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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
Weakning the sceptre 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.

He ceas'd; and Satan stay'd 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 indanger'd, than when Argo pass'd
Through Bosporus betwixt the justling rocks :
Or when Ulysses on the larbord shunnid
Charybdis, and by the other whirlpool steer'd.
So he with difficulty' and labor hard 1021

Mov'd on, with difficulty' and labor he;
But he once past, soon after when Man fell,
Strange alteration ! Sin and Death amain
Following his track, such was the will of Heav'n,
Pav'd after him a broad and beaten way 1 026
Over the dark abyss, whose boiling gulf
Tamely endur'd a bridge of wondrous l'ength
From Hell continued reaching th' outmost orb
Of this frail world, by which the spi'rits perverse
With easy intercourse pass to and fro 1031
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 Heav'n
Shoots far into the bosom of dim Night 1036
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 saphir, 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

The End of the Second Book,

BOOK III.

The Argument. . 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; foretells the success of Satan in perverting Mankind; clears bis own justice and wisdom from all imputation, having created Man free and able enough to have withstood his Tempter; vet 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 extended towards Man without the satisfaction of divine justice ; Man hath offended the majesty of God by aspiring 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 ransome for Man: the Father accepts him, ordains his incarnation, pronounces his exaltation 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 convex of this world's outermost orb; where wandering he first finds a place, since called the Limbo of Vanity; what persons and things fly up thither; thence comes to the gate of Heaven, described ascending by stairs, and the waters above the firmainent 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 of 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 ? since God is light,
And never but in unapproached light :
Dwelt froin eternity, dwelt then in thee,

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
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 picrcing ray, and find no dawn;
So thick a drop serene hath quench'd their orbs, 21
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 flowery brooks beneath, 30 |
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 Mæonides,

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