Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][merged small][merged small]

Engraven from an original Picture for the 7th bcing the supplimental Number to the

New Series of La Belle Assemblee.

Published July 1.1810, by J.Bell Southampton Street, Strand, London.

A POEM IN TWELVE BOOKS.

BY •

JOHN MILTON.

BOOK I.

THE ARGUMENT. This first Book proposes, first in brief, the whole subject, Man's disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise wherein he was placed: then touches the prime cause of his fall, the Serpent, or rather Satan in the Serpent; who revolting from God, and drawing to his side many legions of Angels, was by the command of God driven out of heaven with all his crew into the great deep. Which action passed over, the poem hasters into the midst of things, pissenting Satan with his Angels now falling into hell described here, not in the centre (fur heaven and earth may be supposed as yet not made, certainly not yet accursed) but in a place of utter darkness, fitlicst called Chaos. Here Satan with his Angels lyiug on the burning lake, thunder-struck aud astonished, after a certain space recovers, as from confusion, calls up him who next in order and dignity lay by him; they confer of their miserable fall, Satau awakeny all his legions, who lay till then confounded. They rise, their numbers, array of battle, their chief leaders named, according to the idols knowu afterwards in Canaan and the countries adjoining. To these Satan directshis speech, comforts them with the hope of reyajuing heaven, but tells them lastly of a new world and new kind of creature to be created, according to an ancient prophecy 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 prophecy, and what to determine thereon, he refers to a full council. What his associates thence attempt. Pandemonium the palace of Satan rises, suddenly built out of the deep. The infernal peers there sit in council.

Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit The mother of mankind, what time his pride
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste Had cast bim out from heav'n, with all his host
Brought death into the world, and all our woe, Of rebel augels, by whose aid aspiring
With loss of Eden, till one greater Mau

To set himself in glory above his peers,
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat, He trusted to lmve equall'd the Most Higb,
Sing, heav'nly Muse, that on the secret top If he oppos’d; and with ambitious aim
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire [Seed, | Against the throne and monarchy of God
That Shepherd, who first taught the Chosen Rais'd impious war iu heav'n and battle proud
In the beginning how the heavens and earth With rain attempt. Him the Almighty Power
Rose out of chaos: or if Sion hill [flow'd || Hurld headlong flaming from the etherealsky
Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that With hideous ruiu and combustion down
Fast by the oracle of God; I thence

To bottomless perdition, there to dwell Invoke thy aid to my advent'rous song,

In adamantine chains and penal fire, That with no middle flight intends to soar Who durst defy th’Omnipotent to arms. Above th' Aomian niount, while it pursues

Nine times the space that measures day and Things umattempted yet in pose or rhyme.

night And chietly Thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer To mortal men, he with his horrid crew Before all temples tl' upriglat heart and pure, | Lay vanquish’d, rolling in the fiery gulf Instruct me, for Thou know'st; Thou from Coufoundeil, though immortal : but his doom the first

[spread | Reserv'd him to more wrath; for now the Wast present, and with mighty wings out thought Dove-like satst brooding on the vast abyss, Both of lost happiness and lasting pain [eyes, And mad'st it pregnant : what in me is dark Torments him; round he throws his baleful Illumine, what is low raise and support!

That witness a huge affliction and dismay That to the height of this great argument Mixt with obdurate pride and stedfast bate : I may assert eternal Providence,

At once, as far as augels' ken, he views Aud justify the ways of God to men. [view, The dismal situation waste and wild;

Say tirst, for Heav'n hides nothing from thy | A dungeon horrible on all sides round Nor the deep tract of hell, say first what cause As one great furnace fan'd, yet from those Dov'd our grand parents, in that happy state,

fames Favour'd of Heav'u so highly, to fall off No light, but rather darkness visible, From their Creator, and transgress lis will Serv'd only to discover sights of woe, For one restraint, lords of the world besides? Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where Peace Who first reduc'd them to that foul revolt? And Rest can vever dwell, Hope never comes Tl'inferna! Serpent; he it was, whose guile, That comes to all; but torture without end Stirr'd up with envy and revenge, deceiv'd Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed No.I.

B

With ever-burning sulphur unconsum'd : We may with more successful hope resolve
Such place eternal Justice hath prepard To wage by force or guile eternal war,
For those rebellious, here their prison ordain'd Irreconcilable to our grand foe,
In utter darkness, and their portion set Who now triumphs, and in th' excess of joy
As far remov'd from God and light of heav'n Sole reigning holds the tyranny of heav'n.
As from the center tbrice to th'utmost pole. So spake th' apostate angel though in pain,
O how unlike the place from whence they fell! Vaunting aloud, but rackd with deep despair ;
There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelm'd And him thus answer'd soon bis bold compeer:
With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous O Prince! O Chief of many throned powers,
fire,

That led th’imbattled seraphim to war
He soon discerns, and welt'ring hy his side Under thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds
One next himself in pow'r, and next in crime, Fearless, indanger'd heav'n's perpetual King,
Long after known in Palestine, and nam'd And put to proof his bigh supremacy,
Beelzebub. To whom th' Arch-enemy, Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate,
And thence in beav'n call'd Satan, with bold | Too well I see and rue the dire event,
words

That with sad overthrow and foul defeat Breaking the horrid silence, thus begaa: Hath lost us heav'n and all this mighty host If thou beest he; but o how fallin! bow In horrible destruction laid thus low, chang'd

As far as gods and heav'uly essences From him, who, in the happy realms of light, I Can perish: for the mind and spirit remains Cloth'd with transcendent brightness didst Invincible, avd vigour soon returns, outshine

(league, Though all our glory' extinct, and happy state Myriads though bright! If he who mutual Here swallow'd up in endless misery. United tboughts and counsels, equal hope But what if he our conqu’ror (whom I now And hazard in the glorious enterprise,

Of force believe Almighty, siuce no less Joiu'd with me ovce, now misery bath joiu'd Than such could have o'erpow'r'd such force In equal rain : into what pit thou seest

as ours) From what height fall'o, so much the stronger | Have left us this our spirit and strength entire prou'd

Strongly to suffer and support our pains, He with his thunder: and till then who knew

That we may so suffice bis vengeful ire, The force of those dire arms? yet not for those, | Or do him mightier service as bis thralls Nor what the potent Victor in his rage

By right of war, whate'er his bus'ness be, Can else inflict, do I repent or change,

Here in the heart of bell to work in fire, Though chang'd in outward lustre, that fix'd | Or do his errands in the gloomy deep; mind,

What can it then avail, though yet we feel And high disdain from sense of injurd merit, Strength undiminishid, or elernal being That with the Mightiest rais'd jae to contend, To undergo eternal punisbment? And to the fierce contention brought along Whereto with speedy words th' Arch-fiend Innumerable force of spirits arm’d,

reply'd : That durst dislike his reign, and me preferring, Fall'u Cherub, to be weak is miserable, His utmost pow'r with adverse pow'r oppos'd Doing or suffering: but of this be sure, In dubious battle on the plains of heav'n, To do ought good never will be our task, And shook his throne. What though the field | But ever to do ill our sole delight, be lost?

A3 being the contrary to lis higli will All is not lost; th' uuconquerable will, Whom we resist. If then bis provideuce And study of revenge, immortal hate,

Out of our evil seek to bring forth good, And courage never to submit or yield,

Our labour must be to pervert that end, And what is else not to be overcome;

Aud out of good still tu find means of eyil; That glory never shall his wrathi or might Which oft-times may suceced, so as perbaps Extort from me.

To how and sue for grace Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb With suppliant knee, and deify his power, His in most counsels from their destin'd aimn; Who from the terror of this armı so late

But see the augry Victor liath recall's Doubted his empire; that were low indeed, His ministers of vengeance and pursuit That were an ignominy, and shame beueath Back to the gates of heav'a; the sulpl'rous This dowufall; since by fate the strength of hail gods

Shot after us in storm, v'erblown hath laid And this empyreal substance cannot fail, The fiery surge, that from the precipice Since through experience of tbis great event, Of heav'n receiv'd us falling; and the thunder, la arms out worse, in foresight much adranc'd, Wing'd with red lighting and impetuous rage,

« PreviousContinue »