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That majesty which through thy work doth reign, Draws the devout, deterring the profane ; And things divine thou treatst of in such state As them preferves, and thee, inviolate. At once delight and horror on us seize, Thou fing'st with so much gravity and ease; And above human flight dost foar aloft, With plume so strong, so equal, and so soft: The bird nam'd from that Paradise you fing So never flags, but always keeps on wing.

Where could'st thou words of such a compass find ? Whence furnish such a valt expance of mind ? Just Heav'n thee, like Tirefias, to requite, Rewards with prophecy thy loss of sight.

Well might'st thou scorn thy readers to allure With tinkling rhyme, of thy own sense secure ; While the town-boy writes all the while and spells, And, like a pack-horse, tires without his bells : Their fancies like our bushy points appear, The poets tag them, we for fashion wear. I too transported by the mode offend; And while I mean to praise thee, must commend. Thy verse created like thy theme sublime, In number, weight, and measure, needs not rhyme.




HE 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 metre; graced indeed fince by the use of some famous modern poets, carried away by custom ; but much to their own vexation, hinderance, and constraint, to express many things otherwise, and, for the most part, worse than elfe they would have expressed them. Not without cause, therefore, fome, both Italian and Spanish poets, of prime hote, 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 vulgar readers, tliat it rather is to be esteemed an example fet, the first in English, of ancient liberty re. covered to heroic poem, from the troublesome and modern bondage of rhyming.



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Β Ο Ο Κ Ι.

THE ARGUMENT. This book proposes, first, in brief, the whole subject, Man's

disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise wherein he was placed: Then touches the prime cause of his fall, the Serpent, or rather Satan in the Serpent; who revolting from God, and drawing to his side many legions of Angels, was by the command of God driven out of heaven with all his crew into the great deep. Which action paled over, the poem haftes into the midst of things, presenting Satan with his angels now fallen into hell, defcribed here, not in the centre (for Heaven and Earth may be supposed as yet not made, certainly not yet accurs. ed), but in a place of utter darkness, fitlieft called Chaos: Here Satan with his Angels lying on the burning lake, thunder struck and astonished, after a certain space recovers, as from confufion, calls up him who next in order and dignity lay by him: they confer of their aniserable fall. Satan awakes his legions, who lay till then in the fame manner confounded : They rise, their numbers, array of battle, their chief leaders named, according to the idols known afterwards in Canaan and the countries adjoining. To these Satan directs his speech, comforts them with hope jet of regaining Heaven, but tells them laftly of a

orld and a new kind of creature to be created, according to an ancient prophecy or report in heaven ; for that Angels were long before this visible creation was the opinion of many ancient Fathers. To find out the truth of this prophecy, and what to determine thereon, he refers to a full council. What his asociates thence attempt.

. Pandemonium, the palace of Satan, riles, suddenly built out of the deep: the infernal peers there sit in council.

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F man's first disobedience, and the fruit Brought death into the world, and all our woe,



With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us and regain the blissful fear,

Sing, heav'nly Muse, that on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That shepherd who first taught the chosen feed,
In the beginning how the heavens and earth
Rose out of Chaos; or if Sion bill
Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flow'd
Fast by the oracle of God; I thence
Invoke thy aid to my advent'rous fung,
That with no middle flight intends to foar
Above the Aonian mount; while it pursues. 15
Things unattempted yet in profe or rhyme.

And chiefly thou, O Sp’rit, that dost prefer Before all temples th' upright heart and pure, Instruct me, for thou know'st; thou from the first Walt present, and with mighty wings outspread, 2@ Dove like, fatt'st brooding on the vast abyss, And mad'st it pregnant: what in me is dark, Illumine : what is lost, raise and support; That to the height of this great argument I may affert eternal providence,

25 And justify the ways of God to man.

Sey first, for heav'n hides nothing from thy view, Nor the deep tract of hell: say first what caule Mov'd our grand parents in that happy state, Favour'd of heav'n fo highly, to fall off From their Creator, and tranfgrets his will, For one restraint, lords of the world besides? Who first seduc'd them to that foul revolt? Th’ infernal serpent; he it was, whose guile, Stirr'd up with envy and revenge, deceiv'd 35. The mother of mankind, whui time his pride Had cast him out from heav'n, with all his host Of rebel angels; by whose aid aspiring To set himfélf in glory. 'bove his peers, He truited to have equalld the Most High, If he oppos’d; and with ambitious aim Against the throne and monarchy of Cop Rais'd impious war in heav'n and battle proud, With vain attempt. Him the Almighty po rer



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