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pent answers, that by tasting of a certain tree in the garden he attained both to speech and reason, till then void of both: Eve requires him to bring her to that tree, and finds it to be the tree of knowledge forbidden: the serpent now grown bolder, with many wiles and arguments, induces her at length to eat; she, pleased with the taste, deliberates a while whether to impart thereof to Adam or not; at last brings him of the fruit ; relates what persuaded her to eat thereof: Adam, at first amazed, but perceiving her lost, resolves, through vehemence of love, to perish with her : and, extenuating the trespass, eats also of the fruit: the effects thereof in them both; they seek to cover their nakedness; then fall to variance and accusation of one another.

No more of talk where God or angel guest
With Man, as with his friend, familiar us'd
To sit indulgent, and with him partake
Rural repast; permitting him the while
Venial discourse unblam’d. I now must change
Those notes to tragic; foul distrust, and breach
Disloyal on the part of Man, revolt
And disobedience : on the part of Heaven
Now alienated, distance and distaste,
Anger and just rebuke, and judgment given,
That brought into this world a world of woe,
Sin and her shadow Death, and Misery
Death's harbinger : sad task, yet argument
Not less but more heroic than the wrath
Of stern Achilles on his foe pursued

Thrice fugitive about Troy wall; 'or rage Of Turnus for Lavinia disespous’d; Or Neptune's ire, or Juno's, that so long Perplex'd the Greek, and Cytherea's son; If answerable style I can obtain Of my celestial patroness, who deigns Her nightly visitation unimplor'd, And dictates to me slumbering; or inspires Easy my unpremeditated verse : Since first this subject for heroic song Pleas'd me long choosing, and beginning late ; Not sedulous by nature to indite Wars, hitherto the only argument Heroic deem'd; chief mastery to dissect With long and tedious havoc fabled knights In battles feign'd; the better fortitude Of patience and heroic martyrdom Unsung; or to describe races and games, Or tilting furniture, imblazon'd shields, Impresses quaint, caparisons and steeds, Bases and tinsel trappings, gorgeous knights At joust and tournament; then marshall’d feast Serv'd up in hall with sewers and seneshals; The skill of artifice or office mean, Not that which justly gives heroic name To person or to poem. Me, of these Nor skill'd nor studious, higher argument Remains; sufficient of itself to raise That name, unless an age too late, or cold Climate, or years, damp my intended wing Depress'd; and much they may, if all be mine, Not hers, who brings it nightly to my ear.

The Sun was sunk, and after him the star Of Hesperus, whose office is to bring Twilight upon the Earth, short arbiter 'Twixt day and night, and now from end to end Night's hemisphere had veil'd the horizon round: When Satan, who late fled before the threats Of Gabriel out of Eden, now improv'd In meditated fraud and malice, bent On Man's destruction, maugre what might hap Of heavier on himself, fearless return'd. By night he fled, and at midnight return'd From compassing the Earth ; cautious of day, Since Uriel, regent of the Sun, descried His entrance, and forewarn'd the cherubim That kept their watch; thence full of anguish

driven, The space of seven continued nights he rode With darkness, thrice the equinoctial line He circled ; four times cross'd the car of night From pole to pole traversing each colúre; On the eighth return'd; and on the coast averse From entrance or cherubic watch, by stealth Found unsuspected way. There was a place, Now not, though sin, not time, first wrought the

change, Where Tigris at the foot of Paradise, Into a gulf shot under ground, till part Rose up a fountain by the tree of life: In with the river sunk, and with it rose Satan, involv'd in rising mist; then sought Where to lie hid ; sea he had search’d, and land, From Eden over Pontus and the pool

Mæotis, up beyond the river Ob;
Downward as far antarctic; and in length,
West from Orontes to the ocean barr'd
At Darien ; thence to the land where Aows
Ganges and Indus: thus the orb he roam'd
With narrow search ; and with inspection deep
Consider'd every creature, which of all
Most opportune might serve his wiles ; and found
The serpent subtlest beast of all the field.
Him after long debate, irresolute
Of thoughts revolv’d, his final sentence chose
Fit vessel, fittest imp of fraud, in whom
To enter, and his dark suggestions hide
From sharpest sight : for, in the wily snake
Whatever sleights, none would suspicious mark,
As from his wit and native subtlety
Proceeding; which, in other beasts observ'd,
Doubt might beget of diabolic power
Active within, beyond the sense of brute.
Thus he resolv’d, but first from inward grief
His bursting passion into plaints thus pour'd.

“ O Earth, how like to Heaven, if not preferr’d
More justly, seat worthier of Gods, as built
With second thoughts, reforming what was old !
For what god, after better, worse would build ?
Terrestrial Heaven, danc'd round by other Heavens
That shine, yet bear their bright officious lamps,
Light above light, for thee alone as seems,
In thee concentring all their precious beams
Of sacred influence! As God in Heaven
Is centre, yet extends to all ; so thou,
Centring, receiv'st from all those orbs : in thee,

Not in themselves, all their known virtue appears
Productive in herb, plant, and nobler birth
Of creatures animate with gradual life
Of growth, sense, reason, all summ'd up in Man.
With what delight could I have walk'd thee round,
If I could joy in aught, sweet interchange
Of hill, and valley, rivers, woods, and plains,
Now land, now sea, and shores with forest crown'd,
Rocks, dens, and caves ! But I in none of these
Find place or refuge; and the more I see
Pleasures about me, so much more I feel
Torment within me, as from the hateful siege
Of contraries : all good to me becomes [state.
Bane, and in Heaven much worse would be my
But neither here seek I, no nor in Heaven
To dwell, unless by mastering Heaven's Supreme ;
Nor hope to be myself less miserable
By what I seek, but others to make such
As I, though thereby worse to me redound :
For only in destroying I find ease
To my relentless thoughts; and, him destroyed,
Or won to what may work his utter loss,
For whom all this was made, all this will soon
Follow, as to him link'd in weal or woe;
In woe then; that destruction wide may range :
To me shall be the glory sole among
The infernal powers, in one day to have marr'd
What he, Almighty styl’d, six nights and days
Continued making; and who knows how long
Before had been contriving? though perhaps
Not longer than since I, in one night, freed
From servitude inglorious well nigh half

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