« PreviousContinue »
He walk'd with to support uneasy steps
Over the burning marle.
SATAN'S PRE-EMINENCE above the other FALLEN
-THUS far these beyond
Compare of mortal prowess yet observ'd
Their dread commander: he, above the rest
In shape and gesture proudly eminent,
Stood like a tow'r; his form had yet not lost
All her original brightness nor appear'd
Less than Arch-Angel ruin'd, and th' excess
Of glory obscur'd; as when the sun new risen
Looks through the horizontal misty air
Shorn of his beams; or from behind the moon,
In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds
On half the nations, and with fear of change
Perplexes monarchs: Darken'd so, yet shone
Above them all th' Arch-Angel.
ANON out of the earth a fabric huge
Rose like an exhalation, with the sound
Of dulcet symphonies and voices sweet,
Built like a temple, where pilasters round
Were set, and Doric pillars overlaid
"With golden architrave; nor did there want
Cornice or frieze, with bossy sculptures graven;
The roof was fretted gold. Not Babylon,
Nor great Alcairo, such magnificence
Equall'd in all their glories, to inshrine
Belus or Serapis their Gods, or seat
Their kings, when Egypt with Assyria strove
In wealth and luxury. Th' ascending pile
Stood fix'd her stately height; and strait the doors
Opening their brazen folds discover wide,
Within, her ample spaces, o'er the smooth
And level pavement; from the arched roof,
Pendent by subtle magic, many a row
Of starry lamps and blazing cressets, fed
With Naphtha and Asphaltus, yielded light
As from a sky.
An ADDRESS to LIGHT.
HAIL, holy light! offspring of Heav'n first-born, Or of th' Eternal co-eternal beam!
May I express thee unblam'd? since God is light,
And never but in unapproached Night
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 heav'ns thou wert, and at the voice
Of God, as with a mantle didst invest
The rising world of waters dark and deep,
Won from the void and formless infinite.
Thee I revisit now with bolder wing,
Escap'd the Stygian Pcol, though long detain'd
In that obscure sojourn; while in my flight
Through utter and through middle darkness borne,
With other notes than to th' Orphéan lyre,
I suag of Chaos and eternal Night;
Taught by the heav'nly Muse to venture down
The dark descent, and up to re-ascend,
Though hard and rare. Thee I revisit safe,
And feel thy sov'reign 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 flow'ry 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 ev'n or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds or human face divine;
But clouds instead, and ever-during dark
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of mer
Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair
Presented with an universal blank
Of Nature's works, to me expung'd and raz'd,
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
So much the rather thou, celestial Light!
Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers
Irradiate, there plant eyes, all mist from thence
Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight.
SATAN'S SPEECH to the SUN.
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, 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 state I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere; Till pride, and worse ambition, threw me down, Warring in Heav'n against Heav'n's matchless King. Ah wherefore! he deserv'd 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 prov'd ill in me, And wrought but malice; lifted up so high I disdain'd 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 receiv'd; And understood not that a grateful mind By owing owes not, but still pays, at once
Indebted and discharg'd; what burden then!
O had his pow'rful destiny ordain'd
Me some inferior Angel, I had stood
Then happy; no unbounded hope had rais'd
Ambition. Yet why not? some other Power
As great might have aspir'd, and me though mean
Drawn to his part; but other Pow'rs as great
Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within
Or from without, to all temptations arm'd.
Hadst thou the same free will and pow'r to stand?
Thou hadst: whom hast, thou then, or what, t' accuse,
But Heav'n's free love, dealt equally to all?
Be then his love accurs'd, since love or hate,
To me alike it deals eternal woe.
Nay curs'd 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;
And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep
Still threat'ning 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 Sp'rits beneath, whom I seduc'd
With other promises, and other vaunts
Than to submit, boasting I could subdue
Th' 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 advanc'd,
The lower still I fall, only supreme
In misery; such joy ambition finds.
But say I could repent, and could obtain,
By acts of grace, my former state; how soon
Would height recall high thoughts, how soon unsay
What feign'd 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 pierc'd 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 in stead
Of us out-cast, exil'd, his new delight,
Alankind 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 Heav'n's king I hold
By thee, and more than half perhaps will reign;
As Man ere long, and this new world shall know.
SATAN'S APPROACH to PARADISE-That Place
So on he fares, and to the border comes
Of Eden, where delicious Paradise,
Now nearer, crowns with her inclosure green,
As with a rural mound, the champain head
Of a steep wilderness, whose hairy sides
With thicket overgrown, grotesque and wild,
Access deny'd and over head up grew
Insuperable height of loftiest shade,
Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm,
A sylvan scene ; and as the ranks ascend
Shade above shade, a woody theatre
Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops
The verd'rous wall of Paradise up sprung:
Which to our neral sire gave prospect large
Into his nether empire neighb'ring round,
And higher than that wall a circling row
Of goodliest trees, loaden with fairestfruit,
Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue,
Appear'd with gay enamell'd colours mix'd:
On which the sun more glad impress'd his beams,
Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow
When God hath show'r'd the earth; so lovely seem'd
That landskip: 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