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The measure is English heroic verse without rhyme, as that of Homer in Greek, and of Virgil in Latin : rhyme being no necessary adjunct, or true ornament of poem or good verse, in longer works especially, but the invention of a barbarous age to set off wretched matter and lame metre; graced indeed since by the use of some famous modern poets, carried away by custom, but much to their own vexation, hindrance, and constraint to express many things otherwise, and for the most part worse than else they would have expressed them. Not without cause, therefore some both Italian and Spanish poets of prime note have rejected rhyme both in longer and shorter works: as have also long since our best English tragedies : as a thing of itself, to all judicious ears, trivial and of no true musical delight; which consists only in apt numbers, fit quantity of syllables, and the sense variously drawn out from one verse into another; not in the jingling sound of like endings, a fault avoided by the learned ancients, both in poetry and all good oratory. This neglect then of rhyme so little is to be taken for a defect, though it may seem so perhaps to valgar readers, that it is rather to be esteemed an example set, the first in English, of ancient liberty recovered, to heroic poem, from the troublesome and modern bondage of rhyming.

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Of 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, heavenly Muse, that on the secret top The first Book proposes, first in brief, the whole of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire

subject, Man's disobedience, and the loss there | That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed, upon of Paradise wherein he was placed : then In the beginning, how the Heavens and Earth touches the prime cause of his fall, the Ses-Rose out of Chaos: Or, if Sion hill pent, or rather Satan in the serpent ; who, Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flow'd revolting from God, and drawing to his side Past by the oracle of God; I thence many legious of angels, was, by the command Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song, of God, driven out of Heaven, with all his That with no middle flight intends to soar crew, into the great deep. Which action pas- Above the Aonian mount, while it pursues sed over, the poem hastens into the midst of Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme. things, presenting Satan with his angels now And chiefly thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer falling into Hell described here, not in the cen- Before all temples the upright heart and pure, ter (for Heaven and Earth may be supposed as Instruct me, for thou know'st; thou from the yet not made, certainly not yet accursed) but

first in a place of utter darkness, fitliest called Wast present, and, with mighty wings out spread, Chaos: here Satan with his angels lying on Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast abyss, the burning lake, thunder-struck and astonish- | And mad'st it pregnant : what in me is dark, ed, after a certain space recovers, as from con

Illumine; what is low, raise and support; fusion, calls up him who next in order and That to the heighth of this great argument dignity lay by him: they confer of their mi- I may assert eternal Providence, serable fall; Satan awakens all his legions, And justify the ways of God to men. who lay till then in the same manner cun- Say first, for Heaven hides nothing from thy founded. They rise; their numbers ; array view, of battle; their chief leaders named, according Nor the deep tract of Hell ; say first, what cause to the idols known afterwards in Canaan and Mov'd our grand parents, in that happy state, the countries adjoining. To these Satan di- Favour'd of Hearen so highly, to fall off rects his speech, comforts them with hope yet | From their Creator, and transgress his will of regaining Heaven, but tells them lastly of For one restraint, lords of the world besides ? a new world and new kind of creature to be Who first seduc'd them to that foul revolt? created, according to an ancient prophecy, The infernal Serpent ; he it was, whose guile, or report in Heaven ; for, that angels were Stirrid up with envy and revenge, deceiv'd long before this visible creation, was the opi- The mother of mankind, what time his pride nion of many anoient Fathers. To find out Had cast him out from Heaven, with all his the truth of this prophecy, and what to deter

host mine thereon, he refers to a full council. Of rebel angels; by whose aid, aspiring What his associates thence attempt. Pande. To set himself in glory above his peers, monium, the palace of Satan, rises, suddenly He trusted to have equall'd the Most High, built out of the deep: the infernal peers there if he oppos’d ; and, with ambitious aim sit in council.

Against the throne and monarchy of Gud,

Rais'd impious war in Heaven, and battle proud, | And shook his throne. What though the field
With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power,

be lost?
Hurl'd headlong flaming from the ethereal sky, All is not lost ; the unconquerable will,
With hideous ruin and coinbustion, down And study of revenge, immortal bate,
To bottomless perdition ; there to dwell

And courage never to submit or yield,
In adamantine chains and penal fire,

And what is else not to be overcome ;
Who durst defy the Omnipotent to arms. That glory never shall his wrath or might
Nine times the space that measures day and Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace

With suppliant knee, and deify his power
To mortal men, he with his horrid crew

Who from the terrour of this arm so late Lay vanquish’d, rolling in the fiery gulf, Doubted his empire; that were low indeed, Confounded, though immortal : but his doom That were an ignominy, and shame beneath Reserv'd him to more wrath! for now the This downfall : since by fate the strength of gods thought

And this empyreal substance cannot fail, Both of lost happiness and lasting pain

Since through experience of this great event Torments bim : round he throws his baleful eyes. In arms not worse, in foresight much advanc'd, That witness'd huge affliction and dismay, We may with more successful hope resolve Mix'd with obdurate pride and stedfast hate ; To wage by force or guile eternal war, At once, as far as angels ken, he views

Irreconcileable to our grand foe, The dismal situation waste and wild ;

Who now triumphs, and, in the excess of joy A dungeon horrible on all sides round,

Sole reigning, holds the tyranny of Heaven.” As one great furnace flam'd; yet from those So spake the apostate angel, though in pain, flames

Vaunting aloud, but rack'd with deep despair : No light; but rather darkness visible

And him thus answer'd soon his bold compeer. Serv'd only to discover sights of woe,

“ O prince, O chief of many throned powers, Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace That led the embattled seraphim to war And rest can never dwell; hope never comes Under thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds That comes to all : but torture without end Fearless, endanger'd Heaven's perpetual king, Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed

And put to proof his high supremacy, With ever-burning sulphur unconsum'd : Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate; Such place eternal Justice had prepard

Too well I see, and rue the dire event, For those rebellious; bere their prison ordain'd That with sad overthrow, and foul defeat, In utter darkness, and their portion set

Hath lost us Heaven, and all this mighty host As far remov'd from God and light of Heaven, In horrible destruction laid thus low, As from the centre thrice to the utmost pole, As far as gods and heavenly essences 0, how unlike the place from whence they fell ! Can perish : for the mind and spirit remains There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelin'd Invincible, and vigour soon returns, With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire, Though all our glory extinct, and happy state He soon discerns, and weltering by his side Here swallow'd up in end less misery. One next himself in power, and next in crime, But what if he our conqueror (whom I now Long after known in Palestine, and nam'd Of force believe almighty, since no less Beëlzebub. To whom the arch-enemy,

Than such could have o'erpowerd such force as And thence in Heaven call'd Satan, with bold

ours) words

Have left us this our spirit and strength entire Breaking the horrid silence, thus began.

Strongly to suffer and support our pains, If thou beest he; but O, how fall’n ! how That we may so suffice bis vengeful ire, chang'd

Or do him mightier service as his thralls From him, who, in the happy realms of light, By right of war, whate'er his business be, Cloth'd with transcendent brightness, didst out- Here in the heart of Hell to work in fire, shine

Or do his errands in the gloomy deep; Myriads though bright! If he whom mutual What can it then avail, though yet we feel league,

Strength undiminish'd, or eternal being
United thoughts and counsels, equal hope To undergo eterual punishment ?"
And hazard in the glorious enterprise,

Whereto with speedy words the arch-fiend reJoin'd with me once, now misery hath join'd

In equal ruin : into what pit thou seest (prov'd “ Fall'n cherub, to be weak is miserable
From what neighth fall'n, so much the stronger Doing or suffering ; but of this be sure,
He with his thunder: and till then who knew To do aught good never will be our task,
The force of those dire arms? Yet not for those, But ever to do ill our sole delight,
Nor what the potent Victor in his rage

As being the contrary to his high will
Can else inflict, do I repent or change,

Whom we resist. Ifthen his providence Though chang'din outward lustre,that fix'd mind, Out of our evil seek to bring forth good, And high disdain from sense of injurd merit, Our labour must be to pervert that end, That with the Mightiest rais'd me to contend, And out of good still to find means of evil; And to the fierce contention brought along Which oft-times may succeed, so as perhaps Innumerable force of spirits arm’d,

Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb That durst dislike his reign, and, me preferring, His inmost counsels from their destin'd aim. His utmost power with adverse power oppos'd But see, the angry victor hath recall'd In dubious battle on the plains of Heaven, His ministers of vengeance and parsuit

Back to the gates of Heaven : the sulphurous With stench and smoke : such resting found hail,

the sole Shot after us in storm, o'erblown, hath laid Of unblest feet. Him follow'd his nextmate : 'The fiery surge, that from the precipice Both glorying to have 'scap'd the Stygian flood Of Heaven receiv'd us falling ; and the thunder, As gods, and by their own recover'd strength, Wing'd with red lightning and impetuous rage, Not by the sufferance of supernal Power. Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now “ Is this the region, this the soil, the clime," 'To bellow through the vast and boundless deep. Said then the lost arch-angel, “ this the seat Let us not slip the occasion, whether scorn, That we must change for Heaven : this mournful Or satiate fury, yield it from our foe..

gloom Seest thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild, For that celestial light? Be it so, since he, The seat of desolation, void of light,

Who now is Sovran, can dispose and bid Save what the glimmering of these livid flames What shall be right : farthest from him is best, Casts pale and dreadful ? Thither let us tend Whom reason hath equall'd, force hath made From off the tossing of these fiery waves;

supreme There rest, if any rest can harbour there; Above his equals. Farewell happy fields, And, re-assembling our afflicted powers, Where joy for ever dwells. Hail horrours, hail Consult how we may henceforth most offend Infernal world, and thou, profoundest Hell, Our enemy; our own loss how repair ; Receive thy new possessor ; one who brings How overcome this dire calamity ;

A mind, not to be chang'd by place or time : What reinforcement we may gain from hope; The mind is its own place, and in itself If not, uliat resolution from despair."

Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven. Thus Satan, talking to bis nearest mate, What matter where, if I be still the same, With head up-lift above the wave, and eyes And what I should be, all but less than he That sparkling blaz'd; his other parts besides Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at Prone on the flood, extended long and large,

least Lay floating many a rood ; in bulk as huge We shall be free ; the Almighty hath not built As whom the fables name of monstrous size, Here for his envy, will not drive us hence: Titanian, or Earth-born, that warr'd on Jove ; Here we may reign secure, and, in my choice, Briareos or Typhon, whom the den

To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell : By ancient Tarsus held ; or that sea-beast Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven. Leviathan, which God of all his works

But wherefore let we then our faithful friends, Created hugest that swim the ocean stream: The associates and copartners of our loss, Him haply slumbering on the Norway foam Lie thus astonish'd on the oblivious pool, The pilot of some small night-founder'd skiff And call them not to share with us their part Deeming some island, oft, as sea-men tell, In this unhappy mansion; or once more With fixed anchor in his skaly rind

With rallied arms to try.what may be yet Moors by his side under the lee, while night Regain'd in Heaven, or what more lost in Hell?” Invests the sea, and wished morn delays :

So Satan spake, and him Beëlzebub So stretch'd out huge in length the arch-fiend Thus answer’d, “Leader of those armies bright, lay

Which but the Omnipotent none could have foil’d, Chain'd on the burning lake: nor ever thence If once they hear that voice, their liveliest pledge Had ris'n or heav'd his head; but that the Of hope in fears and dangers, heard so oft And high permission of all-ruling Heaven (will In worst extremes, and on the perilous edge Left him at large to his own dark designs; Of battle when it rag'd, in all assaults That with reiterated crimes he might

Their surest sigual, they will soon resume Heap on himself damnation, while he sought New courage and revive ; though now they lie Evil to others; and, enrag'd, might see Groveling and prostrate on yon lake of fire, How all his malice serv'd but to bring forth As we ere while, astounded and amaz'd; Infinite goodness, grace and mercy, shown No wonder, fall’n such a pernicious highth." On Man by him seduc'd ; but on himself He scarce had ceas'd when the superior Treble confusion, wrath and vengeance pour'd.

fiend Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool Was moving toward the shore : his ponderous His mighty stature; on each band the flames, Driven backward, slope their pointing spires, Ethereal temper, massy, large and round, and, rolld

Bebind him cast; the broad circumference
In billows, leave i'the midst a horrid vale. Hung on his shoulders like the Moon, whose orb
Then with expanded wings he steers his flight Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views
Aloft, incumbent on the dusky air

At evening from the top of Fesolé,
That felt unusual weight; till on dry land Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands,
He lights, if it were land that ever burn'd Rivers or mountains in her spotty globe.
With solid, as the lake with liquid fire ; His spear, to equal which the tallest pine
And such appear'd in hue, as when the force Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mast
Of subterranean wind transports a hill

Of some great ammiral, were but a wand,
Torn from Pelorus, or the shatter'd side He walk'd with, to support uneasy steps
Of thundering Ætna, whose combustible Over the burning marle, not like those steps
And fuell'd entrails thence conceiving fire, On Heaven's azure, and the torrid clime
Sublim'd with mineral fury, aid the winds, Smote on him sore besides, vaulted with fire :
And leave a singed bottom all involv'd Nathless he so endur'd, till on the beach




Of that inflamed sea he stood, and call'd Through God's high sufferance for the trial of
His legions, angel forms, who lay intranc'd
Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks By falsities and lies the greatest part
In Vallombrosa, where the Etrurian shades, Of mankind they corrupted to forsake
High over-arch’d, imbower; or scatter'd sedge God their Creator, and th’invisible
Afloat, when with fierce winds Orion arm'd Glory of him that made them to transform
Hath vex'd the Red-Sea coast, whose waves Oft to the image of a brute, adorn'd
Busiris, and his Memphian chivalry, [0'erthrew With gay religions full of pomp and gold,
While with perfidious hatred they pursued And devils to adore for deities :
The sojourners of Goshen, who beheld

Then were they known to men by various names, From the safe shore their floating carcasses And various idols through the Heathen world. And broken chariot wheels : so thick bestrown, Say, Muse, their names then known, who first, Ahject and lost lay these, covering the food,

who last, Under amazement of their hideous change. Rous'd from the slumber, on that fiery couch, He call'd so loud, that all the hollow deep At their great emperor's call, as next in worth Of Hell resounded. “ Princes, potentates, Came singly where he stood on the bare strand, Warriors, the flower of Heaven, once yours, While the promiscuous cloud stood yet aloof. now lost,

The chief were those, who, from the pit of Hell If such astonishment as this can seize

Roaming to seek their prey on Earth, durst Eternal spirits ; or have ye chos’n this place

fix After the toil of battle to repose

Their seats long after next the seat of God. Your wearied virtne, for the ease you find Their altars by his altar, gods ador'd To slumber here, as in the vales of Heaven? Among the nations round, and durst abide Or in this abject posture have ye sworn Jehovah thund'ring out of Sion, thron'd T'adore the Conqueror ? who now beholds Between the cherubim ; yea, often placd Cherub and seraph rolling in the flood

Within his sanctuary itself their shrines, With scatter'd arms and ensigns, till anon Abominations; and with cursed things His swift pursuers from Heaven-gates discern His holy rites and solemn feasts profan'd, Th’advantage, and, descending, tread us down And with their darkness durst affront his light. Thus drooping, or with linked thunderbolts First Moloch, horrid king, besmear'd with blood Transfix us to the bottom of this gulf,

Of human sacrifice, and parents' tears ; Awake, arise, or be for ever fall'n,"

Though for the noise of drums and timbrels They heard, and were abas'd, and up they

loud sprung

Their children's cries unheard, that pass'd Upon the wing ; as when men wont to watch

through fire
On duty, sleeping found by whom they dread, To his grim idol. Him the Ammonite
Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake; Worshipt in Rabba and her watry plain,
Nor did they not perceive the evil plight In Argob and in Basan, to the stream
In which they were, or the fierce pains not feel; Of utmost Arnon. Nor content with such
Yet to their general's voice they soon obey Audacious neighbourhood, the wisest heart
Innumerable. As when the potent rod Of Solomon he led by fraud to build
Of Amram's son, in Egypt's evil day,

His temple right against the temple of God. Wav'd round the coast, np call'd a pitchy cloud On that opprobrious hill; and made his grove Of locusts, warping on the eastern wind, The pleasant valley of Hinnom, Tophet thence That o'er the realm of impious Pharaoh hung And black Gehenna call'd, the type of Hell. Like night, and darken'd all the land of Nile: Next, Chemos, th' obscene dread of Moab's So numberless were those bad angels seen

Hovering on wing under the cope of Hell, From Aroer to Neho, and the wild
Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding fires, Of southmost Abarim ; in Hesebon
Till, as a signal given, the up-lifted spear

And Horonaim, Seon's realm, beyond
Of their great Sultan waving to direct

The flowery dale of Sibma clad with vines, Their course, in even balance down they light And Eleälé to th’Asphaltic pool. On the firm brimstone, and fill all the plain. Peor his other name, when he entie'd A multitude, like which the populous North Israel in Sittim, on their march from Nile, Pour'd never from her frozen loins, to pass To do him wanton rites, which cost them wol Rhene or the Danaw, when her barbarous sons Yet thence his lustful orgies he enlarg'd Came like a deluge on the South, and spread

Even to that hill of scandal, by the gruve Beneath Gibraltar to the Lybian sands.

Of Moloch homicide ; lust hard by hate; Forth with from every squadron and each band Till good Josiah drove them theace to Hell The heads and leaders thither haste where stood With these came they, who, from the bordring Their great commander; godlike shapes and

flood Excelling human, princely dignities, [forms of old Euphrates to the brook that parts And povers that erst in Heaven sat on thrones ; Egypt from Syrian ground, had general names Though of their names in heavenly records now Of Baalim and Ashtaroth; those male, Be no memorial; blotted out and ras'd These feminine : for spirits, when they please, By their rebellion from the books of life. Can either sex assume, or both; so soft Nor bad they yet among the sons of Eve And uncompounded is their essence pure; Got them new names, till, wandering o'er the Not tied or manacled with joint or limb, Earthi,

Not founded on the brittle strength of bones

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