Page images





844449A Satan now in prospect of Eden, and nigb the place

where he must now attempt the bold enterprize which be undertook alone against God and Man, falls into many doubts with bimself, and many passions, fear, envy, and despair ; but at length confirms himself in evil, journeys on to Paradise, whose outward prospect and situation is described, overleaps the bounds, sits in the shape of a cormorant on the Tree of Life, as highest in the garden, to look about him. The garden described; Satan's first sight of Adam and Eve; bis wonder at their excellent form and bappy state, but with resolution to work their fall; overbears their discourse, thence gathers that the Tree of Knowledge was forbidden them to eat of, under penalty of Deatb; and thereon intends to found his temptation, by seducing them to transgress; then leaves them a while, to know further of their state by some other means. Mean while Uriel, descending ona sun-beam, warns Gabriel,wbo bad in charge the gate of Paradise, that some evil Spirit had escaped the deep, and passed at noon by bis sphere in the shape of a good Angel down to Paradise, discovered after by his furious gestures in the Mount. Gabriel promises to find bim ere morning Night coming on, Adam and Eve discourse of going to their rest : their bower described; their evening worship. Gabriel drawing forth bis bands of night-watch to walk the round of Paradise, appoints two strong Angels to Adam's bower, lest the evil Spirit should be there doing some barm to Adam or Eve sleeping ; there they find him at the ear of Eve, tempting her in a dream, and bring bim, though unwilling, to Gabriel; by whom

questioned, be scornfully answers, prepares resistance, but bindered by a sign from Heaven, flies out of Paradise.





FOR that warning voice, which he who saw
Th’Apocalypse heard


in Heav'n aloud, Then when the Dragon, put to second rout, Came furious down to be reveng'd on men, « Woe to th'inhabitants on earth !” that now,5 While time was, our first parents had been warn'd The coming of their secret foe, and ’scap'd, Haply so 'scap'd his mortal snare: for now Satan, now first inflam'd with rage, came down, The tempter ere th'accuser of mankind, To wreck on innocent frail man his loss Of that first battle, and his flight to Hell : Yet not rejoicing in his speed, though bold Far off and fearless, nor with cause to boast, Begins his dire attempt, which nigh the birth 15 Now rolling, boils in his tumultuous breast, And, like a dev'lish engine, back recoils Upon himself: horror and doubt distract

IO 20

His troubl’d thoughts, and from the bottom stir
The Hell within him; for within him Hell
He brings, and round about him; nor from Hell
One step no more than from himself can fly
By change of place: now Conscience wakes Despair
That slumber’d, wakes the bitter memory
Of what he was, what is, and what must be 25
Worse ; of worse deeds worse suff'rings must

Sometimes tow'rds Eden, which now in his view
Lay pleasant, his griev'd look he fixes sad;
Sometimestow’rds Heav'nandthefull-blazing Sun,
Which now sat high in his meridian tow'r: 30
Then much revolving, thus in sighs began:

O thou that with surpassing glory crown'd,
Look'st from thy sole dominion like the God
Of this new world ; at whose sight all the stars
Hide their diminish'd heads; to thee I call, 35
But with no friendly voice, and add thy name,
O Sun, to tell thee how I hate thy beams,
That bring to my remembrance from what state
I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere;
Till pride and worse ambition threw me down 40
Warring in Heav'n against Heav'n's matchless

Ah wherefore! he deserv'd no such return
From me, whom he created what I was
In that bright eminence, and with his good
Upbraided none; nor was his service hard.

45 What could be less than to afford him praise,

The easiest


him thanks,
How due! yet all his good prov’d ill in me,
And wrought but malice; lifted up so high,
I sdeign'd subjection, and thought one step higher
Would set me high’st, and in a moment quit 51
The debt immense of endless gratitude,
So burdensome still paying, still to owe,
Forgetful what from Him I still receiv'd,
And understood not that a grateful mind 55
By owing owes not, but still pays, at once
Indebted and discharg'd: what burden then ?
O had his pow'rful destiny ordain'd
Me some inferior Angel, I had stood
Then happy; no unbounded hope had rais’d 60
Ambition. Yet, why not? some other Pow'r
As great might have aspir'd, and me, tho' mean,
Drawn to his part; but other Pow’rs as great
Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within
Or from without, to all temptations arm’d. 65
Hadst thou the same free will and pow'r to stand?
Thou hadst. Whom hast thou then or what to

But Heav'n's free love dealt equally to all ?
Be then his love accurs'd, since love or hate,
To me alike, it deals eternal woe.

Nay, curs'd be thou; since against his thy will
Chose freely what it now so justly rues.
Me miserable! which way shall I fly
Infinite wrath, and infinite despair ?

way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell;


« PreviousContinue »