Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Sometimes towards Heav'n, and the full-blazing sun,
Which now sat high in his meridian tower:
Then, much revolving, thus in sighs began.

30

40

"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 'sdein'd subjection, and thought one step higher 50 Would set me high'st, 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 to' accuse,

35

45

55

60

65

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 spi'rits beneath, whom I seduc'd
With other promises and other vaunts
Than to submit, boasting I could subdue
Th' Omnipotent. Ay 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 act of grace, my former state; how soon
Would height recal high thoughts, how soon unsay 95
What feign'd submission swore! ease would recant
Vows made in pain, as violent and void:
For never can true reconcilement grow

100

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,

[ocr errors]

70

75

.80

85

90

105

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 Heav'n's King I hold,
By the, and more than half perhaps will reign;
As man ere long, and this new world, shall know."

Thus while he spake, each passion diman'd his face
Thrice chang'd with pale, ire, envy, and despair; 115
Which marr'd his borrow'd visage, and betray'd
Him counterfeit, if any eye beheld:

For heav'nly minds such distempers foul
Are ever clear, Whereof he soon aware,
Each perturbation smooth'd with outward calm, 120
Artificer of fraud; and was the first

110

That practis'd falsehood under saintly show,
Deep malice to conceal, couch'd with revenge:
Yet not enough had practis'd to deceive

Uriel once warn'd; whose eye pursued him down 125
The way he went, and on th' Assyrian mount
Saw him disfigur'd, more than could befal
Spirit of happy sort: his gestures fierce
He mark'd and mad demeanour, then alone,
As he suppos'd, all unobserv'd, unseen.
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 champaign 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 general sire gave prospect large
Into his nether empire neighb'ring round.

130

135

140

145

And higher than that wail a circling row
Of goodliest trees, loaden with fairest fruit,
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 150
Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow,
When God hath show'r'd the earth; so lovely seem'd
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
Mozambic, off at sea north-east winds blow
Sabean odours from the spicy shore

155

160

Of Araby the blest; with such delay

Well pleas'd they slack their course, and many a

league,

Cheer'd with the grateful smell, old Ocean smiles: 165
So entertain'd those odorous sweets the fiend,

Who came their bane, though with them better pleas'd
Than Asmodeus with the fishy fume

That drove him, though enamour'd, from the spouse
Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent
From Medea post to Egypt. there fast bound.

170

Now to the ascent of that steep savage hill
Satan had journey'd on, pensive and slow;
But further way found none, so thick entwin,
As one continued brake, the undergrowth
Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplex'd
All path of man or beast that pass'd that ways
One gate there only was, and that look'd east
On th' other side: which when th' arch-felon saw,
Due entrance he disdain'd, and, in contempt,
At one slight bound high overleap'd all bound
Of hill or highest wall, and sheer within
Lights on his feet. As when a prowling wolf,
Whom Lunger drives to seek new haunt for prey,

175

180

[ocr errors]

Watching where shepherds pen their flocks at eve, 185
In hurdled cotes amid the field secure,
Leaps o'er the fence with ease into the fold:
Or as a thief, bent to unhoard the cash
Of some rich burgher, whose substantial doors,
Cross-barr'd and bolted fast, fear no assault,
In at the window climbs, or o'er the tiles:
So clomb this first grand thief into God's fold;
So since into his church lewd hirelings climb.
Thence up he flew, and on the tree of life,
The middle tree and highest there that grew,
Sat like a cormorant; yet not true life
Thereby regain'd, but sat devising death
To them who liv'd; nor on the virtue thought
Of that life-giving plant, but only us'd

For prospect, what, well us'd, had been the pledge 200
Of immortality. So little knows

190

195

Any, but God alone, to value right

The good before him, but perverts best things
To worst abuse, or to their meanest use.
Beneath him with new wonder now he views,
To all delight of human sense expos'd,
In narrow room Nature's whole wealth, yea more,
A Heav'n on Earth: for blissful Paradise
Of God the garden was, by him in th' east
Of Eden planted; Eden stretch'd her line
From Auran eastward to the royal towers
Of great Seleucia, built by Grecian kings,
Or where the sons of Eden long before
Dwelt in Telassar: in this pleasant soil
His far more pleasant garden God ordain'd;
Out of the fertile ground he caus'd 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,
Knowledge of good bought dear by knowing ill.
Southward through Eden went a river large,

205

210

215

220

« AnteriorContinuar »