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INTRODUCTION TO PARADISE LOST.

39

That to the highth of this great argument
I may assert eternal Providence,
And justify the ways of God to men.

Say first, for Heaven 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 Heaven 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 ?
The 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 heaven, with all his host
Of rebel angels; by whose aid aspiring
To set himself in glory above his peers,
He trusted to have equalled the Most High,
If he opposed; and with ambitious aim
Against the throne and monarchy of God
Raised impious war in heaven, and battle proud,
With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power
Hurl'd headlong flaming from the ethereal sky,
With hideous ruin and combustion, down
To bottomless perdition; there to dwell
In adamantine chains and penal fire,
Who durst defy the Omnipotent to arms.
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
Torments him : round he throws his baleful eyes,
That witness'd huge affliction and dismay,
Mix'd with obdurate pride and steadfast bate:
At once, as far as angels' ken, he views
The dismal situation waste and wild :
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 peace
And rest can never dwell; hope never comes
That comes to all; but torture without end
Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed
With ever-burning sulphur unconsumed :
Such place eternal justice had prepared
For hose rebellious ; here

eir prison ordain'd
In utter darkness, and their portion set
As far removed from God and light of heaven,
As from the centre thrice to the utmost pole.

Milton.

THE FALLEN ANGELS IN THE BURNING LAKE.

He scarce had ceased, when the superior fiend
Was moving toward the shore : his ponderous shield,
Ethereal temper, massy, large, and round,
Behind him cast; the broad circumference
Hung on his shoulders like the moon, whose orb
Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views
At evening from the top of Fesolè,
Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands,
Rivers or mountains, in her spotty globe.
His spear, to equal which the tallest pine,
Hewn on Norwegian hills to be the mast
Of some great admiral, were but a wand,
He walk'd with, to support uneasy steps
Over the burning marle; not like those steps
On heaven's azure; and the torrid clime
Smote on him sore besides, vaulted with fire :
Nathless he so endured, till on the beach
Of that inflamed sea he stood, and call'd
His legions, angel forms, who lay intranced
Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks
In Vallombrosa, where the Etrurian shades,
High over-arch’d, im bower; or scattered sedge
Afloat, when with fierce winds Orion arm'd
Hath vex'd the Red-Sea coast, whose waves o'erthrew
Busiris and his Memphian chivalry,
While with perfidious hatred they pursued

THE FALLEN ANGELS IN THE BURNING LAKE.

41

The sojourners of Goshen, who beheld
From the safe shore their floating carcases
And broken chariot-wheels : 80 thick bestrown,
Abject and lost lay these, covering the flood,
Under amazement of their hideous change.
He call'd so loud, that all the hollow deep
Of hell resounded : Princes, potentates,
Warriors, the flower of heaven, once yours, now lost,
If such astonishment as this can seize
Eternal spirits : or have ye chosen this place
After the toil of battle to repose
Your wearied virtue, for the ease you

find
To slumber here, as in the vales of heaven?
Or in this abject posture have ye sworn
To adore the Conquerour ? who now beholds
Cherub and seraph rolling in the flood,
With scatter'd arms and ensigns, till anon
His swift pursuers from heaven-gates discern
The advantage, and descending, tread us down
Thus drooping, or with linked thunderbolts
Transfix us to the bottom of this gulf.
Awake, arise, or be for ever fall’n!

They heard, and were abash'd, and up they sprung
Upon the wing; as when men wont to watch
On duty, sleeping found by whom they dread,
Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake,
Nor did they not perceive the evil plight
In which they were, or the fierce pains not feel;
Yet to their general's voice they soon obey'd,
Innumerable. As when the potent rod
Of Amram's son, in Egypt's evil day,
Waved round the coast, up call’d a pitchy cloud
Of locusts, warping on the eastern wind,
That o'er the realm of impious Pharaoh hung
Like night, and darken'd all the land of Nile:
So numberless were those bad angels seen
Hovering on wing under the cope of hell,
'Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding fires;
Till, at a signal given, the uplifted spear
Of their great sultan waving to direct
Their course, in even balance down they light

On the firm brimstone, and fill all the plain :
A multitude, like which the populous North
Pour'd never from her frozen loins, to pass
Rhene or the Danaw, when her barbarous sons
Came like a deluge on the South, and spread
Beneath Gibraltar to the Libyan sands.
Forthwith from every squadron and each band
Their heads and leaders thither haste, where stood
Their great commander; godlike shapes and forms
Excelling human, princely dignities,
And powers, that erst in heaven sat on thrones;
Though of their names in heavenly records now
Be no memorial; blotted out and rased
By their rebellion from the books of life.
Nor had they yet among the sons of Eve
Got them new names; till, wandering o'er the earth,
Through God's high sufferance for the trial of man,
By falsities and lies the greatest part
Of mankind they corrupted to forsake
God their Creator, and the invisible
Glory of him that made them to transform
Oft to the image of a brute, adorn'd
With gay religions full of pomp and gold,
And devils to adore for deities :
Then were they known to men by various names,
And various idols through the heathen world.

Müton.

MILTON'S ADDRESS TO LIGHT.

Hail, holy Light! offspring of heaven firstborn,
Or of the Eternal co-eternal beam,
May I express thee unblamed ? since God is light,
And never but in unapproached light
Dwelt from eternity; dwelt then in thee,
Bright effluence of bright essence increate.
Or hear'st thou rather, pure ethereal stream,
Whose fountain who shall tell ? Before the sun,
Before the heavens thou wert, and at the voice
Of God, as with a mantle, didst invest

MILTON'S ADDRESS TO LIGIT.

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The rising world of waters dark and deep,
Won from the void and formless infinite.
Thee I revisit now with bolder wing,
Escaped the Stygian pool, though long detain'd
In that obscure sojourn ; while in my flight
Through utter and through middle darkness borne,
With other notes than to the Orphéan lyre,
I
sung

of Chaos and eternal Night;
Taught by the heavenly muse to venture down
The dark descent, and up to reascend,
Though hard and rare: thee I revisit safe,
And feel thy sovran vital lamp; but thou
Revisit'st not these eyes, that roll in vain
To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;
So thick a drop serene hath quench'd their orbs,
Or dim suffusion veil'd. Yet not the more
Cease I to wander where the muses haunt
Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill,
Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief
Thee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath,
That wash thy hallow'd feet, and warbling flow,
Nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget
Those other two equall’d with me in fate,
So were I equall’d with them in renown,
Blind Thamyris and blind Mæonides,
And Tiresias and Phineas, prophets old :
Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move
Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird
Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid
Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year
Seasons return; but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But cloud instead, and ever-during dark
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair
Presented with a universal blank
Of nature's works to me expunged and rased,
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
So much the rather thou, celestial light,

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