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Little inferior, by my adventure hard

With peril great achiev'd. Long were to tell

What I have done, what suffer'd, with what pain 470
Voyag'd th' unreal, vast, unbounded deep
Of horrible confusion, over which

By Sin and Death a broad way now is pav'd, To expedite your glorious march; but I Toil'd out my uncouth passage, forc'd to ride Th' untractable abyss, plung'd in the womb Of unoriginal Night and Chaos wild, That, jealous of their secrets, fiercely' oppos'd My journey strange, with clamorous uproar Protesting Fate supreme; thence how I found The new created world, which fame in Heav'n Long had foretold, a fabric wonderful Of absolute perfection; therein man Plac'd in a Paradise, by our exile Made happy: him by fraud I have seduc'd From his Creator, and, the more to' increase Your wonder, with an apple; he, thereat Offended, worth your laughter! hath giv'n up Both his beloved man and all his world, -To Sin and Death a prey, and so to us, Without our hazard, labour, or alarm, To range in, and to dwell, and over man To rule, as over all he should have rul❜d. True is, me also he hath judg'd, or rather Me not, but the brute serpent in whose shape Man I deceiv'd: that which to me belongs Is enmity, which he will put between Me and mankind; I am to bruise his heel; His seed, when is not set, shall bruise my head: A world who would not purchase with a bruise, Or much more grievous pain? Ye have th' account Of my performance: what remains, ye gods, But up, and enter now into full bliss?"


So having said, awhile he stood, expecting
Their universal shout and high applause
To fill his ear; when, contrary, he hears
On all sides, from innumerable tongues,







A dismal universal hiss, the sound

Of public scorn; he wonder'd, but not long
Had leisure, wondering at himself now more;
His visage drawn he felt to sharp and spare;
His arms clung to his ribs; his legs intwining
Each other, till supplanted down he fell
A monstrous serpent on his belly prone,
Reluctant, but in vain ; a greater power
Now rul'd him, punish'd in the shape he sinn'd,
According to his doom: he would have spoke,
But hiss for hiss return'd with forked tongue
To forked tongue; for now were all transform'd
Alike, to serpents all, as accessories
To his bold riot: dreadful was the din




Of hissing through the hall, thick swarming now
With complicated monsters head and tail,
Scorpion, and asp, and amphisbæna dire,
Cerastes horn'd, hydrus and elops drear,
And dipsas (not so thick swarm'd once the soil
Bedropt with blood of gorgon, or the isle
Ophiusa), but still greater he the midst,
Now dragon grown, larger than whom the sun
Ingender'd in the Pythian vale on slime,
Huge Python, and his pow'r no less he seem'd
Above the rest still to retain; they all
Him follow'd, issuing forth to th' open field,
Where all yet left of that revolted rout,
Heav'n-fall'n, in station stood or just array,
Sublime with expectation when to see
In triumph issuing forth their glorious chief:
They saw, but other sight instead! a crowd
Of ugly serpents; horror on them fell,
And horrid sympathy; for what they saw
They felt themselves now changing; down their arms,
Down fell both spear and shield, down they as fast,
And the dire hiss renew'd, and the dire form,





Catch'd by contagion, like in punishment,
As in their crime. Thus was 'applause they meant,
Turn'd to exploding hiss, triumph to shame,
Cast on themselves from their own mouths.

546 There


A grove hard by, sprung up with this their change,
His will who reigns above, to aggravate
Their penance, laden with fair fruit, like that
Which grew in Paradise, the bait of Eve
Us'd by the tempter: on that prospect strange
Their earnest eyes they fix'd, imagining
For one forbidden tree a multitude

And worn with famine, long and ceaseless hiss,
Till their lost shape, permitted, they resum'd;
Yearly enjoin'd, some say, to undergo
This annual humbling certain number'd days,
To dash their pride, and joy for man seduc'd.
However, some tradition they dispers'd
Among the heathen of their purchase got,
And fabled how the serpent, whom they call'd
Ophion, with Eurynome, the wide-
Encroaching Eve perhaps, had first the rule
Of high Olympus, thence by Saturn driven
And Ops, ere yet Dictæan Jove was born.
Meanwhile in Paradise the hellish pair
Too soon arriv'd; Sin, there in pow'r before,
Once actual, now in body, and to dwell


Now ris'n, to work them further woe or shame; 555
Yet, parch'd with scalding thirst and hunger fierce,
Though to delude them sent, could not abstain,
But on they roll'd in heaps, and, up the trees
Climbing, sat thicker than the snaky locks
That curl'd Megæra: greedily they pluck'd
The fruitage fair to sight, like that which grew
Near that bituminous lake where Sodom flain'd;
This more delusive, not the touch, but taste
Deceiv'd; they, fondly thinking to allay
Their appetite with gust, instead of fruit
Chew'd bitter ashes, which th' offended taste
With spattering noise rejected: oft they' assay'd,
Hunger and thirst constraining; drugg'd as oft,
With hatefullest disrelish writh'd their jaws,
With soot and cinders fill'd; so oft they fell
Into the same illusion, not as man
Whom they triumph'd once laps'd.

Thus were they









Habitual habitant; behind her Death,
Close following pace for pace, not mounted yet
On his pale horse: to whom Sin thus began.

"Second of Satan sprung, all-conqu❜ring Death! What think'st thou of our empire now, though earn'd With travel difficult, not better far

Than still at Hell's dark threshold to' have sat watch, Unnam'd, undreaded, and thyself half starv'd?” 595

Whom thus the sin-born monster answer'd soon: "To me, who with eternal famine pine, Alike is Hell, or Paradise, or Heav'n; There best, where most with ravine I may meet; Which here, though plenteous, all too little seems 600 To stuff this maw, this vast unhide-bound corps."

To whom th' incestuous mother thus reply'd. "Thou therefore on these herbs, and fruits, and flow'rs Feed first; on each beast next, and fish, and fowl; No homely morsels! and whatever thing The scythe of Time mows down, devour unspar'd; Till I, in man residing, through the race, His thoughts, his looks, words, actions all infect, And season him thy last and sweetest prey."

This said, they both betook them several ways, 610 Both to destroy, or unimmortal make

All kinds, and for destruction to mature
Sooner or later; which th' Almighty seeing,
From his transcendent seat the saints among,
To those bright orders utter'd thus his voice.

A place so heav'nly, and, conniving, seem
To gratify my scornful enemies,
That laugh, as if, transported with some fit
Of passion, I to them had quitted all,




"See with what heat these dogs of Hell advance To waste and havock yonder world, which I So fair and good created, and had still Kept in that state, had not the folly' of man Let in these wasteful furies, who impute Folly to me; so doth the prince of Hell And his adherents, that with so much ease I suffer them to enter and possess



At random yielded up to their misrule;

And know not that I call'd and drew them thither,
My Hell-hounds, to lick up the draff and filth
Which man's polluting sin with taint hath shed
On what was pure; till, cramm'd and gorg'd, nigh burst
With suck'd and glutted offal, at one sling
Of thy victorious arm, well-pleasing Son,

Both Sin, and Death, and yawning grave, at last, 635
Through Chaos hurl'd, obstruct the mouth of Hell
For ever, and seal up his ravenous jaws.
Then Heav'n and Earth renew'd shall be made pure
To sanctity, that shall receive no stain;
Till then, the curse pronounc'd on both precedes."
He ended, and the heav'nly audience loud
Sung halleluiah, as the sound of seas,
Through multitude that sung: "Just are thy ways,
Righteous are thy decrees on all thy works;
Who can extenuate thee?" Next, to the Son,
"Destin'd restorer of mankind, by whom
New Heav'n and Earth shall to the ages rise,
Or down from Heav'n descend." Such was their song;
While the Creator, calling forth by name
His mighty angels, gave them several charge,
As sorted best with present things. The sun
Had first his precept so to move, so shine,
As might affect the earth with cold and heat
Scarce tolerable, and from the north to call
Decrepit winter, from the south to bring
Solstitial summer's heat. To the blanc moon
Her office they prescrib'd; to th' other five
Their planetary motions and aspects,
In sextile, square, and trine, and opposite,
Of noxious efficacy, and when to join
In synod unbenign; and taught the fix'd
Their influence malignant when to shower,
Which of them rising with the sun, or falling,
Should prove tempestuous: to the winds they set
Their corners, when with bluster to confound
Sea, air, and shore; the thunder when to roll
With terror through the dark aereal hall.
Some say he bid his angels turn askance








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