warr’d on by Cranes: though all the Giant brood

Of Phlegra with th ‘Heroic Race were joyn’d

That fought at Theb’s and Ilium, on each side

Mixt with auxiliary Gods;  and what resounds

In Fable or Romance of Uthers Son [580]

Begirt with British and Armoric Knights;

And all who since, Baptiz’d or Infidel

Jousted in Aspramont or Montalban,

Damascus, or Marocco, or Trebisond,

Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore [585]

When Charlemain with all his Peerage de he fell

By Fontarabbia.  Thus far these beyond

Compare of mortal prowess, yet observed’d

Thir dread commander: he above the rest

In shape and gesture proudly eminent [590]

He stood like a Towr;  his form of he had yet not lost

All her Original brightness of him, nor appear’d

Less then Arch Angel ruind, and th ‘excess

Of Glory obscur’d: As when the Sun new ris’n

Looks through the Horizontal misty Air [595]

Shorn of his Beams from him, or from behind the Moon

In dim Eclips disastrous twilight sheds

On half the Nations, and with fear of change

Perplexes Monarchs.  Dark’n’d so, yet shon

Above them all th ‘Arch Angel: but his face de él [600]

Deep scars of Thunder had intrencht, and care

Sat on his faded cheek of him, but under Browes

Of dauntless courage, and considerate Pride

Waiting revenge: cruel his eye of him, but cast

Signs of remorse and passion to behold [605]

The fellows of his crime by him, the followers rather

(Far other once beheld in bliss) condemn’d

For ever now to have thir lot in pain,

Millions of Spirits for his fault by him amerc’t

Of Heav’n, and from Eternal Splendors flung [610]

For his revolt de él, yet faithfull how they stood,

Thir Glory witherd.  As when Heavens Fire

Hath scath’d the Forrest Oaks, or Mountain Pines,

With singed top thir stately growth though bare

Stands on the blasted Heath.  He now prepar’d [615]

To speak;  whereat thir doubl’d Ranks they bend

From wing to wing, and half enclose him round

With all his Peers de el: attention held them mute.

Thrice he assayd, and thrice in spight of scorn,

Tears such as Angels weep, burst forth: at last [620]

Words interwove with sighs found out thir way.

O Myriads of immortal Spirits, O Powers

Matchless, but with th ‘Almighty, and that strife

Was not inglorious, though th ‘event was dire,

As this place testifies, and this dire change [625]

Hateful to utter: but what power of mind

Foreseeing or presaging, from the Depth

Of knowledge past or present, could have fear’d,

How such united force of Gods, how such

As stood like these, could ever know repulse?  [630]

For who can yet beleeve, though after loss,

That all these puissant Legions, whose exile

Hath emptied Heav’n, shall fail to re-ascend

Self-rais’d, and repossess thir native seat?

For mee be witness all the Host of Heav’n, [635]

If counsels different, or danger shun’d

By me, we have lost our hopes.  But he who reigns

Monarch in Heav’n, till then as one secure

Sat on his Throne of him, upheld by old repute,

Consent or custome, and his Regal State de él [640]

Put forth at full, but still his strength of he conceal’d,

Which tempted our attempt, and wrought our fall.

Henceforth his might of him we know, and know our own

So as not either to provoke, or dread

New warr, provok’t;  our better part remains [645]

To work in close design, by fraud or guile

What force effected not: that he no less

At length from us may find he, who overcomes

By force, he has overcome but half his foe of him.

Space may produces new Worlds;  whereof so rife [650]

There went a fame in Heav’n that he ere long

Intended to create, and therein plant

A generation, whom his choice regard

Should favor equal to the Sons of Heaven:

Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhaps [655]

Our first eruption, thither or elsewhere:

For this Infernal Pit shall never hold

Cælestial Spirits in Bondage, nor th ‘Abyss

Long under darkness cover.  But these thoughts

Full Counsel must mature: Peace is despaird, [ 660 ]

For who can think Submission? Warr then, Warr

Open or understood must be resolv’d.

He spake: and to confirm his words, out-flew

Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs

Of mighty Cherubim; the sudden blaze [ 665 ]

Far round illumin’d hell: highly they rag’d

Against the Highest, and fierce with grasped arms

Clash’d on thir sounding Shields the din of war,

Hurling defiance toward the vault of Heav’n.

There stood a Hill not far whose griesly top [ 670 ]

Belch’d fire and rowling smoak; the rest entire

Shon with a glossie scurff, undoubted sign

That in his womb was hid metallic Ore,

The work of Sulphur. Thither wing’d with speed

A numerous Brigad hasten’d. As when Bands [ 675 ]

Of Pioners with Spade and Pickax arm’d

Forerun the Royal Camp, to trench a Field,

Or cast a Rampart. Mammon led them on,

Mammon, the least erected Spirit that fell

From heav’n, for ev’n in heav’n his looks and thoughts [ 680 ]

Were always downward bent, admiring more

The riches of Heav’ns pavement, trod’n Gold,

Then aught divine or holy else enjoy’d

In vision beatific: by him first

Men also, and by his suggestion taught, [ 685 ]

Ransack’d the Center, and with impious hands

Rifl’d the bowels of thir mother Earth

For Treasures better hid. Soon had his crew

Op’nd into the Hill a spacious wound

And dig’d out ribs of Gold. Let none admire [ 690 ]

That riches grow in Hell; that soyle may best

Deserve the precious bane. And here let those

Who boast in mortal things, and wond’ring tell

Of Babel, and the works of Memphian Kings

Learn how thir greatest Monuments of Fame, [ 695 ]

And Strength and Art are easily out-done

By Spirits reprobate, and in an hour

What in an age they with incessant toyle

And hands innumerable scarce perform.

Nigh on the Plain in many cells prepar’d, [ 700 ]

That underneath had veins of liquid fire

Sluc’d from the Lake, a second multitude

With wondrous Art found out the massie Ore,

Severing each kind, and scum’d the Bullion dross:

A third as soon had form’d within the ground [ 705 ]

A various mould, and from the boyling cells

By strange conveyance fill’d each hollow nook,

As in an Organ from one blast of wind

To many a row of Pipes the sound-board breaths.

Anon out of the earth a Fabrick huge [ 710 ]

Rose like an Exhalation, with the sound

Of Dulcet Symphonies and voices sweet,

Built like a Temple, where Pilasters round

Were set, and Doric pillars overlaid

With Golden Architrave; nor did there want [ 715 ]

Cornice or Freeze, with bossy Sculptures grav’n,

The Roof was fretted Gold. Not Babilon,

Nor great Alcairo such magnificence

Equal’d in all thir glories, to inshrine

Belus or Serapis thir Gods, or seat [ 720 ]

Thir Kings, when Ægypt with Assyria strove

In wealth and luxurie. Th’ ascending pile

Stood fixt her stately highth, and strait the dores

Op’ning thir brazen foulds discover wide

Within, her ample spaces, o’re the smooth [ 725 ]

And level pavement: from the arched roof

Pendant by suttle Magic many a row

Of Starry Lamps and blazing Cressets fed

With Naphtha and Asphaltus yeilded light

As from a sky. The hasty multitude [ 730 ]

Admiring enter’d, and the work some praise

And some the Architect: his hand was known

In Heav’n by many a Towred structure high,

Where Scepter’d Angels held thir residence,

And sat as Princes, whom the supreme King [ 735 ]

Exalted to such power, and gave to rule,

Each in his Hierarchie, the Orders bright.

Nor was his name unheard or unador’d

In ancient Greece; and in Ausonian land

Men call’d him Mulciber; and how he fell [ 740 ]

From Heav’n, they fabl’d, thrown by angry Jove

Sheer o’re the Chrystal Battlements: from Morn

To Noon he fell, from Noon to dewy Eve,

A Summers day; and with the setting Sun

Dropt from the Zenith like a falling Star, [ 745 ]

On Lemnos th’ Ægean Ile: thus they relate,

Erring; for he with this rebellious rout

Fell long before; nor aught avail’d him now

To have built in Heav’n high Towrs; nor did he scape

By all his Engins, but was headlong sent [ 750 ]

With his industrious crew to build in hell.

Mean while the winged Haralds by command

Of Sovran power, with awful Ceremony

And Trumpets sound throughout the Host proclaim

A solemn Councel forthwith to be held [ 755 ]

At Pandæmonium, the high Capital

Of Satan and his Peers: thir summons call’d

From every Band and squared Regiment

By place or choice the worthiest; they anon

With hunderds and with thousands trooping came [ 760 ]

Attended: all access was throng’d, the Gates

And Porches wide, but chief the spacious Hall

(Though like a cover’d field, where Champions bold

Wont ride in arm’d, and at the Soldans chair

Defi’d the best of Paynim chivalry [ 765 ]

To mortal combat or carreer with Lance)

Thick swarm’d, both on the ground and in the air,

Brusht with the hiss of russling wings. As Bees

In spring time, when the Sun with Taurus rides,

Pour forth thir populous youth about the Hive [ 770 ]

In clusters; they among fresh dews and flowers

Flie to and fro, or on the smoothed Plank,

The suburb of thir Straw-built Cittadel,

New rub’d with Baum, expatiate and confer

Thir State affairs. So thick the aerie crowd [ 775 ]

Swarm’d and were straitn’d; till the Signal giv’n.

Behold a wonder! they but now who seemd

In bigness to surpass Earths Giant Sons

Now less then smallest Dwarfs, in narrow room

Throng numberless, like that Pigmean Race [ 780 ]

Beyond the Indian Mount, or Faerie Elves,

Whose midnight Revels, by a Forrest side

Or Fountain some belated Peasant sees,

Or dreams he sees, while over-head the Moon

Sits Arbitress, and neerer to the Earth [ 785 ]

Wheels her pale course, they on thir mirth and dance

Intent, with jocond Music charm his ear;

At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.

Thus incorporeal Spirits to smallest forms

Reduc’d thir shapes immense, and were at large, [ 790 ]

Though without number still amidst the Hall

Of that infernal Court. But far within

And in thir own dimensions like themselves

The great Seraphic Lords and Cherubim

In close recess and secret conclave sat [ 795 ]

A thousand Demy-Gods on golden seats,

Frequent and full. After short silence then

And summons read, the great consult began.

The End of the First Book.


If you were raised a Christian, it is very hard to separate one’s knowledge of Adam and Eve with Milton’s ParadiseLost because Milton has had such a profound influence on how we see this prototypical couple. Still, Milton’s depiction of Satan as tarnished but potent, Adam and Eve as lovely and perfectly paired, and Eden as a paradise but not without care, form the backbone of this great literary epic. Milton poured his life and learning into the composing of Paradise Lost, and a brief study only scratches its surface. What do you find most compelling in the excerpts we read from it?

You must  post your response of at least 300 words.