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I may affert eternal Providence,
And juftify the ways of God to men.



Say firft, for Heav'n hides nothing from thy view, Nor the deep tract of hell; fay firft what caufe Mov'd our grand parents, in that happy state, Favour'd of heav'n fo highly, to fall off From their Creator, and tranfgrefs his will, For one restraint, lords of the world befides? Who first feduc'd them to that foul revolt? Th' infernal Serpent; he it was, whofe guile, Stirr'd up with envy and revenge, deceiv'd The mother of mankind, what time his pride Had caft him out from heav'n, with all his hoft Of rebel angels; by whofe aid aspiring To fet himself in glory' above his peers, He trufted to have equall'd the Moft High, If he oppos'd; and, with ambitious aim Against the throne and monarchy of God, Rais'd impious war in heav'n, and battle proud, With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power Hurl'd healong flaming from th' ethereal sky, With hideous ruin and combustion, down To bottomlefs perdition, there to dwell In adamantine chains and penal fire, Who durft defy th' Omnipotent to arms,



Nine times the space that meafures day and night 50 To mortal men, he with his horrid crew

Lay vanquifh'd, rolling in the fiery gulf,
Confounded though immortal: but his doom
Referv'd him to more wrath; for now the thought
Both of loft happiness and lafting pain

Torments him. Round he throws his baleful eyes,
That witness'd huge affliction and dismay
Mix'd with obdurate pride and ftedfast hate:
At once, as far as angels ken, he views



The difmal fituation wafte and wild;

A dungeon horrible on all fides round

As one great furnace flam'd, yet from thofe flames No light, but rather darkness visible

Serv'd only to discover fights of woe,


Regions of forrow, doleful fhades, where peace 65

And reft can never dwell, hope never comes
That comes to all; but torture without end
Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed
With ever-burning fülphur unconsum'd:
Such place eternal Juftice had prepar'd
For those rebellious, here their pris'n 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!
There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelm'd
With floods and whirlwinds of tempeftuous fire,
He foon difcerns; and welt'ring by his fide
One next himself in pow'r, and next in crime,
Long after known in Palestine, and nam'd
Beelzebub. To whom th' arch-enemy,



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And thence in heav'n call'd Satan, with bold words Breaking the horrid filence, thus began.

If thou beeft 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 outshine Myriads, tho' bright! if he whom mutual league, United thoughts and counfels, equal hope

And hazard in the glorious enterprize,

Join'd with me once, now mifery hath join'd
In equal ruin into what pit thou feest


From what height fall'n, fo much the ftronger prov'd
He with his thunder: and till then who knew
The force of thofe dire arms? Yet not for those


Nor what the potent Victor in his rage
Can elfe inflict, do I repent or change,

Tho' chang'd in outward luftre, that fix'd mind,
And high difdain from fenfe of injur'd merit,
That with the Mightieft rais'd me to contend;
And to the fierce contention brought along.
Innumerable force of fpirits arm'd,

95 ›


That durft dislike his reign, and me preferring,
His utmost pow'r with adverfe pow'r oppos'd
In dubious battle on the plains of heav'n,

And fhook his throne. What tho' the field be loft?`
All is not loft; th' unconquerable will,

And ftudy of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to fubmit or yield,
And what is elfe not to be overcome;
That glory never fhall his wrath or might
Extort from me. To bow and fue for grace
With fuppliant knee, and deify his pow'r,
Who from the terror of this arm fo late
Doubted his empire; that were low indeed, '
That were an ignominy' and fhame beneath
This downfall; fince by fate the strength of gods
And this empyreal fubftance cannot fail;
Since through experience of this great event
In arms not worfe, in forefight much advanc'd,
We may with more fuccefsful hope refolve
To wage by force or guile eternal war,
Irreconcileable to our grand foe,
Who now triumphs, and in th' excefs of joy
Sole reigning holds the tyranny of heav'n.

So fpake th' apoftate angel, tho' in pain;
Vaunting aloud, but rack'd with deep defpair:
And him thus anfwer'd foon his bold compeer.

O Prince, O Chief of many throned pow'rs, That led th' imbattl'd Seraphim to war






Under thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds

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Fearless, endanger'd heav'n's perpetual King,
And put to proof his high fupremacy,

Whether upheld by ftrength, or chance, or fate;
Too well I fee, and rue the dire event,

That with fad overthrow and foul defeat
Hath loft us heav'n, and all this mighty hoft
In horrible destruction laid thus low,
As far as gods and heav'nly effences


Can perifh: for the mind and fp'rit remains
Invincible, and vigour foon returns,


Though all our glory' extinct, and happy state

Here fwallow'd up in endlefs mifery.

But what if he our conqu'ror (whom I now

Of force believe almighty, fince no less

Than fuch could have o'erpow'r'd fuch force as ours)

Have left us this our fp'rit and strength entire


Strongly to fuffer and fupport our pains,
That we may fo fuffice his vengeful ire,
Or do him mightier fervice as his thralls
By right of war, whate'er his business be,
Here in the heart of hell to work in fire,
Or do his errands in the gloomy deep;
What can it then avail, though yet we feel
Strength undiminish'd, or eternal being

To undergo eternal punishment?

Whereto with speedy words th' arch-fiend reply'd.
Fall'n Cherub, to be weak is miserable

Doing or fuff'ring: but of this be sure,
To do ought good never will be our task,
But ever to do ill our fole delight,
As be'ing the contrary to his high will
Whom we refift. If then his providence
Out of our evil feek to bring forth good,
Our labour must be to pervert that end,





And out of good still to find means of evil;
Which oft-times may fucceed, fo as perhaps
Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb
His inmost counfels from their deftin'd aim.
But see the angry Victor hath recall'd
His minifters of vengeance and purfuit.


Back to the gates of heav'n: the fulph'rous hail
Shot after us in ftorm, o'erblown, hath laid
The fiery furge, that from the precipice


Of heav'n receiv'd us falling; and the thunder,
Wing'd with red light'ning and impetuous rage, 1755
Perhaps hath spent his fhafts, and ceafes now
To bellow through the vaft and boundlefs deep.
Let us not flip th' occafion, whether fcorn,

Or fatiate fury yield it from our foe.

Seeft thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild, 180
The feat of defolation, void of light,

Save what the glimm'ring of these livid flames
Cafts pale and dreadful? Thither let us tend
From off the toffing of these fiery waves;

There reft, if any rest can harbour there;

And reaffembling our afflicted pow'rs,


Confult how we may henceforth most offend
Our enemy, our own lofs how repair,

How overcome this dire calamity,

What reinforcement we may gain from hope, 190-
If not, what refolution from despair.

Thus Satan talking to his nearest mate
With head uplift above the wave, and eyes
That fparkling blaz'd, his other parts befides
Prone on the flood, extended long and large
Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge
As whom the fables name of monstrous fize,
Titanian, or earth-born, that warr'd on Jove,
Briareus or Typhon, whom the den



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