Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

20

Now rolling boils in his tumultuous breast,
And like a devilish engine back recoils
Upon himself; horror and doubt distract
His troubled thoughts, and from the bottom stir
The Hell within him ; for within him Hell
He brings, and round about him, nor from Hell
One step, no more than from himself, can fly
By change of place!: now conscience wakes despair,
That slumbered ; wakes the bitter memory
Of what he was, what is, and what must be
Worse ; of worse deeds worse sufferings must ensue.
Sometimes towards Eden, which now in his view
Lay pleasant, his grieved look he fixes sad ;
Sometimes towards Heaven, and the full-blazing sun,
Which now sat high in his meridian tower :
Then, much revolving, thus in sighs began :-

25

30

SATAN.

35

40

“O thou, that, with surpassing glory crowned, Look’st from thy sole dominion like the god Of this new world ; at whose sight all the stars Hide their diminished heads ; to thee I call, But with no friendly voice, and add thy name, O Sun! to tell thee how I hate thy beams, That bring to my remembrance from what height I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere ; Till pride and worse ambition threw me down, Warring in Heaven against Heaven's matchless King : Ah, wherefore? he deserved no such return From me, whom he created what I was In that bright eminence, and with his good Upbraided none; nor was his service hard. What could be less than to afford him praise, The easiest recompence, and pay him thanks, How due! yet all his good proved ill in me, And wrought but malice ; lifted up so high I’sdeined subjection, and thought one step higher Would set me highest, and in a moment quit The debt immense of endless gratitude, So burdensome still paying, still to owe, Forgetful what from him I still received, i Compare book i. line 254., et 2 “'Sdeined,” for disdained; from seq.

the Ital.“ sdegnare.”

45

50 60

65

70

And understood not that a grateful mind

55 By owing owes not, but still pays, at once Indebted and discharged; what burden then ? O, had his powerful destiny ordained Me some inferior Angel, I had stood Then happy; no unbounded hope had raised Ambition ! Yet why not? some other Power As great might have aspired, and me, though mean, Drawn to his part; but other Powers as great Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within Or from without, to all temptations armed. Hadst thou the same free will and power to stand ? Thou hadst: whom hast thou then, or what, to accuse, But Heaven's free love dealt equally to all ? Be then his love accursed, since love or hate, To me alike, it deals eternal woe, Nay, cursed be thou ; since against his thy will Chose freely what it now so justly rues. Me miserable! which way shall I fly Infinite wrath', and infinite despair? Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell ;

75 And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep? Still threatening to devour me opens wide, To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heaven. O, then, at last relent: Is there no place Left for repentance, none for pardon left ? None left but by submission; and that word Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame Among the Spirits 3 beneath, whom I seduced With other promises and other vaunts Than to submit, boasting I could subdue The Omnipotent. Ah me! they little know How dearly I abide that boast so vain, Under what torments inwardly I groan, While they adore me on the throne of Hell. With diadem and sceptre high advanced The lower still I fall, only supreme In misery: Such joy ambition finds. But say I could repent, and could obtain,

80

85

90

1 Wrath is the object of the verb diminishing an object beyond reality.

3 The word “Spirits" must be 2 An example of the figure hyper- scanned as one syllable. bole, which consists in magnifying or 4 Suppose.

fly.”

95

100

105

By act of grace, my former state ; how soon
Would height recall high thoughts, how soon unsay
What feigned submission swore? Ease would recant
Vows made in pain, as violent and void.
For never can true reconcilement grow,
Where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep:
Which? would but lead me to a worse relapse
And heavier fall : so should I purchase dear
Short intermission bought with double smart.
This knows my Punisher; therefore as far
From granting he, as I from begging, peace;
All hope excluded thus, behold, instead
Of us outcast, exiled, his new delight,
Mankind created, and for him this world.
So farewell, hope ; and with hope, farewell, fear;
Farewell, remorse! all good to me is lost;
Evil

, be thou my good; by thee at least
Divided empire with Heaven's King I hold,
By thee, and more than half perhaps will reign;
As Man ere long, and this new world, shall know.”

Thus while he spake, each passion dimmed his face
Thrice changed with pale ire, envy, and despair;
Which marred his borrowed visage, and betrayed
Him counterfeit, if any eye beheld.
For heavenly minds from such distempers foul
Are ever clear. Whereof he soon aware,
Each perturbation smoothed with outward calm,
Artificer of fraud; and was the first
That practised falsehood under saintly show,
Deep malice to conceal, couched with revenge :

110

115

120

*

*

*

125

So on he fares, and to the border comes
Of Eden, where delicious Paradise,
Now nearer, crowns with her enclosure green,
As with a rural mound, the champaign head
Of a steep wilderness, whose hairy sides
With thicket overgrown, grotesque and wild,
Access denied ; and overhead up grew
Insuperable height of loftiest shade,
Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm,
1 The antecedent to " which " is 2 Journeys.
“ feigned submission,” line 96.

130

146

150

A sylvan scene; and, as the ranks ascend
Shade above shade, a woody theatre
Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops 135
The verdurous wall of Paradise up sprung:
Which to our general sire gave prospect large
Into his nether empire neighbouring round.
And higher than that wall a circling row
Of goodliest trees, loaden with fairest fruit,

140
Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue,
Appeared, with gay enamelled colours mixed :
On which the sun more glad impressed his beams
Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow,
When God hath showered the earth ; so lovely seemed
That landscape : And of pure now purer air
Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires
Vernal delight and joy, able to drive
All sadness but despair: Now gentle gales,
Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole
Those balmy spoils. As when to them who sail
Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past
Mozambique, off at sea north-east winds blow
Sabeanodours from the spicy shore
Of Araby the blest ; with such delay
Well pleased they slack their course, and many a league
Cheered with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles :
So entertained those odorous sweets the Fiend,
Who came their bane; though with them better pleased
Than Asmodëus with the fishy fume
That drove him, though enamoured, from the spouse
Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent
From Media post to Egypt, there fast bound.2

Now to the ascent of that steep savage 3 hill
Satan had journeyed on, pensive and slow,
But further way found none, so thick entwined,
As one continued brake, the undergrowth
Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplexed
All path of man or beast that passed that way.
One gate there only was, and that looked east

155

161

165

170 175

1 From Saba (or Sheba), the capital

2 See the book of Tobit. Apocryof a district of Arabia Felix on the pha, iii. borders of the Red Sea, in the N. part 3 Covered with wood. of the modern Yemen.

180

185

On the other side: which when the Arch-Felon saw,
Due entrance he disdained; and, in contempt,
At one slight bound high overleaped all bound 1
Of hill or highest wall, and sheer within
Lights on his feet. As when a prowling wolf,
Whom hunger drives to seek new haunt for prey,
Watching where shepherds pen their flocks at eve
In hurdled cotes amid the field

secure,
Leaps o'er the fence with ease into the fold:
Or as a thief, bent to unboard the cash
Of some rich burgher, whose substantial doors,
Cross-barred and bolted fast, fear no assault,
In at the window climbs, or o'er the tiles :
So clomb 2 this first grand thief into God's fold ;
So since into his Church lewd birelings climb.
Thence up he flew, and on the tree of life,
The middle and the highest there that grew,
Sat like a cormorant.
Beneath him with new wonder now he views,
To all delight of human sense exposed,
In narrow room, Nature's whole wealth, yea more,
A Heaven on Earth ; for blissful Paradise 3
Of God the garden was, by him in the east
Of Eden planted ; Eden stretched her line
From Auran eastward to the royal towers
Of great Seleucia4, built by Grecian kings,
Or where the sons of Eden long before
Dwelt in Telassar5; in this pleasant soil
His far more pleasant garden God ordained ;
Out of the fertile ground he caused to grow
All trees of noblest kind for sight, smell, taste;
And all amid them stood the tree of life,
High eminent, blooming ambrosial fruit
Of vegetable gold ; and next to life,
Our death, the tree of knowledge, grew fast by,

190

195

200

205

1 Another example of play upon A town of Assyria, on the W. words. See book ii. line 37.

bank of the Tigris, built by Seleucus ? The old form of the past tense Nicator; it was a heap of ruins in the of " to climb."

time of the emperor Julian. 3 The beautiful description of Para- 5 See Genesis, xiv. 9. dise, beginning at the words " for 6 Ambrosia was the food of the blissful Paradise," down to line 248., gods, by which their immortality was is among the finest specimens of de- confirmed. scriptive poetry in our language.

« PředchozíPokračovat »