Obrázky stránek


Alone thus wand'ring. Brightest Seraph, tell
In which of all these shining orbs hath Man
His fixed seat, or fixed seat hath none,
But all these shining orbs his choice to dwell; 670
That I may find him, and with secret gaze
Or open admiration him behold,
On whom the great Creator hath bestow'd
Worlds, and op whom hath all these graces pour'd;
That both in him and all things, as is meet,
The universal Maker we may praise;
Who justly hath driv'n out his rebel foes
To deepest Hell, and to repair that loss
Created this new happy race of Men
To serve him better : wise are all his ways. 680

So spake the false dissembler unperceiv'd;
For neither Man nor Angel can discern
Hypocrisy, the only' evil that walks
Invisible, except to God alone,
By his permissive will, through Heav'n and Earth : 685
And oft though wisdom wake, suspicion sleeps
At wisdom's gate, and to simplicity
Resigns her charge, while goodness thinks no ill
Where po ill seems; which now for once beguild
Uriel, though regent of the sun, and held

690 The sharpest sighted Spi'rit of all in Heaven ; Who to the fraudulent impostor foul In his uprightness answer thus return'd.

Fair Angel, thy desire which tends to know The works of God, thereby to glorify

695 The great Work-Master, leads to no excess

That reaches blame, but rather merits praise
The more it seems excess, that led thee hither
From thy empyreal mansion thus alone,
To witness with thine eyes what some perhaps 700
Contented with report hear only' in Heav'n ;
For wonderful indeed are all his works,
Pleasant to know, and worthiest to be all
Had in remembrance always with delight;
But what created mind can comprehend

Their number, or the wisdom infinite
That brought them forth, but hid their causes deep?
I saw when at his word the formless mass,
This world's material mould, came to a heap :
Confusion heard his voice, and wild uproar 710
Stood ruld, stood vast infinitude confin'd;
Till at his second bidding darkness fled,
Light shone, and order from disorder

sprung : Swift to their several quarters hasted then The cumbrous elements, earth, flood, air, fire ; 715 And this ethereal quintessence of Heaven Flew upward, spirited with various forms, That rolld orbicular, and turn’d to stars Numberless, as thou seest, and how they move; Each had his place appointed, each his course ; 720 The rest in circuit walls this universe. Look downward on that globe, whose either side With light from hence, though but reflected, shines; That place is Earth, the seat of Man, that light His day, which else as th' other hemisphere 725 Night would invade; but there the neighb'ring moon

(So call that opposite fair star) her aid
Timely' interposes, and her monthly round
Still ending, still renewing, through mid Heaven,
With borrow'd light her countenance triform 730
Hence fills and empties to enlighten th' Earth,
And in her pale dominion checks the night.
That spot to which I point is Paradise,
Adam's abode, those lofty shades his bower.
Thy way thou canst not miss, me mine requires. 735

Thus said, he turn'd; and Satan bowing low,
As to superior Spi'rits is wont in Heaven,
Where honour due and reverence none neglects,
Took leave, and tow'ard the coast of earth beneath,
Down from th’ecliptic, sped with hop'd success, 740
Throws his steep flight in many an airy wheel,
Nor stay'd, till on Niphates' top he lights.




Satan now in prospect of Eden, and nigh the place where he must now attempt

the bold enterprise which he undertook alone against God and Man, falls into many doubts with himself, and many passions, fear, envy, and despair ; but at length confirms himself in evil, journeys on to Paradise, whose outward prospect and situation is described, overlcaps the bounds, sits in the shape of a cormorant on the tree of life, as highes in the garden, to look about him. The garden described ; Satan's first sight of Adam and Eve; his wonder at their excellent form and happy state, but with resolution to work their fall; overhears their discourse, thence gathers that the tree of knowledge was forbidden them to eat of, under penalty of death; and thereon intends to found his temptation, by seducing them to transgress: then leaves them awhile, to know further of their state by some other means.

Meanwhile Uriel descending on a sun-beam warns Gabriel, who had in charge the gate of Paradise, that some evil Spirit had escaped the deep, and passed at noon by his sphere in the shape of a good Angel down to Paradise, discovered after by his furious gestures in the mount. Gabriel promises to find him ere morning. Night coming on, Adam and Eve discourse of going to their rest : their bower described : their evening worship. Gabriel drawing forth his bands of night-watch to walk the round of Paradise, appoints two strong Ar.gels to Adam's bower, lest the evil Spirit should be there doing some harm to Adam or Eve sleeping; there they find him at the ear of Eve, tempting her in a dream, and bring him, though unwilling, to Gabriel ; by whom questioned, he scornfully answers, prepares resistance, but hindered by a sign from Heaven, flies out of Paradise.

[ocr errors]

O FOR that warning voice, which he who saw
Th' Apocalypse heard cry in Heav'n aloud,
Then when the Dragon, put to second rout,
Came furious down to be reveng'd on men,
« Woe to th'inhabitants on earth!" that now
While time was, our first parents had been warn’d
The coming of their secret foe, and scap'd,

5 IO


Haply so scap'å his mortal snare: for now
Satan, now first inflam'd with rage, came down,
The tempter cre th'accuser of mankind,
To wreak on innocent frail man his loss
Of that first battle, and his flight to Hell :
Yet not rejoicing in his speed, though bold
Far off and fearless, nor with cause to bcast,
Begins his dire attempt, which nigh the birth 15
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 slumber'd, wakes the bitter memory
Of what he was, what is, and what must be
Worse ; of worse deeds worse suffering must ensue.
Sometimes tow'ards Eden, which now in his view
Lay pleasant, his griev'd look he fixes sad;
Sometimes tow'ards Heav'n and the full blazing sun,
Which now sat high in his meridian tower : 30
Then much revolving, thus in sighs began.

O Thou that with surpassing glory crown'd,
Look’st from thy sole dominion like the God
Of this new world ; at whose sight all the stars
Hide their diminish'd heads; to thee I call,

35 But with no friendly voice, and add thy name, O Sun, to tell thee how I hate thy beams,


« PředchozíPokračovat »