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THE ARGUMENT. Salan having compassed the earth, with meditated guila returns, as a mist, by night into Paradise ; enters into the serpent sleeping. Adam and Eve in the morning go forth to their labours, which Eve proposes tu divide in several places, each labouring apart: Adam consents not, alleging the dans ger, lest that enemy, of whom they were forewarned, should attempt her found alone. Eve, loth to be thought not cir. eumspect or firm enough, urges her going apart, the rather desirous to make trial of her strength. Adam at last yields; the serpent inds her alone; his sublile approach, first gas Ing, then speaking ; with much flattery extolling Eve above all other creatures. Eve, wondering to hear the serpent speak, asks how he attained to human speech, and such understand. ing, not till now: the serpent answers, that, by tasting of a certain tree in the garden, he attained both to speech and res. son till then void of both. Eve requires him to bring her to that tree, and finds it to be the tree of knowledge forbidden : the serpent, now grown bolder, with many wiles anal arguments, induces her at length to eat; she, pleased with she taste, deliberates a while whether to impart thereof to Adam or not; at last brings him of the fruit; relates what persuaded her to eat thereof. Adam, at first amazed, but perceiving her lost, resolves, through vehemence of love, to perish with her; and, extenuating the trespass, eats also of the fruit; the effects thereof in them both; they seek to cover their nakednes; then fall to variance and accusation of one another,

No more of salk whore God or angel guest
With man, as with his friend, familiar us'd
To sit indulgent, and with him partake
Rural repast $ permitting him the while
Venial discourse unblam'd. I now must chango
Those notes to tragic; foul distrust, and breach
Disloyal on the part of man, revolt
and disobedience : on the part of Heaven
Now alienated, distance and distaste

Anger and just rebuke, and judgment given,
That brought into this world a world of woe,
Sin and her shadow Death, and Misery
Death's harbinger : sad task, yet argument
Not less but more heroic than the wrath
Of stern Achilles on his foe pursued
Thrice fugitive about Troy wall; or rage
Of Turnus for Lavinia disespous'd;
Or Neptune's ire, or Juno's, that so long
Perplex'd the Greek, and Cytherea's son,
If answerable style I can obtain
Of my celestial patroness, who deigns
Her nightly visitation unimplor'd,
And dictates to me slumbering; or inspiros
Easy my unpremeditated verse :
Since first this subject for heroic song
Pleas'd me long choosing, and beginning late ;
Not sedulous by nature to indite
Wars, hitherto the only argument
Heroic deem'd ; chief mastery to dissect
With long and tedious havoc fabled knights,
In battles feign'd; the better fortitude
Of patience and heroic martyrdom
Unsung; or to describe races and games,
Or tilting furniture, imblazon'd shields,
Impresses quaint, caparisons and steeds,
Bases and tinsel trappings, gorgeous knights
At joust and tournament; theu marsball'd feast
Serv'd up in hall with sewers and seneschals;
The skill of artifice or office mean,
Not that which justly gives heroic name
To person or to poem. Me, of these
Nor skill'd nor studious, higher argument
Reinains; sufficient of itself to raise
That name, unless an age too late, or cold
Climate, or years, damp my intended wing
Depressed ; and much they may, if all be mine
Not hers who brings it nightly to my ear.

The sun was gink, and after him the star

Of Hesperus, whose office is to bring
Twilight upon the earth, short arbiter
"Twixt day and night, and not from end to end
Night's hemisphere had veil'd the horizon round;
When Saran, who late fled before the threats
Of Gabriel out of Eden, now improv'd
In meditated fraud and malice, bent
On man's destruction, maugre what might hap
Of heavier on himself, fearless return'd.
By night he fled, and at midnight return'd
From compassing the earth ; cautious of day,
Since Uriel, regent of the sun, descried
His entrance, and forewarn'd the cherubim
That kept their watch : thence tell of anguish drie
The space of seven continued nights be rode (ven,
With darkness : thrice the equinoctial line
He circled ; four times cross'd the car of night
From pole to pole, traversing each colure ;
On the eighth return'd; and on the coast averse
From entrance or cherubic watch, by stealth
Found unsuspected way. There was a place,
Now not, though sin, not time, first wrought the
Where Tigris, at the foot of Paradise, (change
Into a gulf shot under ground, till part
Rose up a fountain by the tree of life ;
an with the river sunk, and with it rose,
Satan involv'd in rising mist; then sought
Where to lie hid ; sea he had search'd, and land
From Eden over Pontus and the pool
Mæotis, up beyond the river Ob;
Downward as far antarctic : and in length,
West from Orontes to the ocean barr'd
At Darien; thence to the land where flows
Ganges and Indus: thus the orb he roam'd
With narrow search ; and with inspection deep
Consider'd every creature, which of all
Most opportune might serve his wiles ; and found
The serpent subtlest beast of all the field.
Him after long debate, irro aliite

Of thoaghts revolv'd, his final rentenos chose
Fit vessel, fittest imp of fraud, in whom
'To enter, and his dark suggestions hide
From sharpest sight : for, in the wily snake
Whatever slights, none would suspicious marker
As from his wit and native subtlety
Proceeding; which, in other beasts observ'd,
Doubt might beget of diabolic power
Active within, beyond the sense of brute.
Thus he resolvd, but first from inward grief
His bursting passion into plaints thus pour'd :

6 () earth, how like to heaven, if not preferr'd
More justly, seat worthier of gods, as built
With second thoughts, reforming what was old !
For what god, after better, worse would build ?
Terrestrial heaven, danc'd round by other heavens
That shine, yet bear their bright officious lamps,
Light above light, for thee alone as seems,
In thee concentering all their precious beams
Of sacred influence ! As God in beaven
18 center, yet extends to all; so thou,
Cent'ring, receivest from all these orbe : in thee,
Not in themselves, all their known virtue appears
Productive in herb, plant, and nobler birth
Of creatures animate with gradual life
Of growth, sense, reason, all summ'd up in man.
With what delight could I have walk'd thee round,
If I could joy in aught, sweet interchange
Of hill and valley, rivers, woods, and plains,
Now land, now sea, and shores with forest crown'd,
Kocks, dens, and caves ! But I in none of these
Find place or refuge ; and the more I see

; Pleasures about me, so much more I feel Torment within me, as from the hateful siege Of contraries : all good to me becomes Bane, and in heaven much worse would be mystata But neither here seek I, no, nor in heaven Tó dweil, unless by mastering heaven's Supreme; Nor hope to be myself less miserable

By what I sek, but others to make such
As I, though thereby worse to me redound:
For only in destroying I find ease
To my relentless thoughts; and, him destroy'd,
Or won to what may work his utter loss,
For whom all this was made, all this will soon
Follow, as to him link'd in weal or woe ;
In woe then, that destruction wide may range :
To me shall be the glory sole among
The infernal powers, in one day to have marr'd
What he, Almighty styld, six nights and days
Continued making; and who knows how long
Before had been contriving ? though perhaps
Not longer than since, I, in one night, freed
From servitude inglorious well nigh half
The angelic name, and thinner left the throng
Of his adorers : he, to be aveng'd,
And to repair his numbers thus impair'd,
Whether such virtue spent of old now fail'd
More angels to create, if they at least
Are his created, or, to spite us more,
Determin'd to advance into our room
A creature form'd of earth, and him endow,
Exalted from so base original,
With heavenly spoils, our spoils : what he do

He effected ; man he made, and for him built
Magnificent this world, and earth his seat,
Him lord pronounc'd ; and, O indignity !
Subjected to his service angel-wings,
Ind flaming ministers to watch and tend
Their earthly charge; of these the vigilance
I dread; and, to elude, thus wrapt in mist
Of midnight vapour glide obscure, and pry
In every bush and brake, where hap may find
The serpent sleeping ; in whose mazy folds
To hide me, and the dark intent I bring.
O foul descent! that I, who erst contended
With gods to sit the highest, am now constrain'd
luto a beast; and, mix'd rith lessia] slime

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