Paradise Lost: Book III (1674)

Original Text: 
John Milton, Paradise Lost, 2nd edn. (London: Samuel Simmons, 1674). A transcription by Roy Flannagan of the second (1674) edition in John Milton's Complete Poetical Works Reproduced in Photographic Facsimile. A Critical Text Edition, ed. Harris Francis Fletcher, III (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1948). PR 3551 F52 Robarts Library. As published in Ian Lancashire, in collaboration with John Bradley, Willard McCarty, Michael Stairs, and T. R. Wooldridge, Using TACT and Electronic Texts: Text-Analysis Computing Tools Vers. 2.1 for MS-DOS and PC DOS (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1996). CD-ROM.
THE ARGUMENT.
God sitting on his Throne sees Satan flying towards this world, then newly created; shews him to the Son who sat at his right hand; foretells the success of Satan in perverting mankind; clears his own Justice and Wisdom from all imputation, having created Man free and able enough to have withstood his Tempter; yet declares his purpose of grace towards him, in regard he fell not of his own malice; as did Satan, but by him seduc't. The Son of God renders praises to his Father for the manifestation of his gracious purpose towards Man; but God again declares, that Grace cannot be extended towards Man without the satisfaction of divine Justice; Man hath offended the majesty of God by aspiring to God-head, and therefore with all his Progeny devoted to death must dye, unless some one can be found sufficient to answer for his offence, and undergo his Punishment. The Son of God freely offers himself a Ransome for Man: the Father accepts him, ordains his incarnation, pronounces his exaltation above all Names in Heaven and Earth; commands all the Angels to adore him; they obey, and hymning to thir Harps in full Quire, celebrate the Father and the Son. Mean while Satan alights upon the bare Convex of this Worlds outermost Orb; where wandring he first finds a place since call'd The Lymbo of Vanity; what persons and things fly up thither; thence comes to the Gate of Heaven, describ'd ascending by staires, and the waters above the Firmament that flow about it: His passage thence to the Orb of the Sun; he finds there Uriel the Regient of that Orb, but first changes himself into the shape of a meaner Angel; and pretending a zealous desire to behold the new Creation and Man whom God had plac't here, inquires of him the place of his habitation, and is directed; alights first on Mount Niphates.
1HAil holy Light, ofspring of Heav'n first-born,
2Or of th' Eternal Coeternal beam
3May I express thee unblam'd? since God is light,
4And never but in unapproached light
5Dwelt from Eternitie, dwelt then in thee,
6Bright effluence of bright essence increate.
7Or hear'st thou rather pure Ethereal stream,
8Whose Fountain who shall tell? before the Sun,
9Before the Heavens thou wert, and at the voice
10Of God, as with a Mantle didst invest
11The rising world of waters dark and deep,
12Won from the void and formless infinite.
13Thee I re-visit now with bolder wing,
14Escap't the Stygian Pool, though long detain'd
15In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight
16Through utter and through middle darkness borne
17With other notes then to th' Orphean Lyre
18I sung of Chaos and Eternal Night,
19Taught by the heav'nly Muse to venture down
20The dark descent, and up to reascend,
21Though hard and rare: thee I revisit safe,
22And feel thy sovran vital Lamp; but thou
23Revisit'st not these eyes, that rowle in vain
24To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;
25So thick a drop serene hath quencht thir Orbs,
26Or dim suffusion veild. Yet not the more
27Cease I to wander where the Muses haunt
28Cleer Spring, or shadie Grove, or Sunnie Hill,
29Smit with the love of sacred Song; but chief
30Thee Sion and the flowrie Brooks beneath
31That wash thy hallowd feet, and warbling flow,
32Nightly I visit: nor somtimes forget
33Those other two equal'd with me in Fate,
34So were I equal'd with them in renown,
35Blind Thamyris and blind Maeonides,
36And Tiresias and Phineus Prophets old.
37Then feed on thoughts, that voluntarie move
38Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful Bird
39Sings darkling, and in shadiest Covert hid
40Tunes her nocturnal Note. Thus with the Year
41Seasons return, but not to me returns
42Day, or the sweet approach of Ev'n or Morn,
43Or sight of vernal bloom, or Summers Rose,
44Or flocks, or heards, or human face divine;
45But cloud in stead, and ever-during dark
46Surrounds me, from the chearful wayes of men
47Cut off, and for the Book of knowledg fair
48Presented with a Universal blanc
49Of Natures works to mee expung'd and ras'd,
50And wisdome at one entrance quite shut out.
51So much the rather thou Celestial light
52Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers
53Irradiate, there plant eyes, all mist from thence
54Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
55Of things invisible to mortal sight.
56Now had the Almighty Father from above,
57From the pure Empyrean where he sits
58High Thron'd above all highth, bent down his eye,
59His own works and their works at once to view:
60About him all the Sanctities of Heaven
61Stood thick as Starrs, and from his sight receiv'd
62Beatitude past utterance; on his right
63The radiant image of his Glory sat,
64His onely Son; On Earth he first beheld
65Our two first Parents, yet the onely two
66Of mankind, in the happie Garden plac't,
67Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love,
68Uninterrupted joy, unrivald love
69In blissful solitude; he then survey'd
70Hell and the Gulf between, and Satan there
71Coasting the wall of Heav'n on this side Night
72In the dun Air sublime, and ready now
73To stoop with wearied wings, and willing feet
74On the bare outside of this World, that seem'd
75Firm land imbosom'd without Firmament,
76Uncertain which, in Ocean or in Air.
77Him God beholding from his prospect high,
78Wherein past, present, future he beholds,
79Thus to his onely Son foreseeing spake.
80Onely begotten Son, seest thou what rage
81Transports our adversarie, whom no bounds
82Prescrib'd, no barrs of Hell, nor all the chains
83Heapt on him there, nor yet the main Abyss
84Wide interrupt can hold; so bent he seems
85On desparate reveng, that shall redound
86Upon his own rebellious head. And now
87Through all restraint broke loose he wings his way
88Not farr off Heav'n, in the Precincts of light,
89Directly towards the new created World,
90And Man there plac't, with purpose to assay
91If him by force he can destroy, or worse,
92By some false guile pervert; and shall pervert
93For man will hark'n to his glozing lyes,
94And easily transgress the sole Command,
95Sole pledge of his obedience: So will fall,
96Hee and his faithless Progenie: whose fault?
97Whose but his own? ingrate, he had of mee
98All he could have; I made him just and right,
99Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.
100Such I created all th' Ethereal Powers
101And Spirits, both them who stood and them who faild;
102Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell.
103Not free, what proof could they have givn sincere
104Of true allegiance, constant Faith or Love,
105Where onely what they needs must do, appeard,
106Not what they would? what praise could they receive?
107What pleasure I from such obedience paid,
108When Will and Reason (Reason also is choice)
109Useless and vain, of freedom both despoild,
110Made passive both, had servd necessitie,
111Not mee. They therefore as to right belongd,
112So were created, nor can justly accuse
113Thir maker, or thir making, or thir Fate,
114As if predestination over-rul'd
115Thir will, dispos'd by absolute Decree
116Or high foreknowledge; they themselves decreed
117Thir own revolt, not I: if I foreknew,
118Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault,
119Which had no less prov'd certain unforeknown.
120So without least impulse or shadow of Fate,
121Or aught by me immutablie foreseen,
122They trespass, Authors to themselves in all
123Both what they judge and what they choose; for so
124I formd them free, and free they must remain,
125Till they enthrall themselves: I else must change
126Thir nature, and revoke the high Decree
127Unchangeable, Eternal, which ordain'd
128Thir freedom, they themselves ordain'd thir fall.
129The first sort by thir own suggestion fell,
130Self-tempted, self-deprav'd: Man falls deceiv'd
131By the other first: Man therefore shall find grace,
132The other none: in Mercy and Justice both,
133Through Heav'n and Earth, so shall my glorie excel,
134But Mercy first and last shall brightest shine.
135Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance fill'd
136All Heav'n, and in the blessed Spirits elect
137Sense of new joy ineffable diffus'd:
138Beyond compare the Son of God was seen
139Most glorious, in him all his Father shon
140Substantially express'd, and in his face
141Divine compassion visibly appeerd,
142Love without end, and without measure Grace,
143Which uttering thus he to his Father spake.
144O Father, gracious was that word which clos'd
145Thy sovran sentence, that Man should find grace;
146For which both Heav'n and Earth shall high extoll
147Thy praises, with th' innumerable sound
148Of Hymns and sacred Songs, wherewith thy Throne
149Encompass'd shall resound thee ever blest.
150For should Man finally be lost, should Man
151Thy creature late so lov'd, thy youngest Son
152Fall circumvented thus by fraud, though joynd
153With his own folly? that be from thee farr,
154That farr be from thee, Father, who art Judg
155Of all things made, and judgest onely right.
156Or shall the Adversarie thus obtain
157His end, and frustrate thine, shall he fulfill
158His malice, and thy goodness bring to naught,
159Or proud return though to his heavier doom,
160Yet with revenge accomplish't and to Hell
161Draw after him the whole Race of mankind,
162By him corrupted? or wilt thou thy self
163Abolish thy Creation, and unmake,
164For him, what for thy glorie thou hast made?
165So should thy goodness and thy greatness both
166Be questiond and blaspheam'd without defence.
167To whom the great Creatour thus reply'd.
168O Son, in whom my Soul hath chief delight,
169Son of my bosom, Son who art alone
170My word, my wisdom, and effectual might,
171All hast thou spok'n as my thoughts are, all
172As my Eternal purpose hath decreed:
173Man shall not quite be lost, but sav'd who will,
174Yet not of will in him, but grace in me
175Freely voutsaft; once more I will renew
176His lapsed powers, though forfeit and enthrall'd
177By sin to foul exorbitant desires;
178Upheld by me, yet once more he shall stand
179On even ground against his mortal foe,
180By me upheld, that he may know how frail
181His fall'n condition is, and to me ow
182All his deliv'rance, and to none but me.
183Some I have chosen of peculiar grace
184Elect above the rest; so is my will:
185The rest shall hear me call, and oft be warnd
186Thir sinful state, and to appease betimes
187Th' incensed Deitie, while offerd grace
188Invites; for I will cleer thir senses dark,
189What may sufflce, and soft'n stonie hearts
190To pray, repent, and bring obedience due.
191To Prayer, repentance, and obedience due,
192Though but endevord with sincere intent,
193Mine ear shall not be slow, mine eye not shut.
194And I will place within them as a guide
195My Umpire Conscience, whom if they will hear,
196Light after light well us'd they shall attain,
197And to the end persisting, safe arrive.
198This my long sufferance and my day of grace
199They who neglect and scorn, shall never taste;
200But hard be hard'nd, blind be blinded more,
201That they may stumble on, and deeper fall;
202And none but such from mercy I exclude.
203But yet all is not don; Man disobeying,
204Disloyal breaks his fealtie, and sinns
205Against the high Supremacie of Heav'n,
206Affecting God-head, and so loosing all,
207To expiate his Treason hath naught left,
208But to destruction sacred and devote,
209He with his whole posteritie must dye,
210Dye hee or Justice must; unless for him
211Som other able, and as willing, pay
212The rigid satisfaction, death for death.
213Say Heav'nly powers, where shall we find such love,
214Which of ye will be mortal to redeem
215Mans mortal crime, and just th' unjust to save,
216Dwels in all Heaven charitie so deare?
217He ask'd, but all the Heav'nly Quire stood mute,
218And silence was in Heav'n: on mans behalf
219Patron or Intercessor none appeerd,
220Much less that durst upon his own head draw
221The deadly forfeiture, and ransom set.
222And now without redemption all mankind
223Must have bin lost, adjudg'd to Death and Hell
224By doom severe, had not the Son of God,
225In whom the fulness dwels of love divine,
226His dearest mediation thus renewd.
227Father, thy word is past, man shall find grace;
228And shall grace not find means, that finds her way,
229The speediest of thy winged messengers,
230To visit all thy creatures, and to all
231Comes unprevented, unimplor'd, unsought,
232Happie for man, so coming; he her aide
233Can never seek, once dead in sins and lost;
234Attonement for himself or offering meet,
235Indebted and undon, hath none to bring:
236Behold mee then, mee for him, life for life
237I offer, on mee let thine anger fall;
238Account mee man; I for his sake will leave
239Thy bosom, and this glorie next to thee
240Freely put off, and for him lastly dye
241Well pleas'd, on me let Death wreck all his rage;
242Under his gloomie power I shall not long
243Lie vanquisht; thou hast givn me to possess
244Life in my self for ever, by thee I live,
245Though now to Death I yield, and am his due
246All that of me can die, yet that debt paid,
247Thou wilt not leave me in the loathsom grave
248His prey, nor suffer my unspotted Soule
249For ever with corruption there to dwell;
250But I shall rise Victorious, and subdue
251My vanquisher, spoild of his vanted spoile;
252Death his deaths wound shall then receive, and stoop
253Inglorious, of his mortall sting disarm'd.
254I through the ample Air in Triumph high
255Shall lead Hell Captive maugre Hell, and show
256The powers of darkness bound. Thou at the sight
257Pleas'd, out of Heaven shalt look down and smile,
258While by thee rais'd I ruin all my Foes,
259Death last, and with his Carcass glut the Grave:
260Then with the multitude of my redeemd
261Shall enter Heaven long absent, and returne,
262Father, to see thy face, wherein no cloud
263Of anger shall remain, but peace assur'd,
264And reconcilement; wrauth shall be no more
265Thenceforth, but in thy presence joy entire.
266His words here ended, but his meek aspect
267Silent yet spake, and breath'd immortal love
268To mortal men, above which only shon
269Filial obedience: as a sacrifice
270Glad to be offer'd, he attends the will
271Of his great Father. Admiration seis'd
272All Heav'n, what this might mean, and whither tend
273Wondring; but soon th' Almighty thus reply'd:
274O thou in Heav'n and Earth the only peace
275Found out for mankind under wrauth, O thou
276My sole complacence! well thou know'st how dear,
277To me are all my works, nor Man the least
278Though last created, that for him I spare
279Thee from my bosom and right hand, to save,
280By loosing thee a while, the whole Race lost.
281Thou therefore whom thou only canst redeem,
282Thir Nature also to thy Nature joyn;
283And be thy self Man among men on Earth,
284Made flesh, when time shall be, of Virgin seed,
285By wondrous birth: Be thou in Adams room
286The Head of all mankind, though Adams Son.
287As in him perish all men, so in thee
288As from a second root shall be restor'd,
289As many as are restor'd, without thee none.
290His crime makes guiltie all his Sons, thy merit
291Imputed shall absolve them who renounce
292Thir own both righteous and unrighteous deeds,
293And live in thee transplanted, and from thee
294Receive new life. So Man, as is most just,
295Shall satisfie for Man, be judg'd and die,
296And dying rise, and rising with him raise
297His Brethren, ransomd with his own dear life.
298So Heav'nly love shall outdoo Hellish hate
299Giving to death, and dying to redeeme,
300So dearly to redeem what Hellish hate
301So easily destroy'd, and still destroyes
302In those who, when they may, accept not grace.
303Nor shalt thou by descending to assume
304Mans Nature, less'n or degrade thine owne.
305Because thou hast, though Thron'd in highest bliss
306Equal to God, and equally enjoying
307God-like fruition, quitted all to save
308A World from utter loss, and hast been found
309By Merit more then Birthright Son of God,
310Found worthiest to be so by being Good,
311Farr more then Great or High; because in thee
312Love hath abounded more then Glory abounds,
313Therefore thy Humiliation shall exalt
314With thee thy Manhood also to this Throne;
315Here shalt thou sit incarnate, here shalt Reign
316Both God and Man, Son both of God and Man,
317Anointed universal King, all Power
318I give thee, reign for ever, and assume
319Thy Merits; under thee as Head Supream
320Thrones, Princedoms, Powers, Dominions I reduce:
321All knees to thee shall bow, of them that bide
322In Heaven, or Earth, or under Earth in Hell;
323When thou attended gloriously from Heav'n
324Shalt in the Sky appeer, and from thee send
325The summoning Arch-Angels to proclaime
326Thy dread Tribunal: forthwith from all Windes
327The living, and forthwith the cited dead
328Of all past Ages to the general Doom
329Shall hast'n, such a peal shall rouse thir sleep.
330Then all thy Saints assembl'd, thou shalt judge
331Bad men and Angels, they arraignd shall sink
332Beneath thy Sentence; Hell, her numbers full,
333Thenceforth shall be for ever shut. Mean while
334The World shall burn, and from her ashes spring
335New Heav'n and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell,
336And after all thir tribulations long
337See golden days, fruitful of golden deeds,
338With Joy and Love triumphing, and fair Truth.
339Then thou thy regal Scepter shalt lay by,
340For regal Scepter then no more shall need,
341God shall be All in All. But all ye Gods,
342Adore him, who to compass all this dies,
343Adore the Son, and honour him as mee.
344No sooner had th' Almighty ceas't, but all
345The multitude of Angels with a shout
346Loud as from numbers without number, sweet
347As from blest voices, uttering joy, Heav'n rung
348With Jubilee, and loud Hosanna's filld
349Th' eternal Regions: lowly reverent
350Towards either Throne they bow, and to the ground
351With solemn adoration down they cast
352Thir Crowns inwove with Amarant and Gold,
353Immortal Amarant, a Flour which once
354In Paradise, fast by the Tree of Life
355Began to bloom, but soon for mans offence
356To Heav'n remov'd where first it grew, there grows,
357And flours aloft shading the Fount of Life,
358And where the river of Bliss through midst of Heavn
359Rowls o're Elisian Flours her Amber stream;
360With these that never fade the Spirits elect
361Bind thir resplendent locks inwreath'd with beams,
362Now in loose Garlands thick thrown off, the bright
363Pavement that like a Sea of Jasper shon
364Impurpl'd with Celestial Roses smil'd.
365Then Crown'd again thir gold'n Harps they took,
366Harps ever tun'd, that glittering by thir side
367Like Quivers hung, and with Praeamble sweet
368Of charming symphonie they introduce
369Thir sacred Song, and waken raptures high;
370No voice exempt, no voice but well could joine
371Melodious part, such concord is in Heav'n.
372Thee Father first they sung Omnipotent,
373Immutable, Immortal, Infinite,
374Eternal King; thee Author of all being,
375Fountain of Light, thy self invisible
376Amidst the glorious brightness where thou sit'st
377Thron'd inaccessible, but when thou shad'st
378The full blaze of thy beams, and through a cloud
379Drawn round about thee like a radiant Shrine,
380Dark with excessive bright thy skirts appeer,
381Yet dazle Heav'n, that brightest Seraphim
382Approach not, but with both wings veil thir eyes.
383Thee next they sang of all Creation first,
384Begotten Son, Divine Similitude,
385In whose conspicuous count'nance, without cloud
386Made visible, th' Almighty Father shines,
387Whom else no Creature can behold; on thee
388Impresst the effulgence of his Glorie abides,
389Transfus'd on thee his ample Spirit rests.
390Hee Heav'n of Heavens and all the Powers therein
391By thee created, and by thee threw down
392Th' aspiring Dominations: thou that day
393Thy Fathers dreadful Thunder didst not spare,
394Nor stop thy flaming Chariot wheels, that shook
395Heav'ns everlasting Frame, while o're the necks
396Thou drov'st of warring Angels disarraid.
397Back from pursuit thy Powers with loud acclaime
398Thee only extoll'd, Son of thy Fathers might,
399To execute fierce vengeance on his foes,
400Not so on Man; him through their malice fall'n,
401Father of Mercie and Grace, thou didst not doome
402So strictly, but much more to pitie encline:
403No sooner did thy dear and onely Son
404Perceive thee purpos'd not to doom frail Man
405So strictly, but much more to pitie enclin'd,
406He to appease thy wrauth, and end the strife
407Of Mercy and justice in thy face discern'd,
408Regardless of the Bliss wherein hee sat
409Second to thee, offerd himself to die
410For mans offence. O unexampl'd love,
411Love no where to be found less then Divine!
412Hail Son of God, Saviour of Men, thy Name
413Shall be the copious matter of my Song
414Henceforth, and never shall my Harp thy praise
415Forget, nor from thy Fathers praise disjoine.
416Thus they in Heav'n, above the starry Sphear,
417Thir happie hours in joy and hymning spent.
418Mean while upon the firm opacous Globe
419Of this round World, whose first convex divides
420The luminous inferior Orbs, enclos'd
421From Chaos and th' inroad of Darkness old,
422Satan alighted walks: a Globe farr off
423It seem'd, now seems a boundless Continent
424Dark, waste, and wild, under the frown of Night
425Starless expos'd, and ever-threatning storms
426Of Chaos blustring round, inclement skie;
427Save on that side which from the wall of Heav'n
428Though distant farr som small reflection gaines
429Of glimmering air less vext with tempest loud:
430Here walk'd the Fiend at large in spacious field.
431As when a Vultur on Imaus bred,
432Whose snowie ridge the roving Tartar bounds,
433Dislodging from a Region scarce of prey
434To gorge the flesh of Lambs or yeanling Kids
435On Hills where Flocks are fed, flies toward the Springs
436Of Ganges or Hydaspes, Indian streams;
437But in his way lights on the barren Plaines
438Of Sericana, where Chineses drive
439With Sails and Wind thir canie Waggons light:
440So on this windie Sea of Land, the Fiend
441Walk'd up and down alone bent on his prey,
442Alone, for other Creature in this place
443Living or liveless to be found was none,
444None yet, but store hereafter from the earth
445Up hither like Aereal vapours flew
446Of all things transitorie and vain, when Sin
447With vanity had filld the works of men:
448Both all things vain, and all who in vain things
449Built thir fond hopes of Glorie or lasting fame,
450Or happiness in this or th' other life;
451All who have thir reward on Earth, the fruits
452Of painful Superstition and blind Zeal,
453Naught seeking but the praise of men, here find
454Fit retribution, emptie as thir deeds;
455All th, unaccomplisht works of Natures hand,
456Abortive, monstrous, or unkindly mixt,
457Dissolvd on Earth, fleet hither, and in vain,
458Till final dissolution, wander here,
459Not in the neighbouring Moon, as some have dreamd;
460Those argent Fields more likely habitants,
461Translated Saints, or middle Spirits hold
462Betwixt th' Angelical and Human kinde:
463Hither of ill-joynd Sons and Daughters born
464First from the ancient World those Giants came
465With many a vain exploit, though then renownd:
466The builders next of Babel on the Plain
467Of Sennaar, and still with vain designe
468New Babels, had they wherewithall, would build:
469Others came single; he who to be deemd
470A God, leap'd fondly into Aetna flames,
471Empedocles, and hee who to enjoy
472Plato's Elysium, leap'd into the Sea,
473Cleombrotus, and many more too long,
474Embryo's and Idiots, Eremits and Friers
475White, Black and Grey, with all thir trumperie.
476Here Pilgrims roam, that stray'd so farr to seek
477In Golgotha him dead, who lives in Heav'n;
478And they who to be sure of Paradise
479Dying put on the weeds of Dominic,
480Or in Franciscan think to pass disguis'd;
481They pass the Planets seven, and pass the fixt,
482And that Crystalline Sphear whose ballance weighs
483The Trepidation talkt, and that first mov'd;
484And now Saint Peter at Heav'ns Wicket seems
485To wait them with his Keys, and now at foot
486Of Heav'ns ascent they lift thir Feet, when loe
487A violent cross wind from either Coast
488Blows them transverse ten thousand Leagues awry
489Into the devious Air; then might ye see
490Cowles, Hoods and Habits with thir wearers tost
491And flutterd into Raggs, then Reliques, Beads,
492Indulgences, Dispenses, Pardons, Bulls,
493The sport of Winds: all these upwhirld aloft
494Fly o're the backside of the World farr off
495Into a Limbo large and broad, since calld
496The Paradise of Fools, to few unknown
497Long after, now unpeopl'd, and untrod;
498All this dark Globe the Fiend found as he pass'd,
499And long he wanderd, till at last a gleame
500Of dawning light turnd thither-ward in haste
501His travell'd steps; farr distant he descries
502Ascending by degrees magnificent
503Up to the wall of Heaven a Structure high,
504At top whereof, but farr more rich appeerd
505The work as of a Kingly Palace Gate
506With Frontispice of Diamond and Gold
507Imbellisht, thick with sparkling orient Gemmes
508The Portal shon, inimitable on Earth
509By Model, or by shading Pencil drawn.
510The Stairs were such as whereon Jacob saw
511Angels ascending and descending, bands
512Of Guardians bright, when he from Esau fled
513To Padan-Aram in the field of Luz,
514Dreaming by night under the open Skie,
516Each Stair mysteriously was meant, nor stood
517There alwayes, but drawn up to Heav'n somtimes
518Viewless, and underneath a bright Sea flow'd
519Of Jasper, or of liquid Pearle, whereon
520Who after came from Earth, sayling arriv'd,
521Wafted by Angels, or flew o're the Lake
522Rapt in a Chariot drawn by fiery Steeds.
523The Stairs were then let down, whether to dare
524The Fiend by easie ascent, or aggravate
525His sad exclusion from the dores of Bliss.
526Direct against which op'nd from beneath,
527Just o're the blissful seat of Paradise,
528A passage down to th' Earth, a passage wide,
529Wider by farr then that of after-times
530Over Mount Sion, and, though that were large,
531Over the Promis'd Land to God so dear,
532By which, to visit oft those happy Tribes,
533On high behests his Angels to and fro
534Pass'd frequent, and his eye with choice regard
535From Paneas the fount of Jordans flood
536To Beersaba, where the Holy Land
537Borders on Aegypt and the Arabian shoare;
538So wide the op'ning seemd, where bounds were set
539To darkness, such as bound the Ocean wave.
540Satan from hence now on the lower stair
541That scal'd by steps of Gold to Heav'n Gate
542Looks down with wonder at the sudden view
543Of all this World at once. As when a Scout
544Through dark and desart wayes with peril gone
545All night; at last by break of chearful dawne
546Obtains the brow of some high-climbing Hill,
547Which to his eye discovers unaware
548The goodly prospect of some forein land
549First-seen, or some renown'd Metropolis
550With glistering Spires and Pinnacles adornd,
551Which now the Rising Sun guilds with his beams.
552Such wonder seis'd, though after Heaven seen,
553The Spirit maligne, but much more envy seis'd
554At sight of all this World beheld so faire.
555Round he surveys, and well might, where he stood
556So high above the circling Canopie
557Of Nights extended shade; from Eastern Point
558Of Libra to the fleecie Starr that bears
559Andromeda farr off Atlantic Seas
560Beyond th' Horizon; then from Pole to Pole
561He views in bredth, and without longer pause
562Down right into the Worlds first Region throws
563His flight precipitant, and windes with ease
564Through the pure marble Air his oblique way
565Amongst innumerable Starrs, that shon
566Stars distant, but nigh hand seemd other Worlds,
567Or other Worlds they seemd, or happy Iles,
568Like those Hesperian Gardens fam'd of old,
569Fortunate Fields, and Groves and flourie Vales,
570Thrice happy Iles, but who dwelt happy there
571He stayd not to enquire: above them all
572The golden Sun in splendor likest Heaven
573Allur'd his eye: Thither his course he bends
574Through the calm Firmament; but up or downe
575By center, or eccentric, hard to tell,
576Or Longitude, where the great Luminarie
577Alooff the vulgar Constellations thick,
578That from his Lordly eye keep distance due,
579Dispenses Light from farr; they as they move
580Thir Starry dance in numbers that compute
581Days, months, & years, towards his all-chearing Lamp
582Turn swift thir various motions, or are turnd
583By his Magnetic beam, that gently warms
584The Univers, and to each inward part
585With gentle penetration, though unseen,
586Shoots invisible vertue even to the deep:
587So wondrously was set his Station bright.
588There lands the Fiend, a spot like which perhaps
589Astronomer in the Sun's lucent Orbe
590Through his glaz'd Optic Tube yet never saw.
591The place he found beyond expression bright,
592Compar'd with aught on Earth, Medal or Stone;
593Not all parts like, but all alike informd
594With radiant light, as glowing Iron with fire;
595If mettal, part seemd Gold, part Silver cleer;
596If stone, Carbuncle most or Chrysolite,
597Rubie or Topaz, to the Twelve that shon
598In Aarons Brest-plate, and a stone besides
599Imagind rather oft then elsewhere seen,
600That stone, or like to that which here below
601Philosophers in vain so long have sought,
602In vain, though by thir powerful Art they binde
603Volatil Hermes, and call up unbound
604In various shapes old Proteus from the Sea,
605Draind through a Limbec to his Native forme.
606What wonder then if fields and regions here
607Breathe forth Elixir pure, and Rivers run
608Potable Gold, when with one vertuous touch
609Th' Arch-chimic Sun so farr from us remote
610Produces with Terrestrial Humor mixt
611Here in the dark so many precious things
612Of colour glorious and effect so rare?
613Here matter new to gaze the Devil met
614Undazl'd, farr and wide his eye commands,
615For sight no obstacle found here, nor shade,
616But all Sun-shine, as when his Beams at Noon
617Culminate from th' Aequator, as they now
618Shot upward still direct, whence no way round
619Shadow from body opaque can fall, and the Aire,
620No where so cleer, sharp'nd his visual ray
621To objects distant farr, whereby he soon
622Saw within kenn a glorious Angel stand,
623The same whom John saw also in the Sun:
624His back was turnd, but not his brightness hid;
625Of beaming sunnie Raies, a golden tiar
626Circl'd his Head, nor less his Locks behind
627Illustrious on his Shoulders fledge with wings
628Lay waving round; on som great charge imploy'd
629He seemd, or fixt in cogitation deep.
630Glad was the Spirit impure as now in hope
631To find who might direct his wandring flight
632To Paradise the happie seat of Man,
633His journies end and our beginning woe.
634But first he casts to change his proper shape,
635Which else might work him danger or delay:
636And now a stripling Cherube he appeers,
637Not of the prime, yet such as in his face
638Youth smil'd Celestial, and to every Limb
639Sutable grace diffus'd, so well he feignd;
640Under a Coronet his flowing haire
641In curles on either cheek plaid, wings he wore
642Of many a colourd plume sprinkl'd with Gold,
643His habit fit for speed succinct, and held
644Before his decent steps a Silver wand.
645He drew not nigh unheard, the Angel bright,
646Ere he drew nigh, his radiant visage turnd,
647Admonisht by his ear, and strait was known
648Th' Arch-Angel Uriel, one of the seav'n
649Who in Gods presence, neerest to his Throne
650Stand ready at command, and are his Eyes
651That run through all the Heav'ns, or down to th' Earth
652Bear his swift errands over moist and dry,
653O're Sea and Land: him Satan thus accostes;
654Uriel, for thou of those seav'n Spirits that stand
655In sight of God's high Throne, gloriously bright,
656The first art wont his great authentic will
657Interpreter through highest Heav'n to bring,
658Where all his Sons thy Embassie attend;
659And here art likeliest by supream decree
660Like honour to obtain, and as his Eye
661To visit oft this new Creation round;
662Unspeakable desire to see, and know
663All these his wondrous works, but chiefly Man,
664His chief delight and favour, him for whom
665All these his works so wondrous he ordaind,
666Hath brought me from the Quires of Cherubim
667Alone thus wandring. Brightest Seraph tell
668In which of all these shining Orbes hath Man
669His fixed seat, or fixed seat hath none,
670But all these shining Orbes his choice to dwell;
671That I may find him, and with secret gaze,
672Or open admiration him behold
673On whom the great Creator hath bestowd
674Worlds, and on whom hath all these graces powrd;
675That both in him and all things, as is meet,
676The Universal Maker we may praise;
677Who justly hath drivn out his Rebell Foes
678To deepest Hell, and to repair that loss
679Created this new happie Race of Men
680To serve him better: wise are all his wayes.
681So spake the false dissembler unperceivd;
682For neither Man nor Angel can discern
683Hypocrisie, the onely evil that walks
684Invisible, except to God alone,
685By his permissive will, through Heav'n and Earth:
686And oft though wisdom wake, suspicion sleeps
687At wisdoms Gate, and to simplicitie
688Resigns her charge, while goodness thinks no ill
689Where no ill seems: Which now for once beguil'd
690Uriel, though Regent of the Sun, and held
691The sharpest sighted Spirit of all in Heav'n;
692Who to the fraudulent Impostor foule
693In his uprightness answer thus returnd.
694Fair Angel, thy desire which tends to know
695The works of God, thereby to glorifie
696The great Work-Maister, leads to no excess
697That reaches blame, but rather merits praise
698The more it seems excess, that led thee hither
699From thy Empyreal Mansion thus alone,
700To witness with thine eyes what some perhaps
701Contented with report hear onely in heav'n:
702For wonderful indeed are all his works,
703Pleasant to know, and worthiest to be all
704Had in remembrance alwayes with delight;
705But what created mind can comprehend
706Thir number, or the wisdom infinite
707That brought them forth, but hid thir causes deep.
708I saw when at his Word the formless Mass,
709This worlds material mould, came to a heap:
710Confusion heard his voice, and wilde uproar
711Stood rul'd, stood vast infinitude confin'd;
712Till at his second bidding darkness fled,
713Light shon, and order from disorder sprung:
714Swift to thir several Quarters hasted then
715The cumbrous Elements, Earth, Flood, Aire, Fire,
716And this Ethereal quintessence of Heav'n
717Flew upward, spirited with various forms,
718That rowld orbicular, and turnd to Starrs
719Numberless, as thou seest, and how they move;
720Each had his place appointed, each his course,
721The rest in circuit walles this Universe.
722Look downward on that Globe whose hither side
723With light from hence, though but reflected, shines;
724That place is Earth the seat of Man, that light
725His day, which else as th' other Hemisphere
726Night would invade, but there the neighbouring Moon
727(So call that opposite fair Starr) her aide
728Timely interposes, and her monthly round
729Still ending, still renewing, through mid Heav'n;
730With borrowd light her countenance triform
731Hence fills and empties to enlighten th' Earth,
732And in her pale dominion checks the night.
733That spot to which I point is Paradise,
734Adams abode, those loftie shades his Bowre.
735Thy way thou canst not miss, me mine requires.
736Thus said, he turnd, and Satan bowing low,
737As to superior Spirits is wont in Heaven,
738Where honour due and reverence none neglects,
739Took leave, and toward the coast of Earth beneath,
740Down from th' Ecliptic, sped with hop'd success,
741Throws his steep flight in many an Aerie wheele,
742Nor staid, till on Niphates top he lights.
The End of the Third Book.

Notes

515] The terminal period, absent in 1674, appears in 1667. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1667
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2002
Rhyme: 
Special Copyright: 

Transcription courtesy of Roy Flannagan.