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PARADISE LOST.

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 hastens into the midst of things, presenting Satan with his Angels now fallen into Hell, described here, not in the centre (for Heaven and Earth may be supposed as yet not made, certainly not yet accursed) but in a place of utter darkness, fitliest called Chaos: here Satan with his Angels lying on the burning lake, thunderstruck and 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. Satan awakens all his legions, who lay till then in the same manner confounded: they rise, their numbers, array of battle, their chief leaders named, according to the idols known afterward in Canaan and the countries adjoining. To these Satan directs his speech, 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 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.

Or man's first disobedience, and the fruit

Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater man

Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
Sing Heav'nly Muse, that on the secret top

Milton's Poetical Works.

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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

Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flow'd
Fast by the oracle of God; I thence
Invoke thy aid to my advent'ro
'rous song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above th' Aonian mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet, in prose or rhyme.
And chiefly Thou, O Sp'rit, that dost prefer
Before all temples th' upright heart and pure,

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Instruct me, for Thou know'st: Thou from the first
Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread
Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast abyss,

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And mad'st it pregnant. What in me is dark
Illumine, what is low raise and support,

That to the height of this great argument

I may assert eternal Providence,

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And justify 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
Moved our grand parents, in that happy state,
Favour'd of Heav'n so highly, to fall off
From their Creator, and transgress his will
For one restraint, lords of the world besides?
Who first seduced them to that foul revolt?
Th' infernal Serpent: he it was whose guile,
Stirr❜d up with envy and revenge, deceived
The mother of mankind, what time his pride
Had cast him out from Heav'n, with all his host

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With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power
Hurl'd headlong flaming from th' ethereal sky,
With hideous ruin and combustion, down
To bottomless perdition; there to dwell
In adamantine chains and penal fire,
Who durst defy th' Omnipotent to arms.

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Nine times the space that measures day and night
To mortal men, he with his horrid crew
Lay vanquish'd, rolling in the fiery gulf,
Confounded though immortal: But his doom
Reserved him to more wrath; for now the thought
Both of lost happiness and lasting pain

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Torments him; round he throws his baleful eyes,

That witness'd huge affliction and dismay,

Mix'd with obdurate pride and steadfast hate:
At once, as far as angels' ken, he views
The dismal situation waste and wild:

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A dungeon horrible on all sides round,

As one great furnace flamed; yet from those flames
No light; but rather darkness visible
Served only to discover sights of woe,
Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where
And rest can never dwell: hope never comes,
That comes to all: but torture without end
Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed

peace

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With ever-burning sulphur unconsumed:
Such place eternal justice had prepared
For those rebellious; here their pris'n ordain'd
In utter darkness, and their portion set
As far removed from God and light of heaven,
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 tempestuous fire,
He soon discerns, and welt'ring by his side
One next himself in power, and next in crime,
Long after known in Palestine, and named

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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 fallen! how changed
From him who, in the happy realms of light

Cloth'd with transcendent brightness didst outshine
Myriads though bright! If he whom mutual league,
United thoughts and counsels, equal hope

And hazard in the glorious enterprise,

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Join'd with me once, now misery hath join'd

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In equal ruin: into what pit thou seest

From what height fall'n, so much the stronger proved

He with his thunder: and till then who knew

The force of those dire arms? yet not for those

Nor what the potent victor in his rage

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Can else inflict, do I repent or change,

Though changed in outward lustre, that fix'd mind

And high disdain from sense of injured merit,

That with the Mightiest raised me to contend,

And to the fierce contention brought along
Innumerable force of Spirits arm'd,

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That durst dislike his reign, and me preferring

His utmost pow'r with adverse pow'r opposed

In dubious battle on the plains of Heav'n,

And shook his throne. What though the field be lost?

All is not lost; th' unconquerable will

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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
Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace
With suppliant knee, and deify his pow'r,

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Who from the terror of this arm so late
Doubted his empire; that were low indeed!
That were an ignominy and shame beneath

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This downfall; since by fate the strength of Gods
And this empyreal substance cannot fail,

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